DCM Zone

Part II: Once More Unto the Breach
by Bob Young

Wonder Woman
Wanda Mason

In a section of space, far from Earth . . .

Across the vast distances of the void of space, a call has been heard. A warrior is summoned for a harrowing mission. Thus, he comes! He is the Protector of the light and wielder of the Astro-Force. He is Orion of the New Gods.

"I have heard the word!" Orion cried aloud. "And the word is battle!"

Propelled by his power rods, in which the Astro-Force is contained, Orion reached the majestic world of New Genesis, an unspoiled world of green forests, white mountains and bright waters. He heads to the shining city of gleaming spires, where his lord Highfather resides. It was a true place of peace, able to soothe even the fiercest warrior's heart.

Orion was met by Lightray, the closet thing Orion had to a friend. Orion sometimes found Lightray's playfulness annoying. Orion was all business. He had a dark side that easily burst out with a vengeance.

Lightray flew in circles around Orion. "Welcome back to New Genesis, Orion. It's been quite dull here without you. I expect we'll have some gratuitous violence, now that you've arrived."

"You have not changed, Lightray," Orion snapped back.

"Rumor has it that Highfather himself has summoned you," Lightray said. "There is clearly trouble abroad. Orion only treads were danger threatens."

"Lead on, Lightray."

Lightray led Orion to the Super Spire, the place from where Highfather ruled.

"There are no obvious signs of danger to be seen here," Orion said. "Our world still glows with eternal splendor."

"You must stay this time," Lightray said. "Forget your days of endless battle and learn to smile."

Orion's face was a stoic, unemotional mask, partly covered by a helmet. "I fear that I was not recalled to sit and smile. I am only summoned when the clarion call of battle sounds."

"To smile and laugh is to be alive, Orion," Lightray said. "Feel the beat of life. Live, you grim ghoul, live!"

"You prattle on, as always," Orion protested.

"And you are as dark as ever, Orion," Lightray said. "Of all on our world, you are the one most plagued by shadows. Are you ever happy?"

"My destiny is battle," Orion said. "I wield the mighty Astro-Force! It is a grim responsibility! I have a dark soul. Part of me is forever drifting in shadow!"

Lightray felt bad, as if he'd pressed Orion more than he should. "I'm sorry. I did not mean . . . "

Orion entered the spire. "Leave me, Lightray. My task is with Highfather, and my mission awaits."

Inside, Highfather was listening to a choir of young children singing a chorus of joy. After they were done, the red-bearded Highfather bowed to them. He believed that the young should be respected because they are the carriers of life, the future taking root. Orion watched silently. Soon, the children left.

"You summoned me, Highfather?" he asked.

"It is good to see you, Orion," Highfather said, raising his staff in a polite salute. "Did you like the song?"

"I know little of music, my lord."

"You should learn to appreciate it," Highfather said. "It is a creation of the soul. Even when the music ends, the song still remains. It must never die, or we are dead ourselves."

Orion had no interest in such matters. "I live for the cause of battle. How can I serve New Genesis?"

"There is danger afoot," Highfather said. "Life and freedom are threatened on a scale never before attempted. Come, we go to the chamber of the Source!"

Highfather led Orion down a hall. It appeared to lead to a dead end, but the wall at the end was something quite special. It was this wall that helped Highfather communicate with the "Source". It was the New Gods link to the all-knowing "Source".

"Take a moment to absorb the wonder of the Source-Wall," Highfather said. "It is the eternal power. It is the life equation. And its power is a part of my Wonder-Staff!"

From behind them a thin man in black floated in on a hovering chair. His name was Metron, and his chair was called the Mobius chair. "Highfather has not told you all, Orion."

"Metron!" Orion hissed with dislike, "You've been summoned, too?"

"Are you not glad to see me?" Metron said, with mock indignation.

"You?" Orion snapped. "You who would sell the galaxy into slavery if it meant learning something no one has ever discovered before!"

"Who runs the galaxy is of no matter to me," Metron said. "Only knowledge is my goal. Learning is my Prime Directive."

"Silence, both of you!" Highfather ordered. "The Wonder-Staff which summoned you is now, in turn, summoned by the Source. The wall awaits the written word."

"What I would not sacrifice to have the knowledge of the Source!" Metron said.

"You know too much already," Orion said. "Be content with your Mobius chair, which rides the winds of time and space."

"The chair can defy any barrier," Metron said. "Any barrier except the one that guards the secrets of the source!"

"Look there!" Orion said, pointing at the Source Wall. "The word of the source appears!"

Flaming letters appeared on the Source Wall. 'Orion to Earth, and then to war!'

"The source gives us irrevocable counsel, but does not decide for us," Highfather said. "The interpretation is left to us. That is the way of the Life Equation."

Orion read the message again, wondering what it meant. "Orion to Earth, and then to war. Does battle await me on Earth? If so, I will leave at once!"

"How wonderfully wise the Source is," Metron said, with a smile. "It need only hint at an unspecified adventure, and Orion is rushing blindly into danger!"

"I will not command you, Orion," Highfather said. "I leave the decision in your hands. Do you wish to go to Earth?"

"If there is a war to be fought, then that is where Orion must be!" Orion stated. "I will follow the advice of the Source. I willingly head to Earth!"

"So be it," Highfather said. "Be careful. I wish you well."

Orion retrieved his equipment and flew off, heading for the Earth.

The Sahara Desert:

The Ursool were an advanced alien race. They had technology that was beyond anything we humans had. Therefore, the Blood Spider Society was surprised when the aliens contacted them. The Society was a middle-Eastern group of weapons dealers, financed by the Sheik Farnoq Dahl. The amount of competition they'd been getting lately threatened to run them out of business, until the Ursool came. They offered the Blood Spider Society weapons the likes of which they had never seen. In return, they wanted cleaning supplies. It turned out that the Ursool used our cleaning supplies as a drug. The market for Drano was like cocaine among the Ursool. They traded their most valuable weapons for some Windex.

The trading continued, and the Blood Spider Society grew larger, becoming the dominant weapons dealers in the eastern world. The Sheik Farnoq Dahl became very rich.

FBI agent Wanda Mason, granddaughter of the World War Two heroine, the Blonde Phantom, on temporary duty to the UN, was assigned to investigate the Blood Spider Cult. She was sometimes called the Phantom Blonde, due to her ability to be covert. The UN had also sent the JLA member, Wonder Woman, to check on this growing power in the Middle East. The two had met during their investigation and decided to team up. They took the activities of the Blood Spider Society personally, ever since they started in the slave trade, kidnapping women to sell in slavery.

Wonder Woman and the Phantom Blonde moved stealthily. They then spotted a ship of some kind. It was something that looked like a floating cube.

"What in the world . . . ?" the Phantom said.

"Wrong!" Wonder Woman said. "That is definitely not from Earth!"

Suddenly, from out of the ground, something totally unbelievable happened. A pyramid grew out of the sand, like a snake rising up out of a wicker basket at the command of a snake charmer.

"There' s something you don't see every day!" the Phantom said.

"Not your typical, everyday occurrence, is it?" Wonder Woman said.

A door opened up near the top of the pyramid. The little alien ship entered the door, which quickly closed. The Pyramid sank back down into the sand.

"That was weird!" the Phantom Blonde said.

"Well, we can't be distracted by it now," Wonder Woman said. "We have a job to do. When we get done here, I'll check it out personally. In the meantime, it doesn't appear to have anything to do with our assignment to check out the Blood Spider Society."

"I guess you're right," the Phantom said. "Aliens are out of my line. You can handle it. Come on, lets go find Farnoq Dahl and his slave trading, weapons dealing scum!"

The two women moved on, thinking they'd seen the last of the mystery pyramid for the time being.

The Lady Sif had used her power to cross dimensions to travel from Asgard to Earth. She appeared in Norway, where the Gods of Asgard were once worshipped. Although she didn't think too much of mortals, she nevertheless kept her promise to Thor to protect them.

People stared at the beautiful goddess as she walked down the street with a cape and a broadsword. Whenever she saw trouble, she tried to help, although the ways of mortal weren't familiar to her.

While crossing a highway overpass, she spotted a high-speed chase. From what she could determine from the words of the onlookers, this was a bad thing and needed to be stopped. Sif leaped down off the overpass, just after the fleeing vehicle had gone by. She held her sword out menacingly to the Norwegian police. "Stop your pursuit, villains!" she said.

The sound of the sirens was drown out by the squeal of skidding tires. Cop car tires.

"I am here to protect the innocent!" she said threateningly.

"So are we!" one cop yelled, in Norwegian. "Why did you stop us?"

"That guy is a criminal!" another cop yelled. "What is wrong with you?"

Sif was embarrassed. "You were chasing him. I thought that you were the threat!"

"Dumb girl!" a policeman yelled and then all the police cars drove around Sif to see if they could still catch their quarry.

After that embarrassing incident, Sif needed a little time away from humans. She transported herself into the nearest high hills. She took some time to compose herself. While there, she sensed something. A presence that was not human, but not a God. It was unknown. She teleported to the site.

Miles away . . .

When she reappeared, she was startled at what she saw. There was a giant lying on its back, merged with some sort of space ship.

The giant was fifty feet tall and dressed in body armor. His strangest feature was that he had a horse's head. His mid-section was fused to the ship. The ship itself was a small, saucer shaped object. Its pilot was almost completely engulfed into the ship. Most of his body was merged with the flying saucer. The pale alien man was barely alive. The giant also seemed to be hurt and unmoving.

Sif approached them. She went to the alien man first. All he could say was . . . "Desert. Must deliver weapons . . . Sahara desert. Meet others . . . Sahara . . . "

And then he died. Sif thought for a minute. Apparently this man had been delivering weapons to some people in the Sahara Desert. Sif didn't know if that was good or bad. After what happened before, she needed to be cautious.

Sif approached the giant with the horse head. "Can thou understand me?" she asked.

"I can understand," the giant said, weakly. "I am Kamakora. I am a Gamer of the Western Cavalry of the Great White. I believe that I am dying."

Sif didn't know much about this creature but she could tell that it was true. He was dying.

"You must inform the galactic scorekeeper," Kamakora said. "The immense board of lights has to be adjusted. This collision is . . . unfortunate. It will give an advantage to the great Black."

"How did this happen?" Sif asked.

"It was my move," the Gamer said. "I was moving along the Thunder Road, to a new square. Twenty Mega-Clicks north, nine Mega-Clicks East, into an unoccupied square. Something disturbed my Thunder-leap and brought me back to regular space prematurely. I believe it was the celestial body that passed near the moon of this world. Obviously, the pilot of this ship experienced the same thing. The celestial object must have pulled him from hyperspace. He re-emerged in the same spot and we found ourselves merged like this. The merging was fatal for him, and apparently for me as well."

"I wish there was something that I could do to help thee," Sif said.

"Would you . . . stay with me?" he said. "The end is not far away."

"I will stay," she said.

"Thank you," he said. "Every experience is better shared, even the moment of death. I feel very calm. Soon, I will know everything. I will have the answers to all life's mysteries."

Kamakora the Gamer lay silent for a few minutes. Sif stood by, placing a sympathetic hand on his shoulder.

"I am starting to feel numb," he said.

"Art thou . . . afraid?" she asked.

"No, I do not fear death," he said. "Death merely is. I fear it more than I fear life."

"It seems that life is often unjust," Sif said.

"Existence is a great simplicity," he said. "There is black and there is white. Just look above you."

Sif looked up at the night sky. She couldn't recall ever seeing so many stars.

"Do you see?" Kamakora asked. "That is the immense board of lights. There is the great black, and strewn around, small and surrounded, but brave and shining, we have the Great White."

"There is so much more black," Sif said.

"There used to be only black. We are doing well. I can go, satisfied."

A tear rolled down Sif's check. Kamakora noticed. "Do not weep. I existed. That is good enough. Now, this world is finished with me. The next great adventure awaits."

Sif didn't know what to say. Hopefully, just being there was enough.

"It . . . is time," Kamakora weakly whispered. "Eternity calls. I . . . am done."

Kamakora of the Western Cavalry died. Sif raised her sword in a tribute to his bravery in the face of death. "Sleep well, warrior. Thou leaveth the universe a poorer place for thy absence."

Sif sat quietly for a while. Soon, her mind turned to the weapons that the alien had been trying to deliver. Is this something that she should check out? Perhaps so. She needed to find a map to tell her where the Sahara desert was, and then she could teleport there.

In another solar system:

The large ship moved though space. It was a warship with a crew of one. Or rather two if you count the AI that runs the ship. The lone crewman was named Beta Ray Bill and his AI partner was known as Scuttlebutt. Ever since the destruction of his planet, Bill and Scuttlebutt had traveled, looking for a refuge. They sought a safe place for their precious cargo.

They had to keep moving. The enemy was right on their heals and slowly gaining. Soon, they would catch up, and Bill wasn't sure if he could protect the cargo or not. He prayed continually that he would find a safe place or a weapon to defend his people with or an ally who could help him.

Far, far away . . . it was coming!

It was immense beyond description, and moved relentlessly across the stars like a juggernaut of Apocalypse. It was surrounded by a Saturn-like ring, a ring, which supplied its infinite power. A wheel spinning endlessly in space. A Godwheel!

Next issue: Thor battles a Green Lantern, and Hercules comes to New York. The adventure continues!