"Sunrise on the Battlefield": With the Crime Syndicate's withdrawal, the sun shines again, but its light illuminates the destruction left in their path. Many of the survivors have had their spirits broken, and to be free now has not made them feel any safer. One
- I love this moment. It dawns on you. "Those are my legs over there."
- -- Giganta
Appearing in "Sunrise on the Battlefield"
- Pandora's Box (In Pieces)
Synopsis for "Sunrise on the Battlefield"
With the Crime Syndicate's withdrawal, the sun shines again, but its light illuminates the destruction left in their path. Many of the survivors have had their spirits broken, and to be free now has not made them feel any safer. One such survivor is Marcus Severin, who has spent months trying to figure out how to make the shattered Pandora's Box function again. He is surprised, then, when Pandora appears in his apartment - doubly so, because he'd thought she was dead. Smiling, she explains that after all she's been through - to heaven and back - she has finally come home to tell him that she loves him. As they kiss, she transforms into the essence of hope before his eyes, and he must admit that he doesn't understand all the things that have happened.
Though he loves her just as much as she loves him, Marcus reminds that she wasn't around to see just how much suffering occurred as a result of the Syndicate's regime. Half of the shorefront dropped into the sea, and a great many people are trapped and dying. Grinning and hopeful, Pandora responds that the two of them will save everyone together.
Meanwhile, outside Arlington, Virginia, Agent Kincaid of S.H.A.D.E. visits the graves of 48 A.R.G.U.S. agents who were killed without any explanation. She is interrupted by Agent Gabriel Lukasz, who reports that Pandora has been sighted in Baltimore, but that orders from above are that pursuit should cease. Kincaid is unwilling to accept those orders.
As Pandora and Marcus survey the coast, hoping to save the survivors trapped offshore, they begin hearing a great booming sound. Before long, they realize that it is not the sound of thunder, but the footsteps of Giganta. As revenge for having stabbed her in the eye, Giganta had Signalman build her a way to track Pandora - and now she's found her, and hopes to kill her. Ignoring Giganta's threats, Pandora takes a sympathetic tone, explaining that the anger within her attacker can be calmed. Marcus watches with horror as Giganta responds by crushing Pandora's body in her fists, and twisting, until her body is ripped in half. It takes Pandora a moment to realize that she's been ripped in two, and still lives to experience all of the pain of that injury as her body regenerates. Giganta's only just begun, though.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Vandal Savage is en route to paying Pandora a visit, having chosen to walk all the way from Louisiana. He got a great distance by murdering several truck drivers, and driving their vehicles until they ran out of fuel, but in this case, he doesn't get very far from his ditched truck before he is struck by an oncoming car. Naturally, Vandal kills the driver for the affront.
Pandora's body regenerates quickly, and before Giganta can take another shot at her, she transforms into her other self, the entity of hope, and shines her light on the giant's soul. She comes to understand how lonely Doris Zeul was, with her blood disease afflicting her in childhood. The light building behind Doris' chest is the same light that she buries beneath her rage. As a doctor, she found a cure for her own illness, testing it before it was ready - and it changed her significantly, stripping her of her intellect. Pandora promises that she can help, if Doris wants her to.
Meanwhile, Marcus hopes Pandora will keep Giganta talking long enough for him to get out the big guns, and take her down - but when Pandora sees what he intends, she leaps into the weapon's path. Marcus is worried for her, but he still tries to take another shot, but when he looks up, Giganta has gone, regretting her decision to take vengeance.
Marcus reunites with Pandora, and she explains that things are different now. Killing enemies is no longer necessary. They are merely misguided, and the good within them has been buried in shadow. No person is without hope of redemption - not even a man like Vandal Savage.
- This book was first published on April 16, 2014.
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