Urthlo 5 and Computo found themselves looking up at an impressive complex that stretched across a city block. Metropolis was beautiful, and while it resembled the futuristic city Urthlo lived in, he also felt that this Metropolis of an alternate future timeline was a happier place.
“No doubt the people who live in this universe don’t have to live in constant fear that the Cabal is going to attack at any moment,” he said. “I envy them! Perhaps if we recruit the right allies from this place, we will someday be able to experience the same kind of freedom in our own world!”
“This timeline has been designated as the Adult Legion era by the natives of the main Earth-One timeline who have visited or studied this divergent era,” explained Computo. “There are benign counterparts to the Cabal members of our universe in this place. For example, while our Mind Mistress is an evil woman, her counterpart here is a heroine known as Saturn Woman. “
“I know the members of the Faultless Five didn’t join us when Gloriana deposited us here, because in this universe they are viewed as deadly criminals, but I’d still like some additional support!” said Urthlo.
“The Brainiac 5 of this universe is as brilliant as my creator, but he has dedicated his keen mind toward the betterment of the universe!” said Computo.
“Forget about him!” said Urthlo. “We can’t approach any of the Legion of Super-Heroes. That’s what the good version of the Cabal is called, and Gloriana said they are so essential to this timeline that we can’t afford to ask them to join us in our universe.”
“Correct,” said Computo. “I was merely indulging in intellectual speculation. It is a flaw in my programming. We must leave this plaza. It is the location in which the heroes are based! That complex is their headquarters! It is an inspiring sight!”
Before Urthlo 5 could reply, several strange things happened at once. Four large spherical objects descended from the sky and hovered ominously in front of the headquarters of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The objects were nearly transparent, but the content of each sphere was puzzling at best. Each sphere contained what appeared to be an enlarged brain floating in some kind of protective or nutritious fluid.
In the wake of the weird objects came six costumed super-beings. They all flew after the spheres, but none of them spoke or displayed any expression. They were clearly entranced.
“Those things have taken over the Legion!” whispered Urthlo as he recognized counterparts of some of the Cabal of Super-Criminals of his universe.
“Lightning Man, Saturn Woman, Cosmic Man, Sun Man, Polar Man, and Timber Wolf,” said Computo. “Those are the designations for the flying humanoids. A routine scan of their respiration and other vital sign suggests that they have indeed been robbed of their free will!”
The Defender activated a feature on his armor and faded from view. “The invisibility feature works well, but really places a drain on the system!” he whispered. “Do you think I shielded us in time?”
“Affirmative,” said Computo. “The mentally clouded heroes would not have spotted us, nor have their controllers!”
“What are those weird things?” asked the Defender.
“Based purely upon information I have gleaned from the closest computerized counterpart I have in this universe, they are an alien race colloquially known as the Brain-Globes of Rambat!” explained Computo. (*) “They are the preserved remnants of a lost race. They exist as almost completely intellectual beings with little or no physical form beyond the protective matter that encircles them! Among their mental powers is the ability to totally dominate human minds, if given an appropriate time for mental domination!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Legion of Super-Traitors,” Adventure Comics #293 (February, 1962).]
“Will my armor shield me from their control?” asked the Defender.
“Negative,” said Computo. “It will conceal from them, but if they detect you, you may fall under their enslavement, unless rapid attacks prevent them from concentrating long enough to overpower your mind!”
The Defender noticed that, in addition to the enslaved and colorfully costumed flying heroes, dozens of ordinary citizens around the plaza were also under the mental control of the Brain-Globes. How can I free all those people? he thought. I assume, if I’m spotted, the Brain-Globes will order their pawns to attack me!
“Apparently, the Brain-Globes plan on using these captive heroes as their enforcers while they gradually assume control of the entire population!” said Computo. “The Legion of this alternate era is much smaller than the one that exists in what many call the main timeline!”
“What about the allies Gloriana sent us to recruit?” asked the Defender. “None of them are members of the Legion. Are they still free? Can you use the data you have to locate them before they are also enslaved?”
“Data suggests that two of them may be here now!” said Computo.
A short young man with bright green hair and lighter green skin walked calmly into view and deliberately attracted the Brain-Globes. As they drew closer to him, along with their Legion slaves, a strange transformation took place. The boy shifted shape and became a massive tree with elongated tendrils that wrapped around the nearest Brain-Globe and began to crush it.
“Astounding! That boy turned into a Venusian snake plant!” gasped the Defender.
Sun Man responded to some mental command from the threatened Brain-Globe and swooped down to burn the roots of the weird plant.
At that moment, a red-hued female form flew into his path and absorbed the heat long enough for the plant to exert added pressure on its captive. Polar Man approached and tried to freeze the fiery female figure, but a second blue-hued twin to the first woman intercepted his icy blast. Before either of the captive Legionnaires could fight back, a third woman with glowing green skin darted forward and knocked them into one another. Clearly their reaction times were greatly reduced by their captive minds. A final yellow female approached, looking exactly like the other three except for the brilliant golden color of her body, and as her body flickered in a pattern of golden flashes, the hypnotically helpless duo blinked and emerged from their trances.
“Thank goodness! I can think again!” said Sun Man as he blazed skyward and engulfed the Brain-Globe being battered by tree in a barrage of fireballs.
Polar Man guarded his friend’s back as their enslaved partners came down to free their master. I can’t do much against the others, but my icy wall will at least slow them down! thought Polar Man as he generated a barricade of solid ice.
“The green-hued boy is apparently immune to their mind control because of his plant-like nature!” said Computo. “He was one of the potential allies I was planning to contact. His name is Noyt Echad, alias Plant Lad, and while he was presumed dead at one time, his remarkable metabolism allowed him to return to new vitality like a germinating plant. (*) The multi-colored phantasms are, in fact, manifestations of one woman, Dori Aandraison. She is called Rainbow Girl, and she has several potentially impressive powers. (*) Now she only uses the ability to emit four colorful energy doubles with a single power found in each one!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Super-Stalag of Space,” Adventure Comics #344 (May, 1966) and “The Legion of Super-Monsters,” Adventure Comics #309 (June, 1963).]
“She’s freed Polar Man and Sun Man, but she can’t hold off all the Legionnaires,” said Urthlo, gesturing to where Saturn Woman, Cosmic Man, Lightning Man, and Timber Wolf were circling the embattled Plant Lad and Rainbow Girl.
At that moment, a ruggedly handsome blond man in a green jacket and white pants came bounding forward with the agility of a panther. He concentrated, and the four entranced Legionnaires transformed into gorillas. The altered heroes abruptly stopped menacing their friends and turned to attack the other three Brain-Globes.
“His name is Ennis Janhson, and he is known as Animal Lad,” said Computo. “He can transform humans into animals, among other powers. (*) The Brain-Globes seem powerless to control animals or these animal-human hybrids!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Triumph of the Legion of Super-Villains,” Adventure Comics #331 (April, 1965).]
As Animal Lad waited, the battle shifted, and the altered but freed heroes began to battered the Brain-Globes with a barrage of energy bolts, magnetic power, and mental attacks. The four Brain-Globes finally fled, leaving the slightly confused heroes to face Animal Lad, Rainbow Girl, and Plant Lad. Plant Lad had changed back into his human form, and the four energy beings had merged back into the body of a very pretty woman in a purple minidress and boots.
Animal Lad cancelled the alteration that had changed the heroes into gorillas, and he said, “You will all be fine. I knew those things could not control animals. I have a mental link with the natural world. I figured if I changed you all into my hybrid beasts, you would regain your free will!”
“Ennis, you saved the day,” said Lightning Man. “All of you did! I’m glad to see you are here, Plant Lad. We all thought your death was final!”
Plant Lad shook his head as he replied, “I got better.”
“I suppose it was good fortune that brought us all together today!” said Rainbow Girl. “I knew my spectrum sisters were safe from mind control since they are mindless energy beings, but I couldn’t risk getting too close to the Globes. It was lucky we were all immune to the Brain-Globes’ mind control.”
The Defender shut off his shielding and said, “No, it was destiny. I’m called the Defender. I need heroes to help me in my native universe. Would the three of you be willing to join me? I have been told that no Legionnaire could do so without disturbing time!”
Rainbow Girl, Plant Lad, and Animal Lad agreed readily. They were delighted with their sudden and unexpected triumph, and the three were eager to feel useful.
“We have a few questions of our own,” said Sun Man. “You showed up at just the right moment. Exactly who are you?”
Saturn Woman placed one hand on her friend’s arm as she said, “Dirk, it is OK. I can vouch for him. He speaks the truth, and we can’t go with him without creating the kind of temporal chaos that would give Brainy what he’d call a three-pipe problem!”
Urthlo smiled at the lovely blonde and he said, “Thank you for your trust. We fight for the same side, if that helps any!”
The trio joined the Defender as he and Computo returned to the time bubble where Gloriana and the Faultless Five waited.
“These are our allies,” said Urthlo. “They are willing to come back to our universe and help us!”
“Don’t be afraid,” said the Green Guardian. “We aren’t the villains you’ve seen in your universe!”
“I’m glad,” said Rainbow Girl. “I don’t think a few colorful beings could stand up against the real Fatal Five!”
As Gloriana enabled the time bubble to carry them back to their own era and universe, Urthlo thought about all that had happened to him since the first evening in the museum. I’m not a hero yet, but I’m trying, he thought. With help from friends like these, and possibly some new recruits from my universe, I might yet be able to challenge the Cabal!
Meanwhile, Computo thought, Based on data I accessed from the good Legion’s computers via remote access, I surmise Saturn Queen, Nemesis Kid, and Spider-Girl are just a few of the villains of Earth-One who might have well-intentioned counterparts in our universe. We may have an army of our own in time!
It was, in truth, a beginning.