Firestorm confronts Naiad, the Water Elemental. Red Tornado, the Air Elemental, joins the fray. Naiad and Red Tornado seek vengeance against humanity for damaging the Earth. Firestorm attempts to talk them out of it. Naiad lashes out at Firestorm. At Vandermeer University, Dr. LaGrieve is shot by an unknown assailant.
Firestorm sped to the coast of Alaska to find out the problem with the environment. Right now, the problem is the environment. Flamehead, Meet Naiad.
“The flames torment me! The Father of Flames must die!” Naiad warns. She glares fiercely at Firestorm, reaching out her gigantic aqua blue hand towards him.
Her name was once Mai Miyazaki, a radical environmentalist. While protesting a spill at an oil platform run by Japan’s Shogun Oil, the oil slick was set afire and Mai plunged, burning alive, into the cold sea. What emerged was no longer Mai Miyazaki nor quite sane. She began lashing out at whatever was near - - which included the sudden appearance of the Fire Elemental.
“DIE!!!” Naiad screams. She whips her hand at Firestorm. SPLORSH! She smacks into him, driving him back toward the water.
“Not at your hands! Though you may die at mine!” Firestorm answers. FWOOSH! He fires a nuclear burst at her. He watches the trail of his burst…SPPPT! It hits Naiad and quickly fades.
“What’s this?” Firestorm thinks. “The only other time my power failed me was in direct attack against what turned out to be another Elemental! It seems we have here another Elemental!” Waves swirl and rise around Firestorm. “Of water,” he adds in thought. SPLOOSH! A wave sweeps over him. SSSSSSSSSS! Firestorm draws his arms to his chest and concentrates, turning the water into a cloud of steam.
Firestorm flies up near Naiad’s face, hovering just ahead of her gaze. “Hello. I think we should talk,” Firestorm tells her.
“How - ?!” Naiad asks.
“We both are Elementals,” Firestorm explains. “It would seem we cannot use our power directly against each other. I simply turned your wall of water to steam. You see? Futility. The water you control cannot touch me.”
“If I raise enough water, I do not need to control it!” Naiad replies. She waves her arms and the seas rise around her. “I am the Spirit of the Sea! I have been violated! And I will have my revenge - - on all mankind!”
BROAAAR! The waves crash over Firestorm. His face disappears in the spray. “I have slain my oppressor, yet the pain does not end! Where is the relief of my own torment?!” Naiad cries out. “Mother Earth! Hear my cry! Release me from my pain or let me perish!”
In the clouds and swirling winds, a face appears near Naiad. “I have heard the voice in the wind, I have felt a wound upon the Earth,” Red Tornado says. “Whoever or whatever thing you be, if you harm the planet, you must answer to the Red Tornado!”
Elsewhere, an Air Force officer named Nathaniel Adam works at his latest assignment. “Everything’s going smoothly,” he thinks. “Why do I feel so itchy? Everything’s relatively under control at the moment, yet I can’t shake this sudden desire…this sudden need…to be elsewhere! It’s like the Captain Atom side of me wants to get out.”
Nathaniel reaches for his forehead. In an instant, his skin turns silver. “Get ahold of yourself, Nate,” he thinks. “There is no ‘Captain Atom’ side to you. It’s just a name for another part of your life - - don’t start personifying it as something else. Whatever it is that’s ‘calling’ to me will just have to wait. I’ve got work to do, both here and with the JLE! The Atom Project has already spawned one psycho in Major Force. Concentrate on your job, Nate!”
Eden. Ogaden. East Africa. The lush growth in the valley would indicate life but the twisted forms, the magenta smells and ochre splotches, bespeak ill life. It stands like a cancer in the green. Deep, deep within the cellular level, the call felt by Captain Atom reverberates like a leaf in a windstorm. Swamp Thing turns away. He will finish his investigations here first, trying to find a cure for the twisted life, before he turns his attentions to the siren summons echoing deep within him.
Back off the coast of Alaska, under the sea…Firestorm sinks slowly at the base of the Shogun Oil platform. “This is not so difficult,” he thinks. “I should have known that no amount of water can extinguish my flame. This is merely another element to move through, like the air.” He looks up at oil spewing from the platform. “Ah! Perhaps this explains our raging Water Elemental!” he thinks. “The oil poisons the sea from which she is drawn. The pain drives her mad! But I have not only my Elemental power but my transmutational ability! And that may still work against my fellow Elemental. But first - - perhaps I can stop the source of her pain!”
Firestorm focuses his gaze on the spewing oil. FZAAM! Twin beams of energy shoot from his eyes, sealing the drill system and stopping the flow of oil! “Excellent! Now if I can cleanse the pollution from the water in the same manner..!” he thinks.
FZAAM! Firestorm transmutes the oil, quickly removing it from the water. “Marvelous! And now to dispose of the oil and flames atop the water!” he thinks, rising up and breaking into the surf. “Flames to me!” he yells. FWOOMP! The fire responds and swirls around him. SHWOMP! He redirects the mass of fire, sending it hurtling into the sky above. “To the upper atmosphere with you, to burn and dissipate and die! Away!” Firestorm orders.
The fireball rises high up through the clouds. Firestorm turns back to face Naiad. “Now, Madam, I shall deal with…YOU!?!” he says in shock. He looks back to see Naiad and Red Tornado staring back at him.
The winds scream and howl. The waves crash and churn. The sky and the sea are at war. Firestorm looks closely at Red Tornado. “I…have memories of this Man of Wind. He is the Red Tornado,” Firestorm recalls. “I…my earlier self was in the Justice League with him. If memory serves, he was an android created by T.O. Morrow. Can that name be correct? I must try to remember more. They are my memories but I feel so distant from them.”
Firestorm thinks of shaking hands with Red Tornado as Batman, Flash, and Green Lantern looked on. “There was a…a crisis of some kind and I seem to remember the android body being destroyed, but an Elemental force remained, still calling itself Red Tornado.” Firestorm thinks. “Yet, what of the human persona Rasputin said was necessary? There’s a great deal that must be sorted out - - but, first, these two must be separated!”
Firestorm flies quickly between the looming visages of Naiad and Red Tornado. “Peace!” he yells. “I said - - PEACE!” HAWROOO! FASHHH! Fiery light bursts from Firestorm. Its radiance stuns Naiad and Red Tornado. “All three of us are Elementals - - each meant to defend the Earth! Why are you fighting each other?! Are you mad?!” Firestorm asks.
“She started it,” Red Tornado says.
“That’s very constructive, Tornado,” Firestorm replies. “Very helpful. Look, I’m Firestorm - - you may remember me. Why are you here?”
“I…remember you. Vaguely. I came because…I felt the world in pain. It cried out..,” Red Tornado explains.
“That, I think was me,” Naiad says. “Everything happened so fast…I was in so much pain…”
“What is your name?” Firestorm asks her.
“I had a name. I had another form,” Naiad continues. “I remember jeering men, casting fire into oil slick waters. I burn, even as I slip beneath the waves! The horror, the pain! And then the Spirit of Waters come to me, touches me, takes away pain - - I am remade! Whatever or whoever I was has been burned away. One name only I remember - - Naiad! That is who I am and what I shall be! I am the embodiment of the tortured sea - - and the instrument of its revenge!”
Naiad clutches her hands to her head. “From the moment I…changed - - from my birth - - the pollution dumped in the sea was as acid in my blood!” she continues. “The pain nearly drove me mad and I lashed out at whatever I saw - - including the both of you!”
“I stopped the spill and cleaned the ocean. The pain should be gone now,” Firestorm tells her.
“It is lessened but it is not gone!” Naiad groans. “There is no part of the sea that has not been tainted! The pain is there and hourly grows!” Her expression turns angry and she clutches a fist in the air. “Humanity does this! There is no part of this planet that they have not befouled!” she snarls. “They must be purged from the Earth! Why else were we all raised up at the same time?! Why brought here?! We must make war upon mankind!”
“Yes! You’re right!” Red Tornado adds. “We have a purpose! They shall all be swept away! You are with us, aren’t you, Firestorm?”
“No,” Firestorm answers, hovering in the air between them. “Brother, sister - - I know how you feel for I have also felt that way! Part of me feels that way now! I want to give way to my rage and cleanse the Earth! But within me is also a seed of humanity that cries out to save humanity - - from itself, if need be! Humanity is also divided between its baser instincts and its higher aspirations! They are part angel, part ape. We are called on to not only protect the environment but to guide and encourage the people who live in it and are, after all, a part of it. As are we. They are a part of us!”
“I disown them! I disown any part of humanity in me!” Naiad replies. “They are a mistake of evolution and a blemish on creation!”
“You’re wrong, Firestorm,” Red Tornado adds. “Humanity isn’t necessary. It’s simply a shell to be discarded. In any case, I was never human in the manner you’ve described so it does no good to appeal to my humanity now!”
Naiad surges upwards, pointing a finger at Firestorm. “We go to make war upon those who make war upon the planet!” she says. “Do you walk with us? For if you are not our ally, I swear you shall be our enemy!”
“If you go to war against humanity, then I am your enemy,” Firestorm answers.
“So be it! Perhaps we cannot strike directly at one another - - but indirectly?” Naiad asks. “Tornado! Create a waterspout!”
WHOOOOO! Winds starts to swirl, quickly rushing around Firestorm. “Ahhhh! Caught…unaware! Out of control!” Firestorm cries out as he is buffeted in the storm. WHOOOOOOSH! BROAAAAR!
“I part the waters, Firestorm,” Naiad says. “And your path to the bottom of the sea is open! Churn, my winds! Rip up the boulders to make my enemy’s tomb!”
WHOOOOO! BROAAAR! RRRRASP! “ I need to direct them no further, Firestorm!” Naiad shouts. “Gravity and momentum will now do all that is necessary!”
WHAM! SPLASH! Firestorm crashes through the surging waters as boulders and trees ripple around him. “Now I close the waters over you, Firestorm - - and your tomb is complete,” Naiad continues. “Trapped by rocks, trapped by the sea herself, you shall lie there evermore - - unnoticed and unmourned. The first casualty of the War of the Elementals!”
“But not the last,” Red Tornado says as Naiad returns to him. “Sister, where shall we begin our war on humanity?”
“Japan,” Naiad explains. “Shogun Oil has headquarters there. Shogun killed my mortal self. Shogun Oil is the primary killer of the seas. It is fitting that they should be there first to die.”
“Then onward - - to Japan!” Red Tornado says fiercely. He and Naiad turn and sweep across the waves.
IMHS. Vandermeer University. Pittsburgh. The office of IMHS Director, Dr. Simon La Grieve.
“Amazing! Or - - perhaps just appalling,” he thinks as he reviews a thick file. “What this report implies is staggering. S.T.A.R. Labs have confirmed my theory that an intelligent artificial virus may have created both Killer Frosts! The question arises - - who or what created the virus? Another question arises - - why haven’t Morrison’s tests shown this connection? If I hadn’t gone ahead and secretly had S.T.A.R. run these tests, we still wouldn’t have this information. Is Morrison incompetent - - or is it something else?”
Dr. La Grieve gets up from his desk and walks to his office door. “Thanks to some of my own investigations - - I think I know the answer! I began by tracking the history of Dr. Crystal Frost, the original Killer Frost! One surprise is that she shared an assignment at one time with Martin Stein,” he thinks. “More pertinent is the fact that she did some work, earlier, for the Hutchings Institute! And our friend Morrison just came from the Hutchings Institute before joining us! The data is inconclusive, but it suggests the Hutchings Institute is involved! Perhaps the Killer Frost virus was developed there!”
Dr. La Grieve walks along in the dark and quiet hallway. Movement ahead catches his eye. “Eh? Who’s there? Is that you…?!” he asks.
A pistol takes shape in the darkness. BLAM! Suddenly a shot rings out!