Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chase #2-3 (3-4/1998)

The Department of Extranormal Operations was a government agency with the mission to gather information on and sometimes exploit the powers of superhumans, with Cameron Chase being amongst their newest operatives at the time.

"A bright and early morning, just a few weeks ago. You were probably asleep. You were probably unaware that the world almost ended. Good thing someone else was on the ball."

"A routine space shuttle thermal experiment noticed abnormal heat production in the Andes last month. The D.E.O. got this picture from a KH-Series satellite shortly afterwards. Turns out an artificial intelligence called the Construct was setting up shop. The Construct was created, apparently, when the world's flow of information-- internet, traffic, cellular phone calls, radio, etc.-- became dense enough to take on intelligence of its own.

The JLA was informed through indirect channels. They chose to get involved last Wednesday morning. Turns out the Construct was less than a day away from a complete takeover of the world's computer networks when they defeated it. End of story, right?"

Not quite. Agent Chase was assigned a Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller to assure that Peruvian communist guerrillas, and later opportunistic Russians, would find nothing of the Construct remaining. Chase was betrayed by the super-villains in her charge, and the Russians, equipped with scavenged Rocket Red equipment, had their hardware infected by the Construct intelligence. The Peruvian base of the Construct was destroyed, but with considerable loose ends remaining.

The Martian Manhunter figured prominently into the JLA flashback images, seemingly assuming the front-and-center Superman position while the real thing, now possessed of a new look and electromagnetic powers, hung back. Of course, there may have been a more subtle reason for his prominence...

Story by D. Curtis Johnson and J.H. Williams III with Mick Gray and Lee Loughridge.

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