Original series Suitable for all readersAction-oriented/low level of violence


This story previously appeared in Issues, 100, 101, 102 and 103 of The Power Star fanzine, and is posted here without the authorization of the authors, with due acknowledgement – C.B.



The Kingmaker


A Multi-Universe Story By

D. Lynn Bivens, Kimberly Murphy and Gerald James Seward





[The Story So Far:  F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper wakes up from a deep sleep to find himself far away from his own Twin Peaks in a mysterious room he does not recognize, hearing a voice refer to him as "Number 3".  He looks down to find his normal black suit has disappeared and has been replaced with the same casual clothes worn by Number Six in the 1960's TV series The Prisoner.  Cooper realizes the absurdity of his predicament but nevertheless presses forward with an investigation of his circumstances, only to find he is not the only outsider here.  Joining him in a courtyard that they all seemed to be led to are Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea's Admiral Harriman Nelson, private detective Veronica Gaines (from the POWER STAR stories "Twisted Web" and "Twisted Web 2: Resurrection"), Star Wars' Luke Skywalker, Deep Space Nine's Major Kira Nerys and Constable Odo, Space:  1999's Maya, Manimal's Dr. Jonathan Chase, Captain Scarlet, Highlander Duncan MacLeod, Superman, Greatest American Hero Ralph Hinkley, Star Trek's Montgomery Scott, and Angus MacGyver.  Mutual mistrust fills the air of their first meeting--with Kira and Odo openly questioning whether all of them are after the same goal and whether Cooper, with his odd clothing, is really one of "them" or not--but all eventually come to the realization that they are prisoners of a power stronger than any of their individual powers and talents can handle and that they are going to have to work together if they want to get out.  Deciding to return to their bungalows and gather clues and anything else that might be helpful, the fourteen outsiders vow to reconvene on the beach after sunset and put escape plans into action.  But they may be fighting more than just their captors:  Also finding themselves in a strange place are Star Wars' Darth Vader, Dr. Doom, V's Diana, Terminator 2's T-1000, Lost In Space's Robot, Buck Rogers' Twiki, and the Star Trek mirror universe's Commander William Riker.  "There is a game to be played," Vader tells his companions.  "We have all been brought together to challenge the strongest forces of good in each of our universes.  And when we win, we shall return to our worlds--and rule them triumphantly!"  As the heroes discover that their captors have left nothing to chance--even populating the waters off the beach with Rovers, as in The Prisoner--all twenty-one outsiders converge on the beach only to be informed by Number Two that they have been led to this point.  "You were all wrong--this is not a game," Number Two tells them.  "It is instead a quest--a quest that will send you to the farthest corners of the earth.  You are seeking the greatest treasure anyone could ever find, an ancient artifact from a dead planet called Sagar tens of thousands of light-years from here.  A brilliant blazing sword that has been called many names over the years--the kingmaker, the sword of life, Excalibur.  Its real name in almost any language imaginable, however, is the Power Star."  As Number Two declares they will be sent on teams to find the Power Star--with the one who finding it gaining "Absolute Power over the entire universe and its many alternates...for all time"--the heroes and villains start vanishing in groups until only Scarlet and Duncan are left on the beach...with a mysterious man wearing a badge with the number "6" on it looking on from one of the caves....]  


"Nice ship."

Those were the first words Major Kira Nerys could find in her vocabulary as she and Admiral Harriman Nelson popped into existence on the bridge of an immense and surprisingly technical submarine underneath some as-yet-undetermined ocean.

"Unfortunately," Nelson said, looking around, "it's not mine."

"This is a submarine?"

Nelson nodded.  "But not like any I've ever seen."  He looked around in awe, almost afraid to touch anything.

Kira looked a bit more at home in the advanced technology that surrounded them.  "Everything seems to be functioning," she reported, moving from console to console.  "Looks like 21st century Earth technology."

"You're familiar with ships like this?"

"I've served at the helm of starships a few times," Kira admitted.  "This isn't much different.  It doesn't resemble submarines from your day?"

"Not at all.  But perhaps it's a later revision of my own Seaview," Nelson said hopefully, looking for a manifest, a ship's log, anything that would tell him the name of this sub.  "Aha," he said, finding a nameplate.  "Sea...quest."


"That's this craft's name."  Nelson did not hide his disappointment.

"Never heard of it, I take it?"

Nelson shook his head.

Kira sighed.  "Well, one thing's for certain--its bridge has been left unmanned.  Wonder if the rest of this thing's empty?"

"Let's find out."  Nelson looked around for something resembling a comm panel, then touched the button on a box with a speaker attached.  A moment of feedback, then silence.  Nelson cleared his throat.  "This is Admiral Harriman Nelson," he announced in an authoritative tone.  "If there is anyone aboard this vessel, report to the bridge immediately."


"This is Admiral Harriman Nelson," he repeated, this time a bit louder.  "I am ordering anyone aboard this vessel to report to the bridge immediately."

Still nothing.  Then, the sound of moving water.  Nelson and Kira looked around.

"Darwin here," came a synthesized squeaky voice.  "Darwin reports."

They nearly tripped over the side of the pool at the edge of the bridge, where a bottlenosed dolphin poked its head up out of the water and looked up at them.  He had a strange device attached to his body.

"What is that?" Kira asked.

"A dolphin," Nelson said, awestruck.  "A dolphin that talks."

"But...but how?"

Nelson spotted what looked like a microphone near the dolphin run and carefully picked it up as if he were afraid it would vanish in his hands.  "With this," he replied.  "A device capable of transforming our words into the language of our friend...Darwin...here, and transforming his squeaks and squeals into words for our ears."

"Like our Universal Translators," Kira realized.  "They're built into our communicators and enable us to understand different languages.  This might be the forerunner of that technology."

"Indeed."  Nelson knelt down next to the dolphin and carefully raised the translator to his mouth.  "Darwin, where is everyone? Where has the crew of this vessel gone?"

"Darwin not know," the dolphin replied.  "Crew was here...then crew was gone.  Now you are here with Darwin."

"This is amazing," Kira said in an awed tone.

Nelson nodded, then returned his attention to the dolphin. "Why was Darwin left here?  Why did Darwin not go too?"

"Darwin not know," the squeaky voice replied.  "But Darwin do know bad thing comes.  Bad thing coming right at seaQuest."

It only took a moment for the pair to realize what Darwin was saying.  Both turned to look out the forward viewscreen.

A smaller, faster, well-armored undersea vessel was coming right at them.  And Kira could swore she recognized Will Riker at the helm.  


The sudden arrival from out of thin air of Dr. Jonathan Chase, Maya, and Odo in the lobby of a posh Manhattan office building would hardly seem out of the ordinary to New Yorkers...had there actually been anyone there to witness the event, that is.

The trio of shapeshifters took a moment to get their bearings, then looked around.  "Where are we?" Odo asked.

Chase looked out toward the streets.  "My best guess is the business district of present-day Manhattan," he replied.  "It certainly has the look and feel of New York City."

"Define 'present-day'," Maya reminded him.

Chase smiled sheepishly.  "Sorry.  Try 'late 20th century Manhattan'."

"Then where are all the people?" Odo challenged.

"Good question," Chase replied.  He cocked his head and concentrated his sensitive ears on detecting the slightest sound. "I can't hear a thing.  No traffic noise...no footsteps...nothing. It's as if the whole city's been evacuated."

"Is that possible?" Maya asked.

"Hardly," Chase responded.  "New York City's one of the largest cities in the world, and Manhattan is its most populated district, especially during the day--it's one of the world's busiest financial centers.  But there's no one, nothing here.  It's as if the city itself were dead."

Maya didn't like the sound of that.  Chase's words sounded too much like an epitaph.  "Where do you suppose everyone has gone, then?"

"I have no idea."

"Perhaps this isn't your Manhattan, Dr. Chase," Odo reminded him.  "Perhaps this is just meant to look like your Manhattan."

"Good point," Chase realized.  "If Number Two is as powerful as he claims, this could be just another illusion in the game we're all here to play."

"If that's the case," Maya replied, "we are most certainly not alone here."

Chase nodded.  "Stay close.  I have the most distinct feeling we are being watched."

"We might be better off outside, " Odo suggested.

Chase shook his head.  "I would almost certainly expect Number Two to have taken care of that little detail."  He removed an elegant fountain pen from inside his tuxedo jacket and hurled it toward the revolving door.


The pen fairly flew back toward the trio as it impacted against the invisible force field just inside the door.

"Clever," Maya admitted.

"Indeed," Chase replied, "but not unexpected.  I believe our assailants are somewhere in this room.  Everyone hold still."  With that, Chase concentrated on letting his senses extend to their maximum range.  He tried to focus on even the tiniest of sounds, the lightest of aromas, anything that would indicate the presence of others.

An oozing sound reached his ears, coming from directly above them.

"Odo," Chase whispered, "look up."

Odo did so...and saw a six-foot section of ceiling tile turning into a column of liquid metal.  "Look out!" he called.

The sound of an elevator descending reached Chase's ears next. He and Maya turned toward the elevators just in time to see the doors open.

"Danger!  Danger!" Robot called out, firing a laser from its body toward the metamorphs.

All three metamorphs dove in opposite directions.

T-1000 turned a tendril of metal into a slashing blade and swung at Odo just as he rolled away from the others.

Odo released his human form, using his changeling physiology to its full advantage to avoid T-1000's deadly blades.

"Bee-dee-bee-dee-bee-dee-look out below!" Twiki called out, dropping items from the walkway above directly down onto Chase.

Chase leapt out of the way--and before his feet touched the ground again he was already shifting forms into that of a swift-flying hawk.

Robot fired at Maya again.

The Psychon's flashing eyes seemed to reflect the beast formed in her mind...an armored beast with club-like arms that could withstand tremendous punishment and inflict the same on its opponent.

What had moments ago been a quiet deserted lobby was now a battleground in this game to the death.  


"Where are we?"

Montgomery Scott looked at Angus MacGyver and shrugged. "Ireland, I think.  Not sure when, though--everything looks 20th century."

"Yeah, everything looks modern enough," MacGyver replied.

"You and I have a different sense of modern, lad."

"Yeah, right.  I keep forgetting that."  He looked around the streets.  "Where is everybody?"

"Dunno.  The place is deserted."

"Maybe there's been some fighting in the streets.  You do know the history of Northern Ireland, right?"

"Aye, lad.  Ancient history for us.  But I'd wager it's as fresh as yesterday's pie to you."

"Well, at least as fresh as yesterday's headlines..."


Both Scotty and MacGyver dove for cover as the crimson blast of a laser shot by them.

"That wasn't 20th century firepower," MacGyver quipped.

"Ah, but it is," a thunderous voice replied.

The two men looked up...and saw Dr. Doom standing on the balcony of a building above them.

"Saints preserve us," Scotty whispered.

"You will need them against Dr. Doom," Doom taunted.  "My combination of superior intellect and advanced weaponry and armor will be too much for you otherwise."  He fired again.

MacGyver and Scotty were forced to flee their hiding place. "Where'd he get weapons?" MacGyver said.  "No one in our group had any--except that Highlander."

"More importantly, why does he keep missing us?" Scotty questioned.  "Anyone with that kind of weapon should have better aim on it than that."

"I could destroy you any time I liked," Doom responded, as if he could hear their every word.  "But I'd much prefer you surrender so I have no competition as I seek the Power Star!"  Another shot sent the pair fleeing again.

"Well," MacGyver noted, breathless as they dove behind a trash bin, "that answers that question."

"Aye," Scotty replied, "that it does.  Now, what about the weapons?"

"I don't know...but if we don't do something, tin-can up there's going pick us off without much of a fight."

"Aye, lad, but how can we stop him without a phaser?"


"Laser pistol--it shoots a deadly beam of light that can tear a man apart.  We have them in my time.  And it looks like Dr. Doom has one, too.  We cannae just toss rocks up at him and hope they hit something!"

"Phaser...focused laser beam..."  MacGyver was already trying to build a counterpart in his mind when he saw the jagged edge of a broken metal reinforcing strip on the ground.  He picked it up and examined it.  It was about a foot long, with a knife-like edge, and still in reasonably good condition.  "This'll do for a start."

"You're hardly going to open his can with that," Scotty chastised.

"I don't plan to," MacGyver replied.  "Is there an electrical generator of some sort in that pin on your chest, Mr. Scott?"

Scotty pulled the 24th century communicator--given to him when he met Geordi LaForge and the crew of the Enterprise D--off his uniform coat.  "Of course, there is, lad, but I don't see how..."

MacGyver took it from him.  "I've been known to improvise," he said with a smile, using the tip of the metal piece to probe the recessed seams of the pin.  


"Where are we now?"

Luke Skywalker looked over Dale Cooper and frowned.  "I was hoping you could tell me," the Jedi replied in answer to the Special Agent's question.  "I certainly don't recognize this place."

"It could be any one of a number of rain forest jungles on my world," Cooper replied. "It's certainly hot and humid enough."  He brushed his forehead as if to punctuate his statement.

"I'll say," Luke admitted.  "I grew up in a desert.  This is too wet for me, Agent Cooper."

"You can drop the 'agent'.  Most people just call me Cooper."

"Fine.  And you can call me Luke."

"Not Sir Skywalker?"

Luke laughed.  "Jedi Knights don't have titles like that. There's not even a real hierarchy.  Of course, it's hard to have a hierarchy when there's only one of you."

Cooper looked intrigued.  "You said you were the first of a new generation...are you the only Jedi?"

"The only one left."  He sighed.  "My father was one, too. And my teacher, Yoda.  And my friend Ben Kenobi.  They're all gone now."

"I thought your father was Darth Vader."

"It's...kind of complicated."  Luke shrugged.  "It's a long story anyway."

"I'm not in any hurry.  And it's not as if we're going anywhere anytime soon."

"That's for sure."  Luke sat down on a moss-covered rock. "For years, I believed my father was a navigator on a freighter and had died when I was young.  Then, my first teacher, Ben Kenobi, told me that my father was a hero in the Clone Wars and had been a Jedi Knight...that he'd been killed by Darth Vader, another student of Ben's who turned to the Dark Side of The Force.  Then Vader himself told me that he was my father."  He shook his head.  "You know, Ben never did admit to lying to me.  He told me that after Vader turned toward the Dark Side, he stopped being Anakin Skywalker...and in that sense, he had killed my father."  Luke got up to pace.  "I had a really hard time coming to terms with that. That's why it was so satisfying when my father finally did die--he'd beaten his own dark side and destroyed the Emperor, who'd led him to the Dark Side."

"And that's why it's so disturbing to you to see the Darth Vader you saw on the beach," Cooper noted.

"That sums it up pretty well."  Luke looked at Cooper.  "I thought that side of him was gone forever.  It worries me that my own dark tendencies may still be there."

"Everyone has a dark side," Cooper said.  "The trick is overcoming it.  I survived an encounter with my own dark side that nearly destroyed me.  But I harbor no illusions that the dark side is gone.  It's just been subdued."

Luke locked his gaze into Cooper's eyes.  For a moment, their minds met as Luke reached into Cooper's psyche deeper than the Special Agent had ever experienced in his life.  Nothing he had ever encountered in the realm of dreams and visions could have prepared him for the sheer power that surged right through his eyes and seemed to be probing every part of his mind.  The energy surge was strangely comforting, but the intensity was almost too much for him to take...

Finally, the Jedi broke the connection.  "The strength it takes to fight off the Dark Side's temptation is a rare gift," Luke told him.  "You have so much raw power it's scary, and you know that.  And you're afraid you'll never be able to control it."

Cooper nodded.  "I've been told that on more than one occasion.  I see things...I feel things...but I have no control over it.  I've never had any control over it."

"Not true.  Your control is that you unconsciously suppress it so it doesn't get in the way of your work.  But when you sleep, those barriers break down and you end up with dreams you don't understand and visions you can't always interpret."  Luke smiled. "There are those who say the trick to training a Jedi Knight is to break down the unconscious barriers and build up the conscious ones--to release the power and focus it in the right direction.  I know all about that.  When I started out with Yoda, I was all brute force and no subtlety.  It took a while before I learned that The Force can only be guided, not...well, not forced."  He turned serious.  "Look, I think it's pretty obvious who Number Two has in mind for us to face.  I'm surprised I haven't detected him yet. And when we face him, we need to be ready."

A flash at Luke's hip nearly blinded the two men.  Both looked around uncertainly.

"What was that?" Cooper asked.

"I don't know..."  Luke felt something brush against his leg, and he looked down.  Then, he laughed.

"What?" Cooper queried.

Luke pulled what looked like a military flashlight off his belt and held it up.  "Thank you, Number Two," he called to the sky somewhat sarcastically.  "Not that I'll need it, but it's always nice to have."

"What is that?"

"The sword of a Jedi."  Luke pushed a button on it, and a meter-long beam of light shot straight upward from it.  "This is called a lightsaber.  Nearly the perfect weapon--lightweight, elegant..."  He hurled it from his hand toward a tree.


The lightsaber cut right through the tree trunk, severing it cleanly, before spinning through the air and dropping obediently back into its owner's waiting hand.

"...and very effective," Cooper noted.

"I like to think so," Luke agreed.  "It's definitely a weapon of finesse.  If you try to fight with it, it can kill you.  If you let it fight for you, it will be a fine ally."  He switched it off. "You ever handle a sword before, Cooper?"

"Just the occasional katana," Cooper admitted.

"Then you need practice."  He extended the barrel of the weapon toward the Special Agent.  "Give it a try."

Cooper took the weapon from Luke, then just held it in his hand for a moment, getting used to its weight.  "Firm, but not heavy," he said.

"Turn it on," Luke gently ordered.

Cooper found the power switch with his thumb and flipped it on.  The beam of light shooting out from it startled him for a moment.

"Relax," Luke encouraged.  "Remember, don't fight it.  Let it guide your hand."

Cooper let his wrist move slightly and watched the lightsaber's response.  He could almost feel it pulling him along as he tried slicing lightly at the air.

"Good," Luke said.  "Try to relax and let yourself become a part of your surroundings."  His eyes found a fist-sized rock behind Cooper, and with only the slightest of effort he mentally lifted it into the air and let it drift toward them.

Cooper suddenly whipped around and swung at the rock, missing it by the slightest of margins.  The rock dropped to the ground.

"Not bad for a first try," Luke smiled.  "But you're still trying to fight with it.  Let it fight for you."

Cooper nodded, then tried to relax his mind and body.  The lightsaber seemed to dance in his hands, a slow rhythmic waving motion...

He felt himself whirl around and slice sharply through something.  Cooper blinked, then looked around.

A large tree branch lay split cleanly in two at his feet.

Luke smiled.  "Good job.  Did you feel anything?"

"Yeah," he admitted.  "I can't describe it, but I just felt something take over my reactions."

"That's The Force."

"I've been through this before," Cooper said.  "I've had instinctive reactions to things, made shots I couldn't possibly have made, done exactly the right thing at exactly the right moment without a conscious effort."

"Then you're a step up on where I was when I started out." Luke suddenly felt something cold, and he shivered.

Cooper didn't even need to ask.  "Vader," he realized.

Luke nodded.  "He's here.  I can feel him.  And he can feel me."  He turned to Cooper.  "But he hasn't found us yet.  Which means we've got a lot of work to do in the meantime.  So let's get started."

"I'm ready," Cooper declared.

"Good.  Then may The Force be with us...because I can guarantee you we'll need it."  


Veronica Gaines was a tough no-nonsense private investigator who'd seen more than her share of dangerous moments and unearthly villains than anyone should ever have to experience in one lifetime.  But nothing prepared her for The Village, for Number Two, for the assortment of heroes and villains she'd seen there, for the stories she heard, for the quest for this so-called "Power Star" she was supposedly to be a part of.

And nothing could have prepared her for being dumped right in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard in the middle of a hot L.A. afternoon.

"Ugh," she complained, brushing her forehead.  "Another beautiful day in L.A."  Then she looked around.  "Where the Hell is everybody?"

The busiest street in L.A. was completely deserted.  No hookers, no homeless teens, no punks, no gang members, not even a slow-speed chase.  This was too weird for words.

"O.K.," she said out loud, "which one of the bad guys did you send here with me?"

Not a word.

"O.K., fine," she shouted again.  "I'll just go see if I can figure out where this Power Star thing is stashed.  Maybe it's in a prop store or something."  She started off down the street.

A block or two ahead, Diana stepped out from an alleyway. "Not so fast," she warned.      Veronica felt her heart catch for a moment, then summoned all her bravado.  "Well, well," she said.  "I recognize you.  You were up there on that cliff with all the other bad guys.  Got a name, lady?"

Diana smiled coldly but regally.  "Diana," she answered.  "I am a Visitor."

"Glad to know you," Veronica replied.  "My name's Veronica, and I'm a native.  Welcome to L.A., hope you enjoy your stay.  Now, if you'll excuse me..."  She started to cross the street.

Diana drew her laser pistol and aimed it right at the P.I. "And just where do you think you're going?"

Instinctively, Veronica whipped her .357 Magnum out of its concealed holster and aimed it right at the alien.

"How quaint," Diana noted.

"Yeah?" Veronica retorted.  "Lady, this is a .357 Magnum, and the hole it'll put right through you sure won't be quaint."

"A primitive projectile weapon.  How typical of you humans."

Veronica looked questioningly at Diana.

Diana lifted her eyelid to reveal the lizard-like alien face underneath her human disguise.

Veronica couldn't help but flinch.  She'd been through this before.  An alien in human disguise had led her through a twisted web of murder and intrigue before she'd managed to destroy it.  And it was happening again.

"I see you're scared," Diana noted. "And you should be.  After all, no matter how powerful your 'Magnum' is, its projectile can't possibly travel as fast as a laser's beam."

"I didn't just fall out of a tree yesterday," Veronica said, regaining her confidence.  "I know all about what a laser can do. So I guess it all comes down to which of us has the faster reflexes."

Like two gunfighters in the Old West, the two women stood barely 500 feet away, their guns trained on each other, each ready to fire at the twitch of the finger.

The only question was which of them would twitch first.  


Superman and Ralph Hinkley popped into sudden solidity in the middle of what looked to be mid-afternoon in the business district of a large metropolitan city.  The only question now appeared to be which one.

Superman looked up at the building before them.  "Metropolis," he said in answer to each man's unspoken question.

"How do you know?" Ralph replied.

Superman gestured at the building whose facade bore the words "Daily Planet".  "This is where I work," he explained.  "We're in the middle of downtown Metropolis.  Only trouble is..."

"...there's nobody around," Ralph realized.  "The place is deserted."

A quick sweep of the surrounding area with his x-ray vision confirmed Ralph's deduction for Superman.  "No one's around.  Every building is empty; even the cars are gone.  This may look like my Metropolis, but it's obviously a well-constructed facade."

"Terrific," Ralph responded.  "So, what next?"

"I don't know."  Superman continued to look around.

Ralph tried some of his super senses as well, to no avail. "There's nobody else here, right?" he said suspiciously.

"Nobody," Superman confirmed.  "Not even the shiny happy people in The Village."

"Not even a supervillain?"

Superman suddenly realized where Ralph's line of reasoning was going.  He floated into the air and looked around a much greater radius.  "Not even a supervillain," he agreed.

"It's just us," Ralph said.  "Just you and me.  Why?"

"I don't know.  It doesn't make any sense.  Why not put someone here to stop us from finding the Power Star?"

"Because it's not here either."  Ralph shook his head.  "I have to admit, this was pretty clever.  Gotta hand it to Number Two--he knows how to make the game a little more even."

Now Superman was confused.  "What are you talking about?"

"Look, if you or I went after the Power Star on one of the other teams, they'd have an unfair advantage.  So Number Two evened out that advantage...by making sure we were well out of the way."

"You're right.  That does make sense.  The only question now is what else does he have in store for us?"      "Maybe he just wants us to get to know one another?"

Superman laughed.  "Number Two, the social coordinator."

"It's possible."  Ralph suddenly realized something.  "When you took a look around a minute ago, you floated up about ten feet."      "Yeah," Superman said, smiling.  "Looks like the energy barrier that held us down in The Village doesn't exist here."

"Or it exists higher up."

"True.  He probably has something in place to keep us here."

"Let's find out."  Ralph got up a running start, then took off into the air, flying awkwardly down the streets.  "Hey, look at this!" he called as he flew higher, higher...


An invisible wave of energy just above the top of the tallest buildings smacked Ralph back down to earth.  He crashed to the ground.

In an instant, Superman was over to join him.  "You O.K.?" he asked.

Ralph got up and shook off the effects of the fall.  "Yeah," he said.  "Looks like the wall's just moved a little higher, that's all."

Superman laughed slightly.  "That was the ugliest flying I've ever seen," he teased.

"Yeah, well, I told you I was no good at it."  Ralph brushed himself off.

"That's an understatement."

Ralph sighed.  Things would be so much easier if he hadn't lost the instruction manual.  "How did you learn to fly?"

"I don't know," Superman shrugged.  "I just kind of took off one day."

"Yeah, well, I tried that technique and you see where it got me."

"That's because you have no balance.  You're just kind of flailing away at the air."

"So how do you get balance?"

Superman patted Ralph on the back.  "Practice.  And I know the perfect place where you can get some--no people, nice wide streets, and plenty of room to fall down occasionally."

Ralph smiled.  "Then let's get started."


Captain Scarlet was used to seeing people just disappear.  The Mysterons had a nasty habit of sweeping Captain Black out of harm's way usually just before Scarlet could get his hands on him and throttle the living daylights out of him for what he'd done to this world.  But this was just too much.  Every villain on the hilltop had vanished, and every hero on the beach was gone as well.

Every hero, that is, except Duncan MacLeod, who now had his katana pointed squarely at Scarlet's neck.

Scarlet felt he'd better ask the obvious question before Duncan decided to chop his head off and add it to his trophy case. "Why haven't we disappeared?" the Indestructible Man asked the Highlander.

"I knew it," Duncan replied, his eyes fairly glowing with the power of one who had defeated men for centuries and survived to face his destiny.  "I could feel it.  I could sense it.  And now I know it.  All the others are gone.  It is only you and I, Scarlet. You and I are the last two Immortals standing.  You and I are all that is left in this world.  This is The Gathering."  













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