Blink zigzagged through the boomerangs as they floated softly in the air. There were more of them than usual, and they moved a little faster, but they followed the same familiar arcs as always. Some of the projectiles crackled with electricity, others pulsed with green light or dribbled dark liquid, but Blink was never close enough for them to unleash their payload.
He saw Boomerang Kid's face begin to tense and adjusted his temporal field.
"You always put on a show, mate," said the Kid. "But I've got a satchel full of glowing rocks here I'd rather unload away from my testicles, so we'll have to wrap her up tonight."
The Australian rummaged in his vest and withdrew another weapon, this one much smaller than the others. It was bright purple and impossibly sleek, shining even in the dim light.
"Tachyon glass, mate. I picked this one up just for you, and I'll note it's worth a bloody fortune anywhere in the timeline."
Blink accelerated his perception and watched the flick of the Kid's wrist in slow motion. And watched the purple boomerang accelerate with him.
The boomerang shot through the air as if Blink was still sitting on the surface of the time shift. With a crack, it struck him across the forehead before zooming onwards. Blink was reeling backwards when he felt a second jolt of pain on the back of the head, and saw the weapon curling back towards Boomerang Kid's outstretched arm.
The speedster crumpled face down into the wet street. He heard an Australian cackle followed by footsteps retreating down an alley, then silence.
Then the thump of someone landing disquietly close to his head.
"We should be able to follow them back to their base," said the Skull. "I planted a tracing device on Plasma and let him go."
"Funny," Blink said, head raised from the ground. "I did something similar."
"What do you think? Some sort of time travel?" said Skull. "June, 1971... I guess it fits."
"Either this head injury is more serious than I thought or what the fuck are you talking about?"
"Nothing. Let's roll."
The office building looked fairly normal. Maybe unused, with grubby windows and rubbish piled at the entranceway, but more low-key than most super-villain hideouts. More low-key, certainly, than expected for the man wearing a boomerang hat and the ever-theatrical Captain Plasma.
The Skull and Blink crouched below an outside window that had been left cracked open an inch, backs pressed to the off-white wall. Up close, they looked nothing alike - Skull dressed like a ghost of the battlefield, Blink in casual civilian clothes. Blink bounced back and forth to the corner of the building as Skull eased his head upwards to look through the window.
There was nothing in the room, though a bright light pulsed from further inside the building. An unearthly hum began to build, the glass vibrating sporadically.
"Looks clear. Get us in there quietly."
Blink had the window closed the instant the two were inside the room. Skull's ivory face-paint glowed in the increasingly strong light from the hallway. The hum had grown into a loud buzz, loud enough to muffle speech. Skull had gestured to the direction of the noise when Captain Plasma waddled into the room.
The complex machine suit was buckled and torn, his naked chest exposed but his lower half still trapped in the barely functioning armour. Plasma glanced up from the mess surrounding his body and regarded the pair with terror, his mouth opening but no noise registering over the droning racket.
The Skull's fist collided with Plasma' face as the sound came to a peak and began to subside. Plasma fell awkwardly in a broken pile a split-second before silence returned to the building.
"You know I don't think that guy was even a real Captain," said the Skull, stopping as a voice boomed from another room.
"Closer, always closer. Next time we'll find the bomb and then - the Skull formula."
Blink turned to the Skull inquisitively. "You have any idea who that is?"
"A dead man," Skull replied, his voice hushed.
The Skull stepped out into the hallway, its walls covered and grime and the carpet in dust. They were close enough to see the entrance to the room that must have taken up most of the building - and more, as it descended below out of sight. The room was all concrete and metal railings, walkways suspended high above the ground and everywhere that rippling, silver light. The voice came again from inside.
"Boomerang, attend to our guests in the hall, would you? I think I can smell a skeleton in the air."
"Right you are, mate."
Boomerang Kid rounded the corner, the light spiking through the mass of boomerangs spread across his back. He stumbled for a moment, only to grin and pat at his chest.
"Blink, mate! You came for some more of the good stuff?"
"You mean this?" said Blink, holding the purple boomerang aloft. "Thought I'd grab a souvenir."
The Kid sneered and reached behind his back. When his hands came back into view, he had a long boomerang hooked under between each finger, eight in all. He crossed his arms in front of him, the boomerangs fanned to each side.
"I won't need it when you're dead, Speedy Gonzales. Let's see ya both dodge these in here."
Boomerang had drawn the weapons back when a Blink-coloured blur shimmered in the air. Suddenly, the Kid crashed into the far wall, boomerangs clattering to the ground.
Blink reappeared beside the Skull, gasping for breath. "I'll hold him off. You find out what the fuck is going on here."
The Skull nodded and stepped into the doorway of the bunker. He didn't need to look at the man standing on a balcony far above to know his name.