Professor Cognis looked down upon the world. He sat in his satellite, thinking about the world's problems. They had gotten worse. It had been months since Dr. Demented had attacked. Months since his battle in the outer Solar System had damaged communications and electrical grids. And still, tens of millions were living in the Dark Ages. Tens of millions more than usual, that is.
There were too many problems. It was simply too much for him. Too much for any man. He needed to stay focused. He pulled up a map of the electrical generators in Brazzaville.
In a way, Cognis wished that he still had Phoenix to oppose him. Back in those days, before the evil scientist had become a cyborg Space God, things had been simple. He had always had an obvious agenda: right whatever wrongs the dictator of Estveria had committed. Not so anymore.
What's worse, in his last few months on the planet, Phoenix had lost most of his malevolence. Or, perhaps, he had transcended to a higher plane of malevolence Cognis couldn't even comprehend. No need to be optimistic about what might have been.
Cognis pondered Phoenix's disappearance. He had left behind nothing except a finger and a hole in the ground. Presumably, he had taken Demented with him. Was he alive? Was he on Earth? Had he killed the President and taken his place? Cognis couldn't answer any of those questions with any certainty.
Deep beneath the Earth, Cognis looked at what he had sequestered away. A significant fraction of the Lost Army stood before him. Cognis had never needed to use them. With luck he would never have to.
Also in this vault where scraps of equipment salvaged from Phoenix's auxiliary labs. Cognis was constantly going back and forth as to whether or not to destroy it. He was seriously considering asking the Dark Detective for advice. But he knew how the paranoid hero would react if he found out what Cognis had been storing away.
Finally, there was the most advanced piece of technology in the room. A small part of Phoenix's body. A piece which Cognis was supposed to have destroyed.
The Professor hadn't taken any action to preserve it. The indestructible flesh was more than capable of preserving itself.
Martin, the finger thought. Cognis took a moment to process that. His telepathy was causing him to pick up thoughts from the severed finger of a cyborg.
This is Phoenix speaking. This rather macabre recording device was the only one on hand, so to speak. At least, the only one with remotely enough storage capacity.
"Can you hear me," Cognis asked aloud.
Indeed I can. You are going to ask what I want. I want to help you. You have been my most enduring foe, and my greatest ally. Under other circumstances you may even have been my closest friend. And, as it happens, you are the person on the planet most capable of saving the human race.
Attached to this recordings are detailed instructions- meticulously detailed- for how to improve the human brain. You will not be able to think quite as quickly as I could- hardware constraints- but you will be brilliant beyond the measures of human genius. I offer this to you because I know that you will not sequester this power. You will share it, and enable the next stage of the evolution of the human race.
"You are asking quite a lot. Are you really so sure that I will replace the human race with your tools?"
I am a cyborg.
"I'm not trying to insult your race-"
No. I am a cyborg. Of course I am sure of what you will do.