"The Wild Storm – Chapter Nineteen": In her London flat, Jenny Mei Sparks is telling her three new friends the story of her life over a few bottles of beer. It is a tale of adventure, righteousness, improbable encounters with famous people, and quite a lot of sex. She has been talking for thirte
The Wild Storm #19 is an issue of the series The Wild Storm (Volume 1) with a cover date of March, 2019. It was published on January 23, 2019.
Synopsis for "The Wild Storm – Chapter Nineteen"
In her London flat, Jenny Mei Sparks is telling her three new friends the story of her life over a few bottles of beer. It is a tale of adventure, righteousness, improbable encounters with famous people, and quite a lot of sex. She has been talking for thirteen hours and has still only gotten to 1955. By that year, she had joined Skywatch, a secret organization founded in the 1930s to guard against potential alien invasion. To that end, they needed a forward base on Mars. Their technology was formidable, their mission noble in theory... but Mars was a boring wasteland, and its lack of a magnetosphere meant that most of Jenny's crewmates developed cancer from stellar radiation exposure.
The mission had swiftly built its bases underground, shielded by the red dirt of Mars, but the base was also boring, and when Jenny came home, she left Skywatch, judging it to be "full of maniacs"... and to have only gotten worse since then. Skywatch has a set of agreements with IO, the shadowy intelligence masters, which mean it has to remain hidden, but as time goes on, the current leader of Skywatch, Henry Bendix, becomes more eager to use his technology to reshape Mars and Venus... and Earth. Jenny was sure a tipping-point would come, and it did - when Angie Spica used a jetpack suit made of IO and Skywatch tech to stop an IO assassin, in full view of a crowd, from killing Jacob Marlowe, a billionaire alien. Jack Hawksmoor interrupts, saying she didn't mention that. Jenny grins cryptically, and reaches for another bottle...
Elsewhere, the television news has gotten peculiar. Speculation about the New York Jetpack Incident. A report on a freak meteor strike which seems to be affecting the weather. A segment on the urban legend of the "billboard ghost girl". A segment on a serial killer dubbed the "Highway Ripper". A man speculating about a secret space program. An interview with Voodoo, where she describes her artistic side as a separate entity, her "daemon". And a news report about a township of fifty people, vanished in what the only eyewitness describes as an alien abduction...
In a large bed in a nice house, two men are watching that last segment on a phone screen. They conclude that it might be the work of Skywatch, who they escaped from together, but that if it is, something has made them brazen. One, dour as midnight, insists they must remain hidden, but the other, smiling like a Greek god, lists the actions of the dour one which have forced them to fight in the past. They will fight again this time, armed by preparation and buttressed by their love.
In the IO headquarters in New York, Jackie King is going over the estimates of Angie Spica's implants, wondering how she got it through IO's normal scanners. Ignoring a request that she attend a meeting, she orders an underling to prepare a report on their earlier DDOS on the Skywatch headquarters and whether they could replicate it.
Shen Li-Men is in the Hospital, the bardo realm where her predecessors as the Doctor reside. She says she has spoken to Jenny Mei Sparks and now she needs to know about the aliens. When they answer cagily, she insists that she cannot do her job unless they comply. So they tell her the tale...
Once upon a time, there was an alien planet called Khera. On it, the dominant species formed a society which bound together five sub-species in a caste system. The Kherans search the galaxy for life-bearing worlds with tool-using natives, with the goal of conscripting those natives as "clients", or slaves. Due to the chaotic nature of the universe, tool-using natives are hard to catch before they are wiped out by chance or foolishness. The goal of the Kheran rulers is something called "forward escape" - to take their whole society from this plane of existence to one where life is easier to sustain. A Doctor has never learned how this would work, but it requires living beings, serving in free will. Once, a Doctor seduced John Colt, a Kheran soldier, and while he was sleeping read his mind to view what, mechanically, this would entail - a vision of Earth marked by three massive fire pits.
However, when the Kherans arrived, they discovered that they were not unopposed. They called these rivals "The Other", once. Now they are known as "The Daemon". The goal of the Daemon is gently inspire, shepherding humanity forward with a modicum of balance so they can escape extinction. Aiding them in this vocation is a device of theirs - the Shaper Engine, a machine that Li-Men saw in a metaphor in a vision. One of the things the Shaper Engine does is empower specific humans to serve as a defense mechanism - like Jenny Mei Sparks.
The interference of the Daemon stymied the Kherans' efforts enough that they fell to internal bickering. A faction of the Kherans tried to influence the culture of the Middle East by appearing as wise but fearsomely-visaged powers, recorded in legend as cherubim. Emp chose a different tactic - he gathered a cabal of underlings, scuttled the alien ship, and vanished in the ensuing explosion. The Kheran homeworld assumed the mission to be a failure, and wrote Earth off. Emp has hidden inside society ever since, pursuing his "Main Project" - to raise human technology to the level where it can petition to join the Kherans as equals.
Today Emp pursues this mission using his resources under the alias 'Jacob Marlowe'. He sees far, but not far enough. He never grasped the reasoning of the Daemon. He did not anticipate that the marooned Kherans would spread competing philosophies and religions across the world, primed to oppose him. He did not anticipate how strong, or how strange, the humans could become. And he knows nothing of the Shaper Engine.
To conclude, the Doctors tell Shen Li-Men that a portentious storm is coming, a storm that may end the world. The Doctor that will have to oppose it will face a burden that no previous Doctor has ever had to bear, and that Doctor is her. And yet, they have an unbiased assessment of her skills and her compassion, which, with fortitude and spite and maybe a few friends, may be enough to see her through...
Appearing in "The Wild Storm – Chapter Nineteen"
- Priscilla Kitaen (On a TV or computer screen)
- Marc Slayton (Mentioned only)
- Darkseid (Mentioned only)
- John Colt (Flashback only)
- Kenesha (Flashback only)
- Cole Cash (Flashback only)
- Lucy Blaze
- Christine Trelane (Mentioned only)
- Jacob Marlowe/Emp of Khera (Flashback only)
- The Past Doctors
- In the television news segment, the interviewee compares the incident he is describing to a film called "Infinite Crisis", in which the 'children of Darkseid' come to Earth. While this may be a reference to Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis, it may also be a sly reference to a certain 2018 film.
- The firepits in the image of the transformed Earth in John Colt's vision strongly resemble the Firepits of Apokolips. What this means, if anything, remains to be seen.
- In her recounting, Jenny mentions an encounter with the "Radar Men". This may be a reference to "Radar Men from the Moon", a 1952 Commander Cody serial which due to a clerical error, entered the public domain in 1979.
- In the flashback, the ships that Skywatch uses bear a strong resemblance to the YT-2000 light freighter from Star Wars.