Feature: The Clock Strikes, Chapter 6: The Final Hour

by Christine Nightstar and Doc Quantum

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Alcatraz Island was not a place where Lester Colt could ever really be comfortable living. The place was as haunted as a house in a Gothic novel and simply gave him the creeps. Still, it had its good points, since the place was also a mechanical engineer’s wet dream, with so many machines to be rebuilt, revamped, and replaced. He could stay on the island servicing the various devices that were going wrong and still be kept busy. It was also a storehouse of so many raw materials to be turned into new machines that he could strip the cells and other things and still have enough materials for new gear.

He wasn’t sure how it had been turned into a military base again, but it had been done slowly and efficiently. Lester knew it was originally a military prison and then a federal prison, until it was decommissioned after several convicts escaped from it. Afterward, it had become a special operations training facility for the United States military until the Japanese invasion of California, when the world went back to war.

Since then, only a small unit of Green Berets held the island, resupplied occasionally by airdrops. Around fifteen soldiers in all were guarding the island, along with a handful of California Resistance members and also a bunch of spirits, if Charon’s story was true. The Green Berets stationed on the Rock trained the Resistance members daily in weapons and combat, which was a requirement for all Resistance members.

In the two weeks since he had arrived, Lester had been building a boat in his spare time. Wanting to get off the island without having to use the communications trick, Lester was inspired by a spy film he had seen a few years earlier. It was a small boat that was fast and durable, was loaded with weapons, and was submersible. The fact that it topped out at one hundred and twenty-five miles an hour was beside the point. While Lester didn’t have the electronics genius that his old friend Irving had when they built the Longbow, he did have the smarts to know how to make the hull and many of the mechanical gadgets. That had been his main project since his arrival; Lester was making his own version of that boat.

Stealing supplies from the naval warehouses and other Axis contributors wasn’t that hard, given his abilities. The hard part was keeping an idea of who had what where. Most weren’t too cooperative in divulging over the phone what supplies they had, which made getting new parts an interesting exercise.

Besides the military presence at Alcatraz, there was San Fran Sue and her Resistance cell. Before the war, Sue was a well-known radio personality across California, born and bred in San Francisco. She liked to work and had three shows of her own: a top twenty countdown, an advice show, and political commentary on Sundays with her own special spin on things. Drake once asked her why she’d done so many shows before the occupation, and she had replied, “I don’t have a boyfriend and don’t have time for pets, and the only friends I have are my fans, so I spent as much time with them as I can.”

Drake had commented that it was a pity that she didn’t have a boyfriend, because she was the kind of girl that he’d date, even if she wasn’t famous. It was the only time that Lester had seen Sue blush.

Nicknamed Charon by Sue, Drake had been a fisherman before the occupation. He owned a small boat and sold his fish daily at the fisherman’s wharf. Drake was a nice enough guy when he wasn’t running ferry duty for Sue and the Resistance. He was a single parent with a son and daughter living on the island. His wife had been killed during the first days of the occupation.

***

“Hello, dahlings, this is San Fran Sue with the voice of the Resistance. The original Doll Man has been called out of semiretirement to find and confront the Nazi Dollman, who has been on a killing spree throughout America, assassinating several high-ranking military figures as well as two allies of the original Freedom Fighters. But rumors abound that the Nazi Dollman is chomping at the bit to hunt down our own Resistance hero, the Clock. To the original Doll Man, Californie’s the place you ought to be.

“The Allied forces in Africa, with the help of Abdul the Arab and Samar of the Jungle, are starting to push Nazi Occupation forces back to the Mediterranean. The biggest upset in Africa was Samar’s cutting off the diamond pipeline, which fed the Axis war chest from South Africa as well as other locations. Casualties and injuries to Samar’s forces are light compared with their counterparts in the Axis forces. Samar is quoted as saying that Africa will no longer help the tyrants that enslave its people, and will aid those valiant enough to aid those who fight the tyrants.”

***

The Clock entered the naval dry dock through the telephone by calling the number, traveling at a microscopic size along the line, and knocking out the guard at the desk upon his arrival. Hanging up the phone, he took a bottle of saké from his belt, spilled a bit on the knocked-out guard, and put the bottle in the guard’s hand.

Quietly checking the manifests of the incoming and outgoing supplies for what he needed, the Clock shrunk down when he saw a patrol pass by. He hadn’t thought to check the security of the dry dock beforehand. That was a big mistake on his part, but if he played it right, they wouldn’t be a factor.

Moving quietly behind the patrol to a place where he could access a fire escape, the Clock heard something that wasn’t good: dogs. Patrol dogs could mean the end of the raid before it even started. He didn’t want to end up as a chew-toy for Fido or Rover, so he’d have to be fast.

The warehouse where the parts he needed for his boat were here. He stalked the rooftop like he had been taught to before the war, not making a sound as he opened the skylight. He jumped through to the roof support to the highest stack of boxes and made his way down. There were no guards inside the building, and as long as he didn’t make a sound or do something that would give away his presence, they wouldn’t know he had been there until morning.

It was hard to find parts for a torpedo boat that was submersible. He had made up a shopping list of the things he needed and so far had been only mildly successful. A lot of the parts he needed were common in most boats; it was going to be the more unique parts that would get him into trouble. He’d most likely have to make them as well as some other things, but why go to all that trouble when you could just steal them from the Axis?

Using his goggles to find the crate he was looking for took a little while. If he ever got the chance to thank Darrel Dane for making his mask with fully enhanced senses, he would. But the warehouse was a bit too quiet; that should have clued him in right away.

“Good evening, mister saboteur and thief,” came a voice from the shadows. He didn’t see the location until a twelve-inch-tall figure walked out toward the Clock, growing as he approached the stealthy intruder.

“Let me guess: you’re little Tom Thumb after he got drafted,” he quipped.

“Not quite,” said the Nazi Dollman. “But from your garb and the way you act, I’d say you are the Clock.”

“Very good. And from your size and your Nazi attitude, I’d say you’re the new Dollman.”

“At your service, Herr Clock.”

The two circled each other at full size for a moment, the Clock standing a few inches taller than the Dollman. The Clock flipped his coat back like a gunfighter from a movie, revealing his guns and utility belt. Dollman just stood ready for what was about to happen.

Then the fight began. The Clock struck first, since he was faster than Dollman. He put everything he had into the punch, but Dollman just smiled. He tried again and again, but the Nazi super-agent merely smiled placidly before slapping the Clock with the back of his hand, knocking the masked Resistance hero into a crate.

“Ouch…” said the Clock. “So you’re stronger than me.” The Clock pulled his stun-guns and fired into the head of his opponent, hitting right above the eyes and exploding on contact with Dollman’s skin. “But I’m betting that even you can’t fight what you can’t see,” he added as kicked Dollman in the gut.

“That burns, Clock,” cried Dollman as he struggled to see. “So, you are no gentleman, but a rogue.”

“Runs in the family and the heritage,” said the Clock with a degree of pride. “I’m an American.” He kicked the Dollman in the groin and followed up with a knee to the face. “We may fight dirty, but we fight to win,” he said as the Dollman jabbed him in the solar plexus.

Dollman looked up and slapped the Clock away again with his great strength. The Clock ran at Dollman and executed a slide into the Dollman’s knee, then thrust one of his grappling hooks hard into Dollman’s knee, causing the Nazi to knock the Clock back into the wall again.

Lester Colt was in pain; this Dollman was far stronger than he was, and keeping up this fight would take a toll on him, possibly even kill him. He had to end this fight fast, and he only knew one way to do that.

“Get up, Dollman. I’m ending this fight.” He had sheathed his guns and dropped his coat to the floor, his hands ready before him.

“So you are done playing, are you, scoundrel?” Dollman took the grappling hook out of his leg, looked at it, and discarded it as if it was nothing. The Clock slowly backed away. Dollman wasn’t even limping, which meant he healed fast. No wonder he took his hardest blows and just smiled at him.

The Clock struck Dollman with a telekinetically enhanced punch, knocking the Nazi across the room for a change. When the Dollman flew at him, the Clock responded with a telekinetically enhanced roundhouse kick.

“I was brought here to end the tyranny your masters pose,” said the Clock, only to be struck several times in the torso and up to the face. Lester could feel it even through the body armor that Darrel Dane had given him, which was starting to break. Finally, the Clock’s mask cracked as the Dollman hit him again and again. Lester refused to fall down each time Dollman hit him, and although he was aching in places he didn’t know he had, he wasn’t about to lose the fight by submitting.

Another telekinetically enhanced punch hit the Dollman. The two combatants, strength and power versus speed and determination, locked in a grapple again. Then the mask of the Clock fell off when Dollman head-butted the Clock, revealing the face of Lester Colt.

“You are formidable when you get your anger up, Herr Clock.”

“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” said Lester. The bloody-faced combatant gasped for breath, then shrunk, surprising the Nazi as he jumped into the ear of the Dollman and started hitting the places Dane had told him to hit if he ever had to pull off this stunt.

“Hard to keep your balance, isn’t it, with me in here, eh, Nazi? Take this as a warning.” He could feel the Nazi shift and tilt, first to one side, then another. It would be so easy to take this jerk off out of the war permanently. He had several options as to how to do it, but anything his masters had in store for him for failing to capture him was going to be worse than anything the Clock could do.

He bounded out of the ear and grew to his full size. Dollman looked up at him, his hand over the ear that the Clock just exited. He couldn’t hear everything that the Clock was saying to him, but when it did clear up, he heard the following:

“The name’s Lester Colt, and if you know what’s best for you, you’ll remember me as Mr. Colt or the Clock. I’m through playing games with you Nazis.” He picked up his coat and turned to face the mound of flesh that was the Dollman. “Take this message to your masters — get out of my country.”

As the Dollman slumped to the ground, beaten and unconscious, Lester Colt called the number for Alcatraz and jumped into the phone, disappearing with the package he had come for.

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