Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: A Cosmos Imperiled, Chapter 1: Secret Society at Stonehenge

by Libbylawrence

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Dolphin had spent a wonderful time of leave from the Rehab Squad finding herself. She now had a name — Angela O’Day — and a family, consisting of her sister Angel O’Day, and they had spent the weeks together getting to know one another since they’d discovered they were sisters. (*) For Dolphin, it was a blessing she had long dreamed of having. She also hoped to gain more of a family by helping Will Payton — who was now her fiancé, since he had proposed to her during leave — to learn just how he gained the powers he used as the heroic Starman.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: In Search Of.]

She waited with the brown-haired young man for a special visitor to arrive at the Meta-Human Rehabilitation Agency. That visitor now coughed, revealing that — to their surprise — he had been standing behind them in the shadows for some time.

“Argus!” cried Will. “How’d you get past all our security?

“That’s what I do,” said the man known as Argus. “I understand you and I both received our meta-human gifts from a beam from the sky at the same approximate time. A babe named Lyla called me and asked me to come here. I’ve been too busy with things in Central City to make it in until now, but here I am.” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: Argus was introduced in Showcase: The Crimson Fox: Working Girl.]

Dolphin nodded and welcomed him warmly. “Thanks so much for coming. I think Lyla felt that the two of you could learn your benefactor’s name and reasons if you came together.”

“I’d like that,” said Argus. “How do we start?”

“The folks at STAR Labs couldn’t help me,” began Starman, “so I doubt they could do anything for you, either. But I have a friend here who is a bit smarter than most people.”

A few minutes later in his office, Captain Comet smiled in welcome to Argus. After making their introductions, he said to the Central City-based crime-fighter, “I have a device that Valor and I put together before she took leave. It will help determine if the energy is the same that permeates your bodies.”

Aiming a projector-like gizmo, Comet was soon nodding with appreciation. “Valor did good work. The readings show that, as suspected, you were given the powers you have by the same source. That tells us something. Of course, we still lack the nature of that source.”

Dolphin hugged Will. “It’s a beginning, honey. Perhaps we can learn more in time.”

Suddenly, a siren rang out, and Robotgirl ran into Captain Comet’s office. “Adam, the Secret Society of Super-Villains has appeared again! They are at Stonehenge doing some weird magical ceremony. That scanner you whipped up detected Super-Scavenger’s superhuman metabolism.”

“It was simple enough,” explained Comet. “There are only around six Kryptonians on Earth, so finding the Super-Scavenger’s Supergirl-granted powers was easy. Now assemble the team — with Nadir if at all possible!”

“I’m going, too,” insisted Argus. “I get bored very quickly.”

Dolphin nodded, and Starman said, “Sure, pal, we should stick together!”

***

Aboard her spacecraft in outer space, the sultry Maxima received a warning from her homeworld of Almerac.

“Princess, the crisis is here! The Devourer of Worlds is come! Help us! Save us!”

The redhead frowned. “I wanted time to select my mate first, but I see now that I have no more time for romance. I must gift him with myself and save my home whether he is prepared to leave Earth forever or not!”

Her other screen showed Captain Comet leading his team into action. “My love, you will be mine before this day ends!” she said forcefully.

***

On Apokolips, the evil Granny Goodness sneered at her troops preparing for war. “You striplings will make me proud with your last drop of blood, or I shall kill you myself! Go to that mudball Earth and retrieve your sister!”

A group of women warriors bowed and said, “We hear and obey!”

***

Elsewhere, a strange man spoke to faceless silver beings. “Go to Earth, where I long ago planted the seeds. It is time for the harvest I have long awaited. Go, and remember in all you do that, though you are many in will and in deed, you are Doctor Bedlam!

The automatons turned and headed out to Earth.

***

On New Genesis, a worried Highfather sensed all that occurred. He turned to a golden-haired girl and said, “Melisande, it is time. They are beginning their foul game. I must pray my preparations will be enough.”

Melisande turned and said, “You have never failed us. How may I serve?”

The old man smiled worriedly and said, “You will play the role you are fated to play. What that will be? None but perhaps Metron could say.”

***

In England, the Enchantress stood poised in golden splendor with her magic cloak swirling in the unnatural winds now surrounding ancient Stonehenge. Her spell was nearly complete. Around her stood her Secret Society of Super-Villains.

Super-Scavenger gazed across the world with his super-vision. “Man, where is that Valor babe? I got to get some action with her. She looks just like Supergirl, and I had her weak in the knees for a time. I know I can romance Valor, too!”

The blonde and deadly Knockout frowned as she mused, I also hope that blonde witch Valor returns, for I owe her a severe beating!

Killer Frost stayed as silent and cold as her frosty powers justifed. The hulking Leviathan stood ready for battle, as did the agile Slipknot. Others waited fearfully, for they did not know what game their leader was playing.

“That Enchantress is a looker, but she’s a kook!” said Captain Boomerang.

“She is smart and lovely, and I, for one, serve her gladly,” said the X-Ray Man.

“I just want a check — nothin’ more, nothin’ less!” said Deadshot.

Pantha growled as if eager for battle.

“The time is near!” cried the Enchantress. “Hold off my foes, and I shall bring about the long-sought Conjunction! Within minutes, I will change the natural laws of this world and claim it for magic-users alone!”

“I think your claim is only in your head!” said Captain Comet as he led his team into battle.

“How’d they get here?” whined Super-Scavenger. “I didn’t see them coming!”

“That, my good man, is a trade secret!” said the dapper Nadir, Master of Magic.

The Cheetah and Golden Glider stood ready for battle along with Dolphin, Starman, and Argus.

Captain Comet flew straight at the Enchantress, who shrieked and ordered her team to hold him back. He stopped in his flight as if preparing to fight the minions, but mentally blasted the blonde witch instead. She yelled, and her chant stopped once more.

Nadir walked up to her as if unseen by all the villains. He placed his gloved hand on her head and said, “June Moone, the evil you once fought has sought to make you its puppet. The voice that gave you your powers never sought good. It merely lured you into its clutches by posing as a defender of the right. Remember that monstrous shape? It was and is evil. It serves a foul fiend named the Warlock of Ys! He has toyed with you for too long! I free you of his hold now!” She shuddered and fell into Nadir’s arms.

“I never knew Nadir was that powerful!” said Golden Glider as she spun into Deadshot.

He aimed for her head, only to have his shot hit nothing but a shimmering illusion created by one of Lisa Snart’s trick gems. “I’m behind you, Hawkeye!” she teased, spinning into the marksman before he could turn around.

Deadshot whirled nimbly, even after she hurt him, and he aimed a second shot. “I don’t miss twice,” he said coldly.

“You missed me completely!” said Argus as he rose from the sidelines and flattened Deadshot with one punch.

“Thanks!” said Golden Glider.

“No sweat. I’m a big Peggy Fleming fan,” he joked.

Dolphin tackled the man called Captain Boomerang as Captain Comet deflected his perfectly aimed shatterangs. They exploded harmlessly in the air as Comet had intended.

“What the–? That never happened before!” muttered Captain Boomerang in dismay. Leering at Dolphin, he said, “Y’know, you’re a real doll.”

She slammed into him with her full strength, and he did not get back up. “I guess without his weapons he couldn’t do very much,” she said, smiling.

Starman blasted the hulking Leviathan with his stellar energy, dodging his angry swings. “I suppose I could fight it out with you, big man, but it’s so much easier to just blow you away, like so!” said Will. He melted the ground out from under the giant and watched him tumble down the hill directly into Killer Frost. He rolled over her, and neither got back up as an icy sheath covered him and she lay flattened beneath the giant’s massive body.

Robotgirl slipped up from behind and generated a contained electromagnetic pulse that cause the boasting X-Ray Man to flicker out of sight.

“Tina, you didn’t kill him, did you?” asked a worried Dolphin.

“No, I just dispersed his signal,” said Robotgirl.

Captain Comet duked it out with the Super-Scavenger high above the team. “I have all the powers of Supergirl!” the Super-Scavenger said as he slammed into Adam Blake.

“That’s nice. Too bad you’re as thick as a plank!” said Comet as he shifted tactics and tossed a gleaming green rock in Super-Scavenger’s face.

“Kryptonite!” he gasped. “No — I must have Supergirl’s weaknesses, too! That stuff is killing me!”

Captain Comet calmly knocked him cold with a strong right. “Actually, no, you don’t,” he said, smiling. “Your abilities are entirely based on your mental state. Since doubts weaken you, I brought this glow-in-the-dark rock and applied a little mental bolt. It gave you the impression that you were suffering from K-poisoning, when in fact you aren’t hurt by the stuff and you weren’t even exposed to the real deal!”

Debbie Domaine, the Cheetah, squared off with the feline Pantha. Neither had a clear advantage until Debbie rolled over Pantha’s crouching form, then pulled her down into a ball and pinned her to the ground.

“Those wrestling tapes really paid off,” she laughed as the angry beast-woman sputtered helplessly until Starman flew over and subdued her into a stunned state. That left only Knockout, who had tossed Dolphin into Robotgirl and kicked Golden Glider across the hills of England.

Nadir the Master of Magic was busy rubbing his hands across the Enchantress’s fevered brow. “I believe I did it!” he said happily. “The poor child is herself again for the first time in years!

Captain Comet saw his team’s plight and jetted down to assist Argus in rescuing the Golden Glider. Argus caught the blonde as she was tossed through the air. Comet frowned and said, “This ends here, Knockout.”

Knockout laughed. “Come play with me, hero.”

Captain Comet mentally bolted her, and he was surprised to sense a mental block that the Enchantress had ordered Starstriker to place in the powerful blonde’s mind months ago. He destroyed the block, and she gasped and stopped fighting.

“I am a Female Fury!” she cried. “Why did I serve that weakling mortal? She toyed with me and robbed me of my true identity!

“You’re coming home now, girl!” said a commanding woman who appeared with a loud boom. She was surrounded by other strangely dressed women ready for combat.

“The Female Furies, my sisters!” she yelled. “At last you have found me! Let us kill these mortals for good!”

Captain Comet gathered his team. Here we go again! he thought.

He had heard of the Female Furies, and it made sense to him that Knockout had been taken by the Enchantress’ magic from her dark home and mentally drained of her identity by Starstriker into serving them. However, he also knew that now that she was herself again and her family had arrived to claim her, trouble was certain.

Comet ordered Robotgirl and Dolphin to close ranks while Starman, Golden Glider, and Cheetah surrounded the fallen villains.

“I want that blonde witch’s heart!” cried Knockout.

A woman with deathly pale vampiric features smiled, looking hungrily. Her teammates included a child of sinister intent and a blonde in pink. Others huddled nearby.

“We want no trouble,” he said. “Take Knockout and go! I’ll deal with her abductor!”

“No way, handsome!” cried a thin woman with an evil look on her face. “We want blood. If not hers, then yours will do nicely!”

***

At that exact moment, in several places around the United States, several individuals in military and political authority stiffened as if in cue to some silent command.

Finding privacy, they peeled back their faces to reveal silvery plates and robotic bodies. “We hear your signal, Doctor, and we obey,” they intoned with the same mechanical voice. The mission they undertook was one of chaos.

Doctor Bedlam watched happily from Apokolips as his silvery robots responded to his mental command. These seeds had been planted years before, posing for all that time as high-ranking officers and leaders in the military and government. Now they all responded to his mental will, and he felt as though he was everywhere they were at once. He felt gloriously intoxicated by this rush of power.

“Order your followers to blindly seize command of every base across America. In the panic that ensues, I will turn the country over to my master.” He laughed.

The silvery robots looked just like humans with their masks or face-plates in place. Only the stellar energy that drove them could be detected by special people.

***

On the planet Almerac, there was first the peace of a normal day. Then, slowly, those with more sensitive minds began to feel fear. The Devourer of Worlds was approaching.

This mind, for it was truly a floating mental being, approached and fed off of the world’s specially energized residents as it did so. Their alien metabolisms contained something the creature craved, so while it fed, they died; and as they died, its physical form grew and expanded like a cosmic snake or sea serpent of old, which swam not through oceans, but through the void of space.

Maxima screamed as she felt her planet’s death cry from afar. She was too late. Now all that she could do was get her chosen mate, Captain Comet, to help her avenge the dead.

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