by Starsky Hutch 76
Superman awoke to find himself bound to a platform. As he looked around, he saw that there were several more platforms in the room as well, holding Superwoman, Supergirl, Valor, and Salkor. Two figures were missing: Powergirl and Jasma. He struggled against his bonds and found he could not break them. What could they be made of?
“Struggle all you like, Superman,” a snide voice said. “Nothing will come of it.”
Superman turned and immediately recognized the speaker: DeSaad. “I should have known your slimy hand was in this,” Superman growled.
“I am but the humble servant of my Master,” DeSaad said with a bow. “He wished for her return, so she was delivered. The rest of you were a bonus. I’ll have fun unraveling your Kryptonian DNA.”
“Where is my daughter?!” Salkor shouted. “What have you done with her?”
“Your child is in the loving care of Granny Goodness,” DeSaad said, smiling cruelly. “Don’t worry. She would never let anything bad befall such a valuable prize as her.” He stepped closer to Salkor and said, “I am unfamiliar with your species. You will be a very intriguing project once I have you upon my dissection table.”
Salkor’s response was to spit in his face. DeSaad brought his sleeve up to his face to wipe away the spittle. The look in his eyes was one of pure malice. He produced what looked like a remote control and said coldly, “A very unwise move.” He hit a button, and Salkor’s whole body was flooded with pain.
As Salkor screamed in agony DeSaad said, “You are lucky I don’t kill you for that, but I leave that for my master to decide.”
This action drew outraged shouts from around the room. “Don’t worry,” DeSaad said. “I haven’t forgotten about the rest of you.” He began pushing random buttons on the remote until they were all filled with similar bursts of pain.
“Let this be a lesson to you,” DeSaad said. “Your fate is in my hands. Eventually, you will all die. But when, how, and the level of suffering involved has yet to be determined.” With that, he turned and exited the laboratory.
Valor spoke up. “I might be able to read the computers.”
“How’s that?” Superman asked.
“I can create a connection with the computer and send in a command and then read the information as it travels in energy form and absorb the information.”
Valor stepped up to the computer console before them and held out her hands. Light issued from her palms and enveloped the computers. Valor held back her head as the information flowed into her.
“She’s right above the dungeons in Granny Goodness’ training facilities,” Valor said. “The orphans of Apokolips are educated there.”
“Why would a school for children be right above the dungeons?” Supergirl asked.
“Because the dungeons double as this school’s version of detention,” Valor said.
“I guess the Goodness part of her name is meant to be ironic,” Superwoman said, shaking her head.
“That’s the mother of all understatements,” Superman said. “Valor, if you would be so good as to lead the way?”
“Certainly,” Valor said, taking to the air. She flew out the door, and the rest of them followed.
As they flew down the hallway, the air was suddenly filled with the wailing of a siren. “They’re on to us,” Superwoman said.
“Of course,” Superman said. “DeSaad wouldn’t have left his prize specimens unmonitored. There must have been a camera hidden in there somewhere. We can expect trouble soon enough.”
“You mean we’re not already in trouble?” Salkor remarked.
True to Superman’s words, a horde of Parademons suddenly appeared flying toward them. “Surely they don’t mean for them to stop us?” Supergirl said.
“Probably not,” Superman said. “But I’m sure there are plenty more behind them waiting in the wings.” He delivered a burst of super-breath that sent them flying in the other direction.
“Then what would you suggest?” Supergirl asked.
“A more direct approach,” Superman said as he slammed through the floor to the hallway below. The rest followed him.
“There are ten more to go,” Valor called out to him.
Superman continued breaking through level after level as they traveled downward. “We’re right above its floor now,” Valor said. They flew further down the hallway until Valor said, “She’s directly below us.”
“Then here goes nothing,” Superman said. “This floor is lead-lined, so we’ll just have to take our chances.” He brought his fist down, breaking through the floor into Granny Goodness’ lair.
Superman landed on the floor in a darkened room. Before him, restrained against a platform much like the one in DeSaad’s lab, was Jasma. She looked at Superman with wide eyes and yelled something in Makorrian.
“I’m sorry, honey,” Superman said, moving toward her. “I can’t understand you. Don’t worry. I’ll have you out of these restraints in a jiffy.”
“She’s saying look out!” Salkor warned from the floor above. A metallic whip suddenly connected with Superman’s back. Lashina of the Female Furies stepped out of the shadows.
“Aaagh!” he cried out, falling forward.
“Oh, boy!” a husky voice said enthusiastically. “Superman! I’ve always wanted to see who’s tougher — him or me.” With that, the soles of two heavy-matter boots suddenly connected with his back as their owner attempted to crush him beneath her weight, befitting her name of Stompa.
“No fair! No fair!” an insane voice cackled. “Let the rest of us have a shot at him!”
“Don’t worry, Mad Harriet,” said Bernadeth, leader of the Female Furies as she stepped out of the shadows. “You’ll all get a piece of him. Foolish hero. Did you not think my brother would warn us you were coming?”
“You’ll find he didn’t come alone!” Supergirl said, slamming into Stompa. “The Female Furies. I’ve also always wanted to see who was tougher.” With that, she delivered an uppercut to Stompa, knocking her off her feet.
“Thanks for the assist,” Superman said, rising to his feet. Superwoman, Valor, and Salkor landed by his side. “Give it up, ladies. We have no wish to hurt you.”
“But we wish to hurt you,” a childish voice called out enthusiastically. “Get ‘im, Chessure!”
Superman suddenly found an inky blackness upon him as fangs and claws raked at him. To his horror, they were able to slash through his costume to the skin below and cut him. “What sort of an abomination are you?!” he growled, swinging wildly into the blackness.
Nearby, a young girl giggled as she watched the struggle. “Good Chessure!” she coaxed. “Rip ‘im up!”
Superwoman grabbed the girl and lifted her up. “Call it off of him!” To her surprise, the girl suddenly disappeared from her hands.
“Are you picking on poor little Malice Vundabar?” a voice said as a figure blurred past at super-speed, delivering a series of punches. “Try Speed Queen on for size!”
As Speed Queen came around for another pass, Superwoman stuck her leg out and tripped her, sending her flying into the far wall.
Speed Queen rose up and said, “Oh, so that’s the way you want to play it, is it? Well, let’s see how you like it when I vibrate into you and shake your atoms apart!” She started to skate forward, and Supergirl, who was tussling with Lashina and Mad Harriet, turned long enough to fire a ray of heat-vision at her skates, melting them to the floor. A look of horror crossed Speed Queen’s face as Superwoman casually walked up to her and backhanded her, knocking her unconscious.
“Superwoman, a hand here,” Supergirl said.
“Right away!” Superwoman said, diving at Mad Harriet.
“Oh, goody! A new playmate!” Mad Harriet said, lunging at her with her power spikes.
“So who’s playing?” Superwoman said. She grabbed her arm and swung her head first into the ground.
Meanwhile, Salkor stood outside of Chessure’s shadowy form and called in to Superman. “Superman! I am attempting to telekinetically reach the creature inside to subdue it!”
“I don’t think so,” a voice said. An explosive arrow slammed into him, just barely giving him enough time to erect a shield. “You have problems of your own right now.”
The Female Furie known as Artemiz fired another arrow at him, but this one turned and reversed its course back toward her. She dived out of the way as it exploded in the spot where she had been standing.
Meanwhile, Valor had her hands full with the blonde Female Furie known as Knockout, who was delivering blow after hammering blow. They’d first fought over a year ago when Valor was a member of Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad, and Knockout was a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. (*) “I remember you were supposed to be as strong as the old Supergirl. You don’t seem so tough to me!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Heroes and Villains, Chapter 3: The Conjunction.]
“I’ve got a new set of tricks now,” Valor gasped, firing a huge bolt of energy at her opponent. Knockout was jetted across the room to slam into the far left wall in a shower of stone. Leaving an imprint, she slumped to the ground, smoke rising from her skin.
“Nice shot,” Knockout growled. “Now it’s my turn.”
Lashina swung her lash at Supergirl, who wound it around her hand. With a quick jerk, she pulled Lashina to her and delivered a right cross that knocked her unconscious.
Supergirl and Superwoman then turned as Knockout was rising to her feet. They joined Valor as she streaked toward Knockout, and the three of them drove her through the wall.