Nimball had found a new love and its name was the Cache. It had indulged in him a yearning need for the entertainment only a toy could bring. And by heaven, did the Cache have toys. Toys of every variety. There were women clad in armor. Men with staffs and funny capes. He had opened more toys in the past hour than he had in months. The joy was nearly orgasmic. How he had survived all this time without toys such as these baffled him now.
He looked down at the all the toys around him that he had already opened. Hush sat next to Misfit and next to them was Doctor Poison and Ibis the Invincible. Those four were such fun to play with. He still couldn’t quite figure out why Misfit was dressed the way she was, but he couldn’t argue that she had brought him great entertainment.
So as he scurried through the Cache like the many rats surrounding him, he came across an interesting package. Nimball smiled as he looked down at the two action figures packaged in one. With a child’s delight, he squealed, “A two-for-one!”
Written on the front of the package across the top of the plastic in bold gold letters were the names of the two action figures.
Manitou Dawn and Manitou Raven.
Nimball flipped over the box and read the back of it where there was a brief bio for each character. He smiled with rotten teeth. “Atlantean sorcerers. Oooo…I wish I had an Aquaman toy!”
Kryptonian Space (Two Weeks Earlier)
Krypton had indeed been destroyed, but the solar system itself was not. The perception was that nothing existed where Krypton once stood and to an extent that was true, but so much more still flourished around it. Krypton’s destruction had been a cataclysmic event, but the solar system it was apart of kept on with its life.
The Eradicator knew this even if the rest of the universe had forgotten it. Krypton was always in his thoughts and in his mind. He had been programmed for thousands of years to protect the legacy of Krypton, but now it stood before him destroyed. He refused to let such a proud planet and people be gone. There was a way to restore it all. He just knew it. Kem-L had charged him with preserving Krypton and as it stood The Eradicator had failed miserably. A mortal might have accepted the defeat and moved on, but The Eradicator did not fall into such categories. He was a machine and did not understand the idea of giving up.
What had drawn him back to this place was a hope that he could begin his work anew. A voice burned into his circuits and beckoned him to come. The Eradicator knew that it would take a powerful force to reach across the galaxy and tap into his very circuitry to deliver its message of a restored Krypton. Pure logic dictated that The Eradicator follow the voice to its source. He had failed to save Krypton, but there was hope it could return.
The voice grew more powerful in strength the closer he grew to the fifth planet in Krypton’s solar system. Its name was Faigryn and it was the last rock planet in the solar system. The purple and red planet beckoned to him. Finally, The Eradicator felt that his long travel was coming to something fruitful.
History flooded through his mind as he rocketed down into the planet’s atmosphere. It was the history of the Kryptonians. All of it was in his mind, down to the very last days of Krypton. He was a living depository for the entire Kryptonian culture. Faigryn had been regarded by many ancient Kryptonian civilizations as a harbinger of ill fortune. One civilization, the Zeleusid Empire, refused to allow any mating to occur if Faigryn could be seen in the night sky.
The Eradicator was nearing the southernmost continent on the planet when he heard the voice more clearly than he had in all the weeks it had been pecking at his central core.
You have arrived. I am pleased.
Landing on the top of a mountain with a loud crash no living creature could hear, The Eradicator said, “Who are you? I have heard you promising to restore Krypton.”
My name is Tykondrius. And I mean what I say warrior of Krypton. I can restore our long lost home.
“Our home?” Eradicator said. He had never really thought of Krypton as his home. It was just a place he had to preserve and protect. His role in all of it was inconsequential. But he had never heard of Tykondrius.
The sophisticated machine was silent for a moment as it searched its memory banks for anything that would let him know who this Tykondrius was. When he came across the answer, his face narrowed. “I know who you are.”
And you seem skeptical.
“Tykondrius was the god of war in the Vormin civilization. It was said that you were locked in the very ground of Faigryn for all eternity because of your cruelty. What could a creature like you possibly want with restoring Krypton?”
So you do believe in my divinity?
Eradicator began to float down the rocky mountain. “I did not say that. Logic dictates you are simply an entity with knowledge of ancient Krypton.”
Then what would you require for me to prove that I am indeed Tykondrius of The Bleeding White Garden?
“It is said that Tykondrius wielded a sword known as The Sword of Justified Hearts. And that sword was buried somewhere on this planet. If you are truly Tykondrius you would know where this sword is located.”
I have never possessed such a sword nor would I need one. Those who opposed me were tore apart with my bare hands.
The Eradicator nodded as he reached the bottom of the mountain. “You are correct. So for now I will believe you.”
Good. Then I shall tell you the steps in which you can free me.
Cadmus Project Perimeter
Manitou Dawn held her husband’s hand and said, “Where are we?”
“I don’t know. This doesn’t make sense. But I smell corruption all over whatever has happened.”
“As do I,” Dawn said as she laid her head on her husband’s shoulder. “There is something immensely wrong here.”
Manitou Raven looked around him. Behind them was a heavily guarded complex. The vague beige, brick building was surrounded by perimeter upon perimeter of barbed wire fence and black gun turrets on every corner of the building. Raven wondered who they were trying to keep out or what were they trying to keep in.
“Prepare yourself for combat pagans!”
The way that last word was said let the couple know that it was clearly meant to be an insult. In their time, the magic that they wielded had been something to awe at and not criticized. They were revered for their magical prowess, but they had learned many in the modern world did not feel such reverence. Manitou Dawn and Raven looked at the little boy who had uttered the insult.
The boy couldn’t be a day over 14 and he was wearing a black body suit that had a picture of a red volcano trickling smoke. In one hand he held a long katana and etched on his face was a rage too old for someone so young. Standing next to him was a woman wearing a form fitting green dress with deep splits in all the right places. Her black hair was cropped and much like the boy, she too carried a silver katana.
Damien Al-Ghul could feel the eyes of his aunt piercing into him and he knew why. “I don’t know why I said that. I don’t even know why we’re here.”
A question that Manitou Raven and his wife had as well. They were in The Watchtower when suddenly and without any explanation they were in front of this complex. The strangeness of the situation continued when Mantiou Dawn shouted something completely out of character. “You poorly dressed warriors will not insult my husband or I will turn you both to toads!”
Manitou Dawn looked back at her husband worriedly. “Something made me do that.”
“I don’t know what’s going on here,” Manitou shouted across the grassy field to Nyssa and Damien Al-Ghul. “But maybe we should try to work together to find out.”
Every hair on the back of Damien’s neck stood up as his body moved without his command. He came running at Manitou Raven and his aunt was soon following behind him. Both had their katanas in the air and were coming straight for the couple. They had every intention of cutting the couple to ribbons.
Not being a fate that Manitou Raven was willing to accept, he rose up his staff and shouted, “Inukchuk!”
A wall of fire rose up to block the advance of the Al-Ghuls and gave Manitou Raven time to contemplate exactly what situation he had got himself into.
Unknown to all of them, a red and black android carrying a being of immense power was slipping through the defenses of Cadmus.
Cadmus Project Interior
Colonel Winterbourne literally yelled at the screen when he saw what was playing out on the surveillance cameras. “Why do metas think they can just come to my complex and fight out their problems?”
Superboy was smiling smugly behind the military officer. “It’s because they just want to catch a glimpse of my beautiful mug.”
Winterbourne frowned as he continued to watch the fight unfold off on the television screen. “I doubt it. Get out there and put a stop to this madness.”
“It could be worse boss. Cher could be throwing a concert out there.”
Superboy was the only one who laughed and that’s really all he needed. He was the funniest man in his own world anyway. And he was going to have a crapload of jokes for these people fighting outside.
He shook his head as he flew down one of the complex’s many hallways. “Really? You guys pick here of all places to duke it out? Might as well have went to the nearest city dump.”
Contemplating just how he was going to beat down these jerks, he never noticed the intangible red android floating down from the roof. Eradicator looked with disdain at the boy and waited till he was out of site before speaking.
“A false relic of Krypton. Is he the avatar that you seek Tykondrius?”
That is not the one I seek. The one I want is further in this facility. Continue onward lest we draw this one’s attention.
The Al-Ghuls stood in front of the wall of fire raised by Manitou Raven in awe of themselves. They had nearly run right through it. Damien looked up to his Aunt and said, “What’s happening to us?”
Nyssa frowned. “I don’t know but I most certainly want it to stop.”
Looking through the fire, Damien said, “My gut is telling me that they are as clueless about this as we are. Their body language just isn’t conveying that they’re up to something.”
“So someone we can’t see is at work. Infuriating. I much prefer an opponent I can see.”
Damien nodded. “It’s easier to punch them.”
The wall of fire faded away and the four individuals were looking at each other again. Manitou Raven said, “There is something dark at work here. I can feel it flowing all around us. We should work together to see what is causing it.”
Damien lifted his arm up in the air and swung his sword down in front of him. “Prepare for combat pagans! I will not tolerate your insolence!”
“He’s not in control of himself!” Nyssa shouted.
Manitou Dawn grabbed her husband’s hand to keep him from attacking. “We need to focus!”
“I can’t have him trying to cut us to ribbons!”
A blur of red, black, and blue swept between them and Damien was snatched up into the air. Superboy gripped Al Ghul right around his throat and said, “Why you decide to come stomping on my yard?”
Nyssa looked up and said, “Superboy! Why is he here?”
Manitou Raven thought that Superboy would know him to be a friend so he looked up and said, “Superboy! Stop this! We need to talk.”
The young hero heard the cry from the funky dressed man and rolled his eyes. “Yea right.”
He tossed Damien down from the air and the young man’s body tumbled wildly until he was caught nimbly by Nyssa Al Gul. Superboy admired the agility for a moment and then flew downward. “I don’t know who any of you are, but you better get ready to have your butts laid flatter than Kansas!”
Manitou Dawn threw her hands forward at the approaching Superboy and said, “Inukchuk!”
The Boy of Steel froze like a statue and crashed into the ground kicking up dirt and grass in his wake. Damien walked up to the frozen superhuman still gripping his throat. “Superboy would not touch me in such a way if he knew that I was the son of—
“Enough Damien!” Nyssa said. “Something is wrong and we need to focus on that. Superboy did not know who you were. Why?”
Manitou Raven shrugged. “I honestly have no idea.”
Cadmus Project Interior
Eradicator flowed through the halls of the facility with relative ease. The focus of the day was on whatever was transpiring outside these walls. It appeared that fortune had smiled on the relic of Krypton today. He would get to his goal with little to no resistance.
Good karma as some Earthers would say. Such petty phrases annoyed Eradicator. Earth was a pitiful little world and when it was replaced with the glory of Krypton then all of the universe would tremble. He would finally make up for the mistakes of the past and set things right. Krypton would be restored.
Great things often ran into stumbling blocks and obstacles as Eradicator’s goal had many times before. Now fate smiled on him. It had gifted him with the power of Tykondrius which would be able to restore a once lost world and allow him to complete his mission.
Soon Eradicator all past failures shall be forgotten. For my avatar is near.
Turning a corner, Eradicator was in front of a large silver vault guarded by three armed men. He quickly let loose three solar blasts from his hands that struck the guards directly in the chest and knocked them out cold. By the time they woke up, Earth might very well be Krypton. The android did not spare them a glance as he floated over them.
Apparently, the vault was of a denser than normal metal as Eradicator struggled to wade through it in his intangible state. Tykondrius gave him an extra burst of power that allowed him to push through to the other side to where his new avatar lied. It was just a matter of time now.
Returning to a solid state, Eradicator walked up to the young man strapped to the wall with metal bands and lasers. He bore the exact face of Superboy and piqued the curiosity of the android as to what Cadmus had now produced. His attire was different from the Boy of Steel though. This young man was garbed entirely in black and had a hood over his head.
Wake up boy. Your deliverance has come.
Wildcard poked his head up and looked at Eradicator indignantly. “Deliver me by cutting off these chains!”
You must first pledge yourself to my power.
Wildcard cut his eyes at Eradicator. The words had not come from the android’s mouth. “Who are you?”
“I am Eradicator. But as to who you speak, that is Tykondrius. War god of Krypton.”
“And why should I be interested in anything he has to say?”
Because I wish for you to be exactly what you are. I will give you the power to wreak such destruction. The likes of which has not be seen in a thousand millennia. Just pledge yourself to me.
Taking his current situation into account, Wildcard felt he had little choice. And he might just have the power to finish off Steel and Superboy for good. “Fine. I pledge myself to your power.”
Bolts of red lightning poured out of Eradicator and into the alternate reality version of Superboy. Wildcard at first resisted it, but eventually he succumbed to screaming.
“What was that?” Nyssa asked as they all heard the screams coming from within the Cadmus Project.
“I’m sure another problem,” Manitou Raven said.
“What are we going to do about the showoff?” Damien asked tapping Superboy with his katana.
The ground rumbled beneath them violently and threw them all to the ground as a section of the Cadmus Project’s roof blew open. Out of it flew two beings. One was the Eradicator and next to him was Wildcard with red lightning arcing back and forth across his body. His eyes were bloodshot red and in his hand he held a long, crimson trident.
Mortals! Prostrate yourselves at the power of Tykondrius for my hour is at hand.
Damien looked to Manitou Raven. “Ever heard of him?”
Nyssa looked back at the frozen Superboy. “We may need him.”
“Right,” Manitou Dawn said as she put her hands on Superboy and said, “Inukchuk!”
The Boy of Steel’s body slumped and he soon realized he was back to normal. “Hey! That wasn’t fair.”
“Be quiet boy! We need your help!” Manitou Dawn said as she grabbed Superboy by the collar and shoved his vision in the direction of Eradicator and Tykondrius. “Who are they?”
Superboy gritted his teeth. “Eradicator and Wildcard. How the heck them two hook up?”
“We’d be more than willing to help you put them back where they came from,” Damien said as he was still rubbing his tender neck. “As long as you don’t toss us around.”
Superboy shrugged. “What the heck? Sounds like fun. Wildcard could stand to get the tar kicked out of him again.”
Fools! That was not a request. You will bow!
Lightning ripped from the trident and struck each of them and forced them to the ground. Manitou Raven struggled to open his mouth under the onslaught, but somehow managed. “Inukchuck!”
The red lightning turned back on its creator and struck Tykondrius with full force, sending him flying backwards. Eradicator was agitated by the attack and let loose two solar blasts aimed directly at Manitou Raven. Damien Al Ghul jumped in the way and blocked each blast with his katana though he paid for it as the weapon was turned to slag. He reached behind him and pulled out two Kenpo sticks.
Tykondrius saw the weapons and laughed.
Such small tools have no consequence against me. I am a GOD!
“Yea that is definitely not Wildcard. What’s going on?” Superboy asked.
The ground began to shake again and Manitou Dawn gripped Superboy’s hand to keep steady. “We’ve been trying to figure that out all day.”
Stranger things had happened to Superboy. It wasn’t too long ago that he returned from a reality where the men and women he thought were heroes were overlords over the Earth. Wildcard hailed from that world and was one of the dictators’ primary enforcers. Superboy wasn’t sure what was going on with his alternate duplicate, but it didn’t look promising. He had never seen the guy display red lightning and that certainly wasn’t in Superboy’s repertoire of powers.
“Understanding what is at the heart of this situation may be the only thing that saves us,” Manitou Dawn said as she raised her hands upward. “Inukchuk!”
Power trickled from Dawn’s hands and sprinkled down around her like a thin layer of snow. Her eyes turned white for a moment and she said, “There are forces at work here far beyond our control.”
“Ever heard of layman’s terms?” Superman asked.
Returning back from the attack inflicted on him, Tykondrius swung downward and came right at his five opponents like an out of control meteor. They all scattered, except for Superboy who met him head on. The two collided and Superboy went spinning through the air like a bottle trapped in a typhoon.
“Be careful!” Manitou Dawn shouted. “He is possessed by a godly spirit.”
“One that I shall do away with!” her husband said as he pulled out a small rod from inside his vest. He pointed it at Tykondrius. “Be gone!”
Yellow energy poured out of the staff and surrounded the Kryptonian god. Only moments later Wildcard was gone. Superboy landed next to Raven and rubbed the side of his head where Wildcard had hit him. “You could have done that from the start.”
“I have only delayed him.”
Eradicator shook his head at the display. Tykondrius was too easily dispatched. If he could not beat these beings then there would be no way for him to help restore Krytpon. He flew away from the battle determined to find another way to complete his mission.
Superboy watched Eradicator fly away and scratched his head. “Ok. What is going on around here?”
“It has everything to do with toys,” Manitou Dawn said.
TO BE CONTINUED