Ultimate Crisis

Maximum Security
by Bob Young and Chip Caroon

Green Lantern
Jean Grey
Martian Manhunter
Captain Marvel
Wonder Woman
Peter Parker
Victor Cranston
Silver Surfer
Dr. Doom

The galaxy traveling silver alien spotted the first line of resistance - aside from the unsuccessful cloaking maneuver - and slowed to a stop. He hovered in front of the human trio. "I am the Silver Surfer, and I claim this world for my master."

Sentinel was shocked. He knew this creature. Long ago, back in the second World War, when he was transported to the planet Rann, he had met this being before.

"I know you," Sentinel said. "Do you remember? We fought the Skrulls together on Rann. You saved my life back then."

The Surfer hesitated but the memories finally came flowing back. "Yes, I recall the incident. But that is no longer relevant. Our brief alliance is over. The needs of my master must come first."

"What does this master of your want?" Quasar asked.

"He wants your lives," the Surfer said. "All of you. Everyone and everything on this planet must be sacrificed so that my master may feed."

"Feed?" Green Lantern asked. "You mean, he wants to eat the planet?"

"In a sense," the Surfer said. "He will feed upon the life force of your world. And there is nothing that can stop him. I suggest the three of you flee this tiny globe now, for soon it will be destroyed!"

"Beg to differ, baldy," Green Lantern said. "We have something to say about that!"

"You intend to oppose me?" the Silver Surfer asked.

"You bet your silver butt we do!" Quasar yelled.

"Foolish," the Surfer said.

"Be careful!" Sentinel said. "He's powerful!"

"You have no idea," the silver alien said.

The Silver Surfer unleashed a wave of incredible cosmic energy. The three humans were forced back, stunned by the power of the alien.

"That was only a sample of my power," the Surfer said. "Do not tempt fate further or I will be forced to destroy you."

"You want to see power?" the Lantern said. "Try this on for size!"

Green Lantern released an incredible burst of power in the Surfer's direction. The Surfer was not impressed. He held up his silvery hand and created a force field that blocked the attack.

While he was distracted, Quasar slipped around behind him and fired a blast of stellar energy, drawn from the immense energy of actual quasars. However, the force field surrounded the Surfer entirely.

"I am cosmically aware," the Silver Surfer said. "No one can catch me unprepared."

"All together!" Sentinel shouted. His natural authority made the other two immediately obey his order.

As one, three of the most powerful beings who ever walked the Earth combine their energies against the invader. They held nothing back. The Silver Surfer was engulfed in a massive fireball of power.

The Surfer's force field began to crack, and much of his foes formidable energy breached the shield and hit their target. But the Silver Surfer was a man who had flown into the heart of many suns. He was encased in a silvery protective coating that was impervious to almost anything. Thus, he was able to endure the forces that threatened his form.

He began to push back with his near-limitless Cosmic Power. He pushed outward, forcing the trio of heroes back. He seemed unstoppable.

"We can't hold him!" Quasar yelled.

The Silver Surfer raised up his hand. From his ringers spit out some sort of flare. It flew up, higher into the stratosphere and headed out into space, as if it were on a mission. It was directed on a specific course.

"It is done," the Silver Surfer said, still forcing his weakening foes back. "The signal has been sent. The master has been notified of the presence of his suitable world.

"Galactus is coming!"

Hank McCoy stared intensely at the redheaded female sitting across the table from him. His spoon stayed in front of his mouth, unmoving. He was wondering how long before his friend would notice that he hadn't taken a bite in over a minute. But Jean Grey was staring at the window.

Hank dropped his spoon. It collided with his bowl with a loud clang.

Jean's eyes moved to the bowl. Her head remained facing the window.

"So, you are awake," Hank said, picking the spoon up.

Jean chuckled. "Sorry. I guess I didn't sleep very well."

"Jean, it's been months since Clark left – "

"It's not about Clark," Jean interrupted. "It's something new. Something's coming, and it's bigger than anything we've ever faced."

"Which narrows it down to basically the government, Sentinels, and Zod," Beast replied. "Any idea what it might be?"

"Space aliens," Logan replied as he walked into the kitchen.

"You have to be kidding," Hank said.

"It's true. Jeannie told me last night."

Hank raised an eyebrow.

"I needed someone to talk to last night," Jean assured. "And he was the only one up."

"It's kinda interesting," Logan added. "A bit too much of a global threat for my tastes. I prefer the more personal in your face kind of scraps."

"I'm sure," Hank said.

"Seriously, some massive alien mind is coming this way," Jean explained. "And it's not friendly."

"But we don't know anything more about it?"

"Other than it scared the hell out of me? No," Jean answered. She paused for a moment and took a breath. Then she stood up. "But we're going to do something about it."

Hank rolled his eyes up to look at Jean. "Something?"

"Yeah. We're not sitting back and letting trouble come to us. If something is threatening our world, we need to go defend it. And this is one problem that the JLA is going to be able to solve alone."

"We can't hold him!" Quasar exclaimed.

"Heard you the first time, and didn't believe it then!" Green Lantern replied. He was fearless and always rose to a challenge. He focused all his will power on defeating the silver enemy.

His attack redoubled, he put the Surfer on the defensive again. The power ring was a weapon that even the Silver Surfer couldn't easily dismiss. The Surfer had met Green Lanterns before but this one was quite impressive.

Quasar was worried about the space-flare that the Silver Surfer had sent. Who was it bringing? "I'm going to try and catch that thing before it gets wherever it's going."

"Go!" Green Lantern said.

Quasar took off after the departing object. That left the other two to deal with the Surfer but Sentinel, at his advanced age, was getting fatigued. "I don't know if I can keep this up!"

"Conserve your energy," Green Lantern said. "Take a break, Leave this silvery slimeball to me!"

Now on his own, Green Lantern gave it all he had. He used every once of will of bind the Silver Surfer in a prison of energy. However, the Silver Surfer was cosmic power incarnate and gave as good as he got. Green Lantern was shocked at his massive power.

Just when things were looking bad for the green gladiator, help arrived. A laser blast hit the Surfer. A blast of Martian vision! The Martian Manhunter had arrived. And he wasn't alone.

Along with the Martian, came Thor, Icon, Captain Marvel, and Wonder Woman in her invisible jet. They bore down on the Surfer with determination. Thor recognized the Surfer from a savage encounter, back in World War II. "Odin's blood! Tis the silvery cur whom I didst battle once upon an alien world! He did speak of a mysterious master then!"

The Surfer wasn't too happy with this turn of events. This Green Lantern was formidable. Also, the Surfer knew of Thor's prodigious might from their last battle. And they had a Martian with them as well. On top of that, they had several allies, who he could sense great power from. The odds were turning.

But he had nothing to gain here. The message had been sent. The Master would be coming, regardless of the outcome of this battle. There was no further point in this conflict.

"I suggest you prepare yourselves for the end," the Silver Surfer said. "It will come soon. Pray to whatever deity you worship. I pity you."

The Silver Surfer suddenly jetted away at near-light speed. Before anyone present could react, the Surfer was out of sight.

"By Odin!" Thor said. "I like this not!"

"Me either!" Green Lantern said.

Quasar returned. "Sorry guys. Whatever that was, I couldn't catch it."

"More good news," Icon said.

"We need to regroup and plan," Wonder Woman said.

"I agree," Captain Marvel replied.

"Yes, let's go," Martian Manhunter said. "Back to headquarters. We must be prepared for the worst."

"Wakey, wakey," Hank said, standing over Bobby Drake's bed.

Bobby rolled over and put the pillow over his head.

"If you don't get up now, Jean's gonna come in and mindblast you," Hank threatened. "And trust me, cleaning up the ice you left behind after the last time wasn't too fun."

Bobby threw the pillow off of his head and sighed. "What's wrong now?" he asked.

"End of the world, maybe."


"We're superheroes. It's our job."

"No, we're mutants that keep getting ourselves into situations."

Hank sighed and rolled his eyes. "We have powers and don't want to conquer the world. Close enough."

"So, what's the new situation?"

"Jean got a vision. We're going to help the JLA."

"They called?"

"Not yet. But apparently, this bad guy is so big, the JLA won't be able to stop it alone. And neither will the normal NYC crew."

Bobby sat up. "Wait a minute, didn't I hear Jean use the word ‘proactive' a few days ago?"

"It's our new thing," Hank replied. "I guess if the world is going to hate and fear us, we might as well give them a reason to."

"Now you're making us sound like supervillains."

"Not the whole world."

Peter Parker knocked on the door and waited. Seconds later, Victor Cranston opened it.

"Something's up," Peter said. "It's been too quiet."

"Hello, Peter, why don't you come in?"

Peter walked into Victor's living room. The television was on, down low, as background noise.

"I figured something was up when that big bald guy showed up in England," Victor replied.

"Ever since then, my spidersense has been on a low buzz. About ready to drive me crazy."

"You hear anything from the JLA?"

"Nope. And without my newspaper connections, it's hard to get unfiltered information. How about you? Your family is pretty well connected."

"Something tried messing with me last night. Mindblast or something. Felt like my head got hit by a Mack truck. Came with a nice show too. Visions and stuff. Some silver guy, and fire . . . and purple armor. It was very hazy. But one thing was very clear. There's something coming, and it's not good."

"Hmm," Peter said.

"Plus, I did some checking around, and apparently, it's happening to all sorts of telepaths and psychics."

"Actually, I think I heard about that. Damn, I never thought to check with you about that." Peter fell silent as his attention turned to the television. "Wait, did you say silver guy?" he asked.

"Yeah, why?"

Peter pointed to the television screen. It was showing clips of the JLA's battle with the Silver Surfer.

"Wonderful," Victor muttered.

The skies over Europe . . .

The Silver Surfer cruised casually over myriad European countries. He thought about the super beings he had encountered. There seemed to be quite a lot of them. And he could sense others. He was surprised by the number of meta-beings on this world. While they no doubt lacked the power to deter the Master, they could be an annoyance and a delay. They may even damage some of the Master's mechanisms. That was not to be tolerated. Something must be done, but the surfer wasn't sure if he could do it himself.

There was only one option. He had to call in his fellow heralds. They would be coming anyway, to install the Master's feeding devices. But now, they were needed to decimate these so-called protectors of the world. Concentrating, the Surfer sent out a cosmic recall signal, summoning his five peers.

With the message sent, he could only wait for the other heralds to arrive. It may take hours or even days, depending on how far away they are. In the meantime, the Surfer would need to kill some time. He didn't want to get too involved in the affairs of this world or to know its people. It would only make him feel sadder about their imminent doom. He sought out a high, uninhabited mountaintop and set down for a quiet wait. He peered up at the night stars, which he thought of as home. He had a home once but no longer. Now, he was a traveler in space. The universe was his home.

After a few hours of quiet reflection, he sensed someone coming. No doubt, one of Earths heroes had found him and was coming to make another vain attempt to defeat him. These humans were brave but so foolish!

A small craft appeared. The Surfer could have blown it out of the sky but he chose to be merciful. These humans had so little time left. Why not be kind to them in the little time they have left?

"Depart," the Surfer ordered. "Do not attempt anything foolish or you will forfeit the few precious days you have left."

But the craft landed instead. The hatch opened and out stepped a man in a grey suit of armor and a metal face, with a greenish cloak and hood. He moved with the grace and arrogance of a king.

"I greet you as a friend and welcome you to this planet," the man in the armor said. "You need not concern yourself. I will not attack you. I traced your cosmic energy here so I could help you."

"Why would you do this?" the Silver Surfer asked.

"Because I wish to side with the winner," the man in the mask said. "I realize the Earth is fated to perish. I hope that, by befriending you, your master will allow me to live."

"We shall see," the Silver Surfer said. "And what do I call you, human?"

"Call me . . . Doom! Doctor Doom!"

To be continued!