The Forgotten Heroes: Passions, Chapter 2: War of the Sexes

by Libbylawrence

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Starman, Dolphin, Nadir, and the Enchantress were enjoying their time together when Captain Comet led the Golden Glider inside the main conference room and announced, “We’ve got a call from Batman, no less!”

They looked to the communications screen where Batman’s features were displayed next to a handsome, brown-haired man.

“Captain Comet, this is Volar,” said Batman. “He is an alien champion with a case of amnesia. He needs help and wants to make amends for being used by one of my old foes. (*) I thought of you.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See The Outsiders: The Fear Maker.]

Batman introduced an appreciative Volar to Captain Comet, and the alien champion thanked him for his help.

“To serve the cause of justice and find a cure for my memory loss will be the best thing I can do here,” said Volar.

“I need heroes for my own team, and perhaps I can cure your amnesia, too,” said Captain Comet.

“There’s no one better for either task, Volar,” said Batman.

“I’ll beam down from here,” said Volar. “Thanks again, Batman.”

He flickered into view on the isle, and Golden Glider mused, My! He’s an attractive one — not in Adam’s league, but cute.

Volar, who seemed eager to help, wore a white costume with purple trim and a cape. “I have magna powers,” he explained. “They can help your team. I need guidance, since I’m new here.”

Dolphin smiled warmly. “We’ll be glad to help. Captain Comet discovered my past.”

Captain Comet nodded. “Come on, son. Nadir and I may be able to break through your amnesia.” Volar nodded and followed them.

Feeding data into his computer, Captain Comet gazed at star charts and nodded appreciatively. “There it is — Torma!” he announced. “Superman had it marked in one of his files. The Man of Steel has been everywhere.”

“I could not even tell you if Torma was a city or a world with any degree of certainty,” admitted Volar. “I found myself here with no memory beyond the facts that my name is Volar and I fight crime on Torma.”

Nadir the master of magic fingered the Ruby of Life and touched Volar’s face. “Odd. Your skin is somewhat synthetic,” said the suave magician. “It’s like a combination of natural skin and artificial.”

Golden Glider leaned forward. “I know quite a bit about makeup. You do seem to be wearing some kind of advanced cosmetic enhancement. Not that I mind!” She smiled at him.

“I’d also noticed your costume is something of an exo-skeleton,” said Captain Comet. “It does not give you your powers, since you claim those are innate. Does it serve some other function? Perhaps life support?”

Volar frowned. “I have not needed to eat or breathe or do the things your people do since I arrived. I can’t even tell you if the costume is more than decorative.”

Dolphin whispered to Starman, “I can sympathize with him. I was so eager to find a heritage that I accepted the wrong one without even questioning it.”

“If I didn’t have Mom and Jayne and you, I’d be the same way,” said Starman. “For a while I thought I had lost my humanity entirely, and that was a very lonely feeling.”

Dolphin took his hand. “Well, we’ve got each other again. Remember that. Our talk settled all our past problems. No more running or dishonesty. We’re in this together!”

He grinned. “Right. With my powers and your teleporter, we can be together anytime. I still don’t feel I should rejoin the team, though. I’m rather enjoying being a solo crime-fighter — but not a single man.”

Dolphin smiled back. “Nice save.”

“Volar,” asked Nadir, “do you wish me to use my Ruby to probe the nature of your costume and facial mask?”

Shuddering, Volar said, “No! I feel as if that should not be removed. I’m sorry. It’s just some instinct.”

“That’s perfectly natural,” said Captain Comet. “A hero may have a secret I.D. That kind of protective urge is natural. Maybe that’s what the gear you have does — secures your true nature.”

“Could we go to Torma?” asked Volar.

“I have a spacecraft, the Cometeer,” said Captain Comet. “Perhaps that is best. Let me inform the others. Vigilante, Joanie, and Robotgirl can hold the fort here.”

“May I join you for this one?” asked Starman. “Space trips still give me a thrill.”

“Of course, pal,” said Comet. “Anytime.”

***

After making their preparations, the sleek craft was zooming through hyperspace toward Torma. Lady Blackhawk piloted the craft expertly as her cousin sat next to her.

“Adam, I never dreamt I could go from flying a plane to this!” said Zinda Blake. “Your tutorials did wonders!

Adam Blake smiled at his blonde cousin. “The basics were all there, Zinda. You could fly with your eyes closed.”

Golden Glider cooed, “Oh, I know plenty of things we could do with our eyes closed!”

Adam blushed and said, “Lisa, Torma’s atmosphere is safe for us. It’s not a difference in atmosphere that gave Volar his powers. We won’t need space-suits.”

Lisa smiled broadly. “I’m glad my skates will work. I’d hate to be stuck playing cheerleader.”

Starman nudged Dolphin gently. “Mara, what’s on your mind?”

“When I was with Aquaman and my father Arion,” said Dolphin, “I had an ugly encounter with Aquaman’s wife, Mera. She threatened to kill me if I didn’t stay away from her man.”

“Who can blame her?” asked Will. “I mean, you’re gorgeous!

“Oh, stop it,” said Dolphin. “Thanks, but stop. She wasn’t just jealous. She was mad.”

“Maybe Comet knows more about her,” said Will. “I met her husband, and he was a nice guy.”

Nadir turned to the Enchantress and said, “June, this space trip makes me a bit concerned about two of my fellow transplanted Earth-Two heroes. Tharka the Superwoman and Roh Kar, manhunter from Mars, both went into space, and neither has ever returned. I hope they are well. Being Atoman’s pawns together gave me a feeling of unity with them.”

“You are a wonderful man,” said the blonde Enchantress. “You worry about everyone. I’m sure they’re fine.”

Volar grew excited as they drew nearer to the blue world called Torma. “This is it!” he said. “Seeing it triggers some memories. I’m home!

“You know, Volar seems to have some kind of speech-modulator, too,” said Starman. “I’m not in Adam’s league when it comes to equipment, but I’ve been around sound systems, and Volar’s voice is artificial.”

Dolphin frowned. “He is on our side, though. Batman says he can be trusted from what he saw of Volar. Surely the world’s greatest detective knows his business.”

Lady Blackhawk landed the sleek rocket and smiled as she announced. “Here we are — Torma. I’ll raise communications.” Working the controls, she soon frowned. “Odd. Total radio silence.”

“Great guns!” Captain Comet gasped. “The world is at war! Look!” He pointed toward hidden crafts that suddenly burst into view and zoomed toward one another in battle formation.

“But look,” said Starman, “the crafts from one fleet reach a certain proximity to the other side’s ships and then they freeze up. No weapon fire. No messages on the transmitter. Nothing.”

“Our ship is not affected,” noted Zinda.

“The blue ships belong to our imperial guard,” said Volar. “I’m remembering more. The invaders — they were the reason I received this amnesia… I think. Something to do with fear.”

“Wait,” said Captain Comet. “You said during your case with Batman that a villain called the Schemer used a fear ray. It worked against some of the Outsiders but failed to affect them later, when you had come into proximity with them.”

“But I was fighting against them at first,” said Volar. “I did nothing to shield them from its effects.”

“Hold it,” said Golden Glider. “Maybe you are a carrier of some cure for fear. Back in my villainess days, I once made the Flash a carrier — a Typhoid Mary type for a disease. It didn’t hurt him but did damage to all he came in contact with.”

Dolphin snapped her fingers. “So Volar is a fear-plague cure?”

“Let me go out and stop those invaders,” said Starman. “They are boarding the frozen native ships. No resistance, either.”

“A general mind-scan shows some odd facts,” said Captain Comet. “One, the invaders are all women. Two, they use fear as a weapon to immobilize their foes. Three, the defenders so affected are all male.”

Volar put on hand to his head. “Yes! Torma is a patriarchal society. Women are merely decorative. Of course no women would fight. It amazes me that your women are more than pretty playthings.”

“How sexist!” said Lady Blackhawk. “Women have been in wars alongside men all along as far more than pinups!

Golden Glider sniffed. “Speak for yourself. Odd sentiments from a gal in a pleated miniskirt and boots.”

“Ladies, enough!” said Comet. “Starman, Volar, and I will engage the enemy. Zinda, Lisa, Dolphin, and the others will try to raise some communications with the Torma natives.” He and his two chosen companions flew out of the craft.

Starman smiled. “I may have been solo for a while but around a guy like Captain Comet, it’s easy to just take orders! Maybe that’s why I need to remain solo.”

They flew toward the invading crafts. Volar was faster than Starman or Captain Comet, yet he moved with uncertainty. “Those invaders are women!” he said. “That in itself would pose a threat to my people. They see women as objects and would take no female invader seriously until it was too late.”

Starman blasted at a reddish invader ship. “Breached the hull. I’m going in!” he called.

Zooming inside, he saw a deck full of warrior women. Whoa! I’ve met Queen Hippolyta and her sisters, he mused. These women are like them — space Amazons!

They were indeed armored women of beauty, power, and, above all, scorn for the man and all males who broke into their ship. “Sisters, this manling thinks he can stand up to us!” laughed one.

Starman gasped as he began to hesitate. “Can’t fight them!” he said. “Too many! I’m just one man!” Some kind of phobia, he realized. Got to resist their fear projection.

Volar charged a ship, and his eyes flashed, causing icy rays to shoot out and freeze a weapon turret. He gripped the protruding edge, and with amazing super-strength, he tore it free and slammed it back at the craft. “These ruthless Femazons! That’s their name!” he gasped as memory flickered back. “They’ve infected all our men with fear and thus conquered all of Torma, since women could never fight. Centuries of oppression have left them helpless,” he mused. “Well, I’ll die before I fall!”

Captain Comet dodged in and out of energy blasts and smiled as his speed allowed him to make the enemy fire damage their own crafts. Got to take the high ground, he mused. Simple weapons fire won’t end a war. His keen mind raced even as he caught a towering building and struggled to right it before it could crush fleeing citizens below.

The Amazons of space! he thought. I fought them or some of them back in my long trip through space. They played on emotions, but the emotion used varied from tribe to tribe. Obviously, this bunch uses fear to cripple their foes. Volar’s immunity suggests why he was able to give immunity merely by his proximity to the Outsiders when their own earthly foe tried to create fear in them with a weapon of similar purpose.

The Tormans pointed skyward in awe. “Those men are winning!” cried many. “It’s Volar! He’ll save us!”

Meanwhile, Starman was surrounded, and he knew he had to act or be captured. But he could not move due to the fear. Volar must have been a protection for us while he was near, he thought. Got to flare up! He remained still but generated blinding light.

The Amazons drew back in shock. “The manling shines brightly. Too bad we’ll have to put out his pretty light!” sneered one.

Starman crashed into her and pushed toward the controls. “Not if I do this!” he said, melting them into pulp and watching as the startled women fought to keep their ship from crashing into their own closely packed fleet.

He flew off with one struggling Amazon in his arms. “Come on, lady! You’re going to solve our problems,” he said grimly.

***

Meanwhile, in the streets below, Dolphin, Golden Glider, Lady Blackhawk, and Enchantress were objects of scorn to the assembled masses.

“Women daring to fight battles!” cried one man. “Bah! It is sickening!

“Listen, pal,” Golden Glider said. “Those space chicks kicked your tail, so I’d be happy if I was you to get help from any gender!”

Dolphin smiled. “Easy Glider. They are a different culture.”

Nadir was approached by one man who told him, “Sir, control your women. This is a time of war.”

The Enchantress grinned. “Yes, master — control us!”

“I assure you, sir, these women are in control of themselves,” said Nadir. “Could you not see how these invaders prove the equality of the sexes?”

“Treason!” cried another man.

“Take them to jail!” shrieked a third.

“Uh-oh!” said Dolphin as she prepared for a fight.

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