On his way to New York for the second day of Felicity Smoak's lawsuit, Firestorm saves an out-of-control private plane. A surprising development stuns the courtroom. The Pittsburgh Police issue pagers to their newest Special Investigator, Firestorm. Professor Stein and Dr. Emily Rice share a dinner date at her apartment. Moonbow is captured by mobster Arnie Benedict when she tries to rob a safe at his mansion.
New York Bay, ten minutes before nine in the morning. “Y’know, since moving to Pittsburgh, we’ve spent an awful lot of time in New York, Professor,” Ronnie says as they fly above the waterfront, “What with Felicity Smoak’s lawsuit against us, on top of…”
Ronnie is interrupted by a private plane flying erratically nearby! “Uh-oh, trouble over Battery Park,” Ronnie observes, banking sharply towards the plane. “I see it, Ronald,” Professor Stein answers, “That small aircraft must have hit an updraft from the downtown skyscrapers. It’s shearing out of control.”
RRRIPP! The sound of wrenching metal rings out as the plane’s left wing breaks off from the excessive stress. “Great. Now it’s lost a wing,” Ronnie observes, “Next time I talk about my rotten luck, Professor Stein - - remind me about this guy.” The plane noses over and starts to spin towards the Earth and certain doom. Ronnie plunges down to follow.
FZZZAM! A nuclear burst strikes the plummeting aircraft, and in an instant the plane’s molecular structure undergoes a remarkable transformation…and the crippled plane becomes a functional auto-gyro…which lands safely among the trees to the bewilderment of both pilot and onlooker. “Nifty trick, pal,” a bystander calls out to the amazed pilot. “Do it again. I missed it the first time,” another bystander suggests.
Ronnie sets course back to the courthouse, where Felicity Smoak’s lawsuit will continue today. “You realize, Ronald,” Stein notes, “That’s just the kind of stunt Felicity’s lawsuit is intended to stop.” Ronnie sighs. “Yeah, she’s suing me for destroying computer equipment owned by her business,” he answers, “Something that happened while I was saving a few lives. If she wins her case, super-heroes everywhere will be at risk…We’ll have to stop and think before we make a move! Sure, we should all be careful how we help, but sometimes we just don’t have the time to think that far ahead when lives are at stake. Sometimes we have to act, and forget the risk.”
They begin to descend toward the courthouse steps. Reporters and cameramen mob the area. “I agree,” Stein nods, “but neither can we escape the responsibility for our actions, Ronald. Your future stepmother has a point.” Ronnie flies right past the throngs of reporters, forcing them to scatter out of his path. “Felicity is going to marry my Dad, Professor,” Ronnie adds, “but that doesn’t make her my stepmother. And why are you siding with her now, anyway?”
Ronnie comes down in the lobby safely past the media, surprising several bystanders inside. “You never asked my opinion, Ronald,” Stein answers, “You simply assumed I agreed with you. Despite your impassioned speech in court yesterday, I think we must accept responsibility for ruining Felicity Smoak’s computer software business.”
Ronnie walks into the courtroom. Felicity, her attorney, Mr. Holsum, and Ed Raymond turn to watch him enter. “What?” Ronnie whispers in surprise. “That doesn’t mean I accept the notion we should pay her a million dollars in damages,” Stein explains, “However, we do owe her something, Ronald. And no matter what the outcome of this trial, someday that debt must be paid.”
Ronnie takes his seat at the Defendant’s table. The bailiff glances at the judge’s chambers. “All rise,” the bailiff announces in an authoritative voice as the judge enters the courtroom. The parties, attorneys, press representatives, and spectators stand as the judge makes his way to the bench.
BANG! The judge pounds his gavel, calls the court to order, and nods towards Mr. Holsum. Pulling several documents from his case file, Mr. Holsum stands to begin. “Your Honor, Plaintiff moves for a dismissal of all charges against the Defendant,” he announces. “Huh?” Ronnie blurts in shock.
The judge looks surprised as well. He thinks for a moment. “Well - - this is most unusual, but I assume the Defense has no objection. Motion granted. Case dismissed,” he quickly orders. BANG! The gavel pounds again loudly as the courtroom murmurs in reaction to the unexpected development.
Felicity stands and turns toward Ed. He rests his hand on her shoulder and gives her a soft smile as Ronnie looks on. “What the - - what the - - what the - - ?” Ronnie mumbles, asking, “I don’t believe it. Why would she do it?”
Mr. Holsum walks over to Firestorm’s table. “I asked her that same question this morning when she told me her decision,” he explains, “Shall I tell you what she said, young man? It wasn’t in confidence.” Ronnie nods quickly. “Please,” he replies. “She said, I quote, ‘He made me feel ashamed,’” Mr. Holsum answers. He tucks his case file into his briefcase. “Apparently your opening statement yesterday struck home,” he continues.
Firestorm and Mr. Holsum stand together, watching as Felicity and Ed walk out of the courtroom toward the waiting media. “Felicity is an attorney herself, you know, though not a trial lawyer,” Holsum adds, “She never learned the trial attorney’s first rule. ‘Use sentiment. Don’t let sentiment use you.’ You would have made a fine lawyer, my friend. Congratulations.” Mr. Holsum gives Ronnie a smile and walks toward the exit. Ronnie stands alone in the courtroom, still shocked at the outcome.
Vandemeer University, Pittsburgh: The end of a long day… “Business studies are so hard, I’m beginning to think I should switch majors. How many course hours do you need for a B.A. in basket weaving?” Doreen asks. She and Bree Brandon walk together out of the class building. “Gosh, I know what you mean,” Bree replies, “If I have to look at one more corporate management matrix, I’ll go out of my mind.”
Doreen laughs. “G’wan, Bree, that stuff should be a cinch for you,” she answers. “Because my family runs the biggest brokerage house in Pennsylvania,” Bree asks, adding, “Unh-uh. The truth is, Doreen, high finance bores me.” Doreen looks a little surprised, asking, “Then why major in Business..?”
They turn and head towards Bree’s dorm building. “Family expectations. My Dad is dead, I’ve got no brothers or sisters, and I’m the only Brandon cousin who can handle math,” Bree explains, “The whole family expects me to carry on the Brandon tradition. Can I let them down?”
Bree points at the Drama Club flyer taped to the dorm lobby door. “But if I had my way, I’d study Drama instead. That’s why I chose Vandemeer, you know…’cause of its Drama Department,” she continues, asking, “I’ve already got a part in ‘Pirates of Penzance.’ You going to audition, Doreen?” Doreen quickly shakes her head. “Me? I tried acting in high school, Bree,” she answers, “Only one problem...No talent! See you tomorrow.” Bree heads inside. “Ta!” she calls back with a wave to Doreen.
Bree walks down the hallway to her room. “Doreen’s a sweet kid,” she thinks, “I hope we’ll be friends.” She opens her door, walks in, and reaches for the TV. Klik! The sound of the evening news fills the room. “…exactly what authority does Firestorm have as a member of the D.A.’s Special Investigation Team, Chief?” a reporter asks. The screen cuts to an image of Police Chief Ferguson. “Full police powers of arrest, with the concurrent legal responsibilities,” the Chief explains, “And, naturally, he’ll have the cooperation of all members of the Department.”
Bree listens, then slowly reaches up and removes her long, flowing red wig. She walks to her closet and peels off her green dress. “I want to emphasize…this appointment is on an interim basis only,” Ferguson continues, “while we continue the search for the criminal who calls herself Moonbow…”
Bree reaches in her closet for her blue costume and longbow. She rests the bow against the closet door as she pulls the costume up onto her legs. “You call Moonbow a criminal, Chief,” the reporter notes, asking, “But isn’t it true she only robs from gangsters like Tony Molina and Arnie Benedict? Which makes her what? A modern-day Robin Hood?”
Bree sits at her vanity table, dipping her fingers in a jar of Tresemme makeup. “I suppose next she’ll be giving Molina’s money to the poor. Sorry, but I don’t buy it,” Ferguson scoffs, “No matter who the victim is, no matter what the motivation, a thief is a thief, and in this town…” Klick! Bree turns the set off. She reaches for the laundry bag from last night’s mission and slides out her dorm window to make her way to the rooftop.
Not a bad idea, that giving money to Molina’s money to the poor. She thought of it last night…but if Chief Ferguson wants to take credit for it, that’s fine with her. She can drop the money off at a mission on her way to Arnie Benedict’s house. Yes, indeed. Moonbow’s going to have a busy night.
Moonbow makes her way down off the rooftop. She walks in the dark down the dorm steps as Firestorm flies overhead. Ronnie lands in a secluded area near his dorm building. “I’m glad Chief Ferguson wasn’t too upset that we lost track of Moonbow last night, Ronald,” Stein observes. “You’re glad? I thought he’d bite our head off when we told him,” Ronnie replies, adding, “Instead he called a press conference - - and told the whole world Firestorm’s working for the D.A.”
A thought, a moment’s intense concentration, and once again the bizarre nuclear fusion of two men into one is reversed…splitting Professor Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond from the shared persona of Firestorm.
“Quite remarkable, isn’t it? All the years in New York, we never received any acknowledgement from the N.Y.P.D. And here we are in Pittsburgh just a few months and already we’re official,” Stein comments. “Uh, don’t forget your beeper, Professor Stein,” Ronnie answers. He pulls out two matching beepers from his pocket and hands one to Stein. “I dislike these things,” Stein says as he looks it over, “They have an annoying tendency to go off in quiet restaurants.” Ronnie smiles. “Ferguson said the PD would beep us only if they spotted Moonbow. My bet is, after last night, she’ll lay low for a few days,” Ronnie replies.
“Let’s hope so. I’m having dinner with Emily Rice,” Stein answers, “I ran off during our last…ah…date. I can’t afford to do so again.” Stein tucks the beeper in his pocket and Ronnie gives him a wave as they part. “Relax, Professor,” he suggests, “Play the odds…Ten to one Moonbow’s hiding out, worrying someone will hunt her down and nail her hide. I mean, with both the cops and the gangs hunting her, she’d have to be crazy to do anything else.”
Moonbow perches on a large tree branch overlooking the gated entrance to a large mansion. Two guards stand at the entrance making no secret they carry submachine guns. They talk quietly on a moonlight fall evening. Moonbow nocks an arrow into her longbow and pulls the bowstring tight. She steadies her arm and takes careful aim…
TTWAANNNG! The arrow springs from the bow! KTHUNK! It smashes into an intercom phone mounted on the wall next to the guards! “Huh?” one blurts in surprise. “What was that, Bix?” the other guard asks. “It’s an arrow, dummy. Didn’tcha ever watch John Wayne?” Bix answers. He turns to reach for the arrow. “You check around,” he directs his partner, “Mr. Benedict’s gonna wanna see this…YAAAAHHH!”
ZZZZZZAAK! Bix shrieks in pain as electrical current painfully surges into his hand when he touches the arrow! He collapses against the wall, stunned unconscious. “Bix?” the other guard asks. He kneels down to check on Bix. “Buddy, you okay?” he asks.
Moonbow leaps from the branch nearby and lands close to the guards. “Oh, he’ll be fine in an hour or so. He’s just had a little shock, that’s all,” she announces. The guard quickly gets up and readies his submachine gun. “Hey…” he yells at her. Moonbow raises her bow. “Hay is for horses, Chump,” she answers, “My name’s Moonbow. Try to remember it when you wake up.” SWONNK! She whips the bow with both hands, smashing it across the guard’s head! He flails back and falls unconscious to the ground.
Just outside the gate, a police officer watches the surprising ambush. He quickly reaches into his patrol car, grabbing the radio microphone. “Dispatch, this is Car 54 outside the Benedict place. Code Green…She’s here…” he excitedly transmits. At Police Headquarters, a dispatcher listens carefully through his headset. “Stay where you are, 54,” he answers, directing the officer, “Take no action, repeat, no action. I’m alerting S.W.A.T. and the Special Investigator.” The dispatcher reaches on his console and pushes a red button.
“When you disappeared during the middle of the symphony, I admit I was a little piqued, Martin,” explains Doctor Emily Rice, “I’m not used to men running out on me.” Professor Stein sits on the couch in her upper floor apartment. The moon lights the Pittsburgh skyline in the distance. Emily brings a tray toward Stein, offering, “Canapè?”
Stein looks at the appetizers and reaches for one. “What? Oh…Yes, thank you,” he answers, explaining, “About that night, Emily…I didn’t feel well, you see…Moving to Pittsburgh…Taking a position as an instructor at Vandemeer…All of it was so upsetting…” Emily lies across the couch, resting her head against his shoulder. “There, there. It’s all right,” she answers, “I’ve been a university dean for some time. I understand the pressures on new faculty.” She reaches a hand out and rests is on his chest. “You do…?” Stein asks. “Absolutely. Fear of failure. A desire to succeed. Loneliness,” she continues, “We’re all lonely, Martin. But there’s a cure.”
Emily reaches for him, drawing close for a kiss. Beep! Beep! Beep! “What’s that noise?” she asks as their romantic moment is interrupted. “My beeper,” Stein sighs. Beep! Beep! Beep! “You have a beeper?” Emily asks with surprise. “Yes, ah, for emergencies in the Physics Lab,” Stein quickly explains, “Sorry, Emily. I have to go.” He swiftly walks for the door and heads out into the hall. Emily watches him go and reaches for a canapé. “’Emergencies in the Physics Lab?’ What on Earth is Martin up to?” she thinks, “And how can I find out..?”
Half a second later, outside and above…FZZAAMM! In a burst of atomic light, Firestorm appears above the rooftop of Dr. Rice’s apartment building. “’Play the odds,’ Ronald,” an annoyed Professor Stein parrots. “I guessed wrong, Professor, sorry,” Ronnie answers. “No apologies required, my boy,” Stein replies, adding, “As a matter of fact, the interruption couldn’t have come at a better moment.” Ronnie guides them towards Police Headquarters, asking, “You and Dean Rice weren’t getting along, huh?” Stein shakes his head. “On the contrary, I find Emily Rice quite attractive…and quite overwhelming. She’s not at all the woman I thought she was,” Stein explains. “Is that good or bad?” Ronnie asks as they arrive. “Ronald…I only wish I knew,” Stein sighs.
Meanwhile, at the Benedict estate…Moonbow stealthily moves in the shadows near the pool. “I always wanted to say tough-guy stuff like that,” she thinks, “But when would I ever get the chance in Management class?” She opens a patio door, entering the darkened room. She quickly scans around, spotting a particular picture hanging on the wall. She moves to the picture and pulls on its frame. It swings like a door on a hinge to reveal a wall safe.
“Ta-da. While Arnie’s busy with his dinner guests, I’ll be busy with his daily receipts,” she thinks with a smile, “I love this part.” She reaches into her quiver and pulls out a special arrow. Ksnik! The tip of the arrow ignites, producing a makeshift cutting torch. Ssshhh! Moonbow works the focused hot flame around the edge of the safe’s tumbler dial. “Mama hated the idea of my taking Shop in high school,” Moonbow thinks as she works, “As usual, I was right and she was wrong.” With a click, she opens the safe and looks inside. “Oh, Arnie Benedict…You naughty, naughty boy,” she thinks. She reaches in and grabs one of many $10,000 stacks of bills.
KLIK! Suddenly, the light comes on in the room. “Uh-oh,” Moonbow says softly, looking over her shoulder. Several armed men walk inside, aiming their weapons at her. The man with his hand on the light switch speaks to her. “Hello. I don’t believe we’ve been introduced. My name’s Benedict. You must be Moonbow,” he explains, asking, “Won’t you join the party?”
Moonbow turns to face them. “Actually, the thing is, I left my formal gown at home…” she answers. “Don’t worry. This is a die-as-you-are party,” Benedict coldly replies, directing, “Teddy, you and the boys show Miss Moonbow the way to the pool.”
Moonbow presses the switch on her torch arrow. FWOOSH! The flame grows much larger. “Gotta pass on that, Arnie. Chlorine makes my eyes burn.” She touches the torch to a long curtain, which bursts into flame. FWOOM! Moonbow yanks the curtain down, waving the wildly burning fabric in front of the men. “YAAAHH!” a guard cries out as he dodges the curtain.
Moonbow lunges for the patio door as the other guards open fire! BRRTT! BRRRRT! BRRRRTT! Short bursts of automatic weapons fire fills the air! BRRRTTTT! BRRRRRTT! KTASH! KTASH! The bullets shatter the patio door glass and Moonbow thrusts herself through it.
Suddenly, a bullet finds its mark, piercing through Moonbow’s right shoulder. “AAAAA!” she cries in pain, falling to the ground. She sits up and grabs her right arm, Blood streams down from the in-and-out wound. “I don’t believe it…I’m shot! I can’t move my arm!” she thinks nervously, “They’re really trying to kill me!” She scrambles to her feet and runs into the brush near the pool. Blood drops mark her path on the stone patio.
The game is no longer fun. The men pursuing her are professionals. They move as a team…silent…cold as steel…without the need to communicate by word when a glance would serve as well. She’s frightened, but that doesn’t stop her. The stakes are life and death…but the goal of the game is still the same: Play to win.
Three guards sprint along in pursuit between the manicured hedgerows. Unseen, Moonbow has wedged her longbow at ankle level along the path. A guard’s foot hits the bow, and he tumbles headfirst. The other guards don’t have time to avoid him, crashing into him as he falls.
Moonbow quickly walks to the tree she used at the entrance, clutching her painful and bleeding right arm. She reaches the tree and stops abruptly. “I’ll say this for you, lady…” the voice of Arnie Benedict startles her. He aims a pistol at her while he lights his cigarette in its long-tipped holder. “You gave us a good run,” he continues, “But now it’s over. And you lose.”
The pain in her arm has receded to a dull background ache, as distant as the music coming from somewhere in Benedict’s mansion. Her head throbs, and it is an effort for her to hear what Arnie Benedict is saying…
Moonbow hangs from an elevated diving board, suspended by a rope binding her feet, hands tightly tied behind her back. Her head sways gently just above the pool water. A guard kneels on the diving board, tightly holding the rope affixed to her feet. Several armed guards and party guests look on. Benedict takes a draw from his cigarette.
“This used to be a quiet town. We had our share of problems. We had our share of frictions…but we were doing something about it,” Benedict explains, “Molina’s gang and my gang. We had an understanding. He doesn’t push me, I don’t push him. We had a balance…until you came along. Now Molina’s people are going nuts, and my people are going nuts, and the cops are going nuts…and whose fault is it? Yours.”
Benedict casually strolls at the edge of the pool. “You upset the balance, lady. That’s why you’ve gotta die. And because you tried to steal from me, you’ve gotta die like this,” he announces to her. He turns to the man on the diving board. “Walt. Do it,” Benedict orders.
Walt lets some slack out of the rope and Moonbow quickly descends. SPLLASH! Her head and shoulders plunge into the water. She looks into the water fearfully wide-eyed, bubbles of precious breath escaping from her mouth as her body trembles and shakes against the rope. The pool water starts to dissolve the makeup on her face.
Benedict turns to his guests, gesturing for them to go back inside. “Nice champagne, huh? Pipier Heidsieck, ’78,” he says, grabbing a glass from a server’s tray, “Cost me a couple of bills, but hey - - what’s money good for if it can’t buy you class?”
A voice calls down from above, surprising him. “Benedict, there isn’t enough money in the world to buy you class,” Ronnie calls to him. FZZAM! Sprrittz! Instantly, a restructuring burst turns Benedict’s glass of expensive champagne into pink goo. “Firestorm?!?” he yells in shock.
FZZAM! FZZAM! Ronnie fires nuclear burst at the guards. Walt lets go of the rope, and Moonbow plunges completely underwater! Ronnie launches himself at Walt at high speed. POWW! He smashes through Walt, knocking him off the diving board! WHAMM! Walt sails through the air and smashes into Benedict!
Moonbow slowly sinks, panic in her eyes as her last breaths of life escape from her mouth. Suddenly, from the pool drain below her, Firestorm appears! FWOOM! Instantly, the water vaporizes! Ronnie catches Moonbow in his arms!
“Hi,” he says with a smile as he stands at the bottom of the suddenly empty pool. Moonbow gasps, breathing in air with relief. “H-How did you do that? Make all the water disappear?” she asks in disbelief. “Nuclear burst. Instant electrolysis. I do it all the time,” Ronnie answers.
BREEEEEEE! “Uh-oh. That’s a police siren, isn’t it?” Moonbow asks as Ronnie flies her out of the pool. Benedict and his guards lie motionless on the ground nearby. “Yep. They’re awfully anxious to talk with you,” Ronnie answers, “They have this funny notion you’re a crook.” They come down to land on the patio. “And what do you think?” she asks.
“I think you’re a nice kid playing Robin Hood who got in over her head. So to speak,” Ronnie replies, “But I don’t think you’re a crook…And with your arm banged up, you won’t be playing any kind of game for a long time.”
He sets her down gently on her feet. “You’d better get out of here before they catch you,” he suggests. “You mean it?” she asks with a surprised smile. “I said it, didn’t I?” he answers, thumbing her towards the fence, “G’wan, take off before I change my mind.”
Moonbow turns quickly and runs off. “Was that wise, Ronald?” Stein asks, “If Chief Ferguson find out what you’ve done…” Ronnie watches her swiftly climb the tree limb. She slides out over the fence, disappearing as she drops down behind it. “Who’ll tell him, Professor? Benedict’s out cold, his guests have split, and I’ll keep my mouth shut if you will,” Ronnie answers, adding, “Besides, once I saw her face with the makeup washed off, how could I turn her in? Bree Brandon’s a classmate. And a guy’s got to be true to his school…”
Bree makes her way back to campus. She climbs with difficulty to the rooftop, moving to her dorm room window. With a smile, she clutches at her arm, disappearing inside…