DCM Zone

Part VIII: Sisters in Arms
by Bob Young

Wonder Woman
Beta Ray Bill
Captain Marvel
Adam Strange

Wonder Woman had Thundra tied up with her magic lasso. Thundra fumed with anger at being held helpless by the magic of the golden lariat, but she couldn't get free. She was Wonder Woman's prisoner.

"Now speak!" Wonder Woman said. "What is the reason behind your attack on me? Why do you want me dead?"

"I need your power," Thundra said. "My Femke Crystal can absorb another's power, but only at the moment of their death. It absorbs their life force as it ebbs and the soul leaves the body. I needed you power."

"For what reason?" Wonder Woman asked. "Why do you need my strength so badly?"

"I came from a world dominated by woman," she said. "Matriarchal is the best system."

Wonder Woman understood her point. "Go on."

"Recently, we have been having a civil war," Thundra said. "Some men are rebelling, led by male invaders from an alternate dimension. They are Patriarchal and our society is anathema to them. So they are leading this revolt. They have, however, agreed to settle things with one gladiatorial fight. I, as champion of my world, agreed to fight their champion. His name is Makizmo. He is powerful, but I can match him blow-for-blow. The only obstacle is his Nuclear Punch. I have no defense against it. It will turn the tide against me. I cannot allow myself to be beaten. If I do, I will fail my entire race, and be disgraced myself."

"So you need to gain more power, to counter this Nuclear Punch," Wonder Woman said.

"Just so," she said. "I've been searching parallel dimensions. Searching for a woman warrior powerful enough to serve my purposes. Only you have been suitable. You are a woman of incredible power."

"Why only a woman?" the Amazon asked.

"Makizmo is the embodiment of male power," she said. "If I absorb male energy, he can corrupt it or absorb it. I needed to find a woman like yourself. But now, all is lost!"

"Not so," Wonder Woman said. "You don't have to kill anyone to get more power. You have months remaining. I will take you to my Island of Amazons where you will learn techniques to turn this Makizmo's superior power against him. You will learn the use of ancient weapons that will surprise him. Trust me, I've defeated men more powerful than myself. I can help you defeat Makizmo."

"This . . . This is more than I could ask for!" Thundra asked. "Why are you doing this?"

"Because you are a sister in arms," Wonder Woman said. "And I can't afford to have you attacking me all the time, trying to steal my life force."

"I accept your aid," Thundra said. "My . . . my sister."

Wonder Woman smiled and released Thundra. "I anticipate that we will be good friends."

"Can we go to your island now?" Thundra asked.

"Not yet," Wonder Woman said. "I have something important to do."

"Then I will aid you in your task," Thundra said. "the sooner you get finished, the sooner we can begin my retraining."

Wonder Woman nodded. "Together, then. Sisters in arms!"

Meanwhile, back in the Desert Palace of Sheik Farnoq Dahl, Sif had just been led into the Dahl Seraglio.

It was a harem for his slaves, whom he would eventually sell. Sif was the newest. Normally, Sif would power her way out of a mess like this, but at the current time, she was still under the influence of the alien ray, which prevented her from controlling her own body. Just talking of her own free will was impossible. When Dahl told her to sign an agreement to be his slave, she was compelled to do so. The Sheik had ordered her to allow herself to be brought to the seraglio, and she had no choice but to comply. Now, she was meeting the other slaves, including Livia and Fee.

"New one of us?" Fee asked.

"A very willing one," Livia said. "She agreed to sign the slave sale agreement without coercion."

"You did?" another woman asked, shocked.

"The rest of us had to be threatened," Fee said. "They used hostages to make us comply."

"Perhaps she was the smart one," a woman named Jekka added. "In the end, they get us all to sign."

Fee, who was essentially the leader of the girls, put an arm around the goddess. "Make the best of it, honey. At least the Sheik takes good care of us. For a while, anyway, until we're taken to the terrorist training camps where the men are very lonely and very horny."

Sif looked appalled, but couldn't speak. Fee saw her repulsed reaction. "That's right," Fee said. "You'll be working on your back. Eventually you'll end up on the auction block."

"Forget about escape!" Jekka said. "There's some sort of . . . creature lurking called the Blood Spider. If you try to run, you'll end up in its web!"

"So we go along with them," Livia said. "As much as we have to."

"But . . . thou need not be!" the Goddess said, forcing the words out with difficulty. "Thou hath free will. Thou . . . canst . . . fight! Every tyrant can be . . . fought. Thou must . . . resist. We . . . must fight!"

"I didn't see you doing much resisting in the Sheik's office," Livia said. "You did everything he told you."

"Tis . . . most hard to explain," Sif said, each word a battle to say. "But thou must . . . trust me. Things are not as they seem. I have no . . . no intention of serving our captor. Nor doth thou have to stay with him either! I refuse to . . . to live my life in this manner. Thou shouldst refuse also. Be strong and resist!"

Livia was still skeptical. She had witnessed Sif's show of cooperation and doubted her conviction to this cause. But she said nothing because the other girls seemed to be buying it.

"Can you lead us?" one of the eager women asked.

Sif hesitated. In her present condition, she wasn't exactly a reliable leader. She could barely force herself to speak without orders. Yet, she knew that these poor, imprisoned women needed a leader to inspire them, a leader who knows something of combat techniques. She could not refuse them.

"Very well, I will lead thee!" she said.

"And you intend to resist the Sheik and his guards, do you?" Livia asked.

"I will resist . . . in any way and every way I can." the Asgardian Lady said.

Just as the women were working into a frenzy of hope, the guard chose that moment to come in.

"Defy him," Sif said. "Do nothing that he says."

The women eagerly agreed, expecting Sif to lead them in their show of defiance. Sif steeled herself, determined to show the woman how a goddess truly acts.

The guard pointed to Sif. "You, girl. Come here!"

"I obey," Sif said, and instantly responded to the guard's command.

As Sif dutifully walked to the guard, the other woman frowned at her. This act of compliance was contrary to all Sif's inspiring speeches about revolt. The goddess realized what they were thinking, and needed to do something to salvage the moment. She couldn't stop herself from responding to the guard's instructions, but she believed that words could save the situation. She planned to tell the guard off, and give him a piece of her mind. Perhaps a few good obscenities would help, too.

However, the message changed between her brain and her lips. Her words, intended to be defiant, came out as "How can I serve thee?"

Livia frowned. Sif herself was infuriated. I did not want to say that! she thought.

The guard held out one of those skimpy slave outfits. "You are instructed to put this on. Now!"

"I obey," Sif said.

Immediately, she removed her usual Norse costume. The guard leered lustfully as she undressed. The other women sneered. Apparently, Sif was all talk but couldn't back it up. As Sif obediently put on the costume she was given, she felt a wave of humiliation. After telling the other women about revolt and resistance, she stood now in full view of all of them, complying with every order the guard gave her. She cursed the mysterious beings who did this to her. After she finished dressing, she stood before the guard, unable to do anything except await further orders.

"Turn around," the guard said. "Let me get a better look at you."

"I obey," she said, and against her will, Lady Sif spun around to offer the guard a better view of her body. He smiled a lusty smile. She wanted to punch his grinning face in, but the effect of the ray prevented her.

The guard nodded. "Very good. You will keep this on until we summon you again."

"I obey."

"You're presence will be expected at five bells," the guard said. "Be ready."

"Aye, I will be ready."

"Smart girl," he said. "Continue to be obedient and you will be treated well."

"Aye . . . Sir!"

"Fine. You may return to where you were," he said.

"I obey."

Sif returned to the spot where she had been when the guard came in. As she walked, she felt their accusing eyes burning into her like fire. She realized that she had let them down. From their point of view, Sif was willingly cooperating with the enemy. She felt humiliated.

Thor had almost reached the planet of the Godwheel. He passed the planetary rings, and felt their incredible energy, like a miniature sun. There seemed to be objects in there. The Godwheel appeared to be some sort of asteroid field surrounding the planet. Thor continued on to the planet.

The gravity of the gigantic world would have crushed any human. But Thor was a god and able to withstand the incredible crushing force.

He looked back. His allies were still fighting their way passed the hoard of Carrion Pawns. All except Adam Strange, who couldn't come any closer, due to the gravity. Even the ship couldn't withstand the pressure. His other allies could survive, but they were all occupied. Thor decided not to wait. Odin had decreed that destroying the Godwheel was his duty, and he was determined to fulfill his destiny.

Alone, Thor set foot on the mysterious planet, facing unknown perils. Soon, he would meet the masters of the Carrion Hoard and of the Godwheel itself!

Next issue: Thor and his allies face the masters of the Godwheel!