by Martin Maenza
In the backseat of the flier, the large ape who had once been the super-villain known as Power Fist snored heavily. Gizmo, who had been trying to work on a new gadget, hopped down from his seat and navigated his way toward the front of the vehicle. He passed the Tattooed Lady, who was playing yet another game of Solitaire, and Star Sapphire, who appeared to be in some deep thought.
Gizmo called up to the cockpit as he approached. “Hey, are we there yet?” he asked.
Mirror Master glanced back. “Still a couple more hours,” he said. “We’re over the Pacific right now.” Suddenly, the flier lurched. Gizmo grabbed for something to keep his balance, and Power Fist was startled out of his deep sleep. Mirror Master turned to the pilot. “What was that, Copperhead?”
“Sorry, sorry,” the serpentine villain apologized, too busy with the controls and the cockpit readouts to look up. “We just hit an unexpected bit of turbulence is all. A storm seems to be brewing out there to the north. I’ll try to change our flight path a bit to take us away from it.”
Gizmo scurried back to his seat to buckle in as Star Sapphire came to the cockpit. “Can’t you watch out for these things ahead of time?” she asked in a condescending tone.
“I’m doing the best I can!” Copperhead protested. “If you’d rather take on the piloting job, it’s all yours, sister!” The last thing he needed at the moment was nagging.
Star Sapphire just shook her head and started toward the back. “Relax, Copperhead. No need to go off on me,” she said.
Just at that second, the digital display on a small metal box tucked deep in the engine portion of the flier reached zero. The little “gift” that Gorilla Grodd had planted in the vehicle revealed itself with a loud explosion.
The whole flier lurched as the explosives discharged. The force of the blast ripped open part of the ship’s hull, and the unsuspecting Star Sapphire, who was standing closest to the rupture, was pulled out by the rush of air with a scream. Everyone else in the vehicle panicked.
“Camille!” cried Lydia Anastasios from her seat as she saw the villainess pulled out of the vehicle and into the darkened night sky. The cards she had been playing streamed out the opening after her friend. Lydia started to move up in her seat when a large pair of hairy hands pulled her back down.
“No!” said the rough voice of Power Fist. “You could get pulled out, too!”
Mirror Master turned to Copperhead. “What happened?”
“No clue, Scudder!” Copperhead wrestled with the stick, trying to level out the flier. “Whatever happened, it took out part of our engines! I’m having a hell of a time just keeping us from going into a spin! The navigational systems are gone, too!” He gritted his teeth as tried to pilot the vehicle, but he was flying blind.
Mirror Master turned in his seat and called back to the others, yelling over the sound of the air rushing out of the back cabin. “Everyone, buckle in and hold on tight! Use the oxygen supplies if you need to!” Sam Scudder could see the terrified looks on their faces as they fumbled with their seatbelts; he tried his best to keep up a strong, confident appearance.
Glancing at the hole, he hoped Star Sapphire would appear from it, but common sense told him that wasn’t about to happen. If she were still inside, she would have easily been able to patch up the breach in the hull. Heck, she could fly the whole vehicle with the amount of willpower she possessed. But she was the first victim of this disastrous situation.
Mirror Master shook his head once to clear away that thought. No, Star Sapphire would be fine; her gemstone possessed great power that her strong mind could skillfully use. She could take care of herself. He had to keep telling himself that. Right now his concern was for the others, and he needed to do whatever he could to ensure that they made it through. He couldn’t lose the whole team in one shot, not after all this work and everything he’d been through.
Then there was a second explosion as the remaining engine gave out. The flier containing the Secret Society of Super-Villains plummeted down through the air like a shot duck. As the ship hit the water’s surface with a loud crash, lightning crossed the darkened sky and reflected off the turbulent ocean waters below. In an instant, the damaged vehicle began to sink like a stone.
And somewhere, back in the heart of Africa, Gorilla Grodd was laughing.