Ulu Vakk paused in the shadow of a monument and rubbed his sore shoulder. His mind was running wild trying to figure out what would bring the Fatal Five to Shanghalla. Color Kid knew that someone had attempted to steal something from the asteroid before, and that had prompted the removal of any items that might be of interest. He was just about to ask himself what they could be looking for again when his eyes widened with dawning realization. They were looking for a body.
Ulu spun around to find himself staring into his distorted reflection on the globe of Mano’s helmet. Without thinking, he threw a punch that caught the villain by surprise as he struck him in the chest. Even though the attack did no harm, it did give the hero a chance to run.
As the young man disappeared into the shadows, Mano laughed. If the attack was an example of the power they were facing, it would be a better use of their time to focus on the grave and let this stranger suffer the same fate as the asteroid once they got what they came for.
Ulu almost blundered into the Emerald Empress; if he hadn’t spotted the aura that surrounded the Eye of Ekron, he would have done just that.
There’s no way I can face these guys by myself, he thought. A half-hearted grin appeared briefly on his face. If I could just get them to fight each other, it would make my life so much easier… and possibly even longer.
Another idea struck him just seconds before he heard someone else approaching. Staying in the shadows, Ulu watched as Mano walked toward the Empress. From his crouched position, he used a simple maneuver he had seen in some old holo-vids; he tossed a pebble in the direction Mano was coming from.
As the man stopped and the Emerald Empress turned, Ulu attempted something he had only theorized as possible. Using his color-changing abilities, he concentrated on manipulating the shades of the air molecules surrounding Mano until he had completely changed the figure whom the woman saw. Surprised to find herself facing the Legionnaire Timber Wolf, the Emerald Empress commanded, without hesitation, the Eye to blast her foe. The force of the blast not only knocked the confused Mano backward, breaking the monument of a forgotten Rannian warrior, but it left him lying unconscious.
Ulu breathed a sigh of relief. Now to try something he had attempted once before. Remembering when he had changed the color of kryptonite to protect Superboy, he decided to see if the same trick would work on the Eye.
The Empress screamed as her link to the eye, now glowing a bright red, was temporarily severed. Rushing from his hiding place, Ulu delivered a quick blow to the jaw of the attractive villain. She dropped, unconscious, to the ground. Removing his jacket, he tossed it over the Eye and then left, leaving it to bob gently over the body of its fallen mistress.
With his shuttle and its pilot gone, Ulu could only think of one option that would get him off of Shanghalla; he had to contact the Legion. To do that, he would have to get aboard the Fatal Five’s vessel. In less time than it took for him to consider taking the ship and leaving the villains stranded, he had dismissed the idea. If he were successful at such an attempt, they would take out their rage on the asteroid itself. Ulu also knew that he had to protect the grave of the hero they were searching for. Whatever the reason was that their mysterious benefactor wanted the remains, it couldn’t be good. The young man said a quick prayer to the gods of Lupra.
“Please, help me make it to their ship.”
The Lupran gods must have been listening, because Ulu reached the ship without incident. He scanned the area to make certain he was alone, and once he was satisfied, he quickly entered the ship. Once onboard, he started toward the communicator. He had only taken three steps when the pilot’s chair swiveled around.
“I just love a trap that sets itself,” Tharok said as he started to stand.
Ulu took a step back backward.
“I figured that whoever was with that shuttle would need a way off this rock,” Tharok continued, “and the temptation of the only working communicator would be too much to resist.”
“I don’t want any trouble,” Ulu said, immediately realizing how pathetic he sounded.
The human side of Tharok gave him a wicked grin, one made even more terrifying by the unchanging metallic side of the villain. “Killing you will be no trouble.”
Metallic side. The thought came to Ulu, and realizing that he had nothing to lose, he decided to act on it. Looking at Tharok’s foot, he ignored the villain’s threats as he concentrated harder than he ever had before.
“What are you looking at, you fool?”
Ulu never said a word; he just pointed.
Looking down, Tharok was surprised to find his foot beginning to show signs of rust. As his human eye widened in disbelief, his electronic eye detected nothing out of the ordinary. When the rust began to slowly spread up his leg, his human mind tried to comprehend what was happening. The computer half of his brain fought against the human fear that was rising, telling him that nothing was wrong. Despite the reassurances, Tharok could not dismiss what he was seeing. Did this would-be victim really have the power to affect his metallic parts like this?
Unable to counteract the human fears, Tharok’s computer mind began to shut down. Within seconds, his human mind followed suit, causing the villain to slump unconscious to the floor.
Knowing that, even now, Tharok’s computer side was probably in the process of restoring itself, Ulu quickly sent out a distress message to Legion Headquarters.
“This is Color Kid, and I need help.” Not getting an immediate response, he repeated his message. “This is Color Kid. The Fatal Five are attacking Shanghalla.”
“Color Kid, this is Brainiac 5. Are you sure it’s the Fatal Five?”
“I know you don’t think much of us Subs,” Ulu said, somewhat offended at Brainiac 5’s tone, “but I think I know the Fatal Five when I see them.”
“My apologies,” Brainiac 5 said. “I’ll get a group there as soon as possible.”
Ulu glanced at the forward view-screen and saw that Validus was coming back to the ship. He was close enough that the still-burning shuttle was beginning to cast its yellow light on the monster.
“Please, hurry,” Ulu begged. “Validus is coming back to the ship. I’ve got to go.”
The last thing Ulu heard before exiting the ship was the surprise in Brainiac 5’s voice. “Validus? But — that’s impossible.”
Leaving the ship, Ulu ran straight into the masked Persuader.
“Well, well… What do we have here?”
Ulu began to back away, trying to keep himself out of reach of the man’s deadly axe. When a shadow fell across both men, he knew that things had just gone from bad to worse. He glanced up and saw that Validus had arrived.
As his mind raced at what to do, the monster reached down in an attempt to grab the hero. In that same instant, Persuader was preparing to strike. At the last minute, a plan popped into his head, and Color Kid reacted.
Diving between Validus’ outstretched arms, he caught the monster off-guard. As it turned to find Ulu, the twenty-foot-tall villain inadvertently put itself into the path of Persuader’s axe. The contact between the axe and Validus’ arm had results that no one expected.
The creature exploded in a burst of yellow energy.
Ulu was tossed through the air to land hard several feet away, while Persuader was thrown in the opposite direction with an equal amount of force. Unlike Ulu, however, his flight was cut short by the side of the ship; he dropped limply to the ground.
Color Kid tried to stand, but the severe pain in his leg made such a feat impossible. Knowing that he was as good as dead should any of his foes recover, he dragged himself into the shadows of an ancient mausoleum. Despite his attempts to do otherwise, he quickly slipped into unconsciousness.
Ulu opened his eyes to find himself staring into the relieved face of Brainiac 5. “Are you sure?” he asked weakly.
Brainiac 5 smiled.
“I can’t believe it,” Timber Wolf said, walking into view. “The entire Fatal Five, taken down by a Sub.”
“I’ve telepathically scanned the entire asteroid,” Saturn Girl said, “and I can’t find any trace of Validus.”
“He’s gone,” Ulu said as he tried to sit up. “Persuader hit him with his axe, and he exploded in a burst of yellow energy.”
“Any idea what they were doing here?” Brainiac 5 asked.
Ulu told them everything he had heard.
“Whoever this mysterious benefactor is,” Saturn Girl said, “it’s certain that the Legion is going to have its hands full.”
Trillions of miles away, on the planet Korugar, a once-grand manor sat amidst the ruins of a forgotten estate. In the building’s central hall, exposed to the sky above and shrouded in the darkness of a moonless night, a figure centuries old frowned in disappointment.
“They have failed.”
A faint, yellow glow appeared, sending tendrils of energy into the night sky.
“If my centuries have taught me nothing,” the lanky shadow said, adjusting its position on an ancient throne, “it is to be patient. Soon, the body of Captain Comet will belong to me, and then the universe shall tremble.”