Sunday, March 22, 2015
Crossover of the Week
August 17, 1939
BRONZE LADY DOWN
Doctor Omega and his companion Madeline travel to the year 1939 in the Cosmos to attend the premiere of the film version of The Wizard of Oz. However, a temporal alteration causes the people around them to become poverty-stricken and hostile. They are saved by a man in black wearing a fedora and scarf and wielding submachine guns, who says that “the weed of exploitation bears bitter fruit.” Omega says that he felt the timeline realign as they traveled back from Oz, but someone else has altered it again. Omega blends in with a mob led by Dick Benson, a short, thickly-built man with pale, expressionless features, who is attacked by a man wearing a fringed black cape and a mask with bat ears, who says that “commies are a superstitious and cowardly lot.” Madeline learns that many human beings and livestock were killed by the von Hessel plague during the Great War. With agriculture destroyed, industry boomed, and the lower classes were adversely affected by the stock market crash. Violence erupted, and criminals with scientific weaponry arose. Omega says that the change to the timestream involves the Ardans and Bogg. At the Library of Congress, Omega has little luck finding reference to the names Wildman, Savage, or Ardan. Finally, he finds a story in a 1922 edition of the New York Daily Bugle about the marriage of Francis Ardan to Catherine Maxwell, daughter of Senator Maxwell. Omega believes that he must ensure that someone dies, and Madeline and he travel to the Caribbean circa June 12, 1902. In November 2 of that year, they witness a woman being saved from an aquatic monster by a blond man. A disheartened Doctor Omega then travels to 1936 to prevent the man who saved the woman from traveling to 1902. The Cosmos materializes on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building. There, he accosts Phineas Bogg, and reveals that Bogg’s actions lengthened and intensified the Great Depression. Suddenly, a talking dog named Ralph and a woman named Josie appear. When Omega says that Josie is a member of an organization that polices time, Madeline asks if she knows Manse. Josie responds that she does, but Manse is in the Time Patrol, whereas she is a member of the Time Police. She also states that the temporal anomaly Bogg caused drew her and Ralph there. Omega reveals that Bogg was trying to save Doc Ardan’s mother. Finally, they settle upon a solution: removing Ardan’s mother from her proper time period and placing her in another, while merely allowing the world to believe her dead. When they retrieve Arronaxe Ardan, she asks whether they are Capellean or Eridanean. After Omega incapacitates Ardan, they deposit her in the 29th Century with false identification papers. As Omega and Madeline depart once again for 1939, Bogg asks if Madeline is Jeffrey’s daughter. Josie responds in the affirmative, referring to Madeline as “Mama.” Madeline asks Omega what the new alias he chose for Arronaxe was, and he replies that it was Clarissa MacDougal.
Short story by Dennis E. Power in Doctor Omega and the Shadowmen, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2011; reprinted in French in Les Compagnons de L’Ombre (Tome 10), Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2012. This story serves as a sequel to Power’s earlier story “The Deadly Desert Gnome” (Glimmerglass: The Creative Writer’s Annual, Volume 1, John Allen Small, ed., 2009) Doctor Omega is from the novel of the same name by Arnould Galopin; Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier’s adaptation and translation of Galopin’s novel implied that Omega was the CU counterpart of the time and dimension-traveling Doctor, of Doctor Who fame. Madeline is from the children’s books by Ludwig Bemelmans. The man in black with the fedora and scarf is the Shadow. Dick Benson is better known as Paul Ernst’s pulp hero the Avenger. The bat-eared man in the cape and mask is the Batman. Von Hessel is Baron von Hessel from Philip José Farmer’s Doc Savage novel Escape from Loki. Phineas Bogg and his companion Jeffrey Jones are from the television series Voyagers! Francis “Doc” Ardan Jr. is from Guy d’Armen’s novel Doc Ardan: City of Gold and Lepers. The Lofficiers’ adaptation and translation of d’Armen’s novel implied that Ardan was a young Doc Savage. Philip José Farmer revealed that Savage’s real name was James Clarke Wildman Jr., and that his mother was the former Arronaxe Larsen, in his biographies Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. The Capelleans and the Eridaneans are the warring alien races seen in Farmer’s novel The Other Log of Phileas Fogg. Doc’s headquarters is on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. The Daily Bugle is the New York newspaper Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) works for as a photographer. Catherine Maxwell is the wife of Bingham Harvard, alias the Night Wind, from the novels by Frederic van Rennselaer Dey and others. Josie Bauer is the adopted daughter of Philip José Farmer and an agent of the Time Police in Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon books. Ralph Von Wau Wau’s career as a detective alongside such capable allies as Dr. Johann H. Weisstein and Cordwainer Bird was chronicled by Jonathan Swift Somers III. Manse Everard is an agent of the Time Patrol in books by Poul Anderson. Clarissa MacDougal is from E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen novels.