by Blackwolf247, Arcademan and Immortalwildcat
Minute Man landed with a thump on a patch of grass surrounded by trees and found himself facing the wrong end of a Kentucky long rifle, a long-barreled flintlock. A tall, thin man in buckskins was pointing it at the red, white, and blue avenger.
“Who are you, and where’d you come from?”
“I am Minute Man, a hero of America. Now aim that elsewhere, please.”
The tall man nodded, turned his rifle aside, and extended a hand. “I heard of you. Thought you was back east, though, not out here on the frontier.”
Several shots caught their attention, and Minute Man spotted Bulletman and Bulletgirl flying overhead, but he couldn’t get their attention. Someone nearby shouted something about redcoats, and Minute Man’s new companion joined other rough-clad men in running to the trees and preparing to fire on advancing British soldiers. Minute Man stood nearby but behind a tree to avoid getting shot.
“I seem to be in the Revolutionary War, but how is that possible?”
A soldier near Minute Man fell, and the patriotic one checked him out, stopping his bleeding with a piece of cloth torn from his shirt and noting the bullet had gone clean through. Whoops and hollers abounded as the Americans prepared to charge the Brits.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” Minute Man muttered to himself. “Did I travel in time, or is this some sort of illusion? Feels real enough, though.”
The tall man came back to Minute Man and extended a hand. “Name’s Boone, and thanks for your help.”
“Not a problem,” said Minute Man. “This lad isn’t hurt bad; bullet went clean through. He needs tending to, but it’s not serious.” Boone… Daniel Boone? Jack Weston thought to himself. “Where am I, anyway, Mr. Boone?”
“Call me Dan’l. This here is the green hills o’ Kentucky not far from Boonsboro. Come on. We’re heading home.” Turning to his pals, Boone said, “Jake, Isaiah, grab Eddie, here. Dinner’s awaitin’!”
The valiant troop started to line up to move out, and the star-spangled crusader felt dizzy.
Someone looked up and shouted, and no wonder, as at that moment, a very large winged dinosaur flew down and grabbed one of them in its beak, seemingly immune to the shots fired at it. Minute Man acted without hesitation, leaping up and grabbing it around the neck.
Jack Weston was able to force it to drop the man it had grabbed, but he had to cling for dear life as it flew off, trying to get at him and maneuver in the air. At last it crashed onto a mountaintop, and Minute Man broke its neck using strength that came from deep within. “This is one crazy situation. Now, where am I?”
The sky was getting dark, and a storm was brewing. The hero saw some caves and decided it would be wise to get out of the rain. On the other hand, what was in those caves? Lightning flashed nearby, showing him the inside of a small cave that looked empty. He ran for it, and as he entered, he felt very very cold.
“I must be somewhere within the Rock of Eternity, but, man, this is strange, indeed!” he grumbled to himself.
Minute Man huddled against a wall, watching it rain in massive, heavy-sounding sheets. Lightning flashes gave him glimpses of wall paintings, and he wished he had better light. He checked his belt; years of experience had taught him the value of having a utility belt, and the hidden pockets carried some useful items like matches, a survival knife, and a compass. Presently, he had a fire going and was cooking a portion of the pterodactyl he had killed.
What a strange trip this had been, indeed, going to help out his friends the Marvel Family deal with the new Black Adam Family, and ending up first fighting beside Daniel Boone and then fighting a dinosaur for survival. If he ever made it home, he planned to check some history books, too, to find out if there had ever been a Minute Man-costumed hero during the Revolutionary War, or if Boone had heard of the Minute Men and thought that he, Jack Weston, was merely one of them.
While he was trying to figure out where he was, Jack noticed that the compass needle would move around, then spin, then move some more and spin again. Wherever he was, it was indeed an odd place. Looking around, he spotted a portion of the cave now taking on a wavering, shifting texture and turning a purplish shade.
Curious, he walked around it and started to poke at it with a stick. Then, convinced it was harmless, he started to turn his back on it. Instead, he found himself being sucked into it.
Before he knew it, he popped out of something and found himself on a city street, facing several armed men who were as startled to see him as he them. Moving swiftly, he quickly disarmed them and knocked them down. As it turned out, they were members of a street gang.
“Heck if I know what happened back there, but man, am I glad to be home!” said Minute Man. “But I have to get back to my friends — they still need me!”
Back in the cave, an old man cleaned up the remains of Minute Man’s fire.
“Dang visitors, always leaving a mess! A clean Rock of Eternity is a happy Rock of Eternity, and Mazahs or no, I can’t be having any messes in my section!” He snorted with disgust. “Mortals!”
After a brilliant flash of light that seemed like a dream, Andrea Thomas woke up from her bed and looked over at the alarm clock on the nightstand.
“Six A.M.? I’d better get a move on to school, or my students will wonder where their favorite professor is,” she said to herself.
As she hopped into the shower, Andrea closed her eyes as the soothing, warm water ran down from her head, yet she began to see images, which were similar to the ones about which she had been dreaming before she woke up. They had been hard to pick out at first when a flash of light jogged her mind while asleep, but they were becoming clearer to her by the moment.
Within her mind, she pictured a group of evil people, a family of sorts being led by a wizard-like figure. The name Adam kept playing over and over in her mind. She then saw another group of people, all in bright costumes, opposing the others. As she continued to picture them, she heard the names of those involved: Captain Marvel, Kid Eternity, Spy Smasher, Ibis the Invincible — names she was sure she had never heard of before. Then she saw a woman dressed in white with jeweled trimming.
Why does this woman stand out from the others? thought Andrea to herself. And why can’t I clearly see her face?
Then, slowly, the heroine’s face began to come into focus, but before Andrea could see it, she opened her eyes wide and gasped out as the shower water was still soaking her body. She looked over on the sink counter and saw that the clock now showed that it was 7:30.
“Now I did it — I’m going to be late to school.”
She jumped out of the shower and quickly dried herself off. A change of clothes and a short time later, Andrea Thomas was driving out to Columbia University, but at the same time she wondered to herself, Those visions? Were they real? And why does that woman in white seem to be connected to me?
As she pulled up to a stop sign, Andrea looked to the eastern sky as the sun was inching its way up to greet a new day, and without warning, she saw what appeared to be a floating mountain, not fully in view, but like an afterimage from the depths of eternity.
In another of the tunnels in the Rock of Eternity, Hill Marvel was overcome with a strange sensation.
“What the heck? Feels like something burning here!”
He reached for the sash that wound around his waist, quickly locating the source of the burning sensation.
“It’s that jewel that the wizard gave me. Feels like it’s trying to go somewheres.”
Sure enough, as soon as he pulled it free, it pulled him into the air.
“Yeee-haw! This thing is like riding a roller coaster by holding onto the axle!”
The gem pulled him left, then right, then left, and then he lost all track as it whipped through the tunnels too fast for him to track them. When it finally slowed to a stop, he was in a cavern with several figures. The first one he noticed was his honorary brother, Tall Marvel. Seeing the evil wizard Mazahs, now inhabiting the altered body of the late Fat Marvel and standing in the midst of a cluster of menacing figures, the lanky hero came to a quick conclusion.
“Dang! Looks like Tex is in a heap o’ trouble!”
Calling upon the speed of Mercury, Hill Marvel made a quick circuit of the cavern. He raced behind each of the twisted versions of his Squadron of Justice teammates, delivering powerful blows to the back of their heads. The Masters of Evil may have been magical constructs, but the heroes on which they were based were mere mortals. They could not stand up to the power of Zeus as channeled through one of the world’s mightiest mortals. The last one he came to was Mazahs himself. He wasn’t overly surprised when his hand passed through the wizard.
“Shucks, it’s like trying to punch fog!”
“Of course, you wretched bumpkin! You didn’t really think I would leave myself open to such a simple attack. Or do you really think at all?”
Hill Marvel glanced at Tall Marvel, trying to gauge whether they could attack together. He looked back at the evil wizard in time to see his hand coming up. Bolts of ebony energy shot forth, striking the two Lieutenant Marvels in a shower of sparks and smoke. When the cavern cleared, the two Marvels lay on the floor.
“So it ends for these two. Now to find the rest of the Marvel Family.”
Mazahs spread his arms wide. Dark energy crackled again, and then, with the sound of tearing metal, he and the Masters of Evil were gone.
Moments later, Hill Marvel opened his eyes and sat up. “Dang, what do you know? It worked!” He rolled over and shook Tall Marvel. “Wake up, Tex! We got work to do!”
“Huh? What happened?” The Texan Lieutenant Marvel sat up slowly. “I figured we were done for.”
“Thank the wisdom of that there Solomon feller. I hauled up that Bulletman copycat and used him as a shield. Probably didn’t do him a heck of a lot of good.”
Hill Marvel stood and offered a hand to his friend. “Now, we better go find the others.”
“You betcha!” Tall Marvel stood up and scratched his head. “We just got to find them. You know where we are?”
“Ummm, now that you mention it, no. That there jewel yanked me here so fast, it’s like I was spending some time out of mind!”
“Well, then, maybe the gem can lead us back.”
Tall Marvel found his gem where it had fallen to the ground. He held it up and turned toward each of the tunnels leading from the cavern. When he pointed it at one tunnel, it glowed brightly.
“Looks like I found the way out. Let’s go!”
“What has Mazahs done with me?” Ibis the Invincible asked himself. One moment he was standing with the heroes with whom he had fought against the evil wizard and the Adam Family, and the next thing he knew, he was standing under a tree near an open field.
“If he thinks such magicks can stop me, then he is sadly mistaken. Ibistick! Return me back to the Rock of Eternity!” The famed Ibistick glowed faintly with power, then suddenly the light faded.
Interesting, thought Ibis, along with some darker exclamations. The dark wizard’s magicks are more potent than I had expected.
Then he looked around at his surroundings and noticed what appeared to be a city of sorts on the distant horizon.
“While I am here, I’ll see where Mazahs has deposited me. Ibistick! Levitate me and carry me to the distant city!” On his command, Ibis floated up into the sky and headed toward the city. However, he was only floating a few meters off the ground. It was as though his magic wasn’t at its fullest power. This fact puzzled Ibis deeply.
Moments later, Ibis noticed a small group of what appeared to be people. At least they looked like humans, but they quickly ducked into a cave. After landing, he walked up to the cave-like dwelling where he’d spotted them.
“Is anybody there?” yelled Ibis.
As if on cue, a man poked his head out of the opening. “I wasn’t imagining things! It is another man! With strange clothes on. Who are you, and where did you come from?” quizzed the man.
“My name is Ibis the Invincible. My good person, can you tell me where I am?”
“Well, it’s not like we have a name for this land, Ibis. We live out here on the land, and the others live over there in the city. It’s been like that for the last several thousand years.”
“Thousands of years?” That answer caught the magician off-guard. “What year is this?” he asked.
The man from the cave replied, “We don’t go by numbers too much anymore. The majority of the human race were wiped out in a nuclear holocaust nearly ten thousand years ago. Very few of us survived. Some decided to live out on the land, while another group lives up there in the city.”
Ibis put his hand on his chin. “Are there any records of the past? Books or other types of preservations?”
“Over in the city there’s holobooks, but we have nothing like that here. We know little of the past, save for what has been passed down to us from our parents and their parents, and so forth.”
A realization came over Ibis. If these people know nothing of the Earth’s past, then the belief and worship of the ancient gods that power the Ibistick no longer exist. Since its power is based on human belief of the Egyptian gods, in particular Thoth, then I am well below full power. There may be no escape for me from this future to which Mazahs has sent me from the Rock of Eternity. This was indeed a somber thought Ibis painted for himself.
Then he turned his attention back to the man. “Kind sir, I need an escort to the city,” said Ibis. “I’d appreciate it if you show me the way over there.”
After a few silent moments, the man complied. “By the way, I am not a ‘sir,'” said the man. “My name is Bill… Bill Batson.”