StarFall: Silver Arrow #3: Observatory of Danger
phantom_belcher at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 13 16:25:38 PDT 2010
A Division of Pullemouttayerhat Productions
A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of StarFall Innovations
#3: Observatory of Danger
Cover: Silver Arrow hanging upside down, encased in ice, and about to
be eaten by a giant venus flytrap, with snow swirling all around. In
the bottom right corner are the words "Introducing FROSTBITE and VENUS
The initial battle at the Griffith Observatory had been swift and
brutal. At present, the place was surrounded by SWAT teams, with a
pair of police helicopters and a half dozen news choppers circling the
site. Silver Arrow, Los Angeles's resident superhero, had gone in,
not waiting for the backup he'd asked for. The end result of this was
that he was currently frozen in a block of ice, which itself dangled
off the cliff by a giant vine. The villains in question had retreated
into the Observatory, not yet making any demands.
Silver Arrow flexed his muscles slightly. <<Okay, Hugh. You
charged in like a bull in a china shop, and got yourself caught. How
do you get out of this one? What would Batman do?>> He snorted.
Batman wouldn't've been caught like this, except maybe in the late
'60s when played by Adam West. Arrow figured he himself didn't have
that kind of plot protection. Stuff like that only happens in
fiction, not in the real world.
He analyzed the situation: the ice wasn't melting that quickly, and
didn't actually feel very cold to the touch. That meant it was a
special chemical designed to be solid at just under room temperature.
It was wet where it melted, though; he was sure that as it melted, the
vines would let go, and he'd go crashing down off the cliff, long
before he could break free himself. The vines themselves weren't
anything special, just a super-large version of a tomato vine, which
he'd noticed when he had cut through one. Non-toxic, and probably
controlled by the woman by psionic means. Now he truly wished he'd
managed to catch today's Physics class on psionic phenomena.
Still, the situation currently looked hopeless. At least, not
Just then, he felt the ice break away as he was engulfed in a giant
"Need a hand, hero?" He knew that voice. He'd put the guy in jail
just last night.
"Big G?" he asked as the giant super-ganger turned him right-side
up. "What are you doing here?"
"They've got my sister here," came the reply, as he set Arrow down
on the cliff ledge. "I couldn't just sit at home and do nothing."
"But how are you *here*?" Arrow's voice still held confusion.
"And not in jail?" Big G asked, smiling at him as he shrunk back
down to an eight foot height. "Got out on bail last night. You
didn't think El Gato Negro was gonna let one of his own sit in jail,
did you? What's your plan?"
Arrow frowned. He really didn't *have* a plan, but Big G's
assistance wasn't totally unwelcome. But he had a few ideas. "Let's
find the two who did this, first. I'll take 'Blizzard', you take
'Poison Ivy'. If that doesn't work, we switch."
Big G strode over and tore the back door off its hinges. "Fine by
me. But that doesn't change things between us."
<<I didn't think it would,>> Arrow thought to himself.
Inside, the place dimly lit by emergency lights, Silver Arrow and
Big G were unexpectedly joined by Doorway. "Isn't this interesting,"
she mentioned. "What's one of the River Cats doing here?"
"His sister's here," Arrow explained in a half-whisper. "What
"Just trying to do the right thing, for a change," she replied in
the same tone.
"You keep some strange company, hero," Big G said with a smirk.
"Friends with a street thief? We know your reputation, girl. Yours
and your brother's."
"You leave my brother out of this, beefcake," Doorway growled.
"Children, focus," Arrow admonished them.
"Yes, dad," Doorway and G said in unison, both in mocking tones.
They found the two in the main observatory. The two villains were
speaking with someone through a computer set up for video-
conferencing, but whose face was obscured by a black full-face mask
"You've failed," the figure said. The voice over the speakers was
distorted, making the gender impossible to determine.
"We've got the hero dangling outside," the woman said. "Frostbite
encased him in his ice, and my super-vines have him bound."
"The hero has friends who have already saved him, Venus," came the
retort. "In fact, I think I see the hero and his friends over by the
door. Frostbite, Venus Flytrap, do not fail me again. This time,
The two turned as the connection was cut. Seeing that they had now
lost the element of surprise, Arrow strode forward into the room,
flanked by Doorway and Big G.
The next few minutes seemed like a giant blur to everyone
involved. Venus rose up off the ground, suspended by a few of the
vines that had bored their way into the room, while other vines
attempted to grapple the trio. Frostbite fired off a number of
icicles from his wrists at them. Doorway immediately opened one of
her teleportals, deflecting them into the walls behind them. Big G
grew to his ten foot height, and started ripping vines apart using his
enhanced strength. Arrow, meantime, launched a trio of arrows tipped
with circular sawblades, slicing through the vines beneath Venus, who
fell to the ground. She landed on her back, but quickly rolled to a
Frostbite immediately shifted tactics, creating a blinding snow in
front of him, hoping to blind the three. Despite this precaution, he
was felled from behind, as a boxing glove arrow came through a
teleportal to conk him in the back of the head.
Venus Flytrap turned to run, only to find herself grabbed from
behind and held up off the ground. "Say goodnight, Gracie," G said as
a boxing glove arrow bounced off her noggin.
"Ridiculous," she muttered as she fell unconscious.
"That's what I thought too, at first," Big G said.
Silver Arrow, Big G, and Doorway appeared in one of Doorway's
teleportals in front of the police line, the bound and gagged
Frostbite and Venus Flytrap at their feet. The police immediately
moved in to read the two villains their rights, while the SWAT teams
relaxed their guard. A number of officers moved in to arrest G.
"No need, officers," Arrow told them. "He's not one of the
villains involved. In fact, he helped me out today."
"He's still a wanted fugitive," the detective stated. "George
Martinez here broke out of prison earlier today."
"You said you were out on bail," Arrow said, turning to Big G.
"I'm here for my sister," came G's reply. "That part's true, and
I'm *not* going anywhere until I know she's safe. After that... yeah,
I'll return to prison."
The search for his sister didn't take long. Arrow found himself a
little surprised as he learned G's sister was only twelve, and here on
a school field trip. He helped melt the ice, using a localized heat
lamp from his utility belt, and watched from the side as the two
shared a tearful reunion, then as G was led away and the girl looked
over by the paramedics.
"Penny for your thoughts, Arrow?" Doorway asked him.
"I was just thinking. G did the wrong thing - breaking out of
prison - but for the right reasons. He was concerned for his sister,
and helped take down two dangerous villains. He's not a bad person,
even for a super-powered gang member."
"You keep reforming villains like myself, you'll end up leading a
team of us some day."
"No thanks," he said with a grin. "I don't want the headaches.
Let's get to work defrosting the others."
Hugh flopped onto his bed, exhausted from the day's events. He was
still in his Silver Arrow uniform, but had ditched the mask and
quivers. A soft knock on the door preceded his father entering the
"Hugh," Robert Knight said as he sat down in a chair next to Hugh's
desk, "I know I haven't been very supportive of you risking your life,
but when I saw the news footage today... I was scared for you."
"I was scared, too," Hugh said. "I messed up, and nearly paid for
it with my life."
"Why do you do it, son? And don't give me that 'someone has to'
line. There's more to it than that."
Hugh sighed. "You remember ten years ago? It was a bright August
morning. You'd taken me down to your offices downtown, when things
Downtown Los Angeles
Ten years ago
A young boy, not more than nine years old, stood gazing out a
window in a downtown high rise office building. In the sky, men and
women in skintight outfits flew around, shooting beams of energy at
each other. A television nearby spoke of tripods in New Jersey,
aliens in New Mexico, Triceratops in Kansas, and even stranger stuff.
But it was the men and women in tights and capes flying about that had
his attention. He watched in wonder and amazement. It was as if his
favorite cartoon had come to life.
Suddenly, the building shook. He looked around, scared for the
first time today. The building shook again, and then he felt himself
falling. No, not him; the entire building was coming down! He looked
around; time seemed to slow down for him, as he realized that there
was no way out. Not knowing what else to do, he screamed, curling
into a ball in a nearby cubicle as everything around him went black.
Half an hour later, or so he was told later, light blinded him. He
was picked up, but due to the light he couldn't see who was holding
"One person *can* make a difference," he heard a voice say. He
couldn't tell if the voice was male or female. He couldn't see if the
hands holding him were bare, gloved, metal, or not even human. All he
knew was that one line, echoing in his head.
"One person can make a difference."
"And that's why I do it," Hugh finished. "The memory of what
happened during the quake. I'm just trying to make a difference. It
was one of the supers that saved my life that day. I guess I'm just
trying to do the right thing, the only way I know how. And this past
"You made a difference today," Robert told him.
"Not really today. Fran and G deserve more credit."
"If it wasn't for you," Robert told him, "Fran wouldn't have
testified against her brother two months ago, nor would she have aided
you today. I'd call that a difference in her life, at least.
"The point is, son, I know I haven't been openly supportive, but I
do know that I'm proud to be your father. I love you; don't ever
"Thanks, dad." The two shared a hug.
Jade stood in Sun Li's office, watching the news footage of the
battle at the Griffith on her boss's extra-wide flatscreen
television. Sun Li sat at the desk, her attention buried in
"Something interesting in that footage?" Sun Li asked without
raising her head.
"Yes," Jade said softly. Then she shook her head, as if clearing
the cobwebs in her brain. "Yes, there is. He wasn't alone. He had
allies this time. That makes him even more dangerous."
"Just what we *do not* need," Li commented. "More superheroes."
"Except that one was not a superhero. He was a Gato del Rio, who
had escaped prison before his arraignment; he's back in police
custody. The other who helped him was a reformed super-criminal."
"A River Cat?" Li asked, finally raising her head to look at the
footage herself. "What was he doing *helping* Silver Arrow?"
"The press is saying the Gato was there to save his kid sister,"
Jade replied, "who was on a school field trip there."
"And the other one?"
"Doorway, Francine St. Claire, former partner of her twin brother
Franklin, alias Time-Twister," Jade said almost without thinking.
"They tangled with Silver Arrow several times last year, before she
changed sides. Now, she uses her powers mainly to run a delivery
service. Never thought she'd go in for actual heroics." <<Does she
have feelings for Hugh?>> she thought briefly. <<Is that why she
"I see," Sun Li said, returning to her paperwork. "Release her
brother from prison, and see what they do."
Jade almost grinned. "Yes, ma'am."
Next: Jade's descent continues, as she comes to a startling self-
revelation. Plus, more hints about Doorway's past and her own plans
for our hero.
Sorry about the lateness of this post. Looking back, I realize that
it's been over 4 months since the previous issue. I'd like to say
that it was under revision for most of that time, but the truth is I
tossed out about three dozen two-paragraph false starts in the
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