17211Legion of Justice: Rough Homecoming, Part 2: Who is Wondra?
- Mar 17, 2014
New Metropolis, Earth:
Thea Von Gunther paced back and forth in the outer lobby of the Earth president, her stomach queasy with anticipation of what the president might say. It wasn’t the first time that she’d been kept waiting by the old woman, either. Throughout her young life, Thea had been kept waiting for her grandmother on many such occasions. But when your grandmother was Maria Fredersen, the woman who had founded a movement that had ended oppressive labor practices on Earth some sixty years earlier, it was difficult to find quality time with the most sought-after woman in the world.
“She should be done in a moment, dear,” said Ann, the president’s secretary. “She just has some important—“
“I know, I know… she always has ‘important business’ to attend to,” Thea grumbled.
The sixteen-year-old’s patience was rewarded a moment later when the door to the conference room finally opened, and out stepped the crystalline form of the Uranusian ambassador. Thea began rushing forward to speak with her grandmother, but before she could utter a word, a warning glance from her grandmother silenced her and stopped her in her tracks. Several more moments passed as the president and the Uranus representative finally said their parting words, and the Uranusian delegation was escorted to their waiting transport ship.
“Hi, grandmother,” Thea said, smiling a curt smile.
“Thank you for waiting, child,” said Maria warmly. “Aren’t you going to give your old grandmother a hug?”
Thea acquiesced, rushing forward to hug her grandmother. The old woman once towered over her when Thea was young, but now her grandmother was somewhat shorter than her; it was disconcerting.
“I trust Gerta and Paula are well,” said Maria Fredersen, her eyes crinkling as she smiled.
“They’re fine,” said Thea. “The queen is fine as well. Everyone on Amazonia is fine. What would you expect from a place called Paradise Island? But grandmother, I came here to—”
“So impatient,” said her grandmother. “Always rushing to the point, when there’s no need to rush. I trust you’ve already discussed things with Queen Hippolyta, since you’re wearing that.” She indicated Thea’s outfit, which consisted of a short-sleeved red top with a golden eagle emblazoned upon the front, along with blue knee-pants covered with small white stylized stars. A golden tiara, red laced slippers. metallic bracelets, and a golden lasso at her side completed the outfit.
“I’ve been training my whole life for this, grandmother,” replied Thea. “The chance to do the Amazons proud as its latest representative to Man’s World.”
“Such a provincial way of looking at things,” said Maria. “‘Man’s World.’ The battle of the sexes has been over for far too many years for such a term to make sense any longer.”
“I know, I know,” said Thea, “but since there are no men at all on Paradise Isle, it still distinguishes the world around us from Amazonia. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I came here to get your permission.”
“My permission?” said Maria, raising an eyebrow as she stepped over to the serving table and poured a cup of steaming hot tea. “Would you care for some, dear?”
“No, thank you, grandmother,” said Thea. “So what do you think?”
“About what, dear?” said Maria.
“About giving me permission,” said Thea. “I’ll have to stay here on Earth unless you say it’s OK for me to take the invisible ship off-world.”
Maria Fredersen sipped from her tea at an agonizingly slow pace for the teenager before she finally looked at her granddaughter and said, “My dear, you haven’t actually asked me anything. What would I be giving you permission for?”
Thea took a deep sigh and stopped herself from speaking before thinking. It was always like this with her grandmother, who thought that Thea was always in a hurry to go out adventuring. On Paradise Island, hidden away from Man’s World for centuries, there were endless ways to spend your time, from training to chasing after wildlife to the games to swimming amongst the isles and catching fish with your bare hands. Thea had never had the patience to sit back and wait, and only this morning Queen Hippolyta had warned her that this was something she still needed to overcome if she were ever to become a full Amazon. Now her grandmother was reminding her of the same thing. Thea needed to slow herself down and learn some patience if she were ever going to get anywhere; it was a lesson she constantly needed to learn.
The teenager smiled and looked down at her costume. “Aphrodite herself gave me a name to go with my costume, grandmother,” said Thea. “She calls me Wondra.”
Maria Fredersen smiled and nodded. “How fitting.”
“I’ve spent the last few days passing all the tests needed to become the Amazon’s champion, but the queen feels that I’m still too young to work on my own. She wants me to join the Legion of Justice and work alongside them for a few years, at least, before I start operating on solo missions. But she told me that she can only give me permission to join the Legion if you, my grandmother in Man’s World, are willing to let me leave Earth to do so. Will you let me go and join the Legion, grandmother?”
Maria walked over to her granddaughter, placed an arm on her shoulder, and said, “I can only offer you the chance to try, child. Just because you’re the Earth president’s granddaughter does not mean that they will offer you a place on their team. You know that, even though the Association of Worlds has offered the team funding, the Justice Legionnaires operate in complete independence from all governments.”
Thea began smiling tentatively. “So, does that mean…?”
“Yes, Thea,” said her grandmother. “Yes, you may travel to Knight Base and try your hand at joining the Legion, like so many other young hopefuls have tried over the years. But please, for your own sake, use a facial distorter. There’s no need to put your life in danger by letting the universe know that you are the granddaughter of the Earth president.”
“Thank you, grandmother!” said Thea, hugging her once again. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Knight Base was a war zone. The Legion of Justice had only been back to a version of their own time for a matter of minutes before they found themselves under attack yet again. They’d been on the run for so long — literally for ages — that they had lulled themselves into a false sense of security when they realized that they were returning to a world where they were not constantly hunted by that golden android and her so-called Legion of Doom, who had plagued them throughout time.
Canary began shouting out orders, making her shrill voice heard above the rumbling. “Greenfire, Star Lass — make sure those shields hold up! Hour Boy — do some recon! Timepiece, Gernsback — find some way for us to get out of here!”
Rexford Tyler shuddered. It was more difficult than he’d thought to keep the time-field in place while the base was under attack. He wasn’t sure what would happen if he let his concentration slip. Most likely the Legion of Justice would continue to survive in some way, but their memories would be irrevocably altered to adapt to the new timeline. The Legionnaires had already experienced this during their voyage into the past, when history was altered at least twice, and their own memories were subtly changed. Yet the Legion of Justice was not wiped out of existence during those times, and he hoped they wouldn't be now. But there was also a slight possibility that the Legion did not exist at all in this timeline, and that the altered timeline would erase them from existence along with their old memories. Timepiece didn’t think that would happen, but he didn’t want to take that chance. Still, he knew that he could only hold back on the entire group for so long.
The only alternative he could see was to compress the time-field to his own person, something that he could sustain indefinitely, but that would make him the last person to remember the old Amgov timeline. He wasn’t sure how that would affect his place in this altered timeline, either. He was the master of time, but even Timepiece could not say with any certainty the effects of his decision. All he knew was that his choices were becoming severely limited with every moment that Knight Base was under attack.
Star Lass rushed forward, with Greenfire trailing behind her. “Theresa, wait!” said Greenfire.
“Hurry up, Drake!” replied Theresa Knight. “Let’s put those new abilities of yours to good use for once!”
“Wait!” repeated Drake Burroughs. “I’m not sure this is a good idea! Yeah, I have a bit more control over the Starheart, but I’m still better at blasting stuff than doing any of that fancy green magic stuff!”
“No time, Drake!” said Star Lass. “C’mon! With any luck, we’ll find you something to blast along the way!”
Hour Boy had leaped several minutes into the past and now passed through Knight Base’s outer hull to see what was going on outside. Randall Tyler was able to do this because he possessed the unique ability to make such short jumps backwards in time, but since one of the diverse and sometimes contradictory laws of time travel held that no one person could physically exist twice in the same time period, his time-leaping self invariably became a phantom. It was while he was in this phantom form that he could explore like a ghost, finding out what he needed to find out. It was a useful skill for intelligence-gathering, but it had its limits. For example, he had no control over physical objects while in his phantom form, so if he saw a bomb being set in the past while in his phantom form, he couldn’t simply become physical once more and defuse the bomb. Instead, he had to wait until he caught up with the time when his earlier self jumped into the past. And by that time, it might be too late.
Now, Hour Boy flew around Knight Base frantically, trying to make the best use of his time to find out who was attacking the team, but he could see no one. As far as he could tell, there were no hidden ships waiting in ambush for the time to strike, nor were there any superhumans waiting to attack the Legionnaires. As far as he could tell, Knight Base looked as peaceful as it always looked.
Rand was about to give up his search when, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted movement. It was small, but definitely moving along Knight Base’s outer hull. Hour Boy frowned and moved in for a closer look. It seemed to be a small animal, some kind of space-animal that didn’t need to breathe oxygen, or something. But as he swooped in closer, he saw that it wasn’t any kind of biological life at all. It was robotic.
That’s strange, he thought to himself. How could something so small as this attack our whole ship?
Just as this thought crossed his mind, however, he saw something moving not far away. As he looked, he saw another one of these small robots creeping along Knight Base’s outer hull. And then he saw another. Eventually, he happened to be looking in the right direction to see one of the tiny robots literally pop into existence, as if suddenly transported there from elsewhere. And Randall Tyler realized that if there were enough of these tiny robots, they could indeed cause a lot of damage when attacking en masse.
As his time began to ran out, he watched as countless small robots began popping up around him outside Knight Base, their appearances occurring at an exponential rate. And when there were enough of them, they would begin their attack. By that time he needed to be back inside, or he’d be in deep trouble.
Hour Boy’s phantom form passed back into Knight Base and flew through the levels at top speed, finally reaching the gathered Legionnaires moments before Knight Base began rumbling from the attack. Whoever was behind this attack was evidently organized and presumably wanted to get rid of the Legion of Justice before they could prove a threat. He just hoped that his information would help Canary come up with a plan of attack, and fast, because he wanted to find out whoever was behind this and kick his sorry ass.