Premiere: Pariah: All Access, Prologue: The Meeting

by CSyphrett and Doc Quantum

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July, 1986:

The monitors of five Earths held their fateful first meeting on the Rock of Eternity, where most of them were able to confirm for the first time that the other Earths had indeed survived the Crisis on Infinite Earths as they had hoped.

Representing Earth-Two was Alex Lane, born Alexander Luthor, Junior, the son of Earth-Three’s first true super-hero. Until now, he had also thought himself to be the last survivor of that universe. As always, his face was inscrutable; not even he was quite sure how he was supposed to feel about what he’d learned of his true parents this day.

The Oracle, who had been the original Monitor’s assistant as Harbinger, now watched over Earth-One. Judging from the relaxed way she sat, smiling easily at all the others, she was feeling very content with her life these days.

Uncle Sam, founder of the Freedom Fighters, arrived on behalf of the war-torn Earth-X. Out of all the monitors here, he looked the most world-weary and embattled.

The Son of Vulcan, heir to the Olympians, acted as the Overseer of the World for Earth-Four. He sat on the edge of his seat, drumming his fingers and impatient to get this meeting over with.

And the wizard Shazam, whose wondrous magic imbued the Marvel Family with their powers, watched over Earth-S and was the one who had gathered the others here, on the one-year anniversary of the Crisis. The old wizard had been given the responsibility by no less than the Monitor himself during the Crisis, since he possessed a unique position as steward of the Rock of Eternity.

There were several items on the agenda that they discussed that day, but one was more pressing than the others, since it concerned someone who might very well have been one of them had fate taken a slightly different turn.

“I say we should help the poor jasper,” said Uncle Sam, who looked tired and as old as his years, as if he was carrying the burden of a divided America weakened and demoralized by another war. Gone was his strength and enthusiasm of earlier years, and the others wondered if anything could revive the Spirit of America at this point. “He’s had a hard row to hoe for a long time, and we should ease his burden.”

“How do you propose that we do that?” asked the wizard Shazam, who had already explained to the others that another man would take his place as the monitor of Earth-S when that man was finally ready to take up the mission that he’d been born to do. “He can’t control his abilities, and I have my doubts that they are controllable in the first place.”

“Still, he progressively rips holes in the barriers between worlds each time he jumps,” said the Son of Vulcan, who seemed impatient to leave; he’d attended out of a sense of duty, but he’d also already put the wheels in motion to fully hand over his role to another worthy individual. This meeting was his final task as Earth-Four’s overseer. “We must do something.”

“He has also grown more powerful,” said Oracle, who was going by the name Lyla these days, and looked much more relaxed than she had in months. Living a normal life for the first time since she was a little girl obviously agreed with her. “He is the only one left with unfettered access to the multiverse, and that can make him either a great blessing or a terrible burden on all of us. Each jump is causing more damage.”

“I know,” said the ancient wizard. “The question remains: how do we go about it?”

“We don’t. Someone else will have to teach him restraint and control,” said Alex Lane, who had just learned that not only had Earth-Three survived by being absorbed into the antimatter universe, but his parents also still lived and were unreachable. Having had his childhood stolen from him when he was grown from a baby to an adult in days, Alex had never even had the time to form familial bonds with his parents, and his emotional maturity had been artificially created by the original Monitor. What disturbed him most was that he now felt no discernible emotions for them except disconnection, and he wondered, not for the first time, if he would ever be a normal man.

“What are you saying, Alex?” asked Oracle. “We owe our existence to him.”

“We cannot become involved in this,” said Alex, looking at the situation as logically as possible. “Our duty is clear.”

“So we’re just goin’ ta leave the poor fellow out in the cold?” Uncle Sam said angrily.

“Not at all,” said Alex, replying calmly. “We simply need to ask someone else to do the job for us, just as Lois and Clark Kent of Earth-Two acted as my surrogate parents when I thought I was an orphan in the wake of the Crisis.”

“I know just such a person as you suggest,” said the Son of Vulcan with a sigh. “He’d be perfect for this.”

“Then we are agreed?” said Alex.

“Aye,” said the other monitors in unison.

“Hopefully Pariah won’t regret this,” said Shazam.

“Hopefully we won’t regret this,” muttered the Son of Vulcan.

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