"Times Past: 1944": In 1944, Richard Swift had done little to distance himself from the Germans beyond abstaining from pumpernickel, which was no feat. His moniker of "The Shade" had evolved into something of a stage name, with which he
Appearing in "Times Past: 1944"
- Darnell Caldecott
- Nathan Dayne (Single appearance)
- Opal City (1944)
- A Z44 Experimental Plane
Synopsis for "Times Past: 1944"
In 1944, Richard Swift had done little to distance himself from the Germans beyond abstaining from pumpernickel, which was no feat. His moniker of "The Shade" had evolved into something of a stage name, with which he committed crimes symptomatic of his amorality, rather than some great plan. Those crimes, though, were becoming more calculated.
One such crime involved the use of an informant - Nathan Dayne - in order to acquire the combination of a certain safe. And during the ensuing interrogation, he learned of something that shoved him from arms-length into patriotism.
Industrialist Darnell Caldecott had put nearly all of his resources into the war effort, and had spoken out publicly about the need to bring the war to an end quickly. However, his outspokenness had made him a target by Axis assassins. Eager for a challenge, Shade gathered together a group of adventurers to thwart those attempts.
Meanwhile, Caldecott refused to take the threats on his life seriously, nor would he leave his factory while the war raged on. With some urging from his young wife Grace, though, Darnell agreed to be shown to a secret hideaway.
Two days later, Grace went missing. Shade set one of his companions on the case, giving the Vigilante the locations of several gangs through which to plow, seeking information about Grace's fate. Soon, he had a location, and found her tied to a chair at gunpoint. She broke easily, and would have told her captors where her husband was hidden had Vigilante not come to save her. Unfortunately, he soon learned that it was all a ploy, and that Grace was in league with the Nazis in order to win her husband's fortune.
Before she could shoot the Vigilante, Shade appeared and began another interrogation, demanding to know where the remaining Nazi agents were hiding. His shadows had her talking in moments.
Darnell had left the safe house in order to oversee the development of his experimental plane the Z44. The Nazis infiltrated the plane, and while it was in mid-air held Caldecott at gunpoint, urging him to leap from the cargo hold to his death. However, before they can force him, Miss Sharp, the woman he hired as his assistant recently, pushes him aside. Miss Sharp was in fact actor turned cross-dressing crime-fighter Richard Stanton, aka Madame Fatal.
The ensuing gunfight was shaken off-balance by Shade's shadows, which enveloped the entire plane, and entered it, plucking the Nazi assassins from within, and dumping them out into the sea leaving only Caldecott, Stanton, and Swift remaining.
In exchange for Stanton's help, Shade offered the location of his daughter, who had been seeking her for 11 years. Afterward, he revealed Grace's deception to Caldecott. Following a regretful pause, Caldecott asked his burning question: could Shade be his family secret - his great-grandfather? His powers and his life were a subject of speculation among the family members for years. Shade could not deny that those rumours were true.
Shade admitted that he ceased communicating with his family out of concern for their safety, having left his wife in order to protect her from his new life and new powers. Even so, he had decided to save Darnell because they were family, and he made a point of saying that he was proud of Darnell's efforts with the war.
That evening in conversation was the last time Richard Swift saw his great-grandson until he was on his deathbed in Australia.
- This book was first published on January 11, 2012.
- No special notes.
- Richard speaks briefly to his great-grandson about a 1903 adventure with Waldo Glenmorgan in Skartaris. Glenmorgan was a science-hero who helped name the "City of Tomorrow" -- Metropolis.
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