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The first mortars came arching out of the jungle, screaming like angry banshees. They were lost in the glare of the early morning sun for a moment and then reappeared as they crashed into the barracks, spewing flame and debris as the panicked solders scurried around the compound, blind with fright....
Before we go any further, I should admit that I have no idea whether mortar shells scream at all, much less sound like angry banshees. In fact, I don't know if banshees scream or get angry. For all I know, they may be the most even-tempered, taciturn monsters on Earth. I've never met a banshee I didn't like, because I've never met a banshee, period. As for the rest of the paragraph immediately preceding this one -- well, I'm not too sure about any of that, either. The attack was at dawn, so the part about the morning sun has to be about right, though whether the shells got lost in its glare is something you'd have to have been there to know. And it seems logical that the soldiers would be scared, though it may not have affected their eyesight and, heck, maybe they were calm as dew; maybe they were used to being attacked at dawn. Or maybe they were disappointed when they weren't attacked at dawn.
I'll admit it: I wasn't there. I should have been, and I got really yelled at for my absence. Everyone in the Justice League agreed: Kyle Rayner screwed up. But I'll tell you all about that in a while.
One more thing before we get back to the attack. I'm not a writer. I'm an artist. So I looked around for something to imitate and found, lying in a pile of empty soda cans and pizza cartons, the latest Rip Riley novel. Thatbecame my model for writing this...I don't know exactly what to call it. Memoir? Reminiscence? Anyway, the Rip Riley novel -- Rip Riley's Cairo Crushdown -- became the model for writing at least the first chapter of whatever it is that I'm writing. You may not have ever read a Rip Riley, but you must have seen some. Cairo Crushdown is number 156, according to the cover. I'll bet there isn't a paperback rack in the country at this moment that isn't graced by at least one Rip Riley.
I apologize for this digression. I'll try not to do it again, but no promises.
Anyway, back to the attack, which, by the way, was taking place on a tiny Caribbean Island called Santa Prisca:
The thunder of high explosives continued to rock the jungle and the adjoining beach as the mortars erupted. Then, snarling with hate, the rebel forces burst from the lush greenery and charged down the slope, their AK47s spitting fiery death as they went. The soldiers, still gripped by panic, were easy victims in the merciless onslaught.
Then, the Justice League appeared!
Actually, it wasn't the whole League. Batman never comes along on missions like this. Neither does Plastic Man, which is too bad because he's always good for a laugh and that's cool -- when you're saving the world a little comedy doesn't hurt. Martian Manhunter and the Atom were busy elsewhere. Am I forgetting someone? Oh, yeah. Green Lantern. Him. I'll give you his excuse in a while, but I'm warning you right now, it's lame.
So I guess the Justice League was represented by Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash. Not a bad group, when you come to think of it. I mean, what can't they handle? Certainly not some lame rebellion on a postage stamp-sized lump of Caribbean dirt.
Which brings us back to our story:
Superman hovered above the spot where the mortars were located and caught two of the deadly shells, one in each hand. He smashed the shells together, causing them to explode in his bare hands. When the flame and smoke had been blown away by the morning breeze, the Man of Steel was smiling. He flew down to where the mortars were positioned and fixed a steely gaze on the rebel terrorists who had been firing.
"Go ahead, lovers of evil," he grated. "Do your worst."
"Do not hurt us," a rebel pleaded in his own language.
"Well, okay," was the Man of Steel's reply.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman was also busy. She was spinning her golden lariat as she looked at a dozen oncoming terrorists. Before they could take aim at her, the lariat flashed out and encircled them, pinning their arms to their sides. One, however, did manage to work his left upper limb free, and took a 9-millimeter Browning semiautomatic pistol from his filthy waistband. This he fired at the Amazon Princess. Casually, she raised her arm and deflected the bullet with her Amazon bracelet.
"Don't try that again, my friend," was the Amazon Princess's sweet but stern admonition. Awestruck, the would-be killer dropped his weapon and promised he wouldn't.
Nor was the Flash idle as Superman and Wonder Woman quelled their share of the lawbreakers. This could be attested to by a squad of rebel troops who saw a red blur, momentarily experienced a wind of almost hurricane force, and then were suddenly bereft of their firearms. They looked up the slope upon which they were standing to see a tall man clad in scarlet standing at the top, his arms laden with their guns.
"You fellows won't be needing these," the Flash called cheerily. One of the rebels turned and began to run down toward the beach. Again there was a red blur and a brief hurricane, and suddenly the Scarlet Speedster was standing in front of the fleeing malcontent.
"Don't leave yet," the Flash hissed merrily. "The party's just getting started."
Within moments the rebel troop was completely disarmed and marching toward the government compound, where soldiers, their calm restored by the cessation of danger, waited with ready weapons.
Superman spoke to the captain of the government detachment. "They're all yours."
The uniformed Santa Priscan was gaping. "Are joo really Superman?" he gawked in his charmingly accented English.
"We helped too," chimed in the Scarlet Speedster in his kidding way.
The Amazon Princess, known to the world as Wonder Woman, smiled in a fashion that combined maternity with a hint of flirtatiousness.
I guess I should apologize for that last line, but I won't because when I'm around Wonder Woman I half want to ask for home-baked pie and half want to ask her what she's doing Friday night (and Saturday, and Sunday...). So what I wrote reflects the truth as I experienced it, and as an old uncle of mine would have said, "Them as don't like it can lump it."
One further confession: That line I gave Superman about lovers of evil -- I got it off a sweatshirt that I am absolutely certain was manufactured without his okay. That kind of thing happens all the time to Justice Leaguers -- that use of their names and likenesses without their okay. The unofficial policy seems to be, don't sweat the small stuff. It would be pretty undignified for Superman to appear in court and say something like, "I'm the mightiest creature in the solar system, if not the entire universe, and I want five hundred bucks from this shirt merchant because he ripped me off." Of course, if it were Batman's image ill-used, the story might be different. Nobody messes with the Batman. Nobody. And I'm not sure exactly why.
Was that a digression or what?
I'm returning to the events of the day the League put down the rebellion on Santa Prisca, but not to the Rip Riley style of writing. You want Rip, go buy one of his books.
So, anyway, what happened next was...I'm not sure. I guess Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash went back to League headquarters, which is a satellite in stationary orbit high above the Earth they call the Watchtower. Normally, the Flash and Wonder Woman would use one of the teleporters the League has stashed around the planet, but that day, I'm betting, they just hopped a ride with Superman. Although there's not enough air that high to breathe, and the pressure outside a human body is a lot less than the pressure inside, which could cause terminal problems, it's possible to fly to the satellite so fast that lack of atmosphere doesn't matter.
I know. I do it all the time. I'd done it that day.
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