!SOUND EFFECTS! "THOUGHTS"
Samuel Sterns, otherwise known as the Leader was in his orbiting space station near the moon contemplating his next move.
"My copy of the Watcher's Ultimate Machine is finished. I managed to use a piece of the original that was broken to recreate a new one but despite my brilliance I won't be able to recreate another. This will be the last one. Even though it's not a perfect copy, Nothing must happen to it!"
"My Ultimate Machine has allowed me to view other dimensions and universes, hooking it up to my large view screen. What goes on in the different universes is interesting but what interests me the most are the Legion of Super Heroes. They are a motley crew with each member being able to do one at least one thing better than anyone else.
I've been thinking of ways to increase my power. So I'll use my machine to bring them here. Some of them are extremely powerful; I'll leave the most powerful ones there. There is one powerful creature I'll bring in; his name is Validus. Though he is powerful, he's not very bright. I'll put him in a physical and, more importantly, a mental stasis. I'll drain him of his power while I drain the others. When I'm finished I'll become the most powerful man in the universe!
But there's one problem. The Ultimate Machine, of which I made a copy, is faulty, not the equal of the original. Therefore, I'll need a guinea pig for this experiment to make sure there are no problems. I once drained Rick Jones of his gamma power when he had turned into a Hulk himself. After I've brought most of the Legion and Validus here, I'll bring Rick Jones here too, making him a conduit. Once I've transferred the Legionnaires' attributes, powers and skills into Rick and ignited his resurgent gamma powers, I'll drain Rick Jones of his power. The last time I drained him I made sure there was some small amounts of gamma energy left in him just for a time like this."
A week later, the Leader saw his chance. "Now, let's see how the Legion is doing. Hmmm. They've just defeated the Fatal Five and the Legion of Super Villains. They barely won that battle so they're exhausted. This is the best time to bring them to me. Now!" After the Leader figured out the coordinates he pressed several buttons and brought most of the exhausted Legion and Validus to his orbiting base with a stasis field designed for each of them.
"Greetings, Legion of Super Heroes. You won't have to wait too much longer, but I have one more guest to bring to my home. Once he's here, we'll begin."
The Leader then transported his mentally controlled warrior robots into Rick and his wife, Marla's apartment while the two were asleep in bed. After transporting them and his robots back into his orbiting space station, the Leader had put his two "guests" into stasis energy fields as well. Neither of them could move but the stasis field Rick was in was specially designed for what the Leader had in mind. As soon as he felt everything was in readiness, he pressed a button which woke Rick up with a jolt of electricity.
"Welcome, Rick Jones," a green skinned man with an exceptionally large head said as he regarded his "guest."
"Leader? How can it be? You're dead!"
"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. You once thought the Hulk was dead even though he wasn't. You're ability to judge whether or not someone's dead leaves a lot to be desired."
"Why did you bring my wife and me here? We were doing just fine until your robot goons showed up!" Rick shouted.
"You and your wife weren't doing so well. From the looks of things, you were on your way to divorce. But that won't be a problem after I'm through you."
"What are you talking about?" Rick asked as he tried to break free of the stasis field he was in.
"You remember how I drained your gamma energy from you in order to increase my own power some time ago?"
"Yeah? What about that?"
"Well, I made sure you still had some residual gamma energy in you. In addition to that, you still have residual cosmic energies from when you were merged with the late Captain Marvel. However, you will need help in order to bring all that power to the surface. Therefore, I'm going to drain power from another source, transfer it into you, then I'll drain that power from you, taking it into myself. My power will increase 1,000 fold!" the Leader said with a magnificent flare.
"What?! There's no way that could work! If that was possible I would have done something like that a long time ago!"
"Oh, really. You lack the brains to unlock the power within you, but for now, let me introduce you to my other guests, the Legion of Super Heroes!"
"What?" Rick said out loud. "The Legion of Super Heroes are comic book characters! You've flipped out, man!"
"Comic books? It figures a fool like you would be into something so ridiculous. Anyway, these are real live superheroes from another universe. My genius detected their universe and their presence, so I created a plan to get most of them here. Take a look at them; I have them in stasis fields as well; therefore, they are as helpless as you are. The green skinned one is especially intelligent, almost as smart as me. But they're not the only ones I've brought here. Take a look yonder."
When Rick looked up in the direction the Leader motioned he saw a huge creature the size of Galactus! He was wearing purple, seemed to have no eyes and had his brain exposed in a see through glass dome.
"What is that thing?" Rick asked after recognizing most of the Legion.
"He's called Validus. I'm also going to mostly drain his power along with the others. After I'm done juicing you up, so to speak, I'll drain the power from you into me," the Leader matter of factually.
"What do you need me to be a middle man for?" Rick asked.
"There are certain risks involved. Even though I've created a copy of the Watcher's Ultimate Machine, allowing me to see into the universe of these people and bring them here in the first place, there's a google(1) to one chance that my machine might not work exactly right. So just in case, you'll be the guinea pig. There are a lot of super heroes here to test on you so this will take a long time."
"Are you planning on draining these Legion of Super Heroes look a likes? Their costumes look really authentic, but you're not gonna get much out of them."
"They're the real thing, stripling! I viewed them from their home base on earth while they fought Validus, his friends in the Fatal Five and the Legion of Super Villains. The battle was hard on them and they barely won it. Validus' other friends had been put away in their version of prison. But before anything else could happen, I transported some of the Legion and Validus here for my experiment. There were others there too but what I have here will suffice."
"Are you planning on transferring all their powers into me? If they are as powerful as I've read that will kill me!"
"Possibly, but that's the chance I'll have to take. But that chance is minimal since I am using my copy of the Watcher's Ultimate Machine. Now, shall we begin? I'm curious as to what will happen when I drain... Let's start out with Karate Kid, Kid Quantum, Saturn Girl, XS, Alchemist, Brainiac 5, Dawnstar, and Gates. Keep in mind their skills and the abilities of their equipment will be drained from them too. Shall we begin?" the Leader said as he telepathically ordered one of his robots pull a lever.
"Oh, yes. There's one more thing. You need to be angry for this to work; your rage will ignite your resurgent gamma and cosmic powers you got during the long ago, Kree-Skrull War. Therefore," the Leader said as he pressed a button that woke up Rick's wife, Marlo with a jolt.
"Where am I?" the beautiful, young woman said to no one in particular.
"Hello, farewell, good bye!" the Leader exclaimed as he pressed another button, causing a massive amount of electricity to appear in the glass dome in which Marlo was imprisoned at the time.
"Aiiiieeee!" Marlo screamed as the potent electricity coursed through her! The power of the electricity was such that Marlo's body was reduced to a skeleton and dust moments after she died. All of this happened in Rick's full view.
"You monster! Why did you have to do that? I'll kill you if it's the last thing I do!" Rick screamed with grief.
"That's what I want to hear, rage and anger. Now, Validus' power will start flowing into you along with the aforementioned Legionnaires. Yes, that's it."
"We have to do something!" Saturn Girl telepathically communicated to the Legionnaires who were bound up with her, having kept them all in mental contact the whole time.
"Can you use your mental powers to attack this Leader, Saturn Girl?" Brainiac Five asked as he felt some of his intelligence being drained.
"It's not worth the risk. I can tell this guy's mental defenses are strong. If I attack him and fail, our chances of escape will be gone. As it is, he has no idea that I have mental powers."
"What other chance do we have?" Karate Kid asked.
"There is a chance if Rick over there is willing to cooperate. The saying, 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend,' will need to hold true. Can you communicate with him, Saturn Girl?" Brainiac Five asked as he saw Rick begin to turn green with rage and pain.
"I can do it. What's your plan?" the teenage girl asked.
"If you press your powers to the limit, putting our heads together, Saturn Girl, more than you're doing right now, making us of one mind, those of us who are being drained can give this Rick some of our powers and skills without permanently losing them. We can also mentally train him in the use of our powers by sending our collective sub consciousness into him while Gates sends him into another dimension where time will go at a much slower pace, giving him time to acclimate to the new powers he's getting. That's where you'll come in, Kid Quantum. It's important Rick has enough time to learn how to use all the powers he gets from us, so he'll know what to do. By the time he gets back no time should have passed from our point of view. Understand me, Jazmin?"
"I understand," Kid Quantum complied.
"But what good will that do? This Leader will just drain our given powers and skills from this guy into himself," Saturn Girl answered.
"It's possible if we give some of our powers and skills in a specific manner we can cause a feedback that will break him free. I will especially need your help with this, Livewire. With all of your help, I can figure out a way that Rick will be immune from power drains and any kind of transformations. He will probably drain some of the powers of our equipment as well, but the problem is, will he fight for us and help us afterwards?" Brainiac Five communicated to the others.
"From what I can tell, this guy has always wanted to be a super hero even though he sees us as only mere comic book characters he's read about since he was a kid," the team's telepath communicated.
"He'll fight for us! I've foreseen it! But we have to act quickly!" Dreamgirl communicated anxiously, having seen the future.
"That's it, then! Let's put our heads together and help out our erstwhile ally!" Brainiac Five ordered.
After a few seconds, Saturn girl communicated with Rick while he was in great pain absorbing a great deal of Validus and some of the Legionnaires' powers. "Hey, Rick. It's me, Saturn Girl. Yes, we're real. We can help each other."
"What? The pain is so great. How can you help me?" Rick answered in his mind.
"Here, let me show you." Saturn Girl re-laid Brainiac Five's plan to Rick who agreed to go along with them. As Rick continued to absorb the power he was getting, there was an explosion. !BOOM!
"What the? What was that?" the Leader exclaimed as Rick Jones vanished.
!BOOM! After another explosion commenced, and the smoke had cleared, Rick Jones stepped forward from the rubble all together different! He now stood at six feet four inches tall weighing 300 pounds of much defined muscle with each of his arms measuring 26 inches around, his body being perfectly symmetrical. Even though he still was a little recognizable, he looked like a champion bodybuilder except more impressive and imposing. His new uniform was composed of dark/green wrist bracelets, boots, leggings, and cape leaving his muscularly well formed, massive chest, abdominal six-pack, and arms exposed for all to see. In addition to that, he had dark/green eyes along with similarly colored lengthy mane-like hair that went a quarter way down his powerfully built back. He was a drop dead gorgeous man who was barrel chested with deep pectorals and beautiful green skin that was more like She Hulk's than the Hulk's. In fact, he was actually better looking than the jade giantess, becoming an inhumanly beautiful and powerful man. Thus Rick Jones had become had become bigger, better, badder!
"God, he's gorgeous!" Dreamgirl said mentally as the other female Legionnaires sighed in agreement.
"So you're free; no matter. I'll still drain you," the Leader said as he pressed a button. The draining beam surrounded Rick but had no effect on him.
"It's not going to work, Leader!" Rick said as he quickly flew towards the gamma powered super villain, the Leader barely putting up a force field before the newly empowered super hero could hit him. But despite that, the large headed villain still felt the pain of the countless blows which knocked him back several feet.
"It's over, Leader! Did you have to kill my wife? Blast you!" Rick said as he struck his wife's murderer several more times as he seemed to slip into unconsciousness despite his force field.
"Rick!" Saturn Girl telepathically called out to him. "It's time you break us free from our restraints!"
"All right guys," the emerald warrior answered the Legion's telepath. "Let's see about getting you free and back to your own universe." Then he zipped over to the instruments that were connected to the Legion's restraints at super human speed.
"Are you sure you know what you're doing, Rick?" Saturn Girl telepathically said to newly powered warrior.
"I got this. I've been here before. After having some of Brainiac Five's intelligence put into me, I know to press this button."
As soon the Legionnaires became free, Brainiac Five walked quickly towards the control panel. "Good work, Rick. You're a good student, but I better do the rest of this myself."
After the Leader had vanished, everybody heard his voice. "Do you think you've beaten me so easily? My robots will destroy you all!" Doors all over the place opened up revealing ten foot, giant-sized shiny silver, metallic robots and six foot man sized, pink, foam rubber robots. There were dozens of them which immediately surrounded the group of heroes and attacked!
"I'll hold them off! You guys get out of here as soon as you can!" Rick said as he moved into the robots destroying as many as he could.
"Let me give you a hand, Rick. I need to let off some steam," Karate Kid said as he moved in on the large silver robots, attacking and shattering them with his powerful martial arts. "Gates and Kid Quantum said, 'they sent you into a dimension where you spent time learning how to use the powers and skills you got from us.' I know you got some of my martial arts combat skills. But it looks like you've learned in less than a second a tenth of what it took me a life time to learn."
!SMASH! "Not quite. I was in that pocket dimension your friends sent me into for what felt like decades. Since you guys sent your subconscious minds into me, it was as if you guys were there teaching me the whole time. Even though my martial arts skills and abilities aren't on par with yours, my overall fighting skills are better than yours," Rick explained as he struck a particularly powerful robot, turning it into scrap metal.
"That's great, Rick." !SMASH! "You're doing a good job of fighting, and you're right about one thing."
"What's that?" !POW!
"You have less martial arts skills than I have but your overall combat skills are impressive. You used that time of practicing everything I thought you to good use," Karate Kid replied as he shattered another robot. !CRACK!
"Save some for me, guys! Livewire said as he blasted another robot.
"There's plenty for everyone, Garth. Just keep at those mechanical robots. I'm paying more attention to the rubber like robots here who might be more resistant to your electrical attacks!" Inferno said as he flamed several other mechanisms making their way towards them.
"Rubber or metal, it doesn't matter to me," the speedster known as Xs said she used her powers to vibrate through several robots shattering them.
"Roaaarrr!" they heard as Rick and the Legion finished off the last of the robots.
"It's Validus! He's awake!" Triad's three selves said all at once.
"He's half as tall as he was before, having been drained more than any of us. Thus, Validus's abilities have been permanently weakened. That explains Rick's massive gain in strength and power. Rick's as strong than Valor or Thunder at this point, maybe stronger," Dreamgirl said as she admired Rick's inhumanly handsome, green features.
"Well, then. I guess it's up to me to take this guy out," the emerald gladiator said as he walked forward.
"That might not be necessary, Rick," Umbra said as she covered the purple clothed giant's head with darkness obscuring his vision. "Validus isn't too effective without the Emerald Empress or the other members of the Fatal Five telling him what to do. Now he can't even see."
As Validus groped around in the darkness, everyone stayed out of his way.
"I'm done. This machine is brilliant," Brainiac Five said as he finished up. "All right. Rick, we have to go. We have an open window to which to return and I don't know how long that will last. We'll take Validus along with us, but I'm afraid you'll have to deal with the Leader on your own."
"Don't worry about it. I can deal with him. I've gotten enough of your powers and skills including a great deal of Validus' power. You guys can go home now. And thanks for your help; I'll handle things from here," Rick answered.
"That's the spirit! You'll make a great superhero, Rick!" Dreamgirl exclaimed as she ran over to him and kissed him passionately, rubbing up against him, making the newly made super hero blush.
"That was for luck, handsome. Bye bye!"
"I've set instruments to show us when we get back to our own universe. When we're back safe and sound I'll give you a thumbs up," Brainiac Five said.
"All right. It's been great working with you guys," Rick said.
"All right. Here we go." !ZAP! With that the Legion was immediately transported to their universe in their own headquarters along with the giant sized Validus.
Rick saw Brainiac Five give a thumbs up with the rest of the Legion behind him waving as Rick viewed him from the Leader's monitor screen. Then Rick heard him say, "Rick, This is Brainiac Five. You need to destroy that machine. It's too dangerous for a mad man like the Leader to have. As I said before, I've given you the thumbs up. We will probably never see each other again so good bye and good luck!"
"Gotcha, dude!" Rick said as he proceeded to destroy the machine.
"What are you doing, you brute? Noooo!" the Leader called out as he showed up with a large gun pointed in Rick's direction.
"I've destroyed your machine, Leader. So you won't get another unless you go all the way back to the Watcher's base on the moon again."
"Why you muscle headed oaf! I'll kill you for this!" The Leader then blasted him with his huge gun.
"Aargh!" Rick moaned as the laser energy engulfed him.
"It's bad enough that you freed my prisoners. But you had to take power which was rightfully mine."
"Rightfully yours? You drained me before in order to increase your own power, and then you kidnapped and killed my wife in order to enrage me so as to get more power, now you have the gall to make yourself out to be the victim? You can just stuff it!"
"You are beginning to anger me, you green giant!" the Leader screamed in a rage as he tried to blast Rick again but missed.
"My name isn't Green Giant; I'm calling myself Validus after the creature whose power I ended up getting. Now I believe I owe you for killing my wife," Validus said as he power leaped towards the Leader like a shot, intending to do him some serious bodily harm.
"Fool!" the Leader screamed.
However, before Validus could get to him, the Leader pressed a button, creating a portal that Validus leaped right through. "I hope you enjoy being lost in space, Validus," the Leader said with a wicked smile on his face.
In the next moment Rick Jones found himself in an unfamiliar area of the universe. "Where am I?" Validus said as he looked around in the galaxy in which he was at the moment for a familiar planet.
"What happened to you guys and who were you talking to?" Valor asked, surprised to see the other Legionnaires appearing out of nowhere inside their headquarters.
"It's a long story, Valor, but before we can talk about that we need to get Validus into a cell at Galtron-Tarkos," Saturn Girl said, happy to be home.
"All right. Come on, Ultra Boy, Thunder, and Monstress. We have a job to do," Valor ordered.
"He's half the size he was before!" Thunder exclaimed, regarding the scaled down Validus.
"I'm sure we'll get an explanation on that later, but let's do what we have to do right now," Valor said as the four powerful Legionnaires got to work.
(1)Google is a number that has one hundred zeros after the one.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: But let me know what you think of it. Here are Validus'(Rick Jones) stats. These stats are based on Classic Marvel the RPG. If you want to see how Validus stacks up against other super heroes and villains just go to Classic Marvel. You can see how the system works from there.
FIGHTING: UNEARTHLY (100) This means superhuman fighting ability backed up by years of intensive training.
AGILITY: AMAZING (50) This level of agility is at the human limit with the ability to do ability to do acrobatic feats and dodge multiple shots of gunfire with ease.
STRENGTH: SHIFT X (150) This level of strength is one level above and beyond what the next strongest super being can lift, well over one hundred tons (Validus can actually lift a more than this when he gets angry and in the course of a fight)
ENDURANCE: SHIFT Y (200) This level of endurance is two levels above immeasurable and never tiring.
REASON: INCREDIBLE (40) This level intelligence means the ability to understand alien technologies.
INTUITION: INCREDIBLE (40) This means a strong empathic sense and a strong gut feeling.
PSYCHE: MONSTROUS (75) This means resistant to all but the most powerful mental attacks.
Invulnerability: Class 1000 resistance to Cold, Heat, Fire, Radiation, Disease, Corrosives, Toxins. His body's cells protect him internally as well so even his insides wouldn't be melted by drinking a vial of acid.
Power Defense: Class 1,000 immunity versus power drains and transformation attacks.
True Flight: Rick can fly at speeds of 750 mph.
Hyper Leaping: Class 5,000 This means the ability to leap pretty much where Rick can perceive.
True Invulnerability: Unearthly (100) This means invulnerability versus all attacks except for attacks otherwise stated
Regeneration: Unearthly (100)
Psi-Screen: Monstrous (75)
Iron Will: Monstrous (75)
Total Memory: Incredible (40)
Astral Detection: Monstrous (75)
Mental Awareness: Validus is aware of mental powers used around him and who's using them.
Bump of Direction: Always knows his north, south, east, west, up or down, he has a built in compass so to speak.
Life Support: Even though Validus can breathe the thinnest of air without any difficulty he still needs at least a little bit of oxygen to breath. His endurance enables him to last for periods of time holding his breath, but in space he would eventually need a space suit. His greater constitution provides little need for sleep; however, eventually he will tire and require rest.
Super Speed: Validus possesses quick reflexes along with the ability to run, swim, and move at speeds of 700 mph. His thought processes are faster as well.
Adrenaline Surge: The listed abilities and Health scores are for Validus under "normal" circumstances. Validus's Fighting and Strength rise to an unknown level. This requires Validus to make a successful Psyche FEAT roll. If the opponent is defeated or the problem is solved, Validus' abilities and Health scores return to normal in the next round. Validus's regeneration also increases 1CS to a maximum of Shift-Z each round until he is no longer taking damage.
EQUIPMENT: His clothes (wristbands, boots, belt, cape, and pants) can't be taken from him and are considered a part of him and adapt to all of his abilities. He can make these appear or disappear at will. He can also make his outer clothes appear and disappear at will.
TALENTS: Acrobatics, Tumbling, Wrestling, Martial Arts: A, B, C, D, E, Architecture, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computers, First Aid, Tracking, Speed Reading, Lightning Calculator, Tracking, Astro-Navigation, Detective, Electronics, Engineering, Physics, Temporal Physics, Radiation, Repair/Tinker, Streetwise, Aeronautics, Robotics, Aerodynamics, Weapons Master, Pilot, Telecommunications, Music: Guitar
AUTHOR NOTES: Validus' vision and hearing are perfect but not super human.