by CSyphrett and Doc Quantum
The Son of Vulcan waited patiently for the giant beast to arrive. Blue Beetle, the Question, Nightshade, and Thunderbolt were working on some way to cover the monstrous plant in darkness, thus blocking the sun’s rays and killing the plant. Nightshade could cause darkness to form, but she had never done so over such a large area before and wasn’t sure it was possible. The Peacemaker, wearing a jetpack, and Captain Atom were in the air as the thing came on. They were going to let the adopted son of a Roman god have his shot first.
The overseer of the world called Son of Vulcan waited for his chance, ready to spring at the monster. He hoped this one wouldn’t heal immediately like the beanstalk. The lizard spotted the Son of Vulcan and breathed flame at him. The action-hero exploded into the air like a rocket. He diverted the flame with one hand as he headed for the creature’s head. He struck his sword, directing all of his movement down his sword-arm and into the muzzle of the monster.
Tyke seemed to freeze. Then its head snapped back from the force of the sword’s blow. It staggered two steps and then fell over with an earth-shattering crash. The Son of Vulcan landed beside the creature. He knew it was dead as soon as his feet touched the ground.
“And that’s all she wrote,” said Son of Vulcan, grinning as Captain Atom hovered over the already-decomposing carcass.
The LAW members had just the thing to cover the genetic plant upon their arrival in Japan. All they had to do was get enough of the ingredients to produce a large-enough batch. But first they had to deal with the giant lizard bearing down on them.
Hank Hennessy wished he had a powerhouse on the team. Still, they had to make do with what they did have. “Puppeteer, get that foam ready as fast as you can,” the one-armed man said. “We’ll try to get you some time.”
“Right, boss man,” said the Puppeteer, rushing off to gather the chemicals he needed.
“Specs, you and I will take the left,” Hennessy said. “Destiny Fox, Red Knight, and Syntac take the right. Keep your distance, and don’t do anything heroic until I come up with a game plan.”
“Hey, uh… Hank?” said E-Man, descending from the air accompanied by his wife, the shapely Nova Kane. “My new pal is helping your clown-guy.” He indicated the flying android Volton, who was following the Puppeteer. “The little lady will be glad to help you with the dragon while I go help them.” He grinned at Nova, who flashed a smile back at him. E-Man playfully pulled Nova into his arms and planted a kiss on her.
“Not exactly the right time, honey,” whispered Nova with a playful warning tone. She wore an orange costume like E-Man, but which showed much more skin and had a yellow nova as her logo. Her long, full red hair seemed almost too red to be real.
“Oops. My bad,” said E-Man, grinning.
“Thanks,” said Hennessy, rolling his eyes. “But we’ve got this covered.” He realized that E-Man and Nova were powerhouses, but he wanted to use them only as a last resort. He had no patience for amateur super-people unless they were under his command.
The group dispersed to their stations. USAF fighter jets would be too late to prevent any move by the lizard to crush the small team of agents. They had to hold it off with what little they had. At first, Hennessy wasn’t optimistic about the results of the endeavor, but then he suddenly had a plan. He smiled.
Destiny Fox nodded when she received the instructions relayed to her through Specs’ telepathic communication. She was to cause a distraction for her team. Looking at the forty-foot-tall monster, she knew that was a case of easier said than done. The woman gestured with her arms and pulled springs of water out of the ground. She began to crash large waves off of the monstrous Spike, first in front of it, then behind it, and to the side in rapid order. The lizard roared annoyance at the unusual waves that kept it in place.
While the monster was distracted, Hank Hennessy readied two blocks of plastic explosive with detonators. He charged forward, carrying the blocks in his one hand. He dodged around the waving tail and placed one block on one leg. Then he ran over to the other leg. He embedded the second block against the giant scales.
Spike looked down at the annoyance on the ground. He took a deep breath, getting ready to loose a fire blast on the running agent. A giant wave of water splashed into its mouth, dousing the generating flames and bringing its attention back to Destiny Fox. Then the twin charges went off, staggering it forward. Spike crashed to the ground with a huff. The tendons in the back of his legs were severed and bloody from the twin explosions. It snapped at the closest members of LAW in frustration.
“Good job!” said Nova, watching from the sidelines as Hennessy had requested. “But what now? It’s still heading for us, even if it’s slowed down.”
“Give me a second,” said Hennessy, thinking intently. “I think we can have artillery dropped on it as a worst case scenario. Otherwise, I have the solution to holding it for the moment. Specs, have Puppeteer and our new buddy bring that covering stuff here before they spray the plant.”
“That’s the way to do it,” said Nova, smiling.
“Killing two birds with one stone,” agreed Hennessy, wondering who had been behind this mess. He was already thinking about conducting a search for the mastermind behind the beanstalks and the giant lizard. There was no doubt the two were connected. He glanced off in the distance, where he saw the Puppeteer preparing a vast quantity of his foam in a large tank. E-Man had transformed himself into a gigantic egg beater and was mixing the foam, while Volton was using short bursts of electricity to keep it from hardening too soon.
So it was that the Sentinels of Justice and LAW wrapped up their business on the two island nations in a matter of minutes once they had arrived at a weak point to attack. The Peacemaker carried Nightshade above the giant stalk, where she was able to create a wide but flat umbrella of darkness that blocked the sun’s rays. It seemed simpler than having to cover the entire nation of Cuba in darkness. Captain Atom helped by spinning in the air to create the necessary pancake shape of the darkness that naturally curved over at the sides.
In Japan, Akira Moto in Volton’s body had used his electricity powers to help with the necessary chemical mixing and was now in a thoughtful air. It felt good to help preserve his country from this strange threat. He wondered if this feeling ever went away, being replaced by the weariness and cynicism displayed by the one-eyed, one-armed agent in charge. Would it give way to disillusionment and experience? As he watched the fire trucks spraying the giant plant and the injured lizard, he hoped not. He always wanted to feel this feeling whenever he went into action.
Volton smiled and slowly soared into the air, resolving to learn more about his powers. From what he understood from his research, Volton’s powers included the abilities to elongate his body, turn completely into electricity, and travel through telephone lines. These were all powers that E-Man had displayed. He realized that E-Man, despite his childlike nature, might just be the right one to teach him how to activate and use those powers.
And what of the villain behind the events? Dr. Tetsuo Moto made notes on his keyboard. He had thought himself beyond surprise. He had been wrong. He had even underestimated the new team of weakly powered government super-agents. That cripple who led them was a worthy enemy indeed.
He had observed the various members of each team as well as he could without actually being present. The data filled his computer. Now he would sift it and plan another assault on weak humanity. The next monsters he would create would be an unstoppable force once unleashed. No agent on earth would get in his way again. He would make sure of that the next time. Until then, it would have to be business as usual until he was ready to strike.
As for your humble narrator, the Mysterious Traveler, I have long stood in the shadows and watched, intervening only rarely and with good purpose. But not long ago, I rescued Eve Eden — the action-heroine known as Nightshade — from a certain death in the Land of the Nightshades. Afterwards, I reunited the core members of the Sentinels of Justice to stop a threat to the time continuum. I then restored the faith of David Crandall, the former Nature Boy, inspiring him to seek a successor to carry on his heroic legacy. (*) And now I have brought back the golden-age hero Volton and created a new hero in Akira Moto, a boy genius in opposition to his villainous uncle, Dr. Tetsuo Moto. So why have I begun to take a direct hand in things, causing events to occur rather than merely observing them?
[(*) Editor’s note: For the Mysterious Traveler’s actions, see Sentinels of Justice: The Calm Before the Storm and Sentinels of Justice: Watching the World. For David (Nature Boy) Crandall’s successor, see The Natural: Masters of the Elements.]
Nothing is unknown to the Mysterious Traveler, including the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but even I had been taken by surprise by the swiftness that things unfolded. Despite my vast knowledge, I had never before believed there was a force capable of wiping out existence itself. And then I witnessed the battle at the dawn of time to preserve the five universes from the Anti-Monitor’s plans for destruction. The Mysterious Traveler rarely intervenes, but had I done so sooner and with more preparation, fewer lives may have been lost in the vast cataclysm of the Crisis.
I had never known doubt before taking these steps, but the Crisis had shaken me and taught me a valuable lesson, one not so easy to ignore or cast off. Your Mysterious Traveler will continue to watch from the shadows but will not make the mistake of letting an event like the Crisis happen again without doing something about it.
You have my word.