The Outsiders: Outsiders and Insiders, Chapter 2: Bedlam Beneath the Earth

by Libbylawrence

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Looker used her mental powers to block the sudden onrush of spears as troops of warriors burst into the hall.

“It is Kyack’s legions!” cried Rema.

Halo flew up and gently used her tractor beam to haul the Abyssians to safety, while Windfall’s burst of storm-force wind blasted the invaders backward.

Katana grimly drew her blade and strode forward to face the army. She leaped upward and spun through the air to land with both feet on a soldier’s chest. He grunted and fell back even as she sliced through the sword of a second trooper.

Halo flared brighter and used her heat beam to melt the sloped doorway through which the army had forced an entrance. It curled from the girl’s intense heat and blocked the passage. “That’ll even the odds,” she said.

Windfall flew close to her friend and said, “Halo, how do these men hope to stop super-powered folks like us?” She caused an updraft, which tossed the two closest soldiers skyward before letting them slam to the floor with stunning force.

Halo laughed, “We do have an advantage. Gosh, even Katana by herself would have an advantage over these losers!”

Indeed, the warrior woman was everywhere with her slicing blade and darting blows. She grimly decimated a legion on her own.

Looker posed on a table and cooed, “Come closer, boys. I’ll show you some real entertainment.” Her eyes flared, and the troops spun around to duel each other for her favors. “Gotta love being me,” she laughed.

Suddenly, she choked in pain as a crushing cascade of water slammed into her without warning. Gasping, she felt the wave hit her again with almost human purpose as it knocked her breathless. A huge fist then slapped her flat, and she moved no more.

“Oh, no! It’s Becky with the other Masters of Disaster!” cried Wendy in panic as she saw her evil sister, New-Wave.

Katana felt herself caught by a crackling energy whip that coiled around her so fast she dropped her deadly blade. “Syonide!” she muttered as she recognized the costumed female contract killer and landed a hard kick to her face. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Death and Remembrance,” Batman and the Outsiders #20 (April, 1985).]

Halo dodged the flames jetting out from Heatstroke, only to see Windfall move directly into their path in a futile effort to shield her beloved friend. “Wendy! No!” she gasped. Windfall passed out from the intense heat, which otherwise did no real damage.

“I don’t kill children,” snapped Heatstroke as she admired her work.

I do!” shrieked New-Wave as she elongated upward on a crest and slammed into Halo’s distracted form. Halo fell, and Shakedown grabbed her from behind and squeezed until the petite blond passed out as well.

“Nice going!” he shouted.

Coldsnap frosted over Katana as Syonide stood up and rubbed her broken jaw. “Thad widch broge my jaw!” she shouted.

“We’ll break her neck, and all of her friends shall die as well,” said a calm man who entered the hall.

“Baron Bedlam!” gasped Shakedown.

“Yes,” said the cold-hearted maniac. “My new ally, Kyack, does very good work. I live anew from the cloned sample you preserved. I thank you for that.”

Kyack followed. “Baron Bedlam was perfectly attuned with how best to beat these Outsiders who were summoned here to defend this Abyssia from my troops. We shall rule the inner world together!”

Baron Bedlam smiled and nodded. Oh, I have many plans for the future, you witless idiot, he thought.

***

Sometime later, Black Lightning, Metamorpho, and Geo-Force examined the remains of the Mighty Mole deep underground. They had tracked it with the homing device kept onboard.

“Somebody did a real job on this baby,” said Black Lightning as he looked over the twisted metal frame. “It looks like Superman, or even Brion, here, had a mad-on for it.”

“Yeah, good thing Stagg’s little tracker device didn’t get busted up,” said Metamorpho. “I wonder who attacked them. And what did Stagg really send them down here for?”

Geo-Force frowned as he shifted the wreckage. “Perhaps this will tell us,” he said. “It appears to be something like a journal or recorder of data.”

“Good work!” said Black Lightning with a smile. “That’s exactly what it is. Let’s see if I can add some power and get it to play.” He did so, and the recorder droned on in the voice of Cave Carson himself.

“My scanners record that Stagg was correct in his data. There is a power source here of epic proportions and of extraterrestrial nature. It appears to be a huge radioactive meteor that serves the community below as a light source. I doubt he has benign intentions for it. We may have words over this when we’re done.”

“Yeah, Cave was right about that,” muttered Metamorpho. “A meteor. We know what that old reprobate wanted with a radioactive meteor. He hoped it was like the piece o’ space called the Orb of Ra that lays a hoodoo on me. Even though I’m his son-in-law, he’s still gunning for me.”

“But what attacked them?” questioned Black Lightning.

“Perhaps that is the answer we seek,” added Geo-Force as a flying man dropped down in their midst.

He was the powerful Prince Raynor, and he tore into them like he had the Mole. Slamming into Geo-Force, he knocked him flat. Metamorpho turned into an iron clamp and gripped the orange-and-blue-costumed prince but failed to restrain his mighty form. Raynor received a charge of electrical force from Black Lightning but merely turned and walked directly through the barrage without visible effort.

“This guy is super, all right!” shouted Black Lightning. “Rex, try to sedate him!”

Geo-Force shrugged off the blow and applied his gravity-inducing powers on his foe, and the two were soon locked into battle.

Two regal combatants met in a fierce struggle beneath the earth as Geo-Force — Prince Brion of Markovia — tested his powers against Prince Raynor of the Inner-World. Geo-Force concentrated on applying his ability to increase Raynor’s personal gravity, hoping to reduce his strength and slow him down. It didn’t work very well. Raynor slowed down slightly, but his punches were still strong. He skillfully fought Geo-Force to a standstill.

“He appears to be in some kind of trance!” cried Brion.

Metamorpho enveloped Raynor as a cloud of sleeping gas, but the prince blew him apart with ease and slugged Geo-Force to the ground. He had just jumped back up to fight anew when a female form darted between them.

“Stop, Raynor!” she cried, positioning herself in front of Geo-Force and Black Lightning. “These men are beaten! Let them be!” The woman’s red locks were curled and long, she wore a short, sleeveless purple dress and golden bracelets and a golden belt, and her face was lovely. Prince Raynor glanced once at her and then suddenly flew off.

“Thanks, miss. We weren’t doing so well against him,” added Black Lightning ruefully.

“That is to be expected when facing Prince Raynor himself,” she said. “He is the champion of the Inner-World — or was, before the madness consumed him.” At this, she broke into tears.

“Hey, doll, don’t take it so hard,” said the now re-formed Metamorpho. “We’ll help you.”

“If you can, you shall be rewarded, for I am Raynor’s sister, the Princess Vee-Raa,” she explained. “And thanks to the wondrous elixir called chalice nectar, I gain the same powers as my brother, but only when I am on the surface world. Weeks ago, he fell victim to some mind-clouding illness, and he has obeyed some inner demon ever since. He used his power to attack our neighbors, and ere long he shall triumph. But this conquest is not his normal manner. He has long been held to be our truest hero.”

“Sounds like some sap has taken over his brain,” said Metamorpho. “Those other underworld people called the Abyssians were into mind games. I wonder if they could be behind the disappearance of the women.”

“True enough,” said Geo-Force. “Our female friends vanished without explanation before we left, and we didn’t connect them to this place, but one underworld kingdom gone crazy could well be related to the trouble in a neighboring one.”

“The Abyssians are our neighbors,” said Vee-Raa, “and they are battling both my poor brother and the forces of Kyack — who is called the Cruel.”

“Who is he?” asked Metamorpho. “Could he be behind Raynor’s madness?”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “While he is our enemy, he is also attacked regularly by Prince Raynor, so he cannot be my brother’s evil demon. And now he has powerful allies of his own — they are costumed much like you are.”

“Really?” asked Black Lightning as the group followed the shapely Princess Vee-Raa to her homeland. “That makes it sound like other upper-world meta-humans are involved, and many of them are mind-controllers. Psimon comes to mind, although he’s dead.”

“I may give you descriptions of them and their powers,” she said. “One is a woman who can transform herself into water, a second woman is a flame generator–”

“The Masters of Disaster,” interrupted Metamorpho grimly.

“We know Kyack’s meta-humans, and they’re bad news from way back,” said Black Lightning. “Let us deal with them, and then we’ll work on Raynor’s problem.”

Vee-Raa smiled radiantly and said, “You are true heroes sent to preserve us all.”

In time, Princess Vee-Raa had let the male Outsiders to the kingdom of the Inner-World, which was brightly lit from above and made the land below exist in one eternal summer’s day. “Say, that glowing light source up there must be what old Stagg thought would do me in,” said Metamorpho. “It is a meteor, but not anything like the Orb of Ra.”

“I suspect it is something to be reckoned with, though,” said Geo-Force.

As they left the area, a stranger watched them from afar. He turned to Prince Raynor and said, “See them? They little suspect how that meteor will restore me to my former level of power and allow me to pay Adam Blake back for his humiliation of me when last we met. Then I shall kill Superman, too. And you, my mind-enslaved pawn, will help me.”

Prince Raynor glared helplessly at Starstriker as they approached the powerful meteor. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Plight of the Human Comet,” DC Comics Presents #22 (June, 1980).]

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