Bat-Girl awoke to find herself in the floor beneath a suspended Doctor Polaris and Frances Kane. Both were clearly aware of what was going on, but neither could act, as a glowing nimbus of energy surrounded them both. The energy radiated over the Queen Bee as she lounged on a divan. Nightwing and the Flash were struggling against her controlling toxins as a few errant bees buzzed around them. A twinkling computer bank lined another wall.
Nightwing gritted his teeth. After his experiences with the Church of Blood in Zandia, he wasn’t about to fall victim to anyone’s mind-control. He’d had more than enough of that kind of criminal behavior of late, and used the techniques taught to him by his mentor to resist the toxin. The Flash struggled as well, attempting to burn the toxin out of his system with high-speed vibrations.
“She became immobile due to various power grabs that failed,” Nightwing whispered to his pal. “Magnetic energy gives her back mobility. She must have known about Frances and Polaris and wanted them as power sources from which she could drain enough magnetic energy to become mobile again. I guess Polaris was immune to the bees and wands and other gadgets she uses to control her drones, like his relations and past colleagues.”
The Flash nodded. “She suckered us into defeating Polaris by framing him for taking Frances. She gave us a reason to track him down and beat him so she could beam us up and drain him while he was defeated.”
Queen Bee laughed. “My, such clever boys. I hear all you say. My bees will make you mine soon enough. Or I might just transfer your brains into my electronic hive computer. My wand can do that, too.”
“Like, what am I — chopped liver?” said Bat-Girl.
“You are no threat to me, and thus I allow you to helplessly wait as I gain more power,” said Queen Bee, who then walked out of the main complex and left the heroes alone.
Bat-Girl saw how Nightwing and the Flash were fighting a struggle beyond her ability to end. She looked up at Polaris and noticed his eyes follow her every movement. Turning to Nightwing, she said, “Should I pull the plug on that computer?”
Groaning as the mind-altering toxin began to slow his reactions, Nightwing said, “Bat-Girl, Polaris is Neal Emerson — a split personality. Has a good side. Reach it.”
Bat-Girl raced over to Polaris and whipped out her bat-compact. “Like, I can’t believe I really used this lame stuff,” she muttered. “Grody to the max! Still, a girl needs a mirror.” Holding up the mirror, she turned it until it caught the reflections from the ship’s many globes of bright light. She held it just so and angled it so the light played across Polaris’ darting eyes.
“Like, you are so totally sleepy,” she said in a slow manner, like that of a hypnotist. “You are going to obey my commands, dude. You are Neal Emerson. You heal people. You do good. You are a normal man. You are just a man.” In her youthful efforts to become a girl-Robin, Betty had read and studied many different disciples, including hypnotism. This one now paid off.
Polaris suddenly blinked and said, “This costume? Oh, dear. Did I become that… terrible man again? Forgive me.” He fell to the floor as the energy surrounding him faded.
He’s back to normal, mused Betty. No trace of his latent magnetic powers, since he now has regained his good persona.
Queen Bee limped in. “I detected that drop in my energy. Foolish brat! I shall strip the skin from your bones!”
“Eww…” said Bat-Girl in a disgusted tone.
Queen Bee was slow, and it appeared the loss of Doctor Polaris as a power source had weakened her.
Dancing past her, Bat-Girl said, “And they call me a WASP.” She rolled across the floor as Queen Bee blasted away, narrowly missing her but slicing a tear across her costume.
“Okay, now I’m totally steamed,” said Bat-Girl. “You know, this could have been a collector’s item.”
At that moment, the Flash found the right vibration to shake off the bee toxin and, by passing that vibratory frequency to Nightwing in a rapid move, he freed his ally as well.
“I still have the blonde to be my human battery, you know,” said Queen Bee. “But first, I’ll use my wand to place your keen mind in my electronic hive computer.”
Bat-Girl swung skyward on a line as the Flash obeyed Nightwing’s spoken command: “Switcheroo!”
The Flash tackled Queen Bee and shoved her in the direct path of her own wand discharge. As it struck her, she screamed and fell motionless to the floor.
Nightwing reached the controls on the computer and made a swift decision. All the lights dimmed, and silence reigned.
“What did you two do?” asked Bat-Girl as she clutched at her shredded costume in an effort to remain modest.
“We put Queen Bee in your position so she was hit by her own energy beam,” explained Nightwing. “Her mind is now in the computer, and I just shut it down. It’s intact along with all the others she has trapped, but she can’t reboot.”
Frances Kane fell into Flash’s arms. “It was terrible being so helpless. These powers are such a curse!”
Bat-Girl put her arms around Frances and said, “Like, all my life I’ve tried to make myself special and shine through my beauty, my skills, and my mental abilities. As a beauty queen, model, tennis pro, and heroine, I’ve labored to set myself apart. Honey, you are totally special as is. You have to relish what you have, not fear it. I mean, like, what if you had no powers? Sure, you’d be pretty and sweet, but now you’re those things and so much more. Don’t define yourself by what makes you different. See yourself as defined by being special.”
Frances smiled. “Thanks, Bat-Girl. You are a real treasure. I’m so glad we met.”
Bat-Girl hugged her and said, “Me, too. I’m going all Hallmark moment here.”
Nightwing smiled as they gently eased the hive craft back to Earth via its preset autopilot.
“You know,” said the Flash, “I suppose either Cyborg or Hawkman can restore the minds trapped in the machine.”
Nightwing nodded. “I think so, too. Hopefully, Dr. Emerson, here, will be able to return to a productive and law-abiding life.”
“I can’t thank you enough,” said Emerson. “Will my friends and family be okay, too?”
“Sure,” said the Flash. “Our pals can restore them.”
Frances kissed him and said, “Thank you. You’ve given me family.”
Bat-Girl laughed. “That’s me — a living present. But, like, toss me a cape already. I’m a bit unwrapped right now!”
They laughed and headed home.
Later, after completing her Special Olympics duties in New York City, Betty Kane packed her tattered red and green dress and slumped in a chair.
“Like, my talk with Frannie make me realize that I can’t deny what makes me special to the max, either. I’m going back into being a crime-fighting dare doll. But, just like Robin grew up and became Nightwing to be his own man and honor his mentor, I’d like to do the same. I mean, the red and green doesn’t even match his new look, and I haven’t even met the new Robin yet. Dick vouches for him, but he’s just a kid.
“Maybe if I use the name Batgirl, minus the hyphen, because of its tie to Aunt Kathy, but change the look to something outrageous, I can be my own woman and honor her, too. Kewl! Nightwing even said that Batgirl-come-lately with the red hair had already taken Batwoman’s name. (*) I guess that’s cool, since Aunt Kathy spoke well of her, and it shows her age, too. I’ll just get myself a new look.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: The Secret Six: Wanted, Chapter 1: The Return.]
She jumped up and ran to a mirror. “I’ve got totally rockin’ abs. Maybe I should show them off. I wonder if the Mad Mod could whip me up a chic bat-babe look,” she said. As she made a few calls, a legend was reborn.