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Crusaders

#16

1

Julie Maret had been spending the bright sunny morning setting up the insides of her new apartment. Jason Nortis came back with a few items along with a surprise for Julie. Jason brought his father (James) with. For the first time in years the old friends hugged and laughed. James (the Huntsman) was alive (see last issue for details) and he was talking to an old friend from when she was known as Electra. James went right to work helping his son Jason move a large entertainment center for Julie for her new flat screen to


Crusaders

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2

rest above along with her stereo system she managed to get back from a storage shed where her son Bruce had place all of her belongings after he sold the family farmhouse. “So have you seen Bruce yet?” Asked Jason to Julie. “No, I have not,” Julie said, “He is living in Seattle but luckily he uses the same combo lock combination to everything the same as he used for his Gym locker. He’s a predictable kid and besides even though I no longer have any powers I could get in that shed. We have had it for at least five years now. I was amazed that he saved a lot of my stuff, it was like he knew I was coming back.” “Hey now, I think I was the guy who taught you that,” James laughed, “You seem to forget before my days as the happy super hero archer knight of Camelot, I was a young thief who learned to get by.” “Please don’t remind me,” Julie said, “I’m still having a hard time seeing myself as a woman almost in my fifties and you barely look a day older than thirty.” “I’m still adjusting myself Julie,” James said, “Have you talked to Josh?” “You know guys,” Julie said, “it’s only been maybe five years I was gone here but in real time I left this time and went into the future by accident. I spent many years trying to get back and when I met Brock we were together for almost ten to fifteen years. As you notice I’m a little older. When Brock figured out how to design a time device it took awhile and I began to think I would never come back home. All though when he solved the issue he was able to pinpoint the future timeline with the past and I wound up in 2014 only five years after I vanished after I saved the planet from sucking two multiple Earths into the velocity dimension.” “What is this velocity dimension?” asked James. “Only people with super speed can get through that universe,” Julie said, “Brock believed it was the energies that divided the up the multiple Earths. That is why it is hard to travel between them. Dr. Harris I am pretty sure he knows about how all of that works.” “How would you know that?” asked Josh, “He’s barely around since his father returned from the dead. Literally.” “The Brain otherwise known as Dr. Samuel Harris wrote the book that Brock lived by,” Julie said, “it was Brock’s Bible. He figured out all of the numbers and finished a lot of the home work the Brain couldn’t solve because he didn’t have enough time. That is the reason I am here is because of Brock’s determination to solve Dr. Harris’s book on Velocity dimensions.” “Jesus Christ!” James said, “What if other people read that book. The whole fate of the universe could be destroyed by chumps time traveling.” “Don’t worry Huntsman,” Julie laughed, “there aren’t too many people with Brock or Dr. Harris’s I.Q. to even get passed the first page. It’s just a book Dr. Harris wrote toward the end of his life. It was mainly just notes that somebody who halfway understood it decided it was book material and released it as a tribute to the Brain.” At the very same time, several miles away on another Earth which would technically be labeled “Earth 12” in Dr. Harris’s Time, Earth and counting measures with the laws of science. Most people on “Earth 12” don’t even suspect there are other Earths. The history between Earth 12 and Earth 1 seem to be the same. Stuff like Christopher Columbus, Revolutionary War, Civil War was the same up to the point where World War II took place. This may have been when the Earths had split off according to Dr. Harris’s notes that Xenon was currently reading On our world D-Day ended the war on Earth 12 it seems to split off where D-Day had fallen apart after a messenger made his way to Hitler to announce that the United States was playing a trick and the majority of the soldiers would be a Normandy. Somehow the German army slaughtered the Americans continuing the war for another ten years through the 50s. Germany was fighting the war alone after the Japanese had surrendered after the nuclear bomb took place but Germany’s ability to stop the American’s at Normandy Bay made Hitler feel like he could continue on and he eventually lost and was captured by the Russians and kept as a prisoner of war and tortured where he died in captivity after the Russians took over Germany.


Crusaders

#16

3

World War II screwed up the United States for quite some time and it took a bit to get into the economy restarted back in full but by the time the 80s rolled around the United States was beginning to get back on the track and things started to shape up. As Dr. Harris wrote, “things may go off into another turn due to that one thing in time that altered time. It’s like a ripple in a pond. You send the wave off in another direction but it eventually works its way back to the normal and figures itself out.” This example between Earth 1 and Earth 12 eventually got on track after the war in 1953 and through the 50s Earth 12 was off key and all things didn’t start to match up again until the early 60s when John F. Kennedy came into office and we shared the same Cuban Missile crisis situation. All things were parallel to history even up until Kennedy’s assassin. Fast forward to the year 2014 to Bradford City, New York to the place where the Crusaders on Earth 1 used to have a headquarters downtown but on this Earth a team of super heroes known as the Protectors United have a giant Citadel in the place. The Protectors United has a worldwide recognition and seems to be more open to the public as to the Crusaders who are semi-private. The street was a little different and the towers where Clark Enterprises would be on Earth 1 are large business buildings off to the side of the “Citadel” where the Protectors United headquarters is. One of their main, intelligent members is called “Battery”. His body has the power to channel some kind of dimensional energy and store it in his body and use it. The name Battery is because his body is like a battery when it comes to storing the strange magical energy. He lands and is greeted by their team leader whose name is Manhawk. There are two armored robots that stand in place as guards as Battery lands and walks through the foyer and enters the building. The conversation between Battery and Manhawk seems to be intense. “I know that you are a busy man with your studies Brock,” Manhawk said, “But we just finally got Neutron contained with powerful tranquilizers. He was talking crazy and calling us something like the Crusaders and mentioning he was trapped and didn’t mean to kill anyone.” “That is strange,” Battery said, “I’m going to see if my powers can pick anything up. I have never known Neutron to act like that. Maybe he is stressed out?” Just as Battery opened a older, large thick stained wood door with gold lining and brick walls. He walked inside where other members along with members Uncle Sam, Amazing Man and Stargazer were standing over Neutron who had been subdued on a large table. “What’s the progress Stargazer?” Asked Battery. “Neutron has taken a leave for his senses,” Stargazer said, “We were lucky the only thing he really wrecked was the back half of the Citadel. We have men already repairing it as if it was not even touched but any other crazy outburst could be critical to someone’s life.” “Something really strange he said to me,” Uncle Sam said, “He made a comment about how stupid my outfit looked. I’ve known Neutron for almost twenty years. Neutron has never said anything odd like that. It’s like out friend is here but that’s not him.” “Yes I did catch the strange behavior,” Stargazer said, “but my powers tell me over and over that is Neutron. His mind has just taken a leave of absence as if he has been spelled. I need more time with my powers to find out more of what we could be up against.”


Crusaders

#16

4

“All of the main threats we have ever faced before have always faced us out in the open,” Manhawk said, “This one looks like it has me baffled. Stargazer, and Battery please remain with me, the rest of you carry about your Citadel business.” After everyone had left and it was just the three of them, Manhawk, Battery and Stargazer. Stargazer appeared to be a little different from the Stargazer of Earth 1. She had some kind of healing ability and she was using her powers run over the top of Neutron, thinking his mind was shot. “What else can it be?” Asked Manhawk, “One day our best friend is normal and the next day he is like whacked out of his gore screaming crazy stuff and trying to kill innocent people. For as long as I have known Preston there isn’t a mean bone in his body.” “This man on this table is Preston but it is not our Preston,” Stargazer spoke up. “What do you mean?” asked Battery. “I have done a few deeper healing and I saw into his soul,” Stargazer said, “This man underneath this mask may look and sound like Preston but his life and origin have a far darker path. It’s almost like a man from another universe.” “Another universe?” asked Battery, “There is a man that spouts that kind of stuff in books and talks about it on television. He is some kind of mentalist but I assumed he was quacked. How could our Neutron have got switched with a Neutron from another universe?” “It doesn’t add up,” Manhawk said, “I never believed in such a farce. To think that there is another me out there.” “You’re a different case,” Battery said, “I could not imagine if there was another Amazing Man or maybe even an Uncle Sam.” “When I received my powers it was a pure accident,” Stargazer said, “I was aboard a plane that crashed into the side of a mountain. Hundreds of people were killed but I was spared by these strange crystal aliens with great powers who wanted me to have these powers to protect my universe and whatever I would learn it would be sent to them through some kind of mental data base. Throughout the universe aliens were given powers like me to collect knowledge and to defy odds and use our abilities as some kind of untapped force. Well, it has been about almost five years now and I have seen just about everything in this world. I do know that other dimensions open up and I do know that there are universes that are a lot like Earth but for a universe to exist that is parallel to ours would be simply amazing to find and see.” “I’m going to find this scientist and talk nerd for awhile,” Battery said as he pulled out his cell phone, “Lets see what the internet says here about this Dr. Harris person and if he is still alive.” “It would be interesting to see what a so called mentalist has to say about stuff like this. I am open,” Stargazer said. “Meanwhile I’m going to look around for any type of clues that happened when our friend Neutron just suddenly lost his mind a few days ago,” Manhawk said. The next day Battery was flying over the top of a science laboratory called STEEL labs. They were a large company known for their research on many types of scientific expirments and along with an assortment of knowledge equipment that has been designed through the years to improve life. Battery landed on the front lawn in his green glow of energy that surrounded him. He was world famous and just his presence alone brought many heads turning when he approached the front door. He found out that Dr. Samuel Harris was a top scientist that worked at STEEL labs and he had to get permission from the laboratory for him to stop by. Naturally, they were all thrilled that a top first class super hero with a well known reputation was stopping at their building. So when he arrived he was greeted by several of the top doctors and workers of the structure. There was a lot more to STEEL labs then Battery could imagine. There were many projects going on and various objects being designed for parts for a lot of secret expirments. Battery was impressed that a lot of normal factory workers were on the floor doing line assembly work which employed many people. After being lead through the building, Battery was lead upstairs to a private cafeteria area with a couple of sandwich machines where Dr. Harris was reading the news paper and eating his lunch. The greeters walked Battery in and introduced the two and they sat down and began to talk.


Crusaders

#16

5

“I admit I don’t get much of a surprise like this,” Dr. Harris said, “A popular super hero like you want to see a lowly old scientist as myself. Either way I am honored, so what can I do for you?” “I’m curious about the study and research material you have provided for the world about alternate universes,” Battery said. “Oh yes,” Dr. Harris said as he adjusted his glasses, “universes and galaxies, so many out there. The Milky Way is just the...” “I am talking about alternate Earths,” Battery said, “worlds exactly like our world but maybe different or the same. Different worlds out there, you stood by this report you wrote in 2003 but you have been silent on the subject for some time.” “Only because I was told by my superiors if I didn’t utilize my time here doing something that makes STEEL lab look important instead of running with fantasies that I would be on the unemployment line very soon so I changed my research to quantum physics but always keeping one eye to the work in my review mirror.” “Why do you believe in these things?” asked Battery. “Well, I started doing research around the 1970s,” Dr. Harris said, “People just disappearing for no reason. Gone without a trace and nobody seems to know where they are. Or some people that were missing for large amounts of time and having no recollection for the time they were gone. I found that interesting and I originally was give this research as an assignment. When my research started to go dry something in 1999 jump started my research and made me become obsessive work my studies.” “What was that?” asked Battery. “My father who was working for the British Embassy just up and vanished without a trace,” Dr. Harris said, “It was like one day he came home for work, fixed something to eat and he was gone. With no ties to anything and so I thought maybe he got into some trouble over in Europe and I did some pushing around instead I got no resistance along with a bunch of nice people.” “Wow,” Battery said, “Tell me more...” And so starts a conversation that leads to an upstairs lab where Dr. Harris works. The conversation and the work and research continues as Dr. Harris shows Battery a test light he shot through pattern of energy and referred it to a speed world where you would have to be moving the speed of light to transverse thought there or at least have knowledge or a machine. “We have a member named Turbo Girl,” Battery said, “She can move the speed of light.” “That’s what I am looking for,” Dr. Harris said, “She would have to be able to power something hooked up to device that could literally transport us through this energy but it would take years for me to design but her speed is the only thing fast enough to move through that and...” And so the conversation continues for another three hours. Much later back on Earth 1, Cosmicman has finally located the Brain and brought him to the STEEL headquarters that orbits the planet Earth. The Brain had scanned Neutron’s mind and came to the conclusion that he was not lying. (See last issue for how Neutron wound up at the STEEL base.) “Amazing,” the Brain said, “I feel like this guy must have swapped spots with his alternate self. Though all of the various Earths it is going to be hard to tell which Earth he came from.” “All of the various Earths?” asked Neutron, “you mean there is more than one?”


Crusaders

#16

6

“Quite so,” Cosmicman said, “The Brain has estimated at least fifty he can see through the device he built but only nineteen accessible.” “I didn’t believe this building is actually in space,” Neutron said, “Where I come from our planet is so far behind the times. We have a research facility called STEEL but it is not a top secret base like this construction.” “Yes I seen that,” the Brain said as he was writing something down on his electronic note pad. “You are still scanning my brain?” Asked Neutron. “I’m doing everything I can right now to make sure you are a hundred percent safe so they can release you into our custody. I can put my work on hold in Australia for a little bit with my father. I am sure he’ll understand when it comes to Crusader’s business it takes priority especially over bizarre stuff like this but I can stop by in the morning for ten minutes.” “Ten minutes? Australia?” asked Neutron. “Oh I see your world hasn’t developed teleportation yet,” the Brain said, “well we sort of cheated and ran across an alien ship. Long story but it pushed us ahead about a hundred years, allowing a lot of top secret military along with various super heroes the ability to use the technology after an advanced android named Xenon who perfected the transportation ability along with Clark Enterprises who installed various transport spots all over the world.” “I like this world,” Neutron laughed. “I noticed World War II didn’t end until 1955 with your Earth,” the Brain said, “I’m sensing a message got to Hitler about the American’s D-Day invasion. I’m curious nobody has looked into that but oddly enough your world has seemed to ripple around and catch back up with ours as far as history.” “Stop doing that,” Neutron said, “You believe me that I’m a good guy now?” “Of course he does,” Cosmicman, “the Brain is just a snoop. You can stop now.” “I think I have enough information,” the Brain said, “We need to find your world and hopefully that evil version of Neutron from our world has not harmed anyone yet.” “Guys like Amazing Man, Battery and Stargazer wouldn’t let that slip by,” Neutron said. “Another Amazing Man and Stargazer,” Cosmicman said, “Seems like a pattern on a lot of these alternate worlds.” “Perhaps the Crusaders were a little crude with our Amazing Man for his...” the Brain stopped as he noticed Sgt. Steele had walked into the room and was listening, “Lets take this to our headquarters.” “Nobody will be leaving this building that is in STEEL custody,” Sgt. Steele said, “Just in case you guys were thinking of taking our guest to another area. All information on our estranged guest is recorded by us and we are not risking him leaving until we say so.” “Who the heck is this?” asked the Brain. “This is the new person in charge of STEEL,” Cosmicman said, “He is Sgt. Steele.” “Sgt Steele?” asked the Brain, “Is that made up?” “My name is spelled different and I was born way before this place was put together,” Sgt. Steele said, “I was brought in as a replacement to your estranged Commander Steve Elenor who vanished and left his job and duties behind. That’s a shameful thing to do as a soldier.” “Drop the Full Metal Jacket act,” Warlord said who was standing on the other side of the room working on private paper work for his work in Afghanistan. These heroes have been saving lives long before you went to the dime store and bought that silly beret with the America flag patch.” “Warlord for the sake of this country tell these two friends of yours that they cannot take a dangerous man such as Neutron from here,” Sgt. Steele said. “I’m pretty sure that Neutron could have left here if he wanted to,” Warlord said, “The guy you are looking for is obviously not him. That’s why we have to leave and check into this further.”


Crusaders

#16

7

“Very well,” Sgt. Steele said, “I am putting all of this on you if something bad happens.” “I’ll take that chance,” Warlord said shaking his head with his face in his palm as Sgt. Steele walked away. “On my Earth that man is a cartoon,” Neutron said, “I am really serious when I say that.”

A little bit later around ten pm James Nortis and Julie Maret are walking in the Bradford City Park along the sidewalk that outlines the entire path of the lake and cuts through the park for joggers. There are still a few people in the park sitting on the benches under the park lights. Most people would not be caught dead walking through a park this late but Julie and James had been working late setting up her apartment. “I don’t even know what I am going to do for money now that I am back here,” Julie said, “Arlene set me up with that place before I even had a chance to figure out where I was going.” “You could stay at the Crusader’s mansion,” James said. “They have a mansion now?” asked Julie. “Yes,” James said, “It is Benson Clark’s family home. It’s a former asylum with enough rooms to get lost in. I have a room there still I was told. I guess they kept it thinking I would come back. So far I have stayed at my son’s place but I think tonight I will go to my place where all my stuff is.” “I know some of the Crusader’s know I am alive,” Julie said, “A lot of them don’t know what to think and have been trying to reach me. I am thankful that your son Jason has been really good keeping me away from people. I am not sure what to say after living ten years in the future. I should have aligned the time and came back when my friends would have been the same age but it was not me who was in charge of returning. I left a woman in my forties came back five years later in my late fifties.,” Julie laughed, “strange science but I am pretty sure I won’t be staying.” “What do you mean?” asked James. “I’m married,” Julie said, “Well, technically I’m married to Spacehawk but I think in my case the marriage had been voided since I am legally dead. I am sure my husband will not let me stay here once he figures out how to get back here. He knows the capabilities of how to work the time and space range device.” “He made it but he can’t work it?” asked James. “I had super speed at the time I went back,” Julie said, “Now I don’t and...” Crack-choom! A bolt of lightning shot from the sky followed by a large blast with a strange looking vortex that opened up near the water and something fast and bright came rushing through followed by a gust of energy. James grabbed Julie and hit the ground as everything began to revert to normal as the object that the energy shot through the strange vortex was now coming into sight. It appeared to be a man and his outfit was smoldering as he stepped into the street lights. People all around took off running in various directions. “Julie?” asked the man as he looked at some device in his hand, “I think I found you...” “Well speak of the devil,” Julie got up and was about to hug her husband. “Stand back!” Brock said, “My suit is hotter than Hades. It will take a few more minutes for it to cool down. As you can tell I figured out how to come in the water with you.” “How long did it take?” asked Julie. “Three years,” Brock said, “Do I look a bit older?” “Not by much,” Julie laughed, “I’m sorry for being impatient and wanting to come back here to see my friends and family. How did you do it?” “I created a suit that gives me super speed,” Brock said, “I finally figured out why you liked your powers so much. Now I finally know what it is like to have super speed. Only downfall is that I have to charge the suit.” “Yeah the transfer seems to drain you of your powers,” Julie said, “I am powerless.” “It should return to you,” Brock said, “OK. Give me a hug!” The two hugged in a romantic hug and a kiss. James was getting to his feet and whipping off the dirt that got on his clothes. “Is this the husband you told me of?” asked Brock.


Crusaders

#16

8

“No,” Julie said, “This is a man named the Huntsman. He was a good friend of mine.” “Interesting,” Brock said as he shook hands with Huntsman. Then all of a sudden Brock began to fade out. Julie looked at him in confusion. “Oh my God!” Brock said, “Just what I figured! This speed suit is pulling me back. My atoms are being torn apart. You need to come with me Julie or I will be trapped forever without you.” “But I just got here!” Julie said, “You said you could fix this and knew what...” “Oh my god!’ Brock said as his suit began to smolder, “I’m burning up! The electrons are speeding up and my body is literally burning up. I have to get this....” “Brock?!” Julie yelled as she sat up in her bed. She looked around her bedroom and realized that she was having a dream. She turned around and reached for her bedroom light that she had placed by her bed side but for some reason it wasn’t there. Julie got to her feet and felt around her new bedroom. It was strange being in this room because she had only been there one night and finally she hit the lights. To her surprise she was not in her new apartment. She was in the bedroom of her old farmhouse. Strangely there was a bed there and she looked down at her bare feet and noticed they were covered in mud. She moved down through the house and down the stairs and out the front porch. She looked up at the night sky and then realized she was in her night gown and somehow she traveled almost fifteen miles in her sleep. Some kind of sleep walking? But, this is strange because she has no powers. “Mam can I help you?” a man asked as he came out of the farm house. “I don’t know,” Julie said, “you wouldn’t have a phone would you?” “Sure,” the man said, “I can call the police. Are you ok?” “I’m not even sure that myself,” Julie said as the man handed her a cell phone. “Wow, you kind of look like the lady that used to live here about five years ago,” the man said, “we heard she died in some accident. You look confused. Is something wrong?” “It just struck me,” Julie said, “I have no idea how to work your cell phone.”

The next day, Julie was talking to Jason who was the person who picked her up and took her home. He spent the night on her couch to make sure she was not going to “sleep walk” again. Julie was now up and it was about ten am and she was drinking a cup of coffee while Jason prepared a home cooked breakfast of eggs and bacon for her as she sat at the kitchen table. “That’s some scary stuff,” Jason said, “All though I think if it was reversed and you would have been a man and that farmer was a woman you would have been sitting in jail. Sometimes you just get a little lucky I suppose.” “In all of my years while I had my powers I have never sleep walked,” Julie said, “Something is off and I am not sure what it is.” “I’ll talk to the guys maybe the Brain can help or something,” Jason said. “I have visited everyone and the Brain is the last person I have not talked to,” Julie said, “All though if Xenon is still put together wouldn’t he have a better chance trying to figure out what is wrong with me?” “That’s not a bad idea,” Jason said, “When we finish up here I will drive us over there.” “Don’t you have to work today?” Asked Julie. “It’s my day off,” Jason said, “I suppose I should take off my police gear that I was wearing last night when I picked you up. I figured showing up as a police officer would help make those poor farmers sleep better knowing you were sleeping in their guest room.” “Oh my God I have never been so embarrassed and confused,” Julie said. A little bit later, Jason and Julie had met up with Xenon who had Julie lay down on a cot while he fed the cot into some kind of M.R.I. machine. Julie laid inside the giant medical scanner as it began to flicker with lights.


Crusaders

#16

9

Xenon sat down at a small computer with Jason standing behind him. Xenon began to zero in on Julie’s brain as he scanned her. A puzzled expression came to the estranged synthetic being’s face as he ran several scans and took some pictures. About twenty minutes Xenon had finished and Julie was out of the machine as the android was flipping through the scans and photos. “What is going on?” asked Jason. “This may sound strange,” Xenon said, “but we can view Julie with our eyes but when looking at her from a global scale view her body is made up of energies and electrical pulses. It’s like she is here but she is a ghost made from unseen dimensional forces.” “That does not make any sense Xenon,” Jason said, “I can look, touch and carry on a conversation with Julie but you are telling me she is no longer human?” “According to my studies and scans she is anything but human.” Xenon said, “Her body is made up of strange energies that have a connection to some sort of rapid flowing patterns. One I have seen before and I believe I have logged them somewhere but that may have been during the time I had to perform the backup reboot time set on my computer brain after my body was compromised by that alien computer from Chronus called GREGORY.” (See Crusaders #11-12) “I’m starting to get worried by everything you are saying Xenon,” Julie said, “I know I am real. I feel real and I have emotions, feelings and memories.” “I am a synthetic being Ms. Maret,” Xenon said, “You are a sentient being also. Almost like you are partially there but something has caused you to divide into two beings. You being what is left of possibly the real thing.” “Then where the hell is the rest of me?” asked Julie. “Wait a minute,” Jason said, “What about that girl? The one from Earth 20 that was destroyed? She’s married to the Patriot? Electrawoman?” “According to my records she lives at 5323 Bakersfield Drive in Miami, Florida with her assumed identity Julie Grey who is married to Ron Grey and he...” Xenon was interrupted. “Wait,” Jason said, “She mentioned something about absorbing energy from the Velocity Dimension that made her and her Earth one counterpart bond together. She even has all of Julie’s memories. Most of us assumed she was just remembering things from her own life.” “Perhaps Julie was split into two people,” Xenon said, “One that traveled into the future and one that remained in the Velocity Force. Almost like when a carbon copy is made to duplicate me or a backup in case my body is destroyed. All though this is the first time I have ever recorded on data about this happening to a sentient living being.” “Then I still have my powers,” Julie said, “I just don’t remember how they work. It would explain several other strange occurrences with my personality. I know I feel real and I can see myself in the mirror but I have never heard of...” “Julie when you inherited your speed powers you had mentioned yourself that the Velocity Dimension as you call it, literally took apart your molecules and reconstructed you into a new type of being that has been allowed to move at least three times the speed of light. Your body has been able to adapt to speeds but allowing your molecules to rearrange themselves to allow you to move at great speeds and generate the electrical currents from your body that are used as an offensive power and what not. Perhaps your new form is nothing but the raw energy and the other half of you was trapped in the Velocity Dimension but was released and chose Julie Gray because the energies were searching for their lost body.” “Now how do I get myself back?” asked Julie. “I guess we are going on a little trip to Miami,” Xenon said. “I’ll get Golden Beetle ready,” Jason said as he took off his shirt and pants all the way down to his skimpy underwear. Within seconds, the gold liquid poured out of his tiny pours in his flesh and began to grow and wrap around Jason’s entire body. Within a minute his whole entire body was wrapped up in the synthetic second layer of skin making him the Golden Beetle.


Crusaders

#16

10

“That’s actually kind of creepy,” Julie said. “Believe it or not it is the latest model,” Golden Beetle (Jason) said, “Plus I have an ultra space system that can kick in and allow me to space travel at speeds I could not even reach on Earth with my bug wings. While you were gone the Gold bugs were attacked and most of them were destroyed but we were able to regroup and rebuild. Everything has been put back online and the Gold Bugs are back on top and that’s where I got the new model here. Plus I passed my service time when I stopped a rouge beetle named Glenn who tried to steal the Gold bug tech for criminal purposes. When I stopped him I was promoted to one of the top Golden Beetles.” “I guess I missed a lot while I was gone,” Julie laughed. “Yeah you did,” Golden Beetle said, “Probably all for the better.” “We’ll take one of the Crusader mini-jets,” Xenon said, “Follow me I know a path through the house that leads to the underground garage out back.” “Very well,” Golden Beetle said as he looked at Julie, “See? I didn’t even know that.” “You realize you get more of a smart ass personality when you have those big bug eyes and that suit?” asked Julie. “Yeah I think some of the last character traits from the Golden Beetle before me were entrenched in the spinal fiber wire circuits when it was removed from him and advanced for me. They don’t just give you a new suit, it’s all the same stuff it just gets the upgrade treatment and when I came into the Golden Beetle identity it was kind of quick and tragic for the last fella but I’ve liked the job. Not sure about all that gold stuff in my body but I guess it’s safe.”

Meanwhile on Earth 12, with the help of the Protectors United they were able to get the President of the United States to find a large empty building so that Dr. Harris could create a machine. The place used to be a Government storage space but had been emptied. The President provided security guards for the area in case anyone wandered around and saw what Dr. Harris was working on. Unfortunately Dr. Harris did not have the strength or tools to move large objects or even the money to access the elements needed so the Protectors United decided to help him build the machine so they could find the real Neutron. So Dr Harris recruited Amazing Man, Uncle Sam, Dr. Night and Battery to help him build a machine that needs various parts throughout the world to do what he has secretly written in his notes. The machine will allow them to open up and look through the multiverse and try and find where the real Neutron is. “Place that giant metal beam in between those two metal beams,” Dr. Harris ordered Uncle Sam who was climbing up a latter with a giant metal rod he was jamming into position, “Now Amazing Man can you melt the rods in place after Uncle Sam secures it?” “No problem,” Amazing Man said as he flew up by Uncle Sam who was fitting it into place with his super strength. “Dab nab it!” Uncle Sam said as he slipped but was able to jam the rod back into place. “You sure you don’t need my help Uncle Sam?” asked Amazing Man with a laugh, “Don’t hurt yourself old man.” “Old man?” asked Uncle Sam joked back at Amazing Man, “We’ll see how strong you are when you turn two hundred and fifteen years old.” “Now step back while I weld it in place,” Amazing Man said. “I have a strong resistance to heat,” Uncle Sam said, “That’s why I’m holding this in place you bone head.”


Crusaders

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“I did not realize how massive this thing will be,” Dr. Night said, “what is that circular piece in the center for?” “It will be the area where we place the twisted version of Neutron,” Dr. Harris said, “When we are able to get it moving the energies will sense the false energies that discharge the phony Neutron’s body and should open the doorway to the right universe or Earth plane to permit me to toggle the two back.” “I think it would be amazing if we all met our alternate personalites,” Dr. Night said, “I sure hope there isn’t an evil version of me. That would be, I could not even pictures someone taking my powers and using them for the benefit of evil.” “It’s hard to say what is out there Dr. Night,” Dr. Harris said, “Could you go over next to Battery and create a fake support plank out of your darkforce energy. Hold it in place until we can get clamps on the plank so we can slide two new beams that can connect them at the corner and place, using your fake support plank. Then we can began to measure and take notes on how big and wide a perfect corner plank would look with my 3 D printer.” “Not a bad idea,” Dr. Night said, “Creating an object before it is even in place. So when my fake plank can be alerted and shaped with by designing my darkforce energy cubes. It works so much better the accidentally miscalculating something and having to repositon the beams.” “You see Dr. Night,” Dr. Harris smiled, “I could build a tower to the sky with a room full of super heroes but today I’m only making a machine that I have only designed in my blue prints.” “Makes me admire you even more,” Dr. Night said, “you should be a super hero. The Protectors United could use you. You are smart and we could use the intelligence you have. Not saying Uncle Sam, Amazing Man, Manhawk or Battery are a bunch of dummies but you’re a super level genius that has graed the covers of all the science magazines throughout the world.” Meanwhile at the Citadel, Manhawk and Stargazer are trying to calm their member “Turbo Girl” who has been having issues with her powers. “I don’t know what is going on,” Turbo Girl said, “I have been dream sleeping walking. It is really strange. I woke up last night and I was standing in an abandoned farm house. I have never been there before in my entire life yet it felt so real.” “I am glad that you were able to reach me Turbo Girl,” Manhawk said, “I have run a check on that home you were standing in and it used to be a home belong to a man named Avery Maret.” “Who is Avery Maret?” asked Turbo Girl. “Remember when you confided in me awhile ago that you were raised in an orphanage at a young age due to your parents being killed in a car accident?” asked Manhawk. “Yes,” Turbo Girl said, “But what does that have to do with me?” “Running cross records with your DNA and ancestry records I have learned that Avery Maret was your Grandfather. When he passed away the house was condemned because there was nobody around to keep up the farm house. It is strange that you were called to your Paternal Grandfather’s abandoned home. It looked like up until your parent’s death you had strong family roots there. The only reason you were put in an orphanage was because your father was the last of the Marets.” “I’m broken Manhawk,” Turbo Girl said, “Then what does this strange man I keep seeing? He’s an older man who kind of resembles Battery. We are in a different time and I keep telling him I want to go home and he keeps saying he can’t get me home. When I dream of this future man I always wake up in strange place. The time before I wound up in a mansion in Miami, Florida of a business named Ron Grey. If I didn’t have super speed I would have been in trouble. I’m breaking into houses in my sleep. What the heck is this?” “Child come to me,” Stargazer said, “I will attempt to heal your mind.” “I am willing to do anything Stargazer,” Turbo Girl said.


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“Look into my eyes Carol,” Stargazer said as she placed her hands on each side of Turbo Girl’s head and looked into her eyes, “Concentrate on my blue eyes and how they are relaxing. Allow my voice to enter your mind. Slowly....slowly.....” A few seconds later, Turbo Girl was in a complete trance as Stargazer was moving around inside her mind and trying to find out the cause of the problems. Meanwhile the Crusader’s mini-jet arrives in Miami, Florida after leaving Bradford City, New York about ten minutes ago. The time is about 5:34 pm and the day is still fresh.

Julie was starting to nod off. She was in the back seat behind Xenon and Golden Beetle. Xenon stops the ship in mid air and as the front rockets began to maneuver around and aim downward giving the ship the ability to fly straight down and land anywhere. Xenon landed on Ron Grey’s giant property way out where there was a large dirt road that had been opened up for some kind of construction going on. Xenon then push a button and a side door opened up allowing the three stepped out and looked around. All of a sudden the image of Earth 12 Stargazer appeared in a ghostly form. She reached out toward Julie “What the hell is that?” asked Julie. “I can see you,” Stargazer said, “Step forward....are you Carol? Are you from the future? Do you dwell in your own dreams? Tell me about the future.” “Lady that is one bright outfit!” Golden Beetle shouted. “I am Stargazer and I am trying to help my friend Carol,” Stargazer said, “Is this the future?” “You are not Stargazer,” Golden Beetle said, “you should be ashamed of going out in that bright of an outfit. Besides, no offense Debi is a lot hotter.” “Why do you refer to me as Carol?” Asked Julie. “You are breaking up,” Stargazer said, “Try and open your mind further.” “What do you think this is Xenon?” Asked Golden Beetle. “Not sure but I am picking up all kinds of energy sources,” Xenon said, “I’m recording and studying all of this as it progresses in...” “Reach out to me Carol!” Stargazer yelled as she went to grab Julie’s hand. “Not so fast!” Golden Beetle said as he fired a round of energy blasts. They hit Stargazer and her body began to flicker as Golden Beetle’s energy blasts began to mess with her power connection and she vanished into thin air. “You ok Julie?” asked Golden Beetle. “Yeah,” Julie said, “That was bizarre as hell. I feel like I have seen her before but not really. “It could have been a hologram,” Xenon said, “I have no answers yet but I am sure my internal computers that recorded the data and are sending it back to my lab will have an answer. Let us not make any haste we have a mile walk to get around the front of Ron Grey’s mansion.” Back on Earth12 Stargazer abruptly let go of Turbo Girl’s head and released her hands as if they were forced off of her with great force. “Are you ok?” asked Manhawk. “I could see Carol but she was older,” Stargazer said, “I left Carol in a trance so I can regain my composure and tell you that maybe Carol’s super speed powers are a little more to them. After all she e received them from an energy source from another dimension. Remember how she said her human body


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was literally broken down and reformed with this unknown energy source that allows her to travel three times the speed of light? It’s like when she runs her body changes she is partially here while possibly partially somewhere else. It would explain how she is able to run so fast with doing damage to herself. I need to study this and turn to my elders. Perhaps they still can give me advice.” “Did you see something? The future man she talks about?” asked Manhawk. “I think maybe her future man is a robot perhaps,” Stargazer said, “The other man was dressed up like a bug. Some kind of a beetle with a gold sparkle and local on his chest. He was the one who spoke out and strangely when I manifested myself, everyone could see me. I could see a space ship they were next to which tells me this had to have been the future. I saw Carol and she was older but not too old.” “OK bring Turbo Girl out of the trance,” Manhawk said, “maybe try and erase her memories a bit and relax the anxiety. I’m getting this paranoid feeling that this thing with Neutron is connected but that’s what makes me Manhawk I suppose.” Miami, Florida at the front door of Ron Grey’s house as the three heroes move around and are greeted by Ron’s business associate Sandra who greeted the Crusaders at the side door of the mansion. “I saw the ship land out back but it was identified as Crusaders,” Sandra said, “What brings you three here to see Mr. Grey?” “Well, we just thought we’d have a conversation with him about his suits,” Golden Beetle said sarcastically, “Where does he get them made at? They are pressed so nice and the ties that go with his suits are just flawless.” “Smart ass,” Sandra said as she led the three through the side door and into a large hallway. Then she stopped and looked back at Golden Beetle, then glanced at Xenon and then her eyes stopped at Julie. “You want us to take our shoes off or something?” asked Golden Beetle sarcastically. “No,” Sandra said with a laugh, “Mr. Grey is not up yet. He probably won’t be for a few hours. You understand how the hotel business can be?” “It’s Crusader’s business perhaps I can return later?” Asked Julie. “Thank you Sandra but I think I can take it from here,” Electrawoman said as she came zipping around the corner of the hallway, “Run along. I believe this might be something I can help with.” “Wow this is remarkable,” Golden Beetle said, “You two look exactly like each other.” “So, I am assuming you are the rest of what has been absorbed into my head,” Electrawoman said, “you have kind of an interesting stack of memories up here. I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be as close to impossible to separate and divide what is yours and what is mine up now. It’s a little late for that but I must add that you look nice for a woman who’s a tad older. Might want to run some of that gray rinse through your hair?” “One problem kid,” Julie said. “What is that?” Asked Electrawoman. “I am Electra!” Julie said as she clocked Electrawoman, knocking her back through the living room and over the furniture. All of a sudden Julie’s body began to sparkle with electricity. “I am thinking that you two being in range that you are feeding off of each other like batteries,” Xenon said, “Be careful, I am not sure how this supposed to....” Vroooom...boom! Electrawoman came running full force in super speed mode and tackled Julie and they both vanished out the side door in a gust of electric energy into a hurricane super speed and electrical energy.”


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“You have a plan for stopping this?” asked Golden Beetle to Xenon. “I figured they would just talk it over,” Xenon replied. “Dude, you really need to pick up some books about women and read them,” Golden Beetle said as the two turned to run for the door. As the two got outside, they could not see where the two women went. There was a blast of surging energy and smoldering grass and weeds. Then something from above swooped down in a large blue cloak and startled Golden Beetle but did not faze Xenon as he turned around and noticed it was the Patriot. “I caught a bit of what happened on camera,” Patriot said, “I mentioned to Electrawoman about having herself looked at when she absorbed the rest of what appeared to be your deceased friend. Now this kind of stuff is happening.” “Follow me,” Xenon said, “We’ll use the Crusader’s mini jet to locate them. It will probably be much faster.”

The two women were running faster than any human could move. The younger Electrawoman seemed to be more aggressive as if she was assuming that Julie had come to take her powers or her mind. The speeds the two were traveling were beyond anything the Crusader’s Mini-jet could keep up with but they managed to locate them using a special DNA tracker that was built into the CPU of the mini-jet. Wham! Wham! Julie managed to get in a few shots that knocked Electrawoman across the Arizona desert creating a cloud of smoke but the younger Electrawoman sprang back up and leaped onto Julie and began to strangle her. “I knew it was you playing with my mind!” Electrawoman said, “Sending me those strange dreams!” “You’ve lost your mind young one,” Julie said as she tossed her off and the two went running a few more thousand miles until they were stopped by an electrical force that shot a lightning bolt from the sky and opened up a portal as a familiar man stepped through it. To Julie’s surprise it was her husband Brock and like her dream he was wearing the “speed suit.” “It worked!” Brock said with a joyous smile, “your two powers combined were able to reinforce the Velocity Dimension and open the portal. It took you awhile to realize that each one of you existed but I figured if I was to tap into your energies with my suit I could manipulate you.” “What the hell are you talking about?” Asked Electrawoman as she got to her feet. “Brock?” asked Julie, “What is going on?” “You two are two pieces of a puzzle that have partially joined,” Brock said, “I designed this suit so that I could copy your powers Julie and now as your energies join together with your other half you two will finally be one person. You’re already halfway there.” “I thought I was there already,” Electrawoman said. “Well you must be the body I am missing,” Julie said as the two reached out and their electrical energies began to fizzle and hiss as their bodies finally merged into one complete being. “Finally,” Electra said, “Now I am complete.” “I didn’t mean to deceive you darling,” Brock said, “but I am the one that found Earth 20 and brought the dying body of the younger version of you to this universe. This was after I found your energy body trapped in the Velocity Dimension. Your body had been turned to nothing but energy but I was able to manipulate a portion of your power to create a body that looked alive by using you energy body with your conscious while your actual self had joined with the body of the younger girl. Both sets of memories of two different lives


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eventually fused into one but she would be the dominate mind because it was the body of the dead woman with very little of your powers in her or at least you thought she was because I needed a portion of your energy to create this ultimate weapon.” “So there never really was an Electrawoman from Earth 20?” asked Electra.

“Well yes but she perished along with her friends after I had to destroy their planet so that I could manipulate the energies from the Velocity Dimension for my expirments. I have been working on this Velocity suit for over five years and now I have completed it.” “No, no,” Electra said, “it was the Monarch who destroyed that Earth.” “Darling, sacrifices needed to be made for science,” Brock said, “Besides it was just another fake copy cat world filled with another Earth like ours. All I was doing was destroying a copied universe.” “Electrawoman was a real person,” Electra said, “She had a life and was married and...” “She never even stepped foot on this Earth,” Brock said, “It was me all the long. I just wanted to make myself into something like you. I’m sorry about the dreams and the sleep walking. I was still working on the process and didn’t mean to cause you all of that but Julie, I do love you. You are my wife and I did all of this for you. If it was not for me you would have seized to exist.” “You think maybe that is what I wanted?” Asked Electra, “I sacrificed myself to save the multiverse and it sucked me into it and turned my body into energy and scattered me all over the dimension! I remember feeling the great power and my mind drifting and then all of this. I have to be dreaming. No. No.” In the distance the Crusader’s ship was landing. The side door slowly came down as the three heroes were confused when there was only one Julie and she was younger but dressed in the black and gold uniform. “Who is that guy?” asked the Patriot. “I have no record of him but the last time my computer ran an analysis of a power that great it was near the Monarch.” “The last time something like that came along an Earth was destroyed in the process,” Golden Beetle said. “Ah your friends are here Julie,” Brock said, “Shall we destroy them or continue on with my plans?” “What are your plans?” asked Electra as her body was fully charged with velocity energy, “We can return to the future now!” Brock said, “We can go anywhere in the universe. We can be Gods my love! Can’t you feel the power that I have now? Can you feel yourself now once again complete instead of yanked into two people? You think a lot clearer and you know what you must do.”


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“Sorry Brock but even though Julie from Earth 20 was dead I have developed a life here with the other half of my power and now that I am fully joined I do have somebody I love dearly. That person used to be you until you tricked me into believing I was cured. You ruined my trust and you killed those innocent people on Earth 20 just to fulfill some kind of super suit! Your form of science is not what I was brought up to believe in. I have all of my memories now, even the ones before I had my powers when I was just a scientist studying the fabric tear and the power absorbed me and made me into Electra but now I remember that I am not a scientist that would take a life to learn about life. You are a sick twisted man!” “Did she say that man destroyed Earth 20?” asked Patriot to Golden Beetle and Xenon. “That is what my ears picked up,” Xenon said, “and I have perfect and near flawless hearing.” “No Julie,” Brock said as he snatched her by the arm, “I did all of this for you. I never imagined I would find you will doing this research but it became destiny and now I know that we were meant to be.” Clang! From Brock’s blind spot came a tiny silver discus that was called a “stun disc”. The Patriot threw it and it hit Brock in the arm forcing him to let go of Electra. “Hands off buddy,” Patriot said, “that’s still my wife.” “From what I know about you two I would turn around and back up and leave,” Brock said as he grabbed his arm. The stun disc still somehow penetrated his suit and gave him a good sting of pain, “I guess I am going to have to show some of your friends the meaning of true power.” “Cheesy,” Golden Beetle said as he flew into the air. Brock came at the Patriot with full speed power but Electra came up behind Brock and tripped him. Brock fell down and tumbled a bit on the sand flooring. He went to stand up but Electra gave him a dose of electrical energy bolts from her body. “Ah!” Brock said, “Thank you Julie for powering me up.” “Power this!” the Patriot said as he kicked Brock in the back of his opened, unprotected head. Brock fell forward in the sand as Electra moved in and clocked him with full speed. Brock bounced several feet in the sand and smashed into a mound of dry desert terrain. Xenon grabbed Brock by the back of his neck and slammed him down to the ground and kicked him like a football. The electrically charged man flew through the air and landed at Electra’s feet. “So this is how you do it?” asked Electra, “You pretend to love me by rescuing me from the Velocity Dimension and harness more power by destroying an entire Earth? You used me to create this wonder suit? Where did that get you?” “Just wait!” Brock said as he got to his feet in pain, “this suit can do more then you imagine. I have just begun to understand how this power works. I could show you things beyond your wildest dreams.” “You son of a bitch!” Electra said as she kicked in her super speed powers and unfurled a super hurricane of fists. Electra’s super punches began knocking Brock all over the desert until finally he dropped to the ground a bloody and bruised mess. She had his him so many times with her speed powers that she had literally started to cause damage to Brock’s suit.” As everyone surrounded Brock, all of a sudden he leaped up with his last bit of super speed and grabbed onto Xenon. His suit began to drain the majority of Xenon’s energy as the robot raised his hand to grab Brock, the future scientist took off running as fast as he could picking up speed. “He’s mine!” Electra said as she ran after Brock. Brock got about halfway through the dessert and portal opened up and he shot into it like a dart. Electra dived out of the way to avoid being sucked into the portal. Electra got to her feet as the portal closed up. Xenon, Golden Beetle (carrying the Patriot) made it over to her to see if she was OK. “He got away,” Electra said, “He must have some kind of device that transports him to the Velocity Dimension. I would have gone after him but I think he was counting on that. He has been spending a lot of time studying that universe and I would be clay in his hands.”


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“So are you my wife?” asked Patriot. “In every way possible I guess I am,” Electra said, “I’m still the same woman that has been living with you since I have got back...well, since I have been brought here. This is your wife’s body, I have her memories she does not have mine I guess that was reversed but it must have been how I felt physically because my other percentage of myself was living in the future.” “Xenon, can we get the Brain to look into this?” asked Patriot. “Yes Patriot,” Xenon said, “I do not see why I cannot get the good doctor to take five minutes out of his life to examine an old friend. I will signal him as we are taking the Crusader’s mini-jet back to the mansion.” “I guess I’ll tag along and hitch a ride on the electric teleporter back to Miami later on,” Patriot joked. “Hey don’t you love technology?” asked Golden Beetle. “I’m still not used to all this modern tech,” Patriot said, “But Sandra has been a great help along with a few dollar bills that have upgraded the old fortress.” Meanwhile at the headquarters of the Protectors United, they have assembled a giant electrical treadmill hooked up to a large computer unit that Dr. Harris, and the hero known as “Oddsman” had wired together. Battery and Manhawk also had the unconscious villain known as Neutron who was wrapped up in strange wires as Stargazer stands over him. “This computer should sense this version of Neutron’s energy and pinpoint the universe he is from,” Oddsman said, “The treadmill will be charged by Turbo Girl’s super speed and along with Battery, Manhawk, Uncle Sam, Wild Beast, Amazing Man and Dr. Night should be transported with Turbo Girl once she is able to open the direct gateway. As long as you guys stand on that platform next to the treadmill it should work as I have designed it with Dr. Harris.” “Hey now this is the third time I have opened up portals to other universes,” Dr. Harris said, “I didn’t have enough energy to keep it open long enough to send anything back or through but it was a great way to design a map.” “Hopefully our Neutron is on this Earth,” Manhawk said or we’re going to have one hell of a time when we return and have to dump this crazy version off somewhere.” “I am sure if they have a version of Neutron,” Amazing Man said, “There are probably superheroes there or maybe evil or crazy versions of us?” “Not too many people are as powerful as you,” Wild Beast said, “So I would be curious to see if this alternate Earth even has a corrupt Amazing man. A Wild Beast would also be interesting. Give me something to sharpen my claws with.” “Remember Wild Beast,” Manhawk said, “I only asked you to tag along because we need your ultra sense and enhanced tracking abilities. I do not want to goto some strange Earth for the reason of a fight. We are to avoid any type of confrontation. Then we get in and try to figure out where to go and rid ourselves of this mad version from another universe and possibly find our Neutron.” “I will shield us during the transportation just in case something goes wrong,” Battery said. “Nothing should go wrong,” Dr. Harris said, “This should be an open and close portal. You should be fine Battery but if you need to put your protective shield up that is fine I suppose. I just assumed you wanted to consume your power in case something happens as you guys described.”


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Sometime in the way distant future, inside what appears to be an immense futuristic laboratory. A portal opens up and Brock comes running through as the portal closes behind him. Brock gets to his feet, he is winded and a bit banged up but a grin comes to his face as he makes his way over to his hologram computer he brings up by the simple worlds, “Computer turn on.” Brock begins to download all of the data he stole from his trip to the past. He seems a bit angry when he views a hologram picture of Julie but he continues to jot down information and stats that he gathered. He begins to take off his suit and begins to open it up to examine the small bits of damage that has been done to the tiny microscopic fiber optic looking invisible wiring that he has to examine under a futuristic microscope device that is in his computer. As Brock was working, he had his suit laid out on some kind of table that was scanning it for damage. The side door to his laboratory opens up and in walks his android by the name of “Jessie”. It was a one of Brock’s earliest and finest creations and his attempt to make a female version of himself who thought, acted and was as smart as him and could also work with any ideas he was designing. “I see you made it back Master,” Jessie said, “I also have taken notes through the data system that you have sustained some damages while on your journey back to 2014.” “Yes Jessie, it seemed like when I used super speed my suit robbed me of my protection,” Brock said, “I never imagined I would have to battle super powered meta humans from 2014. Julie was not responsive when I tried to retrieve her. She had already figured out that we had divided her powers into two sections so we could only work with the main source of her energy but that’s ok. I have enough data now to begin rebuilding a new battle suit.” “As requested I have found a way for your face to be protected in combat,” Jessie said, “I have designed a personal force field that will shield you from all forms of attacks. You do not have to use super speed when you can also teleport wherever you want. I have created a first design of your mask which will be an amazing addition to your next suit.” A hologram appeared in the middle of the room as Jessie’s design of the mask was brought up sent from her personal processing unit.

“It looks very strange,” Brock said rubbing his chin in thought. “It’s based on the responses to all of your failures with your suit,” Jessie said, “the mask while attached to your suit literally becomes a second face where you can breathe and eat through it as if was real. The data helmet allows you quick access to all of your weaponry just by the thoughts of your brain waves. The mask is more than just a mask it is an extension of your mind and body. I am working on a suit component that would work the same as the mask. Upon completion with my idea combined with yours you will be unstoppable.” “I am too old for this kind of technology,” Brock said, “I wonder if I went back in time and gave it to my past self. With the hell I was going through in that small lab I was working on. I could change the past and make myself invincible. Skipping the many years I have spent with Julie and other Metahumans to learn their powers. What do you think?” “Well to be honest I think I may have an idea,” Jesse said, “If I could find away to transport you back into the past to your younger body along with the technology. It would be away for your future self to gain access to the many years you have worked hard studying and designing this suit.” “What of the consequences if I do this?” asked Brock. “There have been scientific skepticism about time travel,” Jessie said, “many say you could create a powerful time paradox and destroy the whole time line of your existence or you would be just spinning off a new universe where you started as a possible young conqueror and this future you would seize to exist because you would be sent back to the past.”


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“It would be amazing!” Brock said, “I could skip that whole entire Stargazer/Defender job that nearly destroyed me. I could relive my life all over again. We have to attempt this Jessie. How long do you think it would take to design my suit I have here to work with this new helmet design?” “Give me exactly thirty four point seventy-five hours and twenty six minutes and forty four seconds until completion,” Jessie said. “Paradox it is!” Brock laughed aloud, “Paradox. I just love that word!” Monday June 23rd, 2014 back at the Crusader’s Mansion in the sub floors where the science rooms are. The Brain has finally allowed himself time to see his old friend Electra once again. Though stunned by modern science but firmly jotted down all of the information she spoke of about how she got back to 2014. The Brain was also fascinated with how her future husband Brock was designing weaponry and used her to create two separate people from the same one by using the Velocity Dimension. “It’s almost like splitting atoms,” The Brain said, “the body that you are in is actually the body of a woman who died or is she there?” “I still have her memories, feelings and remember everything,” Electra said, “but now I have a stronger personality of who I was from this Earth. It’s confusing and I see the disappointment on the Patriot’s face because he believed his wife was brought back here but technically I am his wife. I remember and feel everything. It’s strange but I am Julie Maret and Julie Maret Grey at the same time.” “My theory is due to your origin,” the Brain said, “You originally were a scientist that was studying a tear between universes caused by possible military experimentations that took place in Africa. You were the only scientist that got to close and was sucked into the hole where your human body was literally broke down and reassembled then recreated as some sort of being made of pure energy and things beyond our scientific comprehension. Thus, I believe you are the only being that could be divided up like that and then reassembled. Studying your scans I find it amazing that you can switch back and forth between human and whatever you were turned into.” “I now have retained my memories of when I was a scientists before the accident,” Julie said, “That fabric tear vanished the day after I was reassembled. I believe it may have been a gateway that was either left open by an accident or in your theory a military experiment.” “What do you think you’ll do now?” asked the Brain, “Will we see Electra make her return to the super hero world?” “I don’t know,” Julie said, “It is a really hard call. I was retired for many years and even slacked up a bit when I was in Miami. Now with all my memories and my science background returned to my memories. I may return to my job as a research scientist and continue where I left off over fifteen years ago. A younger body may have me back in the suit again. It felt good when I was able to change into Electra again and have that back and yellow suit appear. I was duped by somebody I married and carried about and it still hurts. I need to spend some time away for awhile but I am glad you had the chance to study me before I left.” “Are you going to contact Josh? (Spacehawk)” asked Brain. “If he comes through this planet perhaps,” Julie said, “Too many people watched me die as I saved the universe. Perhaps it would just be best to only left a few people know of my return. After awhile it starts to turn into a farce when people are dead and they come back. Besides I am nearly fifteen years younger thanks to all this switch-a-rooing. I owe it to some of my close friends maybe you can clue them in while I am out and about doing my thing. Until then, I’ll be in Miami, Florida where I live for now.” “Good luck to you Julie,” Brain said, “I am glad your back.” “Thank you for readjusting my memories and mind so I am not missing memories and have divided spaces in my mind,” Julie said as he gave Brain a hug. A few minutes later way on the roof of the Crusader’s Mansion during the glorious sunny afternoon, Golden Beetle, Huntsman, Patriot and Dragon Master were on the roof passing a normal compound bow back and forth. Huntsman had his bow set aside due to the fact it is magic and usually burns people’s hands that are not of “warrior spirit” and “good hearted”. On the ground in the center of the grassy terrain circle of the enormous driveway was a thirty inch circular bullseyes painted on target board and pasted to a bale of hay. The three heroes were having a


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conversation that has the best aim. Golden Beetle had just shot the bow and totally missed the entire hay bail and the arrow stuck in a tree several meters to the left. “Wait a minute,” Huntsman said to Golden Beetle, “You are my son and you actually had the stones to carry on my Huntsman mantle when I was out of the picture many years ago?” “Come on Dad!” Golden Beetle said as he took his mask down, “This is first time I have actually held a bow and arrow in my hands in three years. Plus it is the first shot I have taken at this range while wearing the Golden Beetle suit. Don’t I get a little slack here? I could outshoot you any day of the week Pops and you knew it and you started to get worried when I put on that costume and you knew it!” “It is nice to have you back Huntsman!” Dragon Master said as he took the bow from Golden Beetle. “Seeing Dad in his classic outfit with his goatee grown back brings back memories,” Golden Beetle added. “Talking about memories son is not going to get you to hit that target,” Huntsman said, “this costume and goatee was your idea anyway. You said I was known for this outfit.” “It’s also the one Jason wore when he replaced you for a how short of a time,” Dragon Master added. “There’ a lot of suits in the warehouse,” Huntsman said, “I do owe you a big thanks Jason for taking care of my stuff while I was hunting monsters in other planes of existence.” “No offense,” Dragon Master said, “But you are both a bunch of hot air.” Flunk! Dragon Master fired the arrow. It shot down off the roof and right directly into the bullseye on the ground in the center of the median. “Nice shot,” Patriot said, “I kind of figured you had a knack for the bow.” “I have the knack for anything that requires agility and concentration young friend,” Dragon Master said as he reached up and patted the six foot three Patriot on his massive shoulders as he handed him the bow. The Patriot took aim and fired just as some kind of portal opened up and the Earth 20 travelers known as the Protectors United came through. Turbo Girl ran to the front and caught the arrow in mid air. “That may have been the dumbest move you have ever made flag boy,” Amazing Man said as he flew up into the air with his arms folded. “Who the hell are these new villains?” asked Huntsman grabbing his magic bow he sat down. “They come in all shapes and sizes,” Golden Beetle said as he mask went up around his face and his large bug wings shot out his back. “We just fixed up this place,” Dragon Master said, “I just signaled Clark. He is not going to be happy about any more repairs.” Manhawk came flying up toward the foursome with his mace in his hand. He took a shot at the Patriot (thinking Patriot shot the arrow at them). Patriot dodged the shot but was able to launch a karate kick to the center of Manhawk’s stomach. Battery came flying up at the heroes he used his energy powers to create a big fist. He missed Huntsman but the fast archer was quick enough to fire a flame arrow at him. The arrow bounced off batteries force field and fizzled before it hit the ground. “You will have to do better than that archer boy,” Battery said flying closer.


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“I sent a distress to the other members,” Golden Beetle said, “We are about to have a whole bunch of baddies on the roof with us. Hopefully we don’t get our asses kicked too bad. Wild Beast came lurching at Golden Beetle after Battery had brought everyone to the roof with an energy platform. The one and only Captain Wonder teleported in front of Golden Beetle and swung a battle staff at Wild Beast and took out his footing. Wild Beast rolled a bit and sprang to his feet just before falling off the roof. “Glad you made it Cap!” Golden Beetle said. “When I read the distress and the location I thought it was a joke to get me up here for your guy’s afternoon shenanigans. I was coming up here to actually give you youngsters a lecture about using a Crusader’s distress signal for dumb things but now I see you were serious.” “Glad you have faith in me Gramps!” Golden Beetle said as he flew around Captain Wonder and began to tangle with Dr. Night. “I gotcha!” Dr. Night said as he snagged up Golden Beetle in a dark force energy block. The cube fell to the ground as Dr. Night began to squeeze Golden Beetle, “What have you villains done with Neutron?!” “Dr. Night....” Golden Beetle muttered trying to squeeze out of the cube, “not sure why you are asking me that but this is not like you. I thought you were out of the biz!” “Whatever you say bug boy,” Dr. Night said, “I’ll squish you like a bug to make you talk!” “No you won’t!” Huntsman said as he wrapped Dr. Night up with a magic tangler arrow that turned into a large pink snake that encased him from his torso to his knees. He let go of Golden Beetle and fell back struggling. “I’ll get you out of this Doctor,” Amazing Man said as he landed and began to pull on the magic pink snake, “What is this? Magic?” “Have you taken a leave for your senses Doctor Brooks?” asked Huntsman, “I don’t use your old science arrows anymore, it’s been years but you know that?” “How would you know my name?” asked Amazing Man free Dr. Night. “It’s all magic Amazing Man!” Dr. Night said, “Don’t let them get in your head.” Off the side the Patriot and Uncle Sam were slugging it out. The Patriot was fast and landed punches but his quickness couldn’t avoid the staggering blow that Uncle Sam dished out. “Nice colors masked man,” Uncle Sam said, “but you are no match for my strength.” “I don’t know how you go outside dressed like that without any laughs,” the Patriot said with a power punch to Uncle Sam’s nose. It made his eyes water and his hat flew off his head and off the roof. “I’m going to give you a good old fashioned ass whipping for that one!” Uncle Sam shouted as he laid a couple brutal shots in on the Patriot! “Enough!” Cosmicman shouted aloud as he flew up to the roof and got everyone’s attention. The Brain using his telekinesis fired the same message through everyone’s mind in case they didn’t hear Cosmicman’s loud voice. “Who the hell are you?” Asked Amazing Man. “Love the new costume Amazing Man,” Cosmicman said, “Is this your new team of heroes or is this some attempt for Crusader try-outs?” “Actually were here looking for someone who could possibly be here,” Manhawk said as he flew up by Cosmicman.


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“Wait a minute,” Cosmicman said, “I know your voice. You are John Remington Junior but you have been deceased for many years.” “These people are from an alternate Earth,” the Brain said looking at his gold wrist band, “My scanners are telling me their energy residue is flowing differently. This means they are from another Earth in the Multiverse. Hard to say which one without mapping them out but I am sure there is a reason for it.” “This is not our Neutron,” Turbo Girl said as she ran up the side of the building and sat the unconscious Neutron wrapped in the energy wires that Stargazer had created. “This is something,” the Brain said as he lowered himself down with his telekinesis. He bent down and examined Neutron’s body, “I am betting that this is tied with the situation one of my friends was involved with. This villainous man who fought some Crusader’s earlier was from the future. I wonder if his tampering with the Velocity Dimension had switched these two people.” “That’s a good theory Dr. Harris,” Battery said, “but we would kind of like our Neutron back. “I prefer to be called the Brain when I am wearing my Crusader’s uniform,” Dr. Harris said, “Judging from your front line memories you have a Dr. Harris on your world that has been very useful into you getting here. Perhaps I should meet him later and share notes you never know what two of the same people would come up with.” “OK,” Battery said, “Where is our Neutron?” “Calm down dreadlocks,” Huntsman said, “isn’t he with STEEL?” “Yes,” Cosmicman said, “I will retrieve him and switch this man with them.” “STEEL?” asked Turbo girl, “Aren’t they just a bunch of alien killers?” “I’m sorry Turbo Girl but you are on a different Earth,” the Brain replied, “Things are different and have changed from your version of STEEL who obviously has remained dedicated to their dark vision.” “Stay out of my head you bald headed freak!” Turbo girl yelled at the Brain. “I have you know,” the Brain added, “I just saved about twenty minutes of bickering back and forth with my powers. Cosmicman, if you don’t mind contacting STEEL. Preferably anybody but that Sergeant Steele.” “Well I do humbly apologize for the misunderstanding,” Uncle Sam said offering Patriot a hand as he was sitting down on the roof next to a chimney. “Apology accepted,” Patriot said, “So what’s the deal with this Uncle Sam getup?” “Getup?” asked Uncle Sam, “I am Uncle Sam. I am the vision of America and as long as America stands the home of the brave and the land of the free my powers will continue to exist.” “I don’t get it,” Patriot said. “I used to be a rebel back in the glorious days of the Revolution,” Uncle Sam said, “my group of colonists battled against a bunch of British troops who had come through an Indian territory. I defended the area until I was the last one. I took down the last troop and I noticed I was shot and bleeding.” “I’m sure back then that meant certain death,” Patriot said. “Catching a musket ball in your gut son pretty much said it was over,” Uncle Sam laughed as he waved his hand and his hat teleported to his hand and he put it on his head. To make a long story short and through days I do not understand. An Indian Shaman saved my life and told me as long as I remain brave and free I will always be strong. I never knew what he meant until I found out that I had been given some sort of powers. I took on a patriot looking outfit and since my name is Sam I dubbed myself Uncle Sam and I have been here ever sense. I take it that you do not have an Uncle Sam on this world?” “Yeah we do but he is a cartoon that’s on Army posters,” Patriot laughed. “Bah,” Uncle Sam laughed, “Your Uncle Sam was not worthy of his power and perished I assume.” “I don’t assume too much,” Patriot said, “I wear this costume because I served in the military and fought in Vietnam and spent many years there learning things until I was injured in battle and sent home. I was near crippled but found out about a Chinese warrior who could cure wounds and I traveled there and found myself stuck there for almost a decade. He cured me of my wounds but put me through an extensive training and literally taught me how to control my pain sensors and stretch the damaged wounds so I would heal and I did.”


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“Your origin nearly shadows mine but is much more modern Mr. Patriot,” Uncle Sam said, “It’s nice to see a hero dressed in the colors of this great country. It makes me think this country still has a chance to being the best on Earth!” “I just wanted to wear American colors so I could scare the shit out of foreign terrorists who have spread their hate and sent fear into the hearts of average Americans across this nation,” the Patriot said, “I just never imagined that I’d be here after much time and still doing it and doing it with others just like me.”

So Cosmicman was able to contact STEEL and make the switch and Neutron was happy to see his teammates. The visiting team known as the Protectors United spent a good day at the mansion talking with the Crusaders and sharing their thoughts about their Earths. The Brain was able to figure out through his computer tools that the Earth that the Protectors United came from would be labeled Earth 12 according to Brain’s chart. The Brain was able to finally label Earth 12 and jot down information about that planet until the team decided to part. Julie (Electra) stuck around when she saw Turbo Girl who was basically another Earth version of her younger self. Julie was amazed that Turbo Girl got her powers differently and had no science skilled backyards. The one thing Julie noticed before the Protectors United had left by using their “return sensors” and when activated their machines brought them back to their correct Earth by placing the return device in the center and they stood in a fifteen meter radius.

As Julie was about to finally leave with the Patriot he pulled her aside to ask her a question. Julie let her tone down as they talked. “Something seemed to bother you about someone,” Patriot said. “You know of the man Brock that I was involved with in the future?” Asked Julie. “Yeah I just learned the story from you,” Patriot laughed. “That hero known as Battery who appeared to have some kind of power suit is an alternate version of Brock,” Julie said, “Which is strange because I was under the impression Brock lived three thousand some years in the future. Could Brock actually be from this timeline?” “He could but how would he get access to the future?” asked Patriot. “I don’t know,” Julie said, “Maybe I’ll hang back a bit and do some snooping.” “You’re not coming home?” asked Patriot. “I have super speed silly,” Julie said, “Meaning. I will hang back as Electra and examine things but for now I’d like nothing more than to sit in our hot tub and relax. This was one of those days. The good thing is I can help you work in the fortress now that I have my science skills back.”

THE END


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The Crusaders: #358