Hikari opened her eyes to find odd clamps around her wrists; she swiftly deduced their purpose was to inhibit her powers. She could not release light bursts nor alter her light form except to diminish her customary brilliance.
Sora, Thunderlord, Rising Sun, Thunder, and Lightning were similarly bound with devices that prevented them from using their own powers. They were also beginning to recover from the energy blast that felled them earlier. They were aboard the flying craft, and it hovered above a chain of islands as displayed on a series of view-screens.
Thank goodness the device over Thunderlord’s throat and mouth does not prevent him from breathing, she thought as she spotted the painful-looking machine that covered the hero’s head. He is apparently unharmed but powerless.
She also saw the villains and their apparent leader. A woman clad completely in purple and gold armor, including a face mask that concealed her features while leaving her long, black hair free, stood before them and adjusted certain machines while a young woman in a torn white dress stood nearby. She showed no emotion and made no movements.
That must be Anje Omi. She appears to be in a trance, deduced Hikari.
Rising Sun eyed the woman as well and noticed that she was now wearing ornately patterned additions to her dress. An amulet, belt, and tiara rested on her still form. “That’s the belt you took from the temple in Vietnam,” he said. “I’d wager you secured the other two items from Taiwan.”
The armored woman said, “Correct. Securing the relics you see on my slave was the purpose of my jaunt across the globe. Her latent powers will only manifest fully now that the magical items required for her ascension have been acquired and one of the priests of an ancient sect has concluded a ritual of power.”
“Who are you?” asked Sora. “What have you done to that poor girl?”
The metal-clad woman said, “I am known as Doctor Cyber. Before interference from Wonder Woman splintered my organization, I had a network of agents that spread across the globe. They lived to serve me. Their only goal was to secure my agenda, and my agenda was one of total self-aggrandizement. However, through her accursed meddling, Wonder Woman left me bereft of my agents and disfigured in face. That is why I hide my former beauty beneath this cold metal shell.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Cyber’s Revenge,” Wonder Woman #188 (May-June, 1970) and “The Beauty Hater,” Wonder Woman #200 (May-June, 1972).]
“I am sorry for your injuries,” said Sora, “but you can’t expect the world to pity you when you threaten and harm others!”
Doctor Cyber laughed and said, “You are naïve. I don’t want pity. I want abject submission. I will achieve dominance of the world through my hypnotic enslaved pawn, there. She is unharmed. She hears and sees all around her, but she may not act without my consent. I have made her my helpless pawn. She will usher in an era of triumph for me!”
Hikari noticed the silent Thunder and Lightning were looking at each other intently. She suspected the siblings possessed some kind of personal telepathy. Clearly they could communicate without speaking. Perhaps they were now plotting some new tactic to free the captives. She also began to diminish and increase her glow in a particular pattern. While the alteration of light emission did not go unnoticed, Doctor Cyber apparently felt the bonds rendered such displays harmless.
“In spite of your pretty light show, I already know who you are, Dr. Hoshi,” said Doctor Cyber. “Your mind rivals mine in sheer brilliance. I will tell you how the world is about to bow down to me, because your intellect marks you as worthy of such understanding.”
Sora gasped as she realized her employer was the gleaming heroine before them. Dr. Hoshi is Hikari! she thought. I couldn’t see through the glow around her body! That explains how she knew Jiro so well.
Hikari nodded at the girl with understanding as she added, “Doctor Cyber, where exactly are we?”
“This chain of islands is known as Agolea,” explained Doctor Cyber. “It includes a small island that once enjoyed sovereignty of its own: Badhnisia. That island now is part of the nation of Agolea. Anje Omi is a native of that land, and it is due to her unique parentage that she possessed almost unlimited power. She can tap into other-dimensional forces that, in turn, can shape reality at her every whim. She has always had the ability to perform subtle magic, but she has never understood the origin or nature of the power. She ran away from her home as a teen and became a part of Japan’s underworld as a girl from the water trade. I tracked her down and enslaved her. I also secured the relics needed to perform the ritual that would grant her total command of the powers at her disposal.”
“You made her your slave so you could use her power to take over the world!” said Rising Sun.
Doctor Cyber nodded and said, “Exactly. The Agolean priests obeyed my orders and have performed the needed ritual to give the girl full access to the other-dimensional magic she may command. Had Badhnisia not fallen to Agolea long ago, perhaps they would have granted such power to another qualified candidate. (*) As it is, only Anje Omi of Agolea has the needed power.”
[(*) Editor’s note: On Earth-Two, Johnny Thunder was granted the magic power of the Thunderbolt by the sovereign nation of Badhnisia; see Johnny Thunderbolt, Flash Comics #1 (January, 1940).]
Sora inhaled sharply and said, “When Anje said I should be Sora, her magic made me into a superhuman girl!”
Doctor Cyber nodded and said, “Yes! Her command of the magic is based upon verbal directives!”
Hikari smiled as her flickering glow began to achieve its purpose. She had been using the pattern of light changes to undo the hypnosis that held Anje, and the girl’s eyes widened as she came out of the trance Cyber had placed her in. She had indeed heard and seen all that had transpired, and she smiled coldly in anticipation of a revenge of her own.
“Before I slay you all and enslave the world,” said Doctor Cyber, “I will be restored to what I was before!” She approached Anje and said, “I command you to make me as I was before the accident that scarred my face!”
Anje nodded, and a wicked gleam came into her eyes as she said, “You are the woman you were before your disfigurement!”
Instantly, Doctor Cyber’s armor vanished, along with her mask. She stood before them as a beautiful young Asian woman in an ordinary dress. She touched her face and smiled with pleasure at the change. “Excellent!” she said. “Now to complete my victory!”
Anje said, “You are, in fact, a child of five!“
The restored Doctor Cyber gasped as she changed into a small girl.
“But you still have the mind and memories of your adult self!” continued Anje. She stepped forward and added, “You wanted to be your old self. Now live this way forever! Your body will not age!”
Doctor Cyber shrieked with rage as the horror of her plight sank in. She cried in a squeaky child’s voice, “Get her! Force her to obey me!”
“We do not take orders from a mere child!” scoffed Yureyu. “Let us kill the captives and seek material wealth!”
Anje jumped forward and said, “You will freeze! You aided her in my capture. You will pay! All of Cyber’s gang will pay. You will remain frozen while those who tried to rescue me take you to prison!”
She freed Hikari and the others and said, “I owe you my freedom. I now return the favor.”
“Young lady, you have a remarkable power,” said Rising Sun. “Let us aid you in learning its proper use.”
“No,” said Anje. “It is time I got what I wanted. I’m tired of being a plaything or object for others to desire and use as they please. You will all forget you ever knew of me or my powers!”
With those words, her magic made them forget about her. She smiled with pleasure and vanished with the command, “Take me back to Tokyo!”
As the magic worked, the heroes found themselves on the craft with the captive villains but no memory of Anje Omi’s abduction or her strange powers.
“We have the criminals who attacked the convention and their allies, but we still don’t know what made me become Sora!” the girl said.
“You may be a mutant,” suggested Hikari. “The stress of the situation triggered something in you that allowed the powers to surface.”
“You may use those powers for good,” said Thunderlord. “We will all help train you! You should consider yourself one of the Global Guardians now! The invitation extends to you as well, Thunder and Lightning.” Sora and the Vietnamese twins agreed excitedly.
As they piloted the ship back homeward, Hikari frowned with concern. Doctor Cyber must have sent them after me, she thought. She learned my secret and knew I would be with Jiro. She wanted to use my power for her own purposes. I suppose the relics from the temples were part of some cryptic plan of her own devising. I can only assume their misuse led to her strange change and their own destruction. I do not see any trace of them.
Thus, as a new group of allies enjoyed a victory and one old threat came to a bizarre end, yet another powerful force for either good or evil remained at large and free to shape the world and her own destiny as she wished.