by Vibe 41005 and Doc Quantum
The log of Team3 Commander Karen Beecher:
Thursday, August 8, 1985:
As I sit here and complete another journal entry, I can’t help but wonder if anyone else will ever read it. It’s been almost a month since our team has had any contact with our home Earth. The only ones left from this team besides me are Jared Stevens and Ryan Choi. Sarah Rainmaker and Timothy Drake never returned when they followed the multiversal coordinates of our home universe last month. It has been three weeks since we have had contact with another team — Team2, led by my life-partner Malcolm, was tragically stationed on Earth-6 when it appears to have been consumed by antimatter. I pray to Kal-El he made it offworld in time. And now our transmatter globe has ceased to function. Ryan and I are still trying to find out what’s wrong with it, but it appears to be in perfect condition. We can’t understand it, but we have some theories.
Most disturbing of all, the three of us lost an entire day on Monday, and we are not the only ones. According to the few confused accounts we could gather, the world was changed somehow, and places that had been destroyed by antimatter then have reappeared in perfect condition, but no one seems to know how or why. All that we know is that when we fell asleep on Sunday, August 4th, there were five separate parallel universes existing within a contained void that protected them from the encroaching antimatter. And when we awoke on Tuesday, August 6th, there was only this world. If those other universes still exist, they are cut off from us by some kind of barrier that doesn’t even allow communication, let alone transportation, to another coordinate in the multiverse.
We have busied ourselves with our original mission of exploration. This universe, designated Earth-X, is perhaps one of the most different from our own Earth-162. In the past forty-six years, Earth-X has only known sixteen years of peace. This is a marked difference from our Earth, which has known nothing but peace and vast scientific advancement in the pursuit of knowledge since 1963. The life expectancy on Earth-X is on average one of the lowest we have seen on any so far. Forty years of age hardly seems like enough. Women outlive men here by twenty years. While women are allowed in the service on this world, they rarely participate in combat.
In the wake of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Nazi Party has begun taking advantage of the chaos. Since yesterday, it has regained power in Germany in a blitzkrieg coup and is currently sweeping through Europe using technology far more advanced than previously seen on this world. Although there has been a media blackout, we have used our own instruments to learn that California has also been invaded by the New Japanese Empire. Although the popular sentiment is that conflict is undesirable, the people of this world nevertheless seem to be going back into war like it had never really left.
The local group of super-heroes on this world is called the Freedom Fighters. But even with the help of the new heroes that will inevitably arise during a time of renewed conflict, the meta-humans of this world do not have enough power to alter Earth-X’s fate. This world has no strongman. The last Kryptonian of this universe died nine days ago, killed by shadow demons, and no one else exists here who is powerful enough to bring peace to all mankind as the Supermen did on our world. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Freedom Fighters: What If?]
As team commander, I must decide if we should get involved or not, especially since we seem to be stranded here, at least until we can find a way to crack the multiversal barrier. Jared believes we should side with the Nazis and bring peace to this planet through their version of order. After all, he argues, the Fourth Reich must be the rightful leaders of this planet, or they would have been defeated a long time ago. And just as Superman-Red and Superman-Blue used all the power at their disposal to make our world a paradise, the Nazis as the strongmen of this world could combine our technology with theirs to swiftly bring order to this world with a minimal loss of life.
On the other hand, Ryan argues that the Allies have the right idea and that we should help them. He cites the fact that the Nazis have been known to murder their own citizens, even during peacetime, using criteria based solely on antiquated concepts of eugenics. This world, like ours, had a Holocaust, but it was much worse here. The price of an orderly world under the rule of the Nazis is mass genocide. Jared has countered this argument by saying that our technology would enable the Nazis to avoid both war and genocide. I am not so sure. Neither Ryan nor I fit into the category of Aryan and would thus be targets for eventual elimination or subjugation, according to Hitler’s stated and implicit objectives.
One disturbing result of our conflict is that Jared seems to have been slowly withdrawing from us. Over the past month or more, he has disappeared on numerous occasions, often bringing some of our equipment with him. Ryan is convinced that Jared has been meeting with the Nazis and has given them valuable technological secrets in exchange for power. The rapid pace of the Nazi blitzkrieg since the outbreak of war yesterday — coordinated at several places at once around Europe and elsewhere — has been almost unfathomable, according to this world’s lower level of technology in comparison with our own. The Nazis have made a bold claim that Martians have assisted them with alien technology, even offering them the use of an emissary the Nazis call the Manhunter. But this is likely nothing more than propaganda, given that our scans indicate that Mars-X has not contained any indigenous intelligent life for hundreds of centuries. But the advanced technology they now possess offers evidence that their Martian story has a grain of truth to it.
Could Ryan be right? Is Jared Stevens sharing Earth-162’s technology with the Nazis? It doesn’t make much sense to me, since we were not aware of the Nazi presence until the invasion just yesterday. If Ryan’s theory is correct, then Jared must have known about the Nazis and had been meeting with them since our arrival three months ago. His desire to visit Earth-X over any other multiversal coordinate was particularly evident. I know he turned down an offer to join Team7’s expedition to Earth-395 in order to join Team3, which was strange, since that world should have piqued his interest in Arthurian archaeology.
It is obvious to me that he has also been hiding his true feelings rather than making them known as he had when we first arrived on this world. On Earth-162, prejudices disappeared along with crime and evil twenty years ago, but these qualities seem to be reappearing in him the longer we are away from the hypno-beams that eliminated evil on our world. He has lately challenged my authority for the sole reasons that I am female and black. (How strange!)
I have promised Jared that I will make a final decision for our team tonight. Hopefully the three of us will remain together when I tell him that we will help the Allies rather than the Axis, but I do not foresee that happening. Sadly, that may be for the best.
End log of Team3 Commander Karen Beecher.