Earth-Two’s Los Angeles:
In a corner of the nightclub, Todd Rice (Obsidian) sat with Beth Chapel (Doctor Midnight) and Roy Harper (Red Arrow). All around them, young bodies danced and writhed, adrift in a sea of hormones, alcohol, and music. Among the masses was their teammate Hector Hall (Silver Scarab). They were all members of Infinity, Inc., the second-generation super-team.
Roy’s eyes were focused on the scantily clad women around him, gyrating and moving in time with the beat. In the 1930s and ’40s when he grew up, things were much different. Outside of a few female super-heroes such as Phantom Lady and Wonder Woman, women would never have dared to dress like this. Roy was starting to like the era in which he found himself now.
Beth tapped on Todd’s arm. “Todd, what is that up there? My glasses are picking up an intense light source.”
Todd turned his gaze skyward, looking through the glass ceiling. “I’m not sure. It looks like a shooting star.”
The object started to grow in size very rapidly, when it all of a sudden it dawned on Todd that the object was headed right toward the club. Without a second glance, Todd transformed into Obsidian. “Everybody get down!”
The object impacted with the building, crashing through the ceiling. The patrons started screaming as the building shook and the glass shattered. Many of them thought it was the Big One finally here to claim California. As it hit the floor, the object created a trench until it hit the far wall with a mighty THUD.
Roy and Beth started ushering the partygoers out the emergency exits as Todd and Hector attempted to approach the object, which was glowing with intense brilliance. There was a groan from the object. Could it have been alive?
Using Todd’s shadow power to dampen the light, the two Infinitors cautiously approached the object, and what they saw astounded them — it was a young man about their age, dressed in a white jumpsuit and wearing some kind of black and yellow jacket on top of that.
A voice boomed out behind them, “Get up! This isn’t over! Not by a long shot!”
Suddenly, the whole room flashed in a brilliant light. When it cleared, Obsidian’s shadow was gone. The young man in the strange jacket and helmet was still unconscious on the floor. Obsidian and the Silver Scarab turned to face the man who had yelled, but they found that he was suspended in midair above them.
“He’s unconscious, is he?” the man said. “That boy has been nothing but a disappointment from day one.”
“Just who the hell are you?” Hector said as he took up a defensive posture between the man and the boy lying on the floor. “And what’s going on with this kid?”
The man slowly floated to the ground and smiled with a sort of smugness that infuriated people. “Who I am is not important. Just stand aside and let me take the boy, and we’ll be on our way.”
“No way. You can’t just waltz in here and order us around,” Hector said, his fists blazing with energy.
“Oh, really? You saw how the boy landed here. Who do you think did that? Now get out of my way!”
With that, Hector fired a blast at the man, which promptly went through him and took out a table in the back. Obsidian shifted into full shadow form and engulfed the stranger.
“I’ve got him, Hec. Now to–”
Todd’s mouth dropped open as the man simply walked out of Todd’s shadows as though they weren’t even there. He turned to Todd and Hector.
“Now we’ve seen what effect your powers have on me. Want to make a wager on what mine can do to you? All I want is the boy. I’ve got no argument with you youngsters.”
At that moment, Red Arrow and Doctor Midnight entered the club, in full costume. “Obsidian, Scarab!” called Doctor Midnight. “What in the world is going on in here? And who is that?”
As they approached their comrades, Roy Harper finally got a good look at the man Hector and Todd had been sparring with, and it floored him.
“Happy?!” he cried. “Happy Terrill?”
Roy was about to rush up to Happy, when Hector stuck his arm out. “Wait a minute, Roy. You know this lunatic?”
Todd, having resumed his regular form, stood beside Roy and Beth. “What kind of name is that — Happy? Sounds like something you’d name a dog!”
Happy Terrill looked at Red Arrow for a moment, and recognition crossed his face. “Dear God! Roy? Roy Harper? I thought you’d been killed with Oliver during the Crisis.”
Pushing Hector aside, Roy walked up to Happy Terrill and clasped his hand. To Hector and Todd’s surprise, Roy was able to touch the man. “No, I wasn’t with Oliver when… Hey, wait a minute, I thought you moved to Earth-X with the Freedom Fighters back during World War Two! Last we heard, you guys were helping to rebuild that world. What are you doing here?”
Happy smiled a faint smile. “I could ask the same of you. Last time I saw you was back in ’41 or ’42. You should be as old as those JSA geezers by now.”
Hector walked up to Roy and spun him around. “I hate to break up this nursing home reunion, but who the hell is this guy?”
“Oh, sorry, Hector, this is Happy Terrill, AKA the Ray. He was–”
Hector walked up to Happy, literally in his face. “I know who the Ray is. My dad told me all about the Freedom Fighters. I just want to know what he’s doing here and who that kid is.”
Meeting Hector’s gaze, Happy replied, “What I’m doing here is none of your damn business, and I’d suggest–”
Without warning, Happy was struck in the back by an energy bolt, which sent him sprawling into Hector, and the two of them shot into the far wall. The other Infinitors looked over to see the previously unconscious boy seething with power and very obviously not a happy camper.
“I don’t know who these friends of yours are, Dad,” the young man shouted, “but it’s time we settled this once and for all.”
Inside the decimated nightclub you could almost hear a pin drop. Well, if you didn’t count the popping from the smoldering flames or the creaking from the structure that was perilously close to collapse in many areas.
“Well, Dad, are you and your buddies ready to finish me off?”
Beth Chapel could scarcely believe her ears. “Wait just one minute. This boy is your son? You could have killed him!”
Happy Terrill looked at the woman and smirked. “No pain, no gain.”
Beth went to grab Happy but instead found herself falling right through him and sprawling on the floor. Roy Harper rushed to her side and picked her up.
Happy turned his gaze on his son. “They’re not my friends.”
“Well, you sure could have fooled me. You and the guy in the red seemed pretty chummy.”
“Fooling you is a relatively simple task, but consider today’s lesson over.”
With that, the Infinitors were blinded by a brilliant light. When their eyes cleared, Happy Terrill was gone.
“Where’d he go?” Hector asked as he tried to gain his bearing.
“He’s gone. I can’t detect his power anywhere,” young Ray Terrill said as he collapsed to the ground on his knees. Beth Chapel rushed to his side.
“Roy, get my bag. It should still be there where we were sitting,” she said as she began to examine Ray. “Well, now that dear old dad’s gone, I’m Beth, also known as Doctor Midnight. And you are…?”
Ray struggled to focus. His father had taken him to hell and back, and it was just now catching up with him. “I’m the Ray — I mean Ray… Ray Terrill.”
And high above the scene, visible only to the younger Ray — if he had known how to see him — Happy Terrill looked down into the damaged building as Beth Chapel tended to his son. Emergency vehicles lined the streets, and the police were keeping the crowd back.
Well, at least now he’ll think that joining up with these Infinity kids was his idea, Happy thought, a smile on his face. He’d be too damn stubborn to join if I suggested it. Shame about what happened to the building, but that’s why God invented insurance. I just hope these kids can help Ray live up to his potential.