Friday, December 31, 2010

Earth-349: The Last Story, Part 4

By Anton Psychopoulos, Ph.D.

Disclaimer #1: This story is set on a hypothetical world within the pre-Crisis
DC Universe. The DC Universe is owned by DC Comics, Inc. This story also
makes use of characters and concepts owned by other publishers. The use of
these copyrighted elements is done only for the amusement of the author and his
readers, and is not intended to infringe or disparage those copyrights.

Disclaimer #2: This story is not recommended for persons under the age of 18,
or the easily offended, especially for those who are uncomfortable with themes
such as underage pregnancy and pantsing.

Synopsis of Parts 1, 2 and 3: Jonni Thunder commanded her pet Thunderbolt to
summon up the man she would have been if she had been born a boy.
Unfortunately, her male counterpart was a criminal. Also, being just as much a
“Thunder” as Jonni was, Johnny was able to command the mystic Thunderbolt. He
forced the Thunderbolt to use his powers to turn four of his friends into
counterparts of Jonni’s most famous teammates in the Justice Association of
America, and the super-criminals abducted their opposite numbers. With their
most powerful members out of action, the JAA decided to call upon their missing
comrades’ enemies to provide the power they needed, offering pardons and other
inducements. So far, the Atom has been rescued from Cyclotron by Hawkman and
Yellowjacket, Batwoman has been rescued from Nighthawk by *** and Blockbuster
(off camera), the Flash has been rescued from Johnny Quick by Dr. Alchemy and
the Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern has been rescued from Eclipso by ****
and the Tattooed Lady (also off-camera). Superwoman remains a prisoner of her
own evil counterpart, and the evil Johnny Thunder has not yet been located.

Zatanna and Luthor stood on the roof of the Clinton Building, looking down at
the public square below. The other buildings facing on Weisinger Plaza were
far taller, and most of them didn’t have flat roofs.

Luthor wore a massive suit of powered armor, its body like an elongated egg,
with stumpy legs below and weirdly-proportioned arms that ended in mechanical
hands like those of a metal skeleton. The entire outfit was painted in green
and purple, amusingly reminiscent of the purple business suits and green
neckties he was fond of wearing.

They stood on the rooftop, watching while the red-suited villain gloated over
the captive Superwoman, who hung naked in the middle of a long frame that must
have been magical, since she was unable to tear its straps or break its frame.
They were still there because they knew full well that the pair of them could
never have defeated Superwoman. They were waiting, hoping that more members of
the Justice Association would show up before he tried to kill or rape the Woman
of Steel. Even then, they were not at all sure that the entire JAA would be
able to defeat someone with Superwoman’s powers, especially one who had no
scruples against killing them.

They both knew that what they really needed was another Kryptonian, but so far
as anyone knew, Kara Jor-El was the last child of Krypton.

The plaza was empty, the people having been driven away by Thunder’s arrival,
and the streets blocked off by the Metropolis police soon after.

The man standing over the bound Superwoman was a splendid male specimen, his
flawless muscular body well-displayed in a tight-fitting outfit that looked
like a 19th Century military uniform, executed in red silk with golden boots,
sash, gold-braided sleeves and a waist-length white cape piped in gold. A
broad golden lightning bolt slashed down the front bib of his double-breasted

He gesticulated wildly in the air while he ranted at Superwoman, pacing back
and forth. Her red and blue uniform lay crumpled at her feet, and he kicked at
it as he passed by.

“We need to know what he is saying,” Luthor said tersely.

“I can give us both superhuman hearing, but it’s liable to be rather painful.”

“No need. This suit has a shotgun mike.”

He moved his fingers, almost as though he were typing on an invisible keyboard,
and a sneering voice emerged from his chest.

“—soon as my guys get here with their own prisoners, we’re gonna have us a
little press conference, let folks know that from now on America belongs to the
Thunder Squad, an’ the Justice Association is outta business!”

“That’s to our advantage, at least,” Luthor said with a nod. “We have time to
wait for the rest to show up.”

Zatanna grimaced.

“So Superwoman can hang there for as long as it takes for backup to arrive.
Just great.”

“She is not suffering any physical harm, and her dignity can scarcely be
further impaired.” His voice suggested rather strongly that he didn’t at all
mind seeing Superwoman humiliated.

Thunder pointed to the dangling straps to either side of Superwoman.

“And just to make sure everybody knows what that means, you and your pals are
gonna provide sorta a visual aid, on live TV.”

Superwoman said nothing in response. Her mouth was held open by a ring gag,
but she could have used the power commonly called “super-ventriloquism” to
speak clearly anyhow. Clearly she was not speaking so as not to give Thunder
the satisfaction.

“Let her go!” a commanding voice barked out from above the rooftop. Zatanna
and Luthor looked up to see a bare-chested man in star-spangled shorts who
seemed to be standing on empty air. He dove as though toward a swimming pool,
hands before him, slicing through the air faster than it seemed possible he
could fall, yet landed unharmed on his feet before Thunder.

The villain stepped up to the stranger, looking cocky and unafraid, seemingly
prepared to exchange threats and witticisms, then sucker-punched him, hard in
the belly. The stranger doubled over around the fist and then flew backward,
smashing through a shop window. He began to stagger out of the display window,
obviously shaken, and Thunder stood waiting for him, not leaving his captive’s
side. The stranger staggered towards him, saying in an unusual accent, “You
are facing a Myrmidon, Johnny Thunder. I will punish your hubris in usurping
the lightning bolt of Zeus!”

The man’s courage would have been inspiring, if it were not so obvious that he
was impossibly outclassed.

“Luthor, that idiot is going to get himself killed.”

“Let him.”

“No. We’re going to have to move, ready or not.

“Nwod ot eht azalp ylefas,” and a wind lifted them as though they were
weightless and swirled them down to the plaza almost as fast as they could have
fallen, yet set them down unharmed. Finding himself committed against his
will, Luthor raised the right arm of his suit and fired a green ray at
Thunder’s back.

The villain turned away from the bare-chested man, moving so quickly that all
Zatanna could see were the golden flashes of his braided cuffs as he crushed
the shoulder and hip joints of Luthor’s suit and then tore off his helmet – and
nearly his head with it.

“Johnny Thunder, I presume?” Luthor said coolly through bleeding lips.

“Captain Thunder, now,” the blond villain said.

“So, you actually turned yourself into one of your supermen, and the most
powerful. How typical.”

“Of course I made myself into the Superwoman guy. What am I, stupid, I should
trust someone else with this kind of power?”

Luthor tilted his head in a way that suggested he would shrug if he could.

“I am not known as being particularly stupid,” he said mildly, “and I would not
burden myself with that kind of power and be unable to set it aside when I am
done with it.”

“Oh, so you’re sayin’ I am stupid? Let’s see how stupid I look when I –“

Captain Thunder cocked back a fist but never brought it down on Luthor’s bald
skull. Its forward motion was prevented by a much smaller hand that clamped
around his wrist.

The hand belonged to a red-haired boy of about thirteen, who was dressed in a
costume identical to Superwoman’s, except that instead of wearing blue tights
under his red shorts, he was bare-legged.

The boy had planted both red-slippered feet on Captain Thunder’s back to
prevent him from punching through Luthor’s head. The blond villain was about
to swing his left hand to swat the boy away when a blond girl of about ten
grabbed it. She twisted his thumb back until he gasped with pain, allowing the
boy to get him into a full nelson.

The girl was dressed in a long-sleeved white bodysuit that left her legs bare,
along with blue boots, gloves and red cape. She undid Captain Thunder’s sash
and then began rolling down his pants. The indestructible fabric hampered his
efforts to kick at her.

Zatanna gave a sigh of relief, even as she moved in to lend her magic to the
struggle. Superwoman was indeed Krypton’s last child, but it appeared that
there were some grandchildren.

Superwoman, in such a situation, might have used her heat vision or super-
breath to drive off an attacker. Captain Thunder did neither, perhaps because
he hadn’t had much practice, perhaps because he didn’t have those powers. A
nimbus of tiny electric sparks began to form around his head, as he began to
mouth some word, but whatever he was doing was interrupted when a third super-
powerful child appeared, a tiny creature that looked to be about three years
old. Its gender was hard to determine, in a purple bodysuit with green cape
and cowl, a gaudy yellow-and-white sunburst on the chest.

The little one dove between Captain Thunder’s legs from behind, grasped his
dangling testicles and yanked backward, hard. The villain’s eyes crossed and
he slumped as though in a faint.

The older children took advantage of the distraction to truss up the villain
with his costume, and gag him with his sash. Then they went to free Superwoman.

The Woman of Steel quickly restored her costume and then hugged the smallest of
her rescuers to her bosom.

“Thank you, sweetie. Are you all right?”

“Nova, call me da Nova! It my see-kurt in-den-dy.”

Superwoman smiled ironically.

“Oh, yes, we wouldn’t want to spill any secrets, would we?”

She looked pointedly at the older children.

“Hey!” the boy said indignantly, “we just saved your-“

“Yes, that’s true, you saved me from great pain and suffering, possibly even
saved my life, and I’m grateful, and I’m very impressed. But we are going to
talk, later.”

Superwoman stiffened her fingers and sliced through the front of Luthor’s body
armor, then pried it open with her hands until he could climb out, dressed in a
purple coverall and green deck shoes.

The air abruptly began to shimmer above the Plaza, and within seconds a huge
object shaped like a top had materialized above the ground. A blond man in a
red-trimmed green uniform jumped out of it and went up to the group surrounding
Superwoman, hands raised in the hope of not alarming them. A small golden
object rather like a model spaceship circled his head in short, nervous

“I, uh, come in peace—“

Superwoman cut him off.

“You’re a rip hunter, aren’t you?” she said, pointing at the emblem, a stylized
tear crossed by nine stitches, on the left breast of his uniform. “Come to
stitch up damage to the time stream?”

“Uhhh, yes, Ma’am. Only this time, we’re just here to check out an Indian
Summer – uh, that means an undocumented –“

“An undocumented historical event that can’t be viewed on a chronoscope, yes.”

The young Time Patroller looked around.

“People have been arguing for centuries about what exactly happened on Miracle
Monday. I see the legends were right, at least, that it involved you, and also
the debut of—“

The man’s next words were blotted out by a weird booming noise from the
hovering vehicle, which was also rippling in the air again. Had he said “hung
fence”? “Young vents”? Nobody was sure afterward, and Superwoman declined to
talk about it.

The time traveller started almost guiltily, and began moving around the Plaza,
pointing at people and objects, calling orders to the little machine that
continued to fly about his head.

Zatanna, having finished creating magical restraints to replace the improvised
bonds the children had used, sidled up to Superwoman, looking toward the Woman
of Steel’s three young rescuers.

“Um, Kara, how old are you?”


Overhearing this exchange, Luthor sneered, “Who says a teenaged unwed mother
can never amount to anything?”

The boy in the Superwoman costume was suddenly in front of Luthor, grabbing him
by the front of his coverall and shaking him savagely.

“Who the Hell asked you?”

Superwoman grabbed the boy by the cape and yanked him away from Luthor.

“Later,” she hissed.

An amplified voice suddenly boomed out from overhead.


Overhead, another large and odd-looking vehicle hovered, this one looking like
nothing so much as an immense version of an Egyptian scarab brooch. It settled
quickly to the Plaza with a rush of air that didn‘t seem like enough to hold up
a vehicle that size. The side slid open and out came the Flash, the Martian
Manhunter, Hawkman, the Atom, Jonni Thunder (now dressed in a sweater and
skirt, with a green plaid beret) and Blue Beetle. The time traveler ran up to
them, peppering the JAA’ers with questions.

Zatanna and Superwoman bent over the bound Captain Thunder while Jonni
approached them. Zatanna addressed him sternly.

“All right, now, we’re going to take the gag off, and you are going to give
Jonni Thunder her voice back, and that is all you are going to say, got it?”

After a long pause, Captain Thunder slowly nodded. Superwoman removed the gag
and he sighed, “Thunderbolt, give the bitch her pipes back.” As soon as he had
finished, the gag went back in, with some force.

The Thunderbolt appeared instantly and extended a hand towards Jonni. A spark
flew toward her throat, much as though it were a static electricity discharge.

Jonni Thunder winced and cleared her throat. “Thank God,” she said hoarsely,
and gratefully took a cup of coffee from a tray Blue Beetle was carrying around.

Jonni looked down at herself.

“Okay, first, gimme my muscles back!”

Jonni’s body grew thicker and heavier. She flexed her arms, then her legs.
She grinned and smacked her fist into her palm. She looked down at her body

“Hmmmm…. Guess I’ll keep the tits.”

The Thunderbolt sighed like a static discharge.

“Thought you might.”

“Okay, now let’s see about erasin’ this jerk and all his works.”

The Thunderbolt raised a hand.

“No, Jonni, you don’t want to do that, either. See, the reason the Thunder
Squad didn’t just kill their counterparts right away is that every time you
change the world the way I did when I created them, it puts a strain on what I
can only call the fabric of reality itself. And in the last 24 hours, that
fabric has suffered some serious strain.”

“So we should, what, wait awhile before deletin’ ‘em?”

“Altering their histories after they’ve had time to firm up could cause even
more damage.

“Look, couldn’t you just put up with the existence of five more antisocial
nitwits with super-powers? Not as though you have never dealt with any of
those before.”

Superwoman put a hand on Jonni’s shoulder. “I think we should take the
Thunderbolt’s advice. He knows more about these things than any of us, and if
he thinks that is the safest way for us to go, we should listen.”

Jonni looked thoughtful, then shrugged. She was about to speak when suddenly
the ripple in the air around the hovering time machine grew much larger and
more violent. The time traveler looked up with alarm. A chocolate-colored
face poked out of the open hatch and called, “Booster! We can’t hold it any
longer!” She looked frightened.

The man on the ground turned, raising his arms, and called out, “Go! Leave me!”

Or was it “Don’t leave me!”? Nobody was sure about that, either, and Booster
declined to talk about it. In any event, the head vanished, the hatch closed,
and the top-shape vanished in a rippling that somehow looked very dangerous and
painful this time.

The Time Patroller stared at the empty air for a moment, then collapsed,
sobbing, his head in his hands.

“Lost!” he wailed. “Lost in an Indian Summer forty years long!”

Blue Beetle put her arms around the man and led him off to a restaurant’s
sidewalk table to sit him down. The little golden flying device continued to
circle them.

The Thunderbolt said sadly, “I was about to add that time travel, and travel
between parallel worlds, will also be very difficult for some time to come.
About forty years, evidently.”

Jonni Thunder cleared her throat.

“Well, if Superwoman and the Thunderbolt both think we should just leave things
be, I guess a dope like me shouldn’t try to be smarter than you.

“Kinda weird, though, to think that these clowns who didn’t even have any super-
powers day before yesterday are gonna be trouble for us just like the Joker and
stuff has always been, and it’ll be like they always were.

“Anyway, yeah…kinda weird.”

A muted rumbling that had been building in the distance for some time grew a
good deal louder. A stubby, round-nosed aircraft appeared just at rooftop
level and settled on five screaming jets next to the Blue Beetle’s vehicle.
Iron Maiden was first out, followed by Captain America and the Human Torch.
Moments later, Batwoman and Batgirl emerged also. They quickly determined that
the confrontation they had expected to join was already over, and that no-one
needed any help, and decided to simply join the crowd.

Batgirl stayed with the Avengers, but Batwoman went directly to Superwoman.

“You’re all right?”

“We all seem to be. Looks as though everyone is here except Green Lantern.”

“She’s a little busy, but I saw her for a moment. She and the baby are doing
fine, and Star Sapphire is with them.”

“So, he really is the father, then?”

“If I hadn’t been sure of it already, I would have been when I saw them

Jonni Thunder looked around the now-crowded plaza.

“Weird, how much has happened in just a day. This…this isn’t really even
Earth-349 anymore, is it? It’s more like…Earth-349A.”

“Don’t kid yourself,” the Thunderbolt said, shaking his electrical
head-equivalent. “The world changes all the time.”

“Oh, man, I hate it when you say stuff like that! It hurts my head to think
about it!”

“So don’t think about it. Most of the time you don’t need to think about any
of this stuff, like time having three dimensions, or… or a lot of other stuff.”

Jonni Thunder looked thoughtful for a moment, then shrugged and chirped, “Well,
the good guys won and all’s right with the world. How else could things have
ended up?”

The Thunderbolt laughed like crackling static.

[See more Earth-349 stories at]

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