Wonder Woman 6
The Revenge of the Baroness
Steve Trevor glanced at his shoulder. The emblem showing his new rank stood brightly against his tan jacket. "Major Steve Trevor" he drawled, liking the sound of his new title. Colonel Darnell had not only promoted him, but had placed him in charge while he was off.
Steve looked around the office. Colonel Darnell had been called off on a secret meeting with Army higher ups. Details were scare; despite his new rank and responsibilities Steve wasn't permitted to know where the meeting was taking place. His eyes fell to a small stack of letters. "Lila's been busy." He scooped up the papers and thumbed through them. A stray letter fell out from the bottom.
Picking it up, Steve noticed the address. "Something from the Federal Prisons?" He opened it. He heart sank at the words. "Lila!"
Lila Brown rushed into the office. "Yes sir?"
"This letter is postmarked three days ago. Why wasn't this delivered to the Colonel directly?"
"It didn't seem important Major."
Steve crumbled the letter up in his fist. "Clear my appointments then leave. I'm going to be busy for the rest of the day."
Lila's raised an eyebrow. "What are you planning on doing?"
"I'm going to call Wonder Woman, then I'm going to track down Colonel Darnell and tell him Paula Von Gunther has escaped."
Steve carefully placed the headphones over his ears and put the diodes on his forehead. "Calling Paradise Island, come in Paradise Island!" he felt a bit a silly thinking the words, but when Queen Hippolyta's face appeared in the view-screen, his doubts vanished.
"Steve, what's the matter?" her voice rang like a crystal bell in his mind.
"We have trouble here angel. Colonel Darnell is, well, missing, and Baroness Von Gunther has escaped from prison. I'm positive the two are related, but I'm having too much red tape on this end. Can you help?"
Her expression changed. She looked like she was going to blow him off, but her mouth softened at the last second. "There are issues here that I must deal with, but I will be at our usual meeting place within forty-eight hours."
She disconnected the link and stepped way from the table. She could hear cheering from her window. "I am needed elsewhere, but this tournament could provide a means to help me."
Ever few years, since they established their home on the strange isle, the Amazons held a tournament. The reasons varied, but Hippolyta had an idea. "What if the winner is allowed to act as our ambassador to Man's World?"
She let the idea form as she slipped into the royal robe and tiara. Outside her door, two members of her guard stood at attention and flanked her way as she walked down to the royal chariot. She waved the guards off as she took the reins. "That is certainly a possibility, but I should wait and see who wins this year."
The tournament was a showcase of the traditional Amazon feats. By the time she arrived, the jousting portion was in the finals. She took her seat in the royal box as the final contestants entered the arena.
Each rider was mounted on a kanga, an animal native to the island, wearing the traditional armor of the Amazons. Hippolyta remembered with a smile trying to describe the kanga to Steve and his disbelief that such an animal could exist. The riders saluted each other as horns blew.
She watched in fascination as the riders charged each other. Lances broke against shields, riders thrown from their mounts, but the end, only one rider remained in her seat. "Mala, I should have guessed."
Mala removed her helmet and slid off the kanga's back. She helped the loser, a younger Amazon with fiery red hair, to her feet. "A sign perhaps, but Mala is too inexperienced for Man's World, although she might yet play a part in this drama. Metala is better suited to the forge, but she too could serve me in Man's World."
A week before
As for the Baroness Von Gunther, her escape was so simple it was almost a waste to try and describe it. While being shipped to another prison for questioning, she had asked her guard for a light. The G-Man, a thick necked fellow with a crooked nose, made a big show of producing a lighter.
She, in return, snatched his gun from his holster and shot him and the driver. From there, it was simple to change her prison garb and telephone one of her contacts. Picked up, she was taken to a small lab, nestled deep within the mountains.
Hans, her driver, opened her door for her as she lit a fresh cigarette with the dead man's lighter. "Have you followed my order Hans?"
The burly man nodded. "Yes baroness! I've memorized the layout of the Gigantic and obtained a job as member of the crew. We have been busy implementing your plan per orders."
"Excellent! Bring me Mavis and the rest of my men. After I change out of these peasant garments I'll demonstrate how I'll capture the Colonel."
Mavis meekly entered the lab. She hung her head low as the Baroness slipped on a lab coat and goggles. "Gentlemen, please stand back." Mavis moved forward towards a small cot that was hooked to a large machine. She was wearing a strange black suit that covered her from neck to feet. Under the Baroness's watchful eyes, she slipped a black hood of the same material over her head.
As Mavis strapped herself down to the mesh wire of the cot, Paula lowered her goggles over her eyes. "The Gigantic is one of the world's largest ocean liners. The security is most advanced in the world, as is the equipment. A Naval escort is never more than two hours away at all times. It is for those exact reasons that Colonel Darnell is taking it to England to conference with our enemies."
"Then how are we to capture him?" Hans raised his hand.
"A good question." Paula threw a switch, sending electrical current through the cot. The small metal framework glowed with a weird energy, sparks arching off the metal and sizzling on the stretched fabric. The cot slowly faded from view, leaving Mavis looking like she was floating in mid-air. Mavis thrashed before their eyes, but shockingly, she then vanished before them too. "That is how!"
"What happened?" Hans moved forward. He could see nothing. Before the Baroness was nothing but air. "Did you disintegrate her?"
"No" Paula slipped a rubber glove on and slapped the space between them. Hans recoiled as he heard the unmistakable sound of flesh being slapped and Mavis's cry. "She exists still, but the mesh wire in her clothes and the cot are rejecting all light. In short she is invisible to the naked eye and radar."
"Impossible!" Hans and the others gasped.
"Not so, it is simply a matter of science. If your work is of good quality, then when I throw a similar switch on the ship we'll have ample time to capture the Colonel and sink the boat before anyone notices we're there."
"But there is still the matter of getting on the boat." Another man pointed out. Paula smirked as she powered down the machine. Mavis reappeared, no worse for wear.
"True, but then we won't be going on the boat. Lady Chumlary is, however, and she should have the credentials to get us close enough to the Colonel." She picked up a photo of the noblewoman. Aside from a few cosmetic differences, Paula could have been looking into a mirror. "It should be a fairly simple matter once we're on board to take the ship if there is no rescue." She smiled as the men saluted her.
"So that's the story angel." Steve paced back and forth in front of the invisible plane.
"Von Gunther is not one to let opportunities lapse, yet I thought we dismantled her operations in America, and Diana did the same in Europe."
"That's what I thought too, but it seems we missed a few. She's rebuilt her network from the ground up."
A buzzing from his car interrupted his rant. Rushing to the special radio receiver built into his dash, Steve slipped on the headset and listened. He paled before signing off. "Angel, the Gigantic just vanished."
"No, I mean it's gone. Not on radio or telescope."
Wonder Woman's eyes narrowed. "She's behind this, I'm sure. Come, we'll fly out to the ship's last reported location."
Paul had to admit, the plan went with an ease she never suspected. It had been a fairly easy to waylay Lady Chumlary. At her insistence the noblewoman was knocked out, rather than killed. "We'll be miles out to sea with a transport to take us home when we're finished. Hiding a corpse would only delay us." A quick application of a chloroform soaked rag was enough to render the Englishwoman helpless.
With the Lady bound and gagged in her hotel room, gaining passage onboard the ship was laughably simple. From there it was a simple matter of checking in with her agents and going over the plan one last time. The panels needed to render the ship invisible were all in place. Two bullets, one in the operator and the other in the radio, ensured that no outside help would be summoned.
Using the ladyship's name had guaranteed her a spot opposite the colonel. With ease she drew her gun as her men swarmed the dining hall. "Ladies and gentlemen, I ask that you please stay at your seats. My men and I are simply going to talk to the brave American solider elsewhere."
The captain of the ship clenched his fists. "Now see here, you'll never get away with this!"
The Baroness pointed to the nearest porthole. "Ah, you believe the Navy escort will no doubt swoop in and catch me?"
The captain became less confidant at the sound of her voice. "Yes!"
"Then look outside and try to signal." A few passengers took her up on the offer. They waved signs and screamed at the distant ship on the horizon, but it never changed its speed. She smirked as they dejectedly sat back down. "As I said, this ship is in my complete power. Do as I say, and you will be allowed to go free."
On cue, a U-boat broke the water's icy surface. Paula felt a great swell of pride in her chest as she herded Darnell towards the ship's railing. Despite her words, the u-boat's captain's orders were clear: once the Baroness and her men were onboard with their captive, sink the Gigantic and all hands. She hadn't told the passengers that, as she felt no need for them to panic.
As the first of her men climbed down the rope ladder to the waiting sub, a strange noise filled the air. Her pride instantly turned to dread. "No, no, how can she be here?"
The whirling noise stopped. Hustling the colonel back into the observation deck, Paula scanned the area. "Perhaps I imagined it. That blasted Wonder Woman will have me jumping at shadows next." She was about to laugh the whole thing off when twin gunshots rang out, neatly severing the rope ladder and sending two of her men into the freezing Atlantic water." No!"
Steve trained his gun on the Baroness's men as the Wonder Woman jumped over the side to deal with the sub. "Hands where I can see them boys."
Paula's gun dropped from her hand. "How? How did you find me?"
"Pretty simple actually." He snagged her wrist and slapped her in handcuffs before she could slip away.
Below, things went even easier. Landing with a thud on the ship's deck, Wonder Woman unhooked her lasso and snared the captain. "Give your men the order to surrender!" With one tug of the magic lasso, the captain repeated the orders. The deck guns lowered as their gunners stood up, their hands raised in surrender.
With the men captured, Wonder Woman ordered the rest to board the Gigantic. A few seconds under the lasso revealed to them how to reverse the process and restore the ship. As Paula and the rest of her were loaded into the brig, Steve finally seemed to relax. "Well angel, you came through for me again."
"True, but what about next time? I can't always be here Steve."
"You have a responsibility to your people, I understand that, but about the rest of the world?"
Wonder Woman smirked. "Good counter; I'll help when I can Steve, but I can not speak for my people. I hope in time to change that."
"We'll be waiting for you Angel." Steve watched as the two women were led away; Paula Von Gunther to the FBI team waiting back on shore and Wonder Woman to her invisible plane. "We can use all the help we can get."
The following tale was based on "Wonder Woman's Lasso" which was first published in Sensation Comics#6 (June 1942), with credits to William Marston, AKA Charles Moulton (script) and Harry G. Peter (pencils and inks).
Now for fan mail
They call me Bruce
Nice work here, fella
Great tale, I must say it was pretty interesting to see Wonder Woman go underwater to for an adventure to save a war sub. Please do keep up the good work upon such a great series like this one.
Now this is more like it! Hippolyta did a great job against the fifth-columnist. I have to think her compassion would lead her to try to help Dr. Sands as well
I've always gotten a big kick out of your stories. Wonderful work, thanks for sharing
And thanks to all who wrote in. Next time be here for The Story of Wonder Woman!
Action Comics#5-Superwoman VS the Dam
Detective Comics#5-The Bat VS the Monk