The Justice League of America’s satellite headquarters was a technological marvel consisting of the best designs taken from several different alien worlds. However, like any complicated mechanical structure, it needed basic maintenance work from time to time. Thus, on one Saturday afternoon, several members and a guest were working diligently to complete a routine systems check.
Will Payton, the stellar-powered hero known as Starman, adjusted dials on a console, noting the slow-but-steady progress of a small figure within the machine. It’s amazing how well Adam adjusts to dealing with life at a miniature scale, mused Starman. He’s moving through the computer system as if he was out for a stroll in the park. I’d say he’s making the original Atom proud with the way he is carrying on Ray Palmer’s heroic legacy. Will was a young man with long brown hair and a black and red costume dominated by a star motif. He was not a member of the JLA yet, but he was a trusted ally to the team and a close friend to members the Atom and Steel.
The red-and-blue-costumed Steel was equally busy as he lifted a heavy machine off its base while the winged wonder known as Hawkman, Katar Hol of Thanagar, made a rapid but precise adjustment to its connecting wires. “You know, it would be a lot easier if Elongated Man was here,” said Steel. “I mean, he could lend a hand without leaving his chair. His rubbery talents would be perfect for snaking around some of these machines.”
Hawkman smiled slightly as he looked over his work and nodded to Steel to return the machine to its base. “I think Ralph has learned that fatherhood is an even more demanding taskmaster than his wife Sue at a shoe sale,” said Hawkman. “He is dedicated to giving quality time to their daughter Debbie, and I can’t say I blame him. I envy him, to be honest.”
Adam Cray, alias the Atom, emerged from within the machine and said, “Everything checks out. I’d say we’ve about wrapped this job up!” He enlarged to normal size and smiled at Starman. “Thanks for helping us,” he said to his friend. “Your muscles and stellar powers came in handy for the outside once-over.”
“No problem,” said Starman. “You and I and Steel were going to grab a pizza, anyway. I figured I should make myself useful while I waited on you.”
Aquaman entered from below and said, “Starman, I’d say it was about time that we offered you a full membership. What do you fellows think?”
The green-hued Martian Manhunter and the red-and-gold-costumed Firestorm followed the blond champion into the room and began to reply when an alarm sounded for a moment and then ended abruptly.
Firestorm was, in truth, a composite being. The flame-haired nuclear man was composed of a merger between Professor Martin Stein and college student Ronnie Raymond. While Ronnie was more in control of their physical form, Stein’s mental presence guided the young man via their mental communion.
“Ronald, that alarm indicated a massive chronal flux before it ended,” Stein said in his mind. “I fear we’re under attack from someone like Chronos the time-thief or the Time Commander!”
Glancing around the satellite, Ronald quickly replied, thinking, Relax, Professor! We’re more than ready to deflect a few razor-sharp clock hands! Why, J’onn and Aquaman could trash either of those punks without trying. Of course, Starman is a rookie, but even he is pretty tough when it comes down to it.
Hawkman frowned as he studied the space beyond their satellite. “By Polaris, the constellations are all wrong,” he said. “We’ve been teleported through time in some odd way!”
The Martian Manhunter agreed readily. “I concur. That strange pulse of chronal energy literally ripped our satellite from its proper time, stranding us in the same position and same orbit, but in a different era. I don’t like the way the Earth looks, either! Notice that addition of an entirely unknown land bridge from Canada to Europe, for one thing.”
“Oh, swell,” said Steel. “Don’t tell me we’ve landed in Bedrock, USA!”
Aquaman shook his head and said, “This is not the prehistoric past. Our sensors detect some technology exists, although it is strange and limited in nature.”
“The chronal flux has faded,” said Hawkman, “but I do detect smaller pulses of time-warping energy from Australia. We’d better go down and investigate. The same energy that brought us here should be able to take us home.”
“I’d hesitate to try to use the regular teleportation system, since we have no way to know what kind of condition the receiver stations are in now,” said J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter. “I suggest we use one of the shuttles.”
“In truth, my friends, my own powers will enable you to go where you are needed!” announced a golden humanoid figure that towered over even the tall Martian Manhunter. “I was drawn here from my own repose within the time-stream by the strange flux that brought you here.”
“Cosmo II!” said the Atom. “I read about him in the database!”
Firestorm nodded and said, “Right! He’s the second version of a robot the Time Commander empowered with stolen energy taken from some of us. What the creep didn’t realize was that Cosmo, here, would also choose to be a good guy, since he gained a sense of ethics from us.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice League of America: Time and Consequences.]
Cosmo nodded and replied, “Well said, my father.”
Firestorm shrugged sheepishly and said, “He kind of thinks of some of us as his parents.”
“Does your appearance mean the Time Commander is behind our current plight?” asked Aquaman.
“Negative,” said Cosmo. “This odd temporal displacement is due to events on the world below, not due to the machinations of any rogues from your own era. You are correct as always, my elders, to assume that the best course of action is to venture below and seek the source of the flux that brought you here and stirred me from my own slumber.”
“This is clearly not the future of the Legion of Super-Heroes,” said Hawkman. “I know from what I’ve heard that their era is full of advanced technology, and our instruments detect very little that one would expect from such an era.”
“You must know that there are infinite numbers of futures awaiting only the occurrence of a single moment to bring them into reality,” said Cosmo.
“Metaphysics aside, let’s just get down there,” said Steel. “I’d enjoy a bit of action!”
“So be it!” said Cosmo, and in a flash of light, the heroes found themselves in a strange new world, indeed.