Betty Kane and Dick Grayson heard the noise and rushed upstairs to investigate.
“OK, like, is Frannie with the Cars or the Stones or something?” asked Betty. “She’s trashed my room!”
Dick shook his head. “You’re right in assuming this was the result of her powers. I’ve felt their effects firsthand. She and Wally were abducted. See how the charred marks suggested entry via the deck?”
Betty bent down and frowned. “Pretty powerful energy discharges in a tightly focused beam. They could have, like, redone my whole room plus the hotel with that kind of power in a wide burst.”
Dick nodded. “Wally’s got plenty of enemies, still since so few if any know his secret, I’d say they either tracked him via his unique metabolism or were after Frances.”
Betty said, “We’ve got to rescue them. If I found long lost kin and then lost her again, I’d be bummed to the max.”
Dick nodded. “They are long gone, but I’ve an idea.”
He and Betty spoke in unison, “Security cameras!” They exchanged glances, and he nodded.
“The plaza has a camera outside aimed at the rear parking lot. We might see how they arrived or exited,” he said.
Betty said, “I actually don’t have my costume, but I bet one is still in Aunt Kathy’s Batcave. It was beneath her house, and I inherited the house. I would have stayed there while in Gotham, but it’s closed. Totally dusty and icky by now.”
Dick nodded. “Let’s go. I’ll get the film, and we’ll go from there.”
Betty smiled. “Girl sidekick, the sequel! I’m stoked!”
Later, Nightwing and Bat-Girl examined computerized images drawn from the hotel security cameras.
Nightwing frowned. “Flash’s signal devices are dead — the Titan one and the JLA one. Could be Frances accidentally wrecked them with her magnetic discharge.”
Bat-Girl, wearing the red and green costume of her teen years, nodded. “That makes sense. Still, I do have a match on the cute one who was seen carrying her away. He is a total hunk. Like Aidan Quinn.”
“I have a match for the older man. He is Dr. Robert Murray. No criminal record, but he was a former associate of a known villain,” said Nightwing.
“Mine is named Grant Emerson. He has one misdemeanor from his teen years. But — get this — he’s, like, related to a major bad guy!”
As one they said, “Doctor Polaris!”
“Jinx!” cooed Bat-Girl.
Nightwing said, “And with that as a lead, I’ve identified the final pair. Both are connected to Polaris or his alter ego, Neal Emerson.”
Bat-Girl crossed her legs and smiled. “Kewl! He was a magnetic manipulation guy. That’s his tie to Frannie. She, like, attracted him.”
Nightwing said, “In a manner of speaking, yes. He was defeated by Wonder Woman shortly before the Crisis and was active during it as well.”
Bat-Girl said, “Do we have a list of his known hideouts?”
Nightwing said, “Better than that. Flash’s signal just reactivated.”
Bat-Girl followed him to a sleek cycle. “You know, this costume is totally out of date. It’s sooo pre-RTV,” she mused.
Hours later, Nightwing and Bat-Girl reached a lighthouse on the coast of Maine. The vehicles parked on the beach matched the ones seen on the security camera film from the Gotham Plaza. Nightwing had been able to locate Flash’s exact location via the suddenly working Titan’s signal.
“Odd that it should suddenly start working. Equally strange is the fact that Polaris would employ so many people — some quite reputable, with obvious ties to him — to take Frances,” he mused.
Bat-Girl smiled as she eyed the surf. “You know, I am wearing a bikini underneath this costume. Maybe after we free them, we could catch a wave or two.”
Nightwing said, “This is Maine, not Malibu.”
They were soon confronted by the very men they had identified from the camera. They charged in with wands blazing.
“You know, back in my beauty pageant days, I was totally rad with a baton,” said Bat-Girl as she jumped forward and kicked a wand out of Grant Emerson’s hand.
Nightwing tossed a gas pellet and moved on to kick down a third attacker. The gas dropped the others, and he saw Betty punch Grant and leave him tied and stunned on the sand.
“I still have the old moves. Wonder why they didn’t make more use of those wands?” she said.
Nightwing said, “How about because they didn’t really want to stop us. Did you notice their glazed eyes?”
Bat-Girl grinned. “Yes. Grant’s were a dreamy blue, if a bit drugged.”
Nightwing said, “I don’t mean that they were under someone’s control, although they were. I meant their master didn’t want them to keep us from beating them and finding our pals. I’d say Polaris may have reactivated Flash’s signal deliberately.”
Bat-Girl had already rushed forward and flipped agilely through the air and between the narrow boards over the abandoned lighthouse’s window. She smiled, as her smooth athleticism had to have made an impression on Nightwing. Being with her old crush made Betty eager to attract his attention, if not his passion.
Nightwing followed silently, and they stopped as a shadowy figure rose up from the darkness to confront them.
“Flash!” cried Bat-Girl as their scarlet speedster ally stepped out of the darkness.
Wally nodded. “It’s me. I woke up here minutes ago. Those nuts really packed a wallop with their wands. Where’s Frances?”
Nightwing said, “If your super-fast metabolism only shook off the wand’s effects minutes ago, I’d hate to see what they’d do to us.”
A man floated into the room. He did not fly as much as merely repel his own metallic uniform from the ground. He wore blue and purple and a horned helmet.
“Doctor Polaris, that outline of your helmet makes me wonder if you weren’t Frances’ demon from when we first met you,” said Nightwing.
The Flash slapped his fist into his palm. “Of course! He had to have been. Mrs. Kane thought it was a monster. It was him all along! What have you done with Frances, you horn-headed creep?”
Bat-Girl frowned. “Wicked hat. We must hit the malls someday.”
Doctor Polaris sneered. “You brats have no business here. I detected your entry and your accursed signal devices and rushed here to defend one of my private lairs.”
Bat-Girl said, “He didn’t now we were here until minutes ago. He must not be the brains of this scheme.”
Nightwing said, “Hold it, Polaris. We came here because our friends were apparently brought here by people connected to you like Grant Emerson. If you did not send them to kidnap Frances, someone is setting you up.”
Doctor Polaris gestured, and the three heroes were pinned to the wall by their metallic gear.
Nightwing said, “Now!” He and Bat-Girl hit their belts and fell free.
The Flash vibrated through the wall and emerged again to create a whirlwind around the villain. Polaris gasped as he found himself crashing from wall to wall.
“We prepared by bringing these little devices to create a localized polarity reversal. You can’t come near us without severe backlash,” said Nightwing.
“Huh. Like, this is the first time a man found me unattractive!” laughed Bat-Girl.
Polaris said, “I’ll shatter the devices with a blast of magnetic power.”
The Flash acted at once. His science studies gave him the knowledge to know what to do. He applied super-rapid blows to Polaris in the blink of an eye. “I loaned him super-speed via the electrical aura he generates. I think I overloaded him,” said Flash as Polaris fell to his knees.
“Indeed? I am no man’s patsy,” he said.
A feminine giggle echoed, and all four found themselves aboard a weird starship. “But are you a woman’s drone? I’d say yes,” she said.
She had magenta hair and delicate wings. She wore a black-and-gold-striped costume and lounged on a throne in the midst of the hive-like craft.
“Queen Bee! I recall her from the JLA case files,” gasped Flash.
Queen Bee laughed languidly and gestured toward a form hanging above her throne. “I put your little girlfriend up there. She’s fine, if a bit drained,” said the Queen of Kroll.
“Love that outfit, but stripes make you look fat,” said Bat-Girl as she drew out a batarang.
Nightwing glanced at a fallen Doctor Polaris. “You wanted him all along. You framed him and led us to him so we’d defeat him for you. He’s a power source for you. That’s why you used his connections to kidnap Fran. You led us right to him and had us beat him for you.”
Queen Bee gestured, and her own wand stunned the three heroes. “Exactly, smart boy. Too bad I’ll have to make him a drone,” she sighed.