Chapter 34: The Past Feeds The Present

The highest order of all biological beings were called AEsir. Borr , the Conqueror, was their king. More than 2, 500 years ago, Borr—the architect of Asgard— commissioned his sons Odin and Vili to construct a home for the AEsir-kind.

Some time later, Borr witnessed the struggles of the many homeless non-human refugees who fled wars and pestilence. He was moved over the many peoples who were thrown together with no hope. He instructed Odin to designate the west coast of Asgard as the home for these distraught nomads. This area was where the three fates, the Norns, once resided. Hence, the people took that name for themselves and Nornheim was born.

But gratitude was a waning virtue for this mixed multitude and they warred against Asgardians for a larger lot of land. Borr's armies marched in swiftly and nearly obliterated the memory of Nornheim from history. But Borr heard the cries of the Norn orphans and held true to his first compassions.

Borr firstly restored their borders. The Asgadian king then cursed their ground so that no food would grow there. For who are the people who would go out to fight the nation that feeds them? So with resentful murmurs, the Norns looked to the AEsir-kind as their providers. King Borr suspected that this forced alliance would one day crumble—but he would deal with the consequences then.

Centuries later, in the first year of young Odin's reign over the AEsir-kind, the elite sorceress, Karnilla, was granted her wish. She surrendered her seat in the Royal Asgardian Council to become Queen of the Norns. The novice king thought, surely with a born and bred Asgardian on the throne, the Norns would never look to affront Asgard.

Alas, being a former Asgardian was not a hedge around the heart to ward off pride and the lust for more power. The powerful, ever-youthful Karnilla, sought independence— for what ruler in the 9 realms could truly boast of her sovereignty if her people were beholding to another kingdom for sustenance? But try as she might, even her masterful sorcery could not turn Borr's curse away.

The beauteous Witch-Queen then resorted to raids against Asgard. And why not? She felt like a child who had to wait for her parent to hand her food—UNEXCEPTABLE. And Kanilla would only take a little more than what Odin granted her weekly—WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE? Besides, she knew the new king since his childhood. His the demeanor had never changed— SHAMELESSLY PASSIVE.

To Karnilla's surprise, Asgardian armies marched a second time through the Nornheim. Against the Queen's defenses the AEsir forces were like a blade that was held to the fire and then brought to slice butter. And again history ran full circle as Odin's memory daggered at his outraged heart.

He remembered Karnilla's faithful and tender care for his mother Bestla; and her wise council to his father. He also remembered the wisdom behind the mercies of Borr. Therefore, Odin spared the Norns.

King Odin signed a treaty where he lifted his father's curse from the lands. In return, Karnilla availed all her fighters —the Rock Giants, the armor-bodied axe-and-swordsmen who once called themselves the Mountain Ogres , the Outer Bank Trolls, the wizards, the witches, the fire-breathers, the shape-shifters- to the service of Asgard whenever the golden realm's royal family asked for them.

Using the calendar of Midgard's inhabitants, it was early afternoon on Tuesday June 22, 1964. The ageless beauty, Karnilla, walked among her fruit gardens with a smile that, unlike the Talking Sands image, had not left her since this morning. Hours ago, Prince Thor had asked for a boon. In so doing, he revealed his human identity. His days as the mortal Donald Blake were the weakest, most vulnerable of Thunder Master's existence.

Oh, but this royal AEsir clod was as dimwittedly naïve as his father, and his grandfather before him.

The sun seemed to have been much brighter, the air sweeter on this day as Karnilla mused upon the

great value the golden realm placed upon the favored Odinson.

Earlier this day, based on a centuries-old treaty with a less-than-trustworthy realm, Thor petitioned Queen Karnilla for a shape-shifter. His request was granted. In her normal form, the young red-haired Namist was lovely of face, but nearly emaciated in body. She could disguise herself as anything or anyone who wasn't taller than twelve feet.

Before crossing the bridge Bifrost, Namist was given a small satchel of Talking Sand from the chambers of Odin. To speak with someone at a vast distance, Namist was instructed to take half a handful of the Talking Sands in her palm. While thinking about the person she had to contact she had to blow the grains back into the satchel, except for a tiny portion. She had to take the pinch of sand and throw it in front of her face. The grains lingered in the air, enlarge themselves and spread out. In whatever location of the known universe the other person was, the recipient would discover a sandy light in front of him or her. Within the frame of the sands, the two persons could see and speak to each other for a short period. This was how Guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, Heimdall, communicated with Odin to announce non-threatening events within the 9 realms.

In the guise of a pigeon, Namist entered through the window of Dr. Blake's office. It took less than ten minutes of conversation, for Namist to pick up on the tonality and word stresses of Thor's Midgardian persona. She transformed herself into Dr. Donald Blake and the mighty Thor was free to participate in the late morning search for the bomb.

Except for a bit of curiosity when the bogus Dr. Blake disappeared into an empty room and returned later with a remedy to an illness, none of the patients saw anything unusual. Everything ran smoothly… if you don't include Nurse Jane Foster in the "everything" clause.

Today at 2:00 PM, while the distraught Brigika Adamsky announced the disappearance of Yolanda Vanko to Henry Pym, the reappearance of the Odinson was met by a greatly relieved Namist. Using the Talking Sands minutes ago, the two Donald Blakes had arranged a meeting in a deserted emergency stairway on the same floor where Blake's medical practice took place.

And now the Norn had an earful for the real doctor. Thor had taken the precaution to warn Namist not to participate in long conversations with Jane. In Thor's haste to save the city, he forgot to show the shape-shifter how to distract the inquisitive mind of his beloved and defuse potential drama.

Namist began her story. The bogus Dr. Blake knew that Jane and the Doctor were an item. She also knew that mortal women liked compliments. Noticing that Jane lingered in front of "him" longer than it was necessary to announce that a patient was sitting in a particular examination room, the fake Blake thought that Jane was waiting for a compliment. Living in Nornheim, the shape-shifter had little practice in receiving and giving flirty messages. But for the sake of the Son of Odin, she tried.

Donald Blake smiled and admiringly said that there was no other woman who he could compare to Jane.

To Jane's ear the tone was off, somehow. Was it just forced words? In her insecurity, she asked how many women had he been with.

The look in the nurse's eyes told Namist that she had better word the next sentence carefully.

"Oh, I had very limited experiences with other women." Okay that should suppress any jealousy that might have been brewing.

"So if you are limited to other contacts, I'm just the best of a small number? I guess here in New York the pond is bigger and the fishes are various. Should I worry about the bigger scope of competition? There are lots of lovely women here."

"Now why would I want a lovely woman instead of y-? All right, wait." Namist regrouped her thoughts. " I mean, that as far as being with very few women, you fail to take account that I see a lot of attractive young patients."

Jane squinted. "So you enjoy seeing these other women in scantly clothes?"

The shape-shifter was becoming increasingly nervous and upset. "Wait, a minute. Do you think I ogle other women?"

"You just said so."

"You need to stop. Yes, I look at other women—"

"Aha," Jane interrupted.

" No. I look at them as patients, not sexual creatures."

"I'll bet." Then Jane folded her arms in front of her and asked, "You look at me as a sexual creature?"

New warning bells were ringing in Namist's head. "No, I have the highest respect for you. I wouldn't think of you sexually." Just as the words escaped Namist's mouth, "Dr. Blake" grimaced at the sound of them.

"Oh, you respect me, but I don't ring your bell, correct? I find it interesting that respect is used by a man who wants to let a female down gently…. to spare her feelings."

"I have not even thought a bit about your feelings." The doctor quickly threw his hands in front of himself— " NOOO, wait. I do, but…. Look, you ARE attractive; very much so. I just said that I didn't find you… eh, what I mean is that I said 'respect' because I think of you more than just a woman. I consider you a friend.

"No woman wants the man she is interested in to considered her 'a friend'. Am I equal to any of your buddies who would want you to play poker on the same night that I was planning for us to go out? Would you have to flip a coin to see who you would be with?"

Now Nemist didn't know if Thor's earthly persona had any "buddies", so she ignored the urge to tell Jane that she was of higher value than those friends. Well, in truth, the bigger urge was to say that if those buddies were nowhere as crazy as Jane, then probably the coin flip was unnecessary.

"Let's stop this silliness," the illusionist finally said.

"So, I'm silly, you say? Is that how you show me respect?

"No, no no! I meant that what we are saying is silly and totally beneath the intelligent, enchanting woman that you are. Why are you making this difficult?"

"Ohhh, so now I'm difficult. I'm so sorry to have burdened your carefree life."

"Please listen to me. I spend a lot of time with you. So how could you think that my life is carefree?


"Hold on. I meant that you know that my life isn't free of problems, but you also should know that I don't consider you burdensome."

Jane's face turned from angry to stone-like. "Oh, well thank you so much. Is that the best that I can expect from you?"

Blake let out an exasperated sigh— "I think you are marvelous, fantastic, perfect. You are an unbelievable woman. It's a shame that there aren't more women like you."

"Why? You think one of me isn't enough for you? How many unbelievable girlfriends would you prefer?"

The bogus doctor took his papers and went into one of the last vacant examination room.

"Okay, I've had it. I'm doing my work as far away from you as possible. When the next patient comes in, call me. But don't even try to talk to me about anything else.

"Is that how you resolve things, Donald? You run away?"

"Right now, in your mood— YES!" The doctor slammed the door behind him. Namist didn't leave the examination room until there was a patient ready for examination. The rest of the morning consisted of cold exchanges.

The real Dr. Blake nodded in affirmation to Namist's story. During the last half hour of the three bridge stake out, Thor's advice to Namist as to how to warm Jane up had not worked.

Now after reporting these difficulties to the authentic man, Namist was eager to turn back into a bird and escape the place of her inquisition.

Dr. Blake understood; he had plenty of these misunderstandings earlier in his relationship with Jane. With a sigh, he opened up a window in the stairway and bade the shape-shifter a thankful good-bye.

Before the pigeon left, she turned to the doctor and respectfully asked if his constant changes from immortal to mortal wasn't taxing his brain cells. How could a right-minded male go through what Namist did and stay in love?

"That's the secret," Blake responded. "That all-consuming, all-forgiving word—love."

As Donald Blake walked towards his office door, his steps became slower. He meekly opened the door. He was moved by the sight of Jane's loveliness as she checked the medical insurance of a patient.

The doctor cleared his throat and began, "Jane, darling….."

Her eyes enlarged and the space between her eyebrows became jagged terrain. Okay, if she was a mountain, this would have been the time that the top of her head would have erupted in flames and smoke.

The doctor hurried to his desk in the other room. He picked up the phone and asked the information operator for the nearest florist. Even a Norse Legend needs to be rescued in a dire situation.

As children, orphans Erica (Yollie) and Henry (Nee) Pym were shuffled from one home to another. Sometime the adults or children in a new home weren't all that hospitable. Back then it was exclusively brother-and-sister verses the world, and Erica sensed it stronger than Nee. But the bolder Yollie was content not to draft her reserved brother into battle on one condition. The boy-genius had to supply an arsenal for his soldier sister.

One of young Erica's inspiration for a weapon came from their Roy Rogers toy cowboy guns. The play-gun had a white roll of thin paper that had a series of red dots. These were small harmless, but loud blasting caps. When the little Dale Evans-wannabe pulled the trigger, the toy gun hammer stuck a dot. It let off the blast. When she released the trigger the paper roll pushed up another blasting cap for her to use.

Upon her insistence, the then-nine-year-old Nee detached the red dots and made its "bang" compound less stable. She no longer needed the gun's hammer. Erica could now throw it on the ground and produce the explosive sound effect.

The blasts needed to be carried around discretely, but the now just a bit of pressure could make the unstable caps could go off in her pocket. That would ruin both the surprise attack and the credibility of denial after the attack. An adult, though not as smart as she was, could trace the explosions back to the duo.

To make it easier for Erica to hold, Henry wrapped the compound inside the protection of a pea-sized portion of his own new and improved gelatin. It disintegrated with the explosion. Great—unlike the paper roll, there would be no lingering evidence for an adult to trace back to Erica.

Erica experimented with other possible uses for the thing. Henry's first "Yollie" (he met Yolanda Vanko as an adult) placed the tiny gelatin under a chair leg and instructed Nee to sit on the seat. Bang!

Hooray! Erica had a new weapon— the gel-caps— to unnerve troublesome adversaries.

Today, in a room inside Georgetown University Hospital, the adult Erica had hung up the phone next to her husband's empty bed. The FBI operative on the other end of the line had announced mission accomplished.

She was the one responsible for having this FBI agent in Grand Central with the intention of delaying one prospective passenger. It was her brother's request. And since they both liked Yolanda ….

Tomorrow she was sure to be questioned was to why a girl fitting the description that Erica provided was so important to National Security.

Erica had all night to figure out a reason. Right now she was in giddy mood… sparked by silliness and vengeance.

She had brought from home only a couple of the innumerable souvenirs that she kept from her childhood.

While her husband was using the bathroom, Erica fingered three small items that where rounded on one side and flat on the other…. The gelatin blasting caps.

She then took out of her purse a few typical wax lined drinking cups, … a safety pin, … a roll of scotch tape, … and a spool of sowing thread. Oh, and she couldn't forget her travel-size tooth paste.

It was all designed to return any grief that her big mouth mother-in-law would launch at Erica. The trick, as it was in her childhood, was to still look innocent of any offense …. especially to her beloved Barrymore.

Now Barry's sisters had their moments, but they were far behind Barry's mom, Agnes, in the race to be crowned Queen of Hell. And so ….

Plan one: This would go through, even before the old bat opened her venomous yap. A thin brown thread was tied to the left hand arm rest of the brown chair that Tyrannosaurus Mumzie-in-law always took…. ALWAYS. She couldn't wait for Erica to fetch something for Barry and then she would take the chair, move it close to Barry's hospital bed and her fat butt would never surrender it. It was the most comfortable seat in the room, after all.

Erica placed the chair where Agnes always wanted it— near Barry's bed. The sowing thread would be draped over the seat to the other armrest, leaving a slope in the middle where her old rhino butt would plant itself. The other end would be tied to the upper portion of a wood veneer lamp base. The lamp was placed at the edge of the bed's end table.

When Agnes, the Anal goes to sit on the seat, the lamp will become a lap pet. Of course, Erica would then have to act fast to snap off the thread and get rid of the evidence of her crime. Sigh— even now, even as she unrolled the thread, Erica felt all warm envisioning the old bat's screaming surprise.

Plan two: The safety pin punched three small holes in the bottom of the waxed cup. Erica then placed a small piece of scotch tape under the cup to cover the holes. As was her custom, when the older Mrs. Collingsworth implies that her son looked happier when he was single, Erica would offer her refreshment— a soda in a cup.

The old bat kept drinking cups on her lap as if she was afraid that someone would snatch it. Well, it will take less than 60 seconds for the liquid to erase the sticky quality of the tape. Then -OH MY- her skirt will be the one drinking her soda, not her. As with the thread, ditching the dangling scotch tape would be very important.

Plan three: Battle Axe Agnes routinely brought along her bedroom slippers when she visited Erica's home. Yesterday, the nasty old bag continued her tradition when she came to the hospital. This was her announcement that she was staying a long while, like it or not.

Well, if Satan's daughter opened up with how Barry's high school flame had profitable family investments in Mobil Oil Company, dutiful daughter-in-law Erica would volunteer to bring her slippers out of the bat-crap's bag and place them in front of her feet.

This was, of course, to prove to the old witch that Erica wanted to win her acceptance.

Oh, but how the nauseating hag hated the feeling of ooze. Maybe it was a reminder of what slime pits her mind and mouth were. Barry would surely blame the heifer's carelessness for the squish of tooth paste hidden in one slipper.

And what a shame that both slippers couldn't have the hidden tooth paste. Erica couldn't chance a conspiracy theory immerging.

Plan four : If Cruella DeVill begins her crap about how a good wife would have spotted an oncoming stroke, Erica would remain quiet and allow Barry to take up her defense. The 5 foot, 11-inch Amazon-built woman knew that Mouthy Mumzie had an old person's bladder. Before she would go to the bathroom, Erica would feign her own need. The size-changer's sister would place two of Nee's old blasting compounds on the floor where Erica anticipated that the old she-ogre would be standing as she dropped her undies to plant that nasty old butt on the seat.

The years had darken the gelatin modes. They hid perfectly when they were scotch taped to the black squared portion of the white-and-black mini-tile floor.

The expressive old bat would probably curse up a storm after the blast. And in accordance with what Erica heard, the younger Mrs. Collingsworth would know if one of the blasts occurred before Mumzie-in-law lowered her panties. Well, if there was a sudden bodily water main break before she took them off, Erica would surely feel very sor….. she would likely feel sor… it was a forty/sixty chance that she might feel somewhat sor…

Oh the Hell with it. Erica would have to leave her hubby's room until she could stop laughing. If Barry's wife found it all extremely entertaining, Erica might even pay for the old bat's parking.

Oh yes, it was all so childish. But it showered her with a frivolous thrill that Erica had forgotten could exist. She felt like her pre-teen days again. Regretfully, unlike then, Nee wasn't by her side to help set up the KA-BOOM. On the bright side, she would still give a nasty person a come-upping.

In the worst part of the Bronx county of New York City, a payphone located outside of a drug store was repaired for the third time in two month. Addicts are addicts and if damaging phones is the only way to get dough then these units were sure to have short spells of operational capability.

The first customer that the re-constructed phone received was a two-time loser who had no intention of seeing a prison for the third time. His next gig was going to be fail-proof. When he got off the phone he was sure that he had it.

The thug walked across the street to a park. There, his unshaved comrades sat on a bench waiting for him.

"Yeah?" one asked.

"Yeah," he replied excitingly. "An easy jewel heist. An old watchman who is as slower on the gun-draw than a snail with arthritis. A get-away helicopter. No police cars to run from."

This, indeed, was what a burglar's dream was made of.

"And," the man continued, "I know the place. It was the place that kicked me out of when I worked as a security guard."

The first time that Hank Pym agreed to partner with Janet van Dyne, the Wasp was still mourning the death of her father, Vernon. A few weeks later the world became so beautiful. Jan had a man-gem in her hands and she was maneuvering her way into moving in with Dr. Pym.

The guy was knock-your-socks-off handsome, what could Jan say? He was shy, slow-to-anger, and semi-attentive. "Semi" because his experiments would occasionally preoccupy most of his waking moments. But hey—having those goods looks, Jan was happy he was spending time with test tubes instead of women.

Well, with his gorgeous blue eyes, his enchanting pearly whites, appealing looks, one would expect some conceit. But the guy was charming as well as good looking. … And rich.

That was an important asset for any suitors that Jan accepted. She was used to a certain lifestyle. And if she was to fulfill her plan of being High Society's most celebrated fashion designer, Jan could not afford to be distracted with menial things like budgeting for rent or vacations. Speaking of which, Henry was very accommodating in those regards.

She was sleeping over three to four nights out of the week. She might as well have been a border. But so long as she played lab assistant, Jan knew that she didn't have to pay for neither rent nor food.

After the initial 9 months of crime-busting and spy-capturing, the city had become quiet. Jan had become an adventure-hound and the inactivity was killing her. Hank reached into his pockets and the next thing she knew, they were off to vacation in Greece. Of course it led to a whole-other adventure with a giant robot, but in the end, they stayed an additional 5 days. And that was where she sunk her teeth into that delicious specimen of manhood.

She didn't want to be married, just yet. It was great to know that she could puck at his apple tree anytime she wanted with no commitment to a tie-down. Maybe she would one day loose her taste for apples.

And it was in Greece that, in her wild appreciation of this fantastic package of ubber intellect , good looks and he-man performance, she first coined her tag line for him. "Hunk-a-bundle."

Needless to say, when they got back to New York, her well received favors convinced Hank that they should live in the same penthouse. She could spend her entire inheritance on her career now instead of diverting some of it for living expenses.

Good glory— Miss Van Dyne once again discovered the truth of that old saying of what happens when you have enormous fun. For Jan Van Dyne, being with that nearly perfect, genius doll face who can be manipulated, made time move so enjoyably fast.

To the others involved, the day sped by. To Jan Van Dyne, the hands on the clock took constant naptimes. These nearly intolerable hours after the meta fight were killing Jan. They were leading up to that dreaded part of the day—the early evening news time. The far-from-flawless dummy— Hank— had orchestrated this one stupid event. And another was going to follow.

She sat in front of Hank Pym's revolutionary 72-inch High-Definition living room television. If he had sold one of his Hi-Def cameras to the TV world, this good picture would have been great. But being a fantastic inventory didn't translate to a sharp and diligent business man. What a shame (among other shames).

She nonchalantly sniffed the air. One thing that she had to give the Polish Abbott and Costello was that they sure knew how to cook. But the smell wasn't enough to distract Jan from her doldrums. She had the right to be miserable. Stupid Hank. Stupid Yolanda. Stupid teenage Heckle and Jeckle who Hank invited here. Stupid everything.

She was unenthused with her sofa company as she watched with less enthusiasm (if possible) the participants of the travesty on the screen.

"Mmmm, what is that smell?" Tabatha Smith asked from the middle of the sofa.

"It's called food," Jan replied snidely from the left side of the couch.

Tabby didn't seem to notice the tone, but to her right, Lorna Dane was offended. Not only did this Jan-bitch's body language of leaning away from the girls send off a negative vibe, but now she had the gall to insult Lorna's dumb— uh, innocent friend.

Lorna thought that it warranted a war of words, but not at that time. Not with Tabby sitting between them. The 17-year-old brought the glass bowl of popcorn from the coffee table to her lap and then…

Well maybe that embarrassing huggie-mushy thing that Giant-man had was a disease that infected Lorna– SHUDDER— Lorna wrapped a protective arm around the younger girl and brought her closer.

"Until dinner's ready, there's enough popcorn here for the both of us."

It was an obvious dig that stressed the exclusion of that haughty butt-hair at the other end of the sofa. This couch had only room for one smart mouth and that was going to be Lorna.

The twenty-three-year-old Miss Van Dyne missed whatever messages that may have been sent by the snot-nosed juvenile delinquents sitting in the room. She was fixated, or rather applauded, with what she saw.

Mayor Windbag Wagner was untypically short. Why? Did have the runs? He moved to the back of Miss Rust-bucket. There, Wagner pinned together the ends of a tricolored ribbon that had a stupid large old-style skeleton key hanging on it. The dopey mayor then handed her a box with a small stupid medal as flashbulbs went crazy from cameras held by equally dopey photographers.

This was the first time that Jan had seen Yolanda with her armor. She looked as dumb in the mask as she did without it.

The Unicorn said a simple "Thank you, sir," and the voice-over belonging to Anchorman Chet Hundley remarked that the new heroine was humble and reserved. A good model of heroism.

"A good model of a ding-dong that couldn't think of anything else to say," Jan replied.

If the girls were looking at her, Jan didn't care. She spoke the truth.

Tabby started to say something in defense of the armored adventurer who had earlier come to her aid. The hand that Lorna had on Tabby's shoulder, shot up to cover the young girl's mouth. Tabby turned to her older pal and surrendered to the message that was given by Lorna's shaking head.

Jan looked on as the next clown who came up to stand by the mayor.

Dear Heavens! This guy was almost as wide as he was tall. Understandably, the fake gold key hung higher up on his chest— was that his neck or a barrel of pork fat? It was a miracle that the stage didn't collapse right then. It would have been a blast to see all those dolts fall into the middle of the screen and disappear.

This Frederick-Blob-guy spoke as if he was Hank's puppet. Jan knew the scriptwriter well enough to anticipate the I-only-want-to-be-make-the –world-a-better-place crap. At just the right time, after mentioning the dangers, he said that he did what anyone put in the situation would have done. He also made the same Giant-man appeal that said folks should not make a fuss over him.


Finally, the blue-eyed dim-witted charmer came to the microphones. Giant-man accepted a ribbon for the absent Spider-man. Oh hey— that must be why the Mayor Mindless wanted to make this fast. The way the Daily Bugle was turning the public against the web-headed sack of crap, Richie-boy wanted to look forced-upon to glorify Spider- jerk. "

"Another phony," Jan remarked.

"Giant-man?" Tabby asked?

"No, the mayor. Aren't you paying attention to this charade?"

Both girls WERE paying attention. The Avenger was speaking all this time. Lorna wondered, was this Jan-chick implying that Richard Wagner was a prop and Giant-man was the real mayor?

Whooooa, call out the Looney-Tune Wagon. We have a live one sitting here.

Jan heard the dumb size-changer go on about how invaluable the overrated bug-man was to the fight. Really, please.

Spider-crap jumped from here to there and back. He REALLY would have been invaluable if Giant-man and the baddies had started a game of Basketball. But no— they were too cheap to buy the G - - damned ball.

Giant-man should spend his time doing something more useful than blabbing about Spider-balls-in-his-mouth. Like taking a large can of bug spray and soaking the bastard.

The crimson hero then took medals for the three missing X-men.

They were sensational? Oh really? Where were they?

Was Marvel Girl in a store trying on lip gloss? Did Angel accidently passed by a mirror and spent the afternoon looking at how gorgeous he was? And Ice-twit…. He was probably looking for a refrigerator to hide in when the action got hot.

"Get a grip on reality, dummy" Jan said to the screen.

A sudden movement to her right made Jan look. Tabby had her knees up to her chin as the back of her torso dug into the older girl. One of Lorna's arm was around Tabby's shoulders and the other arm was extended away. Lorna looked like she was ready to toss the bowl of popcorn at Jan …. Or probably the older teen was just keeping the popcorn away from Tabby who, in her excitement, would have spilled them on the floor. Still, Tabby only accounted for two of the four eyes that were enlarged with surprise.

Oh, screw them.

Finally, Giant-man took the last Key to the City on behalf of the Wasp who couldn't be there.

Jan moved to the edge of the seat to chide, "Maybe because she had too much self-respect to share the stage with a walking bean bag and the tin can floozy."

It didn't take too long before Hank's words of deep appreciation for the Wasp changed her Hell-raged features into heavenly radiance. Yeeeeah, like she had said, he was a charmer.

Then the doofus had to ruin it all by going back to praising Whale-boy and the Swiss Army Knife that now thought of herself as a heroine.

The whacky woman at the end of the sofa jumped to her feet. Popcorn flew in every direction. Tabby again sought to bury herself into Lorna. They were both scared, but Lorna was prepared to fight …. which was difficult when Tabby's back was pressing Lorna's hands against her own chest.

Just as the older girl was going to push the 13-year-old away, Jan turned and hurriedly stomped out of the living room.

While exiting, she said in a lower, but still angered voice. "Isn't it bad enough to hear about that Russian Rat daily without it being broadcasted on nationwide TV?"

Whatever that meant, the girls didn't care. The crazy broad was gone— HALLELUJAH!

History. History was very important to today's General Robert Edward Lee. History back then. History being formed now. And a planned path to what will be future History.

The finely-attired man stood in front of a portrait of General Lee from 1863. It might as well have been a mirror, as several facial realignments made him the exact image of the authentic general. The fact that ill-educated zealots easily accepted his claim that he was the original Civil War battle technician did somewhat lay heavily on his mind. But presently, his mind was under the weight of the stand-out potion of the 1856 letter that Robert E. Lee wrote to his wife.

Today's Lee had his left hand wrapped around his stomach in a way that supported his right elbow. His the fingers of his right hand stretched over his mouth as if they were forcing back those same incriminating words that were in that accursed paper. Those words should have been burned when his the real General's wife, Mary Anna, had received the letter five years before the start of the war.

"…. slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things."

On the same year that the war started, he wrote to his son, William, saying that separating from the United States was a betrayal of the works of the nation's founders: "I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union."

How stupid and careless. These words could have been strung around his neck when he became General of a pro-slavery, pro-succession Virginia Army. Even his hesitancy in the opening battles against Lincoln's force should have buried him under the anger of southern separatists.

This current, 1964 General Lee feared that his name sake's words and action could be discovered by the present ill-educated supporters. Because they soaked in the notion that he is one and the same, there would be a shaking of confidence in leadership of the movement. This, in turn, would issue in the depletion of members from the Sons of the Serpents. This cannot be allowed.

Yes, he should have researched this historic figure more intently before he assumed his mantle and surgically stamped the man's face on his. But he was too deeply invested, too close to his goal to start again with another historic figure.

He turned away from the real general's portrait and walked the west wing corridor of his spacious home. When his expensive shoes met the wood floor between the long, majestic rugs, his heels rang a haunting echo that started below him, rose, and bounced back down from the arched off-white ceiling.

He had passed a number of large windows, but he stopped at the particular 15-foot by 8 window that overlooked the expansive, circular reddish cobblestone driveway. Tonight it will be filled with wealthy supporters. Among them would be State Legislators, the State Education Commissioner, the publishers of newspapers. They had to assume the work of suppressing these embarrassments and accentuate the middle-to- late war brilliance of General Lee to the public.

He smiled. This can be done. He will push it along in the guise of another face, another man.

He had the futuristic weapon and technology to achieve victory. He had two powerful villains of this area to assist— the Beetle and Jack Frost. Winning the imaginations of his influential dinner guests will be the final piece of his arsenal. This General Lee will take hold of this present day by the throat and change history for the better…. His better.

Author's Note:

Marvel's version of Nornheim had been sketchy at best. This writer took liberties to paste a history together.

Namist, the shape-shifter is an original character and not found in Marvel Comics.

Dr. Blake's "contact" relationship to the Avengers was explained in Avengers #2 when the Wasp came to his office in order to enlist Thor into the battle against the Space Phantom.

Hank and Jan visited Greece in Tales To Astonish # 46 (1963)