by CSyphrett and Doc Quantum
In the sky approaching Antarctica:
David Crandall had gained various abilities when he was a teenager. Flying was one of them. He was able to travel at incredible speeds by riding a bolt of lightning.
He had been tracking various reports from around the world of men using energy-weapons, and a memory had come back about his run-in with the same kind of weapon six years ago. He had done his homework and was sure that these were the same weapons he had seen in a base in Antarctica during one of his brief periods as Nature Man. If his memory was correct, six years ago he had battled a group called the Mars Council and had tracked them down to this base, where he had destroyed all the prototypes of an earlier version of these energy-weapons before losing his memory and identity once more. Obviously the group had developed another prototype and was trying to mass-market it to criminal organizations, rebel armies, and dictatorships around the world.
Crandall took off into the sky on a lightning bolt. It was time to see how accurate his memory really was. The former Nature Boy had traveled south, jumping from lightning bolt to lightning bolt. While heading for his destination, he felt as he traveled that he was correct — something was wrong in Antarctica. If he was right, he would spot a base that didn’t belong on the ice. If he was wrong, he would fly back to civilization, knowing his memories were false.
The bolt of lightning and the man riding it were picked up by the satellite surveillance and relayed to the American jet flying from Africa. They watched as the man was fired upon by a concealed artillery piece. The man veered desperately to bring himself down safely to the ground, where he finally crashed.
“At least now we know the intelligence was right,” said the Question as he donned cold gear.
“Great balls of fire,” sang Svarog as he went to the door.
“Who is the flying man?” asked Redstar.
They now saw men in armor surrounding the fallen man, who was apparently unhurt. They escorted the man away at gunpoint. Only Son of Vulcan recognized the man as he was led away.
“He is someone who — until recently — hasn’t been seen in almost thirty years,” said Son of Vulcan. “In the 1950s, he was called Nature Boy.”
“This doesn’t change a thing,” said Hank Hennessy coldly, frustrated at the involvement of yet another super-person not under his direct command. “We still have to go in, even if there is a bystander there.”
“That’s why I’m going in first, mate,” said the Creature Kid. He leaped with a thud onto the bomber doors, releasing them and allowing him to jump out. He mimicked the flight of a hawk and soared gently over the ice and snow, soon disappearing into the white mists.
“Blast it!” said Hennessy.
“He’ll need help,” Redstar said.
“I’ll help him,” said Son of Vulcan, jumping out the bomber doors himself. He hit the ground and leaped back into the air, vanishing on the trail of the Australian action-hero.
“Ooh-wee!” sang Svarog as he forced the door shut.
Hennessy said, “We’ll have to improvise now. Redstar, Svarog, you might as well provide air support until the rest of us can get to a strike area.”
“Da, tovarish,” said Redstar, smiling. “Ah, to have the impetuousness of youth again.”
“Driving that train high on cocaine,” sang Svarog as he forced the door open again. Wings extended from his back, and he took to the air.
Redstar was puzzled by the comment for a moment. Then it struck him as he followed his mechanical charge. “You are too cynical, my friend,” he said to Svarog as he passed the cyborg and proceeded in a trail of energy sparks, flying after his two new comrades.
The enemy went on alert as the Creature Kid and Son of Vulcan traveled to their destination quickly. Machine-gun towers and heat-seeking rockets were activated to no avail. Their targets were just too fast and were actively avoiding the former Nature Boy’s fate.
Using his great strength, Son of Vulcan hit the wall like a deadly projectile and kept going, punching a hole through and through the installation before any defense could be brought to bear. The Creature Kid followed through and began searching the inside of the base for the captured 1950s hero.
Inside, David Crandall felt his guards become distracted as a huge crash rocked the building, and a psychic flash told him that allies were heading to free him. He brought his hands together, crashing the heads of the two forward guards together. As they went down, he knelt and grabbed the legs of the two behind him. He stood up, dumping them on the floor.
The guard on Crandall’s right swung his rifle like a club. The former hero seized the weapon, and the two traded places with the exception that the Mars Council member was flung into the last guard, sending him to the ground. The master of wind, rain, and fire snapped the weapon in two as he commanded a sudden gust of wind to knock the rest of the guards against the wall and into unconsciousness.
Now how do I get to the command center? he asked himself as he ran.
In the air above, Hank Hennessy frowned as he stood by the jet’s door. The landscape passed by smoothly as his pilots brought the plane low to the ground for a hover. As soon as the plane came to a stop, Hennessy leaped clear of the jet wash. Mercenaries tried to draw a bead on the operator as he moved to cover.
Then one of the artillery batteries blew as Redstar flung a fireball into the missile supply. Svarog came in from the other side, hands transformed into miniature gatlings. Holes appeared in a trail that went along the ground and up the wall of the central building.
Hennessy used the distraction to spray two of the guards from cover. That made them turn toward him as he expected. Then Thunderbolt leaped from the plane, and everything seemed frozen in time.
The Creature Kid searched the building rapidly, dealing with knots of resistance with super-fast kangaroo kicks and punches. He found the kidnapped hero heading up the stairs to the main control room through a rain of bullets. The Australian action-hero passed the former Nature Boy on the stairs, snatching weapons as he went. He tossed the gathered rifles over the railing with a grin.
Son of Vulcan was amidst the enemy on the bottom floor of the base. Every time he swung his shield, a man went down and didn’t get up. Soon he had cleared the whole level. Now for the next floor.
Redstar and Svarog circled the main building. They targeted air defenses and transport with energy projectiles. U.N. forces would have to come in and sort things out after they were done. The Mars Council could not be allowed to leave, nor could they be allowed to target the U.N. planes when they arrived.
The Question leaped from the plane as Thunderbolt sliced through the nearest security squad like they were standing still and blended in with the snowy waste around him. The faceless crime-fighter headed for the building, viciously dealing with whomever got in his way. Using one of Rodor’s bag of tricks, he took aim and used a wrist launcher to catapult a small grappling hook and line into the building. A simple arm gesture, and he was on his way to the roof as the rope rewound. Hennessy and Thunderbolt punched a hole to follow as fast as they could.
Once on the roof, the Question had a problem. There was no visible entrance to gain entrance to the inside of the building. He would have to make his own door. He clamped a small charge on the surface of the roof and set the timer for thirty seconds. A small explosion punched a hole in the building. He leaped through, ready for trouble. A command staff was taken by surprise by the move. They were in the process of deleting everything in their computer memory banks.
Hank Hennessy and Thunderbolt entered the building through the impact entrance that Son of Vulcan had created. Fighting drew them upward as the Roman action-hero readily defeated the agents.
Redstar landed on the roof and dropped down inside the hole. He found a group of men trying to shoot the Question as the faceless crime-fighter pulled the plug on all the systems in use.
The outer door exploded inward, revealing the Creature Kid and David Crandall. Then the wall shattered as Svarog punched through it to enter the room.
“We surrender!” shouted the apparent leader of the Mars Council. “We give up!”
“Son of Vulcan won’t like that,” said the Question.