A Marvelous Tale Told in the Mighty Marvel Manner!
November 5, 1962
On the Trail of the Tomorrow Man!
The cool winds blew across the desert as Lady Thor landed near her reason for venturing so far from the familiar skyscrapers of New York City:
The Gamma Base
She recalled the meeting that had brought her to this place. The government had issued a press release after her battle with the trickster god Loki, asking for her help. She still remembered the dismayed look Dr. Blake had on his face when he read the news. When she had arrived at the meeting place detailed in the message, none other than Jeff Dix greeted her. She remembered him from her battle in San Diablo, and he remembered her. His words and her response still rang in her ears.
"Look Lady Thor, we are in a tight spot. You seem interested in helping us. With the rise of mutants, monsters, and just about everything else, we need someone like you."
"What would you have of me?"
"Nothing major. We have a testing area in the Southwest. They are working on new weapons for us, but they need someone who can go toe to toe with what they have."
She walked briskly across the hot sands. Several jeeps loaded with armed men came pouring out of the main gate as she approached them. "Stop right there lady, let's see some ID." The fresh-faced driver tried to sound tough as he stared up at her.
"Could a mere mortal hold the mighty Mjolnir?" She shot back as she lifted her hammer high above her head.
Another jeep drove right up beside her. An older man exited from the back, the brass on his shoulders gleaming in the early morning sun. "Hold it," he barked at the guards. "This is our guest boys. Orders from the very top." He glowered at the men, who seemed to visibly shrink under his gaze. Turning his attention back to her, he nodded. "Sorry about that. We've been having some problems here. General Thaddeus Ross." He offered his hand as they walked back towards his jeep.
"Aye, I've heard about the battles thou have raged against the monstrous Hulk."
The general's face grew hard at her words, but he changed the subject as they drove towards the testing range. "We have some questions for you, if you don't mind" He said as the jeeps drove past the gate and the armed guards.
"What kind of questions?" Lady Thor asked back as the jeep pulled into a large hanger.
"Just some basic information really" General Ross said as the vehicle came to a stop inside. "Country of origin, etc."
Lady Thor, or more importantly, Jane Foster, blanched at the question. She knew people would start asking questions about her the more she appeared in public. She mentally cursed herself for not researching the Norse gods.
Before she could answer, a man's shouting took the attention away from her. "General Ross, this is intolerable!" cried a haggard looking man.
"Dr. Marks, one of the eggheads here" Ross snidely remarked as the unkempt man stomped towards them.
"I protest this! Bringing super humans around my work is insane! We don't need them to test" he began, but one glare from Ross silenced him.
"Dr. Marks, your reservations are duly noted. However, we're in the big leagues now. Fighting the Reds is one thing, but when the enemy can fly or melt tanks with their hands, then we have to fight fire with napalm." Ross calmly explained as another man joined them.
"Stirring up more trouble Marks?" A slender man joked as he joined in. Unlike the frantic scientist, the newcomer was relaxed. Lady Thor noticed the man's causal tone and attire. Was he a scientist?
"Ah, Dr. Stern. Glad you could join us." Ross greeted the newcomer much more warmly than he did Marks. "I trust you have already prepared your equipment?" The trio, minus the still fuming Dr. Marks, walked towards the interior of the hanger.
"Everything's been triple checked sir."
"This is pointless!" Marks grumbled as he was left standing by himself. Lady Thor glanced over her shoulder at the man. Something about him seemed wrong, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it.
Outside, the sight of armed men rushing around as a warning klaxon rang greeted Lady Thor. "What exactly are we doing?" she asked Ross asked Dr. Marks rejoined them.
"Very simple" Dr. Marks shouted over the ringing. "My new prototype rockets, which are being raised as we speak" he gestured to a trio of gleaming white rockets that were slowly rising out of the ground, "are to be deployed against a airborne target; in this case Lady Thor, you. We just need to see if they can match your airspeed. You can fly, right?"
"Aye, and much more." She agreed as she eyed the missiles. She was worried; should she have even come? She didn't know how much damage she could take, and she was in no hurry to find out.
Dr. Marks looked at her face before waving his hand. "Oh, don't worry. We removed the warheads. We just need to check the speed. All we need you need you to do is fly as fast as you can, then we launch them. We'll be timing everything just to see how effective they are against a meta-human."
"Very well." Lady Thor agreed. Whirling her hammer around, she took to the skies. The thoughts and worries in her mind were put aside as she soared through the air. "I wonder if I'm faster than a speeding missile?"
Back on the ground, the men scurried around as Lady Thor quickly turned into a small dot on the horizon. "I still say this is insane!" Dr. Marks grumbled as he joined Dr. Stern and General Ross inside the control bunker.
"Look, with Castro, the Reds, and not to mention these other super freaks running around, we need weapons that can protect us." General Ross reminded.
"I know that General, but why should we test our weapons with some nutcase in a cape? This woman could be a mutant, or maybe some foreign spy!" Dr. Marks groused as he sat down before a control panel like a conductor before an orchestra.
"Maybe she is, and maybe she isn't. The Brass seem sweet on her, so as far as I am concerned, she is to be treated like a ally." Ross thundered as he stuck a cigar in his mouth. "Ready to fire?" he asked as he struck a match.
"Watch" was all Dr. Marks said as he pressed the fire button. The first two missiles roared to life and took off after the rapidly vanishing form of Lady Thor. The two sleek man made instruments of destruction streaked through the air. "I give her another two seconds before the missiles overtake her."
While high over head
Lady Thor closed her eyes as she soared through the air. "I almost forgot how fun this is," she smiled as she suddenly remembered the reason for her flight. Turning around, she spied the first missile on an interceptor course. "Let's see how fast these things are!" she thought as she faced forwards again and continued her own path. The missile was gaining, although she could tell there was no chance of it overtaking her. She heard the engine give out after a few seconds before she saw it tumbled back towards the Earth.
"One down, one to go" she thought as she saw the second missile coming right at her. Gripping her hammer, she slowly moved the handle like a steering wheel. Rolling to the right, she avoided the second missile as it flew past her before sputtering out and plummeting towards the ocean.
"The ocean?" Lady Thor looked down at the blue sea around her. "Wow, I must have gone further than I thought!" she thought. Whipping her hammer around, she spun back towards the way she came as she flew back to land.
Meanwhile, back in Gamma Base
"Incredible!" Dr. Marks gasped he looked over various radars and scanning equipment. "The second missile was able to beat her!" he said smugly as he held a printout high overhead.
"I wouldn't be so sure just yet." Dr. Stern countered as he gazed over the readings. "Lady Thor was able to outrace the first one, yes, but the second only beat her by a few feet. Even then we don't know if that was due to its speed or an outside factor."
"You're just jealousy of my brilliance!" Dr. Marks shouted back as he yanked the printout from Stern's hand and clutched it to his chest. "You've been after my job ever since the Gamma Bomb!"
"Gentlemen, that's enough!" General Ross shouted, bringing the motion inside the bunker to a dead stillness. "We tested one new prototype, now let's just move on, shall we?"
Elsewhere, in the fabled land of Asgard
"Foul villain!" Loki heard the cry before a large chair sailed through the air. Had he not ducked, he might have been left with a most peculiar imprint on his forehead.
"Is that anyway to treat family?" he asked as he continued on his way. Before him lay Bilskirnir; the hall of Thor. The massive door was wide open as Sif stood in the equally massive doorway. "I've only come to see my darling niece and nephews. Do I presume too much?"
"Aye, ye do." Sif snarled as her hand tightened around her sword hilt. "I should cleave ye in twain and leave ye for the dogs!" she spat as she drew her sword.
"Temper, Milady, temper. How would your darling husband act to see his beloved wife in the grip of such a rage?"
Sif's face turned three shades of red. The mention of Thor was the figurative last straw as she swung her blade overhead and charged. Loki sighed as he quickly weaved a spell. Sif's blade froze mere inches from his brow as he calmly walked past her. A pained grimace was set on her face as he calmly sidestepped her and walked inside.
"Now, where could my beloved niece be?" he thought as he walked though the massive hall. Stepping out into the sprawling backyard, he smirked when he spied the object of his visit.
Thrud, the sunlight gleaming off of her Valkyrie armor, was kneeling before a short statue placed near a small grove of trees near the end of the property.
"What do you want?" she asked, not even bothering to turn her head.
"Merely to relay some most distressing news about your dear father, although I'm afraid your mother refused to even let me speak." Loki began to say before Thrud held up her hand.
"After what you did to her, you would expect her to listen to your lies?" Thrud shot back as she stood up. Towering over her uncle, her icy blue eyes showed no emotion.
"She will recover in due time; and that was merely a childhood jest. Besides; her hair grew back, did it not? But that is beside the point. I have returned from Midgard with the most distressing news." He shuddered as he pressed his hand to his brow.
Thrud raised one of her fiery red eyebrows in response. "And just what could be so horrific that even the Trickster himself blanches at it?"
"Your father, my most honored and beloved brother Thor, is no more."
Thrud then shrugged her mighty shoulders and went back to the small statue. "Then he'll be at my cousin's table. I see no alarm in this."
"Ah, for the innocence of youth. No, my niece, your father is not dead. Even if it were so, I rather doubt that High Father Odin would allow any of his kin to sup with Hel. Nay, I speak the truth. Your father is no more."
Thrud turned around once more and stared at her uncle. "What do you mean? Has he fallen in battle?"
"If only that were the cause. No Thrud, your father has ceased to be. His hammer, his power, his very name, has been usurped by a mere mortal."
Thrud lowered her head. "Very well then. If what ye say is true, then perhaps I need to walk amidst the mortals once more." Walking past Loki, she narrowed her eyes at her uncle. "But be warned Trickster. If thou have played me for a fool, then I will make sure your days are filled with agony the likes of which ye could not comprehend."
"No thanks needed niece." Loki smiled. "Your mother should return to the land of the waking soon, so you best be off. I should warn you though, that the ways of man have changed in our absence."
"I care not about man's ways. I'll find this imposter and show her the true fury of the Valkyries." Thrud swore as she stormed out through the front door.
As she made her way down the path, and past Sif who was still frozen in place, Loki's smile grew wider. "The fruit falls short from the tree. Excellent" he thought as he disappeared in a flash of light.
Back on Earth
The tests had been progressing slowly throughout the day. Missiles, rockets, tank fire, and every type of artillery shell imaginable had been used against Lady Thor, and every single test had come out the same. She had taken the best of the best and survived. Lady Thor, her brow drenched in sweat, leaned against a parked tank as the scientists set up the next one.
Dr. Stern walked around the area, checking things on a clipboard as the soldiers rolled a massive sphere out from a truck and set it up. Walking over to her, the slim scientist smiled. "Well, we're almost finished here. I just want to say thanks. With your help, we've been able to fine tune our defenses."
Lady Thor smiled back. "My pleasure. I was just glad I was able to assist."
"Sir, the C-bomb is ready!" one of the men cried.
"That's your cue" Dr. Stern nodded as he led her to the large blue sphere. Lady Thor stood still as several technicians hooked various sensors to her body. "This is the Cobalt Bomb. Using a modified form of Cobalt-60, we want to see its effects on a human body."
Lady Thor blanched at the idea of being at ground zero, but held her head high. "But these tests prove I'm more than human, what good could they have?"
"Yes, there is that, but we need to see the effects this bomb have against metahumans as well. Don't worry you should be fine. The bomb was designed only as a means to damage metal without killing any civilians." Dr. Sterns explained as he slipped on a pair of goggles and took off towards the bunker. "Just close your eyes though, it's about to get really bright!" he shouted before the heavy lead door slammed shut.
Looking at the bomb, Lady Thor clenched her fists as the countdown began. As the numbers were slowly counted down, she saw a bright flash of light. Quickly covering her eyes, she was rewarded with silence.
"What the hell did you do?" she heard Dr. Marks scream as she opened her eyes. Looking around, she gasped when she saw the C-Bomb was no longer there!
"Calm down Marks, I'm sure there is a rational explanation for all this." Dr. Sterns interjected. He was met with a wild-eyed stare.
"Yes there is, she stole our bomb!" Dr. Marks almost gagged on his spit as he shouted.
Lady Thor narrowed her eyes at the smaller man. "Thou speak to a warrior born. Chose thy next words carefully mortal, lest I send ye to Valhalla before ye time."
Dr. Marks closed his mouth and back away as General Ross stormed out to the area. "Something happened all right. Someone made off with one of our top projects, and I want to know who!"
"Perhaps the video recordings can shed some light on the matter." Dr. Sterns interjected before Dr. Marks could open his mouth.
"Good idea." General Ross agreed. Turning to his men he issued orders as the two scientists went over to the small video camera that had been set up to record the explosion. "I want every man here to go over this area with a fine tooth comb. Anything unusual, and I mean ANYTHING, is to be taken to either Dr. Marks or Dr. Stern ASAP." He shouted as the aforementioned scientists returned carrying a large film canister.
Inside the bunker, the heads of the base sat in stunned silence as they viewed the tape. Slowed down, they watched everything play out in slow motion as Lady Thor closed her eyes. As the countdown began, they all stared in disbelief at the images that were unfolding before them.
Something like; for lack of a better term, a hole, opened up next to the C-bomb and a man stepped leaned out. He was tall, bald, and clad in a dark jumpsuit. He causally leaned out of the hole and with one hand touched the C-bomb. Drs. Stern and Marks both gasped at once when the man, while using only one gloved hand, lifted the bomb up with no visible effort and took it back into the hole with him. Right before the hole sealed itself back up, the man turn around and seemingly winked straight at the camera.
When the film finished, everyone sat in stunned silence. "That's…that's impossible." Dr. Marks said flatly.
"It's almost like magic!" Dr. Stern agreed.
"Whatever it is, I want to know where the hell my bomb is!" General Ross slammed his fists down on his chair as he stood up. Turning to Lady Thor. He growled as he fished in his pocket for a fresh cigar. "Any ideas?"
Lady Thor bit her lip as she saw the footage. "Most strange. That man looks to be using some form of enchantment, but I confess I know not what kind."
Jus then, an excited solider ran in. "General sir, we found something!" he shouted as he waved his closed fist about.
General Ross dropped his cigar. "What? Well, what is it man?"
The solider stopped to catch his breath as he opened his hand. Inside his palm was a small rectangular piece of metal.
"Let me see that!" Dr. Marks ordered as he snatched the metal out of the man's hand. After peering at it for a second, a wide grin broke out on his face. "This is fantastic! I must get this to my lab!"
"Hold it Marks, what is that?" General Ross barked.
Dr. Marks held the small piece of metal up like a carnival barker hocking a prize. "This, General, is without a doubt the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Look" he said as he suddenly, and with no viable effort, crumbled the metal up like a piece of scrap paper. He giggled like a child as the metal suddenly unfolded right back into its original shape. "It bends like tissue paper, but look at it! This is the most amazing material I have ever seen!"
Lady Thor looked down at the metallic scrap. "A clue perhaps? Something left by our foe?" she wondered.
"Perhaps. I recognize some of the patterns written on it" Dr. Marks said absently as he continued to stare at the scrap. Turning it over, he ran his thumb over the marking etched into it. "There are clearly a few English symbols, but I don't recognize the pattern."
Lady Thor gazed at the strange piece of metal when she felt her hammer start to vibrate. "That's odd, it never did that before" she thought as she unhooked it from her belt. The hammer gave an audible hum the closer she held it to the metal.
Suddenly, the metal flew out of Dr. Marks's hand and attached itself to her hammer. "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" Dr. Marks demanded.
"I don't know" Lady Thor gasped as the metal started to glow before it slid off of Mjolnir and clattered on the floor. Scooping it off the ground, she looked it over. "I have an idea. General, I need to borrow this." She said as she picked the scrap off of the floor and tucked it in her belt.
"I'm not sure about that." General Ross muttered as he started to pace back and forth.
"General, give me an hour." Lady Thor begged. "I know I can locate this thief, but if I am not victorious in that time, then you may do as you like."
Ross looked hard at Lady Thor. Something in his eyes made her stop after she spoke. Slowly, and with deliberate care, he nodded. "Alright. You get one hour, and not a second more. After that I'm sending out everything I have."
"Agreed" Lady Thor clasped her hand to her breast before exiting the room. Ross could hear her cape fluttering in the wind as she flew away.
"I want every man, every tank, every thing on wheels mobilized within the hour." He ordered. Turning to the two scientists, he drew a breath before continuing. "And I want you two eggheads to start working on giving me some answers. Understand?"
Elsewhere, on the other side of the country:
Thrud sniffed in disgust as she eyed the sprawling city before her. Landing on top of a skyscraper (although she was unaware of the term). She starred at the teaming millions below her. "This is what the humans live in?" she asked to no one in particular as she stared over the edge at the teaming millions below her.
"I will find this imposter. I will find her and make her suffer as much as my father must suffer." She drew her sword as she spoke, the sunlight dancing off of the blade. "I swear on my blade I shall not rest until my beloved is avenged!"
Part 2-Flight to the Future!
Landing on a large outcropping of rock, Lady Thor held the scrap of metal in one hand and the mystic Mjolnir in the other. "I hope I can make this work." She thought. The hammer has been able to do every thing else she asked of it, but was there a limit to its power?
"Only one way to find out." She thought as she closed her eyes and concentrated. A mantra went through her mind. The words spilled out as the skies overhead blackened. "Odin, here my call! Storms blow, rain fall, let the power of Odin guide mine hand to that whom I seek!"
The sky turned almost black as night as the storm brewing grew even worse. The rain was coming down in a downpour as lighting arched through the sky. The wind whipped her hair around her eyes as she felt the ground starting to give way. "I think I overdid it" she thought as a vortex opened up over her head and drew her in.
She felt totally weightless for a few seconds before the sound of the howling winds stopped and she felt her feet on the solid ground once again.
"Where am I?" she thought as she looked around at her strange surroundings. Gone was the rocky desert; in its place was now a city. Skyscrapers loomed over her as she walked down the barren streets.
As near she could tell the city was deserted. There was stillness in the air as she walked past the odd shaped cars left parked near the sidewalk. Empty storefronts greeted her as she walked down the middle of the street. "Hello?" she shouted. The echo was almost deafening.
The sound of a man clapping made her spin around. Before her was a familiar figure. The baldhead, the jumpsuit, it was the same man who stole the C-bomb!
"Greetings Lady Thor, and welcome to the year 2262." He smiled warmly as he walked towards her. Before she could speak he held up his hand. "Yes, I know the routine by now. Your name is Lady Thor, mystic hammer, and so on. My name is Arthur Zarrko, although for some asinine reason your news media will refer to me as 'The Tomorrow Man'."
Shaking her head, Lady Thor raised her hammer. "Where is the C-bomb villain?" she demanded.
"That?" Zarrko responded, as if he had just been asked where the restroom was, jerked his thumb over his shoulder. "I placed that antique where it belongs, in the museum."
Confused, Lady Thor blinked as she heard what he said. "What? But if that was not the object of your theft, then what was?"
"Simple. You" he said matter-of-factly. "But before I get into that, I think some much needed exposition must be presented." He began as he walked over to a small outdoor café and sat down in one of the empty chairs. "Let me start from the beginning. My name is Arthur Zarrko. I was, for a good many years, simply another cog in the wheels of society. Mankind, by my era, had grown soft. Lazy, dependent on machines for literally everything, and perfectly willing to ignore the world's problems. I was like that too, until I found a way out."
He smiled as he looked around the empty city. "Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot my manners. Please, have a seat" he gestured towards one of the empty seats around the sidewalk. "Now, as I was saying. I had found a way to insure me a path to glory, and it was so simple! Time travel had been invented before I was born you know, but there were only a few souls daring enough to use it."
"So you went back in time to steal?" Lady Thor questioned.
"Yes, at first. Time can be a tricky thing you know. I thought about using some weapons from my time period to help me conquer the past, but I thought against it when I saw there was no mention of my having taken over the world. I went after heroes from your time period. The beauty of time travel, Lady Thor, is patience. When I was faced with a foe greater than myself, I could simply move forward or backward in time to avoid them." He smiled as he remembered. "But there is a problem. Eventually, you end up looping yourself. I have seen my future self, and I have no desire to become him. I know everything that will happen to me, but also what will happen to you."
"And for this information, you expect me to aid you in your plots?"
"More or less. You are going to have some trouble in years ahead. With you working with me, we can all benefit. What do you say?"
"I say thee nay!" Lady Thor shouted as she hurtled the mystic Mjolnir with all her might. Much to her surprise, the hammer literally passed right through Zarrko with no effort and continued to fly.
Zarrko smirked as he stood up. "I knew you would do that Lady Thor. Out of 100 encounters, you have never once accepted my offer. Hologram projections, although I doubt you would be familiar with the term. I think this time I'll simply leave you here in this world, frozen between time." He laughed as he started to fade away. "Oh, and one more thing. I am well aware of your connection to that hammer. I would say 'be seeing you', but I know I won't. Goodbye Ms. Foster."
He faded from sight as a cold panic set in. She had seen her hammer fly through him and continue on its way, but she did not see where it had landed. "Mjolnir has always returned to my hand before, why not now?" she thought as she ran down the street. Up ahead was a turn, but had it not simply smashed through the building in front of her and continued on its way?
A large clanking sound caught her attention. The windows around her rattled as she saw a large inhuman silhouette being cast on the buildings before her. The clanking grew louder.
Before her was a large robot. It looked like a toy she had once seen in a department store window, only larger and less friendly looking. In lieu of hands, it had two giant clamps. It gave an inhuman high-pitched cry as it stomped forward, crushing the pavement under its large flat feet.
Lady Thor felt, for perhaps the first time ever in her life, true fear. Numbing fear that gripped her by the heart and refused to let go as the robot stomped closer. "My hammer, I need my hammer" she muttered as she stumbled back. The robot drew closer as its electronic scream grew louder. Its inhuman call was answered back from across the dead city.
Frozen in place, Lady Thor could almost feel the seconds ticking away the longer Mjolnir was out of her hands. The robot loomed over her as she heard more rumbling coming behind her.
Just as the mechanical monster's claw came crashing down, Lady Thor had a vision. Gone were the deserted city and the ever-approaching robots; in their place was a barren artic wasteland. Giants, made of ice and snow, surrounded her. Hearing a strange man's voice booming across the ice and snow, she saw a man dressed in her uniform easily leaping at the giants and smashing them with his bare hands.
She blinked, and the vision was gone. The giant robot, however, was still there. "Odin, give me strength!" she shouted as she shook away her fear and ran headlong at the robot. Ducking between its trunk-like legs, she turned around and leapt up onto the machine's back. "Have at thee villain!" she roared as she slammed her fist into the robot's back. The metal buckled under her assault. As she reared back to deliver another blow, she was shocked to see the dent heal!
"What sorcery is this?" she wondered as the robot shook her off as if she was nothing more than a flea. Falling, she hit the ground with a loud thump. From her position on the ground she almost laughed when she saw what was floating not twenty yards away.
The hammer was suspended in a form of bubble being generated by two large pillars on either side of the street. As she rose to her knees, she suddenly felt as if the life was being drained out of her!
Her vision blurring, Lady Thor slumped to the ground as she felt herself shrinking. The world spun before she sat up. Only she was not Lady Thor, but now plain Jane Foster!
"Oh no!" She screamed as she scrambled to her feet. The robot, now joined by three others, turned around and continued their slow pace towards her. "Come on Jane, do something!" she thought as she dashed towards the machines.
Seeing that the two pillars were the cause of the bubble, she ducked around them and looked vainly for some kind of way to shut off them off. "Do give me some credit Ms. Foster" came the voice of Zarrko. "I have played the little game with you and alternative versions of you more times than I care to admit. I have streamlined it perfectly. There is no way to turn these force field generators off without a remote, which I have by the way, and those robots can not be beaten regardless of many times you hit them. Good bye" came the smarmy prerecorded voice.
Looking around, Jane caught a familiar sight. A fire hydrant! Kicking off her heels, she ran barefooted towards the welcome sight as the robot gained on her. Looking around, she saw no way of opening up the hydrant when the robot's claw swooped down from above.
Leaping out of the way, she was rewarded with the sight of the robot catching the hydrant in its steel grip and effortlessly crushing it in two. The water shot out of the opened value like a projectile, soaking the robot and sending the water cascading down the street. "I hope those things aren't water proof!" she prayed as the robot was knocked back by the blast and toppled back into the large pillars.
The metal spite easily punctured the robot's hide, sending arcs of electric current high into the dull gray sky. The force field flicked and then went out, sending the walking stick clattering to the ground.
Jane (mindful not to step into the now electrified water) breathed a sigh of relief. Relief that was quickly replaced with panic when she saw three more similar robots stomping down the street towards her.
The center one stopped, and the two behind it followed suit. Jane paled when she saw that the other three had no claws, but instead were decked out with a ridiculous amount of weaponry. Guns, rockets, and even a few things she wasn't even aware could exist all stared back at her.
Muttering a silent prayer (although she wasn't quite sure who would responded) Jane dashed towards the cane as the robots started to open fire.
Back in the present
Thrud boldly marched down the street as she scanned the sky. "Where could this imposter be? Does she fear my might?" she thought as she ignored the startled onlookers. Stopping by a newsstand (although she was didn't know just what it was called), the image of Lady Thor gave her pause as she picked up the newspaper.
"Lady Thor? Has she no shame?" she raged, causing the vendor to step out from behind the counter.
"Lady, this ain't no library! Either cough up the correct change or split!" he shouted.
Thrud looked down at the man the same way she might have stared at a flea. "You would address me in such a fashion?" she asked slowly as she dropped the paper.
"Yea, and don't try nothing funny or else I'll press charges!" the vendor, the color quickly leaving his face when he realized just how tall this woman was.
"Press charges? I'll do more than that if you think of speaking to a chooser of the slain in such a manner!" she shouted as she drew her sword. The vendor backed up as she swung the blade down, cleaving the newsstand counter in two.
Sheathing her sword, she spat with disgust at the man's cowardice. "Bah, are you mortals so weak? Where art your heroes? Has no one in this wretched land the mind to help me find that charlatan?" she ranted as she marched away from the newsstand.
Sadly, in her haste and in her ignorance of the modern mortal world, Thurd failed to understand that by stepping off of what she would later learn was a sidewalk, she was now in the oncoming lane of New York City traffic. She wondered briefly at the strange metal chariots that were racing towards her, but before she could question where the horses were to drag them, or why the chariot coming at her had the word 'MACK' written on the front…
'WHAM' came the sound as the truck skidded into her. Thrud, being of a proud Asgardian stock, was still susceptible to the same basic laws of physics as everything else. The truck plowed into her, the grill wrapping around her body as she tried to stand her ground. She was strong, yes, but not even her strength was capable of stopping a fully loaded truck going twenty miles over the speed limit.
She was thrown backwards into the traffic as the truck turned over. As she sailed through the air, she wondered dimly if all mortals had such bizarre devices at their disposal.
Back in the future
Jane's heart soared as her fingers touched the smooth wood of the cane. Without thinking she slammed the cane upon the ground just as the robot's rockets zeroed in on her position. Seconds before the deadly weapons arrived at their target, they were beaten to the punch by a bolt of lighting.
Jane's body swelled with power as the magic surged through her. She was aware of the rockets, but to her they seemed suspended in flight as her body once again underwent the metamorphosis.
Her frame erupted with power as muscles swelled and grew. Her limbs grew and thickened as she stood up. The simple nurse's uniform was quickly reduced to fluttering tatters as she outgrew the garment. A few pieces of cloth remained on her now towering body in a valiant yet futile effort. Her now long blond hair flowed freely down her back as she hefted the now transformed hammer over her head. Seconds later, she was instantly garbed in the uniform of Lady Thor!
Time returned to normal as Lady Thor once again walked the mortal sphere. "This farce shall end now!" she vowed as she spun her mighty hammer. Creating a vortex, she easily caused the rockets to spin out of control and explode as they flew off course and hit the surrounding buildings.
Lady Thor stared at the carnage around her. "I've wasted too much time here," she thought as she slammed her hammer upon the ground twice. The sky turned black as the wind began to howl. Looking towards the dark heavens, Lady Thor shouted as lighting streaked across the sky.
"Winds, rain, heed your master! Come hence to remove the abominations before me!" she ordered as the hydrants around her exploded. Water sprayed high into the air as the rain drenched the streets. The rain pounded harder, dropping visibility with every second as the robots struggled to maintain their footing on the slick ground.
"Father Odin, hear my call!" Lady Thor shouted above the raging storm. Thunder rumbled in the clouds as lighting arched through the air. The mighty robots, their sensors blinded and their sense of balance uneven, toppled over into the street as lighting illumined the area. "Strike them down!" she commanded as the lighting arched and crackled.
If the robots could vocalize their thoughts, if they had any thoughts at all that is, they might have prayed as the deadly electricity danced across their metal bodies. Internal mechanics sparked as the delicate and intricate memory boards and microchips fused together. Gears screamed in protest as circuits overloaded. The heavy glass shields that protected the 'brains' of the robots bubbled and popped due to the heat. Computers, devices literally centuries ahead of what Lady Thor could comprehend, exploded like firecrackers under the assault.
One by one, the lethal machines thrashed about in seeming agony before their limbs stopped moving.
With a light tapping of her hammer, the storm ceased. "I must return to my own time!"
Concentrating she began to spin her hammer once again. "I must focus. If I could open a way here using that scrap metal to find this land, then I must be able to send myself back in a similar manner."
Spinning the hammer faster with each second, Lady Thor was caught in the vortex as the world around her vanished. Closing her eyes, she thought of home, of Earth and the desert.
Opening them again, she stopped spinning when she saw the familiar sights of the American Southwest.
"It worked!" she almost shouted as she looked around. "But where can I find the Tomorrow Man? He gave no clue where he was going, and with his technology he can literally be anywhere at anytime!"Spinning her hammer once again, Lady Thor took to the air. Aiming herself towards the Gamma Base, she knew she had to report on what she had seen.
Flying across the desert, she spied the Gamma Base off in the distance. Something seemed out of place though. There was a taste of ozone to the still air, and she saw no signs of movement at the base.
Landing, Lady Thor was horrified at the sight before her. The base was just like the future, frozen in time!
Men stood perfectly still like statues. Smoke hovered in place over a lit cigarette while spilled coffee arched over the ground like some kind of modern artwork.
"Zarrko!" Lady Thor screamed as she looked around the base.
"I shouldn't be surprised, yet I am" came the smooth voice. Looking around, Lady Thor saw no one moving, yet heard the voice as if the man himself was standing before her.
"Where are you hiding?" She demanded.
"Some place safe, I can assure you." Came the reply. "Since I seem unable to kill you in the future, perhaps I could slay here and now and rule over this primitive backwater."
"But if there was no record of you doing so, what makes you think you would succeed?" Lady Thor quoted.
"You have a point. In that case I'll simply use this primate's own bomb on them. You're right, history shows no record of my conquering the past, but that doesn't mean I can not simply rule the future!" Zarrko shouted as time returned to normal, just as a massive orb appeared in the sky over the base.
"He must have been inside that ship the whole time!" Lady Thor realized as some of the base's scientists rushed out to meet her.
"What the devil is that?" Dr. Stern shouted as he raced up to Lady Thor.
"A complicated story. He is the one who stole the C-bomb." She said before she took into the sky while men scrambled on the ground.
While up in the air, Lady Thor once again heard the voice of Zarrko coming from within the strange craft, "You have no idea how sick I am of continuing this chase" he said over the ship's PA.
Lady Thor noticed a hatch opening up on the underside of the ship. "Does he mean to drop the bomb?" she thought, a fact that was verified when she saw the tale-tale metallic orb being lowered into a firing position.
"This time Lady Thor, I will end it all before it starts! Everything will stop and there is nothing you can do about it!" Zarrko mumbled to himself from within the cockpit. "I know what is going to happen. I can win this time, I can win!"
Outside the ship, and unaware of Zarrko's words, Lady Thor started to spin her hammer around as she flew. "If I can just build up enough force, I might be able to offset the ship and make him land" she thought, as the ship grew closer and closer.
Inside, Zarrko hunched over the controls. "She'll cause another vortex. I'll be sent out of control and end up in my own time." He began to recall. A thin line of sweat broke out over his eyes as he looked at the control panel. "But, what happens after that? What happens next?" he tried to remember as warning lights began to flash. "Wait, she's not suppose to do that yet!" he started to panic as he spied the approaching Lady Thor on his monitors. "What does she think she's doing?"
Lady Thor flew in closer to the underside of the ship. "I must take this back first." She thought as she yanked the C-bomb out of the hold with one hand. With the deadly cargo safely tucked under one arm, she shoved Mjolnir into the bomb bay and started to spin it. "This might be better than trying to suck the ship into a vortex" she realized.
Her actions were rewarded with a flood of sparks coming from the intricate circuitry. The ship's engines started to sputter as they flew farther and farther away from the Gamma Base.
Zarrko started to panic when the warning lights began to blink in time to the warning klaxon. "What? She was suppose to spin that blasted hammer around my ship! Everything was in place; I knew her weakness, why did she change? How did she change? History can't be rewritten like this!" he started to babble as smoke and sparks spewed out from the controls.
A cold stark thought went through Arthur Zarrko's mind. "I can't win. No matter what I do, I'll never win." He almost sobbed at the realization. All that time, the effort, everything…had no point. No purpose, and no function.
"I've lost" he choked as he dropped his hand on the control panel, pressing several buttons at once.
The effect of this was noticeable at once. "Time retrieval circuits damaged. Warning, time flux eminent." Zarrko paid the warning no mind as he let go of the controls and slumped down in his chair.
"No point, no point at all" he repeated mantra like as the view before him changed from the American Southwest to a vast nothingness. The sky and ground blurred into a blue mesh as he shut his eyes.
Outside, Lady Thor pushed away from the ship just in time to see it spin wildly out of control. She started her descent as a vortex opened up before the strange craft and swallowed it whole.
"I wonder where he is?" She thought as she landed on the ground. "He made mention of knowing me, and that I would be facing some problems in the future." She thought as she started to walk back to the Gamma Base. The trip had been taxing, and she wanted to the time to gather her thoughts. "Was he right? There is still much that I am unaware of." Looking down at the mystic hammer, she stopped in her tracks as she stared at it. "Can I do this? All I have to do is tap this on the ground and become Jane Foster again for good. I could have a normal life, with Don, and put all this insanity behind me."
There was something in the back of her mind. An image, a flash of memory, of a golden hall and many laughing people. Lady Thor stood perfectly still as she saw a beautiful woman with long black hair standing before her. Blinking, the image vanished. Leaving her standing alone in the desert.
"These visions, why am I seeing them? Is this fate, am I suppose to see these, or is this some form of sign? Am I supposed to use these powers for good?" She spoke aloud. She received no answer from the barren desert.
Shaking her head, she continued on her way back towards the base in silence.
Meanwhile, in another time
"I…where am I?" the man thought as he looked around. He was laying flat on the ground inside a small room. The walls were perfectly white and smooth. "I've been here before" the man began to say as he sat up. "But when? And why can't I remember?"
A cold panic seized the man as he looked around the room. "No door, no escape, but…why? I'm missing something, but what is it?" the man shouted as he clawed at the smooth walls.
Inside a small control room, there was a flurry of activity. "Remarkable. Total amnesia" came the low whisper from a doctor. Turning to an aide, he passed a sheet of paper into the man's hands. "Have you found out anything about him?"
"Not much. His DNA matches up with one Arthur Zarrko, a low-level data clerk for one of those big wheel companies that went missing a month ago. Records are still checking on it. Although why this man speaks in such outdated English is still a mystery."
From within the cell, the man who would be called the Tomorrow Man screamed.
Back in the present, several days later
Lady Thor had returned the bomb to the base without further incident. The test had gone off without a hitch. Despite being at ground zero, she was not harmed in anyway by the bomb blast. Thanking General Ross (after swearing not to revel the exact details of what had happened that day) and the scientists, Lady Thor swung her hammer and flew off towards New York.
The next few days were mercifully uneventful. There had been a few scattered sources mentioning Lady Thor, but nothing that gave any kind of details. Walking past the corner newsstand, Jane sighed as she saw a rack of freshly printed newspaper. Giving the vendor the exact change, Jane snagged the nearest paper on her commute to work.
Jane scanned the headlines of the Daily Bugle as Dr. Blake entered the office. "Good morning Doctor." she said as she quickly put the paper down. Dr. Blake shook his head as he made his way into his office.
"Honestly Jane, I don't know why you read that trash." He pointed his cane at the headline, which blared out: 'Lady Thor sighted! Terrorizes Downtown, police issue manhunt!'
"Ridiculous, I know, but the headlines just appeal to me" Jane lied.
Dr. Blake looked almost sad at that. "Jane, is there something you need to tell me? Over the past few months, your work has started to suffer. Is something wrong?"
She blanched at the question, but she swept the paper aside before looking him directly in the eye. "No doctor, nothing at all, although I admit I am getting curious about all these super hero types that seem to coming out of the woodwork."
"Hmm, well, I don't blame you for that. This is history we are living in, be it good or bad." Dr. Blake agreed.
"Dr. Blake, what would it be like to be the ones making history?" Jane asked, secretly wondering if he was starting to suspect.
He was taken aback by the question. "Why, I don't know. I suppose I had rather be the one reading about. What brought this on?"
"Oh, just curious, that's all."
Dr. Blake's reply was lost as the first of the morning's patients arrived. The question, as well as the paper, would be pushed aside for later.
Journey Into a Mailbox
Things have been rather wild these past few weeks. Putting that aside, here's this month's reader mail
another fine issue involving my favorite thunder goddess. The battle with
Loki went pretty much to script. I loved how he tried to drown her in the
lake grossly underestimating her. I noticed that you have started to deviate
from the Thor issues with your own ideas. I think that's great. Now we'll see what happens with Thor's daughter and perhaps what Sif thinks of
this whole situation. Jane questioning whether she should even have this power is a great dynamic
subplot as well as her wondering why she talks and acts the way she does in her
more powerful form. I'd love to see more on the Jane/Don/Lady Thor
triangle(?) that may or may not be forming, also. Good writing to you
Now we'll see what happens with Thor's daughter and perhaps what Sif thinks of this whole situation.
Jane questioning whether she should even have this power is a great dynamic subplot as well as her wondering why she talks and acts the way she does in her more powerful form. I'd love to see more on the Jane/Don/Lady Thor triangle(?) that may or may not be forming, also.
Good writing to you.
Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, things are going to be moving away from the original stories starting from here.
It is very interesting update soon
Thanks for the review. As you can see, updates are few but I hope this makes up for it.
From #1 Lady of the D.O.T. Tiffani
Once again another great job with this story. I like the
and the descriptive terms you use to set the stage for the story.
I do have a question for you. How hard is it to juggle so many
Thanks for sharing. :)Take care,
Very hard milady, very hard indeed
From Aaron C. Wade
Great addition to the group, Cambot. Your story was
motion. Great characterization and plot development. Kudos to your
inspiration and thought processes.
Thanks! Getting mail like this just makes it all worthwhile.
And from TF master extraordinaire Lonebeetle
One more amazing story from your mighty pen Cambot, indeed i
a clue about how it will be despite the updates you've given me
before, it's nice to be surprised this way, your characterization it's
superb as well as the action in the story, thumbs up dude!Cheers, Lonebeatle.
Oh, and from Lunar Diaries creator Havoc
Great job, dude! Very interesting stuff. And I definitely
to Sensational #3 (well there's my poll answer). :)
Great to hear from you sir, and I am also glad that your website is finally up. Kudos to you, and thanks for the kind words
Well that's about it for right now. Speaking of continuity, things are going to be a little different next time. The next Thor story was "Prisoner of the Reds", but I will be taking a little detour. Instead, join me next time as Lady Thor battles Thrud in "For the Honor of My Father!"
This story was based on "On the Trail of the Tomorrow Man", which was first published in Journey Into Mystery #86 (November 1962) with Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (art), Dick Ayers (ink), and Art Simek (letters). In the original story, Thor went to an unnamed army base to help with the weapons test. None of the personal had names, save for one guy named Bob. The general in charge looked almost exactly like General Ross, so for this story, I just went ahead and made the change. Where's Betty (AKA the Hulk) you ask? Check the answer out in Sensational Comics #4 True Believer!
Sensational Comics #3, special double issue! See Dr. Marks set his plan to rid the world of the Hulk forever! Thrill as the Hulk battles the sinister Circus of Crime!
In Tales to Astonish #2, watch as Ant-Man must fight for his life against the greatest killer alive, Comrade X!