by Doc Quantum
The two planes carrying the members of the Freedom Fighters back to the United States of America landed within several hours of each other, and each party was taken directly to Washington, D.C., there to meet with the President of the United States of America.
Uncle Sam smiled weakly at his long lost teammates, but it was already evident that — now that he was back on home soil — color was coming back into his cheeks, and he was on his way to recovery.
The Ray (Happy Terrill) and the Human Bomb (Roy Lincoln) fawned over Phantom Lady (Sandra Knight), just like the old days, while the Black Condor (Tom Wright) just stood back and smiled. Things were getting back to normal with these longtime allies and friends once again.
Darrel Dane (Doll Man) immediately called his wife Martha in New York, and was on the telephone with her for over an hour by the time he finished.
Dee Tyler also called her father, Stormy Foster, and assured him that she was OK. Stormy himself had just gotten out of the hospital as well, but his wife wasn’t about to let him try that stunt with the Super-Vitamin again. Dee and Sandy then greeted each other, as Sandy had been a consulting professor at La Université Notre Dame des Ombres in France for a while now, before the Crisis started. Dee had virtually completed her schooling by the time the Nazis started World War IV, so she decided to stay with the Freedom Fighters when she was given that offer.
“What are you going to call yourself?” said President Richards as he welcomed the team back from Europe.
“Well, I’m sure not planning on calling myself the Great Defender,” Dee said, laughing. “That was my foster dad’s name, and if anyone’s going to use it, it’ll be my little brother — when he’s old enough, that is. I thought I’d call myself after one of the founding members of the Freedom Fighters.”
“Which one?” Uncle Sam asked curiously.
“Hourman,” said Dee. “From what I’ve heard and read about him, his power was super-strength for an hour, and that’s about the same effect Dad’s Super-Vitamin has on me, so I thought the name Hourgirl would work all right, if nobody objects, that is.”
“Well, Hourgirl, the name’s fine by me,” said Uncle Sam.
“There is one more thing,” the President then said. “The Nazis and their damned SS Ubermenschen — with that maniac who calls himself by my old mystery-man name, Manhunter — have been getting a lot of press lately, a hell of a lot more than our side has gotten. And it’s been giving the public the impression that they’re winning. It’s bad for morale. I think, Sam, given the Nazis’ use of you as a propaganda tool recently, it would be fitting if we held a press conference with the whole team, including its newest member.”
“That sounds right fine,” said Sam.
“Cool!” said Dee.
The next day, on a raised stage outside the White House, the assembled members of the Freedom Fighters gathered in front of a crowd of reporters and cameras. Uncle Sam, the Ray, Phantom Lady, the Black Condor, the Human Bomb, Doll Man, and Hourgirl took questions from the enthusiastic audience and posed for pictures. Despite the newest Nazi threat, the Freedom Fighters were here to stay.
The Manhunter stepped off the plane in Palo Alto, California, and sneered at the Japanese officers who came to greet him. He was here for one reason, and one reason only — to kill as many Americans as he could, and perhaps even the Freedom Fighters in the process.
Jerry Noble, nicknamed the Yankee Eagle by freedom-loving people all over the occupied state of California, heard about the Manhunter’s arrival on the North American continent through one of his contacts. The alien was far more powerful than anyone in his organization, and all he could do was pray that a hero could rise up and challenge him, sooner than later.
Meanwhile, American troops in Nevada trained in a secret airbase called Area 51 by the locals. Pretty soon they would make their first strike through the Californian border and retake that state, slowly but surely. They would have to be prepared.
New Year’s Eve, 1985:
Over the last couple of months, Uncle Sam had fully recovered from his ordeal in Nazi Germany. The team members and their families (except for Happy’s son Ray, who was on Earth-Two) were able to gather for a peaceful Christmas dinner a week earlier. The war had cooled off over the last two months in a stalemate, with only a few minor skirmishes here and there, giving both sides time to build up their forces. But everyone knew it was only a temporary situation. Pretty soon one side or the other would have to make a move. And the Freedom Fighters would be ready for it this time.
Roy Lincoln and Darrel Dane had been spending quite a bit of time in the laboratory, working with top scientists on ways to beat the Axis without the cost of human casualties, although when they’d first arrived back in America, Darrel locked himself and Martha up in their home for seven days straight, getting reacquainted with each other before getting back into the work for the war effort. Darrel also often brought Violet along to the laboratory, and she managed to behave well enough to stay. She was a very quiet child.
Phantom Lady and the Ray had personally trained the team’s newest member, Hourgirl, in the use of her Super-Vitamin-induced abilities with the use of a new facility in Washington, which had been provided to them by the President himself.
Tom Wright had finally taken up the offer extended to him by President Dan Richards as a personal advisor, and he began to work very closely with the President and Vice-President Chuck Wilson. He and Sandy also began spending a lot of time with each other, although Tom wasn’t sure just yet how she felt about him, especially considering her concern for Jerry Noble in wartorn California. He learned the value of patience during this time; after all, there was a war on.