Monday, February 1, 2010

The End: Aboard Adam Strange's Ship

Yellow Zeta Beam energy flooded Gold’s entire field of view and then faded away.  Gold felt solid ground underfoot—no, not ground—something else.  A corrugated steel floor.  Gold looked around and found himself in the cargo bay of a medium-sized space vessel.

I.Q. clutched his forehead.  “Oh no, not again.  Now where are we?”

“We’re on Adam Strange’s ship.  Somewhere in space,” Gold said.

“Wh-wh-where is Mr. Strange?” Tin asked.

Tina looked around at the empty cargo bay.  “How come it’s so quiet?” she asked.

Gold looked around at the black, featureless walls of the cargo bay.  A dim light glowed up ahead to the left.  “I don’t know,” he said.

“Wait.  I just heard something,” Mercury said, “listen.”

“I don’t hear nothin,’” Captain Boomerang said.

And, then, a very faint clanging sound came from up ahead.

“I h-h-heard it, too, Mercury!” Tin said.

“Come on,” Gold said, let’s go see what it is.

And that’s when a razor-sharp boomerang zinged through the air and struck the low ceiling.

“No one goes anywhere,” Captain Boomerang said, “until I say so.”

Gold turned to address the Australian villain.  “I would refrain from using a boomerang on a space vessel if I were you, Captain Boomerang.  There’s a whole lot of vacuum out there, and a lot less air in here.”

“Heh,” Boomerang laughed under his breath, “don’t think I don’t know what I’m doing.”  He drew another boomerang from his belt and held it in the air.  “Now, all six of you, down on the floor.”

“What?” Mercury asked.

“You heard me, Metal Man,” Boomerang said.  “Do as I say or your leader gets it.  And if you do anything stupid, I’ll break this ship open on purpose.”

Tin was the first to sit down, followed by Lead.  Iron considered his options for a moment and then sat down.  Mercury, Gold, and Platinum remained standing.

“You’re bluffing!” Tina said, “you’d die out in space.  We wouldn’t.”

“Someone’s gotta find you before they fix you up.  That could take an awful long time.”

Tina said nothing, but remained standing.

The banging from further down the ship intensified, except that this time, Gold thought he heard a voice.

Captain Boomerang either didn’t hear it or pretended not to.  “Kadabra?” he said to the magician, “will you whip up a spell to keep our metal friends in place?”

Abra Kadabra nodded and raised his hands.

Another sharp klang from up ahead, followed by several more quieter ones.  Gold listened, thinking that he had heard—yes.  A message.  In Morse Code.

Green swirls of magic glowed from Kadabra’s fingertips.  “And now for a spell which shall keep you here indefinitely,” he said.

“N-n-n-no!” Tin shouted and sprang up from the floor, spread into a sheet, and wrapped himself around the magician.  Kadabra yelped and then fell to the floor, along with Tin, who lay there, motionless.

“No!” Tina shouted, and jumped to her feet, ready to launch herself at Kadabra.

But before any of the other members of the Injustice Gang could act, Gold reached behind him, stretched his hand along the wall a few feet to the right, found an access panel and typed in a five digit code, and the room began to fill with white smoke.

Ocean Master dropped to his knees, coughing.  “What have you done?”

I.Q. shrieked and threw his hands up over his face but it was no use.  As the humans inhaled the gas, they each fell to the floor, unconscious.

Tina looked down at the sleeping Injustice Gang.  “How’d you do that?” she asked, turning to Gold.

“Strange,” Gold said, “he’s being held captive in the First Mate’s quarters.  He signaled in Morse Code for me to trip the failsafe knockout gas.  That was the clanging you heard.”

“Oh,” Tina said, “that was pretty resourceful.”

“That’s Adam Strange for you,” Gold said, “but we’ve got to hurry.  According to Strange’s message, Gorilla Grodd and the Secret Society of Super-Villains have taken control of the ship.”

Mercury stood up.  “What do they want?”

“I don’t now.  I guess we’ll find out.  But it’s up to us to stop them.”

“What about Tin?” Platinum asked, looking down at where the brave robot lay.

“I-I-I’m okay,” Tin said.  He shrank back to his normal form.  Tina bent down and helped him up.

Gold stood in front of them, hands on his hips in his most heroic leaderly pose.  “All right, Metal Men.  Let’s take control of this ship!”

They clanged down to the far end of the cargo bay and found the door locked.  Not a problem for Gold, as he easily disabled the lock by reaching around the edge of the door and unlocking it from the other side.  They made their way down a dark corridor, turned right, and Gold unlocked another door to find Adam Strange lying on the floor, his hands tied behind him.

Strange looked up at Gold, blinking at the light thrown into his eyes from the hall.  “What took you so long?” he said with a smile.

Gold didn’t quite know what to say.  He thought they had made pretty good time, considering.  He bent down and untied Strange.

Adam Strange stood up and dusted off his red uniform and pulled his yellow gloves, which has slid down to his wrists, up to his forearms.  He reached over to the bed, grabbed his finned helmut and slid over his head.  “I wasn’t lying when I said it was dangerous up here.  They’re planning on flying the ship through a wormhole to attack anyone in his path.  We’ve got to stop them.”

“What do you need us to do?” Gold asked.

“Follow me,” Strange said, and stepped into the hall.  He proceeded quietly down the hall and then stopped at an access panel, punched in a code, and a little door opened to reveal a ray gun.  He holstered it and continued down the hallway.

“Geez.  This guy doesn’t fool around, does he?” Mercury remarked under his breath.

Adam Strange moved down the hallway, his back to the wall, his gun poised, ready to shoot.  He motioned to Gold, “Grodd’s at the controls.  You guys should be impervious to his telepathy.  There’s a whole slew of other villains up there, though: Copperhead, Poison Ivy, Angle Man, Cavalier, Angle Man, Captain Stingaree, Hi-Jack.  Sinestro and Bizarro are the ones you have to watch out for, though.”

Strange walked down the hallway, turned a corner, and started unlocking another door.  “We’ve got another stop on the way, though,” he said, punching a combination into the keypad at the door.  The locks clicked open and the door creaked open.  “We’ve got to free Captain Comet.”

Adam poked his head in the door.  “Comet?”

A muffled reply came from the darkened room.  Strange slipped in and and returned with Captain Comet in tow.

Comet untied the gag from around his mouth.  “Thought you’d never get here,” he said.  “Who are your friends?” he asked, indicating the Metal Men.

“Backup,” Strange said.  He started down the hall and everyone followed.

“Do we have a plan?” Gold said.

“Plan?  I’m making this up as I go,” Strange said.

“That sounds about right,” Comet said.

Strange turned and checked the hallway ahead of him, then turned back to the others.  “We’ve got to take down Grodd first or I’m vulnerable to his psi attacks.  Comet, that’s all you.  Gold, put your strongest members on Bizarro.  I’ve got Sinestro.  It’s really only a matter of hitting him in the jaw.  The rest is just crowd control.”  He paused and turned to face the others.  “Got it?”

“Who elected you leader?” Mercury asked, hands on his hips.

“Now, Mercury, th-th-this is no time to squabble,” Tin said.

“Never mind him,” Gold said, “the Metal Men are ready.”

Strange nodded and turned to face an access door.  “All right.  Here were are,” he said, his voice dropping to a whisper, “no sense in unlocking the door or they’ll know we’re here and ambush us.  So, on three, we break the door down.  Ready?  One….two….three!”

The Metal Men slammed against the door and it burst open to reveal Angle Man, Captain Stingaree, Hi-Jack, and Cavalier.  “Take them down, Metal Men!” Gold commanded.  In a whirl of metallic wonderment, the Metal Men made short work of those members of the Secret Society of Super-Villains.

Comet, Strange, and the Metal Men stepped carefully around the fallen villains and stood in front of the next door.  “The cockpit’s behind this door,” Strange said, “we’ll ambush them just like we—argh!”

The door clanged open and knocked Strange out of the way.  Thankfully, though, his helmut took the brunt of the impact.  He staggered to the floor.

In the doorway stood Bizarro, the strange mirror-image of Superman.

“Lead, Iron!  Take him down!” Gold ordered, and the two strong robots launched themselves at Bizarro.  Iron hammered him with a mallet-fist while Lead grabbed for his arms.

Bizarro swung around wildly, throwing Lead off of him.  The heavy Metal Man landed with a *clang!* against the wall.  

“Strange, you okay?” asked Comet, bending down to help him up.

“Yeah.  I’m fine.  Go after Grodd.”

But before Comet could slip through the door, a burst of yellow light zinged through the air towards Comet.  Gold stretched himself in front of Comet and acted as a golden mirror.  The light scattered and fizzled away.  Comet dashed to the side of the door before another energy beam hit.

“Sinestro,” Comet said.

“I can take him,” Strange said.

A shield of yellow light then blocked the doorway.  Sinestro’s red face appeared behind it.  “I’d like to see you try,” he said.

“Let me handle him.”  Captain Comet looked squarely at Sinestro and he sent a telepathic attack his way.  The red alien’s face then began to wince.  It was enough to drop his concentration and the yellow energy shield, which was controlled through Sinestro’s power ring and was reliant on his willpower, faded away.  Strange then unholstered his ray gun and shot Sinestro in the leg.  One down.

Stepping over the wounded alien, Gold, Platinum, Mercury, and Tin ran into the cockpit.  Lead and Iron still were keeping Bizarro busy for the moment.

They found Grodd sitting at the controls with Copperhead and Poison Ivy on point.  Copperhead launched into action, his tail lashing out, which Gold narrowly dodged.  “Mercury!  Take care of Copperhead!  Tina!  Go for Ivy!”

“My pleasure,” Tina said, springing into a gossamer of platinum wire and wrapping around the green-skinned woman.  “Not so tough without your little plants around to help you, huh?” she said.

“Who says there’s no plant life around?” Ivy sneered, despite being cocooned by Tina.  “I always bring a friend with me.”  A vine slithered out from a potted plant which sat on the copilot’s chair and grabbed Tin by the ankle and hoisted him into the air.

“H-h-help!” shouted Tin as he dangled in the air by his foot.

Gold ran to help him.  Comet and Strange set their sights on Grodd.

“Give it up, Grodd,” Strange said, aiming his ray gun at the giant gorilla.

“Please,” Grodd said, waving his hand dismissively, “your threats are so pathetic they even fail to be amusing.”

Strange’s body seized.  His hand opened up and his gun fell to the floor, useless.  “Gold,” he managed to say, “do something!”

Grodd turned away from the controls for a second, regarding Gold, Mercury, Platinum, and Tin.  “Ah.  The Metal Men.  Just who I’ve been expecting.  You have something I want.  It seems that bozo Boomerang couldn’t get the job done.  So I’ll just do it myself.”

Gold stretched around the gorilla’s head, trying to blind him, but he felt his massive hands pull him off as if he were nothing more than a rubber band.  Gold fell to the floor.  Mercury let go of Copperhead to charge him, but Copperhead’s tail lashed out and struck down the red Metal Man.  Grodd stood from the cockpit and lumbered over to Tin.  He grabbed the little robot from Ivy’s vines and pulled off Tin’s access panel to reveal his responsometer.

“Just what I needed,” Grodd said.  He picked up a small metallic device, installed the responsometer into it, and smiled his best gloating-gorilla-villain smile.  “Goodbye,” he said, and pushed a button on the device.  With that, he disappeared in a burst of purple energy, along with Ivy, Copperhead, and the rest of the Secret Society of Super Villains.

“What happened?” Tina asked.

“He teleported out to Comet’s ship, the Cometeer,” Strange said, taking the controls of the ship.  He engaged the throttle and the ship sped forward.  “Doesn’t look like we’ll be able to catch up with him, though, before he hits that wormhole.”

Gold looked down at Tin, who lay lifeless on the floor.  “What do we do now?” he asked.

“We follow him,” Strange said, “and we take him down.”

“I hope we catch him,” Tina said.

“We will,” said Adam Strange, “I never give up.”

Just then the League signaling device which Gold had lifted from Doc’s lab crackled to life.  Gold removed it from the storage compartment on his wrist and looked down at the red blinking button.  He pushed it.

Doc Magnus’s voice came over the receiver.  “Where are you?  I’ve been looking all over for you.  The lab’s a mess!  Is everyone okay?”

“Yes and no,” Gold said, “Gorilla Grodd took Tin’s responsometer.  We’re out in space with Adam Strange and Captain Comet?”

“What?  How’d that happen?”

“It’s a long story, Doc,” Gold said.  He almost sounded weary.

Tina came over to stand behind his shoulder and bent down to speak into the receiver.  “Would you like me to tell it to you?” she asked.

“Please," Doc said, "enlighten me.  I'm all ears."

Tina smiled as she spoke into the receiver.  “Well, it all started when….”

The End.  For now.

Yay!  You did it!  You reached the end of the DC Challenge: Crisis on Earth Blog.  Unfortunately you don’t win any money or a medal or anything, but if you got this far, we applaud you!