The Soyuz team tries to rescue the Arkadins at KGB Headquarters. At Ed Raymond's apartment, Richard Dare confronts Stalnoivolk. Firestorm and Professor Rynders continue to travel in the time-stream. Firestorm battles Stalnoivolk.
Triple jeopardy! The mind of Firestorm is twenty years in the past, trapped in the body of the Flying Dutchman of Time - - Rikkard Rynders - - who is being burned alive by an experiment gone wrong! In modern New York, Ron Raymond, his stepmother, and his grandfather Richard Dare - - Aviator - - are under attack by Stalnoivolk, who has come seeking information about Firestorm. In Moscow, Special Prosecutor Soliony has thrown Nina Arkadin out the window in an effort to force her husband Mikhail to reveal he is Firestorm!
“NINA!” Mikhail screams as he watches her fall out the window. An agent holds tightly to Mikhail’s shoulders to pin him in his chair. “By all the saints, the one time I need to become Firestorm, I cannot!” Arkadin thinks. “Why?!”
On the street, Serafina and her friends are horrified to see a woman fall out of the upper level office at KGB headquarters. “Bojemoi!” Serafina cries out. “That’s my aunt!”
“I’ll save her, Serafina!” shouts Feodor, running below Nina. WOOOOOOOOSH! A spinning whirlwind propels Feodor into the air. He rises quickly to meet and catch Nina as she falls. “I have her!” he calls as she lands in his arms.
“But you won’t be able to hold her, Feodorushka! It is more mass than you can carry!” thinks Serafina. “And the KGB is bound to see!” She turns to her friends. “Mashenka, you and Igor’s powers are needed! Please, as I suggest!”
Feodor struggles as he carries Nina. “Spinning…off-center! Can’t maintain…flight!” he worries.
“Water main there!” Mashenka thinks. She extends a hand and an energy beam flows to the street. SHWOOOSH! Suddenly, a geyser of water erupts from below the street and rises high into the air!
“I’ll freeze it, little sister,” Igor calls out. He raises his arms and the geyser of water instantly freezes into a tall column of ice. Feodor and Nina come to rest safely on top of the ice pillar.
“I know the office my uncle is in!” Nina thinks. “Ilya, we need a distraction! Ride the electrical current up the wall!”
Ilya runs over to the ice column. ZZZZZXXXX! Electrical energy arcs brightly and he moves upwards along the edge of the column! “I’ll tell you where to stop and what to do when you get there!” Serafina calls to him.
“Feodor! Slide down the ice with my Aunt!” Serafina communicates telepathically. “After they get down, Igor restore the heat to the ice so it melts! Mashenka, start converting the water to fog! We need to conceal ourselves!” Feodor steps off the edge, and he and Nina quickly slide down to the street.
Serafina watches as Ilya climbs higher. “Good, Ilya! There!” she communicates. “Can you black out the office?”
“Wait! Let me meld my mind with the wiring!” Ilya answers. “Got it! What old, moldy stuff! Just divert enough power to make a surge, aaaaand…”
Pop! Pop! Pop! Suddenly, the lights in the office blink out, plunging the room into darkness. “What?!” Soliony blurts in surprise.
“Hurry up, Ox!” Mashenka tells Igor. They work quickly to melt the ice and shield the area in dense fog. Feodor gently rests Nina on the sidewalk at the base of the ice column.
“Nag, nag, nag,” Igor answers. “Serafina, how is your aunt?”
“Unconscious but unharmed. I established a mental bond and probed. She saw nothing of any of us. She blacked out after she was thrown from the window,” Serafina answers.
“Thrown?” Mashenka asks. “Oh, that’s wicked! Who did this?”
“A Special Prosecutor named Soliony,” Serafina explains. “Soyuz, we must leave…quickly!”
“What of your Aunt?!” asks Feodor.
“It grieves me, but leave her we must! For her to disappear completely would put too much suspicion on my Uncle…or reveal us!” Serafina replies.
Clop! Clop! Clop! Clop! The sound of several footsteps quickly approaching echoes through the foggy street. “Do you hear!? Those are soldiers come to see what has become of Aunt Nina!” Serafina warns. “Flee, Soyuz! I’ll contact you later!” Igor, Mashenka, Ilya, Feodor, and Serafina all run away, quickly disappearing into the fog.
“Butcher! I’ll see you pay for murdering my wife!” Mikhail snarls angrily at Soliony.
“Heh. An…’accident’ such as this…during questioning…it is not unknown,” Soliony replies icily.
A soldier rushes into the room. “Comrade Soliony! The woman lives! She is unconscious but unharmed!” he reports.
“So I was right,” Soliony says with a smile and a puff of his long cigar. “Somehow…some way…you managed to rescue your wife, Mikhail Denisovitch! Perhaps when the lights went out! I forced you to act!” Soliony gestures to the agents restraining Mikhail. “Return them both to their cells,” he directs them. “Sooner or later, Arkadin, I will ferret out your secret!”
The agents guide Arkadin out of the room at gunpoint. “Thank God Nina lives! But how was she saved?!” Mikhail thinks. “And why could I not become Firestorm?!”
New York. Richard Dare aims a semi-automatic pistol at Josef Gort’s chest. Ronnie and Felicity watch closely. “I require Firestorm,” Gort explains. “You know how I may have him. Do not make me repeating myself again.”
“Back off, Gort!” Dare replies. “You know me. I was Aviator back during the War. The boy’s my grandson and you’re not laying a mitt on him!”
“Ron? Where is Firestorm?” Felicity whispers.
“Damned if I know! I’ve been trying, but there’s no response!” Ronnie whispers back, clearly frustrated.
“Your grandson and another named Stein materialized on Sowiet submarine before this Firestorm transmuted warhead,” Grot explains. “We are wanting to know their connection with this being.”
Dare points at him angrily, holding his aim with his pistol. “You want to question him, you go through channels. This is America, pal! You don’t just bust in and make demands!”
“Were my people so inclined to use channels, they would have done so,” Gort replies. “They have brought in Gort. I will have truth. One way or another!”
Vandemeer University.: The late 60’s - - “AAAAAAGGGHHH!” Firestorm cries as flames envelop him. “No! Do not abandon my body!” Rikkard calls to him.
“In…your body…this time…I have no powers!” Firestorm answers.
“You could have found some way! Your failure has doomed me to wander the time-stream forever,” Rikkard replies.
“All I could do…was die!” Firestorm answers. “Your death! A horrible death! Fire and heat - - like my birth! I want out of the time-stream, Dutchman! I want to return to my own time! And I want it now!”
Fire sweeps around the room and wood timber begins to collapse in the building. “You think if I knew of such a path I would not have taken it myself before this?!” Rikkard asks. “Now you are as trapped as I! And I am trapped because of your incompetence! A temporal wormhole - - a time eddy - - appeared and drew you into the time-stream. You had no physical form with which to resist it. Anyone else would have been unaffected. Who can tell when such wormholes appear? And they are only ways in - - not out!”
“I will not bear your company! We shall be enemies again as we were before! But this is the first time we’ve met!” Firestorm replies.
“For you, that is true,” Rikkard answers. “But due to vagaries in the time-stream, it is not true for me! This far I may content myself - - in one of our meetings you have not yet experienced - - I had my revenge for my loss this time! Think on that as you wander the years!” He turns and quickly disappears into the fire.
“What do you mean? Wait!! Dutchman!!!!” Firestorm yells into the flames.
But there is only silence. And so I wander the path of the years. I witness the accident that triggered my first incarnation and I understand something of who I was. I witness the creation of a creature named Firehawk and my heart blooms within my soul. I have found another like me. I am not alone.
I witness the trials and tribulations of Ron Raymond and Professor Stein and I feel haunted. I am there at the wedding of Mikhail and Nina Arkadin and the birth of their first child and I feel their joy.
I walk with the strangers of the Justice League and they are no longer strangers to me but friends - - allies. And I discover what it is to be a legend.
At Chernobyl with Mikhail, I pass again through fire to become Pozhar and, in Nevada, I discover the events that lead up to his final battle with he who I was - - and I witness my own rebirth. I witness more than my own life. I experience the history of this nation - - this planet - - over the past twenty years.
The War in Vietnam, the fight for Civil Rights in this country, struggle of women for their own dignity - - the breaches of faith by politicians, tyrants overthrown by worse tyrants. The globe poisoned by pollution, the shadow of nuclear annihilation sapping the human spirit, Mankind’s finest achievement - - touching the stars - - broken by horror - - all of this I experience as well. And I learn what it is to oppose the darkness with all your might, to stay or drive back the dark night that threatens to fall.
I drift in this timeless place, observing and learning. I can’t claim that I understand perfectly who and what I am or what my world is or what my place in it should be, but I understand better than I did. I am more myself than I have ever been.
I wonder if they - - my other selves - - might not be better served if I stayed in the time-stream. I’ve also seen how becoming me has disrupted their lives. I wonder how they fare? It seems so long since we’ve been together. I was a different person then. This seems to be New York. Ron lives here. I wonder what year it is. Somehow, I seem drawn to see how he’s doing. A strange phrase, given my condition, but I seem to have arrived just in time.”
Firestorm arrives in the street near the Raymond’s apartment building. He watches as several police officers arrive, the lights from their car’s emergency flashers blinking through the area. Major Zastrow stands in the street just in front of the police. “Gort! Stubborn willfull old fool!” Zastrow yells. “You endanger the entire mission by attacking this boy Raymond so directly!”
“Endanger?!” Firestorm thinks. He leaps into the air and starts flying up the edge of the building.
In the Raymond’s apartment, Richard Dare holds his pistol steadily aimed at Gort. “Ron, take your stepmother and get out. I’ll hold off Stalnoivolk!” he directs. Behind them, Firestorm’s arms appear as he begins to phase inside the apartment.
“Pah! With that?” Gort scoffs. “You are insulting! I will break it and then you!”
“Run, Ron!” Dare yells. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! He opens fire, but the bullets harmlessly bounce off Gort’s chest!
WHAM! Gort whips a backhand punch hard across Dare’s face! KRAK! Dare falls unconscious, smacking his head on a coffee table as he falls. Gort quickly grabs Ronnie as a translucent Firestorm watches. “Now, boy!” Gort snarls as he holds Ronnie by the throat. “You will be telling me what I want of this Firestorm or I will kill you!”
Firestorm walks to approach Gort and Ronnie. “There’s no other choice! If I cannot break free of the time-stream now, a part of me will die!” Firestorm thinks. He reaches his immaterial hand to Ronnie’s wide-eyed face. “Ron Raymond! I am Firestorm! I am trapped in the time-stream!” he communicates to Ronnie. “Concentrate…Summon me…Help me to help you…Bring me through..!”
An atomic ring begins to sparkle in Ronnie’s left eye. Far away, Mikhail sits alone in his jail cell. “Here’s irony! My being Firestorm has compromised my life almost past mending, yet without him I can see no way of saving my family!” Mikhail thinks. “Where are you, my albatross?” Suddenly, Mikhail feels a familiar sensation and an atomic ring twinkles in his right eye.
FZAAM! Mikhail disappears in a burst of light! SPEEEOOOOOOO! Instantly, a fireball appears, rising quickly into the sky and racing westward.
In the Raymond’s apartment, Gort holds Ronnie by the throat and suddenly, Ronnie disappears! “What is..?” Gort blurts.
FZAAM! Firestorm appears, standing with Gort’s hand around his neck. “Hurm?” Gort asks in confusion.
SPAKOW! Gort is flung through the hole in the wall out into the air above the street! “So, I take it you found Firestorm,” Zastrow scoffs as he watches Gort flailing in the air overhead. “Oh, excellent work, Gort. I am so glad you have the situation under control. Strutting imbecile.”
WHAM! Gort smashes through the brick wall of a building across the street. He sits up and looks back at the hole in the Raymond’s building. “Who is..? What was..?” he asks.
Firestorm leans out of the hole. “I am Firestorm,” he answers. “You sought me?” SWOOOOSH! He flies into the air towards Gort.
“It is good to know your name,” Gort replies. He leaps into the air flies out of the gaping hole. “I will carve it into your tombstone with my finger,” he says. WHAM! He punches into Firestorm’s jaw with his left fist! Firestorm is thrown back by the stunning blow!
KRASH! Firestorm falls to the sidewalk below! Gort lands on the apartment building. Krunk! Krunk! Krunk! Krunk! He quickly climbs along the wall. “Your light blinded me for a moment, Firestorm,” Gort explains. “I do not know if you transported him away or he became you. In the apartment, I think, I will find someone to give me answers about you!”
Firestorm lifts himself up on the sidewalk and rubs at the back of his head. “Interesting…sensation, this physical pain,” he says. “Another tack, perhaps, other than violence?” He leaps into the air and flies up to Gort. “Stalnoivolk, please stop,” he suggests. “I have the answers you seek. Leave the people in the apartment alone or I will be forced to stop you.”
Ed Raymond returns home from work to find his street blocked by dozens of police cars. He jumps out of his car and sees Firestorm and Stalnoivolk on the wall just below the huge hole in his apartment’s wall. “Sweet heavens!” Ed blurts. He runs into the line of police.
“Hey!” an officer yells at him, raising his pistol warily.
“That’s my apartment that’s been trashed!” Ed replies quickly.
Firestorm hovers next to Gort. “Stop me, American? How?” he asks. “You people never have guts to deal with enemy as is necessary. Always you be shrinking from it! I, on the other hand, have no qualms of dealing with enemies of my nation. And you are one such.” KRRRRUUNK! Gort reaches behind him and grabs a large chunk of wall, ripping it away from the building. FWWIP! He flings the block at Firestorm!
“Your attack is nothing, Stalnoivolk. As empty as the air I will make of that wall,” Firestorm tells him. FZAAM! Instantly, he transforms the wall into air molecules.
“It served its purpose!” Gort yells as he leaps onto Firestorm!
“GUK!” Firestorm blurts as the two collide. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! WHOMP! They bounce off the building wall several times and land hard in the street!
“Awww-right! Putcher hands in the air and come quietly or there’s gonna be trouble,” a police officer warns, He and several officers aim their weapons at Gort.
“Never stand between a wolf and its prey!” Gort snarls at them. He gets to his feet and starts towards the police. They open fire! POW! POW! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! POW! The bullets bounce harmlessly away!
“GRRRAAAHHHH!” Gort yells as he picks up a police car and holds over his head!
“Move it!” yells a police officer.
“Look out!” warns another.
Gort throws the police car, and…WHAM! It smashes down on the rooftop of another police car and they both explode! “Anybody else got any ideas?” a police officer asks as he and his colleagues run for cover.
“Are nukes out?” asks another officer as he flees. Behind them, Gort picks up another police car and holds it over his head.
“Fiasco. Complete and utter fiasco,” thinks Zastrow as he watches the smoke and flames.
Firestorm lifts himself up in the debris. He watches from behind Gort. “Yes, yes. I’ll do something,” he thinks. “I have experienced death by fire and it’s not a fate I would wish on anyone.” He gets to his feet and starts to walk towards Stalnoivolk. “One the other hand, I have taken Stalnoivolk’s measure and I think I know what he can withstand - - and what it will take to top him!” he thinks.
FSHHHHH! Firestorm fires a nuclear burst at Stalnoivolk. KA-BLAM! It explodes around the Russian, ripping his suit in the blast wave. Stalnoivolk turns around in the sea of fire. “You have my attention, Firestorm, now - - what do you wish to do with it?” he asks.
“Put you on a pedestal - - of concrete,” Firestorm answers. FZAAM! He uses a transforming burst and reforms the ground around Stalnoivolk to encase him in a block of concrete! Only the Steelwolf’s head and shoulders protrude.
“This…will…no hold me…unnnhg!..for long!” Stalnoivolk groans as he struggles against the tight restraint. KRRRAAAK! He flexes and twists and begins to break apart the concrete.
“It doesn’t have to,” Firestorm answers. “Long enough for fists of stone to deal with a wolf of steel.” FZAAM! FZAAM! Instantly, Firestorm’s hands are encased in solid stone like two giant boxing gloves! WHAM! BLUD! POW! Firestorm pummels Stalnoivolk in rapid succession across his face. Stalnoivolk collapses unconscious from the incredible barrage of stony fists and hangs limp in the concrete encasement.
“Uh, pal? He’s out,” a police officer tells Firestorm. “I’d prefer you don’t kill him so I don’t have to try arrestin’ you. Leave him to us now, okay?”
“…Yes…Need to see…to people in apartment..,” Firestorm replies. He leaps into the air and heads for the hole in the wall of the Raymond’s apartment.
“Excuse please, officer. Am being Sowiet Embassy official,” Major Zastrow tells the police officer standing by Stalnoivolk.
“So?” the officer asks, eyeing Zastrow suspiciously.
“This man is part of Russian security as Embassy. I have papers,” Zastrow explains.
“Wait! You’re not going to claim that all this is part of ‘diplomatic freakin’ immunity’?!?” the officer exclaims.
“Oh yes,” Zastrow answers. “Please to be helping me into my car with him, hm?”
Firestorm flies into the Raymond’s apartment. “Yes, yes. I’ll fix the wall,” he says. FZAAM! Instantly, a nuclear transforming burst repairs the wall completely. “Yes, I will see how the parents are,” Firestorm says.
He turns to see Ed and Felicity kneeling next to Richard Dare. Felicity hangs her head in her hands and Ed looks anguished and emotionally upset. Dare does not move. “Mr. Raymond?” Firestorm asks. “Mrs. Raymond? What’s wrong?”
He walks over to them. Felicity turns to him, tears streaming down her face. “Ron’s grandfather. Gort…Stalnoivolk…broke his neck when he hit him,” she says softly. “He’s dead.”
“NOOOOOO!” Firestorm cries out in horror. FZAAAM! Instantly, Ronnie fissions away from Firestorm and appears in a flash of light. “…NO!..,” he cries out in anguish.