Meanwhile, as his friends were confronting the horror of the human power source, Ultra Boy was busy clearing a path through the forces of Tyr to reach them. Jo Nah came from the rugged and relatively young colony world of Rimbor and was used to a rather rough and tumble existence. But in spite of this background, he had always enjoyed a happy family life with his folks and possessed a strong sense of right and wrong. That meant that Jo was able to use his remarkable energy-based powers with a sense of restraint. This was a good thing for the armed and armored warriors of Tyrraz as they charged out of various techno-bunkers to assault the hero. “You fellows play rough, but luckily I can take it!” he said.
He allowed their high-level energy beams to bounce harmlessly off his invulnerable form for a few minutes, and then, at the right moment, he switched that ultra-energy to heat-vision, which he used with astounding precision to melt the metallic hinges that held a network of communications systems above the military base.
Jo allowed himself a brief smile as he saw the warriors race in every direction to escape from the collapsing structure. Nicely done, if I do say so myself! he thought. Switching to super-strength, he then smashed the ground with enough force to shatter it open across an artificial fault line that splintered in a gaping maw, scattering additional warriors as they hurried to avoid falling into the new canyon.
Ultra Boy glanced left and right, then used his penetra-vision to locate Phantom Girl and the others. His expression changed rapidly as he observed their current situation. He did not like what he saw at all.
Back at the core of Tyrraz, within the heavily shielded engine room, the other Legionnaires had learned that the all-powerful, pink-hued Controller had become the unwilling, living fuel source that drove the planet through space on its path of conquest.
“He’s so withered and gaunt!” said Shrinking Violet. “What could have done that to him? I mean, the Controllers used Sun-Eaters as pets!”
“I know,” said Chameleon Boy. “It looks like something has literally drained most of his life from him! From what I’ve read of the recent Dark Man case, I’d suspect the Controller fell victim to the Dark Man when that vampire was rampaging through space, attacking immortal beings for Nekron.”
Brainiac 5 nodded. “I concur. While at this point all we can do is speculate, I agree that that may indeed be the most likely reason the Controller was left weakened to the point where Tyr and his allies could do this to him. If Nekron’s power enabled Dark Man to almost entirely drain the life from a Guardian of Oa, then I see no reason why it could not be behind this sad situation.”
Zsaka smiled bitterly and raised her golden wrist-gun. “Well, there’s one easy and fun way to remedy the situation!” she said with a cruel smile.
Invisible Kid started to jump forward to prevent her from shooting at the helpless Controller, when Brainiac 5 stepped clumsily into his way. Zsaka frowned as her cybernetic weapon refused to fire. “By the bones of my ancestors, what treachery is this?” she hissed.
Shrinking Violet’s eyes narrowed as she observed the actions of all involved. She had noticed the exchange between Brainiac 5 and Jacques, and she had little doubt that something beyond clumsiness was involved in the brilliant man’s actions.
Before any of the heroes could speak or react, Ultra Boy joined them and stood protectively in front of his beloved Phantom Girl. “Zsaka, the Legion has a code against killing!” he said. “If you’re with us, you’ll abide by it!”
Zsaka scowled and tossed back her flowing platinum-white hair as she stepped much closer to the Rimborian youth, staring into his eyes with a look that mixed anger with interest. “What did you do to me?” she demanded. “My cyber-weapon ignored my command! I will not be violated in such a manner!”
Before Brainiac 5 could reply, Chameleon Boy retracted his elongated neck and warned, “Warriors are coming in fast!”
“Plan forty-five, as we discussed!” shouted Brainiac 5.
Phantom Girl nodded and faded from view as she stepped directly into Ultra Boy. Vi instantly shrank down and climbed inside one of the hollow compartments of Brainiac 5’s equipment belt. Jacques Foccart became invisible, and Reep Daggle transformed himself into a tiny Jovian fly.
At that moment, Tyr and his legions closed in on them from all sides. The brawny warlord stroked his beard and smiled wickedly as he began to gloat. Light reflected off of his own cybernetic handgun, and he raised it in a threatening manner. “Well met, Legionnaires!” he said. “I little expected to have such cherished guests on my world again!”
Zsaka cursed and charged forward in her passionate desire to end his mocking words, but to her dismay, her own wrist-gun swung around and stunned her with a blow to the head.
“We can’t afford to fight while we’re outnumbered and have lost the element of surprise!” said Brainiac 5. “Our plan to swiftly destroy the planet’s engine power source has failed!”
“Don’t presume to toy with me!” said Tyr. “My cyber-sensors detect your invisible ally, as well as the Durlan posing as a fly!” Jacques and Reep resumed their normal appearances with hands raised in surrender.
Tyr laughed and said, “You can’t outwit a warlord of Tyrraz!” Tyr had the warriors under his command carry Zsaka and lead the captive Chameleon Boy, Brainiac 5, Ultra Boy, and Chameleon Boy into a room beyond the engine room and higher up in the multi-leveled complex. “I had no desire to let this rebel depart, but I was assured that she would be the perfect bait to lure you here, or even kill some of you,” he said with a barking laugh. “It seems my information was correct! It is rather amusing to see her try to use her weapon against me when that is no longer possible!”
Inside the compartment of the equipment belt, Shrinking Violet nodded to herself. That’s why Brainy didn’t let Jacques try to stop Zsaka from shooting the Controller, she thought. He knew that she would not be able to do so. I’d wager that means that Brainy figured out that Tyr had tampered with Zsaka’s cyber-gun as well as with her mind! That’s got to be why he had us surrender. He used the telepathic plugs to warn us not to fight, and this must be his reason why!
Phantom Girl had obeyed her friend’s orders, although she had to fight her own natural impulse to slip off to fight again or to free her pals at a later time. She had been a Legionnaire longer than any of the members assembled on Tyrraz, yet she was willing to yield to Brainiac 5’s computerized genius and bide her time. She remained concealed within Jo Nah’s body and waited. Brainy knows what he’s doing, she thought. I have to believe that!
Tyr pointed to a row of machines and ordered his warriors, “You dogs! Be careful around these fine heroes! I don’t doubt any one of them could put you all to flight with one harsh look! Restrain them while we bring young Zsaka back around to a more agreeable state!”
He had two of the soldiers carry the stunned woman forward, and he bent back her head as he held out one of the metallic mind-control devices. Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy, and Invisible Kid waited as the warriors directed their weapons at the heroes.
“Tyr, even at a moment like this, my intellectual curiosity leads me to ask how you retained control of Zsaka,” said Brainiac 5. “I personally removed the device you placed in her ear.”
Tyr sneered as he replied, “As you can see, my men have already placed another device in the vixen’s ear, and I had already placed a second more subtle control link within her cyber-weapon. You fleshy punks don’t know about the many ways we cyber-warriors share a bond with our armaments!” He gestured to where his men had released the now-wakeful Zsaka. “She is mine, body and soul, through both mind and weapon now! It is a pity we can’t do the same thing to your kind!” he grunted.
Brainiac 5 nodded and said, “Fascinating. You might be equally interested to learn that I actually did discover the secondary control feature you implanted in her cyber-gun. I would have to be a total idiot to not take into account such a possibility after past encounters with you and your own semi-sentient weapon! I merely allowed you to recapture Zsaka and return her to a stronger link to your systems here so the virus I placed within the cyber-weapon could, in turn, invade and destroy all your weaponry systems!”
Tyr roared and said, “He’s bluffing! He has to be!”
Brainiac 5 shook his head and said, “Pointless boasting would be juvenile.”
Tyr roared and raised his own cyber-gun, but it refused to fire. All around the room, his cyber-warriors faced the same problem. The virus Brainiac 5 had infected Zsaka with had now entered all of their systems via the bond Tyr had established with the rebel woman. “What of the war on Colu?” said Tyr. “Surely we can still burn that cold world into cinders?”
A warrior shook his head and said, “All systems have failed! We’re beaten!” Tyr roared and charged forward, only to be swatted across the room by a super-strong Ultra Boy.
Shrinking Violet and Phantom Girl emerged from their respective hiding places as the heroes sprang into action. Violet landed a spinning kick on a warrior that left him reeling backward. She flew forward and punched him in the face until he fell to the ground. “Typical male. If his gun won’t work, he falls apart!” she said with a grin.
Phantom Girl allowed three other warriors to surround her, then she swooped directly through them and watched them crash into one another. She wiped her hands together as she watched them fall flat.
Ultra Boy was equally busy as he continued battering Tyr across the room. “You know, last time we met, I left you in the same position!” he said as he stood over the fallen tyrant.
Chameleon Boy freed Zsaka of the restraints and explained the situation. “Brainy says your weapon will be yours again in a matter of minutes. That’s how long his virus should take to rid you of any lingering restraints placed on it by Tyr.”
Zsaka nodded and leaped into battle. “I am a battle maid of Tyrraz! I can fight with my hands without my weapon!” she cried as she tackled a burly warrior and slammed her knee into his face.
“My friends, I have freed the Controller!” said Invisible Kid. “They were helpless to stop me, since I had him out of his bonds before they could detect me. With their cyborg sensors down, they were as blind as any person would be when faced with an invisible man!”
He led the withered pink Controller forward, and the ancient being spoke for the first time. “My thanks, Legionnaires. I was weakened by Nekron’s foul pawn, and then I fell victim to an attack by Tyr. He used me to fuel his engines and bring Tyrraz back into a mobile state. I am humbled by my own folly. I will return the planet to its customary place, and I will vow never to allow Tyrraz to become a threat again!”
“We’ve all been ambushed before,” said Phantom Girl. “Don’t take it so hard.”
“Controller, just how do you intend to keep your promise?” asked Chameleon Boy.
The Controller stared at the Durlan for several moments, then said, “Why, I will do what I should have done before. I will destroy Tyrraz and all who dwell upon it!”