It’s ten minutes after Captain America’s creation, and a soldier is looking for him. He finds a surgeon standing outside the toilet, his whites covered in blood. Captain America is inside. The soldier can’t believe that the first thing that Steve Rogers does after being turned into America’s first super-soldier is to take a leak. The doc wonders if the whole thing about the Nazi spy killing the professor’s rattled him. The soldier replies that this guy has to punch out a thousand krauts an hour to make the army quota, and a gunshot makes him need the bathroom. “We’re doomed.”
Steve Rogers exits the bathroom and informs the doc that the toilets won’t flush. The soldier ushers him away, saying the president is waiting. Maybe he could lift something to show how strong he is. Hell, the doc replies. This is Roosevelt. Being able to stand up would impress him.
As they depart, a Nazi agent leaves the men’s room carrying a jar, which contains Captain America’s urine. He is grateful to Agent X-9 for killing the professor before he could tell them that the super-soldier serum expresses out in the urine after the procedure. The spy figures he will get the iron cross and ten minutes with Eva Braun for this. Only he, Agent Z-B, could arrange it so he could get the Führer’s undying love for a bottle of American harn. As he tries to sneak away, he finds a pistol aimed at his face, held by a gloved hand. “Your Führer doesn’t get that tube of super-pee, Kamerad. Be silent now.”
Nextwave are standing in an empty street. There’s no sign of life anywhere, and Tabitha doesn’t get it. They were listening to the local radio station on the way in. Monica adds that the outboard mics picked up ambient noise. The cams showed people in the streets, even. What the hell is going on? Elsa asks if there shouldn’t be, like, devil dinosaurs and stuff chewing up the population right about now. According to the Marketing Plan, replies Monica, before asking her what the hell she’s wearing.
Elsa tells her that the large E on her blue shirt is “E” for Europe. Tabby asks if that’s like her European flag or something. Elsa says that the stars bit is, anyway. Tabitha thinks the flag sucks. It makes Europe look like a really sucky country. “Europe isn’t a country,” replies Elsa, miffed. Tabby asks why, if it’s not a country, it has a flag. When Elsa explains that Europe is a community, Tabby reckons community is just a longer word for country; a French word or something.
Tabby then asks why the French hate them, anyway. Elsa tells her that they don’t. The French-Canadians hate them, though. Tabitha clasps her hands to her cheeks. “ZOMG! There are French people in Canada? That’s like, right next door. Oh NOES!” She runs away like a madwoman as the others ignore her histrionics.
When Aaron asks Monica what they do now, Monica says that the plan is wrong, but that’s to be expected. They could have adjusted things since it was written. Aaron points out that the whole place is empty. There’s no electromagnetic residue at all. There’s been no weapon since the crossbow that didn’t leave some kind of trace on the environment.
(1999, Sam Parkin)
Sam is sitting in his apartment with a hot coffee. An interviewer asks him what’s wrong. He replies that Hank Pym is what’s wrong. He’s an embarrassment to the scientific community. He has a long history of unsupported self-experimentation and terrible mistakes, whilst he spent fifteen years working on the multipoidy process. Chromosomal multiplication inside a reactive gene stack. Twice the efficacy of Pym’s process with no side effects. Can he get anyone to even look at it? No, he adds, because of Hank Pym.
Sam becomes agitated as he explains that size change drove Pym crazy. It’s unstable and froze Pym at twelve feet for two years. It made him pass out if he multiplied over sixty feet. He killed an entire field of science. Sam goes back to his drink. He thinks he can do it. He can be a super hero, but he’s out of money and no one will talk to him. His wife left him and he lives on Ramen. The only way he could make rent last month was by attacking a pay phone with a crowbar in the middle of the night. He also lives on really cheap coffee.
He asks the patient listener if he knows how he paid for the last round of development. He sewed a Giant-Man costume together, went to sixty feet and knocked over a drugstore. The interviewer asks how he would like more money than he can count and the work of heroes. “Sam’s face lights up. “Where do I sign?”
Monica and Aaron chat about the fact that they appear to have been lured to a full-sized fake city hundreds of miles from anywhere. They figure that they need to get out of there, now! They are joined on the run by the Captain, Elsa and Tabitha, but they soon come to a halt when faced with the shadow of a large floating castle, hanging upside down from a large chunk of rock. An unusual sight to say the least.
“The Nextwave squad, I presume.” In the window of one of the spires stands a Beyond Corporation robot wearing a white suit and matching top hat. It introduces itself as the Chief Executive Officer of the Beyond Corporation known as Number None. Beside him, all upside down, are Mister Sssh, Pope Omertà and General Quiet. The quartet represents the core cell of S.I.L.E.N.T. The CEO explains that they placed a trapdoor in the Marketing Plan: a false location to lure anyone daring to interfere with the testing schedule. More to the point, the city is not only fake - it’s on jets.
The whole city raises itself from the ground amidst a plume of smoke. The CEO continues to point out that Nextwave, as they may know, is the name given to a group of superhuman criminals in the 1970’s. Dirk Anger bought the rights to the name and created his own ‘Nextwave.’ It has gone one step further. He has bought himself entire superteams. It motions to the outside of the spire and cries, “Behold!” Down below, Nextwave don’t think this is going to end up well.
(flashback - time uncertain)
Forbush Man talks to the interviewer in his darkened room. He explains that it was he who, in 1999, reignited the sun when it stopped, sending the first wave of new photons faster than light so that no one noticed. He kicked an asteroid into a path that took it behind the Moon, instead of hitting the Earth. When the Beast of Botswana emerged from Lake Ngami, he was there. When the Special Legion of Machine Avengers Executive encroached from Earth 999, he was there. He is the greatest man this planet has ever known, he continues. He is the greatest power in human history, and no one knows his name. He adds that he met Charles Xavier once. He laughed at his hat. He will join the CEO’s group because the people of the world should know his name. And, because no one should ever laugh at his hat again.
The CEO’s heroes arrive, flying own from the floating castle. The first to appear are The Surgery, consisting of Doctor Headless, Doctor Injectable, Doctor Meatball and Doctor Nosexy. Next up are The Vestry, made up of Abbess Horror, the Inquisitor, Father Pain, Red Rosary and Reverend Guilt. The CEO then introduces The Homosexuality, but no one appears. Mister Sssh whispers in its ear, and the CEO informs Nextwave that they will be there as soon as the gay pride parade in San Francisco is over. But, it continues, as terrifying as these creations are, they were not enough. Superhumanity is a wildflower in this strange America. It grows unchecked, and it considered for many years how to garden it.
(flashback - time uncertain)
The unseen interviewer speaks with David Beiderbecke in his prison cell. He’s been a naughty boy, and a surprisingly stupid one, too. He broke into an abandoned army post in Nevada in order to become intoxicated through the sniffing of gasoline fumes. David snarls, and explains that he likes it. There was a big fuel dump there from years ago. The interviewer asks if he ever wondered why the fuel hadn’t been transferred when the base was closed. Did he ever ask what happened at the base? David turns and grabs a small sheet, replying that he didn’t.
The interviewer explains that the base was the staging post for the explosion of the first gamma bomb. All that gasoline was gamma-irradiated. He’s been huffing gamma gas, that that’s why what happened… happened. It’s going to keep happening now. It’s bonded to his system. If he bails David, it means he can be helped. However, it’s going to mean he’s going to have to do some work. David lies down and replies, “Sure. Okay. Whatever.” The interviewer is pleased, and asks if he heard what the cops were calling him.
The CEO speaks to Monica, still hanging in his upside down castle. It has a bunch of comic books in its grasp, and it tells her that it found them. Some subliterate had left them on a bench in the S.I.L.E.N.T.-assisted death pool. “See, as I did,” it exclaims as it throws the comics down to her. They land at her feet, revealing them to be old issues of Not Brand Echh. “And then Miss Rambeau, I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and went and built my classical super heroes from the raw materials given me by these absurd times.” It informs her that it built Charlie America, its Giant-Sam, its frankly inedible Bulk and its mysterious, existentially terrifying Forbush-Man.
Monica looks up and sees the four Paramounts standing on the rocks beside the castle. As the Vestry and the Surgery look on, the Paramounts begin their descent, heading for their confrontation with Nextwave. Aaron asks Monica how she wants to handle this. Monica replies that she knows how he liked plans and tactics for every other situation they’ve been in. This time she wants him to hit these people every which way he can without killing them, until they beg Auntie Monica to make the pain go away.
The rest of the superheroes follow the Paramounts to the fake city, where the Paramounts land with a satisfying crunch. Elsa grabs her shotguns and tells Tabby that she wants the New Rhinestone Maximums or whatever they’re called. Tabby doesn’t like the way that the bulky dude is looking at her chest. She creates a time bomb and unleashes it.
Monica, Aaron and the Captain take to the air, whilst Tabitha goes one to one with Giant-Sam. He tells her that he’s a serious super hero, and it’s for the best that he takes her out of this. Tabby replies that no one in his clothes is a serious human. She fries his arm, and the stream of fire makes its way to his face, scorching it, causing him to collapse. The Bulk looks up at his comrade, remarking that he’s never had a girlfriend, before Giant-Sam lands on him.
Elsa, meanwhile, takes pot shots at Charlie America, but he defends himself with his shield. He then lays her out by smashing it into her. He orders her to lie there. He’s the predator here: she’s just the victim. Elsa grabs a pistol of some kind and fires at Charlie. He explodes. “Do you think this letter on my chest stands for America?” she bellows.