by Libbylawrence and Doc Quantum
The Ray soared over London, searching for the pocket group of Resistance that had been staging guerilla raids on Nazi supporters for the last few weeks. He was spotted by a fearful group hurrying home before curfew.
“The Ray!” cried the father. “Don’t run — if we anger him, we’re lost!”
The Ray laughed. “The sheep fear my power. Let them skulk in the dark. The dawn belongs to us — to the Axis!”
He spotted what he sought — a van racing along without proper identification markings. He flared brightly and fired a bolt of energy into the street in front of the vehicle. It screeched wildly before turning over. The occupants crawled out and fired guns at the glowing figure. He dodged easily and crashed into them with fists flying. Soon they were beaten and turned in to waiting Nazi-installed police. The Ray flew off happily. It was good to be a Nazi these days.
Happy Terrill, the Ray, sat brooding in a cafe somewhere in the Midwestern United States. He scanned the papers, looking for some clues as to how this world had fallen under Nazi control so quickly. He knew what he had to do, but he also needed allies. He could fight alone but had no desire to do so. He had been a team player for too long.
“I wish I could find Tom, Sandy, and the rest,” he muttered to himself. Then his eyes spotted an ad in the paper for some vitamin product that promised good health and long life. “Sheesh! The commercialism is still here, even with the Axis shadow hanging over the world. Money still talks.” He then blinked as he read the name of the wonder drug’s maker. “Foster’s Pharmacies — could it be?”
Happy flew off at top speed, little caring at this point if he was spotted or not. He arrived at a plush office and hurried inside to finally get through to the CEO after leaving his civilian name. He was still not in costume.
A little old man sat behind a huge desk that made him seem even more like a Don Knotts look-a-like than he already was. “Happy!” he said, smiling. “Glad to see you. Haven’t heard of you boys in a while. World sure could use you now.”
“Stormy Foster!” cried Happy. “We all thought you were dead. I came here after seeing your name in that ad. I came here for help — the help of the Great Defender. You still remember that name and what it stood for, don’t you? Or are you only interested in earning money from selling some derivative of your formula to saps?”
“Now, now, calm down,” said Stormy. “I don’t forget what we all stood for back then, but I’m an old man now. I went into business, and yes, I used a watered-down version of the Super-Vitamin formula to make this vitamin. If it makes people feel good and gives them a bit of energy, then what’s the crime? I have a family to support, and unlike you guys that hung around with Uncle Sam, I aged normally. I needed a nest egg.”
The Ray smiled. “Sorry. I see your point, but I still need your help. Can you link me up with any other heroes from the past?”
Stormy Foster smiled, displaying some some of the youthfulness he’d had when he found a formula that turned a meek chemist into a super-strong champion called the Great Defender. “I know my wife will be furious, but I’ll do it,” he said. “Wait here.”
He returned with a Super-Vitamin pill and popped it down. “Mmmm… I made it cherry-flavored.” He suddenly shed the years, immediately growing both taller and stronger. He now looked like a forty-year-old Olympian, not a bent old man.
“Happy!” he said, beaming. “It made me young again! I-I never took it after I married, except for during that Nazi Uprising back in ’76. Mabel didn’t approve, don’tcha know? But this — maybe it’s ’cause of what was built up in my system, but I feel like I could lick a regiment!”
“You may need to, Stormy.”
On the way to Darrel Dane’s New York home, he and Tom Wright had seen the footage of Uncle Sam strapped to a huge swastika while that ancient madman, Hitler, gave his speech. Tom seemed to be in a state of shock. Up until this moment, he and indeed most of the rest of the world had believed Hitler to have died long ago. This belief had seemed to be confirmed when they’d discovered an Adolf Hitler robot in the original’s place upon their defeating the Nazis in 1973 with the help of the other-earthly JSA and the JLA, in the very brief coup that had sometimes been referred to as World War III (at least until the actual Third World War came upon Earth-X this year). But the paranoid Hitler had always employed doubles for his own safety, and they should have realized that the robot was another red herring. There were many surprises for all of the Freedom Fighters upon their return to their homeworld.
Darrel had a joyous and somewhat tearful reunion with his wife, Martha, upon learning of her and little Violet’s safety. They had both been living in uncertainty of each other’s fate for far too long, and the subsequent release of emotion was greatly savoured. Tom gave them some much-needed privacy and agreed to look after little Violet after the daughter and father’s reunion. She was a very quiet, shy girl, Tom knew, taking after Darrel, who had been a bookish type in his youth but had come out of his shell upon reaching maturity. Their pet name for her was Shrinking Violet, because it took her quite a while to warm up to someone new. Tom was like an uncle to her, though, and she’d grown to know him well enough to trust him.
Martha and Darrel lay in each other’s arms in their bedroom, just happy to be this close to one another again after so long apart. Darrel could tell, however, that Martha was concerned about something now. “What is it, Martha?”
She took in a breath as if she were about to say something, and stopped herself. Then after a moment of deliberation, she spoke. “Darrel?”
“This war — it means you’re going to have to go away again, aren’t you?” There was a moment of silence. “I mean, you’re a Freedom Fighter, right? You came to this world originally to stop the Nazis, and you fought them for a quarter of a century. Now that they’ve come back, you’re going to go away again, aren’t you?” By this time, Martha had pulled away and was looking straight into her husband’s blue eyes.
Darrel couldn’t meet her gaze. “Martha…”
“Don’t say it, Darrel,” she said, pulling him close again. “Let’s not think about it right now. Let’s just savor the time we have together, now.”
Darrel Dane looked directly into his wife’s eyes and said, “Martha, I won’t leave you. I know you’re afraid I’m going to go off and get killed in battle, but I promise you I will never leave you. I made that mistake once already and paid for it with your — her — life. I won’t leave you again. The Freedom Fighters are going to have to go on without me.”
He smiled at her and kissed his now-weeping wife on her forehead. “And hey, what use is a six-inch Doll Man against a bunch of Super-Nazis, anyways? The Freedom Fighters have never really needed me. I’m sure they’ll get along fine without me. Besides, I think scientist Darrel Dane might be of more use against the Nazi horde than Doll Man, anyway.”
And as he held her tightly there, Darrel wondered for how long he would be able to keep his promise to her.
The elderly Fuhrer of Nazi Germany was a truly pathetic sight. At the ripe-old age of ninety-six, he was just barely hanging onto life. His face sagged heavily, and his eyes were dim and without any of the fire of his youth. A shock of white hair sat on his head, but this was merely a wig under which was a liver-spotted and oddly-shaped head, with no more than a few whispy tufts of hair to be found. The recent speech he had given had been too much for him, and his advisors were already grooming his son, Adam, to be his successor.
Adam Weishaupt Hitler had been the culmination of Nazi Dr. Joseph Mengele’s biological experiments. Born eighteen years earlier at a time when Hitler’s health began to fail him, Adam possessed all of Hitler’s best physical and mental attributes and none of his worst. At a mere glance it was not easy to recognize him as Adolf’s son, but upon closer examination, particularly around the eyes and the general structure of the face, the family resemblance was clear. Hitler had not been a particularly ugly man, but he had hardly possessed many of the Aryan qualities most prized by he and his followers. The creation of Adam had rectified this in the Hitler gene pool.
Near his father stood the young man at six-foot-four inches tall, and he filled out his large frame with pure muscle. Not an ounce of extra fat could be found on his body. His hair was blond like a so-called true Aryan, and his eyes were bright blue. He had been taught by Mengele himself, who had seen to it that he had been educated at Rhodes Scholar levels. Of course, this meant teaching him some doctrines that the Nazis were opposed to, but the Doktor reasoned that he needed to know his enemy well. And he had made sure to indoctrinate the boy in the Nazi dogma since the earliest of ages. He had been brought up to think for himself, but also to firmly believe in the Nazi propaganda. In this way he was also like his father.
The boy turned at the voice of Dr. Minerva. He smiled. She was beautiful. And he was, after all this, still a teenager. “Ulla, how are you?”
Minerva walked up to Adam, just a little too close, and spoke in a sultry voice, “I am very pleased to see you as always, my young man.” She put her hand around his back and spoke into his ear. “I would like to see you, liebchen,” she said, giving him a slow peck on the cheek. “Later. I need to speak with your father for now. All right?”
Adam merely smiled and left the room. Adolf’s back was turned toward them the whole time as he looked out the window of his mountain villa. At nearly one hundred years of age, he was nearly deaf and hadn’t heard a thing.
Dr. Minerva slipped her hands down over Adolf’s shoulders and brought her face before his, letting her long, blonde hair fall down seductively. “Mein Fuhrer,” she said, much louder than when she had spoken with Adam, but no less sultry.
“Vas–?” The old man’s eyes moved back and forth without recognition, as if searching for something.
“It is I, Mein Fuhrer,” she said. “Ulla.”
“Ull-Ulla,” he said, his gravelly voice cracking in joy even as his eyes squinted in a smile. “It is good to see you. We are very close, yes? Very close to seeing the dream come alive again.”
“Ja, Mein Fuhrer,” she said, “that we are.”
“It is as I told you. Those fools at the Chancellery wanted to give up, they did. My astrologer has predicted every moment in perfect accuracy. And we are on the verge of seeing the Thousand-Year Reich come alive again.” He stopped and coughed fitfully for half a minute as Dr. Minerva attempted to help him.
Adolf Hitler closed his eyes in pain. When he opened them again, he muttered, “This — this body has failed me. I fear I shall not live to see the culmination of my dream. Deutscheland uber alles. This will be Adam’s world, now.”
Ulla Minerva ran her hands down the sides of the old man’s body and looked him in the eyes until he matched her gaze evenly. “And this is why I have come to see you today, Mein Fuhrer. Your body may have failed you now. But you will live on. You will see the Thousand-Year Reich for yourself.”
And the old man struggled to understand what she was telling him.