I decided to start posting these here again as well as my Livejournal....comments always welcome, and if anyone wants to catch up on the past happenings of this team, click on the link in my signature! On with the show!
EARTH METROPOLIS ZOO Nightwind, Dragonmage, Bouncing Boy and Duplicate Damsel approached the famous Metropolis Zoo from above, looking down upon the many and varied animals now roaming freely below them.
"You know, I really thought I'd done my last corral when we graduated from the Legion Academy," Nightwind grumbled as she used her power to separate a pack of six-legged canines from the gazelle they'd been stalking.
"There's a reason we taught you those things Berta," Duplicate Damsel lightly scolded her. "This is just as much a part of being a Legionnaire as is facing down any supervillain, you should know that."
"I don't mind it," Dragonmage admitted. "I couldn't ask for a better mentor than Madame Chu, but it would have been nice to have learned to hone my mystic abilities in the field the way you did, Nightwind. Perhaps I would have had the confidence to try out for the Legion earlier." The young sorcerer focused his concentration and a swarm of illusory dragons coalesced to chase the alien creatures back to their own habitat.
Nightwind opened her mouth to reply, but was interrupted by Bouncing Boy. "Good work, you two." He gestured to an impenetrable ring of darkness which now surrounded the zoo's outside wall. "Shadow Lad's given us a perimeter, so let's get these critters back where they belong. The sooner we do that, the sooner Lightning Lass can power up the field generators to keep them all safely contained again."
"Let's split up," Duplicate Damsel suggested, "We'll cover more ground that way." Nightwind and Dragonmage gave their approval and veered off in separate directions, leaving the married Legionnaires alone.
"Luornu, wait." Chuck touched his wife's shoulder. "I know this isn't the best time, but we haven't had a chance to talk about what happened on Zwen. I'm worried about you, honey."
"I'm fine," Duplicate Damsel forced a smile, then looked crestfallen. "...Okay, I'm not fine. I'm trying not to be terrified, Chuck. I don't know why I didn't feel anything when my body died, but I'm dealing with it. I've done what I should have done when this power first appeared out of nowhere; I've asked Brainiac 5 to find out where this enhanced duplication power came from. I didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth when I got this power, but now I have to...while I have this power though I'm still a Legionnaire, and I'll fulfill my duties just like any other Legionnaire would."
"Lu," Bouncing Boy sympathised, "It's okay to be scared."
"Being scared has never gotten me anything but pain," she answered, unable to meet his concerned gaze. "I have to be better than scared...I have to be a hero." She split into four separate bodies, three of them flying down and away. The fourth faced Chuck with a flat resolve. "Let's go do what we came here to do."
********** SORCEROR'S WORLD The Black Witch watched her sister's descent through lavender skies. Mysa needed neither her own reservoir of mystic power or her sister's legendary foresight to know that this day would come. She had sown the wind and now it was time to reap the whirlwind.
"You came alone," Mysa noted coldly.
"You're still my sister," Nura Nal responded with barely contained anger. "You know why I'm here then."
"The death dragon."
"Damn it, Mysa!" Nura exploded, "What is wrong with you?! You nearly killed five of our friends! If it weren't for Dragonmage, who knows how that might have ended? You know, when he told me that thing came from here I knew you were the only person who could have sent it...even so I kept hoping I was wrong, that I'd misjudged you or that Dragonmage had made a mistake...but it's all true, isn't it? You conjured up some monster to attack the Legion of Superheroes! Why?!"
"There was a need for heroes," Mysa explained. "It was the only way, Nura."
"That doesn't even make sense!" Dream Girl snapped. "You know, I've tried to cut you some slack, to give you time to work through whatever...this is, but you've gone too far this time, Mysa!"
Sinister clouds rolled across the sky and the temperature plummeted. The Black Witch glared at her sister with an intensity that gave Nura goosebumps. "This," Mysa spoke darkly, "Was done to protect you, Nura. I took on Mordru's power and the totality of an entire universe of magic to save the Legion of Superheroes. You have no concept of what I have sacrificed for all of you...what I continue to sacrifice with each breath."
"Mysa, you need help!" Nura pleaded. "Look at what you're becoming! Don't turn yourself into the kind of person we fight against...I can't fight my baby sister, Mysa."
"And what is it that I am becoming, Nura Nal? Somebody who possesses a power and influence which surpasses your own for the first time?" Mysa's tone was cold, biting.
Dream Girl heard thunder crack the sky open and felt the first heavy drops of rain on her bare skin. "Mysa, would you listen to yourself? You're not thinking straight!"
"I am not thinking what you want me to think," the Black Witch contradicted her. "How it must grate, sister...you have spent a lifetime using your appearance, your power and your wiles to manipulate all those around you, and for much of that time I have been but a meek apparition living in your shadow. Now I have agency, I have power, and you must live in the shadow of the Black Witch. How it must rankle."
Something in Mysa's voice made Nura wish she had brought someone else with her. She had made Dragonmage promise not to reveal what he'd told her to any other Legionnaire so nobody else even knew she had come to the Sorceror's World today. Right now, that frightened her.
"You are not welcome here, Nura Nal." The Black Witch levitated until she was looming over her sister, her black hair fanned out behind her like a mane. "I will continue to do what must be done to protect your world from darkness, but I no longer tolerate your petty jealousies nor your judgement. Away with you, and do not return."
Dream Girl drew breath to complain, but suddenly a kaleidoscope of colors exploded inside her mind and she felt a weird sick pressure around her. She found herself wide-eyed and shivering in her own bed at Legion Headquarters, half a galaxy away. "Oh, Mysa." She hung her head and cried for her lost sister.
On the Sorceror's World, the Black Witch stood unmoving against the roiling storm. Rain soaked her clothes and her skin, and she didn't know if she herself was crying or if this world was crying for her.
EARTH WEISINGER PLAZA, LEGION OF SUPERHEROES HEADQUARTERS Night Girl scanned the mission monitor board data being fed to her desktop console. Mon-El and Dream Girl had both taken a couple of days personal leave, Brainiac 5 was tucked away in his lab with a request not to be disturbed, Dawnstar had taken a squad to Apiaton to respond to a request for assistance...the vast majority of the team were for once all in one place though, chatting amongst themselves in the Legion's main assembly room.
She remembered the first time she had faced these people as their leader, and how nerve-wracking that had been. She would never be entirely comfortable with public speaking, but the idea of it no longer sent her heart to her throat. Lydda caught sight of Cosmic Boy amid the sea of colourful costumes, his face filled with open affection for her. Yes, many things had changed for the better since Night Girl had been voted in as leader of the Legion of Superheroes. She warmed at the thought and cleared her throat.
"Everyone, if I could have your attention please?" The room slowly came to order, with everybody eventually waiting on her next words. "Thanks for coming today. I'm not very good at speeches and the like, so I'm just going to say thanks for the vote of confidence in letting me serve as your leader. I've gained a lot from the experience and I hope you all feel I've done a decent job of it."
"Bring back the planetary chance machine!" Matter-Eater Lad heckled from the back of the room.
Night Girl indulged him with a smile. "My term is over in a week so maybe you should run for leader and then you can bring it back yourself, Tenzil." Shifting her attention to the team as a whole, she continued. "Anyway, the new duty rosters are available for viewing but mainly I called this meeting to remind everyone it's time to vote in a new leader. Start thinking about who you'd like to nominate if you haven't already." The room burst into excited chatter and Night Girl wondered who she would be facing in this seat the next time the Legion convened.
********** APIATON GRID REFERENCE GLC2-12, UNITED PLANETS 2460 TOPOLOGICAL STUDY Dawnstar, Lightning Lass, Timber Wolf and Light Lad stood in a clearing on the lush green planet Apiaton. The humid air was thick with the perfumed scent of exotic flowers and the myriad clicks and shrill cries of insects all around them.
“This world is amazing!” Dawnstar gushed. “It is so rare to find such untouched beauty in the United Planets!”
“It’s so rare to find Dawnstar actually enjoying something,” Lightning Lass whispered in Light Lad’s ear. The Winathians chuckled conspiratorially.
“Can we get this over with?” Timber Wolf growled. “Weren’t we supposed to meet our contact here? I don’t see anyone but these frakkin’ bugs.” He swiped at a gleaming insect hovering before him.
“Legionnaire, please!” a reedy voice clamored. To his surprise, Timber Wolf realised the sound was coming from the insect he had just swatted.
“Timber Wolf, you idiot!” Lightning Lass shoved her ex-lover aside. “The dominant sentient species on Apiaton is the Wiantern, they're insectoid! Don’t you know anything?” She turned to the tiny creature before her and the tone of her voice softened. “We’re so sorry! He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
The shiny Wiantern representative landed on the petal of a large crimson flower at Ayla’s eye level. “There has been no harm done...we are unused to dealing with off-worlders directly on Apiaton, perhaps I should have anticipated your comrade’s reaction and announced myself accordingly.”
“It’s not your fault Timber Wolf’s an idiot,” Ayla continued, casting a sideways glare at her aggrieved teammate.
“You must be Representative Flutt,” Dawnstar spoke up, diverting the tiny winged sentient’s attention. “My name is Dawnstar and these are my comrades Lightning Lass, Light Lad and Timber Wolf. On behalf of my team, I would like to apologise for our unfortunate introduction, Sir. I trust that we can put that aside to work with you now, however.” She directed this last comment coldly at Ayla and Brin, but they were both too pre-occupied with one another to notice.
“Of course,” the Wiantern representative replied. “My people are exceptionally grateful for your presence, Legionnaires. In recent cycles, entire Wiantern familes have simply vanished. We have no existing natural predators capable of such a large scale assault, and you four are among the few off-worlders who have ever lay an appendage on our world. We asked your Science Police to investigate when our own search was fruitless, but they are not accustomed to dealing with a non-humanoid species such as ourselves. They were causing such damage to our habitat stomping about with their giant feet and their masses of equipment that we had to ask them to leave. In desperation we have turned to your team.”
“Of course we will do what we can to assist,” Dawnstar answered. “I myself possess the ability to track anybody across any distance, so I am certain that your missing citizens will be relocated before too long. I wonder, could you provide me with some link to the missing families? Some possessions with which I might familiarise myself?”
“Please,” Representative Flutt asked with some confusion, “What are possessions?”
Timber Wolf sighed, looking down at his feet. “Grife, it’s gonna be a loooong day...”
********** A short time later, the four Legionnaires were floating through the thick Apiatonian foliage, careful not to injure any of the varied insects which infrequently flitted past them.
“Dawnstar, you okay?” Timber Wolf asked, noticing her furrowed brow. In truth, he was happy for any excuse not to have to watch the easy comraderie of Lightning Lass and Light Lad.
“I am...not accustomed to using my flight ring for its intended purpose,” she admitted. “Normally my own power would suffice. There is not a great deal of room to manoeuvre among these trees however, and I do not wish to unintentionally risk the safety of any of this planet’s smaller inhabitants using my wings to fly.”
“This is stupid,” Timber Wolf pouted. “Night Girl should have sent Cham and the Espionage Squad, this kind of thing is way more up their alley than ours. We can’t even walk on the sprockin’ ground without taking out the natives!”
“We are Legionnaires,” Dawnstar answered, more haughtily than intended. “We shall suffice.” In a beam of sunlight which penetrated the thick canopy of trees above them, Dawnstar stopped and looked up to the skies above. “You do have a point though, Timber Wolf. It is foolish for us to continue our search here when my power will be more effective above the teeming millions of sentients who surround us at ground level.” She arched her back and flew straight up into the sunlight like an angel ascending. Once she was above the treetops, Dawnstar spread her wings and relied on her own natural power of flight once again. She exhaled, not realising till now how pent up she had been down there in that cloying environment.
“Is there anything we can do to help?” Light Lad asked, emerging through the verdant leaves with Lightning Lass by his side. Bringing up the rear, Timber Wolf scowled.
“Thank you, but no,” Dawnstar replied. “This task must be mine alone—“ She stopped mid-sentence and turned her head to the right with a snap. “Legionnaires,” she said abruptly. “Follow me!” With one fluid motion, she plummeted headfirst towards the treetops before veering off to the side. Her wings almost glowed in the warm sunlight, the other three heroes following in her wake.
Several kilometres later, Dawnstar found the white frothing waters of a river running through the forest. She followed the path of the river until it gave way to a clifftop, the waters crashing into a fine mist some hundreds of feet below. From this vantage point the view was stunning, and even the normally jaded Timber Wolf couldn’t help but be impressed. The waterfall fed into a large clear pool, and from that pool three separate streams worked their way into the green to quickly disappear beneath the carpet of vegetation which covered this continent.
Dawnstar folded her wings behind her back and entered a power dive, shooting down alongside the cascade of water at great speed. As she approached the bottom of the waterfall she spread her wings once more and slowed her fall, coming to a gentle touchdown on the wet poolside stones where she knew there would be no developed life underfoot. “Legionnaires,” she called above to her descending teammates, “The missing Wiantern are nearby, I can sense them. I am afraid my power has reached its limit here though. I lack the familiarity with my target necessary to close in with any greater precision.”
"We wouldn't have been able to get this far if it weren't for you," Light Lad reassured her, "I'm sure between the four of us we can figure out our next step."
"Dawnstar doesn't need you to tell her she's an asset to the Legion," Timber Wolf snarled at the lanky Winathian. "And nobody else on the Legion needs you trying to steal their girl, kid."
"Hey--" Light Lad protested before an angry Lightning Lass stepped in front of him.
"How dare you, Brin Londo?" she snapped, stabbing one finger into his chest. "Darvan didn't steal your girl…you threw me away when you decided chasing some cat girl was more of a priority to you than helping the girlfriend she almost killed! He's been nothing but good to me, whereas you…you were never anything but bad, and I'm glad to be rid of you!"
"Damn it Ayla, that's not fair!" Timber Wolf growled. "You know what Karth Arn did to me! How could I stand by and watch him do worse to someone else? What did you expect me to do?!"
"I expected you to stand by the woman you allegedly love!" Both of them by now were bellowing at one another, their faces contorted by ugly emotion.
Light Lad stepped closer to Lightning Lass and began to speak, but this time he didn't even get a word out before Timber Wolf shouted him down. "Stay out of this!"
"Leave him alone!" Ayla raged. "It's not Darvan you should be mad at, Brin…you're the only one to blame for any of this!"
"Legionnaires!" Timber Wolf, Lightning Lass and Light Lad all turned toward Dawnstar. Sheepishly, they realised she had been yelling at them since their confrontation had started and all three fell silent. "This is disgraceful behaviour!" Dawnstar continued. "Pull yourselves together, innocent sentients are relying on us!"
A low cackling laughter came from within the wooded area, followed by a slow clap. The Legionnaires saw a man in an ill-fitting and drab tan bodysuit stagger out from behind the tree trunks some thirty feet away. He wore darker brown gloves and boots, and a hood which covered his entire head. Two unevenly cut eyeholes were the only exposed area of the entire outfit. "I set booby traps to deal with varmints like you, but seems y'all are gonna kill each other for me and save me the trouble!"
Light Lad raised an eyebrow at the unimposing figure. "Umm..guys, do we know this person..?"
"Terrus," Timber Wolf intoned darkly. "From the Legion of Supervillains." He poised to pounce, when Terrus held up a small oblong box in his right hand that stopped the hero in his tracks.
"Of course," Terrus taunted, "Feller can't rely on the kindness of strangers now, can he? Say g'bye, heroes." He pressed a large button on the box, his gloves hanging limply over fingers that were too small for them. Instantly, the sky was filled with multiple explosions and the ground itself shook beneath the Legionnaires' feet.
"The cliff!" Lightning Lass shouted.
Indeed, the cliff face they'd just descended came flying at them now in a fiery rain of death. Rocks large and small rained down upon them, and Lightning Lass feared that even Dawnstar would not be fast enough to escape unscathed. Ayla let loose with a sheet of lightning which scented the air with burning ozone. The lightning decimated many of the smaller rocks, pulverising them into pebbles and a gritty downpour. A few of the larger boulders split from the power of the blast, but were still large enough to do serious damage if they hit anyone. Reacting quickly, Timber Wolf leaped straight up, smashing the larger rocks into smaller debris that Ayla could easily destroy.
"Oh no," Ayla went pale as a tremendous shadow fell over all of them. "The waterfall…"
Without the cliff to hold it back, the thousands of tons of water above now came down upon them like some airborne tsunami. Ayla's lightning blasts and Brin's physical prowess were equally useless in the face of it, and they both tensed as they prepared for the bone-crunching impact. "I don't get it," Timber Wolf muttered as the water reversed its path and started flowing absurdly straight up and back over the edge of the cliff.
"Still want me to stay out of this?" Light Lad sniped, arms outstretched as his own power protected the three of them from the raging river.
Ayla smiled smugly at her ex-lover before she looked around the area confused. "Hey...where's Dawnstar? Where's Terrus?"
********** It took conscious effort for Dawnstar to zip and dart between the trees without hitting any of them. One thing she was grateful for, even without her tracking power she'd easily be able to follow this idiot just by listening for his maniacal laugh. She suddenly saw him clearly through an open clearing and rocketed forward. Less than a second later, she barely evaded a deadly shower of blades which sprung forth from an artificial tree trunk. Terrus whooped and giggled as he continued his escape.
He must have booby trapped this entire area, she thought, pouting. Fine, Terrus. You're not the only one who can be sneaky.
Terrus cast a glance back just in time to see Dawnstar zoom straight up and out of the forest. He tripped over a protruding rock and corrected his loping gait, chuckling to himself as he did so. He assumed the other three must be dead, or at the very least seriously injured, and she was the only one with the power to find him here. If his tricks and traps had proven too frightening for her now too, he was home free! He looked up and ahead, just in time to see a yellow fringed boot swinging straight at him. Dawnstar's kick connected with the villain's head, and to her utter surprise she tore the front of his hood clean off and a living cloud spewed forth from the gaping hole she'd left behind. The villain's suit fell to the forest floor as if he'd been deflated, and a shapeless mass of flying insects now hovered before her. Dawnstar recognised them. These were the Wiantern she'd been tracking all along.
"Ah see you found me out!" Terrus' high-pitched voice congratulated Dawnstar from somewhere within that seething mass. "Bein' able to mind-control a swarm o' muh fellow insects might make me a big shot here on Apiaton but it ain't much shakes off-planet, and that's where all the fun is! So ah came up with this human suit...the explodin' rocks and such keep folks from thinkin' too heavily about who ol' Terrus might really be inside that suit…ya gotta admit, it's a fine caper ain't it? And the best part is, you can't take me captive without hurtin' a whole buncha innocent liddle bug-folk in the process! Ah win, li'l lady!"
Dawnstar moved so swiftly that Terrus wasn't aware of anything in between mocking her and suddenly being pinned between her thumb and forefinger half a mile in the air. "Whu--?" he asked, dazed.
The winged woman held the tiny insect up close to her face. "Terrus, I could find a nanobomb hidden in your system's asteroid belt. One babbling insect floating three feet in front of me is child's play compared to that. It's time for you to face justice…and drop that ludicrous accent, you're an embarrassment to yourself."
For the first time since crossing Dawnstar's path, the villain was speechless.
********** KATHOON EARTHGOV EMBASSY, NIGHTMARE PEAK Power Boy ran face first into a wall and bounced off. He threw his broken night vision goggles aside with a breathless curse and considered his options. I could punch through the wall, at least there'll be more light inside the building so I can see these damn things…"Sprock," he spat out loud as he saw three sets of glowing red eyes approaching in Kathoon's ever-present night. His hands balled into fists, Jed stood tall against the creatures. "Fine!" he roared. "You want a fight? I might not win, but I'll go down swinging, you bastards!"
"Power Boy!" an increasingly familiar voice called from above. "Ghost down!"
Obediently, Jed Rikane reduced his density to a point where he slipped down through the ground below him as if he were an actual phantom. Once he was fully beneath the surface, a fresh pair of eyes glowed red. These eyes were far more intense than those who had been pursuing Power Boy, and in an instant the immediate area was filled with the searing flash of heat vision and the agonised screams of the three monsters it incinerated. The killer descended, and was standing in his victims' ashes when Power Boy re-emerged.
"Mission's a bust," Jed's partner informed him. "Makkia's recalling us."
"What??" Power Boy complained, "That's ridiculous! These things are all over this place, at this rate they'll take all of Kathoon in a couple of days!"
"We don't have the power to deal with this threat effectively without compromising our unit," the second man explained curtly. "Now come on, we're going." He offered his hand. When Jed stood his ground, the man sighed and relaxed his stance. "Oh for -- Power Boy, we're not just leaving them here to die…steps have been taken to end this infestation, but we can't be here when that happens. This has gone way past the point where it can be taken care of covertly! Jed, believe me…I wouldn't leave this planet if I wasn't completely convinced that these people are going to get the help they need."
Power Boy thought about his words and decided he needed to trust him. He restored himself to normal density and grabbed his hand. "I hope you're right, Dev-Em. For Kathoon's sake."
The two men flew up and away, leaving behind them one small communicator beeping endlessly into the lonely night.
-------------------- Read the alternate adventures of the Legion after Legion of Three Worlds! postlo3w
Registered: Nov 2009
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There's not a word yet, for old friends who've just met.
Very cool use of Dawnstar's ability, and a very imaginative interpretation of Terrus!
When I first read the name of the planet, Apiaton, I thought 'Apiary?' and, sure enough, it may not have had to do with bees, specifically, but was about insects!
Registered: Aug 2006
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Thanks! It's weird, Dawnstar (and Timber Wolf for that matter) are not really anywhere near my list of favourite Legionnaires, but for some reason I really love writing them both...and with Dawny in particular, I think she should be a lot more effective than she generally is portrayed as being.
I really didn't like Geoff Johns' interpretation of her tracking power as some kind of pseudo-mystic "knowing the right path to take" thing, and I don't think you need to go there to have her be a really valuable asset to the team either.
Terrus being revealed as a swarm of bugs in Legion of 3 Worlds was such a weird thing for such a weird character that I have had a burning need to explore it ever since, hahaha....I can't claim credit for Apiaton though, I found it when I was looking through DC aliens for sentient bugs....one of them is a Green Lantern.
-------------------- Read the alternate adventures of the Legion after Legion of Three Worlds! postlo3w
Registered: Nov 2009
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Another splendid chapter Raz. From Lydda's announcement and Tenzil's heckling through to Ayla and Brin shouting at each other - oh why do they deny that they don't still want to be together? Nice also to see Light Lad, he seems almost like a male Ayla in personality as well as power. Jed and Dev-Em on Kathoon was yet another nice interlude, you weave these plots together very well. My favourite part though was Dawnstar being useful, adult and totally efficient at getting the job done. I wish other writers would give her that much credit. Especially loved how she caught the Terrus Bug amongst the swarm and immediately isolated him. Very well written!
More, more, more!
-------------------- "Tempus Fugitive" the final part of the Adventures of Dream Boy series, set in the Three-Boot Universe. Read it only in the Bits o' Legionnaire Business Forum.
From: here, more often than not | Registered: Sep 2003
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KATHOON 36,000 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL As the Legion cruiser descended through the permanent night of Kathoon’s troposphere, Night Girl’s brow was furrowed with concern. “Kid Computo, any luck yet?”
Danielle Foccart faced her leader uneasily. “Nothing, Night Girl. I’ve tapped into every piece of technology I can access at this range, and there are no signs of life anywhere along this whole section of Hamilte’s east coast.” As she finished, a pale green holographic map of Kathoon’s third-most populated continent appeared on the cruiser’s bridge. The area Danielle referred to was outlined in red, and stretched for more than 70 miles down the Hamilte coast and almost as far inland.
“Maybe we should have brought a larger team,” Infectious Lass suggested cautiously.
“Are you kidding?” Matter-Eater Lad piped up from across the cabin, “We’ve got Superboy and yours truly, we’re ready to take on anyone this side of the Time Trapper!”
Night Girl hoped Tenzil was right, but she couldn’t help but worry. When Earthgov had notified the Legion of Superheroes that they’d received a distress signal from their embassy on Kathoon, the first thing Night Girl had done was to make contact with Kathooni authorities. That was when she’d discovered that an entire section of the populace of Hamilte had seemingly vanished off the face of the continent. There was no damage according to satellite footage, the streets were simply devoid of any signs of life at all. The Science Police had declared the area a quarantine zone until the Legion could investigate, and as Kathoon was Night Girl’s homeworld it made perfect sense for her to lead a team of Legionnaires here herself. She knew she’d chosen her squad wisely; Infectious Lass would know instantly if an illness were the cause of the problem, Kid Computo’s cyberkinesis would isolate any technological issue, Superboy’s power was a boon to any mission, and Matter-Eater Lad was the longest serving Legionnaire on board this vessel. Night Girl’s own strength exceeded that of even Superboy here on a world without daylight. They had enough power and experience between the five of them to deal with almost any threat. So why couldn’t she shake this feeling of dread hanging over her?
“That’s weird,” Superboy noted, drawing the team’s attention. “There are people moving around everywhere down there, I can see them with my telescopic vision...maybe someone’s masking them from your power, Kid Computo?”
“I don’t know how that would be possible,” Danielle remarked, “I’m accessing a lot of unrelated systems, and I should be able to tell if data has been altered. If somebody really were overriding a whole bunch of independent machines across the province, I’m pretty sure I’d know about it.”
“There’s definitely more than meets the eye here,” Superboy continued. “Could it be magic?”
“Anything’s possible,” Night Girl frowned. “Superboy, can you see where the majority of people are?”
The lean teenager paused for a moment. “According to signs around the city...some place called Nightmare Peak.”
“Sounds dreamy,” Matter-Eater Lad joked.
“Kathoon may be famous as a honeymoon destination, but we’ve had our share of bad history just like any other planet,” Night Girl explained. “Nightmare Peak was the site of a terrible massacre 350 years ago. More relevant right now, it’s also where Earthgov’s embassy is located...it was an automated distress signal from that embassy that brought us here in the first place, so let’s start there.”
Kid Computo co-opted the coastal city’s spaceport navware to find a place to land their cruiser and the five Legionnaires left their vessel. They instantly noticed the lack of activity around them. Nightmare Peak’s spaceport was not particularly large, but under normal circumstances they could expect a steady stream of both domestic and interplanetary traffic. Right now, there was nothing but still silence in all directions.
A cloudless sky showed the blanket of stars above them, only Kathoon’s black moon blocking their light. A faint corona outlined the enormous sphere, a reminder that Kathoon was always under the spell of a total lunar eclipse. Some found the effect eerie but as a native, Night Girl never paid it a second thought. “I thought you said there were people down here?” she asked Superboy as they made their way across the runway to a nearby terminal.
“There were,” Superboy answered, peering up at his taller teammate. “Maybe this really is magic...I keep thinking I can see movement out the corner of my eye, but then when I try for a better look there’s nobody there.”
Infectious Lass hugged herself. “Whatever it is, it sure is creepy enough.”
“Matter-Eater Lad, Superboy...go to the east of the spaceport. Kid Computo, Infectious Lass, you two are with me. We’ll take the west and meet the boys in the middle. Shout if you find anyone, otherwise we’ll converge there and head to the embassy together.”
Superboy nodded as he and Tenzil took to the air. “Good luck!”
********** “It’s so weird seeing so much empty space,” Kid Computo remarked as her power opened another of the spaceport’s many doorways for the three women. “What do you two think happened here?”
“There are no unsual bacterial or viral presences,” Infectious Lass answered her younger teammate. “Certainly nothing I wouldn’t expect to find in any normal spaceport with sentients of different species mingling. You’re right though Danielle, it sure is weird. I don’t like it. This whole situation is just...really creepy.”
“The solitude doesn’t bother me so much on its own,” Lydda admitted. “Kathooni natives always find offworlders a little too loud and extroverted when we first meet them...Kathoon is a lot more placid than a lot of Legion homeworlds, and we place a lot of value on peace and quiet. This is taking it too far though. A lot of jobs here are automated anyway, but there should be some Kathooni presence.”
“Night Girl? Sprock, is that the Legion of Superheroes?”
The three women turned to see a group of men and women approaching from another corridor. “We’ve been looking for help for days!” the same man grinned, speeding up as he walked towards the heroines.
Danielle Foccart’s big brown eyes narrowed in suspicion and she tugged discreetly on Night Girl’s cape. “I don’t think they’re real,” she whispered. “They’re not registering on any of the cameras or motion detectors.”
“Be ready for anything,” Lydda whispered back, not taking her eyes off the eight people before her. “Sir, I’ll have to ask you to stop!” she shouted at the newcomers, raising one gloved hand. “The Legion of Superheroes are here, and we will help you, but until we understand what’s happened we need to exercise caution. Are any of your party hurt?”
“Hurt?” a young blonde woman asked slyly, edging closer. “We’re not hurt, but we’re hungry...we’re so hungry.” She opened her mouth wide, revealing two oversized canines almost glowing in the artificial light. Lydda’s eyes widened, and the blonde woman covered the dozens of feet between them with one inhuman leap.
********** Superboy’s head snapped to one side. “Did you hear that?”
“The unrelenting sound of utter silence?” Matter-Eater Lad quipped. “Sure.”
“No, it’s just...I thought I heard a scream. I – no, it’s gone now. I guess I imagined it.” There was silence between the two heroes for another moment before Superboy spoke up again. “Matter-Eater Lad, can I tell you something dumb..?”
“Dumb is my forte,” Tenzil indulged him. “Shoot.”
“I know I shouldn’t be, but...I’m a little bit scared. Is that stupid? I’m probably the most powerful Legionnaire here...no offence...but this whole thing is like something from a horror movie. Even knowing nothing can really hurt me, I can’t help but feel a little nervous.” The Kryptonian teen bit his lower lip, looking slightly ashamed of himself.
Matter-Eater Lad chuckled. When he’d first met Superboy, Tenzil had only been a couple of years older than Superboy was now. He didn’t remember the legendary Kal-El being so...human back then, but he supposed now that he must have been. He wondered how many of the Legion’s earlier memories of the Kryptonian were colored by hero worship. Tenzil walked beside the younger hero and patted him on the back. “Kiddo, nothing wrong with being scared. Grife, my only power is eating stuff most other people are smart enough not to put anywhere near their digestive tracts. I’d be crazy not to be scared going up against some of the bad guys we face. But you know what? Being scared keeps me alive. Being scared means I’m careful, because I know there’s always someone out there tougher than me. And even if you can bench-press a planet, I guarantee you there’s someone out there who can bench-press two. So being scared is just smart...the trick is making your fear your advisor and not your boss.”
“Thanks,” Superboy smiled. “That makes sense actually.”
“Yeah well, don’t tell anyone,” Tenzil replied, “I’ve got a reputation to protect.”
“Not for long, Legionnaire!” A burly man leaped from the shadows, tackling Matter-Eater Lad from behind. Though he was initially taken by surprise, Tenzil reacted quickly and threw his assailant at a second man approaching from the right.
“Sun Boy said sparring with Shrinking Violet was emasculating,” the Bismollian hero said, catching his breath. “Who’s emasculated now, huh?” He glanced across at Superboy to see the teen of steel buried under five more of their mystery attackers.
“Get off me!” Superboy hollered, hurling his own foes aside with one mighty flex. “Matter-Eater Lad, are you hurt?”
“Just my feelings,” Tenzil jibed, “I mean come on, you get five crazy men and I only get two? What is it fellas, my breath stink? Whoa...” For once, Matter-Eater Lad was stunned speechless as he saw their enemies rise to their feet completely unshaken. Every single one of them had wicked looking fangs and eyes like burning red embers. There was something completely inhuman about them. His two foes leaped at him again with lightning speed, Tenzil’s flight ring dashing him away barely in time.
Two more of the men pounced on Superboy, only to meet his powerful fists. They skidded across the polished spaceport floor to slam against a wall. A third man grabbed Superboy from behind in a wrestling hold, immobilising the young hero’s arms. “Now, brother!” he sneered, “While he is helpless!”
“You’re stronger than a normal person,” Superboy admitted, “But not that much stronger. I don’t want to hurt any of you, why don’t you just – oww!” Superboy yelped as yet another of the strange men’s teeth clamped down on his exposed throat and drew blood. The man almost immediately recoiled, doubling over as he wailed in agony. He glowed incandescent and literally combusted before the surprised group, leaving nothing behind but a pile of smouldering ashes in less than two full seconds.
“That’s enough!” Superboy snapped. He flew straight up, smashing into the ceiling with enough force to both dislodge the man on his back and to bring some of the spaceport down on the others. He then charged Matter-Eater Lad’s enemies, carrying both men through two walls before he rejoined his teammate alone.
“Your other pals are already up and moving,” Matter-Eater Lad noted, “Might be time for us to make a strategic retreat...Supes, are you still with us? What did they do to you?”
Superboy almost fell out of the air, landing unsteadily on his feet. “I – I’m okay,” he stammered weakly, “Just feel a little woozy...” He touched two fingers to the twin punctures in his throat, flinching as they came away bloody.
“Let’s get you out of here,” Tenzil said as casually as possible, “We’ll catch up with Night Girl and the others and compare notes.” He placed a protective arm around Superboy’s shoulder and cast a worried glance behind them as the two heroes flew back the way they had come. Once he was certain Superboy could fly unaided, Matter-Eater Lad brought his flight ring close to his lips. “Night Girl? We’re on the way back, we’ve run into some unfriendly locals...you ladies okay?”
“Can’t talk right now, Tenzil!” Night Girl’s voice was strained, and they heard tremendous crashing sounds in the background. “Meet us back at the cruiser, and don’t waste any time!”
Matter-Eater Lad opened his mouth to reply when another of the creatures dropped down from the ceiling onto his back. He thrashed and rolled in mid-air, but his enemy was far stronger than Tenzil and held on tight. Matter-Eater Lad felt the sharp pinch of fangs against his neck and winced in preparation of the pain to come. Just in time, Superboy grabbed the nameless man by the scruff of his neck and hurled him down the corridor towards the others they had just escaped.
“Sorry I took so long,” Superboy apologised, “I still don’t feel too great...oh no, Matter-Eater Lad! Stop!” The young Kryptonian veered in front of Tenzil and blocked his path.
Hitting even a weakened Superboy was like smashing into a brick wall, and Tenzil gasped as the wind was knocked out of him. “There are more of them ahead, I can see them with my x-ray vision!” Superboy explained. “Dozens! Hold on!” He grabbed Matter-Eater Lad around the waist, then shielding him with his own invulnerable body, smashed a hole straight up through four levels until they reached the warm night air. He released Tenzil and took point as the two men flew towards where the cruiser was parked.
“This just gets better,” Matter-Eater Lad groaned. Scores more of the monsters surrounded the cruiser, climbing over one another to get to it. He glanced behind to see that the ones following them had now taken to the air themselves. They only had moments to act before they were overwhelmed.
“At least the girls are all safe inside the ship,” Superboy announced. “I’ll just...unhh...” He fell a few feet before correcting his descent with no small effort.
“You’re about dead on your feet,” Matter-Eater Lad said, immediately cursing himself for his choice of words. He wrapped his own arm around Superboy’s waist and feverishly tried to plan their next move. He didn’t possess the power to deal with this horde, Superboy might pass out any second, and he couldn’t expect any of the girls to leave the only haven they had. He had decided to create a distraction so that at least Superboy could get to safety when a massive luggage trolley hurtled across the runway straight into the mob around the Legion’s cruiser. Hot on its trail, an emergency services vehicle trampled more of them. Water cannons atop the vehicle came to life, firing powerful jets of water which sent the men and women hurtling in all directions. Matter-Eater smiled. Kid Computo.
Taking the only opening they had, Matter-Eater Lad entered a power dive straight for the cruiser. Holding Superboy aloft with one arm, he tugged desperately at the airlock door with his free hand. “Why isn’t this damn door opening?” he grunted. He pounded on the cruiser’s hull, shouting again. “Girls! Open the door, it’s us!”
Tenzil felt a tug at his ankle, and saw that one of the women on the tarmac below had gotten past Kid Computo’s mechanized gauntlet. Before the woman could do anything further, Superboy kicked her so hard she left a small crater in the ground below. Superboy slumped in Tenzil’s grip and though he instantly forced himself to remain conscious, Tenzil knew he couldn’t keep this up forever.
“Matter-Eater Lad!” This was Kid Computo’s voice, coming over his flight ring. “I’m trying to open the door, but it must be jammed!”
Tenzil looked down at the airlock. Indeed, one of the monsters had punched it hard enough that it had deformed; it physically couldn’t retract into its recess. He spared a swift glance behind him. More of them were making it past the vehicles and the water cannons. Thinking quickly, Matter-Eater Lad bent down and bit a chunk out of the door then another. He kept going until there was a hole large enough to shove Superboy through. The Kryptonian teenager protested, but by now he was too weak to resist even Tenzil’s Bismollian strength. The last of Superboy’s famous red cape disappeared from view and Matter-Eater Lad felt an arm around his throat. He tried to tell his teammates to leave, but all that emerged was a choking sound. Tenzil dimly heard the cruiser’s engines roar to life as his vision blurred, and he consoled himself knowing that his last action as a Legionnaire was to save the life of the universe’s greatest hero.
Metal suddenly screamed in protest as the cruiser’s door was ripped asunder, and a brown gloved hand peeled the arm away from Tenzil’s throat. “I’m sorry, I’m going to need all my team before we leave,” a woman’s voice intoned calmly.
Tenzil was only vaguely aware of Night Girl’s other fist slamming straight into the face of his assailant, knocking him back with a thunderous blow. She grabbed hold of Matter-Eater Lad while he was still groggy and yanked him into the cruiser. “Go!” Night Girl bellowed. “Go!”
Then they were gone.
********** Fifteen minutes later, the cruiser was on autopilot far far away from the spaceport. Matter-Eater Lad was fine aside from a bruised throat and Superboy was still a little dazed, but he seemed to have recovered some of his vigor. They saw now that the female Legionnaires had also suffered an equally close escape from their vicious foes. All five of them were battered, bruised and feeling worse for wear. It seemed though that while their enemies possessed a limited power of flight, none of them could come close to matching the cruiser’s speed. The Legionnaires had outraced them in minutes, and could finally relax to nurse their wounds.
“What was wrong with those people?” Infectious Lass finally exclaimed, “Why do they want to kill us?”
“They don’t want to kill us,” Night Girl answered darkly. “They want to turn us.”
“What does that mean?” Drura threw her hands up, exasperated.
“They’re vampires,” Superboy said quietly, self-consciously rubbing the marks on his neck. “That’s why none of them have any heartbeat, why they could bite me, why Kid Computo couldn’t see them with any monitoring equipment. It’s the only thing that makes any sense.”
Drura simply stared at them as though they had spontaneously begun speaking another language. “What are vampires?” she asked. “How does any of this make sense?”
“I’ll explain everything,” Night Girl replied. “But first things first...Danielle, call whoever is on monitor duty. Tell them I want every available Legionnaire here yesterday.
We’re going to cleanse my homeworld of every last one of these damn things.”
TO BE CONTINUED!
-------------------- Read the alternate adventures of the Legion after Legion of Three Worlds! postlo3w
Registered: Nov 2009
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There's not a word yet, for old friends who've just met.
Oh, vampires on Kathoon. This is too good to be true! I love it!
Registered: Aug 2006
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NIGHTMARE PEAK LORD VRYKOS’ CASTLE Lord Vrykos, the highest and most powerful of all Kathooni vampires, cut an imposing figure standing at the window of the newly reconstructed castle he had made his home. A long black overcoat draped over his broad shoulders, he watched the pyrotechnics of superhuman battle in town a few miles away.
“The Legion of Superheroes,” Vrykos sneered. “I see Night Girl has arrived with the rest of her little clubmates.”
“They are a powerful foe,” a reedy blonde man commented from a respectable distance away in the enormous throne room. “But we have the advantage of numbers. They will all be turned or slaughtered within the hour, my lord.”
“No,” Vrykos turned to his underling, his eyes glowering in the darkened room. “They are to be brought here, all of them. Do what you must to subdue them, but if I find that a single one of my minions have killed or fed upon those heroes, my fury will no know bounds. I have plans for those Legionnaires.”
The nameless underling opened his mouth to question the command, then thought better of it. He had been Vrykos’ servant only a very short time, but in that short time he had learned that Vrykos’ fury was something to fear. “I will issue the order immediately, my lord.” He bowed respectfully towards his better and left the room.
Vrykos allowed himself an indulgent smile. It was only a matter of time before Kathoon was his anyway, but soon he would have the most powerful army in the galaxy under his control...and then nothing would stop him.
********** Infectious Lass and Kid Computo backed further and further down the small dimly lit service alley until they felt cold steel behind them. “It’s a dead end!” Drura hissed.
“Don’t use that word,” Danielle Foccart cringed. Using her power to tap into local infrared cameras did nothing to warn the young cyberkinetic of their foes; the vampires of Kathoon didn’t register on any electronic equipment at all. It did confirm that they were trapped here though, with sleek skyscraper walls hemming them in on three sides. Danielle’s own eyes were all she needed to see the three vampires advancing down the narrow alley towards them, two more of the creatures perched with inhuman agility on window ledges just within the weak cone of light cast by the one ancient streetlight Danielle had found here. The girls’ powers were useless against these monsters, and even using their flight rings they wouldn’t be able to flee all of them. Danielle felt beads of sweat running down her forehead.
“Don’t worry ladies,” one of the vampires said with a sinister grin, “This will only hurt for a moment and then you’ll never feel pain again.”
He took a step towards the Legionnaires when one of his own pack grabbed his arm. “Jek, no! I just heard from Igon...Lord Vrykos wants the Legionnaires for himself!”
The villain named Jek turned towards his comrade slowly, glaring at the man’s hand still upon him until he flinched and pulled it away. “Well then,” his voice dripped with sarcasm, “It’s too bad we didn’t get the message until after we’d fed, isn’t it?” Jek began to turn back towards the heroines, but was distracted when the two vampires who had been perched above suddenly fell to the ground with a heavy thud.
“Sorry, Legionnaires are off the menu,” a baritone voice announced. Star Boy descended into the light, his hands surrounded by the unique darkened nimbus which indicated his mass-inducing power was in effect. His victims hissed ineffectively as they struggled to pull themselves from the ground.
Jek and the other vampires bared their fangs at the new arrival but before they could move, a splintered piece of wood jutted through Jek’s chest. Jek screamed as he combusted on the spot, leaving behind nothing but ashes. As if propelled by a ghost, the stake spun in mid-air and penetrated a second stunned foe with the same effect. The final remaining vampire stammered in confusion before Shrinking Violet appeared full-size before him and drove a stake of her own through his heart also.
“Danielle, Drura!” Jacques Foccart shimmered into view, throwing aside the weapon he had used invisibly to destroy two of the creatures. He grabbed Kid Computo by the shoulders, looking her up and down in almost a state of panic. “Did they hurt you?”
“I’m fine, Jacques.” Danielle Foccart hugged her older brother with an overwhelming sense of relief. “We both are.”
“Well done using your power to summon the nearest flight rings,” Shrinking Violet complimented Kid Computo. Violet retrieved Invisible Kid’s discarded weapon and advanced on the two vampires Star Boy had already incapacitated.
“Violet, no,” Star Boy interrupted her. “With as much mass as they’re bearing right now they’re not going to even be moving for a while, let alone hurting anyone else. We don’t need to kill them.”
“These creatures are not alive, mon ami,” Invisible Kid noted. “Destroying them is the only way to deal with them.”
“We’re the Legion of Superheroes,” Star Boy argued. “There’s always another way.”
An energy discharge behind them lit up the alley like a starburst, and the gathered Legionnaires saw Wildfire in the main street fighting his own foes. “For what it’s worth I agree with Invisible Kid,” Shrinking Violet announced. “But this isn’t the time to debate that...not when we have an entire city worth of these things to stop. You’re going to have to take the kid gloves off sooner or later though, Thom.”
“Maybe,” Star Boy answered sourly. “But until then I think I’ll at least try to hold onto the values on which the Legion was built if you don’t mind.” He flew down the alley to rejoin the main combat, his teammates close behind him.
********** The irony of the situation was not lost on Wildfire. His anti-energy was so potent that he normally had to exercise great caution to avoid killing or gravely injuring his enemies. Now that he was facing foes against which he wanted to use lethal force, he couldn’t kill them if he tried...at least not without hunting down every individual vampire with a piece of wood, and that was far from efficient. His wide blasts knocked them back though, scattered them and trapped them beneath debris. His power might not be able to kill them, but it could certainly keep them on their toes. He was also one of the few Legionnaires who could face the creatures with impunity. None of them were strong enough to hurt him and if they wanted to rob him of his humanity, he reflected darkly, they were a few years too late. He launched a wide-angle beam at a dozen vampires closing in on Elastic Lad, Matter-Eater Lad and Element Lad. The undead creatures were slammed back, giving Element Lad time to erect a barricade around them. Matter-Eater Lad waved in thanks, and Wildfire returned the gesture before rocketing down the wide city streets to see if anybody else needed his help. All Wildfire needed to do was keep these things occupied until Sun Boy could carry out Night Girl’s plan...easy enough for him, he just hoped the rest of the Legion could last the distance.
********** “Jan, how you going there?” Matter-Eater Lad asked his comrade.
“Exhausted,” Element Lad admitted, wiping sweat from his brow. “Tenzil, we’ve been fighting for almost an hour...I don’t know if I can keep this up for much longer. I disagree with Night Girl’s plan, but it should have been carried out by now. I’m worried something’s gone wrong.”
“I know,” Matter-Eater Lad agreed, looking into the cloudless sky with rare concern. “Sun Boy should have lit up the night by now.”
“Careful!” Elastic Lad warned, wrapping one extended arm around the waist of a pouncing vampire and flinging him to the ground before he could assault Jan or Tenzil.
“Thanks, Elastic Lad.” Element Lad waited for his young comrade to retract his arm and surrounded the vampire in a dome of iron. Their enemy could be heard pounding away at the interior of the dome. “I should have seen him coming,” Jan chastised himself. “Let’s shed a little more light on the situation, we’re at too much of a disadvantage in this darkness.” He turned only the outermost level of the dome into phosphorous, still leaving it sturdy enough to act as a prison while its glow illuminated the local area. What the Legionnaires saw chilled them to the bone. Dozens of vampires swarmed all round them, in the sky and on the ground.
“You don’t want to stop us,” an attractive red-haired female smiled, stepping forward from the mob. “It’s so much better to be one of us, don’t you think?”
Element Lad’s eyes glazed over as his arms fell slowly to his sides. “Y..yes...one of you...”
“Oh, sprock no!” Matter-Eater Lad tackled his teammate, flying at full speed with him into a recessed doorway. Elastic Lad followed closely, trying to get through to Jan as Tenzil ate through the security pad which kept the door locked.
“Element Lad!” the freckled young hero cried out. “Gosh, you can’t listen to those people, they’re really not nice at all! Come back to us, Element Lad! Come back!” He shook Jan with one hand, the other elongated arm criss-crossed across the threshold of the doorway in a weakening attempt to hold the horde at bay behind them.
Matter-Eater Lad shoved the door open, grabbed a fistful of Elastic Lad’s pliant flesh and pulled him in behind them. “Slap him!” Tenzil yelled as he flew up a flight of interior stairs, still carrying Element Lad. It was so dark in here, he half-expected to break his neck flying straight into a wall as he circled round to the next flight of stairs.
“Slap him?” Elastic Lad repeated, horrified. “Oh gosh, I couldn’t possibly do that! I don’t want to hurt him!”
Matter-Eater Lad was grimly aware of the vampires following close behind them. The open doorway only allowed two or three of them to enter the building at once, but they were still coming. The heroes needed Jan. “Slap him!” Tenzil bellowed.
“Alright!” Elastic Lad winced. “Alright, I will!” He drew a hand back, held his breath, then exhaled with palpable relief when Jan grabbed the rubbery hero’s wrist.
“That won’t be necessary,” Element Lad said. “Once we got far enough away from that woman, her hold over me faded. Let me see if I can make amends for being such a burden.” Still being carried by Matter-Eater Lad, Jan was facing the approaching vampires already. He gestured and a thick iron slab cut off the staircase between the heroes and the pursuing vampires.
“Oh, you don’t have to make amends for anything!” Elastic Lad rambled, “It wasn’t your fault! Dragonmage warned us that some of the vampires might have mesmerism or mind-control abilities, remember? I’m just glad we got away from them before anything worse happened! That was sure some quick thinking, Matter-Eater - look out!”
Tenzil shifted his attention from Elastic Lad to the path ahead just in time to brace for impact as he and Element Lad smashed through a picture window. They rolled across the balcony covered in shattered glass, groaning in pain.
“Gee whiz, I’m sorry!” Elastic Lad didn’t even pause for breath as he landed behind the two men. “I should have seen that window sooner, it’s just so dark on this planet and it’s really hard to see anything and -” Elastic Lad’s green eyes widened in shock as he saw that one of their teammates had made it here before them. In one corner of the balcony Tellus’ massive form heaved helplessly, the pods on his back a vibrant red color. “Tellus!” Elastic Lad stretched his torso across to the Hykraian, laying hands upon his yellow hide. “What happened to you?”
...followed Sun Boy...Tellus’ telepathy was weak, as though he were merely whispering into his comrade’s mind. Elastic Lad saw instantly why he hadn’t used his voice modulator. His helmet had been split into three separate pieces and was being held together solely by telekinesis. ...Sun Boy...followed call...girl in trouble...ambush....I followed Sun Boy....confronted girl....followed Sun Boy...Sun Boy followed Sun Boy...
Elastic Lad frowned. Even Tellus’ telepathy was failing him. He kept transmitting the same thoughts, and speech half-mixed with mixed up visual concepts. Stroking Tellus’ hide gently with one hand, Elastic Lad called Element Lad across. “His life support system has been compromised,” Elastic Lad explained. “Can you repair his helmet and replace the methane he’s lost? I can tell you how much methane he needs.” Working together, Elastic Lad and Element Lad soon had Tellus’ helmet in one piece. The voice modulator was too complex a device for Element Lad to be able to fix, but at least Tellus was breathing again.
Thank you, my friends. Tellus’ psychic voice already sounded more coherent, and the pods on his back shifted to a more mellow golden shade. Sun Boy heeded the call of a young female in distress. When he arrived here, he found only an ambush. I came to his aid and fought the vampires myself...I regret that they left me in this state, though I was able to repel them before they slayed me.
“Where’s Sun Boy now?” Element Lad asked.
They absconded with him before I could stop them, Tellus projected, his pods now a deep purple.
To someone named Vrykos.
********** Night Girl swung an iron beam into a dozen vampires, sending them sprawling. She hurled the beam after them. Standing beside his girlfriend, Cosmic Boy twisted it around the group with his magnetism and bound them in place.
“Damn it,” Night Girl cursed. “Why hasn’t Sun Boy done his part yet? We’ve drawn as many of these things out into the open as we’re going to!”
Hovering a dozen feet above, Supergirl panned the city with her enhanced senses. “Night Girl, I’ve got some bad news. The vampires have taken him.”
“Move!” Shadow Lad sprung from a rooftop directly in front of Kara, plunging the blade of his skulkaf through the breast of a vampire who had been sneaking up behind the blonde teen. His weapon was one used for training, made of wood so as not to accidentally injure a sparring partner. He had found that it was perfect for fighting vampires though.
“Thanks Shadow Lad,” Kara brushed hair from her eyes. “I owe you one.” Without missing a beat, she used heat vision to incinerate another pair of vampires behind Shadow Lad.
“There we go,” Grev Mallor smiled at her. “Even.”
“Night Girl, it’s not just Sun Boy!” Superboy announced, hurling a chunk of demolished building at more of their ceaseless enemies. “Legionnaires are dropping everywhere! Chameleon Girl, Tyroc...Ultra Boy just got buried under a crowd of them a couple of miles from here!”
Night Girl’s face lost all color. “Are they..?”
“They’re taking them away!” Superboy answered. “They’re taking them all away!”
“Kal’s right,” Supergirl continued as she ripped one of the creatures from her younger cousin’s back and hurled it effortlessly into the upper atmosphere. “I can hear them talking amongst themselves. They’re led by some guy called Lord Vrykos, and he wants us for himself. Night Girl...aside from Wildfire, Blok and Diamond Damsel...we’re the only Legionnaires left standing.”
Night Girl and Cosmic Boy exchanged a dire look. Eight heroes. Night Girl, Cosmic Boy, Supergirl and Superboy, Shadow Lad, Wildfire, Diamond Damsel and Blok. Against a city full of foes who would never tire.
“Lydda,” Cosmic Boy suggested, “Maybe...maybe you should retreat. You’re the leader. You can go home, bring reinforcements...”
“No,” Night Girl replied firmly. “It was a good plan, Rokk. Turning night into day worked when Comet Queen and the Subs did it on Zwen and it’ll work here. We just need to give it a chance.”
Cosmic Boy held his lover’s hand tightly in his own. He hadn’t really expected Lydda to leave, but at the same time knowing how much danger she was in here tore him apart. It was taking everything he had not to wrap her up in tons of metal and send her off-planet himself. “Lydda,” he pleaded, “Without Sun Boy...”
“Without Sun Boy we just have to think outside the box,” she interrupted. “Superboy, Supergirl...you two are about to live up to your names."
********** In his throne room, Vrykos examined his captives. Fifteen of them, fifteen of the galaxy’s greatest heroes. Every one of them had put up a struggle, though some had caused more trouble than others. Now they all slept like babies on the floor before him, completely sedate.
There were others of course. He had heard the Kryptonians were here, and while he wouldn’t be able to turn them he couldn’t wait to enslave Superboy and Supergirl to his will. But the other Legionnaires...the other Legionnaires would come to Kathoon to save their friends, to save their leader and the legends who’d inspired them.
And when they got here, they wouldn’t leave Kathoon again until each and every one of them pledged eternal and heartfelt allegiance to the man who was going to ensure they spent the rest of their existence as his undead servants.
TO BE CONCLUDED!
-------------------- Read the alternate adventures of the Legion after Legion of Three Worlds! postlo3w
Registered: Nov 2009
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VEGAN STAR SYSTEM 44,000 MILES ABOVE AELLO Dragonmage tapped impatiently at the touchscreen before him, willing the Legion cruiser to speed faster.
“Night Girl and the others will be fine,” Polar Boy tried to reassure the young sorceror. “There are nearly two dozen Legionnaires on Kathoon, Dragonmage. Whatever threat they’re facing there, I’m sure they can deal with it without us.”
“Polar Boy right,” Quislet’s high-pitched voice joined in. “First time for everything, no?” Polar Boy shot an appropriately icy glare at the Teallian explorer’s microship.
“You don’t understand,” Dragonmage fretted. “Vampires are creatures of the blackest magic, they’re nothing like the costumed supervillains we normally face. I’m the closest thing the Legion has to an occult expert, I should be there!”
“You were needed on Aello,” Chameleon Boy explained gently but firmly. “All of us were. Without the four of us, that aviasaur incursion may have ended a lot more poorly for the locals. Xao, sometimes being a Legionnaire means accepting that you can’t be everywhere at once and trusting your teammates to be able to rise to the task themselves.”
Dragonmage sighed and bowed his head in resignation. “I suppose you’re right. There’s nothing we can do until we get there anyway...but I really hope they’re okay.”
“They will be!” Polar Boy slapped Xao on the shoulder. “Cheer up, kid!”
“This party go downhill quick,” Quislet whined. “Quislet should have stayed fighting the flying dinosaurs!” The tiny alien’s ship left the bridge of the cruiser with its distinctive poop-POP-poop sound trailing behind it.
Chameleon Boy said nothing more. On his homeworld Durla, only the very foolish underplayed the seriousness of the unknown. Cham kept up a brave face for Dragonmage’s sake, but privately he shared the boy’s fear.
Above all else, he hoped his friends were safe.
********** KATHOON NIGHTMARE PEAK, LORD VRYKOS’ CASTLE Lydda Jath cautiously opened her eyes a sliver. After sending Superboy, Supergirl and Shadow Lad away and watching Cosmic Boy mesmerised into catatonia, she had decided to feign defeat rather than continue an increasingly one-sided battle against her undead foes. Lydda could face the combined physical might of the vampire mob which had been sent against them, but she didn’t want to risk having to pit her strength of will against them. Easier to pretend they had knocked her out and avoid that battle altogether. Wherever they’d brought her was dark, but that didn’t bother her. How could darkness possibly prove an obstacle to Night Girl? She was in a very old building. She could feel wooden floorboards beneath her, could see the gnarled beams crossing the ceiling. She knew instantly that she must be in one of the ruins of Nightmare Peak, no modern building would be composed of organic materials like this.
Lydda took a chance and let her head fall to one side. She hoped that if anyone was watching, it would appear that she’d simply stirred in her sleep. Rokk was lying by her side. His eyes were wide open and staring dumbly ahead. At first Lydda felt a sick stab of anxiety, but then she caught the regular rise and fall of his chest and realised that he was simply wrapped in the same spell of mesmerism which had felled him. She could make out Colossal Boy lying next to Cosmic Boy, and beside him a silky tail of black hair which Lydda assumed belonged to Chameleon Girl. Without moving more overtly, Lydda couldn’t see beyond those three. She shifted her head now to the right, where she saw a massive inhuman body she instantly recognised as Tellus. Perfect. She thought his name as clearly as she could. No response. Night Girl tried again, attempting to rid her mind of any other conscious thought. Still nothing. Lydda slowly inched her hand across the floor until her knuckles brushed against one of the pods on the Hykraian’s back. She thought his name once more, hoping that physical contact would improve her chances.
Night Girl! His pods immediately shifted to a stark white color and Tellus jerked awake.
Lydda winced from the force of his telepathy. Don’t react! she thought. I don’t know if there’s anyone else here with us...can you tell what other Legionnaires are here, and if anybody is injured?
Tellus reeled off a list of names; Elastic Lad, Element Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Infectious Lass, Kid Computo, Invisible Kid, Phantom Girl, Ultra Boy, Tyroc, Star Boy, Cosmic Boy, Colossal Boy, Chameleon Girl, Shrinking Violet and Sun Boy. All were catatonic, but he couldn’t tell her more than that. Night Girl supposed the vampires were delaying any action until they’d captured the final six Legionnaires currently on Kathoon, but she had no intention of waiting around for that to happen. Wake the others, she commanded. Subtly. Lydda tried to push herself to her elbows, only to find an unseen force barring her way. “What--?”
She was met with a malicious laugh. Startled and flushed with embarassment, Night Girl turned her head toward the noise. Someone had been watching her the whole time! An intense dark-haired man approached, standing at the trapped heroine’s feet. He wore a crushed velvet shirt, a long black overcoat covering most of it. The man had such an aura of power about him that Lydda had no doubt whatsoever that this was the Lord Vrykos Supergirl had mentioned.
“I was wondering when you’d make your move,” Vrykos taunted her. “Not that any of you are going to be able to get off the floor thanks to a little blood enchantment. But please, feel free to try...it’s endlessly amusing.”
“How have you done all of this?” Night Girl spat. “There have been no vampires on Kathoon for generations!”
“Years of research,” Vrykos answered, his smile instantly banished. “Years of throwing every credit I earned into pursuing the most obscure occult texts and resources I could get my hands on. It has been an expensive pursuit, and at times a maddeningly frustrating one. The payoff has been worth it though, as I always knew it would be. We are in the home of the last of the original vampires of Kathoon. His tomb was hidden beneath the ruins. I found him and I engineered a necromantic process whereupon all of his power would be bestowed upon me. And then I set to converting as many of my fellow Kathooni as I could to their new existence as nightstalkers...and like a plague, they continue to spread the infection. You can’t stop us, Night Girl. In fact, once I’ve bitten you and ensured your slavish devotion to me, you won’t even want to stop us. I’m just waiting for my minions to recover your Kryptonians and the Talokkian and then I’ll set to turning you all. It’s a shame that we won’t be able to add Blok, Diamond Damsel or Wildfire to our ranks but it will at least be a pleasant diversion watching you slay them.”
Night Girl glared at the villain. “We may not be able to stand up, but not all of us need to be able to stand to attack you, Vrykos. Tellus! Your telekinesis!”
I apologise, Tellus projected. I find myself unable to use my telepathy or my telekinesis against him, Night Girl. I do not understand, I sense that my powers are not otherwise hampered!
“Magic,” Night Girl grimaced. “Time for Plan B.”
“And what would that entail?” Vrykos crouched over her, condescending. “What threat can you possibly pose to me from down there, Night Girl?”
Lydda gave the villain a cold smile, at the same time projecting her thoughts to Tellus as loudly as she could. “Oh Vrykos,” she said with fake sweetness, “It’s not all about you, you know.” Wasting not another second, she balled her hands into fists and slammed them into the floor below her. Tellus struck a telekinetic blow at the same time, and the floor gave way beneath Vrykos and the heroes.
Having been forewarned by their telepathic teammate, the other Legionnaires used their flight rings to stop their fall but Night Girl allowed herself to crash down into the room below.
Vrykos picked himself up out of the wreckage and dusted himself off. Having heard the colossal racket, some of his minions already began to appear around the great hall in which Vrykos and the Legionnaires had landed. “My enchantment!” Vrykos snarled. “It took me hours to inscribe those sigils around you all, and now you’ve ruined everything!”
“Not quite,” Night Girl returned, cracking her knuckles as she stood to her feet. “We haven’t ruined you yet. Legion, attack!”
********** As they flew past Kathoon’s gigantic moon, Superboy and Supergirl almost instantly felt the revitalising effects of the yellow sun’s rays. Superboy beamed, his lips moving soundlessly in the vaccuum.
Supergirl tapped her ear. Telepathic earplugs, Kal. Just think at me.
I can’t believe we’re in space! I’m flying in space with my cousin from the future! This is the best! His exuberance put a smile on Kara’s own face. It was easy for her to forget how novel this existence must be to Kal-El at this young age. It occurred to her also that her cousin already looked more energised than he had on Kathoon. For his sake, Kara was glad that Night Girl’s plan involved them getting closer to the sunlight which empowered them, and getting a safe distance away from the vampires behind them.
Let’s get this done, Kara said as she turned around and hovered above the moon’s cratered surface. We’ll take what we need from the sun-facing side, that way we don’t have to worry about any stray chunks endangering anyone back on Night Girl’s world. Superboy followed Supergirl’s lead, and the two teenagers used their heat vision to carve a disk of rock away from the barren sphere. Clouds of dust and debris filled the area in a surreal silent tableau, dissipating into the void.
They next tunnelled into the surface of the moon until they were both underneath the disk and then with their combined strength they easily pushed it away and out of the moon’s almost non-existent atmosphere. Stay here and hold it in place, Kara instructed as she flew back around to the other side of the strange island they’d created. She knew that Kal’s strength was more than equal to the task of holding a chunk of lifeless rock still, even if that chunk of rock was miles across. This next step however required the kind of finesse and experience which he would not gain for some years yet. Supergirl’s eyes blazed bright red as she trained her heat vision once again on the moonstone disk. A couple of minutes later, she paused to examine her handiwork.
A two and a half mile wide circle of obsidian glass.
********** Shadow Lad veered straight up at the last possible instant before his flight ring would have propelled him straight into a wall. The vampire clinging to his tattered cape slammed into the hotel wall with enough force to be dislodged, and Grev continued his flight away from the seven other vampires on his tail. He glanced at the broken staff in his hand which was all that remained of his skulkaf. He was bruised, exhausted, and these creatures came in seemingly endless waves. He hoped Superboy and Supergirl would come through soon, because he didn’t know how much longer he could keep up this pace.
Out of nowhere, a female vampire tackled Grev hard. He felt one of his ribs crack as the two rolled across a rooftop. “Maybe Lord Vrykos will let me have you for my own,” she teased as she straddled the young hero and pinned his arms with inhuman strength. “You’re a cutie, little boy blue!”
This close, Shadow Lad could see that she appeared the same age as he was. Her shimmering skintight unitard was fashionable, the kind of thing Lamprey or Comet Queen might wear. Grev hated that Vrykos had turned normal people into these monsters. He struggled, but he was too tired and she was too strong. “Don’t resist it baby,” she whispered, ringlets of her hair tickling his bare cheek. “Trust me, it’s better this way.” Shadow Lad could feel a haze overpowering his senses, could feel the allure of surrender...
“Off!” a voice like scraping rocks commanded.
The blonde girl yelped as cold hard fingers closed around the back of her throat and she was flung through a wall. Diamond Damsel offered the same hand to Grev as he saw Blok and Wildfire battling vampires in the sky above her.
“Thanks, Diamond Damsel.” He took her hand and stood to his feet. “I’m lucky you found me, I don’t think I would have lasted much longer on my own.”
“Thank Wildfire,” she gestured at their comrade lighting up the sky with his energy blasts. “He saw a bunch of them converging on this point and figured we should see what they were up to. Are you the only one left? We haven’t been able to make contact with anyone else!” As she spoke more of the vampires began to circle them, including the one Diamond Damsel had thrown through the wall.
“Let’s take to the air,” Grev leaped up and away from the rooftop. “Not all of them can fly, we’ve got the advantage there.”
“Right behind you.” Diamond Damsel kneeled on one knee, and with savage force brought both fists together down on the hotel beneath her. The building instantly collapsed with a thunderous crash, taking with it most of the vampires around her. She used her own flight ring to catch up with Grev and the others above but every time Wildfire’s anti-energy lit up her allies’ faces Diamond Damsel grew more concerned. She and Wildfire could keep this up literally forever, but Shadow Lad couldn’t possibly have much more fight left in him...and Blok had barely said a word since they arrived. He was so gentle normally, she wondered how this brutality was affecting him when had only recently had to face the ghosts of his own people in similar circumstances.
“We’ve got a plan,” Shadow Lad explained breathlessly as a fresh wave of vampires came flying in from all around them. Hundreds more waited on the ground below. “Superboy and Supergirl are going to bring the sun to Kathoon, I’m helping them.”
“You?” Wildfire said incredulously. “Your only power is darkness, kid...not that even that does much good on a world where everyone can see in the dark. How are you meant to bring the sun anywhere?”
“I didn’t say I’m bringing it, Wildfire...I said I’m helping them bring it.” Grev evaded one vampire’s clutch as he staked another. “In fact,” he looked up into the dark skies, “I think it’s brought.” A tiny pinprick of light appeared in the darkness above before the darkness itself seemed to roll back like a receding tide over the city. The sun shone on Kathoon for the first time in living memory, and every vampire bathed in its light was instantly cremated.
“I do not understand,” Blok queried, watching the vampire decimation.
Diamond Damsel gaped wide-eyed into the blazing light. “Did they...are they really powerful enough to move the whole planet?”
“That’s impossible,” Wildfire refuted. “Not without causing global devastation! But how..?”
“It’s a mirror,” Shadow Lad explained, shielding his eyes. “They created a giant mirror to redirect the sun’s light. I kept a ceiling of shadow across Nightmare Peak so they’d know where to aim the beam of light, but also to hide the sun until they were in position...the second those vampires saw any weird flash of light in the sky they would have known something was up...and like you said, this is a world where everyone can see in the dark. Nobody even noticed that the sky’s been blotted out. And now...now, I think I want to pass out.” Shadow Lad slumped in mid-air, Wildfire quickly catching the exhausted Talokkian hero in both arms.
“Rest,” Wildfire soothed. “You’ve earned it, kid.” The anti-energy hero turned to Diamond Damsel and Blok, their faces appearing as distorted reflections in his faceplate. “As for us...let’s go find the rest of our teammates.”
********** Vrykos hit Ultra Boy hard enough to send him hurtling through one of the castle’s exterior stone walls.
“Jo!” Phantom Girl ran through friend and foe alike after her lover, safe in her intangibility.
“We need some direction!” Cosmic Boy shouted as he maintained the metal barricades he had erected to protect his comrades who’d already fallen in battle against Vrykos.
“I know, Rokk! I know!” Night Girl smashed two vampire heads together, hurling them through another wall. “This old castle isn’t big enough for a brawl like this...Sun Boy! Colossal Boy! Get outside and stop any reinforcements from getting in here! Tyroc, get Violet and the other injured Legionnaires out of here!”
The Legionnaires scrambled to meet Lydda’s orders, while she hurled herself at Vrykos. The two slammed into the floor, cracking the floorboards beneath them. Night Girl pounded on the vampire lord again and again, trusting her teammates to be able to handle any other vampires in the room.
“You’re certainly strong,” Vrykos said casually, “But I don’t think you’re aware of the power you face in me, Lydda Jath.” He grabbed one of her fists in his palm and slowly painstakingly bent her wrist back.
Lydda’s eyes went wide. “That’s impossible! I’m stronger than Mon-El here!” As impossible as it was though, it was happening. Vrykos was forcing her back to her knees, standing over her.
“It’s not only possible...it is inevitable. Night Girl, each vampire turned by me adds to my power. Do you have any idea how many hundreds of vampires have been borne by my hand over these past days? I am positively giddy at the prospect of turning metahumans. That ragtag group who came to Kathoon initially may have escaped me, but I assure you-”
“Leave her alone!” Chameleon Girl rushed at Vrykos, driving what appeared to be a wooden stake into his chest. For a moment, the vampire lord was in shock, gaping at the weapon which had ripped through his shirt. Night Girl took advantage of the situation to pull herself from his grip. She tackled the villain and charged through an interior wall, tumbling down a spiral staircase with Vrykos. The stairs opened onto an entrance foyer, and Vrykos and Night Girl both sprawled out ungraciously across an elaborate embroidered rug.
Vrykos recovered first, standing to his feet and tearing away the tattered remains of his overcoat and shirt to face Lydda bare-chested and completely uninjured. “Clever Durlan girl,” he sneered. “But shapeshifting is no replacement for the real thing.”
“We’ll see about that!” Chameleon Girl came flying down the stairs straight at him, followed closely by Tellus and Cosmic Boy. As Chameleon Girl and Tellus sped past Night Girl, Cosmic Boy stopped to check on his lover’s wellbeing. Yera’s forearms shifted into long wooden spears, but Vrykos simply batted them aside and grabbed her by the throat.
“Once is clever,” Vrykos snarled into her face. “Twice is just desperate.” Even while Yera was trying to shift out of his grip, he smashed his head into her face. She went limp, and he hurled her into Tellus with such momentum that both heroes were knocked unconscious.
“He’s like a damn force of nature,” Lydda breathed. She looked around the castle urgently. “Rokk, we need to open this place up.”
“Understood.” Cosmic Boy reached out with his magnetism and took apart the hinges of every door and window on the ground floor of the castle. Shutters fell away from open windows, doors collapsed to the ground. He grabbed onto what left of the iron bars which had guarded these ruins for centuries, and used them to start chipping away at the outside walls.
“You’re demolishing this old place?” Vrykos asked, bemused by the idea. “But I’ve only just renovated it, Cosmic Boy! Ah well, perhaps when you belong to me I’ll put you in charge of rectifying the damage you’ve wrought.” He turned back to Night Girl. “Now, where were we?”
Night Girl launched herself at Vrykos, only for him to grab her by the throat as easily as he had grabbed Chameleon Girl. She punched at him and tried to claw his fingers away, but his grip was like a vice. Night Girl felt the world turn dark around her and hoped that Rokk would kill her before he’d let Vrykos turn her into one of his vampiric minions. She closed her eyes, one tear of agony rolling down her alabaster cheek.
Suddenly Lydda fell to the floor and for the first time, she heard Vrykos bellow in pain. She didn’t need to open her eyes to feel the warmth of the sunlight on her skin, to feel her superhuman strength and vitality drain out of her. She was no more of a threat to anyone than any other normal Kathooni woman now, but Lydda didn’t care. She no longer needed to be. She did look now to see the room half-filled with beams of sunlight, Vrykos’ skin searing away wherever the light touched him. She gasped as she gazed upon his face. The sun had burned away his top layers of flesh, leaving little more than a charred skull. Maddened with pain, Vrykos dropped to the ground and slammed his fists into the ground so hard that the entire castle quaked.
Having dealt with their own foes, Tyroc and Elastic Lad came down the stairs together to check on their friends and paused speechless at the bottom. The spectacle of Vrykos’ death throes were enough to silence even the normally verbiose Elastic Lad. Vrykos punched the ground again, breaking the earth beneath him and cracking the castle walls. More sunlight poured in, which only increased his agony.
“Lydda, we have to get out of here!” Cosmic Boy shouted. “He’s going to bring this building down around us any second!”
“Elastic Lad, grab Tellus and Chameleon Girl!” Night Girl commanded. “Tyroc, get them out of here!”
Cosmic Boy grabbed Night Girl by the shoulder. “Lydda, don’t be crazy! You’re powerless in this light! If the castle collapses - “
“This bastard sentenced hundreds, if not thousands of my people to death, Rokk! And he put us in the position of having to put them out of their misery! I’m not leaving here until I know he’s no longer a threat!”
Their discussion was cut short by another of Vrykos’ animalistic howls of fury and pain. He smashed the ground one last time, and the castle had taken all the damage it was going to take. With a deafening rumble, stonework and masonry rained down upon the heroes. That rumble was overpowered by a louder sound, Tyroc’s teleportation cry. The Legionnaires felt space warp and distort around them, and in one disorienting moment they were suddenly in a clearing with their friends looking at the remains of the once proud castle.
“Yera!” Colossal Boy shouted, shrinking down to normal size as he ran to his stirring wife. “Is she okay?”
She is...damaged but not permanently so, a dazed Tellus responded. As are many of us.
“Tellus,” Night Girl addressed him.
There is no trace of him. Tellus knew what she was going to ask before she said it. No trace remains of any of the vampires, Night Girl. We have vanquished them all.
Night Girl breathed a sigh of relief. She looked around at her team, all of them in various states of disrepair but all of them alive. Lydda looked at the cliffs by the ruins of the castle, the ocean waves beyond. She shook her head with a half-smile.
“Lydda?” Rokk embraced her. “What are you thinking?”
“Just that I’ve never seen my homeworld in the daytime. I think I prefer it at night.” She kissed Rokk and allowed herself to relax into his arms.
It was over.
-------------------- Read the alternate adventures of the Legion after Legion of Three Worlds! postlo3w
Registered: Nov 2009
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For anyone who might be wondering what Shadow Lass is up to these days...
********** KATHOON NIGHTMARE PEAK, FORTE PARK Lydda Jath was visibly shaking when she stepped backstage from the podium and embraced her lover. Now that she was sequestered safely away from the park full of sentients who’d come to the memorial service for Lord Vrykos’ victims, she could finally relax.
“You did great,” Rokk Krinn kissed her on the cheek and held her close. “I’m really proud of you, honey.”
“Thanks Rokk,” Lydda answered, her voice quivering. “I swear, having to address crowds of strangers is the one thing I won’t be sorry to say goodbye to when I’m no longer leader of the Legion of Superheroes. My legs felt like jelly up there, there must have been thousands of people watching!”
“Tens of thousands actually,” Rokk answered, “But I mean it, I’m proud of you. You should be proud of yourself, you did really well up there...I know how much you hate public speaking, I can’t imagine what it was like having to deliver a speech to everyone here as well as everyone watching the holocast.”
“I didn’t even think about the cameras,” Lydda blanched. “Grife, I hope I didn’t screw it up.”
“Cosmic Boy is correct, you did fine,” a third voice joined the conversation. “In fact, you did an exemplary job, young lady. Just as you and your team did an exemplary job of defending Kathoon against those monsters. We owe you our eternal thanks.”
Lydda pulled herself away from Rokk and straightened her posture. “Prime Minister Hamilton!” She offered her hand to the elderly politician. “Thank you for your kind words. I just wish we could have gotten here sooner. I’m curious though, Sir...Vrykos said that another group of heroes escaped him before the Legion arrived. I’m surprised we never encountered them while we were fighting, or that they weren’t here for the memorial?”
Hamilton looked confused. “But Night Girl...there are no other superheroes on Kathoon. He couldn’t possibly have fought any metahumans before your team arrived.” An implant in his wrist vibrated, and the balding man tapped a subcutaneous button. “I’m so sorry,” he apologised. “I must leave you two, duty calls. I hope I will see you both before you go back to Earth?”
Cosmic Boy eventually spoke up for both of them after it became clear Night Girl would remain silent. “Of course,” Rokk placated him. Once the politician had left them alone, he turned to his lover. “Lydda? You kind of zoned out at the end there..?”
“It doesn’t make sense,” she answered him. “Vrykos definitely said some team escaped him before he encountered us...I didn’t think anything of it at the time because we were fighting for our lives, but who could he have been referring to if not Kathooni superheroes?”
“It still could be Kathooni superheroes,” Rokk played devil’s advocate. “Just because your government is unaware of them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Plenty of heroes historically have operated without government sanction, look at Kal’s friend Batman...he was an urban myth for years before he became a recognised public hero.”
“Maybe.” Lydda still sounded unconvinced. She hugged Rokk again and kissed him on the forehead. “I guess the important thing is that it’s all dealt with now, right?”
Still, she couldn’t help but wonder...
********** TALOK III ASSEMBLY OF TRIBES BUILDING, GARDNER CITY The terrorists who’d introduced themselves as the Forgotten Four stood on stage in front of the ruling council of Talok III. Security droids lay in pieces around the room, and the two sentient officers who’d already fallen victim to the Four lay still at the villains’ feet.
Some of the twelve council members recognised the Four from records of their one previous appearance as a team. They had slaughtered almost all of the staff at the Burnley Exotic Energies Research Facility in Gardner City’s Science District only a week ago, and now it seemed Talok III’s tribal rulers were to meet the same fate.
“Is this being recorded?” the leader of the Forgotten Four gurgled. “I want to make sure the people of this world know what you’ve done before we slay you!” Appropriately named Brainmass, he was the most grotesque of the villains. He was naked save for a pair of black trunks and his whole body seemed to be composed of one giant humanoid mass of brain tissue. His grey flesh glistened with a pinkish hue in the overhead lights and gave off a sickly reek of faint rot.
Not as horrific but more frightening than Brainmass was the team’s muscle, Skorpiorr. Named after a native lifeform, he shared its appearance, though on a much larger scale. Seven feet tall and covered from head to toe in a spikey orange carapace, Skorpiorr had a tail which was easily as long again as the rest of his body. It too was covered in spikes, and ended in one nasty barb which still dripped with the blood of the guard he’d killed only minutes ago. Skorpiorr took a predatory stance on all fours before the council, his tail poised to strike at any time.
The third member of their team hovered above them, sheathed in a crimson nimbus of flame. Red Son’s eyes were his only discernible feature, two golden orbs burning hatefully amidst the red flame.
The one female member of the quartet was also the only one of them who didn’t look completely monstrous. Her dark blue skin and pointed ears identified her as a native of Talok III, and her platinum blonde hair was cropped stylishly short. She wore a tight-fitting white leotard, with long strips of the same material wrapped around each forearm. A waist-length cape completed her outfit, its hood laying bunched at her shoulders. Her striking white eyes were the only sign that Invisible Queen was anything other than a normal Talokkian woman.
“I asked you a question!” Brainmass spat at the camera hovering several feet before him. “Stupid machine, are you going to make me destroy you too?”
*breep*Recording uninterrupted*breep* the scribebot responded dispassionately.
The stage suddenly exploded behind the villains. Astonished, the four of them turned to face Mon-El. He floated a few inches in the air, arms folded across his chest. The Daxamite didn’t look happy at all. “You four picked the wrong time to attack these people,” Mon-El scowled. “I was on vacation with my lady when my super-hearing picked up calls for Science Police backup. I may not have arrived here fast enough to save the lives of those poor men but you monsters aren’t going to hurt anyone else today, I can guarantee you that right now.”
“That’s a guarantee I’m afraid you won’t be able to keep,” Brainmass retorted. “I may be a monster, but a monster’s body has its advantages, Legionnaire.” His beady little eyes squinted at the hero, and Mon-El was hurled through two walls by a battering ram of invisible force.
Mon-El recovered almost instantly and charged straight at Brainmass. He was stopped dead in his tracks by a telekinetic barrier, and pounded at it with one mighty fist. “You can’t possibly be stronger than me,” Mon-El snarled, “You must know that. Make this easy on yourself and surrender, Brainmass.”
Mon-El punched the unseen wall again, and Brainmass staggered back from the psychic feedback. “Of course you’re right,” the villain jeered, nonplussed. “Let’s improve my odds, shall we? Red Son?”
The flaming man circled around in the air and with outstretched arms expelled a red hot blast straight at Mon-El. It burned through his costume, and Mon-El was unpleasantly surprised to find it was starting to burn him. “Overconfident nasshead,” the blazing villain laughed, “It’s even in my name, you moron. I burn on the same wavelength as a red star...you know, the thing that makes you lose your powers?” Mon-El cried out in pain as his invulnerability quickly left him.
“Brainmass!” Skorpiorr bellowed. “Look! What is that?” With the Forgotten Four distracted by Mon-El’s entrance, none of them had noticed that the rest of the room was now engulfed in impenetrable darkness.
“You’re really about as smart as you look, aren’t you Skorpiorr?” Invisible Queen taunted him as she faded from view. “Mon-El said he was with Shadow Lass when he came here...if she wants to die alongside him, that suits me just fine.”
“I may not be able to see you,” Tasmia Mallor’s voice came from within the darkness somewhere, “But that doesn’t do you much good when you can’t see me either.” The darkness expanded outwards, filling the entire room from wall to wall.
“You’d be forgiven for thinking so,” Invisible Queen retorted, “But what you don’t know is that I don’t actually use visible light to see at all anymore, Shadow Lass. Your power isn’t worth squat against my radar eyes.” Invisible Queen’s fist connected with Shadow Lass’s jaw with an audible crack.
“I might not look the part”, she continued, “But my life has been ruined just as much as the rest of my team.” Another blow sounded out in the darkness.
“We were meant to be pioneers! The first Talokkians to explore interdimensional space, but the Burnley Facility sent us through that damn portal and then they just forgot about us!” Another hit, this time accompanied by the sound of a secondary impact as Shadow Lass knocked over a desk with her fall.
“They forgot about us and we were bombarded with energies that no Talokkian was ever meant to encounter somewhere beyond any known laws of physics!” Invisible Queen was ranting now, the rest of her team throwing in the occasional supportive holler as they heard the beating continue.
“We got our revenge on them, we’ll get our revenge on the government that funded them and then we’ll get our revenge on the world that gets to be normal while we live the rest of our lives as freaks!” Invisible Queen’s tirade ended with one final loud crack, this one louder than any of the previous blows.
Then silence fell.
“Invisible Queen..?” Brainmass eventually asked. “Su..?”
“You know,” Shadow Lass’s voice came from somewhere in the room, “It’s surprising how ineffective a defence invisibility is when you’re raving like a lunatic.”
The three remaining villains yelled startled obscenities, and Brainmass blindly attacked with the same telekinetic power which had earlier sent a Daxamite flying. There was a crashing din, then nothing again but the sound of breathing and the implacable darkness.
“Also, did you know your friend’s power turns off when you hit her in the back of the head with a chair?”
Brainmass reacted again, and once again there was a tremendous crashing noise.
“Did you get her?” Skorpiorr asked.
“It’s still dark, what the sprock do you think?!” Brainmass roared. “Damn it Red Son, do something! Can’t you light up the room?”
“...So what I’m thinking,” Shadow Lass continued toying with them, “Is that if one of you need to be conscious to keep an active power functioning, maybe all of you do?”
“Die!!” Brainmass bellowed. There was another thunderous impact, this one accompanied by a cry of pain.
“Brainmass..?” Skorpiorr queried hesitantly. “That...that didn’t sound like a girl...”
The darkness melted away into nothing, revealing the full extent of the damage which had been wrought. Half the room looked like a warzone. Shadow Lass had obviously managed to evacuate the council members while the Forgotten Four had been concentrating on Mon-El. Invisible Queen and Red Son were both out cold, lying in the debris. Invisible Queen was very visible, and Red Son merely simmered now like a fading ember. More concerning for the villains, Mon-El and Shadow Lass now stood together before the remaining pair of villains and neither of them looked very happy.
“Thanks for buying me the time I needed to recover and taking care of Red Son for me,” Mon-El addressed Shadow Lass as he advanced on Brainmass and Skorpiorr. “Allow me to return the favor, love.”
Skorpiorr’s tail struck with blinding speed, but his speed meant nothing to a Daxamite. Mon-El grabbed the tail in one hand, and in one motion swung the creature around and hurled him into Brainmass. Brainmass cried out, but even with a telekinetic shield absorbing some of the blow both villains were knocked out cold.
Mon-El returned to his lover and the heroes noticed one another’s injuries for the first time. “Oh Mon, you’re burned!” Shadow Lass fussed.
“I’ll be okay with some more rest,” Mon-El replied stoically. “I’m more worried about you, Shady. It was brave of you to take on that whole team alone like that but you look like you could do with a vacation more than me at the moment!”
Shadow Lass wiped blood from her cheek with the back of her hand and winced. “They weren’t that hard to deal with,” she joked. “Brainmass broadcast every attack he made with the ugliest little facial expression. Circumstances aside, I have to admit it was kind of thrilling to actually be in action again.”
“You know,” Mon-El took a more somber tone, “You could come back to the Legion. You left because Talok VIII needed you, but you told me yourself nothing’s happened that’s required your attention since then and I know Grev misses his home...can’t you two trade places, Shady?”
I can’t come back, Shadow Lass thought darkly, because Dream Girl told me I’m going to fall protecting my homeworld, and that Grev will bring the Legion to avenge me. “I...can’t,” she responded weakly, unable to meet his gaze. “Not yet. Please understand, Mon.”
He held her close, brushed her hair back from her face and kissed her gently. “I don’t understand,” he sighed. “I don’t understand it at all. But I trust you and I love you and that’ll have to be enough.”
The two shared a moment of silent rapport before Mon-El released Shadow Lass and called the Science Police to let them know the crisis was over. “On the bright side,” he smiled, “After today, I won’t be deputy leader of the team anymore, so I should be able to come visit more often!” ********** EARTH WEISINGER PLAZA, LEGION OF SUPERHEROES HEADQUARTERS Chuck Taine pushed his empty plate to one side and leaned back in his seat. “Man, that sure hit the spot! You’ve hardly touched your lunch, hon...is everything okay?”
Sitting across the table from her husband in the Legion’s shared dining room, Luornu Durgo Taine looked up from her half-eaten meal. “Hmm? Oh, sorry Chuck. I guess I’m just preoccupied.”
“Is it your power?” Chuck asked. “Brainy will figure it out, Lu. If anyone can, it’s Brainy.” He grinned reassuringly, and despite herself Lu smiled in return. She created a duplicate of herself on her husband’s side of the table and kissed him on the cheek while her first body cleared the plates from the table.
“Thanks Chuck,” Luornu hugged him, leaning into his shoulder. “You’re so sweet to me.”
Before either of the Legionnaires could continue, they were distracted by an all too familiar whooping noise coming down the corridor towards the dining room. Both Duplicate Damsels muttered the same name. “...Grava.”
Comet Queen burst into the room, a tail of sparkling gas trailing behind her. She almost tackled Bouncing Boy in her enthusiasm and showered him with kisses. “Oh stardust, this is the best! The hypernova brightest and best thing ever! Congratulations, Bouncy! I knew you’d make it!” The golden heroine finally noticed that the object of her affection’s wife was sitting right next to him, and as an afterthought added, “You too, Duplicate Damsel.”
“Congratulations for what?” Bouncing Boy asked, gently but firmly pushing Grava away. On the other side of the room, he saw Nightwind chuckling into her cloak.
“You haven’t heard?” Comet Queen’s hands flew to her mouth. “Oh, parse me to the C-span, I can’t believe I get to be the one to tell you!” She cleared her throat and took on as much of an official tone as she was capable of. “Bouncy, Duplicate Damsel...I just spoke to that little ball of spacejunk Computo, and let me be the first to welcome you both as new leader and deputy leader of the Legion of Superheroes! You’re deputy leader, Duplicate Damsel.”
EARTH MONTAUK POINT, LEGION ACADEMY “I’m going to make this easy on you,” Saturn Girl declared to the seven teenagers standing before her. “I won’t use my telepathy in anything other than a defensive capacity. All you need to do is stop me from reaching the other side of the room. Do you think you can do that?”
The freshman class looked across the empty space. Aside from a flat holographic screen which displayed Lightning Lad sitting in an observation booth, the room was a featureless 150 foot square cube of titanium plates. Even the room’s sliding door was indistinguishable from any other irregular-sized wall panel once it was closed.
“What’s the catch?” Dragonwing snorted in derision. “Let me guess, we’re not allowed to use our powers either?” Of all the new batch of students, Marya Pai was easily the most cynical.
“Not at all,” Saturn Girl smiled disarmingly. “In fact, I encourage you to use your powers if you think that’ll help. Just bear in mind your goal is to stop me, not fry me to a crisp.” Some of the students chuckled at Imra’s comment; Dragonwing’s aggressive streak was already well known to all of them.
“We’re ready, Mrs Ranzz.” This was from Gravity Kid, the eldest and most professional of the class. “We can do this.”
“In that case then...good luck to you all, and let’s begin.” Saturn Girl turned to face her husband’s holographic image. “Mr Ranzz, if you please?” Lightning Lad nodded with a knowing wink and then abruptly blinked out of existence.
Just as abruptly, the students found themselves transplanted to an alien landscape. Where seconds ago they’d been standing in a gleaming metal cube, they now seemed to be on a barren rocky plain in the middle of the night. A violent thunderstorm raged above them, forks of lightning dancing across the sky.
The young mage Glorith gaped in awe. “What sorcery..?”
“It’s no sorcery,” Laurel Kent explained, “Just holograms and force fields. Don’t let it get to you.” As the only student here familiar with the Academy’s training rooms, Laurel had been expecting Saturn Girl to throw something like this at them. While her classmates were still gathering their wits about them, she pounced. Laurel successfully tackled Saturn Girl, but not before the Titanian heroine had taken to the air with her flight ring.
“Good to see you remember that much of your training,” Saturn Girl remarked as she gained altitude, “But you should also remember that catching me isn’t the same as stopping me, Laurel.” Saturn Girl increased speed dramatically until only seconds later she seemed to be half a mile in the air. She stopped in mid-air just as dramatically, and Laurel’s momentum carried her forward alone. With no flight ring of her own, Laurel plummeted while Imra continued ahead.
Lullabye Lad winced as Laurel slammed into the ground. “Ouch, are you okay?”
“I’m indestructible, idiot!” Laurel yelled, flushed with embarassment. “Would you do something useful and put her to sleep already?”
“There’s no need to be so rude about it!” Gravity Kid intervened on the Zwennite teen’s behalf before turning to him more softly. “Go ahead, Waiane. My control of gravity will make sure she doesn’t fall.”
“She did say she’d use her telepathy defensively,” Gravity Kid noted. “Let’s follow her anyway, we can think of something on the way.” Using his power on himself, the attractive teenager took to the air.
“Tel, wait!” Lullabye Lad called out. “The rest of us can’t fly!” A peal of thunder drowned out Waiane’s voice though, and Gravity Kid flew on.
The purple-skinned Variable Lad stepped to the fore, two hands on his hips while a third arm emerging from his back scratched his oversized skull. “Let me think...we need a flier...let’s try this.” He rapidly shifted form into something resembling a hairy centipede standing three feet high and over fifteen feet long. “Climb aboard,” the youngest student invited the others, oversized mandibles clacking.
“No way,” Laurel threw her hands up in disgust. “That’s gross.”
“Suit yourself,” Chemical Kid stuck his tongue out at her. “You stay here and sulk, we’ll complete the task.” He sat awkwardly upon one of Variable Lad’s six distinct body segments and offered a hand to Glorith. Lullabye Lad and Dragonwing followed suit, and enormous diaphanous wings unfurled from beneath Variable Lad’s strange new body. He rose from the ground with jerky motion, and the five students followed Gravity Kid in pursuit of their teacher.
In a control booth hidden from the students’ view Lightning Lad examined various screens, each one showing the room from a different angle or focusing on one or another of the students.
“How are the new kids working out?” a familiar voice asked.
Garth’s chair swivelled around and he saw his old friend and fellow founder of the Legion of Superheroes standing in the doorway. “Rokk!” Garth grinned, pumping Cosmic Boy’s hand enthusiastically. “Come in! Imra’s just running them through their first group training session now. You know, some of them thought they were getting off easy having to go up against Saturn Girl instead of Lightning Lad. They won’t make that mistake again.” Both men laughed.
“I can come back later if this is a bad time,” Cosmic Boy offered.
“No, stay! All I’m doing is recording this for analysis later, the computer can do that just as easily....do the Legion need us?”
“Nothing like that,” Rokk shook his head. “It’s....well, it’s kind of about me and Lydda...”
********** TITAN TIME INSTITUTE “Somehow,” Bouncing Boy remarked sarcastically as he ricocheted off the pristine corridors of the Time Institute, “I didn’t think my first job as leader of the Legion of Superheroes would be to round up defective copies of all of us. No offence, pal.”
A second Bouncing Boy leaped in the air after his namesake. This copy was rotund like Chuck, but had chalk-white craggy skin, and unkempt hair. Instead of bouncing, he charged straight through the Institute’s walls like a human wrecking ball to land with a crashing thud on the other side. “You not fool Bizarro Bouncing Boy with flattery!” the duplicate’s rasping voice called out.
Four copies of Duplicate Damsel faced off against her own imperfect replica, surrounding the woman on all sides. “So if these copies of us have powers that are subversions of our own...what does that mean? You can’t duplicate? How does that make you any different from anybody else?”
“Me have best power in Legion!” The Bizarro Duplicate Damsel protested, jabbing a thumb into her chest. “Me divide into half of Bizarro girl!” She put her power into effect, and the left half of her body instantly vanished into thin air. The remaining half lost her balance and fell into Luornu’s waiting arms with a victory cheer.
“Sweet Trinity.” Luornu rolled her eyes. “Brainiac, can’t you send these people back to wherever they came from?”
“Believe it or not, I have been endeavouring to do exactly that for the past 17.3 minutes,” Brainiac 5 answered, fine-tuning knobs and levels across a wide console. Contained within one of his own impenetrable forcefields, he could work away oblivious to the chaos surrounding him. “It doesn’t help that their Querl Dox doesn’t remember what he did to open the dimensional portal on his side!”
Bizarro Brainiac 5 beamed proudly. “Me am the smartest man in the galaxy! Smarter than you, Dumbiac!”
“Hmm,” this universe’s Brainiac 5 muttered dryly. “Quite.”
Bouncing Boy came back into the room, a shrunken Bizarro Colossal Boy tucked under his arm. He deposited the weird duplicate in a corner of the room they’d been using as a corral for the Bizarro Legion and stopped bouncing for a moment. “How are you holding up, Dragonmage?” he asked the Legion’s young sorceror.
“Don’t worry about me,” Dragonmage answered cheerfully, “It took me a while to get my head around how they have opposite reactions to everything, but a bunch of alarm dragons are keeping them all pacified now.” As he spoke, half a dozen brightly coloured little dragons circled a pile of snoring Bizarros at great speed wailing and roaring furiously.
“Excellent.” Chuck bounced off again to look for his own duplicate. “Guys, don’t let any of them get out of the building. The last thing we need is this Bizarro Legion wreaking havoc all over Titan.”
As Bouncing Boy left, Nightwind flew in and landed alongside Dragonmage. “I’ve got another one for your collection,” she announced, handing over an unconscious Bizarro Matter-Eater Lad. “I had to knock him out, he kept showing off his power by making the building try to eat him. I didn’t know if it would actually have hurt him or not but I didn’t want to risk it, you know? They’re not really malicious, just silly and weird.”
“Silly and weird is as good a description as any,” Dragonmage smiled. “I’m kind of glad there are no duplicates for you or me here...these Bizarros are strange enough as it is, I wouldn’t want to know what they’re like if you throw magic into the mix.”
Nightwind turned to leave, then turned back towards Dragonmage. She opened her mouth to say something, changed her mind, and then changed her mind again. “How come you keep saying I’m a magic user?” she finally blurted out.
Dragonmage diverted his attention from maintaining the alarm dragons for the briefest second, but quickly reasserted his focus. “What do you mean?” he asked back. “You’re not a magic user per se, but your power comes from magic...why do you think you and I were the only ones who could affect that death dragon?”
“But I’m a mutant!” Nightwind protested. “My power runs in the family, all the women on my mother’s side have some form of weather control...magic has nothing to do with it!”
Duplicate Damsel deposited her Bizarro self on the growing pile of duplicate Legionnaires. Her copy still boasted about her prowess though she was reduced now to a disembodied head. “Nightwind, stop distracting Dragonmage and help bring in the others,” Duplicate Damsel chastised her former student. “Like Chuck said, we need to keep this mess contained.”
“Sorry!” Nightwind apologised hastily and flew off, hands clasped inside her voluminous cloak. She saw a hole melted into a nearby wall, and outside she could hear Comet Queen’s idiosyncratic speech. Nightwind allowed herself a small smile as she wondered what a Bizarro Comet Queen would sound like. Maybe that was too crazy for any universe to allow. She made it outside just in time to see an enormous fireball headed into traffic. Reacting quickly, Nightwind diverted the fireball with an updraft, sending it skyward before it could hurt anybody.
“Thanks, starshine!” Comet Queen circled around her teammate. “This Bizarro Polar Boy is a high-G drag!” Hovering above them, Nightwind saw a Bizarro wearing Polar Boy’s costume, his scalp aflame.
“Well of course that makes sense,” Nightwind groaned. “A Bizarro Polar Boy would have fire powers.” The two girls scattered as another stream of fire came between them.
“Ha!” Bizarro Polar Boy laughed. “You girls strong and ugly! Your Nightwind don’t even have water powers!”
“I’m not sure but I think we were just insulted,” Nightwind frowned. “Also, if you think we need a water controller to beat a second-rate Sun Boy you’re about to get a rude awakening!” She straightened her posture and felt the air currents moving around her, supporting her. Giving them direction, she blasted the Bizarro Polar Boy with a gust of wind so powerful it extinguished his flames and sent him hurtling backwards head over heels. He slammed into a floating billboard and dropped out of the sky, landing with a painful thud on the ground.
“Bizarro Polar Boy feel so good...” he moaned. “Nightwind gentle like an earthquake beast...”
“Hush, sweetie.” Comet Queen landed by his side and leaned close to his face, allowing her vaporous plume to surround him. “You’re harder to glom than me, and that’s sayin’ a whole nebula full.” The Bizarro passed out as Nightwind joined her friend by his side.
“Parse me to the C-span!” Comet Queen suddenly gasped. “What are we gonna do if we can’t get these guys back to their home universe? I mean they kind of gleam like moondust, but we can’t keep them here forever!”
“If you’re asking what I think you’re asking, I have the answer right here!” Nightwind and Comet Queen turned around to see their own Tyroc approaching with the Bizarro version of himself and what seemed to be a particularly grotesque Bizarro Dream Girl. “I managed to convince Bizarro me that we don’t want to hurt them, and they’re willing to go back to their reality.”
“Are you sure?” Nightwind asked suspiciously. “How do we know we can trust them?”
“Everyone here so hideous!” Bizarro Dream Girl exclaimed. “Me can’t bear it anymore, me want to go home!” She shuddered and hid her face in her hands.
Minutes later, seven Legionnaires stood watch over a sleeping Bizarro Dream Girl. Her own weird comrades had been woken up, and though it was a sometimes frustrating process, they had finally agreed to cooperate and return to their own reality.
“How did you accidentally manage to open up a portal to this Bizarro universe anyway, Brainiac?” Duplicate Damsel chastised him. “Whatever happened to your famous 12th level intellect?”
Brainiac 5 looked at his teammate in surprise. “Luornu...this was no accident. This was an experiment, and a successful one at that!”
“What?!” his teammates exploded in unison.
“I thought you were busy here with Tyroc trying to find Superboy and Supergirl a way back to the past?” Bouncing Boy asked, silencing the others’ protests with a gentle wave.
“Or maybe finding out what’s happened to my powers!” Duplicate Damsel added. “I guess helping your teammates isn’t as important as playing crazy explorer!”
Brainiac sighed. “I have been working with Tyroc’s powers to breach the Flashpoint barrier...but I’m not going to blindly stab at it, I need to know the mechanics of his abilities as well as I can before I can attempt time travel. So I used a manipulation of his scream to open a dimensional barrier on the same chronal axis, and I’m happy to report that my understanding of his power is exemplary. Granted, I didn’t predict anybody would be ignorant enough to open up a connecting portal on the other side and just waltz on through, but it seems these people excel at ignorance.”
Some of the Bizarro Legion blushed coyly, and the Bizarro Duplicate Damsel slapped her husband. “How come you never say me ignorant?!”
“And Luornu,” Brainiac 5 continued unfazed, “I have discovered the origin of your enhanced abilities, I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and discuss it with you as yet. On account of being busy trying to find Superboy and Supergirl a way back to the past.”
“Fine,” Luornu muttered, arms folded.
“Brainy, in future could you please do things like this back at headquarters?” Bouncing Boy asked. “It would be a lot better for my nerves, and I’m pretty sure the nice folk at the Time Institute would appreciate it as well.”
“Enough talking!” Bizarro Brainiac 5 threw his arms up in the air. “Why Bizarro Dream Girl sleeping?”
“Are you serious?” the other Brainiac asked, exasperated. “We just went over this not minutes ago! For the fourth time...your Dream Girl sees the past in her sleep, just as our Dream Girl sees the future. She’s going to tell us exactly what idiocy you enacted to open the portal on your side so that I can adjust my equipment accordingly and send the lot of you back to whatever insane reality created you!”
“Their Brainiac dumb but nice!” Bizarro Colossal Boy beamed. “Me hate him!”
Before anybody could continue, Bizarro Dream Girl sat bolt upright with a gasp. Eyes wide open, she stared at the Bizarro Legion’s counterparts and screamed.
“Freak out,” Bizarro Tyroc consoled her gently. “They am monsters, they am not our friends at all.”
Bizarro Dream Girl grabbed a nearby datapad and tapped out a series of characters. She handed the datapad to Brainiac 5 and stood with her team. “This how Bizarro Brainiac brought us here,” she explained. “You really stupid, but you send us away now?”
Brainiac 5 cursed under his breath as he entered the new information into the portal generator. He donned a gigantic set of headphones, and the room was soon filled with an eerie wail. Everyone else barring Tyroc himself winced as the replication of his scream rang through their skulls, but it seemed to do its job. A second later the wailing sound was drowned out by a massive boom, and something resembling a cylindrical tunnel stood before them.
The Bizarro Legion said their goodbyes and walked through the tunnel. Once Brainiac was satisfied that they were safely through, he disengaged the portal.
Bouncing Boy turned to Tyroc, who seemed to be lost in thought. “Is there a problem, Troy?”
“No problem at all,” Tyroc answered with a chuckle.
“Just committing that scream to memory so I never make another one that sounds anything like it ever again.”
-------------------- Read the alternate adventures of the Legion after Legion of Three Worlds! postlo3w
Registered: Nov 2009
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