Cahndi and Sahndi Senett had been farmers at the Armarta Commune on Winath for years. However, the twin sisters had never witnessed typical farm chores being performed quite like they were being done by the guests visiting Winath for the Ayla Ranzz wedding. The sisters and other Winathians merely watched in awe as a smiling, handsome young man in a red and blue costume with a blue cape effortlessly carried enough grain to feed the whole community with one raised hand as he flew across the sky and delivered the vital materials to a storage chamber.
The chamber that Mon-El, alias Lar Gand of Daxam, approached was being expanded and constructed at super-speed by another young man in a costume of blue and red. However, even on sheltered and isolated Winath, people recognized the legendary Superboy of the twentieth century.
“Mon, can you hold that last batch for a minute?” asked Superboy. “I’d like to add a couple extra stories just in case the folks here have a real bumper crop this season!”
Mon-El grinned with pleasure and said, “I think I can manage. After all, I’m stronger than you!”
Superboy completed his work and helped his friend store the grain before adding, “Yes, like my folks used to say, I’m still growing!”
The two old friends clearly enjoyed a bantering give-and-take relationship that was built upon their common traits and certain other shared characteristics, values, and experiences.
“It’s good to have you back, Superboy,” said Mon-El. “We’ve all missed you!”
“My studies at Metropolis U have kept me plenty busy,” said Superboy. “Of course, I’ve had time to do certain other, extra-curricular world-saving activities, too, from time to time, but I haven’t really been able to leave my era and visit you fellas as much as I used to do when I was living in Smallville!” Superboy said this with sincere regret. As a young man growing up and into his amazing role as twentieth-century Earth’s greatest hero, he had relished spending time in the thirtieth century along with other super-powered and well-intentioned youths in the Legion.
“That’s our loss,” said Mon-El. “Well, let’s go see how Blok’s doing with Brin. I’m not too sure Blok can calm Brin’s nerves. After all, our rocky pal from Dryad isn’t exactly experienced in affairs of the heart, either!”
Superboy nodded and said, “I’m glad Blok is still deputy leader, though. He’s really turned his life around since he was duped into serving with the League of Super-Assassins all those years ago. I like to think all villains can change for the better. Not that I’ve seen any change in Lex Luthor. He’s still a real thorn in my side, and nothing I can do can get through to him. He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and yet he still refuses to accept the fact that the loss of his hair and his lab work years ago was not a result of some deliberate act of sabotage on my part!”
Mon-El said nothing. He had knowledge that Superboy lacked, simply because Lar Gand could look back on the electronically preserved record of history and know what the future held for the adult Lex Luthor and Superman. He also had a more personal awareness of Luthor’s eventual destiny, since Lar had actually witnessed many events of the past as a helpless observer trapped within a dimension known as the Phantom Zone. From the ghostly limbo, the hero had watched Luthor become Superman’s greatest enemy.
The Daxamite had watched Lex Luthor mature from a troubled teen genius into one of the world’s most dangerous super-criminals. He knew Superboy’s hope for reaching Luthor was a fruitless one. Still, he could not risk revealing too much about Superboy’s own future. In fact, their Titanian mentalist teammate Saturn Girl, alias Imra Ranzz, had created a posthypnotic suggestion in the Boy of Steel’s mind that eliminated such knowledge upon each return to his proper era.
The two young heroes approached a simple cottage and saw an unlikely sight. The towering, granite-skinned figure of Blok was futilely trying to tie a tie, while another young man paced with a restless animalistic energy. “Brin, my friend, I fear the nuances of fashion will remain like so much of human behavior — as merely a mystery to me,” said Blok in his earnest and ponderous manner.
Brin Londo, alias Timber Wolf, smiled and said, “That’s OK, big guy. I’m none too keen on some of this stuff myself, and I’m human, although I didn’t always believe it!”
“Let me give you a hand,” said Superboy. “I’m something of an expert at super-swift clothing changes!”
“Yes,” said Mon-El, “but everything you own is red and blue!” The friends continued to joke in an effort to relieve the groom’s nervous state.
“I just want everything to be perfect for Ayla,” said Brin. “I don’t want to let her down!” He did not say it, but he felt that possibility was all too real, since his confidence did not equal his skill or his good intentions at times.
“It’ll be good to see Ayla and Brin settled,” whispered Mon-El. “I wish we could say the same for Thom and Nura. Since he adopted his deceased ex-girlfriend Zynthia’s son, Nura hasn’t given him the time of day. She just can’t see herself as the maternal type!”
Superboy nodded and said, “I’m sorry to hear that. Star Boy has always been crazy about Dream Girl. I thought they might be married by now as well!”
“Nura Nal’s too vain to care about anything but herself!” said Brin, overhearing the last part of the conversation. “She may be called Dream Girl, but I’d say life with her would be more of a nightmare than a dream!”
Brin smiled suddenly as an idea occurred to him. “Superboy, we do have some good news for you, though!” he said eagerly. “Since we last saw you, Val came back! He’s alive!”
“Karate Kid?” said Superboy with astonishment. “That’s wonderful! Of course, considering how many times some of you Legionnaires have cheated an apparent death, I shouldn’t be surprised! After all, we once thought you were dead when you were a prisoner of Tyr’s for six months. (*) We thought Ultra Boy had died once as well. But about Val — where is he?”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Timber Wolf: Dead Hero, Live Executioner,” Superboy #197 (September, 1973).]
“He isn’t here,” explained Timber Wolf. “You see, he has amnesia of sorts. He can’t remember much about his own life. He decided to go back to your century and try to regain his faculties. Jeckie gave him her blessing and vowed to wait for his return!” (*)
“Well, I have faith in him, too,” said Superboy. “He’ll beat this thing. Wait and see!”
“The wedding makes me think that Tasmia and I should tie the knot as well,” said Mon-El. “She’s enjoying being the current team leader, though, so I doubt we’ll have a ceremony in the immediate future.”
The Legionnaires gathered for a relaxing dinner, and the night passed without incident. The day of the wedding itself would not prove to be so uneventful.
The next morning, as Ayla Ranzz prepared for the ceremony, two of the Legionnaires helped her put the finishing touches on her appearance. Her sister-in-law Imra Ranzz, alias Saturn Girl, was a beautiful blonde woman with courage and skill enough to make her one of the team’s most successful past leaders. She smiled in approval as Ayla adjusted her hair. “You look wonderful!” said Imra. “Brin will be so awed by you that he will forget his vows!”
A sultry blue-skinned girl with long black hair nodded in agreement. “Imra is right!” said Tasmia Mallor, alias Shadow Lass. “Maybe I should cast a bit of shadows over you so the poor groom won’t be blinded by your ravishing looks!”
Ayla was stunning in an antique gown of pale ivory silk taffeta, embroidered with mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls with a V-shaped neckline and puff sleeves with lace flounces and a magnificent ten-foot train. She hugged her friends and carefully placed a tulle veil over her head. “Shady, don’t you dare!” she said. “I don’t want any darkness on the morning of our new life together!”
A knock on the door briefly preceded Brin’s abrupt entrance into the room. “Girls, I’d like to have a moment alone with my bride,” said Timber Wolf. He wore a dark blue tunic over matching slacks. The valor medallion he had been given for preventing the assassination of a past Earthgov president hung rakishly across his chest.
Shadow Lass placed both hands on her hips in mock indignation. “Brin Londo, you can’t see your bride before the service!” she said in a scolding tone.
Brin shrugged and said, “I don’t believe in superstitions. No amount of bad luck is going to stop us from living happily ever after!”
Ayla reached out for his hand and said, “Give us a minute, ladies.”
Imra stopped for a moment, then gently placed one hand on Brin’s shoulder. “Brin, I’m very happy for you,” she said. “This is going to be a wonderful day for you both!”
Brin kissed her cheek and said, “Thanks, Imra. I’m glad you’re in my corner.”
Indeed, the odd couple had shared a strange friendship for several years since they were marooned together on a barren asteroid a few years before during a Legion mission. Imra had looked deeply into Brin’s thoughts and had liked the hidden depths found there. He had responded to an uncharacteristic display of emotion from the woman sometimes viewed as the team’s ice-maiden.
As the door closed, Brin swept Ayla into his arms and kissed her.
She threw back her head and said, “Oh, Brin, I don’t think this day could be any better! When I think of how I almost lost you during that time when I was angry with you for not quitting the team when I took a leave of absence, I could just die!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Darkseid,” Legion of Super-Heroes v2 #294 (December, 1982).]
Brin nodded and placed his hand against her cheek. “I’m never going to lose you!” he said. “Don’t even think about it! You taught me how to be human again. (*) You brought me through my addiction to the lotus fruit. (*) I’d be dead, or addicted, or merely a lost brute if you hadn’t entered my life!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Lone Wolf Legionnaire,” Adventure Comics #327 (December, 1964) and “The Forbidden Fruit,” Action Comics #378 (July, 1969).]
“This time it’s for forever,” said Ayla.
They kissed again, and then Imra returned to urge them into their places. “Come on, you two, or we’ll start this wedding without you!” she cried.
Brin took his place near the altar, where the minister of Armarta stood in his august robes of office. Blok loomed to one side as Brin’s best sentient. Superboy, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Saturn Girl watched along with Garridan and Graym, the two Ranzz boys. Many Winath natives lined the church as well, as anticipation filled the air. Lightning Lad stood to the left and waited on his twin to make her entrance.
As the music played, Ayla walked down the aisle. Her eyes sparkled as she gazed at her friends, and most especially at Brin. Garth smiled at her as she took her position.
I wonder if someday Lana and I will settle down as well, thought Superboy. Of course, I can’t risk having her live in constant peril as the wife of Superman, so I’ll need to figure a lot out by that time!
After the happy couple exchanged their vows, and the minister pronounced them man and wife, they kissed tenderly and made their way outside, where their friends congratulated them warmly.
As the sunlight bathed them in a golden glow, and the blue sky seemed to smile down upon them, a blazing bolt of lightning exploded into the air and briefly blinded the onlookers with a few notable exceptions. Superboy and Mon-El flew forward in unison as the source of the bolt came into view.
Lightning Lord appeared, and his hands crackled with power as he faced the startled group.
“Mekt! Oh, no!” whispered Ayla as she collapsed into Brin’s arms.
Timber Wolf cradled her in his arms and cried, “Ayla!”
“Mekt, you’re not welcome here!” yelled Lightning Lad. “You quit the family a long time ago!”
Lightning Lord smiled and said, “You mean you tried to expel me from your tightly knit little clan, don’t you? Well, I am bound to you both by a connection superior to mere family ties or blood of kin! We are the children of the storm! We ride the lightning, and the thunder itself heralds our every movement. Now step aside, Garth. I wish to claim the right to kiss the happy bride… or is that kill the happy bride?”
“You creep!” shouted Brin. “You won’t hurt Ayla. I’ll rip your heart out before I let you touch her again! She told me what you did to her before. I owe you a lot of pain for that!”
Superboy and Mon-El dropped down to surround the villain. “Give it up, Mekt,” said Superboy. “You can’t hurt us on your best day!”
“Have the good sense to surrender now!” said Mon-El.
Saturn Girl had raced over to step protectively in front of her sons and their nanny. “Garth, he’s not alone!” she said. “I can sense another mind, although I can’t exactly distinguish the source! Something is blocking me!”
As Blok made his way forward, Shadow Lass called out orders. “Blok, guard the guests,” she said. “Your body can shield them. Brin, get Ayla inside. Let us handle Lightning Lord. Superboy, Mon-El, scan the area for other attackers!” The champion of Talok VIII was a true heroine, and she was long accustomed to carrying the safety of others on her slender shoulders. Tasmia Mallor was not one to hesitate in a crisis.
Lightning Lord sent a bolt at the church, but Lightning Lad intercepted it with one of his own. “This can go on all day, Mekt. End it now!” he said grimly.
Lightning Lord laughed and said, “Oh, I will, little brother! I will! Or, rather, my obedient vassal will do it for me!”
Superboy gasped as he and Mon-El spotted the newcomer as he emerged through a thicket of trees. “Great Krypton!” gasped Superboy.
“How could we have missed that?” whispered Mon-El.
They referred to the terrible sight of a monster who stood twenty-five feet tall and stared vacantly at the crowd through the rage-filled eyes of a brute as his transparent skull radiated bolts of mental lightning, and his massive body smashed through the trees to menace the guests.
“Validus!” gasped Saturn Girl as she glanced over to where her children had been. “They’re gone!” she cried. “Moons of Saturn, something’s happened to my sons!”