Wearing a green miniskirt, high heels, and a white blouse, Shiera Hall — as Shayera Hol of Thanagar was known on Earth — made her way to the Midway City Mall.
“The whole city seems deserted. Odd that the mall hasn’t even opened yet,” she said as she pulled her car into the lot.
She entered a fast food place and frowned. The place was open twenty-four hours a day, yet the staffers dozed across the counters while a few customers snored over partially eaten meals.
By Polaris! It’s like they fell asleep in the middle of whatever activity they were doing, mused the Thanagarian woman. She tried to gently wake one man, but her efforts failed.
She rushed outside and made an odd chirping sound. “Local Museum Worker Crows in Town Square!” she joked, imagining a tabloid headline.
The cries that came from her throat brought the desired result as birds swooped down. She had learned the language of the birds years before when, as a policewoman from Thanagar, she had accompanied her husband Katar to Earth and used their fantastic electronic brain called the Absorbascon to learn all Earthly information.
Now the lovely woman asked the birds if they had noticed such odd behavior elsewhere. “Cheep! The humans sleep across the whole state, or so say our flock brothren!” said a robin.
Shayera nodded. She returned to the eatery, and in the ladies room, she stripped down to her uniform to become Hawkwoman. The feathered femme fatale activated her JLA signal and received no response. She soared skyward and reached the local transportation tube. In minutes, she was aboard the JLA Satellite.
She frowned and rushed to shake a dozing Zatanna. The pretty girl in fishnets snored loudly, and like the people in Midway City, she was beyond Shayera’s reach.
“By Polaris! If Zee and the others are in this trance, then what about the New Titans, Outsiders, or Forgotten Heroes?” she wondered.
A quick check found that the Outsiders, the New Titans, the Forgotten Heroes, the Global Guardians, the Metal Men, and various loners like the new Supergirl, Thorn, and even the original Vigilante, who had recently come out of retirement, were all entranced as well.
I may be the only one left to solve this riddle, she thought. I must not fail.
Hawkwoman wasted no time. She used the powerful communications equipment in the satellite to access the situation. It appeared as if she was the only person on Earth who was not locked in a powerful sleep. She frowned and brushed back her long, reddish curls.
“Katar is busy on Rann. I stopped running to him or anyone else for help long ago. I’d better try to solve this puzzle myself,” she vowed.
She heard a loud beep as an automated alarm sounded. “Disturbance in Central City! Costumed figures on rampage!” said the computerized tracking system.
The accidents caused by this sudden plague of sleep are already staggering. Wrecked vehicles, crashed planes, and fires. Yet this is the first sign of real activity. The other things I dealt with have been after-effects of the trances, she thought as she grabbed a lance and rushed for the transporter.
The pinioned princess soon streaked over Central City, where she was almost relieved to see two figures she knew.
The first man wore orange and green, and he was using a mirror-like device to attract guns of all types. They floated from homes and offices and stores toward the device, which seemed to absorb them or transport them to some other locale.
Mirror Master’s gathering quite an arsenal! she thought. That is not really his style, although I heard the first one — Scudder, wasn’t it? — died in the Crisis. This may be a newcomer.
She saw his ally in black and other brighter colors skim the air on a rainbow. “The Rainbow Raider. His name is much easier to recall — Roy G. Bivolo — if you can believe that. Then again, I’m a grown woman wearing feathers, so why should I scoff?” she said to herself, smiling. The Raider was using his rays to direct sleepwalking citizens to load a truck with weapons.
“Somebody is preparing for a real coup, not that one would be that hard with the whole world asleep,” she deduced. “I’d say this bodes well for a short duration of sleep. I’d bet they are gathering armaments now for a fight when their spell wears off.”
“Look! A leggy Tweety Pie,” sneered Rainbow Raider. He aimed a red ray at Hawkwoman, and her anger rose.
“I’m more than a sex object, you sneering pig!” she cried as she swung her photonic lance and deflected his ray.
“Easy, doll-baby! All I want to do is get to know you better. Don’t be so cold, luv,” said the Mirror Master.
He’s got a Scottish accent — not the original Mirror Master, she thought as his small mirror-gun distorted her vision. “Multiple images of both of the creeps!” she scowled as her agility allowed her dodge their rays.
She soared into the sun and then dropped down with the light directly behind her lithe form. To her satisfaction, the true villains blinked while their image doubles did not. She swung low and said, “Some outfit. What are you, color-blind?”
The Rainbow Raider, who was indeed color-blind and sensitive about the matter, reacted recklessly as she’d planned. He fired his yellow ray in a wide arc, and she artfully ducked to let it strike the Mirror Master, who gasped in shock. He struggled with his sudden fear and used his mirror to deflect the beam back at Rainbow Raider.
By that time Shayera had brought her lance down across the skulls of both men and said, “This type of performance reflects badly on you both!”
Hawkwoman examined the fallen villains and frowned. “Both behaved normally in their language and combat techniques, or so I assume from what the Flash has said about the Raider and the weapons of the original Mirror Master,” mused the beautiful detective. “Yet they were not following their traditional M.O.’s of robbery and/or revenge. They were acting more like troops or soldiers. I sense someone larger behind this. This is a world-domination plan, not typical hero-villain antics.” She assumed that they had been under someone else’s control to a degree. “Perhaps they were a bit slow because of the control of another mind.”
Shayera removed their weapons and noticed the mirror transporter. “The mirror is taking these weapons elsewhere. It looks to be a rudimentary teleportation device not all that different from the type we use in the JLA. This little bird is taking a trip,” she vowed, and boldly stepped into the mirror.
Hawkwoman found herself in a large warehouse full of armament of various types. Some were clearly alien in nature.
No Thanagarian tech, thank Polaris. I’d hate to imagine our people being connected in yet another invasion. Poor Katar took so long to accept that even some Thanagarians could act in such a way that defied the ideas our culture was based upon, she thought as she scanned the building. More drones loading trucks. None acting too keenly. So, Shayera, where is the leader of this crooked flock? she wondered.
She ducked beneath a huge crate and listened. She was rewarded with voices after a few moments.
“We should be ready by the Master’s timetable,” said a man with green skin. “If the heroes like the accursed Kryptonian shake off the effects of the Black Mercy too soon, then we shall be in for a bloody struggle.”
“Bah! Rendering the Earthers inactive was a simple matter, but using the hypnotic effects of that alien plant to lull them all into a state of vivid dreams was a master stroke,” said another alien.
I don’t know that race. Seems that something like this happened before, according to the Flash, but I was off-world at the time. Someone named Syryna brought all movement to a standstill once until the Flash and Superman stopped her. (*) This is much more. Those weird dreams were more like traps than drugged visions. Black Mercy was a plant Kal once had in his Fortress; I do know that much, she mused as she heard them move closer. (*) She crawled within the empty crate. They can’t move this crate, so I can listen more within it, she hoped.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Stop the World, I Want to Go Home,” DC Comics Presents #38 (October, 1981) and “For the Man Who Has Everything,” Superman Annual #11 (1985).]
The green man said, “Mammoth, load that box immediately!”
A red-headed brute slowly lumbered over, and Shayera tumbled forward as her hiding place was lifted from the ground by his massive strength.
“Another heavyweight. Must be under their spell like Mirror Master was,” she muttered under her breath. She allowed the brute to carry her hiding place to a spacecraft.
“Take this load to the Fortress!” said the green man.