"Finally, tonight, the solution of a sixteen year-old mystery.
As our viewers may recall, two months ago, the mummified body of an eighty year-old woman was found in a peat bog outside Bourtangerstad in the Netherlands. Preliminary tests indicated that the so-called 'Bourtangerstad Woman' had lain undisturbed in the bog since approximately 2000 BCE.
However, in a statement released today by UNIT Scientific HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, it was revealed that DNA testing had identified the Bourstangerstad Woman as the remains of Ms. Kimberly Ann Posinki, formerly of Middleton, Illinois.
New York City, September 5, 2019
Cyborg and Ms. Marvel watched as the NYPD Special Operations Team secured the members of the so-called ”Masters of Injustice”, preparatory to running them in.
“Thanks for your help with these clowns”, said Cyborg. “I don’t know that I would’ve beat them if you hadn’t showed up.”
“Hey, no problem”, said Ms. Marvel. “I’m always glad to meet a veteran super-hero.”
“’Veteran’? Ouch!”, said Cyborg. “That makes me feel old. Of course, I have been in this business nearly forty years. About as long as the JSAers had been around back when I started. Imagine how the folks that have doing this for nearly eighty years must feel!”
“I’ve only been around six years, but I’ve had kids look at me like a was a fossil”, said Ms. Marvel.
Cyborg laughed. “’Circle of life’, I guess”, said Cyborg. “People – kids, especially – always want something new.”
“Can I ask you something?”, asked Ms. Marvel, suddenly thoughtful.
“Sure, what’s up?”, asked Cyborg.
“What do you think about this stuff they’re saying lately, that we’re in the ‘Twilight of the Super-Heroes’?”
Cyborg sighed. “I dunno. I mean, I’ve heard that stuff, too. You know, the media loves pushing that kinda thing, and from what the old-timers have told me, it’s not the first time, either. There was a lull in new heroes back in the 50’s, and people back then talked about ‘the end of the super-heroes’ just like now. Then the ‘Second Wave’ came in the 60’s, and you didn’t hear that anymore.”
Cyborg paused and then continued. “On the other hand, a lot of kids that might have come into the business back in the day are more likely to join the cops or the military now. It makes a certain amount of sense, really. Why go vigilante when you can get paid and get bennies and still fight crime like you wanted? You know, a lot of us old-timers were and are independently wealthy. It’s a lot harder to be a full-time crime-fighter if you have little or no money coming in, unless you can score a spot on one of the big-name teams that are well-financed. Isn’t that right, Avenger?”
“It sure is, Justice Leaguer”, smiled Ms. Marvel.
Cyborg smiled back, and said, “I don’t think super-heroes are gonna go away anytime soon, but I think maybe the world may be undergoing a fundamental change, too. I think that there’ll always be at least some of us around, but it’s possible that it may be the same way that horse-and-buggies are still around, too.”
Excerpt from A Brief History of the Terran Colonization of the Planet Mars, by Emiko Alqadry, University of Frankfurt-am-der-Mond Press, 2267:
“With the exodus of the Native Martians in the late Twentieth Century and the withdrawal of the Ice Warriors after the defeat of their attempted invasion in January of 2044, the planet Mars was left uninhabited. It would not remain so for long. Landings began almost immediately, so that the first human child was born on Mars in February of that same year. These initial landings were followed by a trickle of settlers that quickly became a flood that was undeterred even by the mysterious destruction of Bowie Base One.
In this book, we shall review the events and historical processes that saw Mars go from an empty planet to Earth’s first colony world, one which would become one of the founding members of the Federation.“
Oort Station 9, April 30, 2065
Ben Grimm looked out through the transparent aluminum window into the depths of space. Oort Station 9 was one of twelve such stations ringing the Solar System. Of late, he had taken up his old profession of test pilot, flying experimental starcraft. Even though he was on the high side of 120, his reflexes hadn’t slowed noticeably. Even Reed had never been able to say how long Ben might live, but he wasn’t showing any signs of age yet.. The accommodations out here were fairly spartan, but he’d known worse. He liked being out here. There was too much on Earth that reminded him of long-departed friends.
After a moment, he was joined by what appeared to be a dark-haired young woman in her early twenties wearing a form-fitting red outfit with a stylized yellow “T” on the front.
“Hey, Lois”, said Ben. “So, you finally had that remodeling done?”
“That’s right”, she said. “My brain patterns may have been downloaded into an android, but at least I can look like my old human self.”
“I thought you and Clark had left already”, said Ben. “I was sorry I’d missed you.”
“We wouldn’t leave without seeing you, Ben”, said Lois. “Clark detected a new comet coming into the Solar System, so he went out to deflect it so it wouldn’t hit anything that anyone’s using.”
“That sounds like him”, said Ben. “So, you two are really heading out?”
“Yes”, said Lois. “We’ve been thinking about it for a while, now. Earth is peaceful these days, and well-defended. Plus, times have moved on. So many of our old friends are gone. Oh, there’s still some left, but it’s not the same, you know how it is.”
“Yeah, I do”, said Ben. “So, where will you go?”
“Wherever we like, basically”, said Lois. “Probably stick relatively close to home, at first. There’s lots of places in local space that Clark has visited in the line of duty but never really gotten to see. After that, who knows? Of course, we’ll come back from time to time, but maybe not for quite a while. How about you, Ben? What will you do?”
“I figger I’ll keep testing these experimental ships fer a while. After that, who knows? Mebbe I’ll take off like you two are doing. It’s funny, isn’t it? One of the hardest parts of living so long is filling the time.”
Lois looked distracted, as if she’d heard something.
“What’s up?’, asked Ben.
“I just got a signal from Clark. He’s just returned to the base. Shall we go and see him?”
“OK”, said Ben, as he moved to follow her.
: Federation Observation Station, Monsterworld, Eastumbria System, October 30, 2366
Commander Emiko Dutourd, commander of FOS Monsterworld entered the transporter room.
“Any time, Chief”, she said to the transporter technician, who deftly manipulated the control console of the station’s antique-looking but well-maintained transporter system.
Kyoko smiled as Commander Will Riker materialized on the platform.
“Hello, Will, it’s good to see you!”, she said.
“Hey Emiko, it’s good to see you, too. How are the girls?”, asked Will, as they began walking up the hall.
“They’re fine”, said Emiko. “They’re off on a field trip to the other side of the planet, but they send their regards. How’s life on the Enterprise these days?”
“Not bad”, said Will. “Beverly Crusher’s back as our CMO.”
“Oh, yeah?”, said Emiko. “Finally got rid of ol’ Nasty Pulaski, did you? What’d you do, drop her down a lift shaft?”
“Nothing so dramatic”, said Will, laughing.
“Anyway”, said Emiko”, “before we get to overseeing the supply shipment, I thought we might take in the Viewing Room.”
The station had its own replicators, but there were a few necessities that for one reason or another couldn’t be replicated and had to be delivered by starship.
“That’s fine”, said Will. “I’ll check everything out before I go, but they don’t need us looking over their shoulders.”
The Viewing Room was a large, comfortable lounge. One wall was taken up with a window made up with six-foot thick transparent adamantium protected by a force shield powerful enough to withstand a direct hit from a wave-motion gun. The force field generator had three back-ups programmed to automatically go on-line in the event that the primary generator ever went off-line. The station itself was built into a mountainside, and its defenses were constantly being updated.
Looking out the window, Emiko and Will saw a peaceful-looking forest, unblemished by any artificial structures.
“No one in sight at the moment”, said Emiko. “Let’s check out the viewscreens.”
Another wall was taken up with twenty viewscreens. Each of the screens was focused on one of the creatures known on Earth as “kaiju”. The kaiju had been brought to this world some two centuries before, using technology purchased from Planet X. Now they and their descendants lived in peace on a planet that had been previously uninhabited. Emiko got them drinks from a food dispenser and they sat on a padded couch.
“It’s hard to believe these creatures used to live on Earth”, said Will. “Imagine trying to fight them with Twentieth Century weapons.”
“They’re fascinating creatures”, said Emiko. “There’s still so much that we don’t know about them. As much damage as they did on Earth, they also saved it on several occasions.”
“Do they cause much trouble?”, asked Will.
“No, mostly they ignore us”, replied Emiko. “We have a few smaller bases around the planet, but there hasn’t been an attack on any of them for a century-and-a-half.”
“Do any of them ever try to leave?”, asked Will.
“Most of them can’t”, said Emiko. “The few that are capable of traveling in space unaided have never tried.”
“Do you ever get spies or infiltrators?”, asked Will.
“Some. Not many”, said Emiko. “We let in any accredited researchers who apply, if only a few at a time. We’ve had Romulans, Kree, Cardassians, Khunds in here, you name ‘em. Some Daleks snuck in one time. One of the Godzillas stepped on ‘em.”
A buzzer sounded.
“Huh. Speak of the devil”, said Emiko.
“What’s that?”, said Will.
“A proximity alert”, she replied. “Set to go off when one of the kaiju comes within a certain distance. Let’s look.”
The pair moved over to the window.
“Look, off to the left”, said Emiko.
Will followed her direction. In the distance, maybe ten miles away, he saw a Godzilla trudging along as if it were simply out for a walk on a nice day. It paid no attention to the base at all. Will watched it until it was out of sight to the right.
“Wow”, said Will. “You see footage of these things, but it’s not the same as seeing them live.”
“It never gets old for me”, said Emiko. Her commbadge buzzed. “Dutourd here.”
“Ma’am, the new supplies have all been beamed down. Did you want to check things before we sign off on them?”
“Sure”, said Emiko. “We’ll be down there momentarily, Pugsley.”
She turned to Will. “Ah, well, duty calls.”
Penn Station, New New York City, June 6, 3035
Zeph Kallor and Velmia Nah smiled at each other as they boarded the train for their honeymoon. After the conductor – who was dressed in a replica of a Twentieth Century uniform - showed them to their private compartment, they embraced.
“This was a great idea”, said Velmia.
“Yeah”, said Zeph. “Luxurious, isn’t it? That bed looks especially comfortable.”
“Down boy!’, said Velmia, laughing. “We’ll have plenty – and I do mean ‘plenty’ – of time for that, later. For now, let’s just enjoy the start of the ride.”
“Ohh-kaaay”, said Zeph, in mock indignation.
He guided his new wife to seat by the window and poured them both some champagne from a bottle provided by the railroad before sitting down next to her.
The announcer’s voice came over the intercom: “This is the Milky Way Express 740, with stops at Jamaica, Babylon, Armstrong City, Marsport, Titan City, Planet X, Oort Station 40, Alpha Central, ShiKahr, Galmania Outpost, New Camelot and Cucamonga II. Change at Jamaica for trains to Oyster Bay and Qo’nos. Change at Babylon for trains to Patchogue and Sontar.”
They would be riding all the way to Cucamonga II, for a stay at the famous resort there. Zelmia giggled as the train began to move.
“Who started up this ‘space train’ business, anyhow?”, she asked.
“I guess it started with the Galaxy Express 999, nearly sixty years ago”, said Zeph. “It caught on, and then the Orient Express started up. It’s sort of a romantic nostalgia thing, I suppose, like how you can still get horse-drawn buggy rides, or rides on chemically-fueled rockets.”
“Well, I think it’s romantic”, said Velmia, snuggling up against her new husband.
They chatted happily as the train passed through the tunnel to Jamaica, and then emerged in the open air in Queens. Velmia squealed with delight when the train left Babylon and switched on to a ramp that sent it up into the air. They continued chatting – going over the events of the wedding day – as the train made its various stops within the Solar System. Once they’d left Oort Station 40, Velmia turned to Zeph and smiled and said:
“You know, it’s going to be a while before we get to the next stop, and we’ll have plenty of time to explore the train.”
“So?”, said Zeph.
“So maybe it’s time to see just how comfortable that bed really is.”
Shortly before the End of Time:
Dana Scully and Jason Voorhees stood side-by-side in front of the microscopic black hole that had absorbed everything else that had ever existed in their Universe. Even with their vast powers, it was only a matter of time – and not much of that – before they, too, were drawn in.
Dana was currently manifesting as a human female who looked as though She were made of pure, shiny, well-polished brass.
Jason appeared to be carved out of obsidian. His mask shone the pale, silvery yellow of a full moon. Its eyeholes revealed eyes that glowed like red-hot coals. A machete the same color as His mask was attached to His belt.
“Did You ever think when We first met all those years ago that We’d meet again here at the End of Days?”, asked Dana.
“I didn’t think much at all in those days”, said Jason. “My mother – at least I think it was her – told Me that I could never die, but even when my understanding improved, I never anticipated this.”
“I know what You mean”, said Dana. “Years ago, when I was still human, I met a man who claimed to be able to tell people how they would die just be looking at them. When I asked him to tell Me how I would die, he said ‘You don’t die’. I scoffed, then.”
“So, out of all that lived”, said Jason, “why the two of Us?”
“I’m not entirely sure” said Dana. “I’ve heard many legends on many worlds. A lot of them said that at the End of Times a force of Ultimate Light and a force of Ultimate Dark would meet to determine the nature of the Universe to come.”
“I never thought of Myself as a force of Ultimate Dark – or at least, I could think of better candidates”, said Jason.
“And that’s how I feel about the idea of Myself as a force of Ultimate Light”, said Dana. “Still, for whatever reason, here We are.”
“So, what shall We do?”, asked Jason. “Are We meant to battle to determine the nature of the Universe to Come?”
“What use would that be? We’ve fought before and always been evenly matched.”, said Dana. “Maybe…”
“Hmm?”, said Jason.
“Listen”, said Dana. “Whatever We’ve been in this Universe, We don’t have to carry it over to the next one. What if We strove to make the next Universe one in which Light and Dark were allies rather than enemies? A Universe of Harmony… What do You say? Shall We try?”
Jason stood stock-still for a long minute. Then He held out His right hand. Dana smiled and took it in Her right hand.
As one, They leapt into the black hole.