Sentinels of Justice: Another Crisis on Earth-Four, Prologue: Ghosts of the Past

by Libbylawrence

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Alec Rois had played many roles in his life. He had been famous as a brilliant young inventor. He had been celebrated as a handsome millionaire playboy. He had been reviled as the infamous action-villain known as the Ghost. Most bitterly of all to recall, he had been the captive of a strange isolated society in a place called Sunuria. The natives of this land were beautiful warrior maids, and they had been obedient to his every command — with one vital exception. They had not allowed him to leave their hidden homeland because they worshiped him as the living heir to their mythical god, the Faceless One. It had taken the intervention of a man Rois had known as both a friend and an enemy to bring about his liberation. Captain Atom had freed the Ghost from Sunuria, and in doing so he had forced the genius to face his own personal ghosts. Rois had received a pardon for his past crimes due to testimony that he had been under the influence of mystical forces, combined with the fact that in his last encounter with the Sentinels of Justice and action-heroes from two other parallel worlds, he had managed to save the planet itself. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Times Past, 1982: Crisis on Earth-Four, Chapter 7: Free at Last.]

Since that fateful day he had retreated into seclusion and seldom emerged from his palatial manor, which was equipped with state-of-the-art security, as befitted the home of a man with his expert knowledge about personal security. Alec had spent much of the time improving his technological discoveries. He smiled to himself as he sat in a plush chair and imagined how things might be.

“While petty crooks like the Squids and the Madmen have spent every free moment between prison sentences, wasting their liberty in fruitless crimes and hopeless battles against the Blue Beetle, Nightshade, or even the Shape, I’ve used my time to reflect on what my own weaknesses are,” he said to himself. “I’ve mastered my own failings, and now, should the Ghost haunt the nation once more, I could easily triumph over any of the so-called action-heroes… but to what end? I’m wealthy. I don’t need money. I don’t really hate Captain Atom or his ilk. As Nathaniel Adam, he was my friend long before I came to assume the role of the Ghost. To be fair, matching wits with him was always more of an intellectual challenge for me than a true act of hatred!”

“And yet, when last you met, you told him that you’d gladly see the world burn if it meant that he would also die!”

The words came from an unseen woman whose sultry tone startled Alec Rois, his mind racing to images of the warrior maids who had once imprisoned him out of misguided obsession.

Jumping to his feet with his old grace and elegance, he faced the speaker as she emerged from the darkness to stand before him. “I don’t know how you knew about that conversation, or how you got in here, but I was under the control of other beings at that time,” he said. “Now I’m in control of myself, and any intruder — even one as lovely as you — will regret disturbing me!”

Admiring the woman as light played over her long black hair and her slightly metallic pink jumpsuit, he said, “Wait. I know you! You look different, but I never forget a face!”

She tossed back her head, sending her shining ebony hair cascading around her shoulders. “I stand out in your memory, although you’ve known dozens or perhaps hundreds of beautiful women! I’m flattered!” she said in a mocking tone.

Alec frowned. She was capable, and from what he recalled, she was somewhat of a mystery. “I have no time for games. Is this some belated attempt at revenge for my actions when I was the Ghost and you were a blonde?”

“That blonde was not me, or at least I am no longer her,” she said. “My desires differ from hers, and I wish only to enlist your help. Tell me, Alec Rois, the infamous Ghost, how would you like to achieve your every goal and see all your enemies suffer?”

He hesitated for a moment, and then he said, “Tell me more.”

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