Captain Comet and his team reached the seminar address and spread out with Dolphin and Starman, keeping a careful eye on Killer Moth, the Hooded Hangman, and Mayflower.
“This place is quite posh. I expected less here in the Colonies,” teased Mayflower.
Killer Moth admired the pretty British girl’s figure in her tight Pilgrim costume. Nice legs on that one, he thought.
The Hooded Hangman clenched his fists as if he was spoiling for a fight. Dolphin leaned close to Starman. “If there’s trouble, you watch Moth, and I’ll watch the other two,” she whispered.
Will nodded. “I only have eyes for you, but I’ll do my best,” he said. The platinum blond smiled as she punched him playfully on the arm.
Then seven figures appeared from the shadows. “Mayflower! Where are the rest of those Force of July creeps?” asked a concerned Halo.
“I recognize Killer Moth, too,” muttered Metamorpho.
Katana spun around and challenged Hangman with her sword. He crouched and circled the swordswoman warily.
“Wait, Batman — you know me!” yelled Comet.
The Dark Knight nodded and said, “I don’t like the company you keep these days. Moth and Mayflower are felons, and I put the Hangman away twice before.”
“I can explain. Call off your team,” said Captain Comet as he moved rapidly to block the charging Geo-Force from Dolphin. The sudden impact dropped Geo-Force to the ground, but he bounced back up and gestured. Comet struggled as intense waves of gravity hit him. “We’re — with the government,” he said between gritted teeth.
“That makes it better somehow?” asked a sarcastic Metamorpho. His morphing form ensnared Starman all too briefly. The stellar-powered hero rocketed out, and the element man sloshed into a messy pool.
“I’ll wrap you up for Father Christmas,” said Mayflower. Tendrils of leafy bark snaked up to pin the blond called Halo in its embrace at Mayflower’s command.
Black Lightning ducked as Moth lashed out at him. “Got to be faster than that. I’ll break out the Raid, bug-man,” he said. An electrically charged punch caught the agile Moth, and he reeled back.
“Dust in your eyes — Reddy Kilowat,” he sneered as he tossed a blinding dust in Lightning’s face.
Dolphin jumped upward and kicked out at the tall redhead called Looker. She was deflected by a mental blast, and a drawling voice said, “Looove those darling hotpants.”
Meanwhile, Katana delivered several fast blows that dropped the lanky Hangman many times in a row. Starman charged into Black Lightning, and a quick series of punches knocked Pierce out. Geo-Force’s teeth shook at the force of Comet’s right hook. “This is needless. We’re here to rescue an abducted teammate or two. This is a front for some crook,” he explained.
“Stop!” said Batman in a deadly calm tone. The Outsiders froze at his words. “I believe you, Comet. Sorry about the mix-up. I know your record is flawless, but I have doubts about the viability of criminal rehabilitation.”
“I’d love to do something with your hair. And something else to you, honey,” said Looker respectively to Dolphin and Starman.
Killer Moth rubbed his arm and offered a hand to the groggy Black Lightning as he stirred. “No hard feelings, old man,” he asked.
“Nothing I can’t forget after a good eye rinse,” he answered.
The entranced Constance d’Aramis sat on her legs on a crouch. The handsome Achilles Dahmmon stroked her blond locks like she was his pet. She did not bat an eye. Stagg sat entranced as well. “You were very naughty not to come to my self-actualization seminar, but now you are here, and you will sign your assets over to me now,” said the mellow-toned Dahmmon.
Stagg sweated and said, “Not my money!”
Odd. The old man resists, thought Achilles.
A loud crash echoed through the complex. The Outsiders and Comet’s team charged inside. “Give up the Cheetah and Golden Glider, and let Stagg go!” ordered Batman.
“Oh, I prefer to fight,” said Dahmmon.
“Sounds good to me,” said Hangman.
In the arena nearby, the Cheetah curled into a ball and spun through the netting. She crashed into Doctor Psycho, who had moved too close to watch the mock fight between the women. She clawed his face and hurled her full body weight against his tiny frame.
The newly liberated Silver Swan carried Lisa Snart with her as they soared upward to freedom. “You know, you’d make a great skater in that outfit. I can see you in a wonderful Swan Lake,” said Lisa.
Swan smiled. “I was a ballerina.”
“We’ve got a lot in common,” said Lisa.
They helped Thorn, Crimson Fox, and Catwoman climb out, then watched as Cheetah continued to beat the stunned Psycho. “Easy, Deb, you’ve got him,” said Glider as she touched her friend.
“I did it! I beat the creep!” said Debbi.
“Nicely played, mon cher,” said Fox.
“Not done yet,” groaned Psycho. He hit a machine on the wall, and glowing light materialized several costumed figures.
“Wonder Woman!” shrieked Debbi.
Wonder Woman did suddenly appear and charged forward silently. Cheetah felt rage surge up in her chest. She was back, and she would spoil everything. She’d make Debbi the bad girl again. She ducked the spinning golden lasso and tugged hard on the end. Wonder Woman held fast on her end, and a struggle began.
Golden Glider started to intercede when she saw a green clad man spinning toward her. “Roscoe. But how?” she whispered as her ex-lover, the long-dead Top, spun into her with jarring force.
Thorn shuddered, not from her brief little bikini but from the sight of a fierce-looking but demure blond in a pink turtle neck and long wool skirt. “I am taking over. Rose lives, and you must die, you wicked harlot,” said the blond. She knew subconciously that this could not be, since she was Rose. Yet here was her alter-ego.
Vivian and Constance d’Aramis made another mirror-like encounter possible as the twin Crimson Fox pair wrestled madly. “Mon cher, it is moi. Fight this madness,” said Vivian.
Catwoman snarled as the golden-suited Cat-Man grabbed her in a passionate embrace. “C’mon, baby, we were made for each other — or you could just die,” he said as he squeezed the purple-dressed beauty.
Silver Swan also circled warily above a second Wonder Woman, who menaced her relentlessly. “There can’t be two Wonder Women! It’s a trick — an illusion created by that machine Psycho activated,” called the astute Swan. Cheetah ignored this advice and suddenly let go of the lasso. She sent her Wonder Woman falling backward with the slack. She leaped on her with her full weight, and they crashed to the floor. She wrapped the lasso around her foe’s neck and ordered her to sleep. She did so suddenly, and an angry Cheetah raised her claws above her hated foe’s pretty neck.
She hesitated as Captain Comet’s words of praise echoed back to her. “No! You won’t rob me of this new chance. I’ll show you up by becoming twice the heroine you ever were,” she vowed and left the prone Amazon alone.
Meanwhile, Thorn reeled away from her other self. “I can’t fight you. I can’t fight you,” she moaned. Rose closed in on her, and a sudden sonic blast from the Silver Swan rocked her to the ground. Thorn smiled at this new help and immediately snapped out of her revelry. She kicked up like a Rockette and knocked the second Wonder Woman back from the blond Swan.
Swan smiled. “A trade-off.” She blasted Rose with a second blast of sheer sound that stunned the demure blond.
Catwoman kneed her foe below the belt and clawed his face. He groaned as she tore away his cloak and hit him again. “Not so tough without this little item, are you?” she taunted. He growled and charged blindly as she spun to the side. He fell over the stunned Wonder Woman, and Cheetah and Catwoman added punches that sent him down for good.
“We’re a regular team. The Cat Squad,” said Catwoman.
“Anything but the Kitty Litter,” quipped Debbi Domaine.
Lisa Snart knew Top was dead, but he was capable of anything. She also knew she could take him in a fight. So she lashed out at him, and with the skill of an expert spinner, she upset his balance and sent him reeling into the fighters. Catwoman kicked him in the back of the head, and he fell dazed. Glider added a sudden dropkick, and he fell still.
“I’m sorry, Roscoe,” she murmured.
The other Wonder Woman grabbed Thorn and hefted her in the air with ease. She raked the Amazon with her nails relentlessly, but her grip did not slacken. Finally, she copied Cheetah and draped the lasso at her foe’s hip over one arm. “You’ll smash that machine to dust!” she ordered. The Amazon did so with grim efficiency.
Psycho roared his anger. “Not my new ectoplasmic extractor!” As he rushed up, Swan kicked him in the chin and slapped his face.
That left the twin d’Aramis sisters wrestling furiously in a fight neither could truly win. “Sister, it is moi! Fight this power,” said Vivian.
Constance suddenly embraced her twin and whispered, “I am myself again! That horrible man enslaved me.”
“So you two are twins,” said Glider as she smoothed her blond curls.
“Oui! But it ees, how you say, a trade secret,” replied one of them. They heard a fight nearby and decided to investigate. “It was Achilles Dahmmon who enslaved me, so I guess his control ended abruptly. He must be otherwise occupied,” said Constance.