Justice League of America: Time, See What’s Become of Me? Chapter 1: Parallel Lives

by JSAGL

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The roll call:

  • The Atom
  • Batman
  • Black Canary
  • Green Arrow
  • Green Lantern
  • Martian Manhunter
  • Steel
  • Superman
  • Wonder Woman
  • and guest starring Ray Palmer, theoretical physicist.

***

Ivy Town:

For the past month or so, Ray Palmer and Ira Quimby had been working with Professor Alpheus V. Hyatt. Their goal had been to pierce the thus-far-impenetrable veil between Earths One and Two using Hyatt’s time pool. (*) Today, they hoped, would be the day all their hard work paid off.

[(*) Editor’s note: See The Atom: The Adventures of Ray Palmer, Theoretical Physicist.]

“Are we ready, Professor?” Ray asked his old friend.

“Yes, I believe we are; if your calculations are correct, we will be able to send you to Justice Society Headquarters on Earth-Two. Of course, you’ll only have a few minutes, and you’ll have to come back, but it will be a start.”

Ira Quimby looked at the others. “All ready on this end; let’s stand behind the shield and activate the time pool.”

Hyatt cleared his throat. “I really don’t see why this shield is necessary. The Atom and I never needed one before.”

Ray put his hand on the professor’s shoulder. “We’ve never tried to use the time pool to reach a parallel world, but thanks to I.Q.’s theory, we might be able to do just that. Better safe than sorry, don’t you think?”

Hyatt grumbled as the three men put on their protective goggles. He flipped a switch, and the time pool hummed to life. Observing through their monitor, the three men saw a myriad of colors and shapes. The humming sound intensified. Finally, four figures began to appear, but they were difficult to make out.

“What do you think, Ray?”

“Hmm. Hard to tell, but that female figure could be Earth-Two’s Wonder Woman. Ira, is the portal stabilizing?”

Quimby’s hands danced across the controls. “I — I don’t know. These readings are off the scale.”

The humming grew louder, and the time pool began to spark.

“Shut it down! Shut it down!

The room exploded, and the concussive force from the blast sent Ray, Ira, and Professor Hyatt smacking into the wall. All three men were unconscious and possibly injured.

As the smoke cleared, four figures could be seen in a green protective bubble. “Good work, Green Lantern, but where are we?”

“I’m not sure, Superman, but I think those three men need our attention.”

Letting the bubble dissolve, the four heroes made their way over to the injured scientists. Green Lantern used his power ring to butt out the smoldering remains of the device.

Wonder Woman gently lifted Professor Hyatt. “He appears to be OK, but someone of his advanced years will require medical assistance.”

“Agreed,” Superman replied, when a look of recognition crossed his face. “This is Ray Palmer.”

Wonder Woman looked puzzled. “He is not as I remember him. Perhaps we should bring these men to JLA Headquarters. Their injuries can be treated there.”

A few moments later, the four heroes and the three scientists were in Green Lantern’s emerald sphere, heading for the teleporter tube atop this very building.

***

“Please explain to me again why I’m doing this?”

Adam Cray — better known as the new Atom — slowly put his head down on the table between his arms and began gently banging it on the table. Across from him, Hank Heywood III — the young hero known as Steel — couldn’t help but chuckle. The two young men had a lot in common and had become friends, since they were both following the legacies of other heroes and were around the same age.

“J’onn is a firm believer in the theory that those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.”

Adam moaned. “You mean condemned to watching them, don’t you? I mean, come on, Snapper Carr? Was anyone ever really that much of a dork?”

“Trust me, bro, I understand. When we were in the H.Q. in Detroit, J’onn made me review every single casebook entry, too. Back then they were all still written in book form. You should be glad they’re all on computer now. Where are you at, anyway?”

“These two dudes, Cary Bates and Elliot S. Maggin, accidentally cause the death of the Justice Society, and–”

The alarm went off, interrupting the Atom. Steel quickly jumped over to the monitor. “Uh-oh — someone’s using Superman’s code to activate the teleporter, but it’s not Superman.”

The Atom looked over Steel’s shoulder at the monitor. “Dude, how can you tell?

“This is Thanagarian technology. It’s kind of like that stuff you see on Star Trek, only for real. If someone activates the teleporter, and their bio-signature doesn’t match, the transporter keeps them cycling until we’re ready to let them out.”

“Oh, cool. This shows seven people. That’s a lot, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. Maybe we’ve got the Secret Society of Super-Villains on our hands again. Oh, wait a minute. The computer recognizes one of them. It’s your mentor, Ray Palmer.”

“Can we bring him through?”

“Yeah, we can. You meet him at the tube. I’m going to send out the signal.”

A few minutes later, Steel, the Atom, and Ray Palmer were joined by the Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary.

“So you don’t know what happened?” Superman asked Ray.

“No. One minute we were looking into the void that led to Earth-Two. The next thing I remember, the Atom here is helping me onto this chair,” Ray said, clutching the bandage to his forehead.

“Is it possible that it is indeed the Justice Society we are holding in our teleporter?” asked the Martian Manhunter, whose real name was J’onn J’onzz.

“I honestly don’t know, J’onn, but from what Steel says, they used Superman’s code to activate the system.”

Steel interrupted the conversation. “Um, something’s happening to the tube.”

Quickly, the heroes raced to the teleporter. It had begun to hum loudly and was glowing a fluorescent blue color.

J’onn J’onzz looked at Green Lantern, alias Hal Jordan. “Anything?”

“I don’t know, J’onn. My ring is showing electromagnetic energy off the scale. Something’s forcing its way through.”

At the controls, J’onn was working feverishly to contain the energy. “It is no use. Green Lantern, we need your shield now!”

Just as Green Lantern’s shield went up, the room was awash in blue light. As it subsided, the JLA saw four costumed figures.

The first was a man crackling in electric blue energy wearing a somewhat familiar S insignia on his chest. The second was a dark-skinned young man with a shock of blond hair, wearing a green costume and holding a bow and arrow. The third was a statuesque brunette wearing a version of Wonder Woman’s costume and looking surprisingly like Diana, the original amazing Amazon. The fourth was sporting a green, white, and black costume with a power ring. The electric blue man spoke.

“I don’t know who you people are, but — Great Rao! This is the JLA Satellite.”

The woman raised a sword from her belt and pointed it at Wonder Woman. “Who are you? And by what right do you wear the costume of Diana, Princess of Amazons?”

The young archer’s mouth dropped as he saw Green Arrow. “Oliver?”

But the strongest reaction of all came from the young ring-slinger dressed in a previously unseen version of a Green Lantern Corps uniform. His name was Kyle Rayner, and his face turned white as he whispered but a single word, his eyes locked on Hal Jordan: “Parallax!”

The other Wonder Woman, who was actually Queen Hippolyte of the Amazons, turned to Superman. “If that is indeed Parallax, we need to retreat posthaste and assemble the League. Even with all our power, we cannot withstand his.”

Superman nodded. Using his newly acquired electromagnetic powers, the man of tomorrow sent his thoughts directly into Kyle Rayner’s brain. “Kyle, I’m going to create a distraction. You get us out of here and straight to the Watchtower.”

There was no response.

“Kyle?”

The Martian Manhunter stepped forward. “Perhaps if we were to sit down and discuss this…”

Hal extended his hand toward Kyle. “You’re obviously one of the Corps; why don’t we–?”

Snapping out of his funk, Kyle thought back to Superman, “DO IT NOW!”

Superman closed his eyes and let loose an electromagnetic pulse, rendering the JLA Satellite powerless. The resulting flash and the sudden loss of gravity disoriented the JLA long enough for the four intruders to disappear.

“Where’d they go?” Black Canary asked as she clung to Green Arrow, both of them floating in midair.

“Hal, activate the back-up systems. I’ll attempt to get the mains back online.”

A few minutes later, power was restored.

“All right, what the hell just happened? And how did that kid know my name?” Green Arrow bellowed at no one in particular.

“Oh, no! Ira and the professor!” Ray Palmer made a mad dash for the teleporter controls. He flipped a few switches, then breathed a sigh of relief.

“Ray?”

“I’d forgotten. Hawkman built a lot of redundancy and protections into the systems. The teleporter’s power source is shielded from just such an occurrence.” He nimbly activated the controls. Superman waited as Professor Hyatt and I.Q. tumbled out of the teleporter.

“I’ll get them to the med lab,” Superman said as he flew off with the two civilians.

The remaining Leaguers assembled in the meeting room. The membership was clearly disturbed by the arrival of the four intruders.

“I’ll say it again: how did that kid know my name?” Green Arrow demanded as Black Canary tried to comfort him.

Nubia, the new Wonder Woman who had been silent throughout most of this time, now spoke softly: “How dare that woman question my right to wear Diana’s mantle? Who is she to do such a thing?”

Superman looked at the others. “I heard that woman call the man in blue Superman. Could we be dealing with heroes from a parallel Earth?”

“If that’s the case,” Green Lantern asked, “then why did they seem scared to death of me?

“That’s an excellent question,” Batman replied as he entered the room, “and there’s only one way to get an answer.”

***

“Something’s wrong.”

The young archer named Connor Hawke, who called himself Green Arrow, looked over at Green Lantern and rolled his eyes. “Are you just now figuring that out, Kyle? First we find Ray Palmer, who’s supposed to be eighteen years old and a member of the Teen Titans, old again. When we try to take him back to the Watchtower, we end up stuck in the transporter and appear on the Justice League’s old satellite. At what point did you finally figure it out?”

“Shut up, Connor. At least you got to see your dad alive. This is Parallax’s doing; I know it is. He wanted to ‘make things right,’ and that’s what he did. He recreated the JLA Satellite and apparently all the old members of the JLA, including his best friend, your father.”

Connor had no reply. He simply watched as the Moon grew larger on their approach.

“If that’s the case, Green Lantern, why did he not recreate my daughter, Diana? That woman wearing her vestments is no one I know.”

The three JLAers landed on the Moon, joining a perplexed Superman. “It’s not here.”

Looking around, the four heroes saw nothing but the Moon’s surface. There was no Watchtower here, and no sign that there ever had been.

“Superman?” Hippolyte asked.

“I’ve checked every frequency acroos the spectrum. If Hal has hidden our headquarters, he’s done a good job of it.”

Green Lantern raised his arm skyward, his emerald energy pouring out of the ring and blanketing everything as far as the eye could see.

“This was Hal’s ring once upon a time. Maybe it can shed some light on the subject.” The emerald warrior’s brow furrowed as he concentrated in a way he never had before. Minutes passed as the others waited in silence. “Nothing. There’s nothing. He’s just wiped it out of existence.”

“It’s OK, Kyle,” Green Arrow said. “You tried.”

“What do we do now, Superman?” the queen of the Amazons asked, clutching the hilt of her sword.

“We find out what Hal wants.”

A voice from above answered, “What Hal wants is some answers.”

Looking up, the four JLAers saw Hal Jordan — who had used his power ring to mimic sound in the airless atmosphere of the Moon — descend with Batman, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Steel, and the Atom.

Superman put his hand on Kyle’s shoulder. “Don’t do anything until I give the word.”

Batman approached the foursome, cloaked in Green Lantern’s emerald light, with the other six JLAers staying behind.

“That’s far enough, Batman,” the electric blue Superman said, standing at the front of his quarter of JLAers.

“I’m not here to fight, Superman. I came here to talk. You’re obviously from a parallel world, and you’re confused by what you see here.”

Superman smiled, electricity crackling around his face. “There’s no confusion here, Batman. What I see here is Parallax trying to manipulate us with you and the others. For all I know, you’re just Oan energy constructs.”

“That’s the second time one of you has referred to Green Lantern as Parallax. Would you care to explain what’s going on?” Batman replied.

“Certainly. While you’re here distracting us, J’onn and the other Superman are sneaking up on us from the opposite side of the Moon.”

Gesturing his left arm backward, Superman let loose an electromagnetic current. High above, the Martian Manhunter and the other Superman shimmered into view. They convulsed for a moment and then fell to the ground, unprepared for this Superman’s powers.

“Nice try, Bruce,” electric blue Superman said.

Without another word, this world’s JLAers converged on the four visitors. Nubia lunged for Hippolyte, who drew her sword. The clanging of amazonium metal hitting amazonium metal could be heard throughout both Green Lanterns’ artificial atmpospheres. Steel traded blows with Superman. Black Canary and Green Arrow confronted the younger Green Arrow, while high above Hal Jordan came face to face with Kyle Rayner.

Meanwhile, Batman rushed to the fallen forms of his Superman and the Martian Manhunter. “This is not going well.”

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