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by Marc Singer (with Matthew Rossi)

"I hate crossovers."

"What do you have against transvestites?" Anne, who was still toweling off her hair, hadn't quite heard Harvey's gripe.

"Not cross-dressers, cross-overs." Harvey, clad only in a motel towel, waved around the flimsy OVERBOY comic he'd been reading. "They screw everything up for months at a time. And there's always some pointless fight in them." He regarded the comic, which showed two ridiculously super-powered teens hovering in mid-air while pummeling each other. "Like this one. Why would the Clone Overboy ever fight the old Overboy of Earth-Silver? Now, if it were a young version of the Overman from Earth-Evil —"

Anne rolled up her towel and threw it at him. "I'm about to turn into the Anne Benson of Earth-Evil if you don't take a shower, so we can get the hell out of here." Harvey got the point, and stopped moaning.

While Harvey showered (singing terribly off-key as he did so), Anne slowly dressed. She looked at the comic Harvey had picked up in the nearby 7-11 (it had been a huge risk, going out to get it, but Harvey had his mind set on it, so Anne clouded the memories of anyone who saw them). It did seem a little ridiculous that whenever super-heroes met, they promptly got into a fight.

Anne and Harvey had come to Chicago to find a young hero, dubbed "Tempest," by the press, and warn him that the psychic vampire called Deathbringer probably wasn't as dead as the kid thought. While Anne knew that the kid had to be warned, she wanted to wrap this detour up as soon as possible; she had her own life to put back in order. So Anne sincerely hoped that this meeting wouldn't be marred by any pointless fistfights. Or other unpleasant surprises.

That was when the boy walked through the wall. He seemed to float like a ghost, then he landed and shimmered. Anne's telepathy didn't so much as sense him. He had black hair trailing down his back; she realized almost belatedly that it was longer than hers by a good bit. His eyes glowed a green color...the green looked familiar, she thought as she tried to summon up the presence of mind to stun him or something, and then he spoke.

"Howdy. My name's Eric. Sorry to drop in on you like this, but we need to talk. You'd better get Hauptmann out of the bathroom. Tell him it's about Deathbringer."

Anne's heart slowed down. Of course, this was the kid they were looking for! And here Anne was ready to attack him...

So much for avoiding one of those stupid crossovers.

"Hey, Dan, I'm not looking for a fight here."

Dan Carter pounded his fist on the cheap government-issue desk. "Well I am, dammit! And you will refer to me as Special Agent Carter."

Agent Billy "Vulpine" Moulder, head of SIRECOM's Chicago office, winced. "Okay, Special Agent Carter. But I still can't let you take over this office."

"Moulder, I didn't catch a red-eye flight out here to watch you screw up again. You've let Dynamax and the Colony run loose in this town, and now we've got two very important felons in the area. I'm not letting you foul up their capture, too." Dan was so angry he had to pace around the room.

"With all due respect —" Moulder hesitated, then said—"sir, I don't think an old man and a girl are all that important, Omegas or not."

Dan grew even more cross. "Well that shows how much you know. A fingerprint check has revealed that the old man is actually a war criminal. And a fugitive for nearly half a century."

Moulder gasped. "What?"

"Went AWOL back in W.W. Two, never showed up since. Until now. Charged with collaborating with the Nazis. So unless you give me everything I need to capture him, your ass will be in hot water."

"Da—Special Agent Carter, I can give you anything you need, except command of Chicago One."

Dan reached inside his jacket, and for a moment Moulder jumped up, expecting to take a bullet—but it was only a piece of paper.

"Hate to play this card on you, Moulder," Dan said, obviously loving to play it, "but I'm taking over. Orders from the top."

"You mean Brenda Washington okayed this?"

"No. The Top." He dropped the paper to the desk.

Moulder read it. Looked at the signature. Gulped.

"Well, Special Agent Carter, welcome to the command of Chicago One. I hope it's as bad for you as it's been for me."

Dan grinned, ear to ear. "Wouldn't have it any other way."

"Well, I didn't know how we were going to find you. I truly never would have expected this." Harvey still thought his grand- daughter's psychic powers were strange (even though she kept telling him that he had the same powers, just never figured out how to use them), but they were nothing compared to the powerfully-built, lion-maned sixteen-year old floating cross-legged in his motel room.

"You were looking for me?" the boy said. "That'd explain the way I tuned into you so easily."

"I don't get it." Anne was sitting on one of the room's two narrow beds. Sure, they and Eric were both looking for each other, but it still didn't explain how they found each other in a huge city like Chicago. It reeked of coincidence... or one of Harvey's comics. "How exactly did you know where to find us?" Anne hated herself for thinking it, but could this boy be working with SIRECOM? No, they hate Omegas far too much... don't they?

Eric's answer cooled Anne's paranoia. "I had a dream last night...which is odd, because I wasn't asleep. I don't do that anymore. I was sitting up, reading the latest issue of favorite comic...when suddenly I got this flash. I saw you two, and then a replay of my fight with good ol' Naziguy, and then a place in downtown Chicago near Daley Plaza. I was confused by it, and then I thought I'd search out Deathbringer's memories and see what they told me."

Harvey was confused. "You... how would you...?"

"When we fought, he had to touch me to use his power...he couldn't do it through my mind shield. Anyway, when he did it he set up a link that went both ways...he got my power, I got his memories. So I went back through them...most of them were incoherent, no help at all, really, but his last lucid ones were of a fight with the old guy from my vision, when he was younger. You. That's how I got your last name. So I had Danny pull a search of the area..."

Harvey bristled at the boy's "old guy" coments, but tried not to show it. The kid probably didn't even know he was doing it; and with power like his, the kid probably never had anyone else chew him out for being cocky. "Who's Danny?" Harvey asked.

"My brother. I'll explain him later. He found a couple of Omegas on the fringes of Chicago who matched what I told him, and so here I am. I figured whatever the vision wanted me to know about DB and you, you could tell me."

"Well, I guess if you have his memories, you'd already know what I came to tell you." Harvey sat down. "I mean, you remember our fight, and that I killed him."

"Yeah, so?"

"Well, if he could come back from the dead once..."

Anne finished the thought for Harvey. "He could do it again."

"Oh, sh#t. I didn't even... that must be what my vision was trying to tell me. That he's still out there." Eric stopped floating and stood up.

Anne tried projecting calm, but her thoughts bounced right off the kid—he wasn't exaggerating about his mind shield. "Well, Eric, there's no need to panic... I mean, it took him nearly fifty years to come back from the last time."

"No it didn't. Now that I think about it, he was up and running the same day that your grandfather iced him...I clearly have an image of him stumbling out of the Chancellery building...and from there, jumbled bits of memory until that day in the alley when he came back to full power. Omegas are more common now. I can't let that maniac run free, I'm going to have to go looking for him."

"We'll go looking for him." Harvey also stood up. "It's me he originally wanted...not that he'll be thrilled with you either." Privately, Harvey had another reason for wanting to find Deathbringer... he wanted to finish the job he started nearly fifty years earlier. The job of saving the world from that dangerous, psychotic bastard. The job he hadn't done right the first time.

Deathbringer killed twelve good men that day, all friends of Harvey's. He couldn't remember most of their names anymore, but he sure remembered the looks on their faces as they withered into lifeless husks. And he would make sure Deathbringer remembered, too.

Eric turned to leave, and Harvey grabbed his arm to stop him... nearly getting pulled over for his trouble. And that was accidental, Harvey thought... if he'd tried to resist me, I never could've slowed him.

Eric was indignant. "Look, pal, I don't want to hurt your feelings or nothing...but you looked in a mirror lately? You got old. You should let me handle this."

Harvey flushed bright red, but still tried to ignore the old-age slur. "You don't know what you're dealing with, kid."

Anne intervened. "Jesus, what's with you two? I couldn't cut the testosterone in here with a chainsaw. Look, kid, obviously if your 'vision' had us in it, then you should take us with you. And Harvey, he's right that you aren't the same man you shouldn't take insane risks."

The two of them looked at each other, older man and younger boy. For a moment, Harvey felt a flash of almost paternal pride. Was this how Overman felt when he saw Overboy carrying on in his footsteps?

Eric smirked, nodding at Anne. "She always this annoyingly logical?"

"Yep." Harvey thought he could sense something from Eric... adolescent hormones excited by Anne, perhaps. Harvey knew the kid was only sixteen, but then again, he looked older... and by God, think of the great-grandchildren!

Once again, Eric ruined Harvey's reverie by opening his mouth. "Alright then, gramps. I assume you have a car."

"It's outside." Harvey let go of Eric's arm. Eric opened the door and gestured to them.

"Well? Let's go. I'll tell you where on the way."

Eric sat in the back directing Anne, who drove the car. "Look for East Washington Street." When he wasn't scanning street signs, Eric was flipping through Harvey's Overboy comic. He seemed frighteningly nonchalant, considering the dangerous prey they were stalking.

Harvey and Anne shared these thoughts telepathically. (Annie, he isn't exactly what I expected from the most powerful Omega in the world.)

(I find it reassuring, grandpa.)

(How so? The kid is incredibly powerful, but unless he's careful that power will only get him—or someone else—killed.)

(I know. But the reassuring thing is that powers or not, he's a normal kid, or at least relatively so.) She took a turn and Eric looked up.

"Okay, pull over. We might as well walk from here. Maybe I'll get a flash or something."

(Oh, no, the boy doesn't even know where he's taking us. This isn't good, Annie.) Harvey turned to scold Eric. "This isn't the most well-thought out plan in the world, is it? Recklessness will get you ki—"

Eric grinned. "Look, this whole thing is pretty ill-concieved, let's not blow the rhythm now." As soon as Anne had the car pulled over, Eric was out of it—without opening any doors—displaying his powers in public with a casual ease that horrified Anne and Harvey both. Memories of Fort Deliverance filled the older man's head, and they both recalled the SIRECOM agents hot on their trails. They opened the doors and walked out, looking around anxiously to see if they'd been spotted.

"Do you have to do that?" Harvey grumbled.

"Do what?" Eric seemed not to know what Harvey meant.

"Walk through things in plain sight! In case you were wondering why you've gotten so much media coverage, it might be all the blatant showing off."

"Y'know, you're probably right." Eric frowned—perhaps the thought really hadn't occurred to him before. "I could lie and say I'm trying to blaze the trail, make it acceptable to display Omega powers out in the open and all that, but the real truth is I guess I get a charge out of it. I mean, it isn't that they make me better than anyone, but they can be really cool... when they don't get me into trouble."

"How old did you say you were, Eric?" Anne wasn't sure she wanted to know. His glowing eyes and slightly overdeveloped build (while nowhere near Harvey's physique, Eric did ripple with each step) made it hard to tell, never mind the huge amount of hair. He definitely wasn't a fitting-in kind of Omega.

"Sixteen last month."

"Oh Jesus."

"Nope, Eric, remember?" He smiled, and suddenly (indeed, for the first time that morning) looked his age. "Seriously, I know its whole life is weird, I've gotten used to it." Eric looked around the Plaza and over at City Hall, green fire kindling in his eyes. "I'm seeing all sorts of things, but I'm not really sure what they mean. There's been no real way to know what all the visual stuff I get now means, y'know? I just kind of have to guess and hope I guess right. He could be anywhere, if he's even here."

Anne shuddered. She almost hoped he wasn't.

They rushed over the crosswalk, towards a park. From the intersection, it looked like two big cars were about to collide.


Deep, deep inside, where she had no hope of ever surfacing again, the fraulein whimpered inside the little yellow ball that was her pathetic excuse for a soul. She was weak, and would not be fit enough to survive Shiva's reign. Besides, Jurgen Hunyadi, better known as Deathbringer, could not bear to live the rest of his extremely long existence in the body of a weak girl. He would need a new avatar. And he had two perfect candidates in mind.

The boy. And Hauptmann.

One would die painfully. The other would have his mind ripped to shreds, while his body housed the psychic vampire for centuries. This was a certainty in Deathbringer's mind; the only area of doubt was in choosing who would die, and who would be his slave.

"Let's stop in the park, honey." The fraulein's American cow of a mother was taking her to the city for the day. Deathbringer bristled, but never showed any signs of his indignance; he would lie still in the body of this little calf, all the better to catch them unawares. To catch Hauptmann and the b—

<> There, crossing an intersection. <> Jurgen Hunyadi, who had never prayed, saw all of his prayers answered. It was too good to be true; the boy, the Tempest boy who had killed his last host...and his oldest enemy, together, in one place. Along with a frau who seemed to be another of their kind. Who cared about the frau... weak, no doubt, like all women. All that mattered was <>

It took every ounce of his considerable will to keep from laughing aloud. But while Deathbringer's soul (or what would have passed for one) exulted, little Melissa Tanden's mouth said, "Mama?"

"Yes, Honey?"

"Die." Jurgen sucked the life from Angela Tanden as easily as little Melissa might drink a can of cola. He subtly hefted her body into a copse of rosebushes. Perhaps he would proudly display it to Hauptmann before killing the old man—or should he kill the boy? No, no, the boy makes a good host, and Hauptmann deserves nothing less than total death... <


Turning to watch his/her prey, the Melissa body saw that although the Frau and the boy had detected his presence, they had not pinpointed him. Throwing on his best mask, he strode over to them, attempting to look very much like the little girl he was not.

"Yeah, I sensed it too," the arrogant little boy was blabbering. "I'm not sure where it was coming from...."

Anne and Eric both felt if someone had screamed, or a walk in freezer door had popped open next to them. Even Harvey, who'd never really developed those powers, felt something.

"Did you feel that?" Anne suddenly realized her shuddering wasn't imaginary; someone was dying in the park, sending ripples of psychic cold out to the telepaths.

Eric showed no signs of fear, either from confidence or ignorance. "Yeah, I sensed it too. I'm not sure where it was coming from, but somewhere around here."

"Excuse me, have you seen my dog?" Eric turned and looked at the cute, pigtailed little girl in front of him. He bent to answer her, and then it hit him...a taste that wasn't a taste, something horrible...and she grabbed his arm. Again the feeling of draining that he'd felt once before, hitting him before he could react, before he could throw up a defense.

"What the..." Harvey looked confused, but Anne could feel the evil coming off of the little blond girl in black waves. Somehow, she knew that she was seeing, impossible as it seemed, Deathbringer.

"Grandpa! That's him!"

<> Melissa/Deathbringer flung Eric out of the way, satisfied with the raw power she/he'd yanked from the wasn't even a sliver, but it was more than the boy knew he had, and it would have to do... for Hauptmann was here! <>

"You can't mean the gir—" Before Harvey could finish that sentence, the girl hit him in the chest. For the first time in his life, Harvey thought he felt ribs cracking. A little girl? How could she hurt me... good lord, she's him. He threw up an arm and attempted to ward the girl/vampire off, but she/he grabbed it and flung him into a huge tree, snapping it in two. She flew after him before Anne could react.


Anne raced to help Harvey, faster than any normal human ever could. Harvey was dazed, and Eric was still struggling to get to his feet. "Oh, this is bad."

Anne felt horribly exposed, fighting in the open like this... but there was no other choice. If she didn't do something, her grandfather, and who knows how many others, would surely die.

The little girl was lifting the broken-off tree trunk, preparing to slam it down onto the still-stunned Harvey. It was more weight than Anne had ever tried moving before, but Anne grabbed hold of the trunk with her telekinesis. And, although it caused beads of sweat to burst out across her forehead, Anne held it in the air when Deathbringer tried to drop it on her grandfather.

I've got you now, bitch—er, bastard, Anne thought. She slammed the trunk back down on the girl, and—NO!

At the last minute, Anne pushed the tree off to one side. Deathbringer must be able to hop from body to body, the only way he could survive attacks by grandpa and Eric. That meant this girl was essentially a hostage; Anne didn't dare harm her.

The little girl smiled at Anne, but a man's voice echoed in her head. <you, I myself am beyond such petty constraints. You may feel free to watch as I kill the old man. Please don't run; I may make you the dessert.>>

Anne's telekinesis plucked the girl up in the air, not harming him/her but also insuring she/he couldn't harm anybody else. "Sorry, kiddo, but you've been misbehaving. No dinner for you." Anne realized it sounded corny, but saying it was tremendous fun. Besides, if she didn't make a joke she might have to start taking the whole thing seriously, and realize that she was very close to dying...

<touch in order to feed.>>

Suddenly, Anne was paralyzed. She felt her chest tightening, her heart slowing. And her telekinesis waning. Deathbringer chose that moment to use some of Eric's stolen power to counter her telekinesis, lowering him/herself ever closer to the ground....

Anne felt a mighty hand close around hers. Not Deathbringer's hand, but Harvey's. "You've got to fight him, Annie. Fight him the way I did. Think of... of Overman."

Anne was afraid she was in for another story about how Overman would beat the Super Siphon by feeding him too much power (yeah, feed a parasite more power, that's smart; Anne hoped some of the writers at NP Comics had a run-in with Deathbringer). "Dammit... grandpa... now isn't the time... for those stupid... comics..."

"They aren't stupid!" Harvey was still sprawled on the grass, trying to pick himself up. "I gave my heart to them... and they gave me a whole life I never had!" Amazingly, Harvey stood; could it be that the vampire was no longer draining him? "I know they're silly, Annie, but... I could think of a lot worse things to believe in." Images of a twisted, broken cross, a camp built to turn people into soap, a short little man who did it all out of fear... "Besides, thinking of Overman really worked before."

<> Deathbringer set him/herself on the ground; she/he still couldn't move, but Anne was growing weaker every second. <Ubermensch, one who is not ashamed to use his power openly and for himself! One who uses power the way it was meant to be used! And you auslanders will have the honor of feeding my power!>>

Anne could feel her lungs heaving to draw shallower and shallower breaths. Hair was starting to fall out. This shouldn't be happening to me! I'm a stronger psychic than grandpa, I should have no trouble resisting Deathbringer. Maybe I really do need to think of something that makes me alive. So what is that?

Anne was very afraid that the answer was nothing.

And in a few moments, that would be true, not just meta- physically, but literally.

While the brawl was still going on (Eric looked for a moment at the surreal conflict between a man in his seventies, a young woman, and a flying twelve year old, then shook his head and hoped he wasn't able to vomit anymore) Eric stumbled over something hidden in the bushes.

It was the body of a middle aged-woman. Eric stopped and checked. Sucked dry, like long? He touched her, and suddenly he knew something that he hadn't known before. Reaching into himself, he pulled a stream of himself out and laid it into her...a sense of correction, a spark, still alive, not enough time to leave the body...and with a strange placid sensation, he felt her mind re-awaken.

(What... what happened...)

[Lie still. You've been hurt. Tell me about the little girl.]

(Melissa...) With that, he knew. Every though Angela Tanden had in the past month was Eric Anderson's as well.

[Sleep. I promise you, I'll get your daughter back.] She obeyed him. Eric just hoped that we was up to his pledge. If he wasn't, at least he wouldn't be alive to tell Angela Tanden that he'd failed.

In the Chicago One station commander's office, Dan Carter's hotline was ringing.

"Carter... No, Agent Moulder is not in. I'm in charge for now... There's a what? Where? No, let me guess, an old guy and a... yeah... I'll send a covert team."

Of course, Dan thought as he hung up and raced out the office, it would be a team of one. He wasn't letting anyone else correct his mistakes.

Harvey was holding Anne up, trying to feed her thoughts of support, but her will was fading fast. The little girl was now mere feet away, and once Anne lost her telekinesis the girl could easily charge over and slay them both.

"You can do it, Annie! All you have to do is... ah..."

"Think good thoughts?" Anne muttered. "Doesn't sound too reliable, does it...?" Anne's mind raced, trying to latch onto something that could repel the vampire's psychic tendrils. It wasn't working, not even thinking of Rich; Anne had always been too cynical to have any cherished illusions like her grandfather.

This was ridiculous. Anybody who believed this "use the force" stuff could save them—well, they'd just read too many comics. Anne was afraid that in real life, the Super Siphon would always drain Overman dry.

But that was because Overman never cheated. "Grandpa," she rasped, "I need you to open your mind."

Harvey did so, afraid he was granting a dying wish. "Don't leave me, Annie. Please don't."

Anne was too busy to answer him. She was rifling through Harvey's memories—ah, there! Now to see if her guess was right: when Deathbringer fought Eric, they transferred memories as well as powers. That had to be true this time as well, or Anne would die.

Anne reached out to Deathbringer's mind, a raging black storm on the psychescape. She/he eagerly grabbed for Anne's telepathic abilities—and found the memory of Harvey crushing his skull, over and over, as many times as Anne could project it.

The little girl screamed in agony, and Anne felt a rush of power flooding back into her. Just as she'd gambled, the shock of reliving his first death caused the vampire to drop his/her tendrils—and she/he didn't dare use them on Anne or Harvey again. Anne pushed herself free of Harvey, and stood up smiling, for real this time. "Like I said, Deathbringer, no supper for you tonight."

The girl scowled. <>

"You're welcome to try, jerk. But don't just expect us to roll over and die because you think you're better than us. I don't go for that Nitzschean bullsh#t."

Harvey placed his hand on Anne's shoulder. "That's my girl."

It was still a standoff. Deathbringer couldn't feed on them, but she/he was more than powerful enough to challenge them physically. Worse, she/he was using Eric's telekinetic ability to counter Anne's own telekinesis, and Anne could no longer restrain him/her.

"We have to do something soon," Harvey whispered. "The bystanders have mostly had enough sense to flee, but we want to be gone before the cops and cameras arrive."

As if in answer to their dilemma, Eric called out telepathically. [Anne.]

(Who the...Eric? I thought you couldn't do that...)

[I can now. Listen... in order to stop this, the three of us have to take care of the cause.... Deathbringer's mind. I think I can send you and Harvey in there and keep you linked to your bodies, and you will have to save the girl. It's the only way to end this.]

(Alright...I'm getting tired of trying not to hurt this maniac anyway.)

Harvey was getting equally tired of trying to be hurt by the maniac. She/he was lobbing trees, rocks, and other objects at him and Anne, and Harvey was blocking them by swinging a lamp-post around like a baseball bat. While the strain of combat was taking a toll on him—hadn't done this in years, after all—he was feeling that old exhilaration. He was fighting an honest supervillain again! Come to think of it, maybe that was why he was so eager to get out to Chicago. The government wasn't a villain Harvey could just punch out, but Deathbringer was.

Well, he used to be. Now there's this girl to worry about. Back during the war, I would've killed her just to be safe, but now... I hope it doesn't come to that. There must be another way out.

(There is, Grandpa.)


(I was just 'talking' to Eric. Apparently, whatever Deathbringer did jumpstarted Eric's telepathy... he says he can bypass Deathbringer's shields and send us in there to take care of the real problem, but in order to make sure Deathbringer doesn't escape us, he has to stay outside and watch. Are you up to it?) She sounded worried, but Harvey felt absolutely calm... it was as if all the running from Owen, all the years of worry and hiding had dropped away, and he was sure of himself again.

(Let's get him, then. Tell the kid I'm all set.)

['The kid' can 'hear' just fine, thank you. I was just preparing.] Eric walked up behind Deathbringer/Melissa, who whirled to attack him... and found himself/herself unable to move.


"Consider it moving day." Eric closed his emerald eyes...and re- opened them, blazing like stars in his adolescent face. For a moment, Anne and Harvey could feel his emotions, the ones he buried beneath his facade... the years in the foster system, the suppressed rage at the loss of his second home, the desperation that he would lose a third...and then like an explosion came the thought. [NOW.]

They felt themselves shift... Deathbringer shrieked as the barriers he'd laid onto the girl's mind were shredded... and then they were in a cement monolith. Anne had never seen it before, but Harvey had.

"Sweet Lord.... it's the bunker. Hitler's bunker. We're back to that day." This was the site of Harvey's greatest moment—so why did he feel sick?

"And again and again, old enemy." The voice came from behind the steel door, the same steel door Harvey had wrenched off of its hinges so long ago. They stared at it for a moment, and then he and Anne stepped forward and repeated history, tearing through Astral barriers like they were paper. Silently, shrouded in shadows that stood despite light, they strode into the room.

Harvey hissed as he saw the room, exactly as he remembered it. The difference was the ornate throne...and Deathbringer, cradling the girl's self in his hands, sitting in it. A huge flag hung behind the throne, bearing the twisted, broken cross of the Nazi's swastika. Deathbringer looked like his original body—pale white hair, pallid skin, elaborate SS uniform. He reminded Anne of a worm that had never seen light.

<juven led you into this place, I am master here! I determine what will happen...and what will happen is your deaths!>>

Harvey advanced, more than ready to replay the battle, but Anne laid a hand across his chest to stop him. "No, Harvey."

"What do you mean, no?"


"He's just babbling to distract us, Grandpa. I don't think he's really in charge here... she is. He's hurt her and tricked her, but this is still her mind, and I bet that ultimately, she's stronger here than he is. He can only do what he scares her into letting him do." Anne bent to one knee and spoke directly to the little blond girl in the ball of light Deathbringer held. "That's the truth. He can't hurt you anymore. You can be free of him. I'll help you, if you let me."

<Wantze!>> But the fear showed through Deathbringer's voice. He looked faded, shriveled up, washed out. The yellow ball twisted in his grip, burned his hands. He could barely hold on to it.

"It figures that the thing you're most afraid of is the truth." Anne reached for the ball telekinetically, but nothing happened—of course, this is happening on a purely mental level, there's really nothing for me to grab. Unless I do it the old-fashioned way. Anne said, jauntily, "See if you can keep up with me, grandpa," and moving at superhuman speed, she lunged for the ball. It didn't burn Anne at all, and she easily wrenched it free from Deathbringer's weakening grip. Anne jumped away, and the ball became a very battered little girl, sobbing fitfully.

Moving with a speed that would have shocked him even in his youth, Harvey leapt forward and grabbed Deathbringer, insuring he couldn't harm the girl anymore.


"Oh, you'll get what you deserve, Deathbringer. Plus fifty years interest." Harvey clapped both of his hands together, smashing them into Deathbringer's head. Like a rotten tapestry, Deathbringer fell apart. As he did so, the twisted cross collapsed in on itself, and the whole bunker started coming apart, revealing a quiet suburban house behind its concrete walls. Deathbringer's scream echoed throughout the girl's mindscape. Anne gently put the sleeping avatar down, and then, as quickly as they entered her, they were back in their own bodies.

Eric nodded to them, put his hand on little Melissa's forehead, and the glow travelled from his fingers to her head. Her sleep became a genuine one.

"What did you just do?" Anne felt connected to the little girl. Enough had already happened to her.

"I removed the memory of what he did to her for now... put it someplace where, if she's ever strong enough, she can face it. I didn't see why she should bear the guilt for what he did."

"Is he dead?" Harvey stood stiffly, feeling where he'd pulled muscles in his back and wrists fending off Deathbringer.

"Probably. I can't say for sure, but I think I kept him in there and you two finished him off. He's gone for now, anyway, and that's what is important."

Anne scratched her hair pensively. "What do you suppose all that stuff about a New Age was... and some new leader...?"

Harvey waved off the question. "Ahh, Deathbringer's nothing without some leader to follow around and kill for. He was probably just deluded."

Eric's eyes flickered as he scanned the crowd. "Melissa's mother is awake and coming this way. Time for us to go. You'd better come with me... people have seen us, too many people to deal with at once."

"I see you've finally learned the value of secrecy." Harvey clapped Eric on the back. "You know, you did pretty well. I was a little worried that you were too immature."

"Yeah, well, I was a little worried that you were over the hill. I'm glad we were both wrong."

Anne coughed. "I hate to spoil this male bonding moment, but we've got cameras coming this way."

Anne and Harvey headed back to their car as Eric stood out in the open to draw the media's attention. As they left, he imparted to Anne the location of the Colony, in order that they could hide there if it became neccesary.

"Tempest? CNN News.. I was wondering if I could—" Eric waited until the crowd was almost on him, then shot up in the air. He hesitated long enough to see Angela Tanden cradle Melissa in her arms, and then he was gone.

Anne was elated as she drove away. The fight was over, they had won the battle, and Anne's body seemed to be screaming for more.

Harvey regarded her sagely. "It feels great, doesn't it? To win a scrape like that."

"Yeah, it's quite a rush. And the best part is, we really won this one. We saved everyone, the bad guy actually deserved what he got, and nobody is going to call us outlaws for this one." Anne had to admit it—the big fight notwithstanding, this little crossing of paths had turned out pretty well for them.

Harvey seemed to have similar feelings. He was reading his comic book again, watching two Overboys punch each other, and he said, "Maybe these things don't have to be so bad, after all. I guess they can even be kinda fun."

"And the best part is," Anne commented as she drove towards the Colony, "we found a haven, surrounded by other Omegas and safe from the eyes of the law. Things are finally looking up."

Things are finally looking up, Dan Carter thought. He knew the geezer and the babe were involved in the Omega-battle as soon as he heard about it; he spotted them getting into a car on East Washington. With a team of skilled SIRECOM tailers, and a prototype psi-screen that the boys in R&D cooked up with a little help from Dynamax Labs, Carter had followed them all the way to a shabby junkyard. But as soon as the fugitives entered the junkyard, they disappeared.

The Colony. It had to be. And now Dan knew where it was.

The best part was, nobody else knew. Not that idiot Moulder, or old man Owen, or even Jarvin-Mister-Know-It-All-Tazakles. And especially not the people inside the Colony.

When Dan led a SIRECOM assault team in there, it would be the coup of his career. He would show them all, and nobody would ever say he was getting too old for the business, not ever again.

Dan chuckled. Those jerks think the fight is over? They don't know the half of it.

The truly scary thing was, Dan didn't know the half of it either.

To be continued in the Omega-wide crossover,
RIG VEDA... and, of course, in the pages of Legacy #6!

Special thanks to Matthew "Nickname in Quotes" Rossi, who plotted the Legacy-Pulse crossover, and wrote many of the words in this issue. Be sure to read his Pulse #7, for a slightly different perspective on the same events. Also, be sure to check out Seekers #5 and Covenant #6 for more action leading into RIG VEDA!

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