by Martin Maenza
Power Fist led the others through the brush, swinging from the branches as if he had been doing this all of his life; in truth, he only had been in this simian form for about a week. “We gotta hurry,” he advised the others. “It ain’t too far ahead, but we don’t wanna be discovered.”
Star Sapphire followed, flying low. In tow behind her was a violet energy platform that carried Mirror Master, Tattooed Lady, Gizmo, and Copperhead.
“I am confused,” Lydia Anastasios admitted. “I thought it was Grodd’s intention to execute us.”
“He certainly wanted it to appear that way,” Mirror Master replied. “But appearances can be deceiving. His plan all along was to win the confidence of those in Gorilla City. By ensuring that the current monarch remained incapacitated, Grodd hoped to demonstrate his leadership skills during a time of crisis. By doing so, he plans to leverage his power in the city in order to take control.”
“Clever,” Gizmo said, nodding. “So, we never truly were in danger?”
“I wouldn’t go that far, dwarf,” Copperhead snapped. “We were just pawns in Grodd’s little game of chess. He used us, just like he did the four he turned into apes.”
“Perhaps,” Mirror Master said. “Or perhaps Grodd finally realized that manipulation of others, in this case the gorillas, could lead to fulfillment of his goals. Brute strength isn’t always the answer.”
“So he never meant to kill us,” Lydia concluded. “That beam merely transported us outside the city instead.”
“Exactly,” Mirror Master said. “He and I discussed teleportation theories a few weeks back. Now I understand why. Grodd’s always thinking ahead.”
The platform stopped moving as the group arrived to a hidden cave. “There,” said Power Fist, pointing ahead. “This is where Grodd hid the first flier, the one we arrived in. Since yours was discovered by an ape scoutin’ party, Grodd suggested you use this one ta return home.”
“Mighty nice of him to offer us use of our own vehicle,” Copperhead said sarcastically.
As the others started to board the flier, Power Fist started to head back toward the brush. Gizmo looked at him and said, “Maybe you should come with us. I’m sure I could tinker with Grodd’s device and get it to reverse the change.”
Power Fist started to smile slightly. “Thanks, Giz,” he said. “But I didn’t discuss that with Grodd. He only told me ta lead ya here.”
“Don’t worry about him,” Gizmo said. “He’s got the others to help him out. He certainly won’t miss one set of hands. Come with us.”
Power Fist thought for a moment, then bound toward the flier. Gizmo smiled. Though he couldn’t bring back Bulldozer and Kong as well, his conscience was eased a bit by helping at least one of the group.
Once the six were strapped in, the flier’s engines engaged. The vehicle lifted slowly away from the brush to a safe altitude before zooming off to the west.
Hidden deep within the flier’s shell near the engines, a small device sprang to life. The LCD began a countdown of five hours and fifty-nine minutes.
Not far away in Gorilla City, Grodd began to grin wickedly. Farewell, my old friends, he thought to himself. I’ll see you in Hell someday, but some of us will be arriving much much sooner! He began to chuckle to himself.