Before Captain Comet could even reach his ship, the first alien ship zoomed into sight and hovered ominously above Washington, D.C. “Great Scott! That’s a Khundish vessel. I recognize the side thrusters,” he cried.
Seconds later, a portal dropped back and released a missile. It streamed downward, and Comet started to react. But before even he could move, the purple form of Lesla-Lar flew toward the deadly projectile, and her heat-vision flared. The missile ignited high above the city harmlessly. The ship itself shook at the sudden impact.
It tottered, and as it did so, it dropped a second missile. Comet flew upward and slowed the device with telekinesis. As it lost momentum, he caught it and hurled it back at the Khund ship. It hit as he aimed at the unoccupied thruster on the left side. The ship veered desperately and left orbit, leaning dangerously and now impotently to the side.
Crowds cheered loudly as Lesla smiled for the cameras. Comet’s name was also loudly cheered as he returned inside.
“Comet,” said a tough, middle-aged military man, “I’m General Phillip Darnell. You’ve got a proven record of service, and now a position with an important new government agency. Will you head up the meta-human task force needed to deal with this alien armada our scanners have picked up?”
“I’ll serve any way I am needed, sir,” said Adam Blake.
Within a matter of mere hours, Captain Comet was speaking to a hastily assembled group of heroes.
“We see several immediate trouble zones that require attention. Thanks to Harbinger, we were able to round you all up for your help,” he announced to a crowd of heroes that included the Metal Men, the Outsiders, and the New Titans. “The alien fleet Pariah warned you all about is above us. Three immediate trouble spots are our problem today.
“The entire continent of Australia has been ensnared in some type of energy cage. No transmissions in or out are possible. The worst event may only be summed up with a seemingly absurd statement — the United Kingdom has vanished! The entire land mass is gone. Finally, alien troops are landing in numerous locales as we speak. We appreciate your help, and you’ll all get your assignments as you file by.”
“The JLA is working on the Despero situation. Hard to believe just one creature could be such a danger,” said Arisia, who had returned to the Rehab Squad, miffed that Hal Jordan had still treated her like a little girl despite her grown-up body.
Harbinger worked furiously with her helmet link to the Monitor’s computer files. “I’m assembling hero teams as needed, Dolphin,” she said.
Pariah paced the floor, wringing his hands nervously. Around him, power rings flared and dimmed slightly, and meta-human abilities flickered in and out of existence. He, unknowingly, carried an equalization plague that had been implanted in his DNA by the Controllers earlier without any memory of the encounter remaining. Even technical powers seemed diminished by his close contact, though this condition was not yet noticed.
The New Titans raced into the streets of Gateway City, where raiders from Thanagar and Khundish soldiers were battling army troops.
Nightwing shouted orders: “Kole, keep them away from the civilians with crystal barriers. Robin, help her group them together so we can take them down! Cyborg, sonics to that small cluster now! Donna, don’t waste time with the lasso — just disarm and subdue them! Changeling, fly over and see if reinforcements are close!”
The young hero led easily and never showed strain; however, much was going on in his troubled heart. Can’t believe we had to call in the West Coasters like Bat-Girl, Mal Duncan, and Lilith Clay — still, they must be doing their part in the Northwest.
A Thanagarian swooped down with a plasma gun and was handily knocked senseless by the agile ex-Boy Wonder. He saw Donna Troy lift a mobile alien tank over her head and launch it effortlessly seaward. Cyborg blasted the sturdy Khunds with white sound until even they fell. The quick-changing Changeling darted from moth to elephant as he crashed down on milling troopers from a dozen odd worlds.
“Harbinger reports the West Coasters are holding their own, too,” yelled the man called Vic Stone.
Nightwing nodded grimly as Kole surrounded their prisoners with crystalline formations, assisted by Jason Todd, the new Robin who had joined the team in his absence. I hope Lilith’s team is OK, mused Dick Grayson.
Meanwhile, two dark-haired men were single-handedly turning over buildings with their bare hands. These Daxamites were twins and bore the unmistakeable powers of their race. Into the fray streaked Lesla-Lar. She reminded herself of the heroic past she remembered and pulled people to safety with a reassuring smile.
These guys must be Kryptonian! How else could we account for their might — unless–! she thought. The blonde in the purple minidress flashed her blue eyes, and heat radiated the support structure of a deserted bridge a Daxamite was beneath.
It crashed down on him, and he emerged unharmed. “You dare challenge our might?” he said, scoffing at the pretty blonde who looked more like a homecoming queen than a powerhouse.
Lesla said, “You abuse your powers by harming the weak. I’ll stop you,” she added determinedly.
The twins laughed and closed in on her. She dropped through the Earth, and they hit each other instead. “Haste makes waste,” she taunted. Plus, they aren’t used to flying like I am, she mused incorrectly, since her memories were delusions. She slammed into both of them at top speed and watched them fall. If I’m right, then all it’ll take to stop them from seeing me is a little bit of lead.
She raced off behind a metal pile of debris and worked on a cage behind a leaden mass. The Daxamites caught up to her, but instead of being unable to see behind the lead, they were actually harmed by it. They passed out with first contact.
Great Rao! The lead acts like kryptonite on them. They must be from Mon-El’s world, she realized, drawing upon the long years she spent watching the Legion of Super-Heroes and all other Supergirl contacts when she was an energy being, not that she really remembered that her participation was limited to observing the real Supergirl in an energy state.
Lesla-Lar felt good as a small girl hugged her for saving them from the aliens. “Thank you! You’re wonderful,” she gushed. Lesla hugged back and felt as if she had found a home and a purpose.
Captain Comet rushed out to fight a hulking brute of a Khund. He snarled and menaced a family until the man of the future rocked him off his feet. He ducked a club and lashed out with a strong left. The Khund reeled under his super-strong assault.
The Thanagarians swooped down on him, and his mental blast disoriented the flyers enough that they crashed. He fell beneath an energy bolt from a circling skimmer of Dominator origin. He groaned, then surged upward with a metal shield from a second disabled tank. He flew into the huge craft’s gun nozzle and folded the armored tank shielding around a firing gun. The craft exploded as he dropped to safety below.
The darting Starman dodged cannon fire and used his strong body and energy blasts to disable the fleet sky sleds used by the unknown purple aliens above.
Dolphin leaped over a Khund and kicked him in the head. She spun and flipped the massive brute into a wall. He staggered, and a left hook from the platinum blonde dropped him. “They’re retreating again,” she announced.
“Not so easy. It must be a trick,” said Adam Blake. He was right. A ship fired a gleaming bolt toward them, and he hurled himself in front of Dolphin. Instead of bouncing off his chest or just knocking him down, it seemed to totally destroy him. In a second, no trace of the hero remained.
“No! They’ve killed Captain Comet!” screamed Dolphin. Starman gasped in shock and disbelief.