Date: July 1st
Therapist: Dr. Leonard Mortin
DR.MORTIN: So, Dr. Alpha...how's life as a clone?
OMEGA: Oh, he told you, did he? We don't have time for this, and it's Dr. Omega.
DR.MORTIN: We don't have time for this?
OMEGA: Indeed. You have a new role. You are my new death trap.
DR.MORTIN: That...that is news. How did all this happen? Last Coyote told me, you were dead and Hydra had just stormed into your hangar bay.
OMEGA: That is as good a place as any to start, but I will relate only the basest of facts. Sheila Glass is almost here and you'll need to see your new...patient.
DR.MORTIN: Uh...ok. So, you got, um...out of your clone tank ok?
OMEGA: Obviously, fool! And I made my way to the hangar bay, as per Coyote's frantic message...
Hydra shook a clearly terrified Mr. Clean. “Where is she, you son of a bitch? Where is she?”
At that moment, Dr. Omega strode out from a side passage that led to his lab. He gestured at Coyote. “You may end the charade, Coyote. I am back from...(he spared a glance at the cooling M'buna) space! Yes, I was in space.” Dr. Omega glanced around the room. “We were all...in space. Right? Yeah. We were in space.”
The Coyote shifted back into the form of a ferret. “Right, boss.”
Hydra did not seem to notice any of this in his apoplectic rage. “I said...do you not know who this is? This is Dr. Destruction!” He shook the butler again, “I'll kill you!”
Dr. Omega raised his hands in what he hoped was a placating manner. “I think everyone needs to calm down. We have some incredibly powerful telepaths here. He keyed a switch on his armor tied into the intercom system of the mansion. Loud techno music started to pump out of it. “Dave Ross?”
The clown stripper ripped off his (perforated) pants and started to dance, focusing his psychic powers. He advanced on Mr. Clean, who did not look any more reassured by this new development. Dave Ross smiled. “Don't resist me, ok?” Mr. Clean shot a pleading look at Dr. Omega.
“This is important, Mr. Clean. Do not resist him.”
The air around the butler's head flashed and Dave Ross was hurled across the room trailing a stream of ozone-smelling smoke. Dr. Omega chuckled. “I never get sick of that.”
The Coyote stepped up and tapped Dave Ross on the shoulder. “Dude, I'm going to try and mimic your powers. Then we can both try.”
Dave Ross shrugged. “Then we can both get thrown across the room.”
“I'm ok with that if you are.”
The two villains flanked Mr. Clean and concentrated. The Coyote got a nosebleed. The blood that leaked from Dave Ross was not from his nose. Suddenly, Mr. Clean dropped to his knees and screamed. Then he went silent.
Dr. Omega walked over and stood in front of him. “Dr. Destruction, I presume?”
“H-how did you know?”
“Let's all go upstairs to the Omega Meeting Room and discuss this. Then, if anyone still has a problem, we can solve it. Probably by killing them, but not before we've all had a cup of tea. That's um...that's something I'd do, right?”
Since Mr. Clean was bound to a conference chair, Coyote volunteered to get the tea for everyone. The Huntsman surreptitiously passed the Coyote a small paper packet on his way to the kitchen while UPS bobbed menacingly in the corner.
“So, Hydra. You're saying that this guy is Dr. Destruction? Because I have this brilliant theory that Dr. Destruction is actually King Meros of Atlantis. See, he really wanted this crown that could only be used by Atlantean royalty and why would he want that crown if he himself were not Atlantean royalty? But you're saying that this...this is the guy?”
They turned to look at the unassuming man strapped to his chair. “Look, my name is Lance Dexter and...I remember being Dr. Destruction, yeah but- “
Hydra jumped out of his seat, “Where's my daughter? Tell me or I'll kill you!”
Angela pulled the villain away from the dazed-looking Lance Dexter, “But...I was just a vacuum cleaner salesman. I don't remember anyone's daughter. I was...I was just so bored, I created Dr. Destruction to just, you know, stir things up a little.”
“Hydra,” Dr. Omega inclined his head, “How do you know that this is what Dr. Destruction looks like? We found this guy in a tube in the lab of Dr. Devolution.”
“It's true”, interjected Vertebreaker, “There were all kinds of giant bugs. Unbelievable.”
Hyrda sat back down and fidgeted nervously. “Actually, I...I brought this guy to Meros. I kind of owed him and for some reason, Meros wanted this guy. Do you remember V Day, Dr. Omega?”
“Meros escaped Atlantis with a teleport tube.”
“Oh yes. We have one of those.”
“You what? Ok, whatever. So on V Day, Meros told me to bring this guy to him.”
Omega pointed, “And that's when he tried to make you forget. That's what you were mumbling when we pulled you out of that tube in your lab and helped you, 'Meros tried to make me forget, but I remembered'. You're welcome, by the way and guess who never returned the nice slippers that we laid out for him beside his recovery bed? Four Star lived with us for months and do you think he stole slippers when he left? He did not.”
“Wha- what? I mean yes. That's basically what happened. On V Day. But why would Meros want this slob? No offense.”
“None taken.” Lance Dexter slumped in his chair.
“Because, if my guess is correct, this guy is the Dr. Destruction from the 1980's. Don't you remember when Dr. Destruction disappeared for a while and then came back, much more ruthless and deadly? The second one was Meros, using Atlantean magic and tech. He needed this clown out of the way, so Meros could assume his costumed identity. And that's the Dr. Destruction we delivered your daughter to.”
“You...you delivered my daughter to him? To Meros?”
“Well, at the time, we thought we were giving her to Dr. Destruction and we didn't even know you. We tried to rescue the President's widow, her daughter and the baby. In the end, the baby made it out unharmed, the daughter died and the widow died but was later revived by Isis, one of my henchmen. The former First Lady is now quite mad. She's up in a tower here at the Omega Mansion, actually. Quite mad.”
“I need to get my daughter back.”
“Of course. And we can help you. Of course, that means that you have to commit. You have to ally with us against Meros. You'll need to do what I ask of you, when I ask it. We don't have time for any more unstable villains than we already have.” The Coyote turned his ferret-fingers into long metal syringes and waved at Hydra.
“Hmmmm. Ok, I'm in.”
“Excellent. Now excuse me while I call Sheila Glass and invite her over for tea. Huntsman, you can cut Lance free. We still need a butler around here. Lance, are you ok with still being the butler?”
“Actually, yeah. I like cleaning and cooking. It's not boring around here. In fact, since that naked guy unlocked my memories, I have this great recipe for egg-rolls stuck in my head.”
“Is this something recent, then? A recent memory?”
“I don't think so, I think it's from...from my time in the tube. I'm not sure.”
“What else do you remember from your time in that tube? Anything? Anything at all?”
“Um, sounds. Sounds of...a kitchen? Like, a restaurant.”
“A restaurant and egg rolls? The Imperial Palace? That would match with the signal UPS traced back to the docks! What could my old friend Crab Imperial have to do with any of this? Well, first things first, I'm calling Sheila Glass.”
“Dr. Omega, this is not my son!”
Mark, Sheila's camera man pointed at the Coyote, “I just mentally scanned this boy. It's not Bobby.”
Dr. Omega also pointed at the “boy”. “Coyote, turn back now and explain yourself.”
“The kid's gone, boss. We went up to his room to get him, like you said and he's gone.”
“Huh. Just a slight delay, Miss Glass. I took the liberty of using traceable nanites to fight a minor infection your son had developed while inside...while he was away.”
Scrape chuckled darkly.
“I've also reviewed the security tapes from the mansion's monitors and cameras. Footage from less than an hour ago shows Bobby playing video games. Then we can see him being lifted and then he disappears, presumably teleported by whatever picked him up.”
“I will use this nanite tracker to find the boy now. Omega Men, load up and meet me at the following coordinates in South Point. I'll ride with Shiela Glass and what's-his-name.”
“But Dr. Omega, that's Slasher territory. Don't they work for the Huntsman, now?”, Angela asked.
Omega turned to the Huntsman. “Well?”
“I don't know nothing bout 'dis.”
“Fine, let's go. We're wasting time.”
Dr. Omega listened to the shouts and explosions over his comm bead. He was sitting in one of his cars with Sheila Glass and her cameraman (whatever his name was). The Omega Men had traced the boy's signal to an abandoned tenement house in South Point. Gangland. Upon entering the house, the Omega Men were ambushed by SOCORP agents. At that same time, the boy's signal disappeared.
Omega listened to the battle wrapping up (the SOCORP agents never stood a chance). He boosted the signal on his nanite detector (it's convenient to have a V'sori satellite available from time to time) and found the boy in the very next building.
“Hmph. If you want something done right... Excuse me, Ms Glass” With a pop of displaced air, Dr. Omega teleported into the nearby building. He immediately saw three Slasher gang members, easily recognized in their green mohawks, leading the boy across the building. Dr. Omega crouched around the corner and followed them as quietly as he was able (in several hundred pounds of armor).
As they progressed deeper into this complex, Dr. Omega decided he'd waited long enough. He stepped out of the shadows, “Hello, gentlemen.”
The gang members drew up short “Ah, crap.” They turned to head the other way, only to be confronted with The Huntsman. “Ah, crapping crap!”
Dr. Omega took Bobby by the hand, “Did they hurt you, boy?”
“No way, Dr. Omega! They were nice to me and one of them showed me his knife. It was awesome!”
“Slashers, speak quickly. Who hired you? Who are you bringing this boy to?”
“W-we don't know, man! We just-”
A plasma gun appeared in Dr. Omega's hand. He shot the gang member who was speaking. The Slasher exploded into a fine, red mist.
“He did not answer quickly enough. Perhaps you gentlemen will do better?”
“W-we just got the job anonymously. There's a d-drop box. We were told to bring the boy there. We don't know by who!”
Dr. Omega shot the second gang member. “I'm getting bored. Any chance you want to tell me a little more?”
The Huntsman stepped in, “Listen, Dr. Omega. Tell you what. If dis here guy hears more, he'll contact me, ok? We ain't got time for dis, right?”
“You are right, Huntsman. Very well. Come along, Bobby.” With a pop of displaced air, Dr. Omega and Bobby disappeared. Seconds later, the boy was having a tearful reunion with his mother Sheila Glass, on their way back to the Omega Mansion.
Back in the Omega Meeting room, Dr. Omega was not quite done with Sheila Glass. “Now Sheila...can I call you Sheila? Sheila, you and I had an agreement. I return your son and you help me uncover the true identity of Dr. Destruction. Well, I'm afraid I may have jumped the gun a bit. As you can see, your son is alive and well and at your side and I...I have deduced the true identity of Dr. Destruction.”
Sheila Glass sat down next to her son. Behind them, her cameraman hovered, still standing and glaring at Scrape. “Go on.”
“That's why I still need your help. Dr. Destruction is really King Meros of Atlantis. That's right. For years now, he has been alive. And he never contacted you. Furthermore, he took on a new identity, kidnapped and imprisoned that guy over there, just to hide from you! That. That is the man we are trying to stop.”
“Do you have any proof, Omega?”
Dr. Omega outlined his experiences with the Crown of Atlantis and its' purported powers, and then let Hydra and Lance Dexter speak. He finished with a brief overview of the timeline and career of Dr. Destruction, pointing out where it intersected with the activities of King Meros of Atlantis. The evil genius crossed his arms in front of his chest-plate. “What more proof do you need, Ms. Glass?”
“Ok, let's say I believe you. What's next?”
“Well, I had planned to use you to lure Meros here...and capture him. But the things that Mister Cl- er, Lance Dexter has been saying are still bothering me. Egg rolls, a kitchen...I am worried that my old friend Crab Imperial is caught up in all of this. We Omega Men are going to pay a visit to the Imperial Garden. We'll get some answers from my friend and then come back here to spring the trap. If you can be patient a little longer, we will all have the answers we seek.”
Crab Imperial's Rangoons welcomed the Omega Men as cordially as ever and set them an impressive table. If anything was amiss at the Imperial Garden, Crab Imperial's minions either did not know of it, or were showing impressive poker faces.
Soon enough, Crab Imperial, 420 pounds of purple crab, scuttled over to the table to join them.
“My friends, my friends! Is the food no good today? Why are you not eating? Dr. Omega? Is there a problem?”
“There might be...my old friend. This unassuming man over here...is Dr. Destruction. The Dr. Destruction from the 80's. You remember, back when we were just kids and we were terrorizing Dallas and losing Zenith patrols in the sewer tunnels?”
“Of course I remember. Good times, good times.”
“This man, this Dr. Destruction was kidnapped and held for years. He was held in some kind of kitchen at a busy restaurant. And now this man, my butler up until recently, tells me that he has a new recipe for...egg rolls.”
Dr. Omega decided to bluff. “He made me the egg rolls, Imperial. They're exactly like yours. They're the same recipe, in fact. “
Crab Imperial nervously clicked his pincers, “Oh.”
“Yes. Oh. I think it's time for some answers. Quite a few answers, in fact.”
“Dr. Omega, you may not like the things you find out. Are you sure about this?”
Omega steepled his gauntleted hands in front of his skull-shaped face-plate, “Tell me.”
Crab Imperial's form shimmered and shook. He morphed from a 400 pound purple crab into a man! His features were a little indistinct, almost rubbery. Dr. Omega immediately made the connection, “A Protean!”.
The alien placed its hands together, as if in prayer, “They are ready, my lord.”
Everything froze. The Omega Men froze, noise stopped coming in from the rest of the restaurant. Rangoons bustling to and from the room stopped dead in their tracks. The Omega men were aware, but completely immobile.
And then, HE was among them. The Outsider stood before them. Dr. Omega recognized him from old news reels from his last visit but he hardly needed those references to know who stood before them. Towering well over fifteen feet tall, the alien being focused the entire room with his presence, as if he were more real than his surroundings. All of the Omega Men looked up in shock and no small amount of awe.
The Outsider gestured at the Protean who was once known as Crab Imperial, “You have done well, my child.”
“Wait a minute!” Dr. Omega stood up (apparently, movement had been restored to the local area of space\time, but the Omega Men were too engrossed in the Outsider to notice) “I grew up with Crab Imperial. I was there for his first shell molting! When did you...replace him?”
“Ah, Dr. Omega. You amuse me more than most. I will answer your question. Crab Imperial was never replaced. My chosen people, the Proteans, came to Earth over a hundred years ago.”
“Exactly. Their landing, if you will. My agents have been in place and working for decades. The details are sadly beyond your comprehension. Which brings us to here and now, at least as you understand such terms. You, Dr. Omega, have a rivalry with the one known as Dr. Destruction and you both oppose the V'sori.”
“Yes! The V'sori are attempting to subvert your work in Star City! Clearly, they have no respect for you! And Destruction's just a douche.”
“Ha ha ha! The V'sori are of little concern to me but again, you amuse me, human. Look behind me, and see my Battle Planet that I have constructed both to bring things to a conclusion and of course, for my own entertainment.”
The Outsider gestured behind him.
The Chinese restaurant was...gone. Or if not gone, then at least moved, transported. Spreading out in front of them were bits and pieces from all different locations, all smashed together with little regard for terrain or architecture.
To the north, the Omega Mansion, in its' entirety, rose up to block the glowing orange skyline. In the distance, a piece of the Atlantic Ocean seabed had been ripped free and dropped here, complete with Atlantean dome. Just past the dome, the water park where the renegade K'theren made their lair was visible. In between the Omega Mansion and the Atlantean dome was a jumbled mess of tortured landscapes and broken buildings.
The Outsider gestured to figures in the distance, running back and forth, many of them apparently fighting. “Out on the field of battle, you will find this Dr. Destruction. Find him. Face him. One of you will survive to be transported to face the overmind of the V'sori, Ch'thadra. Now, go!”
Suddenly, the Outsider was gone. Time seemed to speed back up somehow. Dr. Omega turned to face his henchmen, fires raging behind him in the distance. “Spread out in teams. The first one to find Destruction, contact me on the comm bead. I'll take care of him.”
The Huntsman pointed to the Atlantean dome in the distance. “Dat's probably the best place to look, hey? I'll start over there.” The Huntsman shot a grappling hook into a crumbling building in the distance and zipped away at breakneck speeds!
Dr. Omega gestured to UPS and Coyote, “You two are with me. We will head that way as well, albeit somewhat slower.” UPS flowed easily into Dr. Omega's armor. The Coyote took the form of his cape. Dr. Omega teleported to the east, as far as he could. He landed crouched behind a crumbling wall. The wall was part of some kind of alien temple. The crumbling masonry was just big enough to shield him from view. Stomping down the street in front of the temple was none other than the PSI-borg!
The maddened mechanical monstrosity was using its massive plasma cannons to reduce the street and anything on it to rubble. So far, it had not spotted them. Dr Omega hated loose ends but did not have time for this. “UPS, Coyote, remain still and remain quiet. We will let it pass for now.”
“No way, boss! I've got dibs!” UPS flowed out of Omega's armor and into the PSI-borg itself! As UPS and the brain of a V'sori Warlord struggled for control, Dr. Omega and Coyote teleported away again, to the east.
Omega's comm bead buzzed. “Hey doc, is Huntsman, ok? Your fishy blood priest is in dis here dome, performing some kind of ritual with Deja Nal. Want me should kill them both?”
“Negative. We don't know what they are doing, it could be useful. Keep scouting for Destruction, I'm teleporting to the Mansion, I have something I need my Undocumented Minions to do. Actually, Huntsman, can you describe the ritual to me?”
“I can try. Dey got these squiggly lines painted over everything, including themselves. And paint is all dey are wearing, those two. There are a lot of knives laying around, all wavy-bladed like. You know, dis looks like my kind of party!”
“Hmmmm. If what you're telling me is accurate, I think you're looking at a couple of traitors and Destruction is involved. Do not engage. See if you can help the others track down Destruction.”
“Ok, boss. We'll keep pretending like you pay me and can tell me what to do. But if I don't find something better to hunt soon, I'm coming back here.”
At the Omega Mansion, the windows shook to the sound of the Omega Copter taking off. Dr. Omega emerged from his secret basement lab (also the hangar bay) and found Shelia Glass, Mark (the camera man) and Hard Core guarding Bobby, Glass's son.
“Ah, good. Everyone present and accounted for, eh?”
Shelia Glass stood up, “What the hell is going on, Omega? We-”
Dr. Omega held up one metal-shod hand, “Just a moment. The Huntsman is reporting in now.”
“Hey boss, you're gonna want to get over here, ok? Me and your clone sons found some science-y looking tunnels running under this here battle planet thing. We've been following them for a while and I think we just found the main lab. You...you gonna want to see dis, boss.”
“I'll teleport right over. Omega out. Mark, you and Hard Core need to keep the boy safe. My research into Atlantean rituals, along with some things discovered by Vertebreaker (believe it or not) says that Destruction will need to sacrifice an innocent to complete his mad ritual. This boy could be the key to stopping Destruction...Meros...once and for all.”
“I'll see what I can do, Omega.”
Dr. Omega teleported out, aiming for the coordinates the Huntsman gave him.
The scene ouside the lab was bloody. Apparently, the Huntsman and Dave Ross had tried to gain access to the lab, and had run afoul of its defenders (or defenses). Dave Ross lay in a bloody heap on the ground. The Huntsman was also down, but not out. As Dr. Omega teleported in, the Hunter of heroes was starting to regain consciousness.
The lab itself was jammed into some sort of cave, due to the haphazard way in which the “battle world” had been constructed by the Outsider. Stepping over the inert form of Dave Ross and striding into the lab, Dr. Omega saw much in the way of equipment that was familiar to him, mostly restraints and torture implements, alongside exotic energy sources and weapons. Up on a raised platform, he saw something he was not fully familiar with: it was Champion! If not alive, the former hero was at least in one piece. All over Champion's inert form were scrawled Atlantean runes. They were clearly written in blood. The world's greatest hero floated in a tank of greenish liquid.
In front of this macabre display stood Dr. Destruction. “You're too late, Omega. No one can stop me now. Not even you.”
“Give it up, Destruction. This is the end of the line for you. I'm taking you down and then I'm kicking the V'sori off of Earth once and for all.”
“That's big talk for a lone man, Omega. Where are your little Omega Men? Who's going to fight this battle for you? I don't have time to kill you myself. But I leave you with...the Champion Ultimatum!”
Destruction lunged for a large, red button on the wall. Once the button depressed, Champion's tank began to empty of liquid and the monstrous hulk inside of it began to stir! Destruction made a crude gesture at Dr. Omega and teleported away.
The creature that was Champion flew at Dr. Omega, inhumanly fast! Just before the point of impact, a blade flashed between Omega and the creature. The blade of a glaive stuck itself into Champion's massive rune-covered chest. It was followed by the haft of the weapon, swinging up and catching the abomination under the chin, sending it sprawling. The Huntsman stood next to Dr. Omega. He was wearing a long coat that Omega immediately recognized at The Coyote in one of his favorite forms, the “magic jacket”.
“Choo know how long I've been waiting to kill dis guy, here? He's the most powerful super on the planet!”
“Be careful, Huntsman! Destruction's Atlantean sorcery has made him much stronger.”
The Creature sprang to it's feet, its' rotting lips pulled back in a snarl of rage.
“Merry Christmas to you too, Dr. Omega. Run along, ok? Dis one is mine.”
Omega teleported out of the chamber and started making a series of jumps that would bring him to the Atlantean dome that Huntsman saw before: the site of the ritual! “This is Dr. Omega to all Omega Men. Focus all of your efforts on piercing the Atlantean dome in the southwest area of the battle-world. You must pierce that dome!”
“Da, konechno boss.” UPS was “driving” the body of the PSI-borg, having fried the V'sori Warlord's brain inside of it. He powered up his plasma cannons and opened up on the dome. A gratifying amount of damage was done in just seconds. A moment later, a large hole had appeared in the roof of the dome.
“Excellent, UPS! Undocumented minions, get the helicopter into position!”
Dr. Omega made the final two jumps to bring him into the dome. He showed up several feet away from Dr. Destruction. Destruction stood on top of a dais that was deeply stained with blood. The Atlantean blood priest and Deja Nal were performing the ceremony at a frenzied pace now and a full dozen Atlantean blood cultists chanted along.
“Omega, you're too late! The ceremony is almost complete!”
“Give it up Destruction...Meros. You need the Crown of Atlantis for your ritual to succeed. And you need an innocent child. Sheila Glass's boy in under heavy guard and the crown is hidden in my Omega Mansion. Dead end.”
Dr. Destruction gestured and a new figure teleported into the dome. Plucked from the tower of the Omega mansion, it was the former First Lady, still quite, quite mad! She had clearly found where Dr. Omega had been hiding the Crown of Atlantis (She went into his underwear drawer? Is nothing sacred anymore?), since she was handing it to Destruction now, a giant grin on her face.
And that's not all she brought Destruction. She was also holding a baby girl with silver eyes. The daughter of Hydra and the President's daughter. An innocent child. Destruction held the crown aloft in victory.
“Now watch, Omega. Watch as I gain power that surpasses even the Outsider!”
“I'm not watching anything. We're here to stop you.”
“We? We went over this, Omega. You're alone. My troops and monsters have your henchmen all tied up. Who is this 'we' who is going to stop me?”
“Me and my cosmic robot, jack-ass. Undocumented minions, now!”
The Omega Copter was hovering over the hole in the dome. Its cargo doors opened and a humanoid shape, massive in size, plummeted out. The Outsider's cosmic robot struck the crowd of blood cultists just as Dr. Omega pressed the large, red button on its remote control. The robot's eyes lit up, bright red, as it laid into the hapless Atlanteans!
Bodies were rent asunder and thrown across the dome! Deja Nal screamed as a giant metal foot crushed her, snapping her spine. The minions in the copter started to descend on lines, firing plasma guns as they slid down. The ritual was in chaos! The former First Lady was laying in a heap on a pile of rubble, clutching her grand-daughter to her chest. Dr. Destruction was fighting to keep his feet and step clear of the melee, the Crown of Atlantis clutched in his hand. Even with his mask on, he was clearly enraged. “Omega!”
The Huntsman parried another crushing fist aimed at his head with superhuman speed. Champion never tired, never stopped his rain of blows. The Huntsman had scored a few solid hits, but he was sure that he himself was sporting a broken rib and had lost a lot of blood. He'd managed to maneuver Champion outside the lab, now it was time to end this.
The Huntsman stood with his back against the metal wall of the lab. He threw a handful of toxic ash into Champion's eyes to buy himself a moment. The monstrous super flew back a dozen feet while he clawed furiously at his eyes.
The Huntsman pressed his back up against the lab as he made his preparations. “Kay, Coyote get out of here now, ok?”
“Because I gots a plan and if you stick around, you're gonna go boom!”
“I thought you wanted me dead.”
“And now I don't. Scram, will you?”
“Ok, cool. I'm out of here.” The jacket turned back into a ferret and ran off at an impressive clip. On the ground by the Huntsman's feet, Dave Ross stirred. Burnt almost to death, he struggled to raise a hand, to signal to the Huntsman that he was still alive. But the hunter of heroes was too busy with something on his vest to see the clown stripper's efforts.
Champion was back! He'd wiped enough of the ash from his smoldering eye sockets to see again. He saw the Huntsman, standing alone by the wall of the lab. He roared as he charged at him, heedless of the glaive that impaled him on impact, pinning him to the Huntsman. In fact, as the glaive pierced him completely, he pulled himself down its haft, closer to the Huntsman. In seconds, the two men were face to face. Though his breath was being crushed from his lungs, the Huntsman manged to wheeze out, “Look down.”
Strapped to the hunters' chest was several pounds of C4 explosive and a string of plasma grenades. THe Glaive held Champion pinned to the Huntsman. Champion and Dave Ross shared a look of surprise and terror as they detonated.
Back at the Atlantean dome, Destruction was holding the Crown of Atlantis aloft. “Well, I still have this! I'm going to summon an army of serpent men to crush the surface world once and for all!”
“It's fake.” Dr. Omega crossed his arms.
“What? You're lying, Omega.”
“Hardly. That's the decoy. The fake I keep in my underwear drawer. Go ahead, ask her. Hey, crazy lady, did you take that out of my underwear drawer?”
The former First Lady nodded, drool hanging from her smiling mouth. Dr. Omega looked at Destruction and shrugged. “Seriously. Who would keep a powerful relic in their underwear drawer?”
Dr. Destruction screamed in frustration and threw the crown to the ground, stomping on it and shattering the ancient metal.
“I would” whispered Dr. Omega to himself.
“No!” Destruction screamed, “You have been a thorn in my side for years. It ends today! Dr. Omega, meet the Destruction Cannon!” The madman leveled a huge hand-cannon at Dr. Omega. With a report like a hundred whips cracking, it discharged at the evil genius.
Dr. Omega calmly teleported a few feet away, the blast missing him entirely.
“You use the technology of the enemy well.”, Destruction sneered.
“You're one to talk, Meros. I saw your little pictures pages in the Temple of the Seven Seas. You ARE the enemy! But you're right: this does end today.” Dr. Omega produced a stripped-down plasma rifle from under his cape. “Mine doesn't have a fancy name, but it's my favorite. Hard Core gave it to me. I trust my friends, Meros. And you're the one who's about to die alone.”
Omega took careful aim and pulled the trigger. Destruction had exhausted the batteries of his armor in teleporting so many people around the battle-planet. He'd invested all his sorcerous abilities in the Atlantean ritual. Completely depleted of resources, Dr. Destruction was engulfed in burning plasma and fell to the ground, dead.
The Huntsman walked into the dome with the Coyote trailing after him. It was quiet now. The Cosmic Robot had gone inert after slaughtering all of the other Atlanteans. “Huntsman, you're alive.”
“Yep. Mainly because Vertebreaker and his buddy found me.”
Vertebreaker scuttled into the room, with Mitch Powers perched on his bony back. A moment later, Scrape and Angela walked in as well. FInally, Four Star walked into the dome as well, reporting that Bobby and Sheila Glass were still safe.
Dr. Omega looked around at his Omega Men and nodded. It was time. He walked over to the corpse of Dr. Destruction and pulled the dead man's helmet off.
“Ha. Told you so.”
King Meros lay on the ground, nearly dead. Dr. Omega placed nullifier shackles on his wrists and bound his feet securely. "This will be my most insidious death trap yet! No pits, no killer robots. Meros is going to to couples counseling with Sheila Glass! He got her pregnant and then assumed the identity of a supervillain just to get out of child support. Oh, this is going to be good!"
Dr. Omega stood and looked up, through the hole in the dome and into the orange glow that passed for the sky on the battle-planet. “Outsider! I've won! You can show up at any time, now.”
And suddenly, the Outsider was there. Despite all of the horrible things they had seen in the past few hours, the Outsider remained an imposing, other-worldly figure. “Dr. Omega. You actually won! There is no end to the amusement you provide for me.”
“Yeah, I won. This guy, Meros, said he was going to perform a ritual that would make him more powerful than even you. But I stopped it.”
“Ha! That truly is funny! You amuse me so much, Omega, that I have decided to grant you a boon. One wish. Make a wish, and I will make it so.”
A heavy silence descended over the dome. Each Omega Man thought about what he or she would wish for and then considered how insane their leader was. They considered the things and people he hated, and the naked desire he expressed for everything from weapons to world domination. None of them could have predicted what happened next.
Dr. Omega turned to fully face the Outsider. “Outsider...turn Meanstreak human again. I messed up. She deserves a normal life. Change her back.”
The Outsider gestured with one massive hand. “It is done.”
Angela leaned in close to Vertebreaker and whispered, “Well, I'm sure that's not going to bite him in the ass, someday.”
Vertebreaker hung his head, “He could have wished for a bigger allowance for me.”
The Outsider clapped his massive hands, “Enough of such diversions! You have overcome Destruction and passed my test. You will now we sent to the V'sori home-world, V'sor. This will be your chance to face Ch'thadra, the V'sori Overmind!”
Dr. Omega crossed his arms over his chest-plate. “Do you think you could at lea-”
The Outsider clapped his hands again. They were no longer in the Atlantean dome. They were still in a dome, however. A massive rotunda spread around them. In front of them, on a raised dais, was a horrid alien creature. It looked like a V'sori, but with a massive cranium, expanded beyond all reason and pulsing with sick purple veins. The creatures' hands crackled with barely restrained psychic might and it's loathsome presence beat upon the edges of their minds.
Flanking this monstrosity were two obvious hybrids. V'sori had been crossed with K'tharen to create vicious, finned bodyguards. And ringing the entire chamber were at least three dozen V'sori drones, weapons at the ready. Dr. Omega took a look around. “Oh, sh-”
TO BE CONCLUDED
"I am forced to believe you guilty of impertinence, impiety, disregard and impudicity."