Captain Comet drew the Cometeer closer, then exited from a portal on his ship. His mental powers enabled him to surround himself with a tightly focused oxygen field drawn from the interior of his ship. Using his jet-belt, he flew over to the stranded ship and managed to enter through a side portal. No security system to speak of, he mused. Or was it damaged? This doesn’t feel like a trap. I think I’d recognize one by now! He moved through the dimly illuminated ship and reached the deck, where he spotted a strange sight.
A beautiful woman with light-green skin and dark-green hair rested in a chamber that seemed to keep her in a form of suspended animation. A robotic guidance system piloted the ship, but something disabled it. The other functions of the ship, such as life support, are still working. I can drop my oxygen field. He examined the pod and frowned as the woman’s bodily features became readily apparent. “This is not merely a suspended animation chamber. The woman’s pregnant! This is a gestation pod!”
As his hands expertly examined the pod, he heard a voice in his mind. “This One needs your aid! This One’s time has come! New life must be ushered into being!”
“Great Scott!” cried Captain Comet. “The woman’s in labor. I don’t know how long that pod kept her pregnancy in a state of stasis, or even how long the normal period of development would be for her, but she clearly needs help!”
Captain Comet worked quickly as his advanced mind grasped the workings of the alien pod. He managed to open it and helped her raise her head.
“This One thanks you. The Child is ready to be born!”
Captain Comet nodded and realized that, in spite of her altered form, the woman was apparently closely related to Earthlings. She might even be native to Earth, but her appearance was altered in some manner. “Rest easy. I can help you. The child will be fine. I know what to do.”
She smiled and said, “Willow thanks you!”
Hours later, Captain Comet held a small baby boy in his hands and sighed with relief. “The child is healthy. The delivery process confirms my suspicion that Willow was originally an Earth woman!” He carefully placed the baby in a nearby resting place that had apparently been designed for that purpose.
The next day, Captain Comet sat with Willow and listened to her story. “This One was born on Earth, or an Earth, if not this exact one. After a time with heroes and villains, This One realized her destiny was to be found in motherhood. The Child was special and would be gifted in ways beyond my reckoning. He would have cosmic powers!”
“What happened to the father?” asked Captain Comet.
Willow smiled enigmatically and said, “The male parent was a champion of great power and humanity. That humanity led to his early death. This One carries much of him with me still! His voice guides and comforts me. He led me first to your Earth in order that my gestation would occur in a setting in which This One knew the current of life would flow naturally. This One found such an isle with help of a hero known to you. His name was Atom Ray Palmer.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Return from Forever,” Justice League of America #142 (May, 1977).]
Captain Comet nodded. “Ray has not been the Atom for some time now. Either your return to space warped your ship through time to the present day from his past, or you’ve been in that pod for years!”
“Willow is the promise of life. Each step of my gestation required certain exact harmonious elements to align! Thus, This One gently wafted through space within a carefully nurtured electronic stasis until the correct moment arrived!”
“But some accident damaged the system!” said Captain Comet. “You might have remained in that limbo for eons if I had not found you!”
“On the contrary, This One is in perfect union with the cosmos,” said Willow. “You found me when the time was right. You were always destined to find me… as we are destined to be together!”
“Hold on, there!” said Captain Comet. “I’m not much of a New Age kind of guy. Are you trying to say that you remained in that pod deliberately until I came along? You could have contacted me anytime earlier if you had to find me. I was active on Earth during Ray’s time as the Atom!”
“Atom Ray was destined to protect me from my enemy, the Construct,” said Willow. “You were not meant to enter This One’s life until you did!”
Captain Comet shook his head. “Fascinating! I’ll take that on faith for now. Willow, why did you want to find me in particular? Couldn’t any number of beings delivered the baby?”
Willow smiled and said, “You were the One meant to do so, since you will be the One to help me parent the Child. You, too, are a man of destiny. You will be the perfect father for the Child!”
Captain Comet gasped and said, “You move pretty quickly, Willow. I’m not planning to settle down. I’m heading out into deep space!”
Willow took his hand and said, “All the better for our child to be raised in the glorious oneness with the universe!”
Captain Comet said, “Willow, I’m not going to abandon you or the baby. He’s a cute child. I’ll help you get to your destination, but I can’t make any promises after that!”
Willow leaned over and kissed him. “This One knows what is meant to be. You will love me in time. You will be the father my late partner would have been!”
Captain Comet said nothing, but his keen mind raced. I’ve always tried to think my way through every situation, but something tells me this might be the right thing to do, he thought silently. I don’t know that I fully believe Willow’s certainty about destiny, but she intrigues me, and helping a child with powers to feel like less of an outsider than I did when I was growing up is certainly as important or more important than being a hero. Just maybe fatherhood is a higher calling. Maybe this man of destiny has found his own purpose after so many years!
Adam Blake smiled down at the baby and felt contentment.