by Martin Maenza
The seven heroes known as the Freedom Fighters had always faced incredible odds. First by fighting for years to finally liberate their world from Nazi tyranny. They also later persecution and indifference when they attempted to start a new life on Earth-One. Now, once more they were forced to battle for their very lives, as the fate of their world once more was in their hands.
This time, freedom just may have been an unattainable goal.
“Don’t give up!” Uncle Sam cried out. The white-haired man dressed in red, white, and blue was the embodiment of the American spirit. He never backed down from a fight, and he wasn’t about to start now. “We can take these rascals!”
The hero swung his mighty fist hard, connecting to the swastika on the chest of his opponent. The man in green and red with a red cape and buzz-cut blond hair laughed at the attempt. “Don’t be a fool, old man!” Captain Nazi advised. “You can’t possibly beat us!”
But Uncle Sam continued to swing his fists, hammering at the villain with little effect. “Son, I was battling your type for a long time! Decades! I beat ’em before, and I can beat ’em again!”
Captain Nazi sneered as he wound back his red-gloved fist. “Fine,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy mopping the floor with you!” Nazi let the punch fly, sending his opponent back through the air.
“Sam!” the dark-haired Phantom Lady exclaimed. She watched as their team leader slammed into a large oak, hard.
“Sandy, concentrate on the battle at hand!” the Ray scolded. “We have to take them down hard and fast!” The golden-costumed man burst into the air toward a number of flying opponents.
The woman in yellow and green nodded. She knew she had to keep her head in the game, or it was over before they even started to fight. Phantom Lady readied her black light ray and charged into the fray.
The dark-haired hero with the blue cape moved at great speed through the air. He targeted a pair of opponents he felt he could easily take out and swooped in for the quick attack. Black Condor was living up to the name of a bird of prey. “You picked the wrong group to mess with!” the hero exclaimed.
The first man wore a yellow costume with an orange cape and an X harness across his chest. “Interesting choice of words,” he said as suddenly an energy version of himself rose up from the body. While Condor attacked his physical body, Doctor Double X responded with energy bolts.
The other villain, a man dressed in dark blue with a purple cape, smiled. “Nice move, Doc!” he praised. “But if fly-boy here wants to see a group, he came to the right place!” Suddenly, the man split into two beings, and then those two split into two more. And so on, and so on, and so on. In no time at all, a small army of men in the same costume were swarming all over Black Condor like bees. Such was the tactics of the villain called Multiplex.
“Get off me!” Black Condor cried. He used his great strength to break free briefly, but more versions of the man rose up to take the place of those fallen.
“No can do,” Multiplex said in unison. “Our orders were to wear you down to the point you’d wish you were dead!”
“Right you are,” the red-haired Mammoth said nearby. “There are just too many of us for you to handle.” He, along with the brutish King Kull and the dimwitted Bizarro, circled one of the Freedom Fighters to take him down.
“Bring it on!” the white-costumed Human Bomb said. He removed his right glove and touched it to the ground just as the trio of villains was upon him. His touch released an incredible explosive blast that slammed into his attackers and sent them hurtling backward. “You’ll find we’re not going to lie down so easily!”
“No one hurts my brother!” a red-haired woman in gold cried out. From Shimmer’s hands came two blasts of transmutative energy. They enveloped the Human Bomb’s costume, quickly sealing all of the fibro-wax material around the man’s body. The Silver Ghost had briefed them on all the heroes, and Shimmer effectively neutralized the Bomb’s explosive powers.
The Ray dodged and wove through the air with incredible accuracy. His life depended upon it.
From down below, a man in yellow and blue arched back his arm and hurled a deadly shaft toward the hero. “Oh, please!” the Ray said as quickly avoided the projectile. “You gotta do better than that!” To emphasize his point, the hero fired a blast of energy downward. Javelin was forced to dive for cover and nearly rolled off the rooftop edge.
A man in blue with white goggles and a lightning bolt trim on his costume materialized suddenly in the hero’s path. “Tag!” Bolt yelled as he hurled a lightning barrage at the Ray. The energy crackled about the target’s body. “You’re it!”
The Ray summoned forth a large burst of energy and thrust it outward. His own power was enough to shatter the villain’s attack. He gritted his teeth and hurled his own attack at Bolt. “Now’s my turn!” The villain fled via teleportation just before the energy could hit its mark. “I’m guessing with all these costumed folks that they came from the other Earths. God knows our world doesn’t have this many.”
Suddenly, a woman in white with flowing white hair and large white wings swooped down upon him. “Going somewhere, darling?” the Silver Swan cooed.
The Ray let fire a blast of energy. “When it comes to a fight for our lives, there’s no room for chivalry!” he stated. She tried to dodge, but it tagged her wing, and she lost control of her flight briefly.
“Not nice!” a male voice called from behind the Ray. “She just wanted to sing you a song!” It was a man in a flying suit that had come up on the hero. “I guess I’ll have to do it for her!” And with that, the Banshee flipped a switch and let forth a sonic blast, a new addition to his flying suit he’d dubbed a banshee wail. The Ray clasped his hands to his ears to block out the sound, but it was of little help. With a scream of pain, the golden-costumed hero dropped out of the sky. The Banshee stopped the wailing. “Sweet dreams, pal!”
Down below, the Ray’s red-costumed teammate had little time to aid his fallen comrade, as Firebrand found himself being attacked from all sides as well. I recognize a few of these guys from the news when I lived on Earth-One, he thought to himself. What are they doing here?
A blond man in an orange costume with a matching kerchief over his mouth tossed a few capsules upon the ground. “This should slow him down,” Cluemaster said.
Firebrand held his breath as he dived through the cloud of gas and burst through the other side with his fists flying. A solid punch to the head took Cluemaster out with one shot.
“You won’t find me an easy target,” a man in black with a band of colors across his chest stated. Firebrand turned at the sound of the voice, only to be hit with a blinding blast from the Rainbow Raider’s goggles.
Ahh! Can’t see! Firebrand thought to himself. But I can’t just sit here and be picked off, either! Despite the blindness, the hero scurried down the street in a zig-zag movement. Maybe this will buy me some time until my vision clears.
“Spoilsport!” the Rainbow Raider pouted.
“Allow me,” said a female voice. A woman with long dark hair and dressed in a green mermaid-type costume extended her hands. Suddenly, a number of fire hydrants exploded, sending water forth into the air. The woman concentrated, and the water came together at her command. She brought the mighty wave down hard upon Firebrand, catching him totally by surprise. “He didn’t count upon the force of Tsunami this far away from an ocean!”
As Firebrand’s unconscious body lay on the sidewalk, Rainbow Raider said, “Honey, I like your style!”
Another dark-haired woman in green stalked Phantom Lady. “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” called Cheshire. “The longer you toy with me, the worse it will be for you!” Her poison-tainted claws were just itching to slice into someone. Cheshire stalked down an alleyway and passed a group of shadows that fell upon the wall.
After the villainess had gotten far enough away, the invisible Phantom Lady could finally take another breath. That was too close, she thought to herself, thanking the Lord above for her black light ray that allowed her to blend so easily into the shadows. Without it, Cheshire would have easily found her.
But Phantom Lady knew the others would need her help. She started to back up, only to run into something. “Oh!” she gasped aloud without thinking.
“Cheshire, come quick!” a male voice called out. “I found her!”
Phantom Lady whirled around but saw no one. “What the–?”
A form materialized out of the shadows, taking on a definite human outline. “Just me, sweetie!” the male voice said. “The one and only Shadow-Thief!” The villain made himself solid enough to hit Phantom Lady with a punch.
As she tumbled back out into the street, Phantom Lady became visible once more. Stupid! she thought to herself. I’ve been teaching too long and thus way out of practice! She then realized a pair of green boots were next to her. Cheshire had returned, and she wasn’t here to talk.
The blue-and-red-costumed Doll Man was on the run. Everywhere the diminutive hero looked, another costumed villain appeared. “What is this? Pick on the little guy day?” he exclaimed.
The purple-and-orange-costumed Killer Moth fired his web gun. Doll Man somersaulted through the air to avoid being caught in its gummy discharge. “I ain’t your fly, bug man!” the hero called.
“Did someone call for a fly?” a man in purple with wings asked as he swooped down. His chest had a black circle with two letters F in the center. The Firefly tried to maneuver around to block Doll Man’s escape.
Killer Moth came back around. “You can’t escape, little man!” He fired his weapon once more.
“Watch me!” Doll Man said. He leaped to one side, and the Firefly did as well.
Doll Man doubled back, letting the sticky discharge ensnare the other villain instead. “Hey!” the Firefly protested as he struggled with the trap.
“Sorry,” Killer Moth apologized.
“You’re right,” Doll Man said as he leaped forward, his small fist connecting with the Moth’s chin. The villain tumbled backward; despite his size, the hero backed a wallop. “You are sorry!”
Suddenly, someone leaped from out of nowhere and scooped the unsuspecting Doll Man up in a jar. As the attacker tumbled forward, he clasped on the lid and thus imprisoned the hero. When Doll Man realized what happened, he tried to pound on the prison walls but with little success.
A man in green with red yarn-like hair and a goofy face stared back at him from outside the jar. “Try all you like,” taunted Rag Doll, “it won’t do you any good! That super-reinforced material is strong enough to keep you locked up tight!” And the flexible felon laughed.
The transmitter in his helmet allowed the Silver Ghost to get the news. “The Freedom Fighters are defeated?” he asked. “Great! Bring them to us so we can torture them before they are executed.” He ended the transmission and turned to the trio assembled before him.
“So where do we stand?” asked a purple-haired alien woman with orange skin. “Is it time for the terraforming of this world?”
“Be patient, Hyathis,” said a man who looked more like a plant than anything else.
“But, Floronic Man,” protested a brown-haired woman in a leafy green top and green tights, “this world is so war-torn. It could use a healing touch.”
“Indeed it can, Poison Ivy,” the silver-costumed villain said. He, more than any of them, knew firsthand the effects the extended world wars had on this planet. If these three could jump start the world’s injured ecosystems, all the better. “You three, check in with Mister Mind. I believe he has worked out the logistics to turn this Earth into a botanical paradise.”
The trio nodded and headed off. Silver Ghost watched them go before turning on the transmission device in his helmet once more. This time, he was getting into contact with a group he trusted much more than these villains from the other worlds.
“Ja?” the voice on the other end answered in a thick German accent.
“Dies ist der Silber Geist,” Silver Ghost reported in. “Unsere Feinde sind zu sichern. Wollen Sie in dieser Aktivität teilnehmen?” He wanted to see if they wished to participate in these next actions.
“Nein, wir glauben nicht, dass diese Tätigkeit erfolgreich sein wird.”
The Silver Ghost frowned at hearing this. His hidden allies had little confidence that this plan would succeed. “Sind Sie sicher?” He asked for confirmation.
“Ja!” The voice on the other end grew impatient. “Wir werden weiterhin mit unseren Plänen. Sie sind herzlich eingeladen, uns nach wie vor zu dienen. Abschied!” The transmission was severed from the other end.
Silver Ghost shook his head. His old Nazis allies planned to continue with their own efforts, on their own timetable. As always, he was welcome to serve them as he had in the past, when as Richard Von Zell he had been the chief Nazi magistrate of the United States and had made the White House his domicile. While working for another was an option he no longer relished, he knew he had to keep his options open — just in case things didn’t work out this time.