Legion of Super-Heroes: 2979: Ghost Story, Chapter 3: Ghosts of New Mars

by Libbylawrence

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Dream Girl turned to face the three men. “We know the secret behind the invasion now. We’ve even seen Mordru reverse his spell in Mysa’s case. That means we can still win. We have to get out of here! Tenzil, can you eat your way out of the bubble?”

Tenzil Kem chomped down and shook his head as the opening he’d created merely resealed in seconds. “It won’t work, Dreamy,” said Matter-Eater Lad. “As you know, Bismollian consumption and digestion operates on an almost super-fast level in comparison to the way other races eat, but I’m helpless, since his magical field re-forms as soon as I take a bite!”

“I have an idea,” said Dream Girl. “Tenzil, start eating while Condo uses his power over chemical reactions to enhance the speed of your digestive process!”

“Nura, that could work, but it could also prove dangerous for Tenzil!” said Chemical King.

“I’m willing to risk it,” said Tenzil. “I’ve felt like my power was rather useless at times, and I’m more than willing to try to use it for some real results for a change!”

They nodded in agreement, and Chemical King placed his hands on his pal’s back. “I’ll do my best, Tenzil,” said a solemn Condo Arlik.

In moments, the power of the mutant from Phlon began to work as Matter-Eater Lad actively consumed the sphere with increasing results, his power beginning to outpace the magic.

Dream Girl wiggled through the opening as the others followed suit. They were free but their work was cut out for them!

“Are you hurt?” asked Chemical King as he turned to a slightly dazed Matter-Eater Lad.

“No. I’m fine, but believe it or not, I’m also full!” he said. “It’s a weird sensation!”

“You’ll get used to it,” said Dream Girl. “Now, Chemical King, your work is not done! Can you enhance the power of Lyle’s formula of invisibility? If it enabled him to see the disembodied spirits of the Zeroxians before, then perhaps a boosted version could enable him to truly reach them!”

“Good idea, Nura,” said Invisible Kid. “I’m certainly prepared to try. I’m rather fascinated by the prospect! I have to admit that my mind has been preoccupied with the whole experience ever since it first occurred. I feel like a real hypocrite, since during my tenure as Legion leader, I was a real fanatic about getting the team to be as prepared mentally and physically as possible!”

Dream Girl smiled and said, “I remember. I had a real grudge against you back then. I resented all that extra time you made us spend in the gym.”

“I know, but it paid off,” said Invisible Kid. “You’re one of the best fighters on the team. Val says so himself!”

Chemical King raised his hands and concentrated as Invisible Kid willed himself to turn invisible.

The world became misty as Lyle Norg’s perceptions changed once more. Normally, he saw and heard things around him, as did any ordinary person. However, something about his formula was now enabling him to see beyond the purely material realm and into the spirit world. He saw wraiths floating around the void, and he gasped as his vision became more acute.

“It’s working!” he said. “The metabolic enhancement of my formula by Condo’s power is producing a more concrete connection to the void!”

Lyle saw a blue-skinned being of indeterminate gender, and he said, “How may we help you? We know Mordru separated your spirit from your physical body. What can we do to help you regain control?”

“We are nearly helpless, since we’ve been deprived of our material forms,” said the wizard. “But our minds are still our own. If we could but act in unison, much could be dared!”

“I can only apply scientific concepts to this kind of problem, but that might be a valid way to approach the situation,” said Invisible Kid. “Some feel magic is merely a rarely tapped form of energy. Is this realm limited by chronal barriers?”

The wizard said, “We seldom think in such terms, since time is far more a factor for the world of science than for the realm of wizardry. I do believe you might use this place to traverse time and space, but such a venture would be dangerous. You might become lost and never return to your own proper place!”

“I’m a Legionnaire,” said Lyle. “We take chances all the time. I feel like I owe it to the others to place myself on the line. I’ve been entirely too preoccupied lately.”

“Young man, you are of noble heart,” said the wizard. “My fellow teachers and our pupils wish you good fortune in what you seek to do!”

“I thank you,” said Invisible Kid. “Say a prayer for me, if your discipline allows for that kind of spirituality.”

He concentrated and began to fly across the misty void at a speed far faster than any he could have matched under more material circumstances.


Elsewhen, Supergirl, Duo Damsel, and Bouncing Boy walked across the sands of a world recently christened New Mars. The Maid of Steel looked around the nearly barren world and marveled at the courage and fortitude the pioneers who dared to try to tame the savage wasteland possessed.

Cousin Kal’s friend the Martian Manhunter led the Justice League to help his displaced people settle this new planet, she thought. I know he can be counted on for any crisis, but can he take time to help us when his every moment is surely spent in a quest for daily survival here?

She briefly considered leaving this planet to summon her cousin Superman and his allies from Earth, but she dismissed the notion. I’m a grown woman now, she thought. I don’t need to go running to Superman when I’m faced with a problem! Using her super-vision, she located the small colony where the Martians had settled. It was crude and undeveloped, but it represented hope for a new life for the homeless aliens.

“You know, in our era, the planet Mars is a colony of Earth’s,” said Chuck Taine. “Gim Allon lived there when his father was stationed there, and Gim even attended Science Police Academy on Mars! Plus, Nix Olympia is a real posh resort there, too!”

“A lot of weddings are held there,” Luornu Durgo added, giving a meaningful look at the plump young man, and he ran a hand through his slightly mussed hair.

“Ah, well, sure,” he said. “That’s true! Of course, we all know that all that kind of Earth-led settlement happened long after the Martians who originated there departed for this planet we’re on now.”

Lu said, “It is so sad to see this planet New Mars in its early stages of development and realize that, sometime before this twentieth century ends, this planet will be destroyed, and the colonists will be dispersed, never to resettle as a society again!”

“Great Krypton!” said Supergirl. “I’d love to warn them, but I know that kind of thing poses a potential threat to history and could alter things in a terrible way! I can’t follow the Fatal Five’s recent example. Their time-manipulation caused all this to begin with by freeing Mordru!”

She led her friends to the small community and frowned. “How odd. I see some structures that clearly predate the ones the Martian colonists built. Maybe this Crystal of Chaos belonged to the culture that first settled this world long ago.”

“If so, then that race has long since died out,” said Duo Damsel. “The Martians could not have settled on a world that was already inhabited.”

Three green-skinned humanoid figures approached, and one of the heavy-browed beings stepped forward to greet the trio from the future.

“Supergirl! What brings you here?” asked the Martian Manhunter. “Does the League require my help in some way?”

“No, J’onn,” said Supergirl. “I need your help, along with my friends from the Legion of Super-Heroes of the thirtieth century.”

“I will give it gladly,” said J’onn J’onzz. “Tell me what you require.”

In a matter of moments, the Legionnaires had explained their mission, and the Martian Manhunter came to a conclusion.

“Duo Damsel is right,” said J’onn. “This Crystal of Chaos is not a Martian artifact. We’ve found many odd structures or tombs from the race that once lived here. I wager the Crystal belonged to them. I believe we could find it in time, but I do not believe we should surrender such an item of potential power to a being as evil as Mordru. Superman told me about him once when I was with the League and we encountered another, less-powerful mage.”

J’onn stopped and said, “Wait! I sense something! Another mind is nearby. Look!” He pointed to empty space and said, “Yes! My telepathy allows me to sense the thoughts of one called Invisible Kid. He is here among us, and yet he is not! He walks some veiled limbo betwixt realms.”

“Lyle,” said Supergirl, “if you can communicate with us, tell us what to do!”

“He came to this world and this time through a mystical limbo his unique power allowed him to gain access to in some way,” said J’onn. “He cannot speak directly to us, since he is truly still within that odd realm. I take it this differs from how his powers normally work! I am going to try to turn invisible as well. That may enable me to communicate with him through more than mental telepathy.”

He vanished, and indeed managed to vaguely make out the outline of the altered Legionnaire. “Invisible Kid, I know you’ve come here to help your friends. What is it you want to tell us?” asked J’onn.

Lyle Norg replied, but even in his invisible form, J’onn J’onzz could only detect a faint whisper like the wind. Even so, his telepathy enabled him to receive Lyle’s desperate message.

The former Martian Manhunter returned to a visible state and said, “Lyle Norg is a remarkable man. He has dared much and has succeeded in his goal. He learned something of value to you and risked much to come here. Now he has returned to his own time and planet by returning to a visible state.”

“What did he tell you?” asked Supergirl.

“I’ll explain it all to you, but we have much to do if we are to stop Mordru!” said J’onn.

“‘We’?” asked Duo Damsel. “You’d risk yourself to help us in a time not your own?”

“All we do here is designed to forge a brighter and better tomorrow,” said J’onn. “Surely, freeing your era from a tyrant is part of that mission on a larger scale.”

Bouncing Boy smiled and whispered to Lu, “Boy, those Justice Leaguers are something else! History didn’t exaggerate their nobility one bit!”

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