Despite what I’d asked him before, budding off a clone of yourself seemed quite alien and I hadn’t seen it coming. From Tara’s high-pitched, “Oooh, I wondered,” I knew that at least one of us hadn’t been completely surprised.
I looked toward the cockpit where she sat, leaning forward in her chair and smiling at us, “I only guessed after you brought him inside.”
Master Martian raised an eyebrow at her but turned back to look at the rest of us, “As I said, it’s an odd story. I appeared on Earth as part of an accident. I’d retrieved at Abominator device as part of an excavation on behalf of my city-state, but then it activated and I appeared here.”
“Abominator device,” I asked. “And what do you mean by ‘here’? Where did you come from?”
He frowned and his antenna drooped, “I called myself Master Martian for a reason. I come from Mars.”
Stopping and taking a deep breath, he continued, “But not your Mars. Another Mars. I don’t know where it is any more or how to get back. There was an Abominator device attached to a big, black, and silver disc. That’s what sent me here but I haven’t seen another.”
“Oh,” I said. We had one of those—not the Abominator part, but the silver and black disc? We had one in our base. The League picked it up somewhere and they didn’t have the only one. I knew there were others out there. Grandpa’s documentation had been better on technical than historical details. They probably didn’t know where it came from originally either.
Master Martian looked around the jet.
Everyone wore the same frozen, blank expression—me too—except mine was hidden beneath my helmet. They knew we had one too.
Smiling, Daniel said, “You come from Mars in another universe where they also had Abominators. Were you were some sort of archeologist?”
The alien’s antenna rotated around, pointing at each of us in turn before he responded, “You could call me that, but that’s not quite how we thought of it. I was more of a specialist in finding out information, much like I am now, but that sometimes included finding things—especially the Abominators’ things. Much like those of you here, we were modified by them too. That’s how we came to live on Mars. We’re descended from humans that they planted there when they terraformed the planet.”
That reminded me again of the Mars Abominator settlement that I’d heard Victor mention to Rook more than a year ago now. This added another level to that and one that wasn’t our first priority to explore.
“That’s pretty cool,” Vaughn grinned at him. “So what happened? You appeared on Earth and then what?”
Master Martian let out a breath, “I got caught—not right away but later. In the 1930s I was trying to hide in Chicago. It was a big city, lots of people, and if I only went out at night, the green skin wasn’t so visible. Except, I knew someone was following me. I felt minds telepathically, but just on the edge of my range. These guys were good. They knew how to watch me and still keep out of my way.
“One night I was walking to my hideout (an apartment the owner didn’t even know he was renting), when a bunch of guys found me in an alley. They looked like the guys you fought back there plus a few that didn’t look quite so big. I didn’t have time to do much against them. They dropped from the sky just like they did when you picked me up. Then one of them told me to surrender and I did. I didn’t even think about it. There was something about her voice. I wanted to obey. I don’t know how they found me or why they wanted me, but they kept me for a while. They used me to do some robberies and then one day they left me alone long enough that my head became clear. I teleported out to the street and ran away. After that, I left Chicago and didn’t stay anywhere for more than two nights for a long time.”
Yoselin leaned in as he talked and the second he stopped, she asked, “You said that a woman stopped you with her voice. Do you remember anything about her?”
He started laughing, his arms shaking the goo cuffs on his hands and feet. “Remember her? Of course, I remember her. She’s the one that killed me—that body at least. She went after me two different times with a bow and arrow before she finally killed me while I was fighting Armory and Bullet. I left my body just as she started the cover-up—when she told them to forget who shot me.”
Nodding, Yoselin asked, “Do you remember anything else? Any places you remember? Addresses? Any names?”
Master Martian frowned, “One name. It was an older man and I think he was leading the group., I think his name was Martin Magnus.”