Meanwhile, Will Payton enjoyed time at his old home in Phoenix, Arizona. He ate a fine meal at his mother’s table, trying to not to concern himself with the fact that he no longer needed food and that he had to concentrate to get his sense of taste to work.
“Mom, you still make the best apple pie around,” he said as she put her arm on his shoulder. “You need your own franchise. Marie’s Treats or something!”
“Honey, if it’ll keep you home awhile, I’ll bake all day!” said Marie Payton. “I’ve missed you so. I’m proud of you, of course — Starman, a hero and friends with Captain Comet and Hawkman, no less!”
“Well, I’m glad you took the whole thing so well,” he said. “I know Jayne jumped on the idea of my becoming a hero from the get-go, making that costume, and all.”
“Will, that yellow and purple costume was so ugly!” said Marie as she glanced back and forth.
“Now, don’t tell Jayne, but I agree,” he said, smiling. “That’s why I changed to the red and black version so quickly. Luckily, I passed that off as a suggestion from the folks at STAR Labs when I went there for testing soon after receiving my powers.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Suicide Mission, Chapter 1: The Cardialink.]
At that moment, he stiffened.
“Son, what’s wrong? Too much pie?” asked Marie with worry.
Will shook his head. “No. Something else. Something seems to be calling me! Like a homing signal in my mind. I’ve got to check this out. Be back as soon as possible! Don’t worry about me.” He kissed his mother and flew off in costume.
Following the feeling, Starman wondered just what new power he was experiencing. Man, I know Elongated Man told me to relish the feeling of being special, he thought, but I don’t know if I can handle many more surprises. This thing that is summoning me is obviously working on a frequency of energy discharge that matches my own stellar energies. That’s why I hear it. Still, what does it want?
He zoomed across the the distance at top speed and soon found himself breaking through clouds to spot an island covered with ornate Greek architecture. Some type of hidden civilization! All women, too, he realized as he saw the Amazons gathered below. Could this be Paradise Island?
Certene spoke up and said, “Queen Hippolyta, one of the aliens has broken through. The Sun Sword must be weakened all too soon. Pray Nubia returns before he brings his fleet!”
Hippolyta frowned. “Nay! We shall face this invader now and gain time for my daughter’s quest!” She cried out, “Amazons attack!”
Starman pulled away as the swan crafts rose in attack formation. Great! he thought. All I need is to be drawn into a war with Wonder Woman’s people!
Increasing his speed, he flew at a dazzling pace in and out of the crafts so none could touch him without risking injury one of their sister ships. He flew straight toward the Temple of Aphrodite, where the faint signal that had brought him to the isle of warrior women originated. He knew not to land, because that would violate the Amazon custom forbidding males to set foot on their isle.
“I’m Starman, and I am not a foe!” he said to the grim Hippolyta as she stood her ground dressed in her battle armor. “I worked with Wonder Woman’s friends Hawkman and Hawkwoman! Something brought me here, some signal from within the temple, but I’m not sure why. I have stellar energy powers, if that helps.”
“You do obey our dictates; I believe you,” said the blonde queen, who remained wary for the moment. “Paula, your opinion?”
“If he controls stellar energy, then perhaps he was drawn to the Sun Sword,” said Paula. “Its energies, though magical in nature, may relate to the powers he has as well.”
“This Sword you speak of seems to be dead,” said Starman. “I can’t detect the signal anymore.”
Hippolyta gasped. “Hera aid us! That means the alien fleet will be here any second!” She pointed skyward, where a portal now sliced through the clear sky, and armored flying ships began to force their way through.
“They have come!” cried another Amazon.
“I’ll try to hold them off,” said Starman. “Maybe my powers can help!” He soared toward the fleet of warships and stared at the nearest one.
Something about those ships is powered by stellar energy, he thought. I guess that explains why the Sun Sword could keep them out. Their warp engines must work in relation to the cosmic energies. I can feel that much is true. It’s like I’m in tune with the energy that powers them.
Starman hovered, and an Amazon cried, “Has the man lost his nerve? He does nothing!”
Paula smiled and said, “Oh, yes, he does — and quite impressively, as well.”
Starman pulsed with stellar energy after summoning his powers and retaining the energy build-up within his altered body. “Hope this works!” he prayed.
At once, as he experimented with frequencies of the energy within him, the ships vanished. Did it! he thought. I activated their warp drives by mental effort and matching the engine frequencies. If only I can keep them out.
As he did so, Wonder Woman blazed into sight.
“The Princess Nubia returns!” cried Hippolyta.
Nubia frowned as she saw Starman’s glowing form in midair. “Is he one of the aliens? Am I too late?” she cried.
“No!” cried Paula. “He holds them out by sheer will! Hurry and place the Star Sword in the locale in which rests its twin!”
Nubia charged forward and did so. The Sun Sword was dark, but the Star Sword gleamed brighter than ever as it rested in the cradle above the temple floor.
“Praise Athena! It worked!” cried Mala as she congratulated Nubia. “You’ve saved us all!”
Nubia smiled in surprise. “Thank you, sister.”
Starman gasped as he released his energy skyward and slowly sank to the lower altitudes. “I didn’t think I could hold the power so long!” he sighed.
Queen Hippolyta raised her hand toward him. “Young man, your valor saved my people,” she said with a smile. “Nubia was able to stop them due to your efforts on our behalf. By shunting them away with your unique powers, you prevented the carnage those alien invaders promised to unleash.”
Starman smiled back. “My pleasure, Your Highness. Nice to meet you all. Wonder Woman, this is a true honor!”
Nubia smiled and said, “Well met, Starman. We are in your debt. Know that Nubia the Wonder Woman does not lightly grant her favor or forget an ally!”
“Glad I could help!” said Starman. As he flew off, he felt rather elated. Helping an island full of beautiful women was a real pleasure, he thought. Still, I could not loiter. Seeing them makes me think of Angela. I still love her. I wonder if I should or even could get her back. I was a jerk to rush away because of the changes my powers were causing to me. (*) I have a lot to think about, and Jayne’s the one to help me do it!
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: The Beginning of the End, Chapter 3: Tales of the Mirrorverse.]