by Martin Maenza
One of the mirrors in the men’s room on the fifth floor of the STAR administration building shimmered, allowing two figures to step out onto the sink counter.
“Wow, that’s a handy trick,” Trident said as he hopped down to the floor. “Could be useful in the boudoir, if you know what I mean.”
“Thanks,” Mirror Master said as he, too, hopped down.
“Say, M.M., if you can do that, why do we need the teleportation technology from here?” Trident inquired.
“While I have some capabilities thanks to my advanced mirrors, there are severe limitations that make them impractical for the organization’s needs,” the Reflective Rogue explained. “Not the least includes limited distance, fixed endpoints, and maximum weight allowance.” Mirror Master opened the door carefully and checked the hallway before stepping out. Trident fell in behind him, weapon in hand.
Inside one of the offices on the same floor, Eli Walston was on the phone to New York City. On the other end, an irate female voice said, “Look, Eli! This will just have to wait a few days until I get back. Oh, and one more thing: if you ever call me at this late an hour without it being an emergency, it will be the last time you’ll call me!” Then there was a click on the far end.
Walston slammed down the phone receiver. “Damn her!” he cursed. “Who does she think she is, chewing me out?” He glanced at the university diploma framed upon the plush office wall. “Now that you’re director, you think you’re the queen around here. Well, Jenet, you’ve got another think coming!”
Bolting from the office and around the corner, Walston ran smack dab into the two costumed villains. “What the–?” Mirror Master had been working a lock on a lab when the man arrived.
Trident saw the man first and aimed his weapon. “Poor timing, pal!” He let loose a concussive force blast from the middle tine of his trident, knocking Walston backward down the hall.
“Trident!” Mirror Master yelled. “That wasn’t a good idea!” Suddenly, audible alarms began to sound, and special lights on the floor began to flash red. “See?”
“Oops,” Trident said. “Sorry.”
“Tell that to them!” Mirror Master exclaimed as he pointed to the far end of the hall. Suddenly, a group of flying robots began to appear from a recessed panel.
Mirror Master and Trident ran down the hallway away from the robots, firing their weapons to try to destroy their pursuers. “Sorry I messed up,” Trident apologized as one of his ice blasts encased one of the robots; the machine plummeted to the floor hard with all the extra weight.
“There’ll be time for sorry later!” Mirror Master snapped. His specialized weapon used a couple of mirrored surfaces to generate a laser beam that sliced through the metallic shells. “We have to get out of here first!”
Walston had risen to his feet just as the battle approached him. He flattened himself against the wall and then his hand pressed against his jacket pocket. An idea hit him. Grabbing his miniature microwave devices, Walston took one in each hand, adjusted the controls, and took aim.
Mirror Master and Trident were right next to the man when he fired. “Trident, look out!” the Reflective Rogue warned. The man in purple and yellow ducked just as twin beams shot past his head.
But the villain wasn’t the target. Walston had aimed his blasts of concentrated microwave energy at the robot guards. A trio of them were caught in the wide funnel beam that the devices generated, causing havoc with the internal systems of the machines. The robots dropped to the ground, immobilized.
“Wow!” Trident said.
Mirror Master nodded in agreement. “Impressive.”
“No time for that,” Walston snapped. “There’ll be more coming soon! We need to get you two out of here the quickest way possible.”
“What?” Trident asked. “You’re helping us? Why?”
“I have my reasons!” Walston said.
“Fine,” Mirror Master said. “We need a large mirror.”
“Done!” Walston said. He quickly led the two men around the corner, swiped his badge, and opened the door to a lab. “There’s a two-way mirror in here. Will that do?”
“Yes,” said Mirror Master. The three ran inside.
As Mirror Master got out another device and prepared to use it, Trident was still confused. “So, we’re just leaving empty-handed?”
“Not quite,” Walston said, fishing out a business card and holding it up as an offering. “Just contact me and let me know what you were after. I’ll see that you get it.”
“An inside job?” Trident asked.
Mirror Master fired up his device. “We’ll talk,” he said to Walston as he snatched the card. “Especially about what you might want out of all of this.” He stepped toward the mirror. “Trident, let’s go!” The two costumed villains vanished into the reflective surface.
Walston walked over to touch the mirror, but it was solid once more. Oh, I think we’ll both benefit quite nicely from this, he thought to himself, and a wicked smile crossed his face.
Four figures burst out of the back of the STAR facility on the Metropolis waterfront. “We got what we came for!” Power Fist ordered. “Let’s move!”
Suddenly, there was the sound of a loud explosion not too far from where they were. “What was that?” Blindside asked.
“Sounds like a war zone!” Throttle said.
Shockwave perked his ears up. “Nope, sounds like some action!” he said. “Let’s go see!” And with that, the large armored man began to run off in the direction of the sounds, his heavy feet thudding on the pavement.
“Shockwave, no!” Power Fist yelled. But the man in silvery-white armor did not heed his call. “Damn him! We’ve got to meet up wit’ the others!”
“Should we go after him?” Blindside asked.
“We better,” Power Fist said. “If he gets caught, he might talk! Then we’re all in trouble.” Throttle and Blindside followed the man-ape’s lead as he chased after their absent member. As they got closer to the sounds, they could see smoke and fire coming from some smaller buildings. “Sweet Arbor Day! What’ve we got here?”
“Looks like a two-man war!” Throttle pointed out.
From the wreckage, two figures could be seen in combat. One was a tall, well-built black man. He wore a red bandanna about his head, with part of it serving as a mask, along with camouflage pants, a black tank top, and green gloves and boots. In his hands he brandished a number of weapons. A bandoleer of shells crossed his wide chest from his left shoulder down to his right side. The villains had no idea who the man was, but he looked like he was ready to rumble.
The other combatant, however, was a very familiar sight. It was a dark-haired, white-skinned man, equally tall and muscular. He wore blue tights with red trunks and boots. A red cape billowed behind him. Upon his chest was a yellow S insignia.
“It’s Superman!” Blindside said.
“Great!” Power Fist said. “Like we needed this!”
“Look!” Throttle announced. Suddenly, a third figure leaped into the fray. Shockwave charged into the battle with a loud cry, ready to take on Superman.
“Let’s see if you’re as tough as they say!” Shockwave yelled, slamming his armored fist hard into the surprised Man of Steel and knocking Superman to the ground. “Haw-haw! Just as I thought!”
Suddenly, Shockwave felt himself grabbed by the foot. With ease, Superman raised the armored villain in the air with one hand. “So, is Bloodsport working with you?” the Man of Steel asked. “If so, something tells me the 1000 is trying to take over the criminal activities in the city again.”
“This ain’t about crime, super-hero!” Bloodsport yelled. “This is about the senseless waste of freedoms we died to protect for you!” He began to open fire with both weapons, and a barrage of bullets showered toward the hero and the armored villain.
“Hey, watch it!” Shockwave yelled as he squirmed. “You could kill somebody with those!”
“He’s right,” Superman said. “But before I can stop him, I have to do this.” With a flick of his hand, the Kryptonian tossed the massive armored villain aside. “Now, I’ll take those!” With a blur of speed, Superman was upon Bloodsport. With the wave of his left hand, he knocked one of the guns away.
Bloodsport held fast to the second gun. “You claim to be an American symbol!” he said. “You fight for truth and justice! Do you even know the truth about ‘Nam? Do you think there was justice served in that country?”
Superman was caught off-guard for a moment. “We can debate civics after I take this away!” The hero had to hit the man with his left fist while pulling the gun away from him with his right hand. He pulled his punch, not knowing how much Bloodsport could take. Superman tossed the damaged weapon aside. “I think you can use some help, mister,” he said.
“Go climb your thumb, hero!” Bloodsport said from the ground. “You got in one hit! If we’d knuckled under when Charlie did that, you’d be eatin’ rice cakes today! Instead–” He gestured with his empty hand. “–you can eat–” A weapon began to appear in his empty hand. “–this!”
Before Superman completely registered the weapon that had materialized in Bloodsport’s hand, the black man pulled the trigger. A crimson beam fired from the weapon, hitting Superman in the chest. “Ugh!” The Man of Steel staggered back as he grasped his chest in pain. He felt weak all of a sudden; only one thing matched the description. “Red sun radiation!”
“Darn right!” laughed Bloodsport. “And another blast will make you as weak as a puppy dog! Then we’ll see how tough you are!”
“Allow me!” said Shockwave as he charged up, plowing into the weakened Superman. “I’ll kill ’em for ya!”
Bloodsport growled. “You idiot! He’s mine!” He reached with his free hand for his bandoleer and another weapon.
By the time that Blindside, Throttle, and Power Fist got close enough, Bloodsport had begun to attack Shockwave. The weakened Superman groaned from the ground, trying to recover from the radiation blast.
“We taking on Superman?” Blindside asked.
“Not if we can help it,” Power Fist replied. “We need to get Shockwave and go! Mirror Master will kill us we leave him behind.”
“Fine,” said Throttle. “Then let’s do this!” The villain in the puffy purple costume took aim at his armored ally and activated his power.
Bloodsport simultaneously tossed a grenade at Shockwave. “This’ll teach you to interfere in a war you’re not wanted,” he said. The projectile was about to hit the ground where the target stood when suddenly the villain was no longer there. It exploded with a loud blast, creating a crater in the pavement and stirring up a lot of dust. “What the–?!”
Shockwave was equally surprised. He only planned to dive out of the way, but he was almost instantly down the street. “What’s going on here?” he asked.
Throttle was suddenly at his side. “Time to move, big fella. Now!”
A bazooka materialized in Bloodsport’s hands. “Just like the Cong! Crawlin’ out of the jungle!”
“Did you say jungle?” Power Fist quipped as he dived into the man. With his enhanced simian strength, he knocked the barrel of the weapon away before it fired, causing the shell to hit the building behind Bloodsport.
“Fist!” Blindside called out. “Now!” The simian ducked out of the way and rolled aside, just as the villain in blue released his power. Bloodsport spun at the sound of the voice and had a direct look at a blinding flash of light that lit up the entire area.
“Aaahhh!” Bloodsport cried out, putting his hands to his eyes. It was too late; he was temporarily blinded. “When I get my hands on you all, I’ll kill you!”
The four villains regrouped. “Time to go!” Power Fist insisted.
“One sec,” Shockwave said, stomping his large foot hard onto the ground and causing the whole area to shake with a tremor. Part of the building that had been hit by Bloodsport’s shot began to crumble, dropping brick and mortar down upon the blinded man. That would slow him down.
“We have to go now!” Power Fist said. Superman was starting to come around. The four villains departed before the Man of Steel was in any shape to pursue them. They hoped leaving Bloodsport behind might buy them extra time as well. They were right. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Superman: Out for Blood.]
Not too much later, the six villains were back aboard their flier and heading back west. Four of them relaxed in back, unwinding from their adventure. Up front, Mirror Master and Power Fist conversed quietly.
“We got those samples you wanted,” the ape-man said.
“At least one thing went as planned tonight,” Mirror Master said reluctantly. It wasn’t like him to give up on a job, but the Reflective Rogue couldn’t risk being seen. He had too much riding on the fact that his return needed to remain a secret as long as possible. He thought about the card that Eli Walston had given him. “I really hate surprises.”
“Yeah,” Power Fist said, then lowered his voice some. “Between you and me, we might have another problem, too.”
“Shockwave. The guy’s a loose cannon. He almost got us caught by Superman, for cryin’ out loud!”
Mirror Master shook his head in disgust. That was the last thing they needed — having a member of the Justice League snooping around their business. “You think he can’t be reeled in?”
“I don’t know,” Power Fist admitted. “I ain’t no scholar, but compared to him, I’m a genius. All he seems to want to do is fight. He just may end up lookin’ for trouble if we don’t keep an eye on him.”
“We don’t have time for babysitting,” Mirror Master said. “I’ll have to cut him loose.”
“But what if he talks?” Power Fist asked.
Mirror Master smiled. “Relax,” he said. “I’ve got some special hypnotic contact lenses back at the Citadel that will do the trick. With those babies, I’ll have him forgetting everything about our organization and our location. We’ll drop him back off where we found him with little worry that he’ll rat on us.”
Power Fist was surprised by this, but nodded. It made the most sense. “M.M., you’re one smooth dude!”
“That’s why I’m in charge, my friend,” the Reflective Rogue said. “That’s why I’m in charge.”