17216Legion of Justice: Chaos at Knight Base
- Apr 5, 2014
Rand noted that the small golden robots all had a characteristic shape. ‘Those are exbots. It must be the X-Pack!’ he thought excitedly as the ‘bots locked arms with each other, beginning to cover the dome with a grotesque golden lace cocoon. In their time-line of origin, the X-Pack had been a band of super-powered space pirates from the planet Xtrema. Exbots built a cocoon around a structure and released acid to dissolve whatever they enveloped. ‘But we just put them in prison!’ Then he remembered that they were in another universe. ‘Uh, Oh! They’ve got an X-Pack here too. I need to warn Canary!’
Now that he was back in the big, circular control room, still in his time ghost form, he could see on the big main view screen that the bombardment had just started. Then the base force shield snapped to full power, and Rand realized the fiendish plot of Dr. X: the exbots were already INSIDE the force field! For some reason, Gernsback hadn’t sensed them earlier, but now the Legion was defending against the wrong attack! He took up a position next to Canary, who was now standing next to her central control chair, and waited – only a few seconds remained before he ‘caught up’ to the present. As he always did on seeing her, he spent an instant admiring her slim, athletic form and her short spiky hair, her confident stance and determined features.
A group of his teammates had already arisen from their own perimeter control stations and were headed for the corridor that lead to the main airlock – those Legionnaires whose powers could protect them in space without an environment suit. All their costumes had e-suit capability built in, but Canary was the cautious type; the rest pf the Legionnaires could venture out in ships if the initial assault team required assistance. Sandy and Timmy led the way, followed by Miqui. Though his costume consisted of only shorts and boots, Sandy's golden body could easily withstand the cold and vacuum of space. Timmy could use his telekinesis to maintain a bubble of shirtsleeve atmosphere, and Miqui's powers could adapt her android body to space for short periods of time. Drake and Reesa, surrounded respectively by their green and yellow auras, drifted after them, arguing as they flew about Drake’s new-found control over his powers. The intangible Rand frowned – Drake and Reesa really should have taken the lead. Canary was surely going to say something caustic to the energy users when this was over!
Wildcat and Cathy were standing in front of the tactical monitor, examining space above Knight Base. Wildcat had just finished drawing a circle on the touch screen and Gernsback was enlarging that area. Maybe Chall’s vision, as acute as that of any hunting cat, had noticed something even the Legion’s AI had not? Horus was up near the big transparent dome in the room’s ceiling, getting a first-hand look at the scene outside. He had never trusted cameras to show him the ‘real’ scene around the base.
Something was bothering Rex – he was clearly in agony. His eyes were clamped shut and his face was screwed up as if he were making some kind of tremendous effort. He opened his mouth to scream, but nothing came out. And then, his face relaxed as if whatever had been attacking him had stopped.
Sandy stopped so abruptly Timmy bumped into him, knocking him to the ground. The Golden Boy's colorful robes flashed brightly and barely softened the loud metallic crash as he landed. He started to rise, looked around, and then collapsed back to the floor with a metallic clang.
Canary screamed in her loudest ‘normal’ voice: “Burroughs, you effin’ bastard, this time you’ve gone too freepin’ far!” She spun on her heel, scanning the room, looking for the green-suited energy being. Her waist long braid swung behind her like a whip, and her filmy cloth-of-gold harem costume fluttered and revealed enticing views of her voluptuous curves to the still-intangible Hourboy. When she saw Burroughs, she barked once as she blasted one of her patented ‘Sonic cannonballs’ into the back of Drake’s containment suit.
The Base’s security computer began blaring an alarm “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!” Small cylinders hanging from the ceiling rotated, aimed, fired, and Sandy, Miqui, and Reesa were pinned in place, unable to escape through the blue tinged 'prison beams'.
On the tactical screen, Wildcat and Cathy saw that a swarm of exbots was about to envelop a small spaceship in the Knight Base hanger. Cathy spun so fast she knocked off her captain’s cap, revealing her closely cropped red hair, and a plastic plate set into the back of her skull. She raced for the passageway to the hanger. “Sorry, Ambassador!” she launched over her shoulder. “I gotta get to the Swashbuckler and save the swag!” The nameplates on her hat and chest had the ship's name embossed on them, as well as 'Captain Beamish'.
“Cat ssssssspeed!” he hissed at her back. “This boring diplomatic touuuuurrrrr hasss suddenly become much more interesting." He purred appreciatively at her figure in the trim, military style pilot's suit, then casually adjusted his 3 piece suit as he turned his gaze back to the center of the room and focused on the provocatively clad Canary.
His sensitive hearing warned him just in time to leap aside as Horus fluttered weakly to the deck where he’d been standing. Hawk Lad's feathered wings barely cushioned his fall, and his beaked cowl was knocked crooked. He didn’t seem to notice, but lay there writing and moaning.
“Gernsback, turn off that damn alarm,” Rex grunted to his console. “They aren’t intruders.” Nothing changed. “Gernsback, display information about the X-Pack!” Nothing happened on the big screen. “Gernsback, respond! Sitrep! ”
Greenfire turned to his attacker. “Dammit, Gina! What the HELL was that… and then he abruptly shut up as he noticed her costume.
"Drake! It's a freepin' time eddy. I couldn't stop it!" Rex yelled to his teammate. They had discussed 'time eddies' in the past few weeks, but they had no evidence that they had encountered such a phenomena in their past time trips – so the best they could do was hope that the theory of time that predicted time eddies was the wrong theory.
“Way ahead of ya, Rexxie. I’ve been wanting to do this for a LONG time!” Drake crowed loudly. He pointed both arms at Canary and unleased a tremendous energy blast that picked her up and hurled her backward through the air until she smashed into a wall!
Rand became solid as his personal time frame ‘caught up’ to reality. He raced to the fallen Golden Boy. “It’s the X-Pack!” he screamed. “Sandy, the dome’s covered in exbots – you gotta get out there and stop them!’ In the other timeline, Dr. X hadn’t planned for Sandy’s power when he’d designed the acid-drooling robotic bugs. Their golden skins were impervious to their own acidic weapon, but Sandy could control gold just by touching it. In their last encounter with the XPack, all he’d had to do was touch one of the linked bots, and then extend his control through their links to reach all of them. He'd commanded their shells to contract, crushing the controlling circuitry and motors within. He spoke urgently as he reached to drag the Golden Boy out of the prison beam. “You can give us time to get ready for the Pack attack!” The super powered XPack always followed up the attack by their exbots by killing any survivors and looting the structures the exbots destroyed.
Sandy looked at him with a bewildered expression and answered back, but not in English! "That's his native tongue!" Miqui said, also bewildered.
"That's not our Sandy!" Drake shouted. "But we need him now!" In a burst of green energy, he and Sandy vanished, to appear instantly on the monitor's view outside the dome. A green sphere surrounded their heads.
"Rex, I am no longer able to access Knight Base's mainframe computer. Somehow I have been locked out and all the access codes changed," Gernsbeck's flat, uninflected voice came from the arm of his float chair. "I am attempting to regain access. Meanwhile, I suggest you go to manual override."
"WHAT THE FREEPIN' HELL IS GOING ON?" Canary's cry, fortified by subsonic and supersonic overtones, cut through the babble, and for just an instant, everyone was silent.
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