Batman almost laughed.
"Hah! Told you it was too good to be true!"
Frank Burns had a unique way of looking at a very grim situation. Barry Blake, the 2nd Flash, apparently returned from the dead, had betrayed them all.
"Hey, guys and gals! How do ya think Hawkeye and Margaret are doing on Apokolips? Darkseid can be a rather crude host, at times."
Wally O'Reilly, the Third Flash, stepped forward.
"Barry, I wanna know how come ya did this."
'Blake' shook his head.
"Gee, Kid Flash. Is the little man gonna attack me? Or is he gonna cryyyy?"
But Wally stood firm.
"I ain't gonna do neither. I'm just gonna expose the truth."
Moving at his best speed, Wally sped in an atom-shaped arc around Blake, refracting light around the vicious former hero. The classic red uniform shifted to a cowardly yellow. The villain was exposed. Sherman T. Garrick, former member of the Justice Society of America during World War Two, was enraged. This was a villain he had faced as The First Flash.
Hawkwoman was confused.
"Flash, who is he?"
"Before your time, Soonlia. A wild frat boy from the future, comes back to this era for kicks. Used to look like me, back when. Now, he makes us think he's poor Barry."
Steele grinned. It wasn't a pleasant grin.
"It was a good plan, wasn't it Sherm? I mean, I place myself in a time limbo. History says how Trapper Hal Jordan lost his mind two years back. He goes digging in time, finds me. Crazy fool is none the wiser."
That at least was a relief. Mad or not, Trapper had been duped. There was hope.
"Lemme figure out the rest. Darkseid contacts you, and promises you something or other. Don't you ever get tired of this, Steele?"
Steele zoomed forward, and grabbed Soonlia Thal by the neck. He was choking her from behind. She passed out.
"No, Garrick. Never. Anybody moves, I make Bird-Girl a holey woman--by vibrating my fingers into her brain."
Klingar Hol's fun-loving facade fell away.
"Ya know, Steele? On Thanagar, I'd have the wife make a throw-rug out of you. But I'll have to settle for something else."
Steele was the soul of contempt toward Hawkman.
"Oh? And what might that be? What is your unconscious wife going to make of me?"
Soonlia, whose lungs had nearly twice the capacity of an earth-woman, jammed up her hand between Steele's legs.
"I specialize in Capon', Professor!"
As Steele writhed in pain, he saw another potential hostage, an ordinary female blonde. He grabbed her.
"Same deal as before, folks. Only--I'll think I'll kill this one anyway. Any last words, lady?"
Samantha Kent Stephens, twin sister of Benjamin Franklin Kent, aka Superman, merely smiled. She was no longer Supergirl, but she was far from powerless.
"Oh, just one magic word---SHAZAM!!"
The bolt of lightning that came down fried Steele but good. Badly shaken, he saw the young woman grow in size, definition, and even beauty--though her brother always disputed this. Sam Kent was gone. In her place was Earth's Mightiest Mortal---Captain Marvel! She grabbed Steele up.
"Hey, c'mon! Howzabout some mercy?"
She slammed him against the wall.
"YOU wake me out of a sound sleep, take me away from my husband and children, KIDNAP my twin brother and turn him over to Darkseid, and you expect mercy? Newsflash, friend---Barry Blake was 100 times the man you are. Wally, do the honors!"
"Stop it, kid! What're you doing?"
"I'm absorbin' yer vibrations, jerk! Without em', you go back to yer dull future where ya came from--and good riddance!"
Mostly energy now, Steele pushed The Flash away. He screamed at the top of his lungs.
"I'll come back and kill you all in your cribs!"
Wally O'Reilly snorted.
"I don't believe ya could."
Sadly, Sherman T. Garrick removed his Hermes-looking helmet. Gathering his breath, he aimed it, and hurled it at 100,000 kph--straight at Steele's neck. The head energy separated from the body energy as he faded away, screaming.
"Sorry, folks. But he WOULD have followed through. I was a soldier, once. And God help me, I know a blood vow."
Father Fate appeared.
"I'm sorry it came to that, Flash. Truly. But when one sows the wind, the whirlwind is the inevitable result. His path he chose for himself. Well, Justice League---anyone for Apokolips?"
There was a unanimous show of hands.
Back at the J*L*A* sattellite, a blond, moustached man kicked back and watched 'Flipper'. He shook his head.
"Someday, I gotta write a book. I'll call it : 'Aquaman : My Life On Monitor Duty'. Ah, well. Just bring those two demigods home, folks. In one piece, if you can."
For Syndey, the waiting was always the hardest part.