On New Chronus, a shrouded figure cradled Diana. The infant’s keen eyes held a secret — Jericho was within the baby.
Joe Wilson had possessed Knockout and used her memory to find Diana. He had arrived in time to see the shrouded figure teleport in and pick up the child. Granny Goodness’ guards were stunned with ease by the mysterious figure. Joe had tried to make contact with the figure, but no features were revealed beneath the shroud. So he did the next best thing — he locked eyes with the infant Diana and rode within her tiny body to this odd new world.
He ventured out just long enough for his signal to register on the com-link. The baby was left alone for a very brief time as he marveled at the wonders he saw. Greek architecture rose with ancient splendor on this alien world. He wondered if this world was tied in with Lilith’s Olympian heritage or Donna’s Amazonian past. Either could explain why the baby that once was Wonder Woman had been brought here.
A new figure entered to tend the baby. She was some servant or nurse. She cooed to the child and said, “Fear not, precious. Here you’ll join the other Seeds and grow in power to better serve the Master.”
Joe listened intently. Seeds? Master? What madness is this? he wondered. He switched bodies and possessed the nurse. Her memories became his, and he learned what Hippolyta had already explained to the others. This world had been a Titan experiment in which they hoped to raise a generation of mortals in their image. The rebellion of Zeus had ended all such plans, and their Seeds had been in a timeless suspended animation of sorts for eons.
This had changed when he came. The Master had freed the Seeds and made use of their Titan-spawned powers. The Master? Joe could see a regal form, but no name beyond the Master came to his searching mind. He saw the Seeds — Earth children cast aside in ancient times and brought through space to this world and given wonderful powers by the Titans before their fall. He gasped as for a second he saw the image of one Seed that he had already met.
Queen Hippolyta pointed at the columns and said, “This world clearly is the one from my old legends. It has the feel of Olympian glory about it. If Diana has been brought here, it must be related to our gods and goddesses. Perhaps they mistook her for another abandoned child.”
Artemis patted her mother’s arm gently. “We’ll find her.”
Kole said, “I hope so. Plus, we must be getting closer to Jericho, even though we’ve lost his signal.”
The Flash raced through the streets and said, “As we already detected, the atmosphere is like that of Earth. My powers work here the same, too. We should be OK. I saw very few people — some scattered servant types. They spoke of tending the Seeds. I did not see Joe or Diana.”
Arsenal said, “Seeds? Great. We’re on the Home and Garden planet.”
Gar grinned. “Pod people!”
Cyborg said, “Can’t take you anywhere.”
Lilith said, “Azrael, I feel this place was designed by Thia and the other Titans as Hippolyta said. This is a real chance to experience my heritage.”
Azrael held her tightly. “Something about this world calls to me as well. Have I been here before?”
The shrouded figure called the Master appeared in a thunderous crash of lightning. “Indeed, my pawn, you have! You were among the early Seeds rescued and brought here by the Titans before their fall. They gave you your wings and empathic gifts before placing you and the other altered infants in suspended animation. You would have remained as such, had I not spanned time and space to locate you. I implanted within you your tracking abilities and sent you to find the one I sought. You did so — at last,” he said.
Azrael gasped. “I sense he speaks the truth. At last I know my past. But why did you use me to seek Lilith? She and I have such a bond because of our common Titan-influenced past… heritage… formation! Still, why send me so unerringly to her? She is my love, not yours!”
Lilith’s eyes widened in understanding. “He did not send you to find me, although we were drawn together as you said. He wanted you to locate…” she began.
“I wanted you to locate the baby Diana! You did that indirectly, as I saw all you witnessed through my control of you, my loyal and unknowing hound,” said the man as he cast aside his cloak to reveal a tunic and armor of Olympian design.
Hippolyta said, “You mistake the case. Diana is not one of the abandoned children in need of rescue. She is not a Seed for you to use.”
He laughed and said, “Indeed, she is not, Grandmother. She will be much more someday. She will be my mother,” he said.
Artemis gasped. “You’re from the future!”
He said, “Correct, Aunt Donna. Only, rather than saying I come from the future, let us say the future belongs to me — to Lord Chaos.”
Hippolyta said, “You do have a masculine version of Diana’s features, yet what madness is it you speak?”
Artemis added, “Diana will give birth to you? You’re her future son? She is just a baby now. She was returned to her infant state after the Crisis.”
Lord Chaos sneered in disdain. “The Crisis! The Crisis! It was that insanity that caused me such trouble. I fully expected to find my mother as an adult and my birth occurring at a specific time. Yet the Crisis ruined all! Mother vanished. The man I believed fathered me vanished. My very birth became problematic. Thus I realized in some timelines I was born, while in others Diana died, became an infant, or only became Wonder Woman much later. Thus I journeyed back to one possible timeline to make certain my birth occurred as it had in the history I knew. That history led to my conquest of the world. I found this world and freed the Seeds. The Titans had abandoned them in their rejoicing over being allied with their own children, the Olympians.”
Artemis said, “So you freed Azrael and empowered him with the tracking skills, raised him to instant adulthood, equipped him with his vaguely Olympian garb, all to find and protect your mother?”
“Indeed! I seek to make her life follow a path of my choosing. Since she did not give birth to me in this one timeline, I shall still benefit from her,” he said.
Hippolyta said, “You will not harm my child.”
He said, “Of course not. I intend to age her to womanhood and mate with her. The Olympians have never shared the mortal repulsion at such acts. She will help me secure my dynasty, since it was alterations to her fate that first endangered it.”
Arsenal said, “This guy is a flake.”
Kole nodded as she searched for any sign of Jericho.
Chaos turned to Hippolyta. “You are my grandmother. Thus, I shall forgive your impudence.”
She said, “I want Diana. I’ll have her!”
He smiled and waved his hand, and she vanished from view.
“Mother!” cried Artemis. “What did you do to her?”
He said, “I put her back in time. She is reliving her last few weeks, oblivious to what has since occurred.”
Cyborg said, “This dude’s better than a wake-up call.”
Gar said, “Yeah, trouble is, with a nut like him, you could be sleeping for a thousand years.”
Azrael said, “I tell you, I knew nothing of this. He may have freed me from the Titans’ spell and sent me to find Diana, but I recall nothing before STAR Labs.”
Lilith said, “We believe you. He is clearly a madman.”
Chaos frowned. “Were you not the spawn of my ancestors, I’d teach you manners, you nubile nymph.”
Gar joked, “I thought that was Kory.”
Raven said, “Your power is great, but you also are ill. The power has driven you mad. Let us help you.”
Chaos said, “Let me help you — to your grave.”
The Flash raced forward and tackled Raven as energy flashed and missed the girl by less than an inch. “That was too close!” he sighed.
She remained in his arms and enjoyed the sensation as she said, “Thank you, Wallace.”
Starfire flew toward the mad god and said, “Let’s stop him now!”
He said, “Alien, I will let you vent your animalistic rage upon my other Seeds.”
A pale beauty in black rode forward on a silvery shield. Next to her was a woman all of crystalline clarity and sheath. A blond youth in green charged forward near a black teen and a vampiric youth. A redheaded girl with wings soared into sight as well.
“Argent, Prysm, Risk, Joto, Mirage, Nightrider, Redwing. They were the other Titan Seeds but are now under my thrall. I introduce them but you may just consider them to be your murderers,” he said.
Arsenal reached for an arrow. “Pick a target. This could get rough,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jericho had departed from Princess Diana’s body, and he scooped her gently into his arms. He hurried out to see the battle raging between his allies and Lord Chaos. He gasped as Queen Hippolyta vanished in a flash of light. He prayed Diana had not just lost her mother.
During his time in the nurse, he had experienced her memory of how Chaos had freed the winged Azrael from the Titan gestation pod and endowed him with maturity and tracking powers. Jericho hoped he would live long enough to give the mysterious alien the answers to his clouded past.
He caught Garfield Logan’s eye and indicated that he had Diana. Gar smiled, turned into a large bird, and flew up to meet Jericho. “You found her! Good work!” Changeling said.
Joe Wilson grinned and handed her to Gar, who changed form again but not to a larger beast who could carry both down to safety. Instead, he shimmered and became an attractive South American woman in a revealing costume.
“Sorry, handsome. I’m just Mirage, not that there’s anything just about me,” she laughed.
He tried to grab her, but she dodged and vanished. He realized she could control what he saw or where he saw her. He figured that she had concealed the infant as well.
The real Changeling gasped as the pale beauty called Argent sent slivers of silvery energy toward him. He turned to a rabbit and bounded clear. Man, she looks like Ally Sheedy or Brooke Shields minus a tan, he thought.
Cyborg punched directly at the blond called Risk. The boy shrugged off Vic’s best effort and smacked him down with apparent ease. Shoot! This punk is strong. I’m the one at risk here, not him, thought Vic.
Arsenal sent a net arrow toward the flying Redwing, who twisted agilely to dodge it. These kids are under his spell. They are not to blame. Still, they’ve made us look bad so far. We gotta regroup. Maybe Dick is the only leader for us, thought Roy Harper.
Raven vanished in smoke as Prysm flew toward her. She sensed a bizarre image of fantasy and sitcoms mixed together in the girl’s emotional composition. “She lacks any tie to reality. I suppose that is due to Chaos and his mind-games,” said Raven.
The Flash frowned as he sped toward Joto. “They’re victims, too, but I need to shut them down fast to help Donna cope with this.”
Artemis had tossed her lasso toward Lord Chaos, who stepped through it and slapped her to the ground. “I never liked you, Auntie Donna. You were sooo prim and proper. Perhaps you need to let down your hair and see life on the wild side. Yes! Let me use my time powers to make you live a few dozen lifespans as women of rather looser circumstances,” he laughed.
“No!” she cried as his touch sent her spinning through time.
The teen called Joto seemed to generate heat and was stronger than a normal man. The Flash vibrated as he sent both heat and a huge rock toward him. He allowed both to pass harmlessly through him as he delivered dozens of super-fast blows to Joto’s chin. He fell forward at Flash’s feet.
Artemis returned with her eyes wide and a silent scream on her lips.
Raven rushed to comfort her, as did Starfire. “Artemis is full of pain. She has lived lifetimes of hurt in seconds,” explained Raven as she held Donna Troy Long. “Let me take away her pain.”
She gasped as she truly experienced what could only be called generations of suffering in one concentrated dose. Raven refused to stop until she had drawn all the pain from her friend’s body and soul. She did so and fainted at Donna’s feet.
“Raven, thank you. What have you done to yourself? That fiend! He made me love and lose those I loved. He gave me hope and snatched it away,” she muttered.
Starfire flew skyward and blasted Redwing to earth without slowing. “You monster! You sick monster!” she yelled as she blasted away at Chaos.
Arsenal kicked the vampiric Nightrider off of Changeling and rolled aside to fire a flare arrow. The brilliant light sent the toothy youth reeling as his nocturnal senses suffered from the flash of light. “Always works in the films. If Cushing had had one of these babies, Lee would have been toast,” joked Arsenal.
Cyborg caught Kole as she went flying after a blast of colorful energy from Prysm knocked her across the field.
Jericho suddenly caught Risk’s eyes and took control. He belted Nightrider and shoved Argent aside.
Kole smiled weakly and caught the woman called Argent in a crystal cone. “That should hold Little Miss Personality,” said Kole.
Jericho signaled his approval with his J gesture.
Lord Chaos saw Mirage fall as well, as Cyborg’s mechanical sensors detected her masked heartbeat, and his white sound dropped her cold.
“Bah! These striplings are useless to me. I’ll try them again in fifty years or so. To me, Diana!” he cried, and the baby materialized in his arms.
Artemis cried, “No!” She jumped toward her sister and her nephew, but she frowned as both vanished.
Lilith Clay appeared in a flash of light. “I have brought help!” she said as she dropped to her knees from strain.
Azrael guarded her as always as he wondered what these siblings of his were truly like when not under the spell of Chaos.
“Where’d you go, legs?” asked Arsenal.
Lilith said, “To Olympus — to get the true Titans!”
They all saw the looming figures of the surviving Titans of myth as they appeared and reclaimed their world.
“By Saturn! I had little dreamt of this place during our eons of imprisonment,” said Themis.
“That was because I used my gifts to block the memory from us all. I thought it all too painful for us to stand,” said Mnemosyne.
Lord Chaos appeared in shock with baby Diana as the power of these Titans came to bear upon him. He cried out once. “Mother!” And he fell senseless to the ground.
“Is he dead?” gasped Artemis as she held Diana.
“No, we merely clouded his mind so that he has no sense of self or memory. We shall tend to his needs and perhaps restore this misguided man,” said Rhea.
“What about this place and all of the other Seeds? Must they suffer for his actions?” begged Azrael.
“No, my child. They are free as well. I suggest we help them a bit to cope with their roles and then send them out to the world to do good works with our lessons and our gifts,” said Rhea.
“Mr. Jupiter would make a perfect teacher for these mighty teens,” said Lilith.
Azrael embraced her and swept her up into his arms. “I have found myself. The birthright I claim is tied to your own. Thus was I drawn through time and space to find you, though never was that Chaos’s intent for me,” he said.
She kissed him and said, “The amnesia must have been a side effect of your journey to Earth in that odd craft of his — his chariot, or so he thought of it.”
Arsenal said, “Let’s get back home. The fruitcake is on ice, and the kids are in good hands.”
Artemis nodded. “I agree with you. A calm homecoming is all I want. Peace, quiet, and Terry’s arms.”