A Girl Named Arcane
by Earth Elemental 99
On Earth-One, Abigail Arcane is the lover of the Swamp Thing and the innocent niece of the evil Anton Arcane. But on Earth-Three, where heroes are villains and villains are heroes, the Baroness Abigail Arcane is powerful and utterly ruthless. What is the secret of her creation, and how is that connected to the strange patchwork teddy bear she carries with her?
Abigail Arcane smiled as her picture was taken. A rare opportunity like this is so very unique, she thought. Having emigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe and hailing from the Nazi nation of Balkania, a leading world power, Baroness Abigail Victoria Arcane was a wondrous young creature to behold. Created in her father’s laboratories, she was designed to dominate and destined to rule.
The lonely Dr. Gregori Arcane had created Abigail Arcane to become his beautiful daughter, his soul-mate, and his personally influenced child bride. But the incestous scientist had sorely underestimated his unearthly creation. This tragic mistake cost him his unworthy life.
Dealing with her stubbornly virtuous uncle, Anton Arcane, would yet prove problematic. He was an American farmer, happily married and raising children who would someday challenge Abigail’s claim to her Balkanian legacy. This was something she would not allow, and she planned to slay her relative rival someday. But that time had not yet come.
As it was, today the entire world was at the doorstep of Abigail Arcane.
“Miss Arcane, you are just so beautiful — truly ravishing!”
Photographer Howard Fleck, proudly snapping photos, was bearer of a very long, prestigious professional career behind the camera, photographing beautiful international women — and making many of these ladies overnight celebrities in the process.
The beautiful young Abigail posed wearing a brand-new, strapless, hot-red party dress while perched barefoot on a designer chair brought with her from Germany. Her long white hair flowed in the breeze of an overhead fan.
Fleck stopped shooting and asked, “Is it OK if I ask you to go without the dress now? The lighting is perfect for it.”
Upset, Abigail replied, with a light German accent, “Nein! Little man, you try my patience. My body is more precious than any rare gem, sculpture, or painting. I will not be photographed nude until the Bondreich’s World Jewelry shoot.”
“We promised publisher Bob Guccione we would have the pics ready for Customs International magazine ready by tomorrow,” said Fleck. “Now really, you are supposed to be nude for this next round of shots. If you want to make personal celebrity appearances at the Playbound Mansion, I suggest you go along with me on this.”
Frowning, Abigail took off her dress and impatiently sat naked in the chair. “Ach. Where are the diamonds?”
“Late,” said Fleck, “due to the security precautions we always have to take.”
“Oh, yes — the Crime Syndicate. They are so bothersome at times,” Abigail sighed.
“Ready to go?”
Fleck began taking pictures. “OK. Good. Chin up, honey. Smile for me! Show me some teeth. That’s it! Chest toward the camera, raise up those legs. Ah, yes! Now, over here. Good girl.”
Later, Abigail Arcane was taken to a larger studio, where she again posed nude, this time adorned with an assortment of renowned jewelry products.
Matthew Cable, Abigail’s official promotional liason, was present to greet her. She had fancied him ever since the first moment they met when she got off the plane. He was the first American she ever knew. It was perhaps love at first sight. She knew there was something special about him — a strict, solid American citizen bound by Nazi protocol. She was delighted to learn he once terminated a man for drinking on the job. Matt Cable was the only man Abigail Arcane ever came to love and respect.
After the photo shoot, Matt strode up to her, fell to one knee, and said, “My Lady Arcane, I am proud to be a part of your majestic life. Will you do me the honor of taking me as your husband?”
“In Balkania it is the woman’s right to propose marriage,” Abigail said, offended. “It is never left to the man!”
Matt looked surprised at his cross-cultural mistake. “Uhh… I’m sorry.”
“I will forgive you this mistake,” said Abigail after a moment, bowing down to kiss him. “As an American, you have much to learn about me. Is the motorcyle prepared?” He nodded.
Abigail dressed herself in dark, tight clothing, complete with a black denim jacket, gloves, and boots. “I will not be needing the armored car or the security crews. Unlike you, I do not fear super-villains!”
An unfortunate derelict named Hugh M. Hefner stumbled drunkenly outside the studio. The Lady Arcane had no patience with this man as he stopped her to beg.
“Got any spare change, lady? I’ve been up all night, by myself. I’m awful tired of it…”
“Ach. Nein! Away from my person, you pathetic bum!” Abigail Arcane pushed the weak Hefner aside and raced toward her waiting motorcycle. “Schlitterbaun-Davidson — state of the art in international motorcycles,” she muttered with pride.
As the young woman on the motorcycle sped off, Hefner mumbled to himself, “Why doesn’t anyone like me?”
Suddenly, Hefner was confronted by Matt Cable, who threw him brutally against the wall. “Did you just harass that girl?” he demanded.
“Saw a girl… white hair… asked her for some spare change,” said the derelict. “Th-tha’s… all.”
“OK, that’s it!” Cable shoved poor Hugh Hefner into the very dark back alley.
In pitch blackness, Hefner pleaded, “Lemme go, mister! I think I’m late to a party…”
“Party in Heaven.”
BLAM! A gunshot rang out through the alleyway and the street beyond.
Matt Cable walked out of the alley. He spoke into a CB radio hand set. “This is Cable. Clean up in left alley. Another bum messing with the talent.”
Quickly, security men swept outside to the ally as Cable walked off. Ironically, the mortal remains of Hugh M. Hefner were wrapped in a discarded table cloth bearing hundreds of the tiny emblems of the Playboy Bunny, as it was known on other Earths.
Axis Chemicals engineer Jackson Napier enjoyed a quiet day at the office. With so little work on the priority list, he could stretch back and relax. He could remove his necktie, unbutton his shirt, and settle himself in front of a portable electric fan. Jack could even play his favorite card game: Uno Solitare.
The wild card has so many possiblities, Jack thought, smiling. It’s almost impossible to outclass.
The television showed a news report of Owlman being attacked by his arch-nemesis, the Clown. As he watched, Jack thought, The Clown? He’s insane! I’d hate to be like him! I am certainly glad he’s working for the side of good with Luthor’s group of super-heroes. Those powerful Crime Syndicate super-villains, they scare me.
Abigail Arcane walked in. Clothed entirely in black, she scoured the office with alert, vigilant eyes, like a thief in the night. “Mister Napier!”
Jack sprang up from his chair. “Miss Arcane! We wrapped up production of the first batch of chemical compounds you ordered from Balkania. In fact, we’re about to make the presentation to the staff for our next project.”
“You mean you have not started yet? I do not pay you to waste my time!” Abigail picked up two Uno cards — both wild cards — and ripped them in half. “If card games are the only things that interest you, then by all means, play them at the unemployment office! You are fired!”
“Hey! You can’t fire me!” complained Jack as Abigail stormed out. “This is after hours! Awww, forget this stupid, lousy job! She just ripped up my wild cards. Self-centered &%@#$. No sense of humor.”
Hours passed. Abigail made her inspection of the chemical plant’s production. Reaching into her handbag, she pulled out a strange-looking stuffed toy. It was a mystical patchwork teddy bear, stitched together from the body parts of five different such toy bears, comprising a keepsake she held with much joy… and loathing.
The voice of dead Gregori Arcane’s ghost came clearly from the bear, a psychic aura loaded enough to be heard physically.
From the teddy bear, Gregori said in German, “Gott in Himmel. Abigail, you fiend! Why bring me back… like this? Have you no respect for your father at all?”
Abigail smiled at the bear and replied in English, “Of course not. Dearest father, you made me what I am.” She removed a sharp letter-opener file from her jacket. “This is for the first time you dared to lay hands on me!” Abigail stabbed the file through the bear’s chest and out its back. Gregori screamed.
“And this is for the delusions you inflicted upon my helpless mind.” She took a knitting needle from her pocket.
“Abigail! Nooo!” screamed Gregori, howling in pain as the needle punctured the bear’s head. “Arrrgh!”
Abigail suddenly stopped and looked up, staring at a dark corner close to the catwalk upon which she stood above the chemical vats.
“Come on out, Mr. Napier. I know you are watching. I can read your pathetic little mind, your emotions. There is never escape from me — never!”
Return to Earth-3 titles.