by CSyphrett and Doc Quantum
New York City:
The Sentinels of Justice had been slowly repairing its headquarters since that summer’s Crisis, when it was attacked by an army of super-villains from Earth-Four and other parallel Earths. (*) The small Sentinel Building was located at the heart of Manhattan, and the members themselves had handled such things as security systems, computer linkages, and other things.
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Villain War, Chapter 4: Earth-Four Got.]
On this day only one member was present. A special meeting had been requested by Sarge Steel, the Sentinels’ government liaison, and he had agreed to meet at the Sentinel Building. Ted Kord waited patiently in the costume of the Blue Beetle. His first arrival came a few minutes before the meet. He greeted Sentinels leader Captain Atom on the roof and walked with him down to the meeting room.
The two action-heroes had been working more closely together since the team had decided to renew its mission shortly after the Crisis. Ever since the Sentinels had stopped an unknown group of criminals from the future two months ago, things had been quiet. That is, until now. Only hours ago, Son of Vulcan had sent a high-priority alert to all members of the Sentinels, both active and reserve. It seemed that an arms dealer was flooding the streets with very advanced weaponry, and it was happening at different points around the globe. Ted knew that Eve Eden, alias Nightshade, was still taking time off from the Sentinels ever since she nearly died from an incident she refused to talk about. But the Question had not answered his alert yet despite recommitting himself to work with the Sentinels. Thankfully, more light on the problem was shed when reservist Peter Cannon had reported his encounter with the Mars Council in Hong Kong. Knowing Mars was involved, Blue Beetle knew that this was a job for the Sentinels of Justice if there ever was one.
A small van arrived moments later. At the security controls, Blue Beetle allowed the newcomers drive their van within the walled parking lot, and three men got out of the car. One was Sarge Steel, and another was Sentinels reservist Christopher Smith — who was dressed in formal business clothes rather than the commando outfit he used as the Peacemaker — but the third was an unexpected surprise. Blue Beetle frowned slightly, wondering how anyone had convinced an old war-horse like Hank Hennessy of the Fightin’ Five to come back to duty. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Hank Hennessy’s new role as leader of LAW in L.A.W.: Living Assault Weapons.]
Within a few minutes, the five had taken their places around the Sentinels round table as Sarge Steel stood to speak.
“Gentlemen, I have called this meeting to discuss the Mars Council. As you are by now aware, an aggressive smuggling operation dealing in energy weapons has struck at several points around the globe. As I’ve also been informed, a few of your own members have begun independent operations against the Mars Council concurrently in three separate nations. Son of Vulcan, the Question, and Thunderbolt have struck a blow against Mars in Edinburgh, Crown City, and Hong Kong. Our own agents have also stopped Mars arms shipments at several other entry points around the globe. But what concerns us are the entry points that are being overlooked. For example, our agents have just reported that the Soviet Union’s Redstar has been sent against yet another Mars Council operation near the Afghan border. Clearly, a more effective solution is needed.
“I’ve been in discussions with Mr. Smith, here, about possibilities for handling these kinds of blind spots in global security. The people I represent want to ensure that any future global crime epidemics can be dealt with in an efficient manner without a massive expenditure of resources. We want to set up a framework to allow for internationally coordinated responses for unusual emergencies taking place at several places around the globe at the same time. That’s why I’ve asked for this meeting, as you are the premiere action-hero team in the United States.”
“What do you expect from us?” asked Captain Atom. “The Sentinels of Justice aren’t exactly full-time. We tend to get together to handle emergencies when something happens, and we can respond fairly quickly.”
“Yes,” said Steel. “But until the Crisis most of the emergencies you’ve dealt with took place within the United States. You have very little international experience, and — with the exception of individual cases — you have virtually no experience as a team meeting emergencies behind the Iron Curtain.”
Captain Atom nodded. “We’ve been fortunate,” he agreed. “Outside of the Crisis itself, there have been no disasters or threats in the Soviet Union or China powerful enough that have forced the Sentinels as a team to enter those nations or their allies.”
“But the Crisis changed all that,” interrupted Blue Beetle. “The West was hit hard by the Crisis, true. We all remember the burning of New York Harbor during the Villain War. (*) But the East was hit even harder. With so few action-heroes outside of the United States, I guess the Eastern countries took the main brunt of it.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Villain War, Chapter 8: New York on Fire.]
“Yes,” said Christopher Smith, the Peacemaker. “It has also provided us with a greater opportunity for dialogue. The Soviet Union and China have begun to realize that isolation from the West is no longer a viable policy. We must be willing to meet them with a certain amount of support, including support for unusual threats and emergencies.”
Sarge Steel said, “My assistant is speaking with my Russian counterpart to see if a joint effort will be worth the time and expense. Then we will put it up for a vote at the U.N. and hope we can convince the international community that an agency coordinating action-heroes will help to relieve some of the crisis spots without a direct hand by the world powers.”
Hank Hennessy spoke up. “The Sentinels are prime examples of heroes that act impartially to protect everyone. A lot of the world leaders know you guys saved the world from the red skies event, even if no one knows the whole story.”
Captain Atom glanced at Blue Beetle and the Peacemaker. They were among the few who knew the red skies had been an attack by a being intent on destroying all creation. The day had been saved, but not without cost. “What exactly are you offering?” asked Captain Atom.
“We would like to grant the Sentinels of Justice the authority to protect the world,” said Steel evenly. “To meet any threat that only action-heroes can meet, such as the summer’s Crisis, without being limited by diplomatic bureaucracy. Additionally, we would like to set up a full-blown international action-hero coordination agency that could recruit at a moment’s notice nearby action-heroes for an emergency. We would appreciate any aid and support you can give if and when it’s up and running.”
“Who’s going to command this agency, if you don’t mind me asking?” asked Blue Beetle.
“We’re at too early a stage to say just yet,” said Steel.
“How much do you know about this, Chris?” asked Captain Atom.
“A little,” said Christopher Smith, which his teammates understood meant he knew a whole lot more than he was able to talk about. “Besides the action-hero coordination agency, there’s been talk about forming a new, U.N.-based team of international action-heroes. All of you remember THUNDER, I’m sure. It’s true the agents were all American, but it was the closest we’ve ever come to an international team, albeit one that was also a secret agency. We’re looking at building something like that, whether or not it’s under the aegis of THUNDER. Locally based action-heroes around the world will certainly be faster to act and will probably be more effective than the Sentinels ever could be. Hopefully the Russians will see things our way and go along.”
“Doubt it,” said Captain Atom. “Still, if they nominate Redstar for such a team, they’ll be putting their best man up for the spot. Loyalty to the Motherland won’t sway him from doing the right thing for those concerned.”
“We agree,” said Steel, “but we would still push for a certain percentage of American and Western action-heroes for any potential team.”
Captain Atom nodded. “I’ll lay things out for the other Sentinels. I’m sure they’ll back me up and support any law enforcement efforts you can arrange. Good luck.”
“Thanks,” said Sarge Steel. “In the meantime, Mr. Smith and others will be working tirelessly to grant the Sentinels the proper permissions to intervene globally when necessary. You couldn’t hold the status of our prospective U.N. organization, but you could be granted certain border entry rights during emergencies. The way things are with bureaucracy, it could be a year or more before any prospective international team finally gets off the ground.”