DC Universe: 1984: Seeds, Chapter 2: Dimensional Warps

by Libbylawrence

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Earth-X:

Sandra Knight was enjoying some time in her lab. She had become famous for many talents and was perhaps better known for the more obvious ones. Yet the raven-haired beauty also had a keen mind and liked being appreciated for her more subtle achievements as well. Thus she puttered around in her lab and made adjustments to her blackout projector. She had a bit of free time, which was unusual, since the dynamic woman had hardly slowed down even after the end of the long war. She had added educational mentoring at a private girls’ school in France to her other occupations.

Now she frowned as a delicate connection stubbornly refused to fit into place. It finally slipped into its slot, and she smiled. “Now I wonder how long it will be before I get a chance to field-test the ray. These days, it’s rare to even run across a petty thief,” she sighed.

A figure in green and purple suddenly burst inside her home and, by doing so, displayed a skill at deactivating or nullifying security measures. “Who are you? Wait, I recall now — Killer Moth. You’re from Earth-One!” she said as she made a dive for her wrist ray.

He laughed. “My infamy precedes me, fair lady. Too bad. I’d enjoy learning all about you in a more intimate setting.” He fired an energy blast from his glove as his moth-like wings raised him in the air.

She knew she could worry about the hows and whys later. Now she needed to survive his attack and swat this oversized pest. She slipped on the blackout ray and internalized her invisibility. But to her shock, she did not vanish. She merely gasped as her world altered around her.

A jungle of yellow fiber threatened to choke her as she gazed in consternation at her bizarre new world. “What in the world?” she muttered.

Then a huge hand shut out the light, and she found herself trapped within a glass container held by an impossibly large Killer Moth. He laughed and slipped her prison into his utility belt.

“He shrank me! How could it be?” She had shut off her ray, but she remained a tiny captive.

***

Tom Wright had been at a meeting with the other members of the informal kitchen cabinet of advisors to President Brian O’Brien. He enjoyed the political life, even though he knew all too well how very remote it was in practice and conception from his upbringing in the mountains of Eastern Asia. The Flock had a hierarchy of sorts, but nothing as intricate or as treacherous as D.C.’s web of intrigue, mused the handsome man.

He had been raised by mutated birds, and, through some fluke of nature or miracle, he had learned to soar with all the grace and power of his majestic mentors. As the Black Condor, he had saved the world more than once with his talents and courage. That was fine with him, since he had made a simple but amazingly pure vow long ago. He would do good in any manner he could, no matter what the costs.

Gazing across the Capitol, his keen eyes spotted something odd. A man descended from on high by means of what looked to be an umbrella. He was portly and dressed in a costly tuxedo. The Penguin? I recall reading about that villain while we were on Earth-One, he mused. He made a quick change and rushed forward to challenge the foul fowl as he menaced all who passed by.

The umbrella gutted flames from its altered tip. “Waugh! waugh!” laughed the Penguin as panic ensued.

“Penguin, I knew you were a flightless bird, but not a witless one,” said the Black Condor. “You can’t get away with this casual violence.”

The Penguin smirked. “It was far from casual. I planned this to lure you out of your rookery. I have been hired to lend my services to one who wants you stuffed and mounted!

Black Condor grabbed for the umbrella and twisted it out of the fat man’s grasp. “Now, as I was saying, you can’t do this, even if a fat pay-check is riding upon your efforts. How did you get here from Earth-One?” he demanded.

“My, you’re as swift as the Hawkman or his Justice Society comrades,” sneered the Penguin as he struggled in the powerful man’s grip.

JSA? You’re a Penguin from Earth-Two!” realized Black Condor.

“He is, and I also hail from that numerically appropriate world,” said a distorted man who jumped out and clubbed the Condor over the head with a machine gun. “Two foes for the price of one! Our employer is getting a bargain,” said Two-Face as he leered down at the stunned Condor.

Penguin nodded. “I wonder if our world will be like this in thirty-plus years?”

Two-Face grinned. “It’s like all things in life. A toss of the coin.”

***

Doll Man had not relied upon his mini-saucer for years. He enjoyed bringing the small craft out of storage once in a while, though, for a quick spin across New York City. He sailed across the clear skies and piloted the doll-sized craft with skill. It was but one of many marvels the diminutive daredevil had created with his gifted mind.

He frowned then as he detected a weird projectile zooming through the air toward his ship. “Great Scott! That baseball could wreck us!” he gasped as he struggled to steer away from the ball. He succeeded and frowned more deeply as he saw the source of the deadly fastball. “A goon in a mask with a sports motif. Takes all kinds,” he sighed.

The masked man called the Sportsmaster hurled another ball with lethal intent as Doll Man desperately abandoned ship and grew to normal size. “Those things cost money!” he quipped as he adjusted his size again and clipped the thug with his enhanced strength.

The Sportsmaster reeled back on his feet like a trained athlete and produced a jai alai. It pulsed with a red glow, and as Doll Man dodged the red-hot racket, he slammed into his foe with both feet. He sailed back and slammed back into the villain, only to gasp as feminine fingers closed around him and dropped him into a crushing weight that slammed against his ribs.

“Mouse-trap. I guess the world will beat down your door for a better one of these!” she laughed harshly. He gazed up at her in pain and saw that she wore a tiger-print suit and had a cold look on her lovely face. The original Huntress laughed and fell into Sportsmaster’s arms.

Darrell knew no more as pain overcame him.

***

Sometime later, Darrell Dane awoke to find Black Condor bending over him. “Easy, pal. You’ve got a couple of broken ribs,” explained his old friend. “I’ve tried to make you as comfortable as possible.”

Doll Man groaned and sat up with pain. “Ambushed! I hoped the saucer’s distress signal activated when it was destroyed,” he said. “It has been inactive for so long.”

Black Condor said, “It did activate. My belt device picked it up, although I was already trapped here. We’re facing foes from Earth-Two — the JSA’s world.”

He gestured across the room to where a clear bottle held a tiny Phantom Lady. “They captured Sandy, too. Apparently they shrank her,” explained Black Condor.

They stood behind a heavy cell door and gazed through the glass-like material to see their foes assembled along with an old foe. “Nuroc! I thought he died when we raided that concentration camp in ’48,” said Doll Man. “He obviously survived and somehow brought these goons over to abduct us.”

“Old Nazis never die. They merely return decades later bent on revenge,” said Nuroc. “But I did not bring these esteemed colleagues here from their Earth. They merely stumbled through some portal from their world and their past.”

“I’m a newlywed,” the Huntress said. “You should pay double for the interruption!”

“Weird,” said Two-Face. “We all came here from different eras.”

Killer Moth nodded. “I came from 1967.”

The Penguin said, “And I from 1955.”

“No matter,” said Nuroc. “I recognized their talents and paid them to bring you three in. You three were the ones who ruined my happy life as a camp commander.”

A bald man nodded. “I want to pay back Wonder Woman when I return,” said Roy Dirke. (*) “You’ve given an old man renewed fire.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Shrinking Formula,” Wonder Woman #31 (September-October, 1948).]

Nuroc grinned. “Indeed, Dr. Dirke? Your shrinking formula caught the pretty Miss Knight off-guard. Imagine black light as a shrinking catalyst. You altered her ray enough from a distance so that when she used it, she reduced herself to six inches.”

Phantom Lady heard it all within the bottle. Fascinating. Black light as a stimulating energy that produces a compacting of matter. Wouldn’t that mean my strength is greater? she mused.

She activated her ray again, only this time she projected it at Black Condor. He shrank and flew between the bars of the cell. At amazing speed he zoomed low and weaved in and out of the villains like a skilled fly. The Penguin fired his umbrella and nearly fried Roy Dirke, who staggered backward. Killer Moth rose in the air and gasped as Black Condor nailed him with a right hook.

“He’s stronger! I never realized,” gasped Dr. Dirke. “I assumed the Amazon was merely using her natural might!

The Huntress whirled and said, “No pest the size of a doll will defeat me.” She struggled, then fell hard as Sandra’s ray struck again, and Condor slipped within his foe’s ear canal. He emerged again and slammed into Sportsmaster’s belt. The exploding gimmicked baseballs left the villain prone next to his wife.

Dirke shrieked, “Nuroc! Stop him!” He turned to Two-Face, who tossed his coin, only to lose it in total darkness.

“She’s fixed her ray,” sneered the district attorney-turned-villain.

Indeed, Sandy had repaired the altered ray and used it to first shrink through the molecules of the bottle and then emerge to blind her foes. She kicked him below the belt and brought both fists down on his head. He grunted and did not rise.

Black Condor returned to normal as well. “The ray was altered enough so that it enabled us to shrink for our own advantage and increased our strength, too,” said Condor. “Looks like Darrell’s whispered theory was right on target.”

Doll Man nodded. “Glad my brains weren’t strained like my body. Imagine — an application like Dirke’s could have implications for us all.”

Black Condor said, “I’ll leave the shrinking to you. It was a bit disconcerting.”

Nuroc suddenly pulled a gun, only to have Phantom Lady stun him with a swift high kick.

“I reckon we got here a mite too late,” said Uncle Sam as he burst inside.

The Human Bomb grinned. “Sam, what would your friends from the Cavalry think?”

The Ray said, “Leave it to a guy call the Ray to look at the bright side. At least we got here in time to see Phantom Lady drop old Nuroc.”

“These villains came here from Earth-Two,” said Uncle Sam. “I’ve learned of other warps that are popping up here between our worlds and apparently now through different eras as well. We’d better get them back home and figure out who is behind this.”

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