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Not so Speedy. (Young Justice SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Flightless Man, Jan 5, 2021.

  1. shakeval

    shakeval I trust you know where the happy button is?

    May 12, 2017
    Likes Received:

    whoa, hold up you damn pervert, no need to make the tentacles a sex thing, its lots of extra hands, fast climbing and manipulation of small tools or whatever, he's going to end up like a white version of 'the question', just less paranoid.
    KenNM and Flightless Man like this.
  2. Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Aww, your trap caught me. I fell for the "...dude" inflection. Nice one.

    His paranoia will be more specific to the Light, Cadmus, and the League of Shadows. So less is accurate.
    KenNM likes this.
  3. shakeval

    shakeval I trust you know where the happy button is?

    May 12, 2017
    Likes Received:
    The paranoia is well deserved, its not paranoia when they really are after you.
    KenNM and Flightless Man like this.
  4. Rakaan

    Rakaan Know what you're doing yet?

    Jul 12, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Why is the first paragraph a god damn spoiler?
    KenNM likes this.
  5. Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Do you mean the summary? Its the hook on the back of the book that tells you if you want to read it. Nothing in the summary is a specific spoiler. They are story long plotlines that begin to get revealed almost immediately. I am nearly done episode 4(out of about 22), and every thing in the summary has been started in the story.

    Kon's DNA being different is not a spoiler.Who his DNA is from is a spoiler. What will be done because of the change is also the spoiler.

    I want people to know the goal of the team in Season 1, since in the show they are an poorly managed covert one. In this we are being crafted as a training/first responder team. This is not the spoiler, the spoiler is what will make the team move away from the safe missions.

    I'm SI'ing into Red Arrow. But this story is really about the origin of the Question and I wanted that highlighted in the summary. I don't want anyone feeling tricked when by the end of episode 3, i'm not really bow and arrow guy anymore. I also want people interested in the Question, to know this is not about only Red Arrow.

    I was part of a multi page discussion, and nearly everyone agreed. Advertise a story correctly or people miss a story/wasted time reading one they wouldn't have.

    Or do you mean the first paragraph in Episode 2 or 3?
    KenNM likes this.
  6. Threadmarks: Episode 4: Reactions
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 4: Reactions

    The Team
    Mount Justice
    July 7, 2010
    7:21 PM, EDT

    “I finally got through the interference,” Robin declares. He and Kaldur, exit the elevator and rejoin the Team.

    “When did Batman say they will be finished with the hurricane?” Captain Marvel inquires eagerly.

    “It Isn’t a normal storm,” Dick explains tiredly. “When the Red Tornado and Superman arrived, someone called Mister Twister showed up.”

    “And they handed him his butt!” Wally preemptively celebrates before an elbow from Artemis stops his cheering.

    “If that was true, why did the rest of the League get called in?” Artemis asks slowly. Robin confirms her words with a grim nod.

    “He has a pair of robots who look like Red Tornado. One controls fire and the other one manipulates water.” Dick slumps into one of the offered chairs, and continues his report. “Superman took on Twister, but the lookalikes reprogrammed Red Tornado.”

    “What!” The worry in Captain Marvel’s voice, is infectious. Soon everyone is concerned about the conflict in Mexico.

    “He went rogue, and the three split up,” Robin explains with a yawn. “Mister T, delayed Superman long enough for them to wreak havoc across the country.”

    “Have they fixed Red Tornado yet?” Marvel asks with concern for his ally, plain on his face.

    “No,” Robin’s answer, does not help anyone’s mood. “Batman said they could be in Mexico for hours.”

    “Well that’s great.” Wally sums up everyone’s feelings on the matter.


    As the time slowly ticks away, Kid Flash fidgets in his seat with increasing intensity. At first, his team can ignore this. When the irritation is nearly unbearable, the ginger speedster jumps to his feet.

    “I’m sorry, okay.” His apology, is a general one. “Roy is right.” The Team share looks of confusion at his declaration.

    “I was being a tool earlier.” Wally admits with a sigh. “The last thing he said to me, was that I wasn’t living up to this symbol.” He pats the red lightning bolt on his chest, with a sad smile.

    “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.” He runs a hand through his short hair. “So I’m going to treat magic, like I do religion.”

    “I was a few seconds to late,” Artemis confesses. “Seeing him shield that little girl, made it hard to hate him completely.”

    “How do you think I feel?” Captain Marvel sulks. “I was supposed to handle the Condiment King.” He slams his fist against his thigh. “The League has handled him a dozen times. This was the first time he had anything dangerous.”

    “What about those green things he sent after us?” Kon asks with a shudder.

    “Some kind of golem,” Zatanna reasons confidently. “Definitely magical.”

    “Which begs the question,” Kaldur adds, with a frown. “How did he obtain his upgrades?”

    “Someone provided him with both chemical and magical assistance.” Robin concludes knowingly.

    Mount Justice
    July 7, 2010
    9:49 PM, EDT

    I finally find my way out of the contradicting mess, that is Roy’s mind. His memories and plans for the future, are all mixed up.

    He remembers planning out missions we could one day have, but he is completely absent from them. Was he imaging how things would go for us, if he hadn’t realized he was a clone?

    A look at his vitals on the monitor, thankfully show he has stabilized. A good think because i can’t donate another drop. I think someone is going to have to help me to the room I picked out earlier.

    I take a few minutes to steady myself. My head keeps spinning, and I feel like my limbs weigh a hundred pounds. I need to get up, and tell Captain Marvel everything.

    When I try to stand, I stumble at first. My head finally stops spinning, so I begin to make my way to the door. With my vision swimming, I focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

    After what feels like hours, the door is before me. I rest my hand on handle, and realize I am still white. A final look at Roy, shows he is still nearly as pale as me. He lost so much blood, and I have no idea how long I was in here.

    I focus on the change from white to green. it takes a few seconds to begin, slowly spreading up my arm. I haven’t struggled like this in decades.

    Once I’m confident in my appearance, I step into the corridor. Each member of the has brought an assortment of chairs from all over the cave, and settled in for the long hall.

    Wally is snoring on a yellow bean bag chair, with a dozen snack wrappers surrounding him. Kon is pacing back and forth, while Artemis is anxiously tapping her foot.

    “How is he?” Captain Marvel rushes at me as soon as I exit the room.

    “He’s going to be okay,” I reassure the crowd. I try to tell the Captain about Roy and his knowledge, but my mouth refuses to open this time.

    “And how are you?” Robin adds. “You gave a lot of blood.”

    When I keep trying to force my body to respond, my teeth begin to violently chatter. So this is why Roy couldn’t tell anyone. Good thing I have a second option.

    I begin to grow light headed, as I strain against the mental block. No matter how hard I try, I can’t open my mind to Captain Marvel.

    As I continue to push against this mental infection, my vision goes black.

    The Team
    Mount Justice
    July 8, 2010
    8:04 PM, EDT

    “Oh boy,” Robin sighs, as Captain Marvel grabs the exhausted Martian. When he takes her weight, he nearly stumbles forward.

    “Whoa,” He chuckles quietly. “She’s way heavier than she looks”.

    “And I thought you were supposed to be wise.” Zatanna teases the flustered Captain.

    “Kaldur,” I ask the weary teen. “Can you take her to her room?”

    “If Roy is going to pull through,” Artemis groans and stretches. “I’ll show you which one she picked. I need to crash.” She waves goodnight, and strides in the direction of her bed.

    “Thank you.” The Atlantean gently takes M’gann from Captain Marvel. “I too, will retire for the night.” He bids the team his own goodnight, before following her towards the living quarters.

    “You guys should go get some sleep.” Captain Marvel concludes. “I can wait up for the League.”

    “He was their when I woke up,” Kon firmly denies the offer. “I won’t leave him alone.”

    “”Then we can sit with him together,” Captain Marvel compromises.

    “I’m going to go wait for any updates.” Reasons Dick.

    “Want to see if we can find your dad, on one of the Mexican news channels?” Wally extends an olive branch to the magical girl.

    “I hear the Flash is great on camera,” She accepts the offer, and leaves with Dick and Wally. “We might catch one of his interviews.”

    Infinity Island
    July ??, 2010
    ??:?? ?M, ???

    Getting called before the Demon’s Head, is never a good sign. Missions are distributed by lesser servants. Training and punishment are the normal reasons for a visit from Ras. Neither are pleasant

    No one avoids me gaze as I approach his office. So far, so good. I don’t notice an increase in guards, but that means little. The head of the Shadows, can handle me by himself if he so chooses.

    Ubu, the massive hulking guard waits outside the door. He stares me down, until I disarm. Over two dozen weapons later, and he finally allows me access to Ra's al Ghul.

    “You are blessed with entry,” Ubu whispers. “Be worthy of it.” That is ominous.

    I step past him, and glance around the room. A collection of trophies from his most deadly kills, lines the walls. Over a hundred weapons of every kind made on Earth and even a few from beyond, make up the majority of his display.

    A jade and bronze Persian rug, leads to a massive obsidian throne. On the seat fit for a king, rests the immaculately dressed immortal. He leans forward on my approach, and smiles wickedly.

    “Dearest Jade,” His words sound like honey, but will poison the soul. “I have been so pleased with how you have handled every mission, to perfection.” I drop to my knees in a deferential bow.

    “My thanks.” Oh how I hate having to prostrate myself before him like this. I wanted to be free, and I was. For three whole weeks. Once Ras sent his people after me, I was as good as caught,.

    “Our sleeper agent has proven his worth.” Which one? You have hundreds. “Now he requires a handler.” Lucky me.

    “Oh, don’t pout.” How does he always see my expression, from behind my mask? “He even recruited your little sister, from under our nose.” What does he mean! I’m only here for one reason, keep Artemis away from this life.

    “She has been moved into protective custody, along with you’re mother.” He smiles down at me with false kindness. “I need you to update our agents commands, and receive his report.

    Once you do, you will have time enough to check in on Artemis.”

    “Of course.” I have no choice but to agree.

    “You will have to pick up a scientist on the way back.” Of course, more work. “A Doctor Serling Roquette, from Star City.”

    “It will be completed to perfection.” My answer makes him smirk in delight.

    “I know.” His hard stare, ensures i will not enjoy failing this mission.

    Dick Grayson
    Mount Justice
    July 8, 2010
    12:04 AM, EDT

    “How did all three escape?” I mutter under my breath. I can’t find any trace of the Red Robots in Mexico. Its like they vanished into thin air. I know I’m not supposed to hack into satellites, but how else was I going to be useful?

    Zatanna and Wally, passed out a few hours ago on the couches. They had quickly irritated me, with the commentary they invented. They had found a Mexican news channel, with some good footage of the League in action.

    They may have been a distraction, but its better than them bickering. I was finally able to get some work done, once they nodded off. If his snoring hasn’t woken her by now, nothing will.

    I haven't found anything yet and I doubt I will tonight. I am majorly distracted. I close the program controlling the Wayne Tech satellite, and stretch.

    “May as well go see if Billy and Kon are still awake.”

    “Recognized. Green Arrow, zero eight.” The caves intercom, begins announcing League arrivals. “Recognized. Black Canary, one three.” Green arrow and Black Canary exit the Zeta tube first, at a run.

    “Ollie!” She calls 1after him, as he runs into the kitchen.

    “Stop telling me to calm down Dinah!” He barks back at her. “Roy needs me.”

    “I’m not trying to,” Her exasperation with the frantic archer, is obvious.

    “Recognized. Batman, zero two” When my own adopted father steps from the Zeta tube, He nods at me standing in the shadows. He strides towards me silently as Black Canary, continues to chase Green Arrow.

    “What are you doing Green Arrow?” He hooks into the speakers of the cave, a command disables its use in the living and medical areas of the cave thankfully. “You called off the search early to be with him.” Batman winks at me. “Why are you in the library?”

    “ARGH!” I can hear the emerald archers roar of frustration.

    “Ollie says its not his fault he never operated out of this maze of a mountain.” The snickering voice of Black Canary, comes in through our ear piece radio.

    “Status report?” Dad begins to lead me towards the medical wing, intent on wasting no more time.

    “Roy is in stable condition.” He raises an eyebrow at this. My earlier report to him, had been much worse. “M’gann was able to shift her blood type when we ran out.” Dad gives me a relieved smile.

    “Good.” His words are caring. “How is she?”

    “Asleep,” I respond, with a giggle. “She gave so much blood, she forgot her hair when she came out of the room.”

    “You did good.” He gives me an approving smile. “Only two reported fatalities from the mall.”

    “Oh...” I hate hearing about the ones we fail. “Someone upgraded Condiment Kings arsenal. He’s never had even a single successful heist, before today.”

    “Most likely,” He growls in irritation. “We’re going to be stretched thin already.” Finding Red Tornado, is a top priority for the League.

    “Want me to look into it?” I offer. “It doesn’t look like we’ll have any team missions for a while.” I need something to keep me busy.

    “Do it.” I eventually get his confirmation. “When you do, the two of us will investigate together.”

    “That will be such the aster.” He chuckles at my enthusiasm. Seriously, why does everyone say my dad is scary

    “How was everyone’s first day?” I arch my own eyebrow at him. What kind of question is that? “Besides the obvious.”

    “Kid Flash put his foot in his mouth almost instantly,” Roy was right. We aren’t ready for the League, and that’s a bitter pill to swallow.

    “We have no idea how to work as a group.” I sigh at the memory of our poor performance this afternoon.

    “It comes with time,” Dad reassures me. “You aren’t competing with me, or even each other.” He stops walking, to look my in the eyes and place a hand on my shoulder. ”You only have to be better than one person.”

    “Who,” I ask with an understanding smirk “The guy I’m fighting? “

    “Yourself yesterday.” He smiles and nods, before we continue walking.

    Oliver Queen
    Mount Justice
    July 8, 2010
    12:07 AM, EDT

    “Where the hell is the med bay?” I roar in frustration, as I find myself at yet another dead end. Retracing my steps, I find Dinah looking for me, “This cave trying to make me crazy!” I punctuate my anger, by kicking a metal door.

    “Ollie, calm down.” She tries soothing my agitation. “You’ve gone down this hallway twice already.”

    “No I haven’t,” I retort. “The hallways keep moving.” Yeah that makes more sense.

    “Yes you have.” The door I had just kicked, ‘whooshes’ open to reveal a glaring Artemis. “Now I know where the idiot gets it from.” Rubbing sleep from her eyes in her zebra stripe pyjamas, she should not be as intimidating as she is.

    “Sorry Artemis.” Dinah saves my behind, from the glaring teen girl. “Neither of us have actually been here before.”

    “Follow the red stripe on the wall, and keep it down.” Dinah gives her a look, and Artemis hesitates. “Please.”

    “Thanks,” I call behind myself, and charge towards my goal. How does Roy keep getting into these messes? “He’s going to be the death of me.” I mutter under my breath.

    “Yes.” My pretty bird rolls her eyes at this. “Worrying about Roy is going to kill you. Not one of the deadly enemies we face nearly every week?”

    When you say it like that, of course it sounds ridiculous.” I’m not sure how to make it seem rational, but that’s not my job.

    My job right now is to freak out, like a good parent. I think I’m doing a splendid job at that part. Roy has been giving me lots of practice the last three years.

    Maybe I should think of taking Dinah out for that special dinner, sooner than I was planning. If Roy is moving into the Cave, I'm going to have an empty home.

    Mount Justice
    July 8, 2010
    12:10 AM, EDT

    “How come he’s still so pale?” Captain Marvel had said, his colour should have returned by now.

    “We still don’t know what was in the King’s chemicals,” The Captain explains, from his place checking Roy’s vitals.

    “I thought this place was supposed to be high tech.” I let out a frustrated sigh, and resume my pacing.

    When I was in the tank, all I remember is images of Superman. Words in my head telling me to kill him. Replace him. Then I was free.

    I was so angry when I was released, I couldn’t stop myself from attacking Robin, Aqualad, and Kid Flash. When Roy offered me a place with them though - right before Dubbilex interfered – my anger was gone for the first time in my short life.

    Roy felt different than the others. He felt somehow connected to me.

    When I woke up in the Hall of Justice, I felt different. The purpose I had to become Superman, was gone. I felt free, and I understood why Roy felt different.

    Roy was sitting with Superman, and the Man of Steel himself told me. We’re related. I don’t know how, maybe Roy shares DNA with my human donor.

    After the weekend at the Kent farm and now the day with the Team, I could tell the difference between strangers and relations. Ma Kent and Lois Lane, both felt like most of the team.

    Roy feels just as much a part of me as Clark, maybe even more so. The only ones who feel even close, are M’gann and her uncle. I think its because of the shape shifting.

    I stop my pacing beside Roy’s bed. I put a hand on his shoulder, and feel that connection even stronger. He better wake up soon, I need answers.

    Lex Luthor
    Cadmus Cybernetics
    July 8, 2010
    6:27 AM, AKST

    “How far along are they?” I demand of the facility chief.

    “Nearly complete sir,” He twitches at my cold, unflinching stare. “We have a prototype.” He hands me a burgundy briefcase. He had brought it into my office for his quarterly report, cradling it like a baby.

    It’s splendid having the largest room reserved for myself, even in the facilities I rarely visit. Opulence is truly for the deserving.

    The air inside the case is so cold, it fogs into a cloud as soon as i snap it open. A replica of Superman’s symbol is revealed. Its the size of a temporary tattoo children use, and looks to be made of a gel like substance.

    “It should enhance the abilities of Project Kr, to the levels of a normal Kryptonian.” The doctor explains.

    “For how long?” I need my son dependent on me after all. How else will I get him to come home. With the resources spent on him already, force will be my last resort.

    “Ten minutes is the projected length.” He shrugs in frustration. “We have a lack of suitable test subjects.”

    “Not for long.” I surprise him with the news. “Batch three has begun.” They won’t be ready in time for new years, but I will be able to assert my dominance over the rest my colleagues.

    I do not intend to share Earth with anyone, not even the Light.

    Mount Justice
    July 11, 2010
    4:19 AM, EDT

    When I open my eyes, I find myself in a dimly lit room on a hospital bed. M’gann did save me. Damn, I owe her big time.

    Glancing to my left shows a monitor with my vitals and an IV leading into my arm. The uncomfortable feeling below the blankets, lets me know I unfortunately have a catheter in. How long was I out?

    Looking to my right, shows Kon sleeping in one of three chairs. He’s in navy blue sweat pants. Fancy form fitting ones. that the girls definitely chose for him.

    His hair is in perfect condition which is not fair, I wake up with a birds nest on my head. Patting my head reveals that...someone combed my hair? That’s strangely relaxing, before I realize why.

    People actually care about Roy, not me. I thought the cancer scare last year was dealt with. I know I was a crappy person before, but I had been changing.

    I’m starting to realize, this is probably not really the DC multiverse. When I woke up a few days ago in the Hall of Justice, that must have been when I died. Which would explain why I couldn’t die again this time.

    This has to be some kind of purgatory. Several religions have one, so who knows which one I ended up in. I had been changing for the better, so this must be my final chance to do it right.

    The Young Justice world, is being used as a way for my dying mind to make sense of my judgment. It must be because the last thing I had done at work, was watch the season finale on my laptop.

    I have to say, I prefer this to the expected fires I was told purgatory had. This realization makes me pause. Do I get into whatever my good afterlife is, for stopping the Light? They are the big bad of the series after all.

    This is some kind of moral test for my soul, or I’m the only random fool who knows about the Light. Either way, I was already on the road to being a better person. I’m not going to stop now.

    The door to the room slowly opens. M’gann in her green human form, walks into the room. She’s wearing the purple and white Care Bear nightie, that we got at the mall before the chaos. Her dull red hair is in her usual stolen look.

    <I thought I could hear you stirring.> I can feel her relief at my recovery, wash over me in waves.

    <What happened with the Condiment King?> My concern for the child I had shielded, is sent without even trying.

    <Artemis took him down.> The image of Artemis dragging the King from the mall by his hair, fills me with joy. <Once his rig was taken care of, he was no problem for her.>

    <Is everyone else still here?> As much as I would love the concern, they all do have lives.

    <No,> She responds apologetically. She shares her memory of last night. Green Arrow left for the night, promising to return in the morning. Next, she shares a montage of her, Kon, and Oliver taking shifts in my room.

    <I don’t know what to say.> My gratitude I guess says it for me, based on her giggle. <Thank you for saving me.>

    <You’re welcome, but maybe we should get you a mirror.> I can feel her shame trickle out of her, despite her best effort.

    <Did something go wrong?> She refuses to answer, or look at me. <Did my face get horribly burnt or something?>

    <No! Just... wait here one second> She phases through the wall behind my head, before returning a few seconds later. She has a small make up mirror in her hand, which she holds for me to look at.

    <Oh. That’s new.> My astonishment slips out, but not the disgust she expected from me. My skin is a milky white colour now. Along with my red hair, I look very Canadian.

    <You had a side effect from my blood transfusion.> She admits with shame. I counter this be sharing me relief at being alive. This cheers her up a bit but she still feels guilty, so I change the subject.

    <What about everyone else?> I hope the team is okay.

    <Billy told Kaldur, “We have a Zeta tubes, so use them.”.> She sends the memory of the thirteen year old, instructing the Atlantean to visit his family on weekdays. We share a quiet chuckle at it, trying not to wake Kon.

    <Artemis has been visiting the cave during the day and patrolling with Black Canary most nights.> Several images of Artemis talking to Kon flash in my mind. <Her and Kon decided on names finally.>

    <What did they choose?> I’m curious if he went with Connor, or one of the other Superboy names.

    <No spoilers.> She has her mouth melt away and mimes throwing away the key. <They want to tell you.> Fair enough. Man i love the lack of miscommunication, this would make any relationship so much easier.

    <Everyone else?> The image of Wally, Robin, and Zatanna pass between us.

    <Robin’s been doing something for Batman. And Wally and Zatanna, have been at home.> I get the feeling of isolation from her. <They have only come by for training once.>

    <What about J’onn,> I ask, even though I’m pretty sure I know the answer already. <Has he been by?>

    <I told him finding Red Tornado, was more important.> Red Tornado is missing?

    <What did Captain Marvel and the League decide to do about me?> A few days has to have been enough time, for someone to have come up with a plan.

    <After the transfusion, I discovered we have an even bigger problem.> She shares her memories of each failed attempt, to reveal the information.

    <Oh, shit.> My worry combines with hers, nearly drowning us both.

    <The mental conditioning is contagious.> I’m worried what will happen if I link with uncle J’onn. I get a glimpse of her nightmare, the one that was keeping her awake. She watched herself infect the entire Team, while her Uncle did the same to the League.

    <Yeah, lets avoid that if we can.> We have just under a year, before the first victim is up for assassination. <We’re going to need to figure out a way to look into this secretly.> We don’t want this mental infection spreading any further.

    I reach out grab her hand, when a feeling of despair wells up in one of us. I misjudge how far away she is however. My hand stops a little over a foot short of her, but it decides to keep going anyway,

    From my elbow to my wrist, my very pale arm begins to extend. It happens relatively quickly, like sticking your tongue out.

    “You’re awake!” My bellow of terror at the disturbing sight - that in no way resembled anything like a shriek – wakes Kon from his trance like slumber. “I didn’t know you could do that.” He barely even reacts to my extended arm.

    “Neither did I.” He remains calm and asks. “Well do you think its was the chemicals, or M’gann’s blood?” That...is a good point.

    “It was definitely my fault.” M’gann admits to Kon, with tears beginning to well up in her eyes.

    “How can you be sure?” He asks in confusion. “He didn’t turn green.”

    “This is what i really look like.” Her whispered words precede a shift in her skin pigment. In the blink of an eye, her coloration is an ivory white even more otherworldly than my own greyish white skin.

    Her hair retracts back into her scalp leaving her bald, with and enlarged brow. Her limbs lengthen by nearly a metre, and her fingers nearly double in length. Her nose fades away, with her mouth soon following.

    “Do female Martians look different?” Kon asks, with no change to his tone at her revelation.

    “On Mars, the white Martians are treated as lesser.” She looks down at her feet in shame. “I wanted to be normal for once.”

    “Being one of the only two Martians on Earth,” I awkwardly try to explain. “I think you and the Hawk’s, are tied for rarest aliens on Earth.”

    <No one on Earth even knew about white Martians.> I share my lack of judgment about her being a white Martian, and it finally starts to sink in for her.

    “Ma said to treat everyone with respect.” Kon offers his own support. “And even if she hadn’t, your uncle is the one who undid my programming.” He shares a grateful smile with her.

    “It was a good thing they hadn’t finished the job,” M’gann chuckles. “He said he hadn’t seen such a sloppy job, since he was in the academy.”

    “Good thing Wally, Kaldur, and Robin let me out early then.” He mutters to himself, before jerking his head up. “I told Green Arrow I would call him when you woke up.”

    Once he leaves the room, I begin focusing on my arm. It doesn’t move for nearly an entire minute. But slowly my arm begins to retract. At least I don’t have to worry about getting stuck with oddly shaped limbs. Now all I have to do is test out my limitations.

    I hope it was clear in M'gann's PoV. She interpreted me watching the show, as me imagining what would have happened this year if i had not broken free from the mental programming. She doesn't know about the "real world". She only thinks I am very creative.

    Wally's disbelief for magic continues. But with the last thing the SI said to him being smarten up, he self evaluated while everyone was worrying. He will respect others believe in magic, but has not been faced with his own proof yet.

    The Light and agents, have begun reacting to changes. They are also moving sooner as they believe Clone Roy, is still able to be controlled.

    Cheshire appears and She is still a ruthless murderer. But she cares for Artemis. Artems is her last piece of Innocence and the only thing she has worth protecting. I am basing this off how she reacts in the season 2 kaldur brain attack episode.

    The League has been scattered across Mexico, as the 3 Red Robo's wreak havoc on the countryside.
  7. Stanley_Jeb

    Stanley_Jeb Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 25, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Did he just mess up there? He knew, after all...
    KenNM and Prince Charon like this.
  8. Diraniola

    Diraniola Not too sore, are you?

    Dec 2, 2016
    Likes Received:
    She already knows he's a clone and was mind whammied all over the place. They both know genomorphs are extraterrestrial so she could rationalize an explanation.
    Prince Charon, KenNM and Stanley_Jeb like this.
  9. Stanley_Jeb

    Stanley_Jeb Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 25, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Oh yeah, I forgot about that.
    KenNM likes this.
  10. Threadmarks: Episode 5: Vegas Vacation
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 5: Vegas Vacation
    Mount Justice
    July 12, 2010
    9:47 AM, EDT

    “My friend,” Aqualad greets me with the happiest expression, I have ever seen on his face.

    His joy is tangible, with how it rolls off of him in waves. “I am relieved that you are well.”

    “What put the pep in your step?” I ask, then signal for M’gann to flip the pancakes. She wants to learn how to cook, so I’m I have an easy way to start paying her back.

    Lesson one began last night, macaroni and cheese. This morning I decided she was ready for the gruelling task of flipping, when the bubbles on top of the cakes pop.

    “Yeah Kaldur,” M’gann agrees with the assessment. “You seem lighter today.” She giggles at the splat the batter makes, when it lands back in the pan.

    “Indeed I am. “Kaldur takes a moment to reflect his absent few days. “I had not realized It had been over two months, since I had returned home.” He takes a seat beside Kon, who still hasn’t told me his name.

    “Do anything interesting?” M’gann fills the pitcher full of chocolate milk, and passes it to the boys at the table.

    “Yeah, Atlantis always sounds so cool.” Billy enthusiastically adds. “Did you see any of your old friends?” Kaldur blushes at this, and looks away.

    I get a sensation of lips pressed against my own. Soon it’s accompanied by fingers on my cheek and a hand on my back. Whoa, that’s new.

    I’ve only gotten sensations when linked up with M’gann before. Did she accidentally link with him? When I share the memory with her and ask, she stops in her her flipping and blinks rapidly in shock.

    <Oh my.> She shares her own confusion at what occurred. <It looks like you got more than the stretching from my blood.>

    “I did,” He finally answer Billy. “They were very... pleased to see me.” I get another blast of emotional memory from Kaldur, as he reminisces his last few days.

    <I think I’m going to need some training with this.> I admit to M’gann, with a mental laugh. <It could be fatal in the field.>

    <We can do some practice before everyone else gets here then.> She shares a memory, one of her as a young Martian girl. It’s of her mother instructing her in how to remain yourself, when everyone’s mind is knocking on your own.

    I focus on my breathing. Quickly in and slowly out. The odd pattern I admit, does make it easier to ignore Kaldur’s joy and Billy’s youthful exuberance.

    “Thank you for reminding me,” Aqualad receives the bacon from Billy, with hunger in his eyes. “The ease with which I can commute.”

    “Recognized. Kid Flash, bee zero three.” Wally’s arrival is announced by the cave.

    “Rejoice my friends,” He blurs into the kitchen.”The West wind has returned.”He snatches a pancake from M’gann mid flip, shoving it into his mouth before she can complain.

    “Oh ma gosh babe, dese are amathing.” My reproachful look, finally gets through to him. “Sorry.” He mumbles under his breath in embarrassment at his slip.

    “Recognized. Zatanna, bee zero eight.”

    “Guess what I’ve got!“ Zatanna arrives, greeting us with an excited twirl. Non of the emotional leakage I get from the others comes from her, which is a relief.

    “Something that will finally turn off the radio, spell thing you put on me last week?” Wally asks with a little heat to his voice. “It was funny the first day, but it won’t stop turning on.” He slumps into a free seat. “I could barely get nine hours of sleep.”

    “The ‘radio’,” Zatanna air quotes her explanation. “Keeps turning on, because you keep sticking your foot in your mouth.”

    “Zatanna.” I step in, this has gone on long enough. “It’s not funny anymore. He might get distracted on a mission.”

    “Fine.” She groans with her torment of Wallace, now coming to an end.

    “tel eht lleps eb dednE.” She waves her wand, which appeared in her hand unnoticed. A faint green glow surrounds the mouth and ears of Kid Flash, before fading away to nothing.

    “Finally,” He sighs in relief.

    “I was going to give you all a ticket to my dad and I’s show tomorrow.” She hands one to everyone but Wally, keeping his just out of reach.

    “But I don’t know if Wally,” She continues to tease him. “Will enjoy it.”

    “How about a deal,” He offers a hand to her. “I come. And if can’t figure out how you do all of your tricks, I admit magic is real.”

    “Once and for all?” She demands from him, grabbing his hand.

    “For ever and always,” He glibly responds.

    “And we're all witnesses.” Robin crows in laughter beside Artemis, who is in a black and white version of her uniform from the show.

    The light green arrowhead on her chest, has been replaced with an extended tigers claw. The majority of her clothing is white Kevlar material, but it has plenty of black stripes showing her theme.

    <When did they sneak in?> I ask my brain buddy.

    <Same time as Zatanna.> M’gann answers with a giggle at my distraction. I get the memory of them following Zatanna into the dining room, at a casual walk.

    <I’m trying to make sure everyone can eat. You just need to flip.> I grab her wrist from behind, and flip the pancake that is beginning to burn.

    <Thanks.> She sighs in frustration. <This was so much easier, before everyone sat down.>

    “If we all really want to go,” He had said he needed a night off “I may as well ask Ollie for a few rooms, we can make a weekend out of it.”

    “Sounds awesome,” Agrees Artemis, who stands at the head of the table beside Kon. She may seem nonchalant, but each tap of her foot, brings a pulse of nerves.

    “Now that Roy’s awake.” Kon also stands, smiling nervously at us. His emotions are at a rolling boil, I’m getting way more from him.

    “And Kaldur is back,” She takes back over the speech, sensing his unease “We can finally tell you the names we decided on.

    “Don’t you both already have names?” Wally is definitely missing the point.

    “Not ones they can use on the street.” Zatanna stage whispers in his ear.

    “He was going to go with Connor, but that’s not really a different name.” Artemis explains. “It’s only a longer one.”

    “She suggested Christopher Kent, and I like it.” I can feel his pride, finally having something all his own.

    “So I let him pick mine,” She likes the one he chose, I can feel her relief sneaking through. “You can call me Selene Kwan.”

    Star City
    July 12, 2010
    7:25 PM, PDT

    “Vegas you say?” Oliver considers the trip. “I know a few places Dinah would love to see.” He confirms with a devious grin. “Let’s all go. it will be fun.”

    After dinner, Dinah had left to grab the newly named Selene, for patrol. Even in my own head that sounds wrong. That will be an only as required name.

    “Look what finally got finished.” He holds up an arrow with what looks like a disco ball, as the head. “Flashbang Arrows.” Oh, that could really come in handy.

    “One of these will scream out a dozen Christmas songs on repeat, all at the same time.” Is that even humane? “Strobing lights of every colour will go off for fifteen minutes, once it impacts.”

    “What does this one do?” I reach for a blue rubbery shaft, only for him to slap away my hand with a cheeky grin. He carefully unscrews the arrowhead, revealing the rubber shaft is filled with some kind pale blue of goo.

    “Extinguisher arrows.” Aw, he really does care. He’s been working on trick arrows just for me. “If they get more then twenty degrees above room temperature, they rapidly expand and burst.” He points to one arrow, marked with a yellow shaft.

    “Those have a mixture inside, that will release a saline steam.” Great for next time Killer Frost says high.

    “You really went all out with these.” It normally takes him weeks to finish a single prototype.

    “Well, I had some good motivation.” He holds up a final silver arrow. “This one, will rapidly expand into an elastic foam.” The stuff that goes hard, is way too easy for the real heavy hitters to remove.

    “Thanks, for all of this.” I mean for more than just the arrows. I get a wave of memories when he places a hand on my shoulder.

    I remember teaching Roy how to shoot a bow. Another image of the original Roy, this one of him in his uniform for the first time. One of his terror at being unable to find Roy years ago, morphs into pure relief when the clone was recovered.

    A montage of Oliver adopting the clone, fills my mind. The memories stir something in the back of my mind. For some reason, I can remember most of these memories from Roy’s perspective.

    “You know I’m always here for you.” He smiles at me in pride. “Dinah and I, are really proud of how grown up you have been the last few weeks.” I can only squirm uncomfortably at his undeserved praise. "So how far can you strech?" He changes the subject, when he senses my embarrassment at the praise.

    Las Vegas
    July 13, 2010
    6:24 PM, PST

    “You kids have fun,” Oliver grabs Dinah’s hand and tries leading her down the strip. We have the night to ourselves, after the Zatara’s show is over.

    <He’s going to propose tonight,> I share a memory with M’gann, who is looking at all the lights with Artemis. It’s the one of Ollie, excitedly showing me the black pearl ring he had gotten for Dinah.

    <Just like in episode nine.> She responds, sharing the wistfulness of her childhood.

    “You are not joining us?” Kaldur asks the couple, with a single raised eyebrow.

    “We’ve already seen a few of these shows,” Ollie winks at me. “Besides, we didn’t get tickets.”

    “I’m sure we could get a couple more for you.” Billy misses the subtext entirely. His excitement for the show, has overwhelmed his common sense.

    <Once the show is over, we can try to sneak away.> I share the truck stop from my dream. <This is going to be our best chance to look for it.> She manages to act natural when we converse, I need to look at her.

    “Dude.” Wally elbows me in the side. “I thought you said, not to be a creep.” He indicates my staring, with a frown. “You just wanted her all to yourself. Not cool.” He shakes his head at me in disappointment, before walking back over to Robin.

    Dick still won’ share his real name, so he’s got another persona tonight, Gordon. I’m really getting into coming up with names, to make him squirm.

    <Sounds good.> M’gann missed my entire exchange with Wally, thankfully. <I’ll keep an eye out for a chance for us to slip away.> I feel her mischievous smile. <I feel like a spy.>

    “Don’t wait up,” Ollie calls out his final farewell to us, with an exaggerated wave.

    “And say hi to Giovanni for us.” Dinah rolls her eyes, at Oliver’s his antics.

    “Hurry up Roy,” Billy grabs my arm, dragging me into the classically styled theatre. “We don’t want to miss anything.” I’ve never been to a magic show, and I know this one is real. It will be fun.


    The variety of tricks displayed, are astounding. Wally gets used as a volunteer, to give him an up close look for tricks.

    Watching him get sawed in half and then turned into a girl was mildly amusing. When he was transformed into a hedgehog, it was funny. Changing him bright pink, cracked me up.

    It was when all of these were combined, I saw the real humour. The anthropomorphic, pink, female, hedgehog had my jaw drop. Literally. I’m still trying to discretely push it against my face, willing it back into position.

    “Oh ho ho.” ‘Gordon’ giggles at the farm end of the row. ‘Selene’ is beside him, followed by ‘Megan’, ‘Chris’, Billy, and finally Kaldur beside me. “Blackmail for life.” He stows his phone, after snapping proof of Wally’s transformation.

    “You better send me a copy.” Artemis playfully demands.

    <Its nice seeing her let her guard down.> I smile at the thought, while looking at M’gann to maintain my side of the conversation.

    <She’s always been like that with the rest of us,> M’gann replies, while I remember my first meeting with Artemis. <She’s going to take me and Zatanna to ‘Viva Las Gaygas’ tomorrow.>

    “He’s staring at you again Megan,” Artemis notices my gaze, and hisses in M’gann’s ear. “What did he see you naked when we were gone?” When I stiffen at her words, she frowns at me.

    My memory of M’gann in her true white Martian form, flashes through the link. So I guess technically... I have.

    “Well.” I try to deflect the inquisition. “She saw me naked too.” Yeah, great defence moron.

    M’gann also stiffens at the realization, that she has in fact seen me naked in the same manor. In some of our training to contain my newfound talent with telepathy, accidental memory sharing had shown her some embarrassing imagery of myself.

    “Oh come on Megan,” Artemis sighs in her mistaken realization. “Not you too. I thought the creep’s crush was one sided.”

    “Wally said Roy was getting awfully territorial,” ‘Gordon’ concludes. “Clearly they’re dating.” His smug pride, oozes off.

    “That must be why he was looking into things the rest of us would like to do.” Billy laughs in good humour, at my ‘trick’. “You were looking for a way to sneak off for a romantic day tomorrow.”

    <We did want a way, to do just that.> M’gann admits. <Should we just go with it for now?>

    <Only if it doesn’t bother you.> I’m already smitten with her, I can at least admit to myself. The hard part will be reminding myself it’s fake.

    <I don’t have a problem with it.> The impression of me that she shares with myself, is a lot more positive than I would have imagined. <It will make looking into Cadmus easier.>

    <Once we find a way to undo the mental programming, we can always come clean.> I offer with some reluctance. I hope my mental practice, kept that from her.

    “Is this supposed to be a part of the show?” Kaldur gratefully interrupts my roast, at the hands of my team.

    A look at the stage, reveals a large bat winged figure. He entered the theatre, by tearing his way in through the ceiling.

    His ten foot tall frame, is bone white and rippling with muscle. On his head, is a golden helmet with blood red ram horns pushing through it. Dark yellow flames - nearly brown in the wrongness the emitt – surrounds him in an aura of power.

    “AT LAST.” The being doesn’t yell, but his voice reverberates in my skull. “I HAVE FOUND YOU... GIOVANNI ZATARA.”

    “What Margoth!” Giovanni moves in front of Wally and Zatanna, shielding them from what I assume is a demon. “You need me to send you back, a third time!”

    “Get Wally and Zatanna, off the stage.” Billy orders, with no trace of his limited age. “Once you do, focus on getting the crowd out of here.

    “Understood,” I acknowledge he orders, signalling the others into action.

    “SHAZAM!” Billy’s magical scream and the following lightning, draws the attention of Margoth.

    “I was enjoying he show!” Roars Captain Marvel, as he surges towards the demon. A powerful right hook, sends the massive fiend crashing into and through the wall backstage.

    9:17 PM, PST

    “Good work on getting the crowd to safety,” Giovanni Zatara addresses the Team, with a grateful tone. “It seems this sidekick squad of yours, was a good idea.”

    “It’s great you and Captain Marvel, got rid of that thing.” Wally still in his transformed state, whines. “But can you change me back yet?”

    “What did you learn?” Giovanni prods the speedster, with a grin and a wink to his daughter.

    “Magic...is real.” Wally sighs in defeat. ‘Her’ pink quills shake with every motion made.

    “eb a namuh yob niagA.” He taps his mahogany cane, on Wally’s nose. A swirl of rainbow mist envelopes Wally.

    When it dissipates a few seconds later, Wally is again male and human. He looks down at his fur less hands, and collapses on his backside in relief.

    “Since I won’t be able to do the late show,” Giovanni offers. “How about I give you all the magical tour of Las Vegas?”

    “That sounds swell,” Captain Marvel has yet to revert back to Billy. “I’m in.”

    “I’m good,” Wally denies the offer with a chuckle. “I think I’ve had enough magic for today. I’m hitting one of the five stars.” Zatanna’s eyes boggle at this.

    “And how can you afford that?” She demands, crossing her arms and looking down at him.

    “Green Arrow,” Artemis in her White Tigress uniform, explains with a smirk.

    “Excuse me,” Interrupts Robin with “And Batman.”

    “Green Arrow and Batman,” Artemis corrects her self with a roll of her eyes. “Set up a bank account for the Team.”

    “If I expect you to treat this like a job,” It took maybe five minutes for Ollie to agree, once i laid down some logical reasoning.“I figure you should get paid like it’s one.” I nod at Wally. If negative reinforcement doesn’t work, let’s try rewarding his good behaviour.

    “Well then,” Zatanna teases Wally. “The gracious thing to do, would be to invite me.” The way her dad’s eyes burn into the speedster’s skull, has everyone take a half step backwards.

    “See I can’t,” He tries to explain, with an apologetic shrug. “I already reserved the table, for me and the boys.”

    “Were going exploring with Zatara,” Captain Marvel gestures to himself and Aqualad excitedly. “She and Artemis can take our spots.

    “Great,” Kid Flash groans after another defeat, however minor. “Zatanna, would you and Artemis please join us for dinner.” She looks at Artemis, who grins wickedly.

    “We would love to,” She grabs his and Robin’s arms, while Artemis begins dragging Chris after them.

    “Oh her dating life will be the death of me.” Giovanni clenches his heart dramatically, as he watches the five walk away laughing.

    “Sir,” The Captain interrupts the emotional magician. “Black Canary is probably right. One of the bad guys will get us, not something silly like that.”

    Kaldur looks back at M’gann and myself with a wink, before leading Marvel and Zatara away.

    “Since everyone thinks we’re on a date and we don't have to be back at the hotel until one.” I break the silence finally. “Want to go look for the truck stop?”

    Las Vegas
    July 13, 2010
    11:02 PM, PST

    “You’re sure it’s this one?” M’gann brings the bio-ship, to a cloaked hover. I can feel her doubt seeping out.

    “Eighth time is the charm,” She crinkles her nose and giggles. “Let’s find out.” I reach forward, and place my hand on her shoulder.

    We have learned since the transfusion, I can boost M’gann’s range with physical contact. Once we link up, she extends our awareness. Ignoring the barely recognizable wildlife and passing motorists, she directs the search beneath the rundown building.

    Our plan is simple. Stop at every truck stop on highway eleven and search for a large collection of mental presences. Up until now, the plan has been a bust. This time however, I can instantly sense a difference.

    <I can feel over a hundred minds down there.> Dozens of minds are beneath the surface. A bunch of them feel oddly familiar, while some feel distinctly not human.

    <Only mental communication inside.> I instruct her, as I double check my gear. I’m in my new Trickshot outfit.

    It has a copper chest plate, to draw enemy fire. Captain Marvel enchanted it for durability, it’s better than any body armour on the general market. My bracers and shin guards, are made from the same material.

    He also imbued the metal plates I had sewn inside my sleeveless, chestnut bodysuit. It will hopefully act as a kind of lamellar armour. It’s made from an insulated high tech fabric. are a dark brown.

    <Unless we find the kids.> I amend my statement. <Then we should probably talk.>

    <Got it.> I can sense her nerves, so I share my own steadiness. Thankfully the clones muscle memory is now my own, including the ability to be the calm in the storm.

    M’gann leaves the ship in float mode, and stands. Her normal outfit will stand out on a stealth mission, so I let her know to switch into something more fitting.

    Her Martian clothing, shifts into a full body black costume. It has a dark red ex across her torso. A navy blue cape comes down to her waist, and she spins.

    <What do you think?> I know she can feel my attraction, as my eyes give her the once over.

    <No complaints here.> How fake is this relationship?

    <Good.> She winks before opening the exit hatch. <Then let’s go take a look.> She lifts both of us with her telekinesis, silently delivering us beside the truck stop.

    <Keep an eye out.> I instruct my favourite Martian, as I try to figure out a way in. The door is heavy duty steel, and the walls are at least two feet thick. An extremely high tech keypad, is not my strong suit.

    <Were going to need to get the code from someone.> I sigh, letting her lift me back into the air. We wait on the roof, hoping someone will leave soon.


    <Look at the red one.> I guide M’gann’s gaze to the horizon. With only a few vehicles passing by, we needed something to do to keep us awake. <That’s Mars.> So I decided to put my astronomy badge from Cubs, to good use.

    <Oh wow. Are all the planets different colours?> She shares her own view of Earth from her home planet. It looks kind of turquoise from Mars.

    <Most just look like stars that don’t twinkle, only a little bigger.> I explain, to her disappointment.


    <I think that truck is pulling in.> M’gann draws my gaze to the highway.

    A red semi, indeed turns off at the truck stop. A second set of headlights, follow it off highway eleven. Before they make it to the building, the door below us slams open.

    Instead of the three men from my dream, a squad of armed thugs emerge. Once the semi passes them, they open fire on the second vehicle.

    <Get the driver of the semi.> Instructing M’gann on her role, I draw my new pair of repeating hand crossbows. It’s too hard drawing a bow in confined areas, so I added them to my arsenal. <I’ll deal with the welcoming party.>

    I jump from the roof, firing a quick volley of Ollie’s new gum arrows. Each one strikes true, expanding rapidly. This leaves the part animal goons, easily restrained.

    As I check them over and disarm the lot of them, the second vehicle carefully pulls to a stop. Its a standard limo, but the lack of visible damage is odd. It got hit quite a few times, but it looks brand new.

    “And what are you doing so far from the city?” Giovanni Zatara, steps from the drivers side door with a frown.

    “You had best not have left the lovely date of yours,” He shakes his head in disappointment “Alone in the city of sin.”

    “He didn’t,” M’gann floats the unconscious driver towards us. “How did you find this place?” She asks for the both of us.

    “I should be the one asking that question.” The magician counters, with a raised eyebrow.

    “Roy was showing me the stars.” M’gann quickly covers for us.

    “You can’t see them in the city.” I add, sharing a mental wink with her. “Too many lights.”

    “When we flew over this place.” My date takes over the explanation again. “I sensed what feels like a village beneath the ground.”

    “I see.” His eyes dart between the two of us, searching for any hint of deception.

    When he fails to find even a twitch from either of us, he relents in his examination. The benefits of her being a shape shifter and myself having learned some manner of control, over a very elastic body.

    “Let’s get the child out of the back.” Giovanni remembers the reason, he pursued the vehicle in the first place. I hope he’s ready for things to get a whole lot worse.

    M’gann leads us over to the semi. I move to open the hatch, when she admits she doesn’t know how. It’s nice having someone to count on, to catch our slip ups.

    “Oh my.” Giovanni’s gasps in shock at the contents inside. His control slips for a second, sharing a blast of his disgust. I would not be handling this so well, if I hadn’t had days to consider this.

    “Can you disguise the truck?” He gathers himself quickly and nods. “While we check the building for more.”

    “.eb enog morf thgiS” The magician waves his staff, sending a spray of shadows at the vehicle. They wrap around the truck and dissipate, leaving only an empty parking spot behind.

    “Should we call this in?” M’gann asks Zatara, who shakes his head in the negative.

    “By now the Captain, has rejoined the rest of your team.” He shares a hard look with me. “You two are already here, and have shown maturity.” He gives a grim smile. “I thank you for keeping her safe earlier, but Zatanna does not need to be involved in this.”

    “I got the password,” M’gann informs our chaperone.

    “Good, now lets get to the bottom of this.” He strides towards the building, with anger in each step.

    <You ready for this?> I ask my date, as she inputs the code for the door. She feels less anxious now. having taken one guard out, gave her confidence in herself.

    <Of course.> She pulls open the door, revealing an empty room with a single elevator. We cautiously approach, stepping inside. Only four buttons are on the panel, one for this floor.

    “I will handle the bottom floor,” Giovanni instructs firmly. “While you begin with the top. We shall meet in the middle.” Logical plan, I approve.

    “Got it.” I prep one of my Christmas arrows and nod to my partner.

    “Good luck.” He bids us farewell, as the pair of us step out into the long winding corridor.

    It leads M’gann and myself to an enormous room, larger than a football field. Rows of glass cylinders, line a dozen shelves. Each one has a human male inside, each in a different stage of growth.

    “They feel a little bit like you.” M’gann peers inside on of the tanks, gazing at the human. “They look like you too.” I check the next one, and see a ten year old Roy.

    “Look for the original,” I instruct. A feeling of dread battles with my relief. Everyone will know my status soon. For good, or for ill.

    <Are you okay.> M’gann grabs my hand as I start to tremble.

    <Yeah, I just need a minute.> I squeeze her hand, and share my gratitude at her presence.

    Checking the rows, leads us to the creation vat. In a what looks like a giant hot tub filled with boiling green goo, is dozens of infants being grown.

    The device powering this atrocity, is a glowing red ruby. Before I have time to think, I grab the jewel and yank it free.

    The glow fades from the ruby and pool, followed by the rows of tanks. As each one goes dark, sparks erupt from them. The fluid inside ignites, spreading an inferno of green flame. When they all burst in a pressurized explosion, M’gann and I are thrown in opposite directions.

    <Roy!> She calls for me in a panic, as i climb back to my feet. Her overwhelming terror floods my mind. Looking for her, I see one tank has yet to explode. Inside I can see a one armed me.

    <Help!> M’gann calls out for me again. As the flames spread, I am left with a horrible choice. Do I save M’gann first, or try to get the original Roy out?

    Cadmus Alchemical Branch
    July 14, 2010
    12:58 AM, PST

    “Thank you Oliver.” I remove all five of my new fire suppression arrows and look for the downed Martian. As I struggle to contain my own panic at the flames licking at my back, I get a wave of M’gann’s unbridled terror.

    It’s worse than I realized from my viewing of the cartoon. The sight of the flames, sinks into my brain. The sensations of burning alive and choking to death, fill me simultaneously.

    Forcing my shaking body to stay on my feet, I focus on Ollie’s technique for focus. Choose a goal and move towards it, never away. If I get her away from the fire, I will be able to think clearly again.

    <I’m coming.> She doesn’t respond to my words, so I force myself forward. Finding her shaking in fear on the ground, I push off of the ground. My legs extend quickly, sending me over the emerald blaze between us.

    As I drop on top of her and shield her from the blaze, one of the arrows bursts. It showers the two of us and the surrounding area, in a cool grey foam. Four left, I groan in realization.

    With the flames pushed back for now, I lift M’gann on my back. She grips tightly around my neck, sending short lived relief at my presence. It doesn’t last long, as soon the flames are roaring in our faces again.

    <Focus on me.> I try to reach her, to no avail. I focus on the memory of learning to ski. How cold it was, as the snow came down in golf ball sized flakes.

    It doesn’t suddenly fix her pyrophobia, but it calms her down enough that I can think a little more clearly. Get M’gann to the elevator, and then grab Roy.

    I move at a brisk pace, avoiding the largest portions of the inferno. Being forced to use a second arrow, to clear a path through the wall of fire has me cursing.

    <I’ll be right back.> I reassure my whimpering partner, before rushing back into the green flames. I need to use a third arrow, to stem a river of flaming goo.

    I reach the tank containing Roy, and look for a way to open it. As the heat rises, my final two arrows burst in my crossbow.

    Covered in the frothy gel again, I frantically hammer on the keyboard. With green fire melting the soles of my boots, I change tactics.

    I fire an arrow into the glass, barely scratching it. Growing desperate, I begin to pound on the glass to no avail. Ignoring the heat on my legs, I refuse to leave him. M’gann has other plans however.

    I struggle in futility, against her pulling me into the air. Above the jade blaze she yanks me backwards. Just in time to avoid being engulfed in the ball of flame, that ignites from Roy’s tank of flammable fluid.

    The force of the blast, sends me rocketing across the room. Crashing into the wall with a groan of pain. I collapse on the floor.

    Struggling to regain my breath, I feel M’gann grab me by the shoulders. She pulls me inside the elevator and slams the doors shut.

    <We need to warn Giovanni.> I focus on my breathing, and try to get to my feet. <before the fire spreads.> M’gann agrees with a shudder and a feeling of dread.

    <Agreed.> She sighs, while I reach for the button to the next floor.

    Once we catch our breath, we open the doors and exit the shaft.

    Inside the room is no Giovanni, but some of the smaller Genomorphs are present. Maybe a dozen of them are implanting commands in the missing children. Or what became of them at least.

    Sitting motionless, is a herd of Minotaur calves. Perched above above them is a flock of Harpy children. In a cauldron across the room, is the source of the transformations.

    Five children are being subjected to what looks like a very painful transformation. The concoction inside the cauldron, is being drip fed to the mesmerized children.

    <This one, is grateful you came.> Arenay leaps from the horn of a calf, approaching us with the grace of a frog. I’m not sure how I can recognize her, but I do.

    <I make a deal, I keep my end.> I send my expectation of them to do the same.

    <This one, understands.> She nods and shares her own feeling of relief. <This one, brings a warning.> A flash of the one keeping the children entranced, gets transmitted to me. The hypnotist is here, only invisible.

    M’gann finds him first, trying to sneak past us to the elevator. She points this out to me with a thought. This allows me to strike the hypnotist square in the face, dropping his invisibility as I do.

    <M’gann, can you and the Genomorphs get the kids topside?> She confirms this with a serious nod, when I share my own intent to go deeper still. <Lead the kids for her, and wait on the bio-ship.> I instruct Arenay next, who agrees with a feeling of grateful acceptance.

    <Be careful.> M’gann shares the sensation of a hug, which I return.

    <You too.> As I reenter the elevator shaft, I drag the fancily dressed hypnotist with me. Maybe Giovanni knows who he is.

    I descend quickly, and draw my compound bow. The fire retardant, has rendered my pair of crossbows useless for now. I understand why Ollie sticks with a bow, it’s way easier to maintain.

    When the doors open, I take a peek inside the room. Giovanni is trading spells with a purple haired sorceress, clad in a green dress.

    My arrival does not go unnoticed. A blast of golden energy strikes the ground, as I roll beneath it.

    “Getting slow in your old age Zatara?” The scantily clad sorceress taunts. “You needed some young blood to keep up with me I see.” Giovanni spares me a glance, before pressing forward with fresh determination.

    “If I’m getting old.” He bats aside a green bolt of lightning and laughs “You’re downright historic.” A trio of spells collide with her, sending her tumbling to the ground.

    “Oh your little girl will pay for that, when I finish with you.” She floats into the air, wiping a trail of blood from her nose. Her eyes glow amber, while the ground beneath her begins to bubble and boil.

    “I was going to save my baby as a surprise for Wonder Woman,” The witch cackles in glee. “But you shouldn’t spoil his appetite.”

    Emerging from the now liquid floor, is a massive serpentine head. Soon it is followed by a second, then a third. When I realize it is a red and blue Hydra rising from wherever it is being summoned from, I fire the most effective barrage I have.

    Explosions impact the three heads, blowing chunks off of them. Taser arrows impact the insides of the roaring mouths’, they arc with high voltage for several seconds. My finally volley, is the fast expanding plaster arrows.

    The eight trick arrows, strike the base of the Hydra’s necks. Some manage to pass through the portal, sealing it from the other side.

    “Don’t remove the heads!” Zatara warns me unnecessarily. “Circe has summoned a Hydra from Cnidaria!” I know my great history well enough to get a B, but I have no idea where that is.

    “Trauma to the brain should work!” I yell back at him, as he swats another of Circe’s spells away from me. I send a Christmas arrow at the eye of one the three heads.

    It impales the eye with a spray of blood, before the flash bang begins. It drives the head mad, from the light and sound. It thrashes wildly, distracting the other two heads for long enough for my to try something stupid.

    I charge forward, leaping onto the least damaged head. I shove the arrows I have in each hand, deep into the skull.

    Once i am secure in my grip, I stretch my legs around the neck and squeeze. It tries to shake me, but I keep applying pressure until its thrashing begins to slow.

    “Get off my baby!” Circe shrieks at me. A spell hits me in the back, but crackles and fades against my copper armour. Before she can try again, Zatara catches her with an incantation.

    She is struck by a wave of magical force, sending her tumbling to the ground.

    Giovanni sends out a tornado of stained glass shards, before directing it towards her Hydra. It rips through each neck in a moment, leaving a gap in the portal.

    Circe frantically looks around the room in a panic, before deciding to flee.

    “We shall have to do this again one day soon.” Circe blows a kiss Giovanni’s way and dives into the portal, as it closes behind her.

    Once she is gone and I am left alone with Giovanni, I can finally begin to comprehend how many versions of myself I killed. I'm the reason the real Roy is dead.

    Mount Justice
    July 14, 2010
    8:41 AM, EDT

    <How did the meeting with Batman go?> M’gann shares her concern, as I enter the bio-ship. A warm feeling of greeting from the living ship, brushes against my mind.

    <I’m on probation for the rest of the summer.> My frustration and guilt leaks out, as I share the memory.

    You left the Team with no idea of your location.” Batman growls in disappointment. “The very thing you rightfully called Robin out on.”

    I did.” I have no excuse for my actions. Its my fault the lab was destroyed after all. I’m the one who blanked, grabbing the shiny rock before realizing what I was doing.

    The magical nature of the fire, has destroyed any data we may have obtained.” I twitch, as he stares me down across the table.

    Any luck on turning the kids back?” I try to focus on the good I actually accomplished.

    None so far.” Batman sits back in his chair, examining my reaction. “Circe has had a lot of practice over the years.”

    Since you failed to meet your own expectations for leadership.” He sighs at me. “You will be removed from the position, pending an evaluation at the end of the summer.”

    <So he is instituting the rotating leadership for the summer?> M’gann clarifies. She shares her feeling of nervousness, at leading the Team.

    <Yeah. My recent accident, may be interfering with my ability to lead.> I could feel Bruce’s suspicion the entire meeting. We need to get these Genomorphs to Dubbilex and fast. <He gave me the rest of the day off, to get head straightened out.>

    <This one, will lead you.> Arenay the leader of the G-gnomes, offers from her place on the ‘dashboard’ f the bio-ship.

    A wave of images, enters our minds’. A mountain, next a cave, then finally a colony of Genomorphs is revealed. Arenay just points to the south and resumes ignoring us. As M’gann steers the ship out of the cave, Arenay re-positions her finger like a psychic compass.

    <Well I’m glad you saved me.> She sends a pulse of her relief my way, though it only assuages my guilt a little bit.

    <You shouldn’t have needed me to.> I share the sensation of needing to have the Ruby in my hand. The overwhelming desire, was unavoidable.

    <I felt it too, I just wasn’t as fast grabbing it.> That finally puts a smile on my face. I settle into my seat, linking into the ship’s three hundred and sixty degree vision.


    <This one, has declared our arrival.> Arenay leaps to my shoulder. <That one, should go inside now.>

    <Lets leave the ship outside.> I don’t like the idea of bring a psychic ship, directly to the stranded species. She confirms my message, by leaving the ship floating at treetop height.

    M’gann floats us down to the forest floor. The twenty or so G-gnomes are greatly enjoying the sensation of flight. I know I caught Arenay flapping, like one of the birds she saw migrating.

    <You actually kept your word.> Dubbilex has emerged from one of the caves, a trio of the big G-trolls are keeping him safe. <I am as pleased, as I am surprised.> I get a very long montage, of every human Dubbilex had met before me. Every deal before mine, was broken.

    <As we agreed.> I respond with irritation.

    His eyes glow and his horns light up shortly after. Another one of the knots in my brain untangles.<You will no longer kill your first target.> I feel...lighter.

    <Who was it?> I need to know. Who was important enough?

    <The one you call Oliver Queen.> Dubbilex shares the goal of me inheriting the company and wealth. A few months after I would have turned eighteen, I would have killed him.

    I want to focus on that, but it makes sense. I would have been able to pull it off as an accident or sickness easily. Having another one of the countries wealthiest names working for them, would really help the Light.

    <I hope to see you again soon.> Dubbilex and his people step into the cave and a shimmer of violet light appears briefly. <With more of our people.> I feel my vision begin to blur painfully, as the Genomorphs distort.

    <Enough!> M’gann stops whatever Dubbilex was attempting, an aura of rage around her. <I helped you, without being party to his deal.> She bears hear considerable presence down on Dubbilex, who can barely stand.

    <You will end the commands.> M’gann is visibly glowing and her power is still rising. Dubbilex can barely stand under the pressure. <You placed on him!>

    <Not yet...We have...> Dubbilex’s horns glow, as do the little stubby horns of the G-gnomes. Dubbilex manages to right himself finally, as the pressure on him is held back. <A Deal!>

    A wave of his hand, sends me through the air and crashing into a tree. I smash through the branches on my way to the ground, groaning with each impact. When I finally slam into the hard dirt, the familiar feeling of blackness claims me.


    I regain awareness back on the bio-ship with M’gann. No memory of the earlier location remains in my mind. The pond we are now floating over, is miles away from any caves.

    <We need to get back to the cave.> I groan at my pounding headache.

    <I can undo the commands.> M’gann is angry. Finally having a face for her mental infection, has given her a shot of adrenaline. <I saw how he did it.>

    <What!> I flood her with excitement.

    <It will take some time, but I can see which thread to start untangling.> She explains to my relief. <I should only need a few hours for each one.> That may be difficult to arrange. Everyone at the cave, will want to know what Batman said.

    <We can go to Star City and tell Oliver we want to look at the campus tomorrow.> Dinah and him, should be distracted by each other long enough. M’gann and I, can slip away to make some progress on this.


    Star City
    July 15, 2010
    2:29 AM, PDT

    When I feel a sharp pain in my spine, I snap my eyes open. M’gann and I, are sitting cross legged on my bed. The lights are off, and M’gann is still in the trance.

    <Stop thinking so much,> She orders, unaware of the danger.

    “Oh isn’t this adorable.” I hear a woman whisper into my ear, applying more pressure to her blade. “The lovebirds are doing some kind of weird, alien sex thing.”

    <We got company.> I inform M’gann and give her access to my own hearing.

    “Iv ya wann do yoin in.” I try and play things cool for now, but my mouth is struggling to form words.

    “I do like red heads.” She purrs seductively. “But I have one more stop to make after this.”

    “Our boss is very pleased, with the progress you have made.” She pushes the blade in deeper, nearly touching the bone now. “So let’s see what useful information you have.” I hear the sound of her snapping something in her free hand.

    “Whoops,” She giggles savagely. “I seem to have a Broken Arrow in my hand.”


    When my attacker feels enough time has passed, she removes her knife tip from my back. She wipes it clean on my back, and sheaths the blade.

    “Report.” She demands dispassionately. Clearly she thinks it worked and i have no personality left to play with.

    <Now!.> I send to M’gann, as I try slamming my head backwards. I fail as my body locks up, sending me to the floor.

    M’gann tosses the intruder away from me, with a wave of her hand. I try getting to my own feet to aid her, only to find my body unresponsive.

    “Well, this is a surprise.” the revealed Cheshire picks herself off the floor. “Time to grab my scientist and report the bad news.” She tosses a smoke bomb and throws herself from my eighth story window.

    M’gann is torn on what to do. Her concern for my paralyzed form is touching, but Cheshire is getting away.

    <Worry about me, after you save the scientist.> I instruct, <Get Oliver and stop her.>

    <On it.> M’gann exits my room in a hurry, her clothes already changing to her mission outfit.


    Lying on the floor immobile for who knows how long, is not fun. I had lots of time to worry about the information soon to be revealed. What if the League thinks I killed Roy on purpose? As I lose my self to my worries, my door opens.

    “Do we need to have a talk, about you sneaking girls into your room?” Dinah walks in, her uniform on and torn. I hope that her teasing, means success.

    My costume, is basically a copper version of Guardians gold armour, over a reddish/brown version of Red Arrows uniform.

    I hope people liked how Wally first learned respect, then grudging acceptance for magic. One more step remains in his magic is real journey.

    My specific talent with telepathy, begins to show itself. Memories and Emotions in particular.
  11. shakeval

    shakeval I trust you know where the happy button is?

    May 12, 2017
    Likes Received:
    "you're not my real mom"
  12. Tbryan

    Tbryan Making the rounds.

    Dec 3, 2016
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    I think Thea Kwan would fit better.
  13. Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Haha, i love it.

    Oh that would have been a good choice also. I went with Selene, because she is one of the two other greek goddesses who is merged with Artemis in many areas. Kon seemed like he would have chosen some historic reason.
    Prince Charon likes this.
  14. Threadmarks: Episode 6: Escort Missions Suck
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Know what you're doing yet?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 6: Escort Missions Suck
    Mount Justice
    July 15, 2010
    11:41 AM, PST

    “While we wait for news on Doctor Roquette’s rescue,” I inform the Team. “I need to inform everyone, I have been placed on probation.” I get varied responses from everyone assembled.

    “Busted!” Robin crows out at me.

    “Each week one of you will be team leader, until everyone has had a turn.” I ignore Dick, focusing on the explanation. “Team leader will set training and lead in the field.”

    “Unless a bad guy shows up,” Captain Marvel adds. “Then I’m in charge.”

    “Yeah and you can veto any decision the rest of the time.” He grins at his now firmly established place as our supervisor.

    “How are you choosing?” Artemis is very interested.

    “This will be decided on a contest set by the previous weeks leader.” I smirk at the now nervous teens. “Which this week... is me.” I let everyone stew for a minute, before I finally reveal my plan.

    “Two teams, each with a leader.” M’gann turns on the wall display at my mental signal, showing the woods above us.

    “One team gets a thirty minute head start and has to keep Billy safe from the ‘Kidnappers’.” I point at Billy and wink. “Escort him to M’gann and the invisible bio-ship, for extraction.”

    “He’s going to act like your normal everyday rich kid, so he will slow you down.” Groans from everyone but Billy, greet this statement with excitement.

    “An escort mission,” Kid Flash groans. “No one likes those, they take forever.” Which makes my smirk grow. My last real chance to screw with everyone for a couple months, will be taken advantage of.

    “Second team has to find and retrieve the ‘Kidnapped’ Billy from the first Team., before bring him back to me in the base.” I mark the boundaries of the contest, on the wall display. “After three hours or success from one side, we have lunch and switch.”

    “Robin since rotating was your idea,” I single him out, from his place between Superboy and Zatanna. “You get to be one leader.” He lets out a smug grin hearing this.

    “Zatanna,” I address the magician. “You need a code name still.”

    “It took a few days,” Zatanna explains “But I settled on Tuxedo Mask.”

    “tup no ym lacigam lrig ksaM.” She stands and waves her wand, causing a golden glow to form on her face. It quickly fades revealing a pure white domino mask. It comes with a fancy black and silver lace border.

    “What about you Chris?” I ask my ‘cousin’. “Have you selected a field uniform?” Kon sighs and pulls off his black tee shirt, revealing a reverse of Superman’s own uniform.

    A red one piece suit with a blue cape tucked into his pants, is on display. The S, is lowercase and yellow on a shield of red. His blue boots finish the look. Kon looks pleased with his symbol, if not the tights.

    “I had to put my foot down on the speedo he wanted me to wear over this.” Superboy tosses his jeans behind the couch, showing the solid red body suit only has a blue utility belt to break the colour up.

    “You could just wear the speedo then.” Artemis mutters under her White Tigress cowl.

    “I wouldn’t complain.” The newly named Tuxedo Mask, agrees with a grin.

    “Any takers for leader of B team?” I see only Artemis and Wally are volunteering.

    “Since I owe you one for saving my life, White Tigress is second captain.” I choose before any bickering can develop.

    “Flip a coin for first draft.” I’m going to monitor everyone over the radios and track you all on here.” I gesture to the map, which has a blinking light for each of them.


    1:06 PM, PST

    “We can’t outrun them,” I can hear White Tigress reason. “They have Kid Flash.”

    “I can hear him running zigzags across the mountain,” Superboy growls in irritation.

    “So we let him find the wrong Billy.” Artemis hisses back. “Mask, can you make yourself and Billy look like each other?”

    “Easy as it is to rile Wally up.” Zatanna confirms.

    “I’m going to bring Mask and draw them off you.” Artemis is really getting into this, and is communicating way better then I expected. “Listen for the ship and haul ass.”


    1:17 PM, PST

    “I found Tigress trying to sneak along the creek with Billy.” Kid Flash informs his squad. “Superboy and Tuxedo Mask are trying to find the ship at least half a mile away from her.”

    “Rookie mistake splitting up.” Robin begins to giggle. “I’m going to rendezvous on you and we can ambush Tigress.”

    “I’ll keep her busy while you run Billy back.” Robin instructs, clearly tasting his victory. “Aqualad, delay the others when they try to interfere.”

    “Understood.” Kaldur confirms his involvement in the plan.


    1:26 PM, PST

    “What do you mean we don’t win?” Wally is getting worked up. “I brought you Billy didn’t I.”

    “No but thanks for the lift back,” ‘Billy’ answers Kid Flash in Zatanna’s voice, which nearly has him drop her in shock. “Hiking in heels wasn’t my smartest decision.”

    “Kid Flash!” Robin’s voice comes in over Wally and my own left ear piece. “It’s a trick, get back out here!”

    <Kon and Billy are on board the bio-ship,> M’gann informs me with a glance from her eyes. I can see Superboy and Billy cheering in excitement.

    “Come in for lunch.” I press my right and left earpieces. “Robin your team has to beat an hour and twenty six minutes after we eat.”


    1:49 PM, PST

    “Did they have an idea who snuck in on you?” Kon asks, while we all devour the spaghetti I had made while watching the contest.

    “It was Cheshire... my sister.” Artemis answers with a glare my way. I’m not sure if it’s for having M’gann in my room, or her sister.

    Artemis chose to bleach her hair, instead of my suggestion of dying it black. Maybe that’s why she’s mad at me this time, who knows.


    4:51 PM, PST

    “I’m calling it,” I declare to both teams over the radio. “Artemis and beta team win. Congratulations.”

    “I told you bird boy,” Artemis teases Robin, who is being a good sport over his defeat. “Cats eats birds.”

    “Get your behinds in here.” I instruct, dinners in the oven and will be ready by seven thirty. “Our winner and new captain can pick the first movie.”

    After pitting everyone against each other all day, cooling off with a movie night will be good.


    6:25 PM, PST

    “His mouth movement is all wrong for the words.” M’gann finds the bad dubbing hilarious. The martial arts movie selected by Artemis, has horrible acting but incredible fight scenes.

    “The joy of the VHS era.” Wally grins from his bean bag chair in front of the coffee table. “More bad movies on tape, then good ones on DVD.”

    “’Rocky Horror Picture Show’ next,” Zatanna sighs. Her and Kon have found this movie to be an incredible bore so far. “I need something with music to wake me up.”

    “I dunno, I heard it’s kind of weird.” Wally isn’t convinced.

    “I was Dr. Frankenfurter in school.” I admit with a grin. M’gann shares the shocked look of Zatanna, when I share the memory of me in costume.

    “You in a corset?” Artemis has bent over laughing at the image.

    “Okay,” Wally agrees with the team. “I’m sold.” I withstand the laughs, in good humour.

    “Chris can choose the last movie.” Decides once she catches her breath. “You need some interests of your own.” Artemis jabs him in the rib, from beside him on the other couch. He awkwardly fails to react, and she holds her finger up in pain.


    9:14 PM, PST

    “Recognized. Batman, A zero two.” The cave loudspeaker interrupts the movie.

    “Team.” He strides towards us, wasting no time. “When we recovered doctor Roquette, but need a fortified location to keep her for now.” All of us have lined up at attention, even if everyone but Robin is in sleep wear.

    “Doctor Morrow has decided to interfere.” Batman fills us in as quickly as he can. “A Red Tornado look alike with volcanic powers, has engaged the League.”

    “Green Arrow and Black Canary will be delivering your assignment soon.” He finishes with a nod to Captain Marvel, and heads to the field himself.

    “You heard Batman,” Artemis is quick to give orders. “Get geared up, and we’re locking this cave down.”

    Mount Justice
    July 15, 2010
    9:41 PM, PST

    “You’re getting kids to protect me?” The disbelief is clear in doctor Serling Roquette’s voice.

    “And Captain Marvel, yes.” Black Canary adds, while applying a burn salve to Green Arrow’s shoulder.

    “This is the most secure base the League has,” He grins at Serling. “All you have to do, is finish this fancy nano-tech of yours.”

    “Yeah we can keep you safe until then.” Captain Marvel comforts the shaking scientist. “I’m sorry we had to take you away from your lab.” He awkwardly rubs the back of his head.

    “Are you kidding?” Serling looks up with a gleam in her eyes. “My lab is like an easy bake oven compared to this place.” She gives Captain Marvel a very appreciative smile, which has me and Ollie share a smirk.

    “Well that’s swell.” Marvel is grinning in relief. “Tigress was worried you had to hide out here for a long time.” Artemis growls at this admission.

    “I’m worried about her finishing, before a killer robot attacks.” Artemis narrows her eyes at Serling. “You’re sure you can reprogram it?”

    “With the lab here, I can be done in two days.” Serling confirms with a smirk. “Few could do it faster.”

    “Tuxedo Mask, Superboy, and Aquald are with me on first watch.” Captain Marvel decides. “Everyone else grab some shut eye.”

    <We can get some more work done on unravelling your commands.> I get a wave of determination from M’gann. <I almost had the next one finished.>

    “In that case, wake me at three.” Oliver yawns out a goodnight, heading for the stairs.

    “Do you know which way to go?” Dinah teases him.

    <May as well let them use your room.> M’gann shares her embarrassment at already being found in my room this morning. <Everyone has already been gossiping.>

    <You sure?> I give her a hand, pulling her off the couch.

    <I just want to be able to tell everyone about the commands.> I get a wave of loneliness from her. <The sooner I can undo this programming, the better.>

    “Take my room,” I offer to the pair. “We’re going to try finishing the memory exchange.” Attempting to head off the teasing, I offer a possible explanation.

    “Ooh,” Wally taunts, as he also heads for bed. “I bet you’re exchanging memories.”

    “I only know about humans from the recordings of ‘Hello Megan’, that my uncle J’onn sent to Mars.” M’gann works with my white lie. “We’re sharing our childhoods.”

    “See, not everything he does is creepy,” Kon counters something Artemis had told him earlier. He has my back... kind of.

    “I guess,” She tiredly replies. “See you in the morning.”


    Mount Justice
    July 16, 2010
    1:02 AM, PST

    <Almost got it,> M’gann keeps repeating to herself, as I feel another knot in my brain start to loosen. The command to kill Bruce Wayne, was easy for her to remove. Now she is close to unraveling my final target.

    I still won’t be able to tell the Team yet, but I won’t be leaving anymore bodies behind me now.

    <Aha!> She crow in jubilant victory. My brain relaxes, as my instructions to kill have been removed. A few more sessions, and she should figure out how to undo the rest of my programming.

    Leaning forward, I grab her in a fierce bear hug and sob in relief. She squirms for a minute, before properly embracing me back. As she strokes my hair, she soothes my nerves by sharing her most treasured memories.

    Feelings of love for and from her family, fill me with warmth. I experience her memories of childhood. Her mother showing her how to grow glow in the dark lichen and one of her oldest brother teaching her to fly.

    I get to watch ‘Hello Megan’, through her eyes the first time she saw it. I get memories of her father and her, painting rocks with intricate designs for some Martian holiday. It goes on for a while, long enough for me to start falling asleep in her arms.

    <I will wake you for your turn watching the doctor, at six,> She assures me, as I finally have a good sleep.


    Mount Justice
    July 17, 2010
    6:25 AM, PST

    “Was she up all night again?” I gesture to a still working Serling.

    “I’ve pulled an all nighter before.” She grumpily waves me away. “Besides, I have real motivation to get this finished.” I guess assassins and killer robots, would light a fire under me too.

    “Tigress said make breakfast when you wake up,” Robin shoos me away, intent on watching a true master work. “I’m on bodyguard duty.” Easier for me, I don’t understand a single thing she’s doing.

    “No she didn’t,” Serling questions Robin, who I can hear giggling at me.

    “Trust me,” Robin stage whispers. “Keep Trickshot away from all electronics.”

    “Tell Kid Flash he’s on clean up then.” I choose to ignore the deception, getting started on feeding my growing army instead. When I enter the kitchen, I find Black Canary nursing a cup of coffee.

    “I can’t wait till she’s done,” Dinah sighs. I don’t get a chance to respond, as a large crash from the floor above draws my attention. Dinah shares a glance with me and we take off running.

    “Kid Flash, get beside Serling. Now!” Artemis orders over our earpieces. “Anyone besides one of us comes in that room and you start running her around the cave.”

    “You heard her,” Captain Marvel agrees with the command. “Everyone else group up, we have intruders to find.”

    “I thought the League took care of Red Volcano?” Kon growls at having his home invaded.

    “They did,” Confirms Robin with his serious voice. “We need to find out who this is.” A second echoing crash echoes from the sea access room, followed by a massive splash.

    “Aqualad and I will check that one out.” Oliver adds his voice to the growing cacophony.

    “Trickshot and I, are nearly at the first area.” Informs Dinah.

    We arrive in the entrance hall, to find the titanium door has been torn from the wall. The intruder is nowhere to be seen, only debris from where the door was thrown into the wall is visible.

    Dinah starts tapping her throat, humming at a very low frequency. When I realize she’s attempting a form of sonar, I open my mind for anyone hiding. I find no one, but Black Canary points down one of the corridors to the living quarters.

    Before we can make it across the entire hall, a cyclone of wind rushes towards us. Red Tornado glides inside it, his blue cape flapping in his self made breeze.

    “Black Canary.” The red and yellow robot’s mechanical voice, is more intimidating than I care to admit. “You shall reveal the location of Serling Roquette.”

    “This birdie doesn’t squeal.” Dinah denies the request, adopting her ready stance.

    “Maybe you will change your mind.” Red Tornado points a hand at me threateningly “After seeing the children slaughtered.” He sends a blast of gale force wind at me, which throws me down the hall.

    I fire a grapple arrow into the ceiling, allowing myself to swing out of the wind. Rolling to the relative safety of the ground, I quickly send a pair of taser arrows at the robot.

    Tornado’s eyes flash yellow, and his cyclone tail extends. It knocks aside my attack with ease, but leaves him open for a Canary scream. Dinah steps between us and cups her hands, directing her vocals towards the rogue robot.

    The shock wave of her voice tears apart the wall and floor, colliding with an unprepared Red Tornado. His dome of wind is shattered, sending him ricocheting down the hall. As we move in to take advantage of the situation, a blast of fire collides with me.

    It throws me a good dozen feet forward, landing in an undignified heap on the ground. Dinah has moved into deadly close quarter combat with Red Inferno, Red Tornado's older ‘sister’.

    My bow has been seared, destroying it beyond repair. Moving to my back up crossbows, I load a set of extinguisher arrows. A quick volley of six, saves Dinah from a fiery fate, leaving her and the gyndroid covered in foam.

    “Red Tornado and his sister the hot robot,” I shout into my radio. “Are in the entrance hall. Canary and I need some backup.”

    “Superboy and I are almost at your location.” Artemis thankfully responds. “Stay alive for now.”

    A blast of wind slams into me from behind, sending me tumbling across the floor. A second blast strikes Red Inferno, clearing her of most of the fire suppressant.

    “Find the doctor,” Red Tornado instructs his sister.“I shall finish these two and join you.”

    Mount Justice
    July 17, 2010
    6:42 AM, PST

    Once Red Inferno is gone, I shoot my arms forward and grab Tornado’s legs. He starts to spin and Let him pull me towards him. Retracting my arms, I increase the speed.

    I slam into him with a resounding clang, both of us colliding with the floor. He sends a blast of air at me, but I roll under it and go for a grapple.

    Stretching to my limit, I bind Red Tornado’s limbs to his body. I can feel my muscles burn as the robot strains, but his raw strength is being held back by my elasticty...for now.

    “You can take him apart,” I grunt out at Dinah. “Any day now.” As long as we keep his memory bank intact, we can put him back together again later.

    “Allow me.” Kon declares from behind me. He quickly proceeds to tear the limbs from the body, holding the head in his left hand. “What should I do with him?”

    “Let Trickshot carry the head,” Artemis instructs, after a moment of thought. “We’re all mostly melee.” Makes sense, he’ll hinder my fighting least. My old style that is.

    “I sent the Captain to meet up with Kid Flash and Robin.” Artemis begins leading us after the scorched footprints. “Zatanna went to find out why M’gann isn’t responding.”

    <Did Zatanna find you yet?> I push my mental range to the limit.

    <No, what’s going on?> She groggily responds. I send her a quick update and tell her to wait for backup.

    “Zatanna hasn’t gotten to her yet,” I inform Artemis. “She slept through the alarm, she’s used to psychic ones.” I get a grateful nod from Artemis.

    A series of explosions come from the kitchen, sending the four of us back into action at a sprint.

    “Robin to anyone,” The thirteen year old’s voice, is filled with worry. “Inferno and Torpedo are both in here.”

    “Why isn’t Kid Flash already running?” Our leader growls.

    “He tried but Torpedo caught him in a ball of water.” We can hear the sounds of combat over his radio. “Marvel is taking on Inferno, but I can’t leave the doctor unprotected to help KF.”

    “What happened to Green Arrow and Aqualad?” Superboy is starting to leave us all in his dust.

    <Check on the sea access, before you two meet up with us.> I instruct M’gann, so we can focus on the fight. “I told the girls to check.”

    “Then we only have one objective,” Growls Artemis. “Save Serling.” Kon shows he agrees, by rocketing forward at freeway speed. His loud roar and following crash a few seconds later, tells us he made his entrance with style.

    “Superboy is taking on Torpedo and KF is free,” Robin giggles in relief. “Grappling him to me now.”

    When we arrive at the battlefield, it’s to find a completely trashed room. Wally is panting for breath in a puddle and Kon is trading blows with the hydrobot. Across the room, Captain Marvel is shielding Robin and Serling from Inferno’s flame.

    “Serling first.” Artemis lets out a battle cry and draws her twin scimitars, charging at Red Inferno. Black Canaries voice is to unwieldy in a cave, so she moves to extract the doctor. I draw my crossbows, only to discover both are inoperable.

    Stretching my fingers out painfully tight, I improvise my own bow. I fire every single explosive arrow in my quiver, only for a storm of wind to knock them aside.

    Tornado’s dormant head, has eyes glowing with life again. His separated limbs have followed us, delivering a cyclone of blows at my back. Each impact is like getting hit with a hammer and by the tenth, I collapse.

    My quick defeat, leads to Tornado combining his wind with his sister’s blaze. The explosion of flame, sends Captain Marvel bouncing along the floor. Robin shielded Serling from the fire, but Inferno’s fist take him down.

    Inferno rockets forward, intent or grabbing the now unprotected scientist. Serling doesn’t flinch, only activating her program with a grim smile.

    A grey fog begins to surge out of the computer, leaving nothing behind. Red Inferno crashes through the nano-tech fog, being devoured by it in the process. Only the speed and flames keep her intact long enough to collide with Serling.

    On impact, she ignites with fire, from her exposed core. The flame overtakes doctor Roquette, leaving a badly burnt body behind.

    Miraculously not a dead body though. She lifts herself back to her feet somehow and presses one last button on the keyboard. Once she does, she collapses immobile on what’s left of Red Inferno.

    I can see Robin and Black Canary moving to check on Serling, but the fights not over. Canary screams at the disembodied limbs, sending the scrap metal to the ground.

    Kon screams out in rage, tearing Torpedo in half. Once he has done so, he proceeds to smash to half with the head into the concrete floor. Repeatedly.

    The nano-tech fog, has attached itself to Serling’s body like a film. What remains in the air, surges back onto the remains of Red Inferno. It fills in the missing pieces, with itself.

    “Get her to the medical bay, now!” Captain Marvel is screaming at Kid Flash, who grabs the somehow still breathing body and vanishes in a blur of orange.

    “We better bring the robot too.” Robin groans, clenching what looks like a broken wrist. “Serling was saying the Fog was a way for her to download her brain into a new body.” I have a hard time using the satellite remote, so I have no idea if that sounds crazy or not.

    “And find out what’s keeping the others.” Black Canary voices her concern.

    Mount Justice
    July 17, 2010
    7:21 AM, PST

    Oliver nearly drowned. Torpedo had left him floating for a while, before Zatanna had fished him out. Kaldur is taking up a bed in the next room, still down from massive head trauma. His face looked like hamburger.

    All we can do is wait, for the league to arrive. Or is it? I have some magic ruby that was creating clones. Maybe Zatanna can do something, or Captain Marvel.

    “Zatanna,” I gesture for her to follow me into the hallway. “I have something that may help.”

    “What?” She’s doubtful, but curious.

    “Something I found in Vegas.” I lead her into M’gann’s room and remove the ruby from under her bed. “It made me and M’gann both want to grab it. once I did, the room burst into green flame.”

    Zatanna takes the gem from me, her face in complete shock. She does a few diagnostic spells, to verify its power and looks faint. I grab her by the shoulders, and seat her on the bed. She takes a few minutes to steady herself, and shouts at me.

    “Do you know what this is?” A magic ruby? She doesn’t expect an answer, continuing her tirade. “This is Sargon the Sorcerer's, missing Ruby of Life!” That does sound like a big deal, glad we have it now.

    “If anything will help.” Zatanna slowly stands. “This will.” She leads me back to Serling’s room and just puts it on top her. She quickly turns to leave the room, forcing me to ask what is going on.

    “After that freak out.” I grab her arm, stopping her from leaving. “That’s all you’re going to do with it?”

    “I’m a very talented novice,” She laughs at my attempt at a serious face. “But even my dad, will have a hard time not getting overwhelmed by the Ruby of Life.”

    “Oh.” I drop my arm, in embarrassment. Yeah it sounds like a good idea to wait for someone who can use it correctly.

    “I’m going to call my dad, let him know what we’re working with now.” She jogs from the room, heading for one of the working com systems.

    “Is that supposed to happen?” Dick asks worriedly, pointing at Serling.

    The nano-tech has receded from Serling’s body and surrounded the Ruby of Life. It pulsates for a few minutes, everyone to scared to moved. It finally surges towards the remains of Red Inferno, the two swarms merging.

    Red Inferno is completely repaired, with the Ruby of Life embedded in her chest. I tense for the worst, when the gyndroid sits up and her eyes flicker to life. Instead of the previous yellow glow, they now shine with a bright blue.

    “It...” Instead of only a single mechanical voice, Red Inferno and Serling’s both speak at once. “Worked.” She gazes at each of us, adjusting to her new state of being. "Call us...Firestorm."

    Mount Justice
    July 17, 2010
    8:56 AM, PST

    “So let me get this straight.” Wally rubs his eyes in exhaustion. “Serling downloaded her memories into the Fog, which then merged with Red Inferno?”

    “Correct,” The dual voices of a preteen Serling and Red Inferno agrees. “Doctor Roquette-”

    “Aren’t you the doctor?” Robin clarifies with a frown.

    “The doctor had memories we never received,” ‘Firestorm’ informs the assembled team. “Her body ceased functioning, before the download of memories was finished.” How much of herself did she lose?

    “Danette Reilly’s three years of memories, are equally missing from Inferno’s data banks.” They continue with the bombshells. All of these names for one body, is really getting confusing.

    “In nineteen forty two,” Captain Marvel explains, with a defeated expression on his face. “Danette Reilly, or Firebrand joined the Justice Society of America.”

    “Yeah she died saving the first Flash.” Wally is starting to connect some dots. “The League said her body went missing along with Torpedo’s. Pretty soon Inferno and Torpedo show up...” He leaves the answer hanging for someone to grab.

    “Did Morrow base the robots on the bodies recovered?” Wonders Kaldur.

    “She was always a robot.” Kon realizes. “She must have been in sleep mode for decades.”

    “We can only remember the nine days since reactivation.” Firestorm drops her dual voice, using only a younger, less confident version of Serling’s. “I can remember it was march third, nineteen ninety nine.”

    We all shift awkwardly once we do the mental math. She lost almost half of her life. she’s mentally what, twelve?

    “I can still remember her short term memory.” Serling’s scared preteen voice begins wavering. “I remember meeting you all and what I did, but not how I was able to do any of it.”

    “Short and long term memory, aren’t stored in the exact same place.” Robin reasons, with a curious expression on his face. “The Fog must have grabbed short term first, then started on backing up your life.”

    “What are you capable of, in this body?” Artemis asks cautiously. “Who’s in charge?”

    “Serling Roquette, is in control of our physical body.” Only the robotic, yet somehow still feminine voice of Red Inferno answers. “While my programming, retains dominion of our ignition core.”

    “I can’t split my attention with the nano-tech,” Serlings quiet voice takes over, without missing a beat. “It takes all of my focus to control a handful.”

    “While this task is much easier for my processing to manage.” Back to the Inferno voice again, as Firestorm holds up her hand. It disassembles into a red Fog, reshaping her hand into a mirror. She uses it to get her first good look at the Ruby of Life, embedded in her chest.

    “We are confused.” She is speaking as one again, the weird echo resonating with each word. “What aid did the crystal provide?”

    “As far as Zatanna and I can tell,” Captain Marvel attempts to describe what happened. “It holds what makes Serling, her and not a random artificial intelligence with her memories.”

    “It holds my soul?” She sounds as lost as Kon did, his first day in that hospital bed.

    “If that’s what you want to call it,” Marvel smiles at the confused gyndroid. “But Red Inferno already had an essence of her own. It’s why yours wasn’t transferring at first.”

    “I have an essence?” If I thought Serling’s distraught voice pulled on my heart strings, this yanks. Red Inferno’s genuine hope is proof enough for me, to believe she has a spark of whatever is important in a person.

    “So do your brothers,” The Captain agrees, before correcting himself. “Well not the Volcano one, his hadn’t finished forming yet.”

    “Yeah dad says Red Tornado feels more like an elemental, instead of a machine.” Zatanna confirms Marvel’s words, with a smile at Firestorm.

    “Since it was our fault for getting you...transferred.” Artemis is careful with her words, guilt lacing her voice. “You have a place with us, as long as you need one.” She doesn’t wait for a response, leaving the room in an embarrassed huff.

    “If you need someone to talk to,” Kon awkwardly offers. “I’m only a few months old.” I let him explain to Firestorm, how that works and follow after Artemis.

    I find her at the battlefield, staring at the wreckage of our base. She’s hyperventilating, absorbing how close everything was this morning. She doesn’t notice my approach, jumping when I place my hand on her shoulder.

    “Oh damn!” She lets out a relieved sigh, when she realizes it’s me. “It’s only you.” Artemis hugs herself and lets out another sigh.

    “Sorry. That’s not fair.” I’m shocked. That almost sounded friendly. “You don’t deserve that.”

    “I nearly got everyone killed.” I offer her a comforting smile, been their.

    “It’s a lot harder then it looks,” I throw an arm around her in a side hug. “You didn’t set off a self destruct at least.” I get a giggle for that, so she’s not lost to teen angst yet.

    “I should thank you for revealing our Shadows,” She groans, having to admit this to me. “If you hadn’t let us know, who knows what would have happened.”

    “I came in and messed your whole life up... ‘Selene’.” I squeeze her shoulder in support. “It was expected for you to blame me.”

    “What’s M’gann going to say if she shes this?” She teases, getting some distance to wipe her eyes.

    “Probably be happy I’m looking after my little sister.” I tease back with a wink.

    “What’s that supposed to mean.” She’s forgiven me, but still looks affronted at the idea of us being related.

    “Well ever since Dinah took you under her wing.” I snicker at my own dad joke, while she only groans. “I’ve kind of considered you like my step sister.” She considers this for almost a whole minute, before nodding.

    “As long as that means I get to annoy you more,” She grins in delight. “I guess that’s okay.”

    Mount Justice
    July 17, 2010
    9:22 PM, PST

    <I got the last one.> M’gann shares in ecstatic glee. <I Just have to repeat it on myself now.>

    <Don’t rush it.> My concern for her mental exhaustion slips out. <This is brain surgery after all.>

    <Don’t make me laugh.> She struggles to keep down a tense giggle. <This is brain surgery.>

    While M’gann untangles her own final command, I contemplate what this means. No more secrets from the Team. No more lying to the League and most of all, maybe no more M’gann.

    She won’t need me, or be forced into basically isolation in my mind. She’ll be fine, but I don’t think I will. I’m becoming dependent on having someone who cares, a thought a way.

    <We need to tell everyone now,> She informs me with a yawn. <I’m going to hibernate as soon as the adrenaline wears off.> Her complete exhaustion hits me with a wave, making me yawn as well.

    <Yeah. You can barely keep those pretty eyes open.> I groan at the line. This is a bad time to realize how attached I am to her.

    I lead her to the library, one of the only rooms in one piece. Billy and the Team are watching some old sci-fi movies with Serling.

    “We have something important to tell everyone.” I jump right to the chase. No reason to twist the knife in my own wound after all.

    “What did M’gann get you pregnant with the ‘weird alien sex thing’ Roy?” Wally laughs for a few seconds, before noticing how sombre my ‘girlfriend’ and I look. “I swear I was kidding.” He holds up his hands, declaring his innocence.

    “No,” I finally admit, after a long awkward pause. “But I’m not Roy.” In the half a second it takes for nearly everyone to react, M’gann shares a prepared mental message. It details what we have been doing in secret, what we found at Cadmus, and about the sleeper agent programming.

    Billy freaks out while the rest are still processing the knowledge. He throws himself at me with a feral shriek.

    I react fast enough to wrap my arms around him, keeping him pinned to my chest. Hopefully in his mindless rage, he forgets to Shazam.

    “He has them too!” M’gann yells in shock. It could only have happened at the mall, so her uncle has been infected for weeks. Who knows how many members of the League have caught the brainfection.

    So while doing research, I realized Jonathon Kent is alive in season 2. So I’m glad I never referred to his death already.

    I also learned the only Firebrand was “dead”. So one of my accidental retcons is that Torpedo’s human identity also died a few years ago.