The Last Days of The Justice League of Alabama

Problem: Green-Snouted Metalic Intruder
from JLA security cams during HYDRA attack

When the JLA base got overran in the HYDRA attack, and the night that Draxene got killed, the security systems caught something strange on tape. Most of the camera systems in the JLA base record in regular light, ultra-violet, neutrino, and infra-red. Draxene’s special rooms were near the base gymnasium. Draxene had been placed in his special  sand by High-Voltage to rest & recover. For about a minute during the fire-fight, when most of the action was on the other side of the base by the command post, one of the cameras covering the hallway near Draxene’s room showed (and only in the ultra-violet band, meaning it was practically invisible) the front tip of either a vehicle or a robot. It was sticking out about 3 inches into the hallway, with presumably most of it’s bulk parked in the gymnasium. For about half a minute, a metallic manipulator arm reached out from the vehicle, and probed around in Draxene’s room. Draxene died from his inability to regenerate his wounds & recover, which was hampered by the fact his unconscious form was knocked over. Since he wasn’t in his special sand, he couldn’t eat & recover. Explosions & concussions rocked the building all during the fighting, and it’s not possible to tell if he was knocked over before, during or after the time when the the machine’s tentacle was messing around in his quarters. 

Scarlett had been Draxene’s closest friend, so she got a spacesuit, a shuttle (on loan) and pilot skills (via absorption) and flew out to Mercury to visit the Tholian Refugee Base. She told them she was coming, and she brought all of Draxene’s equipment and personal effects. Draxene had been buried in Red Mountain, as this had been his favorite place. She told them of Draxene’s heroism and how he had used his odd talents for the greater public good. Then she asked them if they recognized the form of the machine that was in the video. Well no they didn’t. It takes a Tholian a long long time to die, were they really sure he was gone? Yes, Magic Michael wasn’t able to sense any life-fore at all in Draxene’s body. None at all? Well that’s certainly odd, said Pop Cosmosian, there ought to be vestigial traces left. Did he really mean zero, or just very little. No, zero. Well then we would conclude that something odd happened, since there normally is detectable evidence of the soul having recently been in the body. A residual would mean an arguably "natural" death, yet no remnants of life-force would imply an unnatural or forced death, perhaps perpetrated by a formidably psionic foe.

Armed with this diagnosis, Scarlett thanked Cosmosian and trekked back to earth. Michael agreed and they attempted to locate any of Draxene’s essence. What Michael had intended to be a relatively simple 1 hour ritual turned into a 2 day long vigil as he scoured the known universe. (The time-chart was on his side). It became obvious that Draxene was in no way still in this universe, which was both normal and very odd at the same time. Normally the dead could be contacted via seance. Spiritually speaking the phone was ripped out of the wall, not simply off the hook.  This was bad. No-one wanted to see Draxene go, that was bad enough, but now it seemed something was terribly wrong. Draxene had apparently been killed in some strange way, probably by the alien machine.

Let’s review the timeline: JLA has huge battle with MODOK & HYDRA at Birmingport. Draxene wounded severely in the fight, taken to base to recuperate. HYDRA overruns JLA base. Draxene knocked out of sand. JLA returns to base, loses fight to MODAM and HECTOR. JLA carried off by HYDRA, then re-kidnapped by the SHOP. "Virtual Alaska" and "Talisman"  scenarios keep JLA out of action for a week. No-one knew what to do for Draxene, or if he was going to wake up, so he had lain around almost the whole week.

Now it appears that he had been killed during the battle, not died gradually after the firefight. But since he had been left in stable condition, who had come along and "kicked him while he was down"? The videotape evidence pointed to this strange & invisible vehicle-or-robot. Since the vehicle appeared in one frame and left in another, it was clearly a teleporting enemy. Dimensional travel seemed unlikely, given Tyrannon’s Ban. So where did it come from? What did it want? Had anyone else ever seen it elsewhere?  Was it a former enemy of Draxene’s come back to exact revenge? Was it an agent or vehicle of HYDRA’s? Too many questions on this made Mind-Wave’s & Magic Michael’s heads hurt.

In walks Dr.Chaos, late to the staff meeting where this was being discussed. He catches the last part and says "Hey, I’ll go chit-chat with MODOK and see if he knows anything. I’ve got this ‘rapport’ with him, right?" So Dr.Chaos ‘borrows’ the JLA van and heads up to MODOK’s "secret" base outside Nashville. (MODOK’s "secret" base outside Memphis got trashed in JLA #16). How Dr.Chaos knew this secret will not be revealed at this time or in this publication. What’s important is that when Dr.Chaos flew across the AL-TN state line, he was met in mid-air by the Hyperion clone. Hypes jumped in the van, took the shotgun seat and started chit-chatting with Dr.Chaos. This was cool, but predictable, for ever since Hyperion’s temporary transformation into Kid Chaos, he acts normally as long as no other villains are around.

Hyperion gives Dr.Chaos the secret door code and they cruise right on into HYDRA’s secret garage. They walk upstairs and meet what looks like MODOK, but turns out to a really kickin hologram. Dr.Chaos & MODOK shoot the breeze for a while, talking about Bosnia, the stock-exchange, fall fashions, and the risks one has to take to survive in the plutonium futures market. But after this lengthy exchange of pleasantries, MODOK lets Dr.Chaos know it’s time to ask the question he came for. So Dr.Chaos asks what was the beef with our little silicon pal Draxene? Why was he offed? MODOK makes know apologies, he says the base infiltration was being handled by HECTOR, and HECTOR had decided that Draxene was a viable threat, and should he have awakened during the firefight, he could’ve caused trouble, possibly turned the tide against HYDRA, so HECTOR was mentally pounding the stuffing out of Draxene, pushing Draxene further and further into unconsciousness, if he had continued. Dr.Chaos says "Hah! you’re covering up a blatant cold-blooded slaying, I don’t care if it was mentally done". Not so, my young apprentice, says MODOK, I have no motivation to lie on this matter, Draxene would not have died from HECTOR’s attacks, which were (unlike mine) of a merely stunning nature. HECTOR stopped ego-blasting the Tholian because another intelligence came into the area, and HECTOR engaged it in telepathic combat. Does is look like this? Dr.Chaos tosses Hyperion a diskette. The now familiar but incomplete image of the robotic snout shows on a screen. Yes, and MODOK shows Dr.Chaos another hologram, of what is apparently the same vehicle from another angle. What is seen is a purple & green type of half-track, with treads in the back, and yet sleeked like a racing vehicle. One arm is mounted on it’s front, and it’s front is glassed over so it’s difficult to tell the size, race, or even the existence of any passengers, if it’s a vehicle, but it could be robot. One of our troopies with "night-vision" goggles captured this on his helmet cam before he was blown away by it. HECTOR could not assault the thing mentally, for it was a robot intellect (or a robot driver) whose mind was unassailable. By the time HECTOR had positioned himself to blast the thing with his chair-based defenses, it had teleported.

So you see, my dear friend Chaos, we possibly both have a common enemy. Perhaps it meant to frame me for the death of a well-loved alien? MODOK finished the conversation and Hypes had to show Dr.Chaos the door. They didn’t get to shake hands on any deals this time.

But no-one has seen the vehicle/robot before or since, and searches & conferences with other crime-fighting groups and other members of the DOJ, MIB, and super-hero communities also brought up no leads. The conclusion was that the thing had come from the far future, and it was not in fact teleporting, but perhaps making a quantum leap through time.


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