Crime Syndicate of America: Strange Visitors, Chapter 1: Lady Shrike

by Libbylawrence

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In the Fortress of Science, Alexander Luthor was startled by an announcement from Brainiac. The six-inch-tall, sentient, computer-minded humanoid used the name John Smith, but his electronic senses were far more acute than his mundane name would suggest. Thus he was the first to detect the arrival of a visitor.

“Alex — someone approaches, and he apparently knows we are located beneath the earth’s surface,” said Brainiac.

Alexander Luthor frowned. “That’s odd. I’ve gone to extreme lengths to safeguard this place. As you know, I’ve never even told the Secret Society of Super-Heroes about this place, my family, or even you. I have trouble fully trusting anyone with special abilities after what I’ve seen what the Syndicate can do.”

Brainiac said nothing. He himself was troubled, since he had grown to care for his creator and especially for Lena Luthor, Alex’s blonde sister, who possessed psychic abilities. “I assure you it is not one of the known Syndicators. He appears to be friendly,” said Brainiac.

Luthor nodded. “Prepare a containment cell and activate it at my signal — just in case.” He waited and slipped on his armor’s helmet. As the leading super-hero on this world that was troubled by evil, he was weary of combat.

He watched as energy generated an opening and then rapidly closed again. There was now no trace of any entrance to his underground Fortress of Science, which was how he preferred it. He couldn’t take a chance that his wife Lois or his young sister Lena could be harmed by Ultraman, Owlman, or the rest of the super-villains who dominated so much of their world. He and Lena had already lost their parents to a senseless rampage by Power Ring years before. He waited and knew from the pulse in his armor that Brainiac was already scanning the newcomer as well.

“If it isn’t too trite to say so, Alexander Luthor, I must mention that I come in peace,” said the man.

Luthor extended a hand. “You have the advantage of me. What brings you here? Who are you? I see you are obviously extraterrestial.”

***

Hours later, after a fascinating discussion during which Lois Lane Luthor and Lena Luthor joined their gathering, the newcomer spread wide his hands. “Are you certain this… ruse is necessary?” he asked.

“Yes. Knowing Owlman and the Murderer from Mars the way I do, it is vital to play every trump card you possess,” interjected Brainiac.

Their visitor shrugged in earthly fashion. “So be it. My equipment should help me perfect the mannerisms required,” he said with a reluctant tone.

Lena Luthor frowned as she idly tugged on her long blonde hair. Like Cassandra of myth, she suffered from dreams of the future, and she’d had one not long before in which her beloved sibling had died. She still shuddered when she considered the possibility. I don’t know what I’d do without Alex. If those fiends take him from me like they did mom and dad, I’ll be devastated, she thought.

“Perhaps I can help protect him,” echoed a voice in her mind.

***

Elsewhere, Power Ring grinned. It was not a pretty sight. The slightly gaunt, balding man had little to conceal his malice. It radiated from him like the emerald energy from his ring. He grinned broadly as his energy created a huge slingshot that rocketed a boulder through Bloch Aviation.

“Oops! Did I do that?” he mocked as his destructive toy rained rubble across the once-smooth runway.

“You beast!” cried an angry man from below.

“You’re no beauty yourself, Pops,” he smirked.

“What of me? Can you say the same of me?” purred a woman’s voice from above. Power Ring turned to gaze skyward. He frowned. There should not have been anyone who could fly with that kind of sultry coo to her voice. He sure knew Ultraman didn’t talk like that — or have curves like those, either.

She was a redhead with long, flowing tresses that had slight curls on the ends. She wore a mask that flared into an avian motif but did nothing to hide her bright green eyes. She wore a brief bikini top and green and red tights that ended in slippers of the same color. Most remarkable of all was the fact that she hovered in midair due to either the weird belt she wore low on her hips or the wings that spread out from the harness across her brief top.

“Speechless? I like my men silent. I’m Shayera. You can call me Lady Shrike,” she said.

Power Ring smiled. This was his lucky day. “Come on, baby. We need a place where we can… nest,” he smirked.

***

Later, Power Ring and Shayera snuggled close to one another within a green sphere of his creation. The sphere rested on top of a mountain range that depicted the faces of Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, John Wilkes Booth, and Billy Hearst — America’s four most celebrated past presidents; however, little did they ever dream that someday their national monument would be used for a romantic tryst.

Shayera yawned and smiled as she swept a hand through her luxurious hair. “You know, I’m getting to like this mudball. I saw Earth as just a temporary hiding place in which I could find shelter and regroup before moving on. Now I find this little world has possibilities,” she said.

Power Ring kissed her roughly and said, “So do I, so do I. Where are you from? I don’t want any alien diseases.”

She laughed a throaty chuckle and said, “Never fear. Thanagar is notorious for its regulation of every aspect of social life. That same strict propriety extends to health issues as well. I am a product of Thanagar’s rigid system of regulation of both the physical and the mental. I am a bit of a global scandal, however, as one of only two of our world’s noble Wingmen to betray our duty. I am what you would call a crooked cop.”

Power Ring grinned. “I never enjoyed time with any cop like this. So you say you are a dirty alien cop?”

She caressed his face and said, “I was. Now I am a fugitive, and I fled my world after my racket was exposed.”

Power Ring said, “You said you were one of only two cops to turn bad on your world. What happened to the other one?”

She frowned, and her expression turned dark. “I don’t want to talk about Katar. He and I were once close before he betrayed me. If I ever see him again, I’ll shove a photon lance through his heart,” she hissed.

Power Ring fingered her discarded wing harness and said, “I hope I never give you reason enough to want to hurt me like that punk did.”

Lady Shrike smiled coldly. “For your sake, you’d better not.”

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