A most unexpected intervention threatens to rewrite history for both the Caped Crusader and a legendary seafarer.
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Minikin (3 in. to 1 in.)Size Roles:
October 21 2010 Updated:
June 26 2011
1. Chapter 1 by Carycomic
2. Chapter 2 by Carycomic
3. Chapter 3 by Carycomic
4. Chapter 4 by Carycomic
5. Chapter 5 by Carycomic
6. Chapter 6 by Carycomic
7. Chapter 7 by Carycomic
8. Chapter 8 by Carycomic
9. Chapter 9 by Carycomic
10. Chapter 10 by Carycomic
11. Chapter 11 by Carycomic
12. Chapter 12 by Carycomic
13. Chapter 13 by Carycomic
14. Chapter 14 by Carycomic
15. Chapter 15 by Carycomic
16. Chapter 16 by Carycomic
17. Chapter 17 by Carycomic
18. Chapter 18 by Carycomic
19. Chapter 19 by Carycomic
20. Chapter 20 by Carycomic
21. Chapter 21 by Carycomic
Disclaimer (re: characters and concepts): if you recognize them, I don't own or profit from them.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY, 1943
* * * * *
Doug Phillips and Tony Newman had been through a lot, since they first began their misadventures in time travel. On their last jaunt, they had narrowly thwarted an extra-terrestrial plot, to deplete Earth's atmosphere, in the town of Cliffport, Maine, circa 1978. But, after being teleported out of there, they had arrived back on the RMS Titanic. Just moments after the arrival of their past selves!
This had meant the presence of _two_ Dougs and Tonys aboard that ill-fated ship. Fortunately, they had managed to avoid their counterparts until the latter were seemingly blown overboard by an explosion. Whereupon, Doug and Tony followed a young couple (named Jack and Rose) to the stern of the ship.
There, they waited--along with other helpless survivors--for the ship to be one hundred percent vertical, before jumping off into the water.
When everyone did so, Doug and Tony's friends at Project Tic-Toc (back in 1968) locked on to their chronospatial co-ordinates, and teleported them out of there for the second time. Unfortunately, they once more failed to bring the wayward scientists all the way home. As a result, Doug and Tony landed in the middle of a back-alley gunfight between Gestapo agents, from Nazi Germany, and a swashbuckling archeologist named William Mackelroy (who preferred to be called "Omaha")!
It turned out that they were in the capital of officially-neutral Turkey, at the height of World War II. And, Mackelroy had been recruited by G-2 to keep yet another occult artifact out of Hitler's hands. In this case? A miniature obelisk, made of meteoric obsidian, that had originally belonged (according to legend) to Pharaoh Ramses II.
Its present owner--an exiled pro-fascist Iraqi general who claimed to be descended from Sultan Omar of Basra--had offered the obelisk to the Nazis in exchange for their help in throwing the British out of his country. Word of this deal had been leaked to the American embassy, in Istanbul, by one of the general's wives; a young Moro woman whose father was the foremost resistance leader (code-name "Subic Bey") on the Japanese-occupied island of Mindinao.
With Doug and Tony's help, Omaha's mission had been accomplished. But, they had not been stealthy enough. And, now, they were being chased across the rooftops of Istanbul by Gestapo agents and Iraqi soldiers!
When they ran out of rooftops, they ducked down, out of the line of fire, to discuss their options.
"Your Browning Hi-Power is almost out of ammo," observed Doug: "Do you have anymore spare clips?"
Omaha shook his head. So, Tony asked a similar question with regard to speed-loaders for Omaha's .45 caliber S&W Model 1917. Another shake of the head.
"And, my broom-handle Mauser is equally empty," he added before anyone else could inquire.
Now, it was Tony's turn to shake his head.
"Under the present circumstances, I wish the powers ascribed to this obelisk were true. I'd wish for it to get us out of this mess."
Whereupon, all three men disappeared from the 3-D imaging screen at Project Tic-Toc!
"Ann!" exclaimed General Heywood "Woody" Kirk (military director of the project): "What just happened? What did you do?"
"Nothing!" exclaimed the lovely chief assistant to Dr. Raymond Swain (scientific co-director of the Project): "They simply vanished!"
"Well, get a fix on them. Hurry!"
Ann McGregor did not need to be told twice. Before their original departure from Project Tic-Toc, both scientists had subjected themselves to a "radiation bath." An atomized solution of distilled water and radio-iodine osmotically absorbed into their systems. When traveling in time, the radioactive emissions from this solution became tachyonic particles. And, when these particles reached 1968, they reverted back to their original state. Allowing the project's master computer to back-track Doug and Tony via Geiger counter.
This time, however, there would be a slight difficulty. Doug and Tony had, for some reason, been split up!
* * * * *
"You'll have to kill me, to keep me quiet, Batman!"
This was the defiant utterance of one Florence of Arabia. The belly-dancing paramour of psychopathic criminal mastermind...King Tut.
The costumed crime-fighter to whom she uttered it merely smiled, however.
He was about to prove his point, by spraying her with a hypno-chemical aerosol (generically called "Bat-gas"), when he suddenly found himself being tackled to the ground by a young man in a green turtleneck sweater!
Florence was quick to make use of this distraction. She swiftly bent down to pick up the discarded spray can...and sprayed both men with it. Whereupon, they were instantly rendered unconscious.
"Gonna brainwash me, huh?" she muttered indignantly: "Well, let's see how you like it!"
This takes place post-Season 1 of T3. And, it diverges from ADVENTURES OF SINBAD Episode 1.9 and BATMAN (TOS) Episode 3.23. Also known as "Double Trouble" and "I'll Be A Mummy's Uncle," respectively.
SOMEWHERE NEAR GOTHAM CITY (MID-MARCH, 1966)
* * * * *
She had boasted that cats always land on their feet. But, Catwoman had proven Batman right when the built-in claws of her costume's left-handed gauntlet failed to take the combined weight of both herself and her loot. More specifically; the gunny sack containing some of the long-lost pirate gold of Captain Manx.
As she fell towards the abysmal depths below, the sound of running water became correspondingly louder. Then, it became positively thunderous. Just like...
Only then did she start to scream instinctively for help. Simultaneously knowing full-well that only a miracle could save her.
Suddenly, her downward motion ceased at the exact same instant she felt something snag her booted right ankle. Had Batman come after her? Veritably skydiving into this crevasse to snatch her from the jaws of death with his trusty Bat-rope?
But, no; it was a totally unfamiliar male voice that called out:
"Hang...on,...lady. I'll...have you...up...in two...shakes."
She looked upward to see what her would-be rescuer looked like. But, all she could see was the beam of a flashlight that appeared to be tucked under his left arm. Worse than that, however? Her movement had cost him whatever delicately-balanced position he had assumed in order to fish her back up!
"Oh, CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!" he screamed as they both descended to the bottom of the subterranean falls.
Both of them landed in a miraculously deep pool, from which they emerged coughing and sputtering.
"Y-Y-You...all right,...Miss?" gasped out Catwoman's guardian angel.
"Y-Yes!" she stammered in reply: "Th-Thank you,...Mister...?"
"Mackelroy, ma'am. W-William...Mackelroy. Omaha...to my friends."
* * * * *
One minute, Doug Phillips had been tumbling through a wormhole alngside Tony and Omaha. The next moment, each of them was gone! And, to make matters worse?
Tony had been carrying the Black Obelisk of Ramses.
Then, it happened. Doug returned to three-dimensional space. More specifically; what looked like a low-rent apartment with stucco-painted walls. And, to make matters worse? He had apparently landed in the bathroom!
He came to this conclusion from the decidely female outcry, of mixed shock and indignation, that followed his landing.
"AHHHHHHHHHHH! You pervert! How dare you try to ogle me during my bubble bath?
Doug looked up and saw a sultry, wet-haired brunette glaring at him with...orange eyes?
"I sincerely apologize, Miss. It was purely unintentional, I assure you."
"A likely story!" snapped the brunette: "Let me show you what Rumina, daughter of Turok, does to those who try to lie to her."
The next thing Doug knew, a stinging powder had been flung into his eyes. When he could see again, he looked back at the bathtub...and saw that its white porcelain legs were now as tall as California redwoods!
Then, he heard a sound like a little girl's giggle. Only ten times louder, and from slightly above him. So, he looked in that direction. And, he gasped when he saw the billboard-sized face looking down at him.
Rumina giggled again: "Well, at least my Little Sinbad will have company now."
Ah! Shrinkage, at last.
SULTANATE OF BASRA,
(CIRCA 8TH CENTURY A.D.)
* * * * *
As the only child of Turok the Sorceror, Rumina had vowed to learn all she could from her father, in order to win his approval. So, naturally, she took it very hard when her father was decapitated by Sinbad the Sailor!
Her latest attempt at revenge was two-fold. Capturing Sinbad, during his stay at Sultan Omar's palace. And, then, using magical glamour to impersonate him when she stole Omar's prize possession: the Black Obelisk of Ramses. As Sinbad had come to Basra on behalf of Harun Al-Rashid, the Caliph of Baghdad, the theft would be seen as an act of war by Omar. And, that war would lead to Baghdad's destruction!
She saw that as only fitting, since her father had been killed on the Caliph's behalf, as well.
The first part of her plan had succeeded all too well. During a party at the Sultan's palace, she had disguised herself as a belly dancer, in order to lure Sinbad into the privacy of the royal flower garden. The legendary seafarer had seen through her disguise. But, he proved over-confident in his threat to denounce her. And, as a result, she wound up shrinking him to the size of her index finger!
How she had laughed at his prediction that she would never get away with her scheme. She demonstrated otherwise when she picked him up, wrapped in one of her facial veils like a fish in a net. Before stuffing him down her cleavage like a prize jewel.
"Sinbad! So close to my heart."
"Where are you taking me? No! Mmmmmmph!"
Half an hour later, he was unceremoniously dumped into a white clay bottle while Rumina went back to the palace to enact the second phase of her plan. Using the diplomatic seal Sultan Omar had given to the real Sinbad, she was able to enter the guarded vault where the obelisk was kept. Only to be caught in the act of stealing it...as intended.
Now, she luxuriated in a conjured-up bubble bath, contemplating all the glorious things she was going to do with the obelisk amplifying her own magic. Things Little Sinbad would literally be on hand to witness. Yet, unable to prevent!
Then, the stranger appeared. A rival mystic, judging by the odd way he was dressed. And, more relevantly, by the way he had managed to enter her room at this inn, despite her magically sealing the door and windows. But, if he thought she was helpless while bathing, she proved him wrong.
She flung the same body-shrinking powder into his eyes that she had used on Sinbad. And, just in time, too. For she had caught her little lover trying to climb out of the bottle, using his sash and scimitar as a grappling hook-and-rope!
"Naughty, naughty, Sinbad. Leaving without first meeting your new roommate."
Needless to say, she confiscated the sash and scimitar before knocking the shrunken seafarer back into the bottle. Followed closely by the stranger.
* * * * *
"King Tut" had not always been a costumed criminal. He had once been more renowned as William "Omaha" Mackelroy! Archeological adventurer-turned-respectable history professor at Gotham State University.
Then, one day, he suffered a traumatic head injury. One which left him with the delusion that he was the literal reincarnation of Tutankhamun. Along with an obsession to make Gotham City the seat of a New Egyptian Empire.
Oh, there were periods when he seemed to regain his sanity! Thereby renewing everyone's hopes that the recovery would be permanent. Only for those hopes to be dashed when he relapsed, and started perpetrating more evil-doings for the Dynamic Duo to thwart.
His latest scheme had involved a rare mineral called "nilanium." A vein of which certain geological maps had shown to be located beneath...stately Wayne Manor!
With the help of an ex-counterfeiter called the Mole* (from his former specialty of tunneling into banks and swapping their genuine cash for his "funny money"), King Tut and his royal minions unwittingly penetrated the Batcave. Thereby learning Batman and Robin's true identities!
A brief-yet-violent altercation ensued between the Tutlings and the Caped Crusaders. The male minions were knocked out with Bat-gas, thereby rendering them vulnerable to post-hypnotically induced amnesia. As King Tut, himself, had escaped back up the drilled tunnel, Batman and Robin decided to divide and conquer. The Boy Wonder would pursue the faux-Pharoah, while the Dark Knight would personally subjugate the defiant Florence of Arabia.
Unfortunately, for him, he was toppled to the ground by a stranger who literally appeared out of thin air! Providing a distraction that Florence used to her advantage. By doing to Batman what he had been about to do to her!!
"Gonna brainwash me, huh? Well, let's see how you like it! Can you hear me, Batman?"
"Yes," he whispered drowsily: "I...hear you."
"Good! When I count to three, you'll open your eyes. But, you won't be awake. You'll still be sound asleep. In fact, you'll be in a _permanent_ hypnotic trance! Obeying only me. Doing whatever I tell you to do, without question or hesitation. Understand?"
"Then, 1--2--3. Open your eyes!"
Batman did so.
"Now, stand up."
Batman did so.
"Now, tell me a little bit about these trophies I see over here."
She pointed to the ones marked "Schmidlap Dehyration Ray" and "Mad Hatter Shrinking Solution."
* * * * *
MCELROY POINT CAVERNS
(TWO YEARS EARLIER)
Catwoman could not believe her ears.
"You can't be Omaha Mackelroy!" she exclaimed: "He's..."
Before she could utter the words "fat madman," she suddenly felt a pinprick on the back of her neck. While her rescuer was felled by someone employing the French art of la savate!
"Good work, Daddy Longlegs!" exclaimed an older, decidely female voice: "You drag him to our lair. And, Tarantula? You pick her up in a fireman's carry."
Catwoman did not see or hear anything else after that. Not until she woke up in what appeared to be a hospital room. Although, no hospital room she knew of would permit anyone to smoke within it. Not even if the cigarette in question was in an old-fashioned holder!
Like the one being used by the person sitting at the foot of Catwoman's bed.
"Hello, dahling! Welcome to the Bestiary. A secret sanctuary where fugitives with animal-themed aliases can hide out from the law for a--variably--modest fee. My name is Sombra Odette. Better known to some as...the Black Widow."
*The Mole: a villain from the DICK TRACY comic strip and 1950's TV series.
* * * * *
Catwoman arched her eyebrows.
"I've heard of you. Your hubsand was Walter 'the Spider' Odette. The Al Capone of San Francisco!* "
"Yes," replied the older woman: "Till he over-reached himself, thirty years ago. And paid for it with his life! I've tried to carry on, for him, as best I could. But, fighting a two-pronged war--against a frustratingly incorruptible D.A. named Scanlon; and a young upstart rival called the Green Hornet--has proven too much for me. That's why I've relocated here, to Gotham City."
Catwoman half-smiled: "No offense, Mrs. O. But, I don't think you'll find things much easier here. Not if the Caped Crusaders have anything to say about it!"
"I'll worry about them, when the time comes. Meanwhile, you just rest and recuperate. The Bestiary has sheltered a Scarab, two Octopi, and a slough of Scorpions. But, you're the very first _Catwoman_ to grace our corridors with your presence! And, I would like very much to converse with you, again, before you finally feel up to leaving."
MEANWHILE, TWO YEARS IN THE FUTURE...
The mesmerized Batman haltingly explained how the dehydration ray could reduce any human body to dust, simply by evaporating all the water in it. As he and Robin had seen for themselves, when Gotham City's United Underworld (a fortunately short-lived crime syndicate, formed by the _worst_ of the Dynamic Duo's Rogues' Gallery) had used it to kidnap the U.N. Security Council!
"What about this stuff called 'shrinking solution?' " asked Florence.
"It merely...shrinks...the Mad Hatter's...hats...to...a proper...size."
"And, how would someone evaporated by the Schmidlap ray get rehydrated?"
Batman haltingly told her how he and Robin had used soft light water to restore the Security Council. As hard heavy water had been revealed (by a bizarre battle with some of the Penguin's pirates) to make rehydrated molecular structures too unstable!
"Show me," commanded Florence: "Evaporate the guy on the floor for me."
"Yes...Mistress," replied Batman (as he had been ordered to address her with all his affirmative replys). He aimed the fire extinguisher-like device at Tony Newman. And, seconds later?
The unconscious time traveler was a pile of yellow dust!
Florence's resulting grin could only be described as "fiendish." Because, the next thing she did was to remove the cap from the bottle of shrinking solution...and rehydrate Tony Newman with it!!
The latter coughed and sputtered as he regained consciousness. He had a strange bitter taste in his mouth. And, his head was ringing like the proverbial bell. Although, if the truth be told, the bell's peals sounded more like peals of laughter. That was when Tony looked upward...and gasped with incredulous shock.
For there, staring down at him (dressed like someone from ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA), was a beautiful giantess. At least, a hundred feet tall!
"Out of sight!! Now, it's your turn, Batman. You come stand over here. So, I can do this to _you_."
* * * * *
Meanwhile, in eight-century Basra, Doug Phillips and Sinbad had introduced themselves to each other. And, Doug had to admit; it was refreshing to meet someone who could accept the concept of time travel so relatively matter-of-factly.
Then, again; Sinbad's explanation as to the source of their bio-miniaturization might be proof that Arthur C. Clark had been right. Sufficiently advanced technology _was_ indistinguishable from magic!
Unfortunately, their dialogue was interrupted by the slanting of the bottle. Followed by their landing in the palm of Rumina's left hand.
"Now, then," she said: "Let's play a game of cat-and-mouse. With you two as the mice. And, my black cat Cicero in the title role!"
The aforementioned feline affirmed this, by seeming to lick his lips in anthropomorphic anticipation.
*The Spider: arch-enemy of Dick Tracy in the 1937 movie serial of the same name.
* * * * *
"Well?" asked General Kirk, trying to control his nervous impatience.
"I've got one!" exclaimed Ann McGregor, triumphantly.
"Who?" demanded the general: "Which one is it?"
"It's Doug. And, his chronospatial co-ordinates put him in...the Persian city of Basra! 796 A.D."
Whereupon, the general ordered the immediate activation of the 3-D imaging screen. The laser-projected images that subsequently appeared there were initially flabbergasting, to put it mildly.
"Great Scott!" shouted Kirk: "Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"
"I'm afraid so, general. That's Doug, alright. Only, he's literally in the hands of...a giantess!!"
Ann, Kirk, and everyone else in the project's main control room could only look on, helplessly, at a woman dressed like an "Arabian Nights" princess (including golden bra and translucent black pantaloons). She dangled Doug Phillips from her left hand. Her thumb and forefinger grasping him by the nape of his Edwardian-era jacket's neckline.
"Cicero!" they heard her sing: "Time for dinner, kitty-kitty."
Ann's right hand flew to mouth in speechless horror, as she saw a giant black Persian cat beginning to stalk towards the diminutive Doug (who had now been placed on the floor). But, General Kirk snapped her out of it.
"Quickly, Ann! Get a lock on Doug. Prepare to get him out of there, on my command."
She did not need to be told twice. She waited in breathless anticipation to see what the cat would do. That seemed to be forever! Although, it was more likely only a minute, at most.
The cat finally leaped. Whereupon, the general barked:
Both diminutive Doug and colossal cat disappeared from that Middle Eastern room, right before the stunned eyes of the so-called "princess."
The imaging screen changed scenes, showing the furry feline tumbling through the same wormhole that usually contained the two wayward scientists who had helped make the Time Tunnel a reality. The only problem was...it seemed to be alone!
"I don't understand," said Kirk: "Where's Doug?"
"I'm not sure, sir," replied Ann: "But, I still have a lock on him."
"Then, bring him back here, if you can. At once!"
Ann vigorously nodded, and ordered everyone to adjust their controls, accordingly.
The giant, rib-like arrangement of fluorescent light tubes that lined the Time Tunnel started blinking on and off in a steady rhythm. And, they kept doing so, until Ann's controls registered a re-materialization.
"Deactivate!" ordered the general: "Sgt. Major Jiggs!"
"Yes, sir!" exclaimed the project's chief of security, as he ran up to the general's right side and saluted.
"Follow me. According to these settings, Doug has returned. Yet, we still can't see him! And, I want to know why."
The two veteran soldiers went up to the mouth of the tunnel, and carefully examined the floor of it. It was Jiggs who spotted him first, though.
"General Kirk! Over here, sir."
The sergeant-major pointed at the ground, and the general was almost too stunned to bend down and pick up the shrunken scientist.
"Doug? Is that really you?"
The tiny time traveler smiled and saluted.
"Douglas Phillips...reporting...for resumption of duty. Sir!"
* * * * *
Meanwhile, far to the east (and two years earlier), in the depths of the McElroy Point cave system near Gotham City, Catwoman was startled from a sound sleep by a sudden increase of pressure on her stomach.
"What in the...?"
"Meowrrrrrrrrr!" replied the black Persian cat she found looking at her.
"Ohhhhhh!" she cooed: "Aren't you the cutest thing? What's your name?"
Catwoman's delighted smile vanished, when she saw the cat's eyes start to steadily glow a bright shade of gold. And, not a reflected glow, either!
The facial expression that replaced it, however, was not one of terror. Or, even startlement! A better adjective for it would be "vacuous." And, Cicero filled that vacuum with a hypno-telepathic command.
Sombra's late father, Hitomi, had been good friends with the Eurasian master spy, Tito Daka, during World War II. In fact, the latter had even been her childhood tutor!
Thus, it came as no surprise to her father that Sombra not only inherited some of Daka's mind-controlling "zombification collars." She had actually modified them into spider-emblazoned skullcaps! Ones filled with all sorts of modern computer circuitry. And, one of which she had subsequently placed on the head of the chronospatially-transposed "Omaha" Mackelroy, in order to test it.
"Are you any relation to the McElroy Point McElroys?"
"And, you say the last thing you remember, before materializing on that slippery cave ledge, was shooting it out with some German spies in 1943?"
"How do you account for this anomaly?"
"You mean, this phallic-looking thing?"
"What's so special about it?"
"Really? Hmmmm!" she mused: "I wonder how much the Spellcrafts might pay for this?"
To the Black Widow's amazement, the obelisk was virtually lassoed out of her hands by Mackelroy's bullwhip! A bullwhip now being wielded by...
"That's right, B.W. And, we'll be sure to inquire of the Spellcrafts on your behalf."
" 'We?' " echoed the Black Widow.
Catwoman used the obelisk to point down at her feet, where a black Persian cat was doing a figure-eight around her ankles.
"Meet my new partner-in-crime; Cicero."
"How did that filthy beast get in here?" demanded Sobmra of her henchmen.
"The same way all three of us are getting out," replied the Felonious Feline.
Catwoman closed her eyes and whispered something inaudible. And, before the Black Widow could take advantage of this, by ordering her henchmen to attack?
Catwoman, Cicero, and Omaha disappeared!
* * * * *
Meanwhile, two years in the future, the Batmobile was leaving the Batcave. With Florence of Arabia at the steering wheel!
Batman had been successfully rehydrated with the shrinking solution, just like Tony Newman. But, unlike Tony, he was still in a post-hypnotic state. Totally responsive only to Florence! Even so, she had had him surrender his famous utility belt before subjecting him to the Schmidlap ray. For, as Florence so aptly put it:
"I ain't like Tut-tut and the rest of your Rogues' Gallery; overconfident enough to let you keep it."
Yet, any remaining doubts, as to his altered state of mind, were eliminated when Batman unhesitantly told her how to drive the Batmobile, after first shutting off its anti-theft systems. And, she drove it all the way back to her belly-dancing school (ostensibly closed due to stomach flu)!
She stealthily made her way in through the back door, unbuckling the utility belt as she did so. Batman and Tony, who had been pinned to her waist by the buckle, started falling towards the floor. But, Florence caught them both, very quickly. Following which, she gave each of them a full-on kiss.
"I can't help it," she explained: "You're both so irresistibly cute at this size. Like a couple of real living dolls! In fact; that gives me an idea."
Ten minutes later, the Diminutive Duo had a multitude of strings attached to them. By means of which Florence began manipulating them like marionette puppets, as she commenced to sing:
"It's a small world, after all.
It's a small world, after all!
IT'S A SMALL WORLD, AFTER ALL!
It's a small, SMALL WORLD."
Happy Halloween, everybody!
Commissioner Gordon of the GCPD, along with Police Chief O'Hara and Batgirl, were blocking the entrance to the mine shaft. Robin the Boy Wonder was directly opposite them, sandwiching King Tut in between them.
"So, you think you've got me, do you?" declared the Portly Potentate of Perfidy: "Well, before that happens, let me tell you all something. I know the secret identities of the Dynamic Dum-dums. Batman and Robin are really..."
Before he could utter the fateful pronouncement, King Tut seemingly vanished into thin air!
"Ann!" exclaimed General Kirk: "I thought you were trying to find Tony and Mackelroy, and latch on to them!"
"I was," replied Ann: "Evidently this is his modern counterpart. A few years older, and...several... pounds heavier."
Doug Phillips (still shrunken, and perched on the control panel by her right hand) added how the sensor readings indicated that residual particles, from the Black Obelisk's weird energy signature, were trapped within King Tut's Kirlian aura.
"That explains why we couldn't get a lock on his past self."
"But, what about Tony?" countered the general: "Where's he, right now?"
If the imaging screen had been functioning properly, at that moment, they would have seen Florence of Arabia putting him inside a gold-plated birdcage that resembled a cocktail mixer.
"I saw this used on an episode of I DREAM OF JEANNIE, once," she bragged: "I always wanted to have a little prisoner of my own for it. Now, I've got two! But, you? I'll save for later. Right now, I'm off to my bedroom to have some fun with my little Bat-slave. And, we're gonna have a _lot_ of fun! Won't we, Bat-slave?"
The mesmerized mini-man, sitting calmly on the palm of her left hand, simply said:
Meanwhile, within the timestream, King Tut saw three others tumbling slowly around him. Only one of whom he recognized.
"Blessed Bast! Catwoman? What are you doing here? Are you responsible for this...?"
He gestured at the kaleidoscopic panorama of their surroundings, words having failed him.
"Yes and no, Tutsy. Cicero, here, is a Persian djinn in feline form. And, when he read in my mind where and when he was (along with the most likely reason why), he told me about the Black Obelisk's true potential. A potential I intend to tap! I'll literally be the All-time Queen of Crime. Committing the crime of the century in _any_ century I desire!"
Before she could boast any further, all four time travlers vanished from each other's sight.
"Omaha" Mackelroy (Tut's zombified younger self) materialized inside somebody's office. Banging his head against the rear wall of that office and, thereby, smashing the zombifying skullcap.
"Great Scott!" exclaimed General Blankenship of U.S. Army Intelligence: "How did _he_ get in here?"
"I don't know, General," replied Wonder Woman: "But, my magic Lasso of Truth will get the answer from him."
Meanwhile, in eighth-century Basra, Maeve the Celtic sorceress--while searching for her brother Dermot (transmogfried into a hawk a few years earlier)--had accidentally barged into the rented room of the one responsible. Although, she was initially unaware of this, as Rumina had resumed her glamorized semblance of Sinbad!
This subsequently lulled Maeve into a false sense of security. Long enough, at least, for Rumina to magically stun her unconscious.
And, that's when King Tut of Gotham City made the scene.
SULTANATE OF BASRA,
(EIGHTH CENTURY A.D.)
Cairpra had studied under the great wizard, Dim-Dim of Baghdad, himself. She had even married him! But, now he was missing; the result of helping Sinbad and his friends rescue Harun Al Rashid's daughter from Rumina's father, Turok.
So, when Maeve of Eire had approached her for further tutoring in the wizarding arts, Cairpra had agreed. And, when Maeve went looking for her pseudo-avian brother, Dermot, a foreboding premonition had prompted Cairpra to secretly follow her. A good thing, too, as it turned out!
Having rendered Maeve unconscious, through trickery, Rumina was just about to eliminate the Celtess when Cairpra burst in. Pinning the evil sorceress to the back wall of her rented room with clamps of solidified light. Unfortunately, she did not remain imprisoned that way, for long.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" yelled King Tut, as he rematerialized from the timestream.
Landing atop Cairpra like the proverbial ton of bricks, he knocked all the wind out of her. Which, of course, broke her concentration. Thereby freeing Rumina from her shackles.
"I don't know what's going on here. But, I know an opportunity for escape when I see it. Come, Little Sinbad! Time for us to leave."
A simple wave of her right hand, and the bottle containing the shrunken seafarer was telekinetically drawn to her. Following which, she teleported away in a flash of orange light.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Catwoman and Cicero had finally rematerialized in three-dimensional space, as well. The feline-looking djinn (still letting her think she was in charge) stared intently at his new "master." His eyes glowing with telepathic communication.
"No, I don't know where we are," she replied, rather heatedly: "But, I can hear people laughing. And, even some fireworks. So, we've probably landed on the outskirts of some big celebration."
"A brilliant deduction, my strangely-clad cutie!"
Catwoman looked up in stunned amazement at the hefty man standing before her. A man with an all-too familiar face. Yet, who had somehow changed his earlier attire for a Victorian-style tuxedo and cape!
The fat man laughed: "You flatter me, my dear! True, I am of aristocratic rank and descent. But, nay: I am no king. I am merely Count Carlos Mario Vincenzo Robespierre Manzeppi. And, you are in the Italian pavilion at the U.S. Centennial Exposition, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
* * * * *
Meanwhile, back in 20th-century Gotham City, Florence of Arabia sat down on the left bottom corner of her bed, and set the shrunken Caped Crusader at her feet.
"Okay, Little Bat-slave. I command you to remove my sandals."
Two slightly difficult minutes later, Florence was barefoot. And, she giggled as she wriggled her toes.
"Good boy! Now, I want you to massage my feet...with your whole body. The same way you would if you were making mad, passionate love to me!"
Whereupon, the mesmerized Batman approached her slightly taller left foot...and began to move up and down against its sole. Slowly, at first. Then, gradually accelerating. As did the ecstatic gasps of air that he uttered in perfect unison.
Florence grinned with fiendish glee as she watched this. Waiting until just before he climaxed to shout:
"Stop!!! Now, the right foot."
Batman was so nearly winded, all he could do was mouth the words, "Yes, Mistress." Yet, he blindly obeyed the new command, just the same. Again, starting out slow. And, again, accelerating both his gyrations and his outcries.
And, once again, she commanded him to stop before he could climax.
When she lifted her right foot away from him, however, he fell flat on his back. Almost totally exhausted.
"Aw!" cooed Florence (in half-pretended sympathy): "Poor Little Bat-slave is pooped. Well, as a reward, you can join me on my bed."
She picked up the compact crime-fighter in her right hand, and placed him against her pillows. Laying down on her stomach, as she did so. And, gazing at him with lustful admiration in her eyes.
"You might get your second wind back, a lot faster, if you took off those tight tights, Little Bat-slave. But, you're obviously too tuckered out to do it yourself. So, as a reward for that wonderful foot massage? I'll take them off for you!"
Whereupon, she slowly reached for Batman with her left hand.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 1943
* * * * *
Steve Trevor (Major, U.S. Army Intelligence) had been sent to Istanbul to fly "Omaha" Mackelroy back to London. Black Obelisk and all. And, as usual, he had been accompanied by his administrative assistant, Lt. Diana Prince (U.S. Navy WAVES*).
When Mackelroy failed to make their rendezvous on time, Trevor went to investigate. Prompting Diana to follow him in her true identity. The one created for her by the American press; Wonder Woman!
It was the Amazing Amazon who spotted Mackelroy and two other Americans (total strangers to her) being chased across the rooftops of Istanbul by the Iraqi soldiers of General Suleiman Ibn Daoud. She swiftly interceded on their behalf. Her feminum bracelets repelling the bullets the soldiers fired at her, until she could get close enough to subdue them (and their Gestapo accomplices), manually.
Unfortunately, her intercession did not prove swift enough. As, the disparate trio she had sought to rescue vanished before her very eyes!
In relaying this to General Blankenship (Steve's commanding officer), forty-eight hours later, the former was very dubious when the latter hypothesized that the folklore surrounding the obelisk must be true.
"But, at least the Nazis don't have it, either," he added: "That's some consolation."
Wonder Woman nodded: "Even more encouraging? Subic Bey's daughter is now safely back on Mindinao, with her father, where she'll help him step up his resistance efforts against the Imperial Japanese Army."
That was when "Omaha" Mackelroy came tumbling out of nowhere. Hitting his head against the back wall of the general's office. And, prompting Blankenship to exclaim:
"Great Scott! How did _he_ get in here?"
* * * * *
(JULY 4, 1876)
Catwoman was momentarily stunned speechless by Count Manzeppi's pronouncement. She had only half-believed Cicero's telepathic explanation. Part of her still thinking she must have hit her head, back in that cave near the Bestiary. And, therefore, she had hallucinated both his telepathy and their free-falling trip through the timestream.
Count Manzeppi used her speechlessness to resume talking.
"I came to this exposition seeking the Black Obelisk of Ramses. And, here, you bring it right to me!"
"You mean, this thing?" replied Catwoman (snapping out of it): "Oh, it's nothing more than a custom-made scratching post for my beloved Cicero. Really!"
"Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh!" laughed the count: "Nice try, my dear. But, I know better. As would any other noteworthy scholar of the arcane! That is the fabled Black Obelisk. Stolen from the Moors, in medieval Spain, by El Cid. Brought to the New World by Cortez. And, property of the Mexican government for over sixty-five years."
"I came here to intercept its transfer of custody, from the Mexican ambassador to the envoy of the Egyptian Khedive. But, obviously, you got to it, first! I won't ask how. I have _that_ much respect for 'honor among thieves.' Make no mistake, though: only a miracle will prevent my wresting it from you! So, please, do us both a favor? Hand it over, peaceably. Now!"
Catwoman's reply was very succinct: "Sick him, Cicero!"
The black Persian cat seemed to move with the speed of a cheetah. But, Count Manzeppi proved faster. He outstretched his arms, a flattened top hat held between them. And, with its crown facing him.
To Catwoman's shocked amazement, Cicero disappeared inside it!
With the sound like that of a cork, popping out of a wine bottle, the top hat resumed its full shape. The count then hurriedly righted it, the bottom facing up towards him. In less time than it takes to tell, he had covered it with his left hand, muttered some unintelligible words, and then used that same hand to remove...a solid gold Persian oil lamp!
One that shook back and forth like a willow tree in an earthquake. Muffled hissing and spitting coming from within it.
"So much for your feline familiar. Now, as for you, personally...?"
His threat was interrupted by the sound of two pistol hammers being clicked back. Manzeppi and Catwoman turned their heads, simultaneously, and saw two men dressed like Mexican caballeros. One with dark brown hair, a blue suit, and a black Stetson hat. The other, slightly older, with black hair, a brown suit, and matching Stetson hat.
Each of them had a nickel-plated Colt Peacemaker trained on the count.
"Ah!" exclaimed the latter: "Messrs. West and Gordon. We meet for a not-so-charming third time."
"Empty your hands, count," ordered Jim West: "And, raise them high."
"Like this?" replied Manzeppi. Whereupon, he dropped the top hat to the floor. The moment it landed, it twirled on its crown like a deftly-thrown coin. When it came to a stand-still, a red rubber ball shot upward out of it.
With a trajectory that took it straight at the two men.
"Look out, Jim!" exclaimed Artemus Gordon. But, his partner, as always, proved quick on the draw. Firing upon the spherical projectile, and shattering it. Or, more accurately, detonating it.
When their eyes and nostrils cleared, the two Secret Service agents looked about. And, Artie (ever the chemist) speculated that there must have been a psychedelic compound in that grenade.
"Everything around us looks gigantic!"
The moment he said this, a huge, black, snake-like object descended from above and bound them together, back-to-back. And, Catwoman laughed as she dragged them closer to her.
"I wished Manzeppi away. And, now, with you two, I'll play!"
* WAVES: Women Appointed for Volunteer Emergency Service. Female component of the U.S. Naval Reserve during WWII.
(JULY 4, 1876)
* * * * *
Two years after his commitment to a private mental hospital in Switzerland, former U.S. Senator Seth Buckley had finally (some might even say "mercifully") passed on. Shortly afterward, it was revealed, through a codicil to his will, that his wife had actually given birth--not to quadruplets--but QUINTUPLETS!
And, the last-born son had been just as acromegalic as Dimas.
But, where Dimas wound up being raised by a German anthropologist with radical theories that Charles Darwin, himself, would have scoffed at, his brother's fate was even stranger. He became the personal bodyguard of a man, who re-named him "Voltaire" (after his favorite French philosopher).
That man was Professor Miguelito Loveless. The mental giant with a grudge against the world that he perceived as looking down on him. Both literally and figuratively.
The professor's body had recently been found floating in Chesapeake Bay. With his brain surgically removed from his skull! The subsequent investigation, by Agents West and Gordon, led them to the country's first medical school for women. And, the resident instructor in charge of neurosurgery; Dr. Cassandra Faustina.
Once again, she eluded capture with the help of her assistant, Miklos. But, before making that escape, she revealed how--using written instructions provided by Loveless, himself--she had transplanted the professor's brain into Voltaire's body!
The two agents followed this lead back to the Buckley family estate, in Kansas. Unfortunately, just as they were about to debark from their private train, "The Wanderer," a strange kind of vertigo overcame them. The same kind they had experienced only once before. Namely; during their psychic transportation through time-and-space by the invalid ex-Confederate Army officer, Colonel Vautrain.
When the vertigo left them, they found themselves listening to yet another of their old enemies, Count Manzeppi, threatening the life of an unidentified woman. So, they burst in on him, six-guns drawn. Only to find themselves apparently reduced to the size of chess pieces!
And, now, that same mystery-woman was on her knees. Leering at them, as she used artificial cat-claws to scrape away their clothing with sadistic slowness.
* * * * *
When Robin tried to use his Bat-talkie, to contact his masked mentor about King Tut's strange disappearance, all he got was static. So, with no other choice in the matter, he had to ask Batgirl to accompany him back down the mine shaft.
His worst fears were confirmed when he found the two male Tutlings still present-yet-unconscious...and the Batmobile missing. Nor did Batgirl fail to note the Batcave's proximity to Wayne Manor.
"Does this mean what I think it does?" she asked the Boy Wonder.
He nodded: "Yes. And, for once, I have no flippant pseudo-puns to alleviate my tension. That's how seriously I regard this development!"
"I assure you, Robin. You can count on me to keep your secret."
"Thank you. But, I need you to help me brainstorm. Assuming that Florence of Arabia somehow over-powered Batman, where would she have taken him?"
"Well, King Tut isn't exactly famous for picking Nobel Laureates as his paramours. So, she probably drove the Batmobile straight back to their hide-out."
"Holy Boomerang! Of course! And, considering his modus operandi, it would have to be something with a Near Eastern motif that's also not accessible to the public."
Robin immediately started going through the Batcave's microfilmed copy of the Gotham City Yellow Pages. They finally achieved success upon reaching the D's. More specifically; "Dancing, Eastern Abdominal."
"Holy Blatancy! You were right. An ad for belly-dance lessons by Florence of Arabia."
"And, this address puts her on the Eastside of Gotham," added Batgirl.
"Then, we'd better get going. Although, I'm afraid we'll have to use your Bat-cycle. Does it have a sidecar?"
The Distaff Do-gooder smiled and nodded. Whereupon, the two ran back out the way the way they had come in.
* * * * *
SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
"Oh, Sinbad, my little love! Isn't this a romantic spot to plight our troth?"
The shrunken seafarer could not answer her, as he was too busy trying to extricate his face from where she was pressing it up against her navel. Thus, he did not see the arrival of the four assorted cast-aways who came running down the beach toward him and Rumina.
"See, Skipper? Professor? Mary-Ann? It's just like I told you. A beautiful genie with _dark_ brown hair!"
WASHINGTON, D.C. (1943)
* * * * *
General Blankenship and Major Steve Trevor watched through the one-way mirror as Wonder Woman used her Lasso of Truth on the man who--they reluctantly had to admit-- greatly resembled "Omaha" Mackelroy.
"You say the Black Obelisk transported you over twenty years into the future?"
"So, where is it now?"
"For the umpteenth time; I don't know! Some weird cat-lady came along and stole it from that spider-woman. But, she did mention selling it to someone named...Spellcraft."
"Spellcraft; Spellcraft," muttered General Blankenship: "Why does that name sound so familiar?"
"I believe Dr. Savage had a couple of run-ins with him, before the war, sir," Trevor replied: "Something to do with fragments from an eighteenth-century meteor strike in Yorkshire, England."
"Hmmmmmm! And, this Black Obelisk was supposed to have been sculpted out of an ancient Egyptian meteorite. Correct?"
"Makes me wonder if scientifiction authors like Wells and Verne might be more right than most people like to think?"
Watching this on their 3-D imaging screen, in 1968, Doug Phillips and Ann McGregor looked at each other and smiled.
"If only they knew," said the former: "Right, Ann?"
The latter smiled and nodded: "I couldn't have said it better, myself."
She then gently removed him from where he was perched (on her right shoulder), and gently cupped both her hands around him. Whereupon, she gave him a cautious-but-tender kiss. One that he returned as best he could, by embracing her lower lip with both his arms, and passionately kissing her back.
The other staff members in the Project Tic-Toc control room smiled at each other. Although, they were polite enough not to pay too-close attention to this public display of affection!
General Kirk was just as discrete in his televisual surveillance of the kissing from the staff meeting room. His own wistful smile disappeared, however, when his scrambler phone call was finally patched through.
"Carter? It's Woody. How are things over at the CMDF? He pulled through with flying colors? Excellent! Then, maybe you could do me a little favor. No pun intended, of course!"
* * * * *
SMALLVILLE, KANSAS (1876)
Count Manzeppi finally regained consciousness. The last thing he remembered, he had been about to unleash the pent-up fury of that Persian djinn on those meddlers, West and Gordon, when he was suddenly overcome by a strange case of vertigo.
Now, he found himself in a torch-lit basement of some kind. Tied down, with massive amounts of rope, to a large square platform.
"Ah! Count Manzeppi. Welcome back to the Land of the Living. However brief that visit might prove to be."
The corpulent count struggled to move his head about, so he could get a better look at whoever was talking to him.
"Who's there? Where am I? Why am I bound like some...poor man's version of Gulliver?"
"All good questions, my friend. To answer them, in reverse order? I'm anxious to discover how you (self-confessed leader of the Eccentrics) infiltrated my newly-inherited residence. To wit: the opulent cattle ranch of the late Senator Buckley. Father of my current host body; Egan Buckley. Alias...Voltaire!"
Manzeppi gasped at the eight foot-tall being who suddenly emerged from the flickering shadows, and leaned downward over him. Until they were literally nose to nose.
* * * * *
Batgirl turned off the Batcycle's engine, one block up from the dancing school, and used residual momentum to coast the rest of the way. Therby insuring that Florence of Arabia would not hear them coming. For there was no question of her _not_ being inside.
The Batmobile was parked at the back door for all the world to see!
Robin hopped out of the sidecar without a moment's hesitation. But, just as he was about to grasp at the back door's handle, Batgirl stepped in front of him.
"Not so fast, Boy Wonder. Florence might have activated one of King Tut's booby traps after returning here."
"Holy Haste-makes-waste! You're right again, Batgirl. Let me get out my Bat-imager and scan the immediate interior of this building."
"Bat-imager?" echoed the Diva of Derring-do.
Robin nodded: "It's a new device that Batman recently developed. A kind of...electronic stereopticon that uses sonar to get a virtual picture of what's ahead of us. For those areas of Gotham City (including hidden criminal lairs) that might have poor lighting!"
"Similar to the echolocation of real bats," observed Batgirl.
Whereupon, he took out from his utility belt, what anyone else might have thought was a pair of opera glasses. He then pressed them against the gray exterior of the back door, and peered through them. A minute later, he saw it. A pair of greenish-colored silhouettes. One considerably larger than the other (and, decidely too curvaceous to be Batman).
In fact, the only thing remotely resembling Batman was what he initially took to be one of those action figures for pre-adolescent boys.
That is; until he saw it move...of its own accord!
SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Simultaneous with her teleportation away from Basra, Rumina had cast a tracing spell. She blamed Doug Phillips for the breaking of the concealment spell she had cast on her rented room. And, now, she would make him pay for further distracting her from the Black Obelisk!
They (she and Little Sinbad) had rematerialized on the seashore of some tropical island. And, the first thing she saw, in looking around, were blankets spread out on the sand. Blankets with the same color scheme as the skirt of that Celtic harlot Maeve!
[What did she call it? Ah, yes: plaid.]
Then, she heard a male voice call out: "Hey! Who are you? And, why are you standing on those blankets? That's where we're gonna have the surprise anniversary party for Mr. and Mrs. Howell!"
The man who addressed her so boldly was plainly a sailor. Yet, his cap, shirt, and trousers were strage-looking, to say the least!
"Go away, mortal. I have some meditation to do. I must determine why my tracer spell has landed me here (of all places)!"
"My name is Gilligan. Don't call me 'Myrtle.' "
Gripping Little Sinbad's bottle with her right hand, she gestured with her left...and the annoying Gilligan went flying down the beach head over heels. Like a tumbleweed in reverse!
Needless to say, when he picked himself up, he ran back to camp, as quickly as possible, to tell the others what had happened to him. And, naturally, they were a little incredulous. After five or ten minutes of pleading, however, three of them reluctantly accompanied him back to the beach.
Rumina--who had subsequently become distracted by her lovely surroundings--got annoyed at this intrusion. So, she shrank Gilligan and the two other men down to the size of dolls! Leaving the brunette wench called MaryAnn open-mouthed with shock and amazement. Two emotions that immediately doubled when Rumina muttered something, and the beach blanket she sat upon took off for the sky like a flying carpet!
If her magic powers had included something like X-ray vision, she could have peered down through the ocean below, and observed something that might have astounded even her. Namely: a nuclear-powered submarine called "The Seaview."
"Are you sure that this island is far enough from civilization that no one else will find it, Admiral?" asked Capt. Crane.
"There are no guarantees in life, Lee," replied Harriman Nelson (Adm./USN Reserve): But, once we bury this thing, then nuke it from a relatively safe distance, no one in their _right mind_ will want to go near that island!"
The two men looked down at the Freudian piece of meteoric obsidian that Admiral Nelson had placed upon the work desk in his cabin-office.
MEANWHILE, BACK IN 19TH-CENTURY PHILADELPHIA...
As soon as Catwoman had finished stripping the two shrunken agents down to their long-Johns, she forced each of them to into the yogic position called "the Siamese Human Knot." Whereupon, she began juggling them from hand-to-hand!
When she finally stopped, the two little men were so dizzy they had nearly blacked out. Thus, they only comprehended half of what she said when she told them she wished she could take them with her, when she returned to her time. The next thing she knew, Catwoman was tumbling through the timestream, once more! And, she was so busy hanging on to the obelisk, she failed to notice the fetally-shaped silhouettes in the area of her bra cups.
Using the utmost stealth, Batgirl used one of her custom-tempered nail files to pick the lock on the rear door of Florence of Arabia's "bellydancing school." When that had been successfully completed, she and Robin tip-toed inside. The Boy Wonder had no sooner pointed to where he had seen the sonic images, however, than he and Batgirl heard a disturbingly loud hiss!
Disturbing, that is, in the sense that even a creaking wooden floor board would have sounded unnaturally loud to them at this psychological point.
They looked at each other, almost accusingly, until they heard it a second time. Coming from behind them! They looked...and saw Tiny Tony Newman frantically waving at them from inside his gilded cage.
"Holy Homunculi! I've got to be hallucinating," declared Robin.
Batgirl shook her head: "Hallucinations aren't contagious. That's got to be some kind of animatronic toy."
"I'm not a toy," replied Tony: "Animatronic or otherwise. I was shrunk by something called a 'Schmidlap ray.' Whatever that is!"
The two costumed crime-fighters looked at each other, and then at the cage. Then, they went over it.
"How do you know about the Schmidlap ray?" demanded Robin. So, Tony explained to him and Batgirl, as best he could (in as few time-consuming words as possible), about the accidental landing atop the Caped Crusader back in the Batcave.
"Holy H.G. Wells!" exclaimed Robin: "Do you really expect us to believe you're a time traveler?"
"Is it anymore incredible than a man being reduced in height after first being reduced to dust?"
"Touche'!" replied Batgirl: "Let's get you out of that cage. And, then, we'll get Batman away from that cut-rate Cleopatra."
"Why not leave her to me?"
Batgirl and Robin turned as one...and gasped.
"Catwoman?!" they chorused.
"That's right, kitties. Back in my original form! From my point of view, I've used this obelisk to magically transform myself at least twice, in as many years. Once, into the semblance of Lisa Carson (daughter of John E. Carson). The second time; into the spitting image of that black woman who sings that materialistic Christmas carol. And, both times, nobody noticed or questioned it!!"
"So, you've proven the obelisk is truly magical," replied Batgirl: "The question is; what are you going to do with it, now?"
Most fittingly, Catwoman's only response was a Cheshire cat-grin. Then, she gazed at the obelisk before muttering a few words. Whereupon, it began to glow...with a purplish-black radiance.
"Robin, quickly! Throw a batarang!"
The Boy Wonder had already had the same thought. But, just as he was about to let it fly, in the hopes of dislodging the obelisk from Catwoman's grip, the radiance flared. Momentarily blinding him and the Distaff Daredevil. When they could see again, they once more gasped in unison.
Because, they were now trapped in the same birdcage as Tiny Tony!
"Don't worry, boys and girl. I don't leave my pets in over-crowded conditions. I'll wish up two empty cages, just like this one. That way, you'll each have a place to call your own! First, however...?"
The Felonious Feline fell to the floor, face-first. Her last statement interrupted by the Japanese-made replica of a canopic jar being broken over head.
It was, of course, Florence of Arabia who had done it. Slowly and seductively, she had divested the shrunken Batman of almost his entire costume (minus the cape and cowl) when she began to hear strange noises coming from outside her bedroom door. She reluctantly got up off the bed, tip-toed to the door, and opened it. Just a crack.
With one eye, she watched Batgirl and Robin converse with the other little man. The one who had inadvertently helped her to capture Batman! Needless to say, she was amazed by what she overheard.
Then, Catwoman appeared out of thin air. Thereby, doubling her amazement! And after overhearing the Felonious Feline brag about the properties of the obelisk, Florence knew she had to have it for herself. Yet, now that she did, she just had to be certain she had not been hearing things.
"I wish for Catwoman to be trapped in that birdcage with the other three."
Moments later, the miniaturized trio became a quartet. Which made the bodacious bellydancer impishly grin with triumph.
"I now wish for the four of them to make love with each other. Boy/girl; boy/girl!"
Purplish-black auras outlined the bodies of the shrunken captives. Following which, Batgirl and Robin looked at each other as lustfully as Catwoman now looked at Tiny Tony.
(JULY 4, 1876)
All "Egan Buckley" (nee Miguelito Loveless) had to do, to get Count Manzeppi to talk, was to subject him to the hallucinogenic pollen of the Nicodemus flower. Following which, the not-so-good doctor rhythmically swung a Swiss pocket watch back and forth. Which the count was easily misled into seeing as a razor-sharp pendulum straight out of Edgar Allen Poe!
"I wasn't hired to assassinate you. I swear! I was simply transported here by the mystic power of the Black Obelisk of Ramses!!"
"And, where is this obelisk now?"
"That witch has it. The one in the erotically wrinkled long-Johns! Her feline familiar is in that Persian oil lamp that transported with me."
"You mean, this one?"
"No! Don't open it!! Don't...!!!"
Fortunately, for the ill-fated count, he was a firm believer in reincarnation. Which is why his soul transmigrated, through time and space, into the infant body of William Mackelroy. Born to Professor and Mrs. Henry Mackelroy--recently moved to Omaha, Nebraska, from Gotham City, and vacationing for the summer in Smallville--on the fortieth anniversary of Count Manzeppi's death.
* * * * *
THE HOG'S HEAD PUBLIC HOUSE,
(MAY 8, 1945)
"You actually apprenticed under Count Cagliostro?" exclaimed Cassandra Faustina.
"Well, that's the alias he used when he came to England, looking for meteor fragments, near Wold Newton, Yorkshire," replied Dr. Cabala Spellcraft: "When I first met him, though, he was being addressed as 'Dr. Curtis Knox!' A U.S. Army medical officer who was assigned to autopsy a so-called 'Martian' recovered from a crashed 'airship' near Aurora, Texas."
The two alchemists were sharing a table at this currently over-crowded pub. She had been reading a special issue of THE DAILY PROPHET; the front-page article of which dealt with Albus Dumbledore's capture of the renegade wizard Grindelwald. Apparently, the latter had nearly triumphed over the former, due to the intervention of a fellow renegade occultist calling himself "Cagliostro" (a name that Spellcraft had grunted at, in recognition).
Fortunately, for Dumbledore, the American superheroine called "Wonder Woman" had intervened, as well! Defeating Cagliostro quite handily. Though she would never remember doing so, as he had blasted her with a memory charm, at the next-to-last moment.
"And, you say he claimed to have gained his immortality from a meteor that crashed in Finland back in prehistoric times?"
Spellcraft nodded: "In the Karikkoselka region."
"How strange! My reanimation and age-retardation processes rely on electrified sea cucumber extract. But, the voltage first has to be conducted through electrodes made of iron from the Lake Kaali region of Estonia. And, the ethnic folklore of that region seems to center around a similar meteor impact! Circa the 7th century B.C."
"Tell me; did some of the raw ore contain small crystals the same shade of translucent green as moldavite? But, which glowed in the dark, like radium?"
Faustina's eyes widened: "Why, yes!"
"Did a small percentage of these same crystals become a fluorescent purplish-black when super-heated?"
Faustina excitedly nodded.
Spellcraft then smiled: "My dear! How would you like to become my research partner?"
* * * * *
Florence of Arabia sauntered back into her bedroom. Proudly bearing the Black Obelisk under her arm like the ceremonial scepter in a beauty pageant. Her smile vanished, however, when she saw that not only had Little Batman gotten dressed back up. He was also trying to extract his now overgrown Bat-talkie from his utility belt!
"Hey! What's going on here? How come you're not hypnotized anymore?"
"To be honest?" he replied: "I don't know. Perhaps, when you dehydrated me with the Schmidlap ray, you likewise evaporated the chemical components of the Bat-gas in my bloodstream. But, in any event, I've had my free will for sometime, now. And, it's only through the sheer strength of that will that I've managed to pretend to acquiesce to your every erotic demand...without shuddering with revulsion!"
If looks could kill, Florence's mere glare would have crushed the shrunken Caped Crusader, like the proverbial bug, right then and there. But, a moment later?
"In that case; I wish you to become my permanently obedient little love-slave...all over again."
Batman raised his right index finger. But, whatever moralistically caustic reply he was about to rebutt her with was cut off. For, his body suddenly became paralyzed at the exact same instant both it and the obelisk became suffused with a fluorescent purplish-black glow!
When the glow vanished, Batman was able to move and speak again. And the first words he uttered were:
"How may I serve you, My Mistress?"
Florence grinned: "I wish you to slowly strip yourself, stark-naked, for me. Saving your cape and cowl for last."
Should be needless to say: JKR owns and profits from anything and everything associated with the Harry Potter-verse.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (1968)
"Stand by to miniaturize," ordered General Carter.
"Stand by to miniaturize," repeated the technician at the control panel.
In the center of the featureless white chamber, beneath the CMDF control room, stood Dr. Ann McGregor (wearing an equally white leotard). She had hardly dared believe it, when General Kirk had told her about the Combined Miniature Deterrent Forces commanded by his old West Point roommate, Harlan Newfield Carter.
"And, they have a chance of re-enlarging me?" Doug Phillips had asked, with a hint of excitement in his voice.
"Indirectly," Kirk had replied: "Re-enlargement of their subjects occurs automatically within one hour of reduction. What his people would have to do is shrink someone else down to your present height. And, then, at the end of those sixty minutes, have you stand in close proximity to that person. So, that his-or-her regrowth rubs off on you (so to speak)."
There had been no hesitation on Ann's part, what-so-ever. From where he sat, on top of the conference room table at Project Tic-Toc, Diminutive Doug watched her left arm shoot up like a rocket.
"I volunteer to be the guinea pig, General."
Twenty-four hours later, she found herself in a top-secret complex somewhere beneath the streets of the nation's capital.
"Begin miniaturization," General Carter now ordered.
"Begin miniaturization," repeated the technician.
There was a loud hum that became increasingly shrill. Simultaneously, four trails of indicator lights, arranged cross-wise, began to converge toward the center of a glass-topped panel.
"Miniaturization complete," said the technician: "Subject is now 5.9 inches tall."
"Elevate Zero Module," ordered General Carter.
The technician repeated the order. Seconds later, the only black surface in the miniaturizing chamber began rising into the air. Bringing the now-shrunken Ann up with it!
General Carter then ordered transport for her. This turned out to be a gray metal cart being pushed by another technician. The latter wearing cover-alls just as white as her leotard. And, it was this technician who brought her to the specially-designed quarters that had been set aside for the man she loved.
* * * * *
From their point of view, James West and Artemus Gordon had spent two years as Catwoman's shrunken playthings. When they were not being forced to massage the soles of her feet with their half-naked bodies, she forced them to kiss the lobes of her ears!
[That is; her human ones. Not the feline-looking fakes she wore on top of her headband.]
It was a mixed blessing that she had never forced them into the more intimate parts of her anatomy. As she had explained to them, back in 1967:
"Sorry, boys! But, I'm reserving that privilege for Batman, after I wish _him_ down to size. I'm not ready to do that, just yet, though. I want to experiment with this thing a little longer."
So, the ear-kissing and foot-massages had continued. And, when she had had enough of both, Catwoman would once more tie them up in Siamese Human Knots, before depositing each of them into the cups of the bra she would wear the next day. Which is precisely where they were when Catwoman was knocked out by Florence of Arabia, and then wished into the same birdcage as Robin, Batgirl, and Tony Newman!
The shrunken quartet (each roughly six inches tall) had been wish-commanded to make love to each other. So, that was precisely what happened. Starting with a lot of vociferous foreplay in the form of hugging, kissing, and moaning.
Then, they stripped off their clothing.
The bra containing Artie and Jim landed on the floor of the increasingly cluttered cage, along with the rest of Catwoman's unitard. And, Artie (ever the mathematician) calculated that the two of them were now one-sixth of an inch tall!
"That's assuming we shrunk in proportion to her," he added: "Making us still ten times smaller than her."
Jim did not immediately reply, as he had recognized this long-sought opportunity...and seized it.
For the past two years, his well-trained martial artist's eyes had watched how Catwoman tied them up, using their own limbs for ropes. More importantly, he had watched how Catwoman _untied_ them whenever she wanted another semi-erotic massage. So, he now put his observations to work. Slowly, but surely, maneuvering his arms and legs free.
Finally, he climbed to the top of Artie's cup and grinned down at him.
"Need a little hand, Artie?"
While Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman and Tiny Tony slumbered in sexual exhaustion, the even-smaller Jim West and Artemus Gordon examined the Boy Wonder's utility belt. Looking for anything that could get them out of the over-crowded birdcage and down to the floor of this so-called dancing school.
"Hey, Artie! Look at this. Doesn't this resemble those 'putty bombs' you used to make out of modeling clay and blasting gelatin?"
Artie (ever the pyrotechnician) fingered, then sniffed, the pinkish-gray material.
"Why, so it does! And, if this stuff is similarly TNT-based, there should be some kind of ignition device next to it."
A few moments later, Jim removed a cylinder that appeared to be made of nickel-plated iron. And, yet (even at one-sixth of an inch tall), it was light enough for him to drag almost single-handedly!
"James, my boy? I believe you've struck paydirt. This is not only the same size of one of my fulminated mercury sparklers. I'll bet that bubble is mercury fulminate, itself."
He pointed toward the middle of a liquid-filled glass tube (similar to a carpenter's level).
"And, this olive-green glass plate with the quartet of black zeros? I'll bet that's a 20th-century timer. Electrically powered, and adjustable (using these buttons above it) for delayed-action detonations."
"Could be, Artie. The question is; how can we apply it to our escape?"
"Well, why don't we start by grabbing up handfuls of this putty explosive, and gradually applying it to the cage door? Enough of it, at least, to stick this ignition device to it."
Jim grinned: "And, then, we can figure out a way to stick it to that giantess in the next room."
* * * * *
MEANWHILE, IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The time had finally come.
Doug was now wearing a white leotard similar to Ann's. Although, he had to admit; she looked more fetching in hers!
The giant orderly with the gray cart had come back for them at T minus fifteen minutes. Ten minutes later, he wheeled them into the mostly white chamber where Ann had been bio-miniaturized earlier.
"Elevate Zero Module," ordered General Carter.
"Elevate Zero Module," repeated the technician.
Once again, the only black square in the chamber's floor revealed itself to be a telescoping platform. On top of which the orderly now transferred Doug and Ann with the utmost care and gentleness. Once this had been accomplished, he left the chamber, wheeling the cart before him.
"Three minutes to re-enlargement," came the public announcement.
Ann placed both arms around Doug's neck.
"You'd better stand as close to me as possible."
Doug smilingly complied; wrapping his arms around her waist as he did so.
"Two minutes to re-enlargement," came the public announcement.
"Ann?" said Doug: "I've been thinking of asking you something during my...time away. And, I promised myself I'd ask it the moment I got back."
"One minute to re-enlargement," came the public announcement.
"Whether or not this works: Ann, will you marry me?"
"Thirty seconds to re-enlargement," came the public announcement.
Ann smilingly replied with a full-fledged lip lock. Proving once again that some actions definitely speak louder than words!
"Ten; nine; eight; seven; six; five; four; three; two; ONE!"
For the first few seconds, there appeared to be nothing. Then, those in the control room noticed it. Both visually and telemetrically.
"Subjects beginning to re-enlarge!" exclaimed the technician: "Seven-inch mark. Eight inches. Nine."
Upon passing the one-foot mark, General Carter ordered the Zero Module lowered back into the floor. And, not a moment too soon. For the speed of Doug and Ann's re-enlargement doubled almost immediately!"
"Passing the two-foot mark. Three feet. Four!"
Upon reaching their previous normal heights, the re-enlargement stopped. The technician's annoucement of same sparking a round of enthusiastic cheers and applause from everyone else.
Everyone, that is, save Doug and Ann. ;-)
SOMEWHERE OVER NEVADA (1978)
* * * * *
Even with her magic propelling the beach blanket through the air, it turned out to be a long trip across the eastern Pacific Ocean to this strange new world. With cities that sprawled farther, and buildings that reached higher, than Basra and Baghdad put together!
So, Rumina entertained herself the only way she could think of: by torturing Little Sinbad.
"Who is my personal toy?"
"Please, Rumina!" begged the shrunken seafarer: "Not again."
She puckered her lips and blew on his stomach. Producing a sound reminiscent of a camel breaking wind after eating one too many dates!
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" laughed Sinbad, convulsing helplessly in her grip.
"Who is my personal toy?" she repeated.
"I am, Mistress."
"And, how long are you going to remain so?"
"For as long as I live, Mistress."
"Very good, my tiny love-slave. And, as a reward for your oh-so wise answer..."
Whatever she was going to say next was cut off by a sudden sensation running through her head.
"We have arrived! The tracer spell has done its work. We have arrived at the location of the obelisk.
They landed in the middle of a dry lake bed. A moment later, Rumina stood up and stretched the kinks out of her stiff muscles. As she did so, her ample cleavage was momentarily pointed skyward. Giving Little Sinbad an arousing view of her "treasure chest."
His thoughts returned to normal, however, when he saw his giantess captor frown upon examing her surroundings.
"Something is wrong. I see only nothingness around me. How could the obelisk possibly be here?"
"You mean, the Black Obelisk of Ramses?" inquired a new voice.
Rumina spun about: "Who are you? How did you sneak up behind me, undetected?"
The man who had addressed her wore a verdant robe, with a matching hood that concealed most of his face. All she could see was his maddening smile...which now broadened into a smug grin.
"I am a member of the Akashic Brotherhood.* Known to most men as the Green Lama. And, what you seek used to be stored in an underground vault, far below our feet! But, when I sensed your arrival in this era, I knew time was of the essence. So, I immediately warned the vault-keepers, who promptly entrusted the obelisk's relocation to me. And, it is now safely beyond your reach."
Rumina transferred Little Sinbad to her left hand, so she could hurl a ball of lightning at this interloper with her right. Much to her disappointed amazement, however, it merely went through him!
"You cannot electrocute an astral projection, Rumina. You would be better off saving your strength and casting a spell to return you to your own time. Or, my disciple and I shall do it for you!"
With that, the Green Lama's astral body disappeared.
* * * * *
MEANWHILE, IN GOTHAM CITY, TEN YEARS IN THE PAST...
Batgirl, Robin, Catwoman, and Tony Newman were still asleep from sexual exhaustion. So, it had been up to the temporally transposed Secret Service agents, Artemus Gordon and James West, to plant the plastic explosives on the lock of the birdcage presently holding them. And, that had not been easy, considering they were presently less than an inch tall!
Yet, it proved a nice surprise that the detonator was so lightweight.
"Must be made of some aluminum derivative," hypothesized Artie (ever the metallurgist).
"Whatever," said Jim: "Let's just set the timer, and get ready for Phase 2."
At that same moment, in the relatively nearby bedroom, Florence of Arabia was enjoying a rather unusual form of foot massage.
"OH, BATMAN!" she sighed: "You feel so soft to the touch."
The mesmerized crime-fighter did not answer her. He merely stood at attention, while Florence rubbed her feet up and down on either side of his shrunken body. A body that was now devoid of any clothing save his cape and cowl!
The only sign that he felt anything, while being so demeaned, was an occasional twitch on the left side of his face. One that made him look as if he were half-smiling. And, everytime his lips twitched, a small laugh-like sound escaped them. The kind of laughter that one might hear from a ticklish baby.
This naturally made Florence ecstatic. A moment later, though, her ecstasy came to an abrupt end.
The barefoot bellydancer ran to the next room. To her astonishment, the door to the birdcage was hanging from its upper right hinge at a ninety-degree angle. With white smoke trailing upward, toward the ceiling, from the lower left hand corner. She naturally ran forward to see if her other shrunken prisoners had escaped. Between that, and their present size, she was totally unaware of Artie and Jim acrobatically jumping from the rim of the doorway.
Only to land on the black crystalline surface of the obelisk!
To be continued
*Akashic Brotherhood: practioners of Oriental white magic in the White Wolf Games universe.
Green Lama: the secret identity of Golden Age crime-fighter Jethro Dumont. Currently appearing in comics copyrighted by Dynamite Entertainment.
* * * * *
The first thing Jim and Artie did, upon landing on the Black Obelisk, was wish themselves back to their normal heights. Whereupon, they were momentarily blinded by a purplish-black radiance. When they could see again, they saw Florence of Arabia staring at them in open-mouthed shock!
"Quickly! Grab her, Jim!"
If there was one thing James West excelled at, it was sweeping a beautiful girl into his arms. Although, in Florence's case, he embraced her in a full-Nelson, while his partner grabbed the obelisk away from her. This was quickly followed by Artie silently wishing that both of them were fully clothed, again.
One purplish-black flash later, they were dressed just as they had been, back in 19th-century Philadelphia.
"Looks like I'm getting the hang of this, Jim!" grinned the older Secret Service agent.
"Just...make...that second wish,...Artie. This one's...becoming...a wildcat!"
He was right. For Florence was now struggling quite fiercely, and screaming like a terrible two year-old. So, Artie now wished for the other four occupants of the birdcage to be restored to their original sizes. Clothing and all.
Whereupon, Catwoman was quickly tackled to the floor by Batgirl, with Robin and Tony Newman dog-piling on top of them.
"Rowwwwwwwwrrr!" snarled the Felonious Feline: "Are you three crazy? Let...me...up!"
"No way, Catwoman," replied the Boy Wonder: "Not until you're securely Bat-cuffed!"
When the latter had been accomplished, Catwoman was pulled back on to her feet by Batgirl. This left Robin free to walk over to where Jim West was still struggling to hold on to Florence of Arabia.
"Alright, you! What have you done with Batman?"
"I'm...right here, old...chum."
Robin looked in the direction of the bedroom doorway, and gasped when he saw the current condition of his partner-in-crime-fighting.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, ten years in the future, a gray Zodiac was pulled on to the sandy shore of a certain lagoon by Seaman Kowalski and three of his shipmates from the USNS Seaview. With them were Captain Crane and CPO Sharkey.
All six of them were wearing Colt .45 semi-auto sidearms.
"Where to now, Skipper?" asked the chief petty officer.
Lee Crane repositioned the obelisk underneath his left arm, as his right index finger pointed towards the upper end of the beach.
"That looks like a pretty well-worn trail over there. Let's make sure there are no natives on this island, before we blow it to Kingdom Come."
Thus, five minutes later, these men from Seaview had their first meeting with the cast-aways of the S.S. Minnow.
"Fifteen years?!" exclaimed CPO Sharkey upon hearing the septet's story: "Incredible!"
"Not as incredible as being shrunken to the size of a doll by a woman straight out of THE ARABIAN NIGHTS," replied Professor Hinkley. The polytechnic genius was currently being clutched to the bosom of a smiling Ginger Grant.
Lee Crane could not help smiling, himself, as he admitted the professor had a point.
"Fortunately," he added: "I have something here that might be able to counteract what was done to you."
Whereupon, he silently wished for the professor, Seaman Gilligan, and Captain Jonas "the Skipper" Grumby to be restored to their normal sizes. Naturally, there was much jubilation when that happened. And, even more so, when Captain Crane told the cast-aways that the Seaview was going to take them all home!
To Be Continued
* * * * *
"Holy Dishabille!" exclaimed Robin. Whereupon, he grabbed the Black Obelisk out of Artie's hands and wished out loud for the rest of Batman's costume to be restored to him! Followed, naturally, by a wish for the restoration of his mentor's normal size.
This, of course, made Florence of Arabia cry tears of frustration and disappointment.
"Thank you, chum!" exclaimed the Caped Crusader: "Now, if you'll hand that to me, I have a few wishes of my own, I'd like to make."
Robin unhesitatingly did as requested. And, when Batman had the Black Obelisk in his hands, he immediately wished for Catwoman to be back in her cell in the women's wing of Gotham State Penitentiary. Completely devoid of any memory about the Black Obelisk or the Dynamic Duo's true identities!
A second later, the only thing left on the spot where she had been standing was the Bat-cuffs that Robin and Batgirl had slapped on her.
"What about King Tut and Dr. Newman?" asked the Boy Wonder: "They're still displaced in time."
"Not really," said Tony: "All Batman has to do is wish me back to Project: Tic-Toc, which is here in the present day, and I'll be fine."
So, that was precisely what Batman did.
Needless to say, there was a lot of astounded shouting and happy cheering and tearful hugging when Tony materialized in the main control room of the project. Half of which were contributed by Tony, himself, when he heard that Doug and Ann were finally going to be married!
"And, we'd like you to be best man," said the former: "You interested in the job?"
"Are you kidding?" exclaimed the latter in delight: "After traveling through time, that should be a piece of cake!"
Back at Florence of Arabia's School of Belly Dance, Batman was making another wish. This one, for King Tut.
"I wish him safely back in his cell, in the men's wing of Gotham State Pen, completely oblivious to any knowledge concerning our identities or this obelisk."
Moments later, a very dazed faux-Pharoah found the door to his cell being opened by one of the cellblock guards. Followed by two men walking through it. One of them was Warden Crichton. But, the other was a total stranger to King Tut. A stranger slightly taller than the warden; and wearing clothes that seemed to be just as bronze-colored as his hair and complexion.
"Your Majesty?" began the warden, trying to keep the Portly Potentate of Perfidy in a relatively calm mood: "Meet Dr. Clark Savage, Junior."
Whereupon, the Man of Bronze stepped up to King Tut, and bowed!
"Greetings, Your Majesty. I've come a long way to see you. As I need your help in deciphering the hieroglyphics on a rather unusual artifact. One first unearthed in Egypt by a Professor Langford of Germany back in the 1920's."
King Tut was, of course, initially stubborn about agreeing to this. But, all that changed after some corrective neuro-surgery at Doc Savage's famous "Crime College." As a result of which, William Mackelroy was finally restored to his right mind for good. And, thereby, totally willing to help decipher the Langford Circle at a place called Groom Lake, out in Nevada!
Shortly after this, he was approached by a Hollywood talent scout, seeking to recruit him as a technical advisor for a new television series that would be coming out that September. An adventure series, to be precise. One that would star ex-baseball player Bob Diamante in the title role.
"It's going to be called...THE YOUNG OMAHA MACKELROY CHRONICLES."
To Be Concluded
ABOARD USNS SEAVIEW (1978)
* * * * *
"This was originally given to a scientist named Savage, for safe-keeping," explained Admiral Nelson to his guests in the privacy of the officers' mess. Tapping the photograph of the Black Obelisk with his left index finger to emphasize the reference.
"And, he kept it safe for ten years," he continued: "That is; till he was told by the Green Lama (an old acquaintance from the Second World War) that there was danger of its being stolen by someone. 'A woman whose beauty is as extraordinary as her mystical abilities,' was the phrase he used. So, Dr. Savage transferred the obelisk to our custody. Along with a letter (co-signed by the President of the United States) ordering us to nuke it!"
And, five minutes after dinner was finished, Admiral Nelson ordered the launching of the nuclear missile in question. Turning what was once jokingly referred to as "Gilligan's Island" into a barren atoll topped by a fiery orange mushroom cloud.
* * * * *
(10 YEARS EARLIER)
"Now, for you gentlemen," said Batman to Jim West and Artemus Gordon.
Whereupon, he wished them back to the exact time and place, in the 19th century, that they had come from. Minus any memories of the future, of course. Lest the two Secret Service Agents inadvertently change history, in some way.
Needless to say, Jim and Artie were at a loss to explain how they had gotten from the outskirts of Smallville, Kansas, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And, at the height of the Centennial Independence Day celebration, no less!
* * * * *
GROOM LAKE, NEVADA (1978)
Rumina dropped to her knees, a wave of dizziness making her touch her forehead with her right hand. Sinbad the Shrunken Sailor, still clutched in her left hand, looked at her in genuine concern.
"Rumina? What is it? What's wrong?"
"My connection to the Black Obelisk. Something's broken it. As if it were destroyed by some...indescribable force!"
Whereupon, the strange twosome found themselves back in eighth-century Basra! More specifically? In the main torture chamber near Sultan Omar's underground dungeons.
"Sinbad!" exclaimed Maeve, initially in immense joy and relief. Then, she did a double-take and rephrased herself.
"What is the meaning of this?" bellowed Omar the Bloody.
"This is Rumina, Your Majesty!" Sinbad hurriedly exclaimed (shouting at the top of his little lungs): "The sorceress who masqueraded as me in order to steal the obelisk. While discrediting me at the same time!"
"Guards! Seize her!"
But, once again, Rumina escaped justice. This time, with the help of her djinn-cat, Cicero! The latter had just returned (he knew not how) from 19th-century Kansas. And, sensing that Rumina was unable to do so herself, he teleported her away.
Taking Little Sinbad with them.
* * * * *
(10 YEARS EARLIER)
"And, now, for you, young lady."
Batman turned to Florence of Arabia who had now dropped to her knees, still crying quite bitterly. The Caped Crusader muttered something under his breath. Following which...
...he and Florence disappeared!
"Holy Plot-twist!" shouted the Boy Wonder: "What happened? Where did they go?"
These sentiments were echoed by Florence of Arabia, when she found herself sitting on a queen-sized bed. With a re-miniaturized Caped Crusader massaging the soles of her feet...using his half-naked body!
"Batgirl and Robin may have briefly restored me to normal size, My Mistress. But, they did not wish the undoing of the spell that binds me in undying loyalty to you! So, I pretended to be of free will, in order to lay hands on the obelisk and whisk us away to freedom. We are presently in a honeymoon suite once occupied by Bruce Wayne's parents...in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil."
Florence slowly began to smile, as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
"And, that black crystal thingie?" she asked.
"I wished that into the custody of a former teacher of mine," said Batman: "Dr. Clark Savage. With pre-planted false memories of my having it given to him, face to face."
"So, to make a long story short," replied Florence: "You're still..."
"...your faithful little love-slave, My Mistress!"
Needless to say, she happily helped him with his foot-massage. By pinning him between her feet, and rubbing them back and forth around both sides of his waist!
* * * * *
"That looks like black gem kryptonite," said young Clark Kent, as he gazed at the image in Zatanna the Magician's crystal ball.
"Maybe that's what you call it," replied the Maid of Magic: "For centuries, though, it was more infamous as the Black Obelisk of Ramses. And, it was supposed to have been destroyed, thirty years ago!"
"Supposed to have been?" Clark echoed, in mounting uneasiness.
The beautiful stage-mage nodded: "Apparently, it was recovered by these guys."
The image shimmered and shifted. Slowly dissolving to show a bald-headed man, with a well-trimmed moustache, dressed all in white. With a much taller man (white beard; green helmet; purple shirt; black boots and jodhpurs) standing beside him.
"Meet Frederick 'Egghead' Lorne. And, Mordru of Avalon."
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.