When the Doctor and I first met, it was as enemies, but it was nothing personal on either side. We were simply two professionals at cross-purposes.
It was the Doctor’s first outing as Armageddon – up til then, he’d been Doctor Destruction. But he was chuffed by the relative success of an epidemic he’d started the year before – relative in that he was apprehended and forced to provide the antidote, but not before millions of people died all around the world.
The new name would prove to be no mere affectation, and we all took note of it and wondered what he’d don next time. He’d been a science villain for over a decade by that time, and he’d made a reasonably intimidating rep for himself.
I myself was still quite new at the science hero game back then. The Doctor was only the third science villain I ever faced, and the first one outside of New York. I’d already clashed with Mad Runyon and the Wred Wraith (don’t blame me for that name – that’s how he insisted we spell it on the arrest paperwork) by then, but Doctor Armageddon was a class or two above them. He was way out of my league, truth be told, and I think that was one reason why my defeat of him that time always rankled: on paper, he should have won, and we both knew that only luck had allowed me to win.
His scheme that day involved an attempt to poison the waters at Niagara Falls, which would have wound up killing a lot of people had it succeeded. It was just dumb luck that I was there that day – a friend had decided to have not just the honeymoon, but the wedding too at the Falls.
When I got wind of the plan, I tracked down the Doctor and his men. He and I exchanged inconclusive blows, and then he hid behind his minions. None of them – not one – could fight worth a damn, but their sheer numbers made them a danger to me. It was only after wading through their ranks that I realised that this was just a feint. Like I said, I was inexperienced then. Naive, even.
I managed to find a pilot who was willing to fly me in pursuit of the Doctor, and I remember wondering if we’d catch him in time. The plane was an ex-Canadian Air Force biplane, a two-seater with no canopy, so we couldn’t talk much during the flight. Fortunately, the Doctor was easy to follow: he was heading almost due north, where his plan was to seed the Arctic ice cap with poison that would be slowly introduced into the oceans as the ice moved and melted.
My pilot, a gal named Whime Dickson (I later learned that her first name was actually Whilhemina), shot down the Doctor’s zeppelin somewhere above Baffin Island. We followed him down, and I fought him again, this time beating him soundly. The Doctor never was much for fisticuffs.
But we both knew that if I hadn’t found Whime when I did, there would have been no one to stop him, and my meeting with her was the endpoint of a string of unlikely coincidences for each of us, although it did turn out well. Or well, for a time, at any rate. He killed her on the day before our tenth wedding anniversary.
I like to think she’d understand why I’m taking care of him the way I am now, but sometimes, in the wolf hours after midnight, the sound of the wind outside is just like how it sounded in her plane that day, and it gnaws at me that maybe she wouldn’t.