Valkyrie: Time Shards 6Earth 19

Scene begins near a vast desert in central Africa. Several young children are being paraded before a group of ‘investors’. The children vary in age, race, gender, and size. The children are led to a hastily created outdoor stage. The ‘audience’ is stacked three or four deep facing the stage. A large light skinned man with a whip in one hand and a currently styled SMART phone in the other.

“G’day everyone.” He begins, as three of his associates translate his sales pitch into other languages via a simply constructed loudspeaker. “Who would like to start the bidding for item one?” He says as he shoves a dark skinned girl in her early teens to the front edge of the stage. The girl known as item one was bound by leg shackles and leather handcuffs. “I’d like to start the bids at one thousand American dollars. I’ll even throw in the leather whip and handcuffs for free.” He offers the crowd with a smirk.

An old dark skinned man holds up a type of baton above his head. “I have the first bid of one thousand American dollars. Do I have one of twelve hundred American dollars?” The slave auctioneer was now all business. Just to the left of the makeshift stage a slim figure lurks in the shadows of an African version of a palm tree. The slender silhouette appears to be female. She shakes her head angrily. “Slavers!”

The woman has a common white scarf draped across the bottom half of her face to hide her identity. She glances skyward and locates two suspicious characters perched atop the thatched roof of a two story supply shop. Both have sniper rifles in their hands. They are watching the stage area intently. The woman next spies a single pickup truck at the rear of the stage with an obviously covered old style Gatling gun. She also makes note of a brown camouflage painted Humvee with about a half dozen men lurking about within a stone’s throw of the vehicle. She tallies the visible men up silently in her head.

“Two…five…nine…thirteen.” Those were just the ones that she knew of. There likely would be at least another half dozen men scattered throughout the audience. “This will be fun.” She mutters quietly, as she slips behind a large pile of unopened freight crates. She quickly emerges atop the crate stack. The woman is now wearing a light blue and dark blue skin tight outfit with red trimming along each arm and leg. She also sports a gold colored, knee length cape that trails behind her. Her face is covered with a cheesy Mardi Gras style feathered black mask lined in gold fabric. She carries a brown and gold boomerang in one hand, and the other hand is free. She whips the boomerang at the auctioneer.

The boomerang knocks the microphone out of his hand on its initial trip through the air, and smacks him hard in the back of his head on its return trip. He yells and falls forward off of the stage, landing clumsily in the first row of the audience. The woman leaps off of the crate stack and shoulder rolls to a stop. In the flash of a few seconds she vaults up onto the stage and leg whips one of the auctioneer’s friends, retrieving her boomerang. He falls forward on his face and she kicks him in the head with her dark blue boots, knocking him out cold. She then backflips across the stage toward the other accomplice punching him square in the nose. A sickening crack is heard as she breaks his nose allowing blood to spurt out.

By now the other men noticed that there had been a disruption in the auction. With blinding speed, the girl zips across the plaza and physically breaks the Gatling Gun in half, knocking it off its stand.
With superhuman strength, she ripped the gun into six pieces. As she’d expected, five or six more thugs were near the pickup awaiting her assault. She jumps off the truck and lands squarely in between them. They draw a mixed variety of weapons on her, two handguns, a machete, two large knives, and a lengthy silver metal chain. One guy spins the chain over his head and attempts to throw it at her face. The girl is nearly a foot shorter than this attacker and she dodges the thrown chain easily, quickly retaliating with a high back spin kick to the goon’s chin, knocking him out flat. She grabs the chain from his outstretched hand.

The woman gathers the chain to her and throws it low at the rest of the startled guards. The chain entangles their feet and they end up tripping over one another. One gun fires off a shot as its owner falls to the pavement. The bullet wings one thug on the shoulder, spraying a good amount of blood over his shirt. He howls in pain, but will be alright after getting stitches and some simple treatment.

Two of the knives clatter to the ground harmlessly as the woman yanks the chain back toward her again, pulling the others off balance. They all pile up on the gravel road near the pickup moaning and cursing in their native languages. This leaves one goon with a machete. He manages to get a slash at her throat, but with superior reflexes, the girl leans back far enough that the machete misses her throat by inches.

She knees him in the groin while simultaneously ducking another slashing attempt. He doubles over in pain allowing the machete to bounce on the ground before him. In the blink of an eye the girl picks up the machete and throws it at one sniper on the roof. The machete sails through the air and sticks in the guy’s side. He screams and falls off the roof top. His rifle fires a shot off as it hits the ground.

The girl wonders briefly if the thug was dead, but after a few seconds of worry, she finds that she doesn’t really care. By now the panicked crowd was rapidly dispersing. The children were crying and screaming, but a few of them were brave enough to begin to untangle the ropes and chains that bound them. The girl uses incredible speed to zip up on stage and decks one of the auctioneer’s handlers. This guy had the key ring to the children’s locked leg shackles. She uses a simple karate chop to the back of the thug’s neck, effectively knocking him out of the fray. She tosses the key ring to the nearest child.

“Honey, use these keys to set the others free.” She orders the young light skinned girl beside her. The hero’s voice was amplified and disguised. “Yes’m! But who are you to care about us?” She questions, taking the key ring from her savior. “You can call me Valkyrie.” The synthesized voice replies. An Asian looking girl bows toward Valkryie in a gesture of respect. “Thank you!” She says with a heavy foreign accent. “I will tell everyone that we were freed and saved by The Valkyrie.”

The last sniper still remained at large, as he leapt from rooftop to rooftop within the village. Valkyrie hadn’t caught a glimpse of him yet. She dashed at half speed across the now mostly deserted plaza. The heroic girl’s antics had not gone unnoticed. A young African man held a common SMART phone up before him. “Dis is incredible!” He commented aloud. “We now have an angel in our midst! I must post dis as soon as possible on line.” The young man tracked Valkryie as he continued to photograph and follow her. She vaulted straight up atop the original roof where the snipers had been targeting her.

Easily and fluidly as a ninja, Valkyrie stealthily jumped from roof to roof until she’d found her prey. She whips the boomerang at his feet. The sniper falls to a lower rooftop as the boomerang returns to its owner. By sheer dumb luck, the sniper fired off a round. The double barrel shotgun blast hit Valkyrie square in the chest, knocking her backwards and onto another lower rooftop.

In seconds Valkyrie was on her feet and summarily pissed. She makes an incredible jump landing next to the sniper. The surprised thug attempted to hit her with the shotgun in the head. She grabbed it from his hands with startling speed and tossed it over the side of the roof. “What the hell are you?” The olive skinned goon asked. “I’m Valkyrie, your worst nightmare!” The synthesized voice responded.

She used two gloved fingers from her hand and poked him in the main artery of his throat. Immediately, blood began to ooze from his nostrils and ears. “I’ve just cut off the blood flow to your brain. You will be dead in about thirty seconds, if I don’t relieve the pressure.” Valkyrie explained. “Who are you working for and where are they located? You now have about ten seconds.” Naturally the thug revealed the information, and Valkyrie twisted the throat artery counterclockwise, allowing the blood to flow freely.

“Whoa! Dat girl is da best!” The witness photographer praises as he finishes his recording and saves it for posting. All this time the children were scattering in every direction. They were now free to run home or to any place that could help them. The local police authorities were of no use to anyone because they were mostly on the slave gang’s payroll, an envelope here, a favor there.

Valkyrie would soon be on to her next target, the entire gang that the sniper had fingered. Slavery had only been one of the mob’s specialties, their diversity included piracy, drug smuggling, arms dealing, and of course, illegal person trafficking to other countries. She had enough work to keep her busy indefinitely. Valkyrie’s legend grew. Soon she would be known to all of Africa, and eventually the rest of the world. Her impact would soon be noted by a certain Dark Knight back in America.

Scene: Northwestern Arizona within the American southwest.

The Worthington Facility consisted of four major buildings, three large airplane sized hangars, and literally hundreds of miles of undeveloped desert land. Marcus Worthington and his girlfriend, Archaeologist Zara Rolfe, ran a research and development company that rivaled the big names: Queen Industries, Luthor Corp, and Wayne Technologies. Worthington’s conglomerate spanned the world over.

WorthingtonCo had been given several U. S. Government contracts for research and development of the latest in tech. They did it all, concept to reality, robotics, artificial intelligence, unmanned aircraft, drones, and new age weaponry. Given the fact that Marcus and Zara held a huge mistrust for the Governmental bureaucracy, it was amazing that they cooperated with the various U.S. Agencies at all. They viewed the Feds as a necessary evil. ‘You’d still have to grease a few palms here and there.’ Marcus often said. The government projects amounted to barely six percent of WorthingtonCo’s profit.
Marcus and Zara had cultivated a relationship with the big names’ CEOs like Bruce Wayne, Oliver Queen, and Lena Luthor, Lex’s half-sister. They didn’t really trust Ms. Luthor.

Marcus and Zara would attempt to keep her in tow. She was a smart lady, near genius level intelligence, but had also proven herself to be self-serving. Lena was neither evil nor good in every way. Bruce and Oliver, however, had come to depend on WorthingtonCo for assistance in their major projects.
Today, for example, WorthingtonCo was preparing to send a supply rocket into space, ostensibly to aid any orbiting satellites nearby. That was their official cover story to the Feds and NASA. Bruce Wayne and Marcus Worthington walked past the desert launch platform, as the broiling heat from the day finally began to subside. The rocket launch was scheduled to take place right after sunset.

“Marcus, thanks for your input and all of your efforts. I’m sorry that Wayne Industries was unable to foot the whole bill for your technology.” The young billionaire commented diplomatically. “No problem, Bruce, I believe that the partnership that you and I and Queen Industries cultivated will prove both profitable and over the long haul, literally save the world one day.” Marcus was never one to over emphasize something or show great humility. “I’ve no doubt of that.” Bruce responded.

A slim, short, young woman bounded up to the pleasantly chatting billionaires. “Mr. Wayne.” She smiled brightly as she matched their strides. “Miss Lang.” Bruce glanced at her and grinned politely. “So boss, when’s the zero hour?” She cheerfully asked Marcus. “We’re just about set, Lana. Zara and the others have already gone to take up their positions along the viewer’s stand.” Marcus replied.

“Lana, how was your latest trip to central Africa? Did you accomplish all your goals?” Marcus asked wryly. “I’ve met some of them, but as you might expect, the jobs never really seem to be finished. I chose Africa because there’s such a diversity of life there.” She explained mostly for Bruce’s benefit.
Flashback sequence to four days ago: A young red haired woman of about twenty two dashes down one of two grand staircases within Stately Wayne Manor. “Bruce! You’ve got to see this!” She yells excitedly into the mostly empty grand hall. She’s waving her latest public SMART phone high in the air. “My word! What is all the excitement about, Miss Barbara?” The elder gentleman, Alfred, the Wayne family’s lifelong manservant said as he quickly wiped the dust from his old fashioned black framed eyeglasses.

Bruce Wayne, wearing a very common black t-shirt and black Dockers pants glanced up from the latest boring reports from Wayne Co Finance. “What have you got, Barbara?” He had learned to trust his young charge’s instincts as often as possible. Barbara wore a common blue denim miniskirt, white and gold t-shirt, and she currently had her lengthy reddish blonde hair pulled back into a tight ponytail.

Barbara was, in his opinion, the perfect mix of youthful optimism, desire to help in any way she can, and a sense of duty and honor that she’d likely inherited from her father, Chief Commissioner Gordon of the Gotham City Police Department. Bruce only recently had revealed to young Barbara that he led a dual life as the Batman, Gotham’s lone vigilante hero. Bruce had decided to train her and his other young ward, twenty one year old Dick Grayson, as his personal assistant back up crime fighters.

“Bruce, this video that was posted on line from Africa seems to show a human being with unusual powers. I think that she may be one of those new Meta Humans that have been in the news lately.” Barbara handed her SMART phone to Bruce as Alfred looked on with concern over his broad shoulders.
“That’s incredible!” Bruce gasped as he watched the video in its entirety. “I would guess that she had some unusual suit of armor, if it weren’t for the fact that she moved with such speed and power that I don’t even think one of our new Bat Suits could duplicate it. That could be a natural or more likely supernatural talent. Have you had the video authenticated, Barb?”

“Yes. I ran it through your Bat Computer downstairs and monitored its findings.” Barbara answered. “The video is made on a common older model SMART phone. There were no indications of forgery or enhancement. The poster appears to be a simple passerby with no ties to other supernatural videos or a member of any specific relevant chat group. He claims that he heard her say Valkyrie. I ran the video through the Bat Computer’s sound enhancer and corroborated his observation.”

“Valkyrie?” Bruce echoed. “I don’t remember her contacting our little group for any reason. I’ll check with Queen and Kent.” Barbara’s eyes lit up. “I can’t believe that you know Superman, Supergirl, Green Arrow and the Flash. I sure missed out on a lot.” She said with a bit of jealousy. “They seem like decent enough people.” Bruce added. “Yet I don’t fully trust any of them yet. It’s been my experience that Flash tends to be reckless, and Queen is even worse. Kent and Supergirl seem okay, but they tend to be naïve.” Bruce sighed as he ran the video again that Barb had shown him.
Bruce rubbed his square jaw. “Hmm. I know just the person that has the abilities and time to look into this Valkyrie. We can’t very well leave Gotham and go investigate every report of a Meta Human using extraordinary powers. Gotham is still a cesspool and we have our work cut out for us.” The Batman remarked. “I shall endeavor to contact Miss Gold Wing.” Alfred offered.

“Thanks Alfred. I’m not really sure who she is or where her loyalties lie.” Bruce confided. “Hey Bruce!” Dick Grayson’s short muscular frame struck a pose leaning against the Great Hall’s west exit doorway. “Hey Dick!” Barbara’s face brightened at the sight of her comrade in crime fighting. The two young superheroes were currently attending Gotham State University.

“Master Dick, lunch will promptly be served at 1:00 PM. Please make sure that you are in the dining room, or you’ll be eating reheated leftovers again.” Alfred said before he left the group to secretly contact Gold Wing. “I will Alfred!” Dick called over his shoulder.

Back to Arizona Present time:

“I’ll be heading over to the command center, Bruce, we’ll begin the countdown in a few moments. All we have left to do is run the final checks before launch.” Marcus informed them. Lana Lang glanced at the large gold and black three stage rocket that had begun to warm up. The engines were receiving a final tweak as Marcus hurried toward the main building nearest to the launching pad.

Four robotic vehicles rolled slowly ahead of him. They were each about the size of a small compact car, and required no human interaction to operate. Marcus called them security droids. They would encircle the launch blast area one last time to make sure that it was safe. The air drones flew patterned formations along the outskirts of the launching pad site. Should something go wrong with the rocket they would be the first responders. The sun was just about to set as they surveyed the area.

Lana and Bruce walked leisurely in the general direction of the viewing stand. “Miss Lang, a moment please.” The young billionaire said loudly above the ever increasing din of the prelaunch announcement. Lana halted her walk and met Bruce’s steel gaze. She observed his six foot plus muscular frame, jet black hair, blue eyes, and squared jaw. Lana couldn’t help but wistfully reminisce about her ex, Clark Kent. She silently recalled the good times that they’d had together and the bad. It seemed like a lifetime ago.

Lana glanced up at him again. “Yes Mr. Wayne?” She shifted uneasily. “He still asks about you now and then.” Bruce told her. “You mean Clark Kent?” Lana was shocked as she spoke. “Yes. Clark.” Bruce confirmed. “He’s still with Lois Lane, isn’t he? How do you two know each other?” Lana pressed as a brief frown crossed her thin face. “Yes. He is. I would say that he’s happy, or as positive as he can be. Our paths occasionally cross.” He admitted, telling her a partial truth.

Bruce’s words still managed to sting her, though that wasn’t his intent. “At least there’s that.” Lana stated sourly. “After we broke up, I was a bit lost.” She felt that she had to explain. “Thankfully I found some peace working with and for Marcus and Zara. All I ever wanted to do was help.” Lana admitted.

“We all appreciate your efforts…Valkyrie.” Bruce said, startling Lana as she gawked at him open mouthed.
(to be continued)