by Martin Maenza
Sam Scudder returned to the encampment area to find it abandoned. He shrugged his shoulders once, then proceeded to the lean-to structure. He ducked his head to enter and noticed that Lydia Anastasios was lying on one of the mats they had fashioned.
She rolled over as he entered. “Sam?” Lydia asked.
“Yes, it’s me,” he replied. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“I was not asleep yet,” the Greek woman said. “Did you want something?”
Sam Scudder bent down to sit near her mat. “Not sure where the others took off to. Maybe an evening walk or something. I didn’t have anyone left to talk with, you know.”
Lydia propped her head up on one arm. The moonlight reflected off of her face. “We can talk, if you would like.”
“I don’t know,” he said. “I… I guess we could.”
Lydia noticed that the man seemed a bit reluctant, so she decided to start things off. There was something she’d been wanting to ask him for a long time, anyway. “Camille once told me everyone thought you were dead for a time,” she said. “Tell me about that.”
Sam Scudder hesitated for a moment. He wasn’t quite sure he was ready to talk about it, but there was something about Lydia that put him more at ease. Something in her eyes, something he could trust. It had been a long time since he had trusted anyone.
Gizmo scurried through the jungle brush, cursing his height. His short legs couldn’t carry him away fast enough. He could have easily gotten away if he had his jetpack, but it went down with the flier. If only they’d been able to salvage the ship before it sank in the ocean. If only he had the right tools and parts to fashion another one. He glanced down at the bag in his hands. Maybe he still could, if given the time.
Suddenly, a large form leaped at him from the brush and knocked him to the ground. “Ooof!” Gizmo exclaimed as he hit the sand. The bag went flying from his hands.
“What you think you’re doing, man?” a voice growled.
Gizmo scurried out from under the grasp of the mighty simian hands. “Get off me, Power Fist!” he exclaimed.
“What’d you take, and why’d you take it?” Power Fist asked. “And why so anxious to get away?”
Gizmo hurried over to the bag and noticed an item or two had fallen from it. It was the bag that contained the Rogues Gallery weapons, one of the few things Mirror Master had salvaged from the flier when it went down.
“I need this stuff, man!” Gizmo said. “I’m going crazy here without something to tinker with! These are the only tech items on this stupid island. I know I can make something useful with them!” He began to gather up the fallen items.
“Uh-uh, man,” Power Fist said as he approached him. “Not without Mirror Master’s permission. He’s the leader of the pack.”
“Screw him!” Gizmo yelled. “I’ve got just as much right to this stuff as he does!”
“I said put it down!” Power Fist reached for Gizmo’s hand. It held a long, silver rod.
The simian squeezed, causing Gizmo to yell out in pain. “No, let me go!”
Suddenly, the weather wand began to glow at the end, and a blast of lightning shot straight up into the sky with a brilliant, thunderous burst. “Now look what you did!” Gizmo said.
“Me? I didn’t take the stuff! You did!”
The two continued to struggle, and the weather wand discharged two more blasts.
Suddenly, out of the darkened night sky, a voice boomed, “Stop it, you two, before someone gets hurt!” Both Gizmo and Power Fist looked up, recognizing who had said those words.
“A number of us had been sent back in time to about ten billion years ago,” Sam Scudder explained as he laid next to Lydia on her mat. “Pretty much mostly villains, including the likes of Luthor, Sinestro, and even the original Star Sapphire. Our mission was a simple one: to kill a man named Krona before he could do something that would start a chain of events that would jeopardize the whole universe.
“Krona was one of the blue-skinned aliens known as Oans. They were the guys that provided the Green Lanterns with their power, and they could wield that emerald energy themselves directly. They managed to take out a majority of the villains as they stormed the target city on that alien world. But they didn’t stop everyone at once.
“Three of us managed to make it through to Krona’s laboratory. Myself, the Icicle from another Earth, and a purple-haired alien warrior named Maaldor. Maaldor was rather full of himself, swinging about that mighty sword of his and posturing and such. I should have known he was nothing but trouble the moment the braggart opened his mouth. We three quickly found a viewing screen in the lab, one that Krona would use to set about the chain of events. I figured if we destroyed that viewing screen, half our mission would be done. Even if we didn’t kill Krona, we would mess up his tools and prevent him from causing the chaos.
“I was about to use one of my specially prepared mirrors to shatter the screen to sharp shards when the other two started to argue with me. First, the Icicle butted in, and then that barbaric Maaldor chimed in as well. Before I could shut the two of them up, we were ambushed from behind by the very man we were sent to stop.”
“Krona?” Lydia asked.
“Yes, Krona,” Sam nodded. “The three of us were caught up in an incredible burst of energy. He brought the roof down upon us, literally. The Oan hadn’t left his lab unattended as we thought, and his blast took the three of us out of action.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Death at the Dawn of Time,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 (January, 1986).]
“I see.” Lydia touched him gently on the face, tracing a line on his cheek with her fingertip. “That explains the scars, then. You were hurt pretty bad. I take it that is why the others thought you had been killed.”
Sam Scudder turned his head away slightly. “Yes, something like that.”
Lydia could not see the change in his expression, but she could tell something bothered him by his sudden quietness. “It is painful to talk about, I can see,” she said. “You do not have to say any more if you do not wish to.”
Sam turned back to her. “Thanks,” he said softly. Her face was close to his. He leaned forward and kissed her lips gently. Lydia reciprocated, and the two began to kiss passionately. For quite a few minutes, the two were locked in warm embraces, with each one finding a kindred spirit in the other.
They were about to get more intimately involved when a voice called from the doorway, “Well, well, well, what do we have here?”
Both Sam Scudder and Lydia Anastasios looked to the doorway at the sound of the harsh voice. A violet glow cascaded off the profile of the newcomer.
“It’s you!” exclaimed Scudder, a bit surprised.
“Oh, my God!” Lydia cried. “Camille!” The Greek woman jumped up from the mat and embraced the woman at the door. “You’re alive!”
“Of course,” Star Sapphire said flatly. “You expected any less?”
Sam Scudder rose from the mat, pulled his mask from the pocket of his costume, and put it on. “I’m glad to see you again, Sapphire,” he said.
The villainess raised one eyebrow. “Oh, I bet you are,” Star Sapphire said with a slight tone of sarcasm in her voice. She knew exactly what she had walked in upon, and she certainly would find a use for that information at some point in the future.
“What happened to you?” Lydia asked. “We have all been worried sick about you for days.”
“When I was blown out of the flier, the storm came up upon me quickly,” Star Sapphire stated. “I was able to use my gemstone to get myself to safety while the storm raged on. Once it passed, it was safe for me to return to San Francisco and the Sinister Citadel. That is when I discovered that none of you made it back before I.
“It was a few days before I could get a reading on the flier’s transponder. The computers were able to analyze the flight path and help triangulate where the ship might have gone down. I headed out to find you all earlier today and was about to give up when I saw bursts of lightning shoot up from one of these small islands.”
“Lightning?” asked Mirror Master.
Star Sapphire smiled. “Yes, turns out it was Gizmo using the Weather Wizard’s wand. Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time to see it. I told him and Power Fist to round up Copperhead so we could get out of here immediately.”
“Gizmo, eh?” Mirror Master echoed. Part of him was furious at the dwarf for disobeying his instructions, especially because those actions led to the interruption of a few minutes ago. “I’ll be sure to speak to him about that.”
And soon, after gathering their things, the six villains departed the small Pacific island. Thanks to the power of Star Sapphire’s gemstone and will, they were going home.