Issue #30 – Time Crisis Part 4: What is Hope?

The Secret Sentinels arrive in the alley of a large city, but Brother Donovan is not with them. He was separated from the rest of the team as they traversed through the multiversal tunnel. It is around 9pm. There are posters plastered to a nearby building that read: re-elect Calvin Ellis for the President of the United States of America.

 

Calvin Ellis

 

As the heroes take in their new surroundings, they realize they are in a city that resembles their own Star City, except for one glaring difference: the city's skyline is dominated by a large building that is a near replica of Sinai Tower. As the team is formulating a plan, a woman's scream pierces the darkness. The Fly spots three thugs menacingly approaching a woman in a nearby alley. The Sentinels jump into action and quickly take down the thugs. Zero notices that they are using incredibly advanced weaponry. Cold Snap escorts the scared woman back to her apartment.

 

Star City

 

As the Sentinels are planning their next move, a red and blue blur whisks by and stops, hovering a few feet in the air. It is Superman! But he is African-American. Fly recognizes this Superman from his vision back at the Carnival. After some discussion, Superman tells the Sentinels that he is on the case of some missing super-villains and powerful new weapons that have hit the streets. He believes the two are related. He received a tip that a villain named IQ may be involved. He is on his way to IQ's base, which is located in an abandoned subway underneath Star City. The rest of the Justice League is on a mission on Vathlo Island and he asks the Sentinels if they will help. Perhaps this will lead to this Earth's cosmic bomb.

 

Earth 23 Superman

 

When they make it to IQ's base, they find that the door has been left open. His lab has been ransacked. IQ is sprawled on the ground with a cauterized bullet hole in his forehead. Zero and the Fly also discover 4 distinct blood stains, a platform with broken glass and a strange green liquid. Further investigation leads them to a camera with a recent video made by IQ. Zero plays the video back: “It's Sinai they're after my work... that bastard Donovan Michaels... he steals from all of us...” Loud noises, screams, and gunshots can be heard in the background of the video. Then it suddenly cuts out.

 

IQ

 

Superman tells the Sentinels about the Donovan Michaels of this earth, he is an incredibly wealthy and influential industrialist, but he is also corrupt. The Fly compares him to Lex Luthor of their Earth. He also lets it slip that their Donovan Michaels and Brother Donovan are the same person! Cold Snap hacks into IQ's computer system and discovers that he was doing some research utilizing stasis chambers. Velocitos and the Fly are able to track IQ's assailants to Sinai Tower.

 

Donovan Michaels of Earth 23

 

The Sentinels formulate a plan: Zero and the Fly will enter the tower discreetly and perform some reconnaissance while Superman, Velocitos, and Cold Snap wait on the rooftop of anearby safe house. Zero and the Fly enter the tower via an underground maintenance tunnel. They quietly make their way to a basement IT room. Zero contacts Cold Snap who helps him hack into Sinai's servers remotely. Zero finds schematics for a hidden laboratory in Donovan Michaels' penthouse sweet. Zero uploads this information and sends it over to Cold Snap. With the schematics in hand, Cold Snap, Velocitos, and Superman begin their assault on Sinai Tower.

 

Superman and Velocitos crash through the windows that lead into Donovan Michaels' penthouse. Cold Snap follows them in. Back in the basement, Zero and the Fly can hear all the commotion and they go to rendezvous with the rest of the team. Alarms are blaring inside the tower and a crowd has gathered outside. The Fly drops Zero off two floors below in the accounting department and then heads to the penthouse. As the heroes enter the building, they each feel a presence in their head that quickly fades away.

 

Zero quietly makes his way through the accounting department, but he is spotted by an employee in a nearby cubicle. Zero convinces him not to alert the guards and cautiously approaches. He tells the man, whose name is Artie, that he has infiltrated Sinai on behalf of the Justice League. He tells Artie to communicate a message to the rest of his co-workers on this floor: keep your heads down. Artie delivers this message through their departmental computer chat feature and then dives under his desk. Zero grabs his phone and uses it as an improvised nunchaku and takes down the two guards on this floor who were watching the exits. Artie calls Zero over and shows him some accounting records on his computer that show that Donovan Michaels has been secretly moving money to accounts labeled Project BLUE and Sinai Scavengers. He gives Zero a USB with this information. Zero thanks him and then runs up the stairs to Michaels' penthouse.

 

Artie the Accountant

 

Meanwhile, two floors above, the Sentinels and Superman locate the entrance to Donovan's secret lab but they are not able to override its security protocols. Velocitos and Superman force the door open, which causes poisonous gas and turrets to turn on them. By flapping his wings incredibly fast, the Fly is able to blow the gas out of the room. After destroying the turrets, the Sentinels make their way inside the lab. They see three bodies on gurneys covered by white sheets as well as advanced chemistry equipment. Superman removes the sheets revealing the dead bodies of Major Force, Doctor Polaris, and Phobia each with cauterized bullet holes in their foreheads. These are the super-villains who went missing. As the Fly is investigating the bodies their eyes suddenly open, glowing blue, and they sit up. A voice that Superman identifies as Donovan Michaels fills the room:

 

“You've walked right into my trap. By aligning yourself with Superman, and with the Justice League you are now my enemy. I rule this city, I am untouchable, and there is no Hope left for you. Prepare to die.”

 

A green light then floods the room and Superman collapses.

 

Phobia unleashes a powerful mental attack and that pulls the worst fears out of Cold Snap, Velocitos, and the Fly. Cold Snap sees himself in school. Everyone is staring and laughing at him. He looks down and realizes that he is in his underwear. Velocitos sees himself going extinct with the rest of his kind. The Fly sees his family being snatched away from him as he is powerless to help.

 

Phobia

 

Zero sneaks into the lab and joins the battle. The Sentinels take down Phobia first, which causes her fear affliction to fade. Major Force and Doctor Polaris do not fall so easily. The Fly grabs Doctor Polaris and slams him into the lab equipment. Polaris responds with powerful electromagnetic blasts. The Fly notices Dr. Polaris talking to himself and slowly losing his grip on reality. Zero and and Velocitos focus their attacks on Major Force. The Fly notices that Polaris' powers are electromagnetic and Major Force's powers are quantum... these two energies are opposites and will cancel each other out. Using this information, Zero trips Major Force and the Fly slams Polaris into him causing a large explosion, which knocks out Doctor Polaris. Cold Snap creates an ice gurney and wheels Superman away from the kryptonite to an open window where he can absorb the solar radiation still in the atmosphere. Zero makes a threat aimed at Donovan Michaels through Major Force.

 

Doctor Polaris

 

As Cold Snap is helping Superman recover, they see a man step out of a pocket dimension. It is a visibly scared Donovan Michaels who attempts to flee down the stairs. Cold Snap blocks his escape and then freezes him to the wall. He tries to bribe Cold Snap with money, power, and women but it doesn't work. Veloctios and Major Force continue pummeling each other and crash through the floor into the accounting department. After a furious battle, Velocitos knocks out Major Force.

 

Major Force

 

Zero senses multiversal energy swirling within Sinai Tower and deduces that the building is the cosmic bomb. He tells Superman to evacuate the tower and the Fly helps as well. Zero grabs Donovan and parkours his way down the tower. After the building is clear, Velocitos weakens its support structures, pulls it from the ground, flies it into space and throws it into the sun. Zero forces Donovan Michaels to watch as they destroy his monument, his perverse legacy.

 

The Fly tells Superman that their may be a sliver of hope within Donovan Michaels and suggests that he be sent to Oa and possibly rehabilitated by the Blue Lantern Corps. Superman agrees and tells the Fly that he will discuss it with Lantern Stewart. Superman thanks the Sentinels for their help and thanks Cold Snap specifically for saving his life. He hands Cold Snap and batarang with an engraved message as a souvenir. Cold Snap smiles as the multiversal tunnel envelopes them once again.

 

This time the Sentinels feel their bodies turning inside out, much like what happened when the shadow demons attacked them back on New Earth. They arrive in the middle of a busy suburban park on a sunny afternoon. A stunned crowded stares at their sudden arrival and they begin to scream: “It's the Chaos Sentinels... they're here... RUN!!!”

 

EPILOGUE

 

The Justice League of Earth 23 (Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Steel, Green Lantern John Stewart, Vixen Hardware, Batman, and Blur) are investigating an asteroid that landed in the countryside of Vathlo Island.

 

JLA of Earth 23

Batman asks Blur to investigate a radius of 10 miles around the asteroid for more fragments. As he is running, thunder booms and a large red and yellow lightning bolt strikes him. When the smoke and light clear, he is gone...

 

Blue

 

To be continued!