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Not so Speedy. (Young Justice SI)

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

  1. Ch316

    Ch316 Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

    May 11, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Huh, so Gojira is a thing in this universe. Still, I'm surprised he can be controlled. But everything is better with a Kaiju battle.
    Flightless Man likes this.
  2. Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    For all his power, Godzilla is still a sea creature. He's smart like a Dolphin, but Aquaman's sea life control is all encompassing zombie him controls the Kraken. Tula isn't as strong yet but power combo was enough to let her use all her attention on Godzilla.

    And yes, Kaiju battles make everythin better.
  3. Threadmarks: Episode 17: Straight From the Source
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 17: Straight From the Source

    Mount Justice
    September 23, 2010
    10:01 AM, EST

    “You’re telling me,” I sink my face into my hand, and sink into my armchair. “That Kon basically had a psychotic break. Forcing you to reveal your identity to everyone at the party and then you lost him near Kansas?”

    “Basically yeah.” Artemis admits with a scowl. “Billy and Donna are still trying to find him, but it’s been all night.”

    “M’gann and I, will call Powergirl and take over the search for now.” I dismiss her with a tired wave, turning off the monitor displaying the call.

    “I thought we removed all of Kon’s programming?” Asks M’gann, her voice laced with concern.

    “So did I.” I have no idea what’s going on.

    “Do you think it has something to do with the patches from Cadmus?” Looking back at me over her shoulder, she gives me a worried face.

    “Not unless it had a delayed effect.” Kon used the ones I gave him, and Ted is still trying to crack the technology. “Drop me off at the High school, I’ll start the detective work.”

    “Me and Lena will do fly overs of the area?” She asks for confirmation, which I gladly give.

    “Yeah, your range is bigger than mine by far and she can use her X-ray vision to save a lot of time.” Standing, I hug her from behind.

    September 23, 2010
    12:26 PM, MST

    “I really appreciate how much you kids look out for each other.” Mister Kent shakes my hand, with a firm grip. “Clark didn’t start running around in his underwear, until he graduated.”

    “Our hearts aren’t getting any younger, it’s the worrying that will get to us.” Misses Kent thanks me warmly. “Thank you for letting us know, what’s going on with our boy.”

    “Of course.” I shift awkwardly, at the genuine feelings of gratitude. “I wouldn’t want you to worry, when we’re already looking for him.” I only let them know, so I could see if they knew who his friends are.

    “Grrr.” Krypto is a smart boy, the white lab is clearly aware I’m hiding something.

    “It took him a while to get used to Clark’s friend J’onn. He must smell the Martian in you.” They really share everything around here.

    “Normally I try and keep that close to the chest,” I shrug and smile at the elderly couple. “But you took in someone from a lot father away.”

    “Oh yes,” Laughs Martha with dimpled cheeks. “Mars is basically across the creek by comparison.”

    “He made friends with this boy Richard Foley on his first day.” Pa Kent scratches his chin, thinking back on the month. “And he started hanging around this girl Kyla. Willowbranch or something like that.”

    “Thanks mister and misses Kent.” I thank them for the assistance, heading towards Foley’s house.

    “Thank you lad,” Jonathon waves goodbye, an honest smile on his face. “Stop by anytime.”


    “I haven’t seen him,” Richie denies with a confused shrug. “He hasn’t really had much time for me this week.” That fits, Kon has been getting moodier and moodier all month according to everyone.

    “He really spends all his time, with his girlfriend Kyla.” Leaning against the door frame, he leaks depression. “Thought I finally had a real friend, not one online.”

    “I can’t find his girlfriends address,” I explain with a frown. “Could you show me where she lives? I can reimburse you, for taking up your afternoon.” I pull out an envelope, handing it to him.

    “How much money is in here?” He stammers out in shock.

    “Six thousand,” I nonchalantly admit, which nearly causes Richie to drop the envelope. “I need to find my cousin, he’s sick.”

    “Man this really must be serious then.” Swallowing his concern, he finally agrees. “Yeah I can bring you to the reservation.”

    “How long will it take us to walk?” I ask, which has Richie scoff. “You paid. I’ll tell my dad, I’m getting new tires for his truck.” A surge of panic comes from Richie, at the mention of his dad.

    “Cool.” I clap my hands eagerly, while he shouts into his house.

    “Dad, I got paid for tutoring!” I hear a grunt from inside. “I’m going to get the new tires you wanted, for your birthday!” A shiny flash of metal, collides with Richie’s forehead.

    “You alright?” I ask, as he wipes blood from his eyebrow.

    “Yeah, that was nothing.” He grunts and waves off my concern. Ignoring his embarrassment, I smile awkwardly. and head for his dad’s red truck.


    “He went crazy and ran off into the night?” Kyla questions me, with an arched eyebrow.

    “That’s what his cousin told me,” Explains Richie, awkwardly fidgeting with his glasses.

    “It’s what happened.” I insist firmly. Kyla’s constant wave of concern and panic, gets me to keep digging. “From everyone I spoke with today, I tracked the weirdness to you. I know his change in personality occurred when he went home with you.”

    “Some people change, when they fall in love.” She shifts into a more defensive stance, aware I think she is behind this.

    “Yes, but my Team was called in to find him.” I try something new and make my features melt into my face. Looking like Voldemort, but with even less facial structure I smile widely.

    “You’re not his cousin...” Richie’s eyes, are popping out of his face in shock. “Are you?”

    “Call me Trickshot.” I hold up my hand, morphing it into a bow. “Team leader of the... Superfriends.” I cheer internally, at the fact that Billy’s name won the vote.

    “You fought Superman at the White House!” Exclaims Richie, his voice filled with aw.

    “And I need to find Chris,” I hold up my League associate badge. “Before he hurts anyone else.”

    “What do you mean, anyone else?” Kyla asks slowly, concern for someone beside Kon flowing from her finally.

    “He broke a football players arm and impaled him with a railing.” Trying to hammer home the seriousness, I explain what happened. “Then he got in a fight with Cadet Marvel and Shining Knight in Colorado.”

    “So I’m going to ask once, before I assume you’re a hostile witness.” I frown at her. “What happened to him?”

    “It will be easier if my foolish grand daughter shows you.” Interrupts an elderly woman, with pure white hair and a face full of wrinkles. “She already brought one outsider to our final sacred place. The sanctity was broken as soon as the son of the stars and the Earth, was brought inside.”

    “He was chosen,” Kyla defends her actions. “Same way as I was. Our people chose that cave, to contain the Star Spirits.”

    “You had knowledge before you embraced the Spirits.” Her grandmother shakes her head. “The boy you snuck inside, was unprepared for the experience.”

    “Can you bring me please?” I ask the elder, who has been more helpful by far.

    “As long as you let us blindfold you, the entire way to the cave.” She responds with a wink. “Can’t have you sneaking back later for a second go.”

    “Powergirl!” I cup my hands and scream into the sky. “I finally got a lead, let Miss Mars know and meet me here!” The civilians look at me in confusion, at my unusual antics. “Oh don’t worry. She heard that and will be here in a few minutes.”

    “You can head home now Richie.” I let the helpful kid know, with a grateful smile. “I finally have a lead.”

    “Yeah. I need to get the tires, before the shop closes.” He waves a hasty farewell, rushing for his truck.

    “Are both of your friends...” Kyla asks, once Richie’s truck starts driving away. “Gifted or normal?”

    “Powergirl is Chris’ sister,” I explain, standing from the porch. “And Miss Martian, is not from around here either.” <Stay in costume and no real names.> I warn Lena, as she lands beside us.

    “M’gann’s finding a place to leave the Bio-ship,” Powergirl points and laughs.

    Even though it is cloaked, the wildlife in the reservation can see it fine. A flock of birds, has chosen to rest of the Bio-ship. This has created an amusing, if conspicuous sight for everyone looking up.

    “This is Chris’ girlfriend.” I introduce Powergirl to Kyla and her grandmother. “His change in personality is because of something in a Sacred cave.”

    “He was chosen by his people’s Spirits. Just as I was chosen by mine.” She really believes her words and her grandmother has no doubts either.

    “Of course he was,” Scoffs Lena. “I wasn’t here.”

    “He was only chosen by the Lustful One,” Grandmother Willowbrook smirks at Lena. “If you feel worthy, feel free to offer your soul for examination.”

    September 23, 2010
    4:48 PM, MST

    “I can see through any blindfold you have.” Lena snorts, as she is offered one. “And once we get to wherever we’re going, I’ll be able to see Smallville and triangulate.”

    “It’s tradition,” Kyla insists firmly.

    “Fine.” Finally relenting, Lena ties a strip of cloth across her face. “Happy?”

    “Satisfied.” A wave of smug contentment from Kyla and the four of us are off.

    “You keep saying the Spirits chose you,” M’gann asks for Lena and I, her friendliness opening a door we slammed shut. “What does that mean?”

    “After I was shown the cave, I saw the Spirits of my tribe.” Kyla happily shares. “The Wolf chose me to protect my people.”

    “You woke up with powers?” Asks Lena, with curiosity lacing her voice.

    “I did,” Kyla confirms, with a thoughtful hum. “Did you really not receive your own in a similar manner? Chris said it was so, but I had assumed he was mistaken.”

    “I talked to Pluto last month,” I admit after a moments thought. “But otherwise, I got mine from a blood transfusion.” I share a loving look with M’gann, remembering how she saved my life.

    “And Tigress and I, went hunting with Diana.” Adds M’gann. “I think everyone but Robin met one on that trip.”

    “Where did you meet Roman Gods?” Lena’s shocked voice demands.

    “Themyscira. A week or two before we met you.” Explains M’gann.

    “Oh is this like saying you have a Canadian boyfriend?” Snorts Lena, disbelieving the claim.

    “Wonder Woman, is a demigod.” I remind her calmly.

    “Allegedly.” Is all she says in response.

    “Alright.” Kyla stops us. “You take them off.”

    A nondescript cavern, opens into the base of the mountain. A silver glow, shines from the mouth of the cave and a likewise silver fog dissipates into the air.

    “We took a bath with the Star Spirits,” Kyla admits freely. “And he was chosen, by the Spirit of Lust.”

    “You took a bath together?” Squeaks M’gann, in embarrassment.

    “It’s how we commune with the Spirits,” Kyla shrugs.

    “Why are you so red?” Lena inquires. “Don’t you live with Trickshot here?”

    “Yeah, but we haven’t done that.” She admits.

    “Your missing out then,” Lena leers, leaning in and stage whispering to M’gann. “He can stretch.”

    “Moving on, to the real reason we are here.” I change the subject awkwardly. “Kyla, can you lead the way please.”

    “Sure, stick close.” She warns us, before leading us inside. “Some of the pools are really deep.”

    “If this cave is for your Spirits,” I ask, as I begin making connections. “Why are Kryptonian Gods in here with them?”

    “During the meteor shower thirty two years ago,” Explains Kyla. “We saw the strange effects, these two stones created in any nearby.” She points at the wall covered in animal paintings. “Our Spirits told us to place any we could find, in the sacred pool.”

    “The one my brother is soaking in?” Lena scowls menacingly, in the dim cavern lighting.

    “That would be it.” Confirms our guide.

    “I’m going to try floating him out first.” M’gann stops anyone from doing anything stupid, like jumping right in the water. Kon doesn’t even twitch and M’gann is just straining the muscles in her face.

    “My turn.” I hand Lena a hand and walk right to the edge of the pool.

    If M’gann is going to use her head, so am I. Stretching my arms and legs, grab Kon by the hair and start reeling him in. When he opens his glowing red eyes, he grabs my arm before I can let go.

    “See the Wisdom of failure!” Kon roars, yanking me into the silver water. Lena comes tumbling in after me, with a startled yell.

    September 23, 2010
    ?:?? PM, ???

    “You aren’t one of ours,” A massive raven, caws down at me.

    “Is he friend or foe?” The house sized grizzly bear, growls from it’s place in the sun.

    “I’m realizing Kyla was telling the truth.” I speak up, refusing to be intimidated in my own head.

    “It would seem he is if not a friend,” A giant raccoon yawns in boredom. “At least working, to finally get rid of the interlopers.”

    “About time their people,” The enormous moose, shakes its rack of antlers. “Came to collect those trouble makers.”

    “He’s not one of the star folk either,” A coyote sniffs the air. “He only has a touch of one inside him.”

    “Are any of you going to ask me a question?” I start to demand. “Or are you all going to kee-”

    September 23, 2010
    5:24 PM, MST

    “p talking over me...” I trail off, as I realize I’m looking up at M’gann’s face and my head is in her lap.

    “You doing alright sweetie?” She brushes some hair plastered over my eyes out of the way.

    “I think so,” I sit up, as the spots clear from my vision. “What happened?”

    Kon is standing with pants on. He’s watching Lena, as she floats on her back in the water. Her eyes are open and a silver glow, is emanating from them.

    “I got chosen by Lorra, the Kryptonian Goddess of Beauty.” Kon turns to face us. “At first, I thought I had to live up to her ideals.” He shakes his head and laughs.

    “Billy was right,” Kon sighs in relief. “I have to choose what I’m going to stand for, on my own. She’s gone and forgotten. She gave me her power and now it doesn’t have to stand for what she believed in.”

    “And what about your sister?” I point to the floating Lena.

    “I think she has been chosen by Telle.” Kon grins eagerly. “Two kinds of Kryptonite, will be inert now. Red and Silver, will do nothing to Kryptonians.”

    “As glad as I am to hear that,” I interrupt. “I have to make sure, that you won’t attack anyone again.”

    “Scan my brain,” He offers, with an understanding grimace. “I didn’t want to do something like that, ever again. It’s why I came here, to confront Lorra and Telle.”

    Opening my mind, I scan his emotions. Happily, I find his emotions are calm and settled.

    “He’s clear,” I finally say out loud, so Kyla can hear.

    “That’s a relief.” He mutters, grabbing his shirt from the cavern floor. “We just have to wait for her to finish her talk.”

    “Speaking of talks,” I direct my words to Kyla. “I had a brief one with the Spirits you talked about.”

    “Really?” She’s happily surprised.

    “They really only talked over me,” I admit. “So now I’m wondering, what gifts did Wolf grant you?”

    “This.” She starts to shift, her body distorting and growing grey fur.

    Her clothing melts into her body, as her face elongates. Soon she looks exactly like what I would assume a werewolf would appear as.

    Her eyes still show her intelligence and she winks. Dropping onto all fours, she finishes her transformation. Soon a timber wolf, is before us.

    “Can I keep her?” Kon grins, reaching down to scratch behind Kyla’s ears. She let’s him do so for nearly a minute, before changing back.

    “That feels way better, than you would think.” Kyla shrugs at M’gann and I’s curious expressions.

    “Really?” M’gann asks, before shifting into the shape of a Newfoundlander dog.

    <I want to see.> she shares with the three of us. When I do what she asks and scratch, she starts to kick her back leg. <Okay... Wow. That does feel amazing, it’s like a foot massage on your ear.>

    Her body starts to shudder after a few minutes, soon shifting back into her green Megan form.

    “I can’t really hold a non humanoid form,” M’gann admits, with a dark green blush. “For very long that is.”

    “You’re right,” Kyla admits with a grin. “These friends you have, are pretty cool.”

    “Well, since you aren’t mind controlling Chris.” I hold my hand out, moving for a peaceful resolution. “You have an open invitation, to come to our Cave.”

    “Ours is bigger,” Kon teases with a smirk. “And it has cable.”

    A splash from the hot spring, has us looking to Lena in concern. We see her floating above the water, her eyes no longer glowing.

    “I understand so much now,” Lena tries explaining. “I’ve been so wrong about so many things. I need to speak with my parents.”

    Star City
    September 26, 2010
    7:42 PM, PDT

    “I have eyes on the van.” Clack Canary’s voice, announces from my earpiece. “Pursuing now.”

    “Understood,” Responds Green Arrow, also on the radio. “Stay safe pretty bird, I’m on my way now.”

    “Tigress and I, will stay on our target.” I inform our mentors. “It looks like we’re heading your way already.”

    Keeping between two and three blocks behind a nondescript blue van, Artemis keeps an eye on the tracker. My car is apparently too noticeable, so I’m driving one of Ollie’s burner vehicles. The rusted brown jeep, handles like a drunk rhino.

    “M’gann didn’t want to come tonight?” She asks from the passenger seat.

    “She volunteered to keep Gretchen company,” I explain, turning when Artemis instructs me to. “I think she just wants someone to bake with. I haven’t had much time for it lately.”

    “I can’t believe her brother offered her to a cult,” Snarls Artemis.

    “Her life was part of a ritual, to allow seven demons into our world.” I think back on what Doctor Fate told us. “Except only six came through. Something snuck through first and stole the final ones place.”

    “Why does something sneaking in from a demon realm,” She grimly replies. “Not really make me feel any better.”

    “Because you’re not an idiot.” She ducks her head at compliment and changes the topic.

    “Is Kon doing any better?” I can feel equal parts anger and concern, when she asks.

    “He’s not acting like ten frat boys in a single body anymore.” I confirm with sigh. “Now he’s brooding.”

    “I’m just glad their was a reason for his attitude.” Rolling her eyes, she adds. “This Team, doesn’t need another pervert.”

    “Ha ha.” I scowl at her teasing. “After Garth’s funeral, Kaldur will be rejoining the Team as Atlantis’ representative. At least he will, until we defeat the Light”

    “When’s Tula coming back?” Artemis asks, her voice tense.

    “She isn’t,” My response, brief and to the point. “She’s got to keep Gojira, on a tight leash.”

    “My sister’s being moved to Themyscira,” Artemis mutters so low, I barely hear her. “So she doesn’t decide to run back to any old friends.” Cheshire did kill a lot of people, even if it was under duress.

    “Reasonable precaution,” I admit with a grunt.

    “I know.” Scowls my partner. “It’s just, I finally got her back in my life. And now she’s got to live on some magic invisible island.”

    “One you can visit anytime and she can’t leave,” I remind her, letting my words hang in the thick silence.

    “You raise a good point.” Her bad mood, starts to lift. “I think we’re here.” The van we’re following, pulls to a stop beside a warehouse.

    “Welcome to the party.” Ollie speaks through the earpiece. “Let’s hit them, before they can unload.”

    I can barely make out his outline, on top of a semi in the parking lot. Dinah is invisible to my eyes, so I pull to a stop and kill the engine.

    “It’s go time.” Popping open the doors and hopping out, we rush across the street.

    Green Arrow has the driver and henchmen, knocked unconscious at his feet. At the van, Black Canary is sliding open the door. Inside, is a bound and gagged person.

    “She’s alive, but drugged.” I inform the others, as I check her mind. Dinah removes the bag on the hostage’s head, revealing a teenage girl.

    “Tigress. Call this in and wait for the cops.” Ollie hands a cellphone to Artemis

    “You don’t need to protect me, from things like this.” She scowls, but reaches the phone. “I was raised by Sportmaster. I know what kind of things go on, in places like this.”

    “The cops will react better with you,” Dinah reminds him, sharing a look with Artemis. “And so will the girl, if she wakes up first.”

    “Fine.” Ollie scowls playfully. “Make sure to knock some heads together for me dear. Since I know you won’t save any for me.”

    “Like you saved any of them with me?” Dinah teases back, pointing at the knocked out goons.


    Inside the warehouse, is thousands of blocks of stone. No rhyme or reason, seems to be involved in the method of sorting. They are just stacked dangerously high, with narrow pathways left clear.

    “Do you hear that?” Hisses Artemis, from behind me.

    “Sounds like chanting.” Nodding my head in agreement, I stretch my ear wide open. “Someones crying and someone else is giving a speech of some kind.”

    “Tigress, get the hostage out here.” Black Canary orders. “Trickshot. Get high and give me cover fire.”

    “Got it.” I salute her, before shooting my legs and arms to my maximum length and grab onto the top of the stones.

    As I sneak along the top, the operation is slowly revealed to me. Eight people in blood red robes, are chanting in a circle. Between them, is one of the six foot by six foot blocks of stone.

    Giving a melodramatic speech about evil, the leaders stands on the block. The teenage boy who was kidnapped, Is tied to the rock and crying. The cult leader looks like a normal man, except for his deer antlers and four glowing orange eyes.

    <Eight goons and a demonic looking leader.> I inform the others, who have nearly moved into position. <I’m going to open on the leader in eight seconds. Be ready to grab the hostage.>

    <I’m on it.> Artemis is leaking determination. <Cultists are really starting, to piss me off.>

    <I’ll deal with the rank and file,> Dinah agrees with the plan of action.

    <Action.> I fire a boxing glove arrow, followed by a flash bang and then a pepper spray arrow.

    The giant fist, knocks the leader off the stone block. As his men rush to his side, the flash bang explodes. Disoriented, they all fall victim to the pepper spray.

    <Nice work!> Artemis congratulates me, leaping on to the rock and slashing through the rope.

    <You too.> My response comes with a feeling of pride in her. <Dinah look out!>

    My warning is barely in time. Her sonic scream, easily removed the normal cultists from the fight. But the leader turned himself into liquid gold, flowing behind her and reforming. His hand are now wicked looking claws, which he slashes at Black Canaries back with.

    <Thanks!> She rolls forward, her jacket getting shredded. <That was a little too close for comfort.>

    <I already got my tuxedo,> I tease, a smile spreading across my face. <I gotta make sure to keep you alive until the wedding at least.>

    She kicks the face of her fiendish attacker, before screaming into his face. He doesn’t avoid the point blank blast, smashing into the towering pile of stone. The rocks I’m standing on begin to tumble and fall, so I l fire a grapple arrow into the ceiling.

    Hanging suspended above the falling rocks, I can hear Dinah’s Canary cry and she cubes shattering. Soon the cloud of dust, blocks my vision and I can only hope she’s okay.

    Barry Allen/Zoom
    September 26, 2010
    9:33 PM, HST

    “When you said undercover, I didn’t think he just meant the cover of darkness.” I mutter to Batman over my radio, as I race along the Pacific Ocean.

    In minutes, I have gone from Wally’s grave in Central City and arrived in Hawaii. Batman had managed to trace the rise in Metahumans, here to Cadmus Chemicals.

    “Get in, survey the site and find and files.” Batman orders, as I start to vibrate my molecules incredibly fast and phase through the wall.

    As soon as I am Inside, I start running again. I need to avoid any cameras, blitzing past any before I can be detected I see dozens of barrels. Each one contains a bubbling mint green fluid.

    When I find a locked door, I repeat the phasing technique. Inside, my mouth goes dry at the sight. A dozen glass tubes, contain an alien. Six green and six white martians, are in different stages of being melted down into a slurry. The condition of each varies, from barely being recognizable, to looking like they have just been placed inside an hour ago.
  4. Threadmarks: Episode 18: Hitting the Dimmer Switch
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 18: Hitting the Dimmer Switch
    Chapter 57: Coming Clean
    Lena Luthor
    October 1, 2010
    7:17 AM, EDT

    “We need to talk,” I demand of my father, getting an amused chuckle from him.

    He’s still reading the newspaper, which he folds at my words. My mother has been working late and leaving early the last few weeks, so it’s only the two of us. Mercy no longer needs to keep father safe, so she has been reassigned to mother.

    “I would never deny a chat with you,” He smiles at me, but raises an arched eyebrow in reproach. “But I thought I raised you with better manners.”

    “I won’t apologize for being mad!” I slam my fist into the counter, cracking the polished granite. “I know about the Light and what you did to the League. I know the heroes aren’t tyrants to be over thrown and I know the people, are more than sheep.”

    He stares at me in silence, contemplating my words. Rubbing his temples, he sighs tiredly.

    “I wish you had remained ignorant.” He leans back in his chair, rolling his eyes. “I should have expected you would discover things, you have your mothers brains.”

    “I have her everything,” I snarl at him. “I’m a clone.”

    “You have your own soul and memories,” Father corrects me, smiling softly. “We needed the Ruby of Life for a reason. None of the clones created since we lost it, have been complete.”

    “I’m not getting booster shots to blend my human and Kryptonian genes.” I frown at the knowledge. “I have no human in me!”

    “True.” He pulls out his chair and stands. “It’s to keep your brain from falling apart again.” Father takes me into a stiff hug. “We don’t need a repeat of when you were six.”

    “What happened?” I stammer into his shoulder. My childhood is really blurry, I can’t remember what he’s talking about.

    “You killed your grandfather, by hugging him to hard.” I release my father, stepping back in horror. “Oh come now dear. Even if I hadn’t gotten my own powers, the red solar lights prevent a repeat.”

    “Was that all I did?” I demand the details.

    “You paralyzed a nanny and ripped the arm off of Mercy.” His voice is calm and steady.

    “Oh.” I reach for my mouth in shock. “That’s how it happened?”

    “That was when you turned nine.” He smiles softly in memory. “It was also when I knew Mercy was an honorary Luthor.” When I raise my own eyebrow in confusion, he continues.

    “When I found her, she was cradling you with her good arm.” She has always been their for me, unlike my absentee mother. “She was more worried about calming you down, than her own condition.”

    “I assume this is why mother hates to be around me?” I wouldn’t like being around a clone of myself either.

    “She’s the one who decided on how to create you, so I doubt that.” He explains slowly, choosing his words carefully. “When you turned one, she grew distant with the both of us.”

    Mount Justice
    October 4, 2010
    5:21 PM, EDT

    “We have the location,” I highlight an area of Antarctica, on the holographic map display. “Of where the Martians are arriving.”

    “And it looks like we have a good chunk of the Belle Reve escapees.” Robin grins in delight. “Zoom hit the jackpot.”

    “We’re shutting this place down.” M’gann insists, raw fury is radiating from her.

    “Damn straight.” I agree.

    Everyone on the Superfriends is present for the meeting, except for Lena. So when the door opens and she storms in, we all fidget awkwardly.

    “We need to stop my parents.” She has none of her usual bluster, as she pleads with us. “I found out what they have really been doing and I have no idea how to begin apologizing.” Lena has tears in her eyes, that she brushes away with her sleeve.

    “What did you learn?” Kaldur speaks for me, when I find myself at a loss for words.

    “They want to be Gods...” Lena starts pacing back and forth, unable to stand still. “Savage is trying to rebuild his pantheon with his buddies in the Light and my father decided, he doesn’t like the idea of being second fiddle to a caveman.”

    “So your dad is what,” Snorts Artemis in amusement. “Going to turn on them?”

    “All of them are going to eventually,” Lena confirms with a frown. “They formed the Light, to take down the League and leave the world in chaos. Then after a decade or so of complete anarchy, they would step in and bring order back to the world.”

    “I’m not hearing anything about backstabbing.” Dick notices the omission.

    “Because of the programming my mother secretly had installed in Trickshot, the Light’s plans have gone too smoothly and now they are bickering with each other.” Lena is holding back a flood of anxiety, as she struggles to finish her report.

    “Anything else you need to share?” I ask for M’gann, who is struggling to remain civil.

    “M’gann’s uncle, was sent back to Mars.” She lets the implications sink in for a moment, before explaining more clearly. “He infected a good chunk of one city, before his actions got discovered.”

    Lena stops pacing and looks M’gann in the eyes. Her hands are shaking and I can feel her honest sorrow pouring from her.

    “Mars is currently in a four way civil war.” Lena slams a fist into the wall of the cave, showing which side of the family Kon’s anger is from. “The leaders of the first city, got sent to Earth and so do the bodies of the fallen. It’s for scientific advancement.” She spits in anger.

    “What is being done with the bodies?” M’gann asks, struggling to retain a calm voice.

    “Being synthesized into a chemical, which makes one in fifty people a Metahuman. It’s more like one in eight for anyone still going through puberty.” She realizes none of us are really reacting as we should be and glares at us. “Do none of you care?”

    “Of course we do!” M’gann yells back at Lena, before lowering her voice to barely above a whisper. “We’re just surprised you do.”

    “Welcome to the real reason we have this Team.” I offer my hand to Lena, smiling warmly. “We’re shutting down the Light, while the League is our public distraction.”

    “One of our agents already filled us in,” Robin admits, shrugging at Powergirl’s glare. “We didn’t think you would be willing to move against family.”

    “My father has been so preoccupied with his vendetta with my...uncle,” Lena admits, scowling at the last twelve years of wasted time. “That he let my mom, have complete control over Cadmus.”

    “We’re going to this ice shelf.” I turn the display back on. “Batman tracked the Zeta signals, to a twenty mile radius. He also let us know, to expect heavy resistance.”

    “He’s working on a neutralizing agent, so Zoom can release it.” Dick explains our lack of chaperone. “We’re on our own, he says we have proven ourselves and no one can be spared anyway.”

    “We’re not ready in his eyes,” Kon grumbles with a scowl on his face. “Hes just desperate and short staffed.”

    “That’s how people all over the world.” I shush him with a smirk. “Get promotions.”

    “It doesn’t matter why he’s sending us,” Adds Kaldur with a stern look. “It matters that we are going. So we will be ready.”

    “The Brain, is in charge of this base.” I explain to Lena, what we learned from Zoom. “His capture, is a top priority.”

    “If you already know my father is a member of the Light,” Lena asks, her eyes sliding across each of us in turn. “Why did he get let on the League?”

    “Wasn’t much of a choice,” Grumbles Artemis. “If we came clean, the League would have collapsed.”

    “I suggested we use positive reinforcement.” I happily hold up my hand. “It’s basically the good version of mind control.” I defend myself, besides it worked on Lena.

    “Is that why you keep giving me cookies?” Lena’s scowling at me, in realization of how many she’s gotten.

    “No.” I rush to reassure her. “I keep giving you cookies, because you eat them. I let you pick what I make for dessert, when I think you had a nice day.”

    “But you haven’t let me pick dessert...” Lena scowls at me.

    “Nope...” I stare her down and she realizes what I’m implying. “But for this, you get to pick every night this week.”

    October 1, 2010
    11:14 PM, NZST

    <Me and Firestorm, have disabled the Zeta beam.> Robin informs us, over M’gann’s link. <We’ll hold position, while the rest of you handle the mob.>

    <How considerate.> Lena smashes Mammoth into the wall. <I have some serious rage to work out!>

    <We can hear that anger from here.> Giggles Robin in our heads.

    <Hey, we talked about that.> I reprimand Dick lightly.

    <Sorry.> He apologizes sheepishly. <Distract the enemy with the creepy giggling, not the Team.>

    <Good boy,> Rocket grunts in frustration, her foe avoiding the barrage of kinetic blasts. <See Donna, not all boys are hopeless. You just need to train them early.>

    <He’s older than I am!> Kon snarls through the link, Black Spiders webbing doing nothing but annoy him.

    <That’s it then,> Chuckles the Amazon, as she pounces on Shimmer. <M’gann had the right idea, picking the most mature one of the lot.>

    <Hear that everyone,> I crow in triumph, shooting down the defence drones of Gizmo. <I’m mature. No take backs now Donna, I know what you really think of me.>

    <That you aren’t as big an idiot, as you first make yourself out to be?> Artemis throws a smoke bomb, before laying into Jinx. <We all know that already. Why else would we still be listening to you?>

    <We have some runners!> Billy interrupts our banter, as he shoots off after the trio fleeing.

    <Buddy system.> I remind Rocket, who follows Cadet Marvel without a second word.

    <We are experiencing intense focus.> Mary’s now more form fitting preteen voice, fills the link. <Soon our position, will be overrun.>

    <Sending backup now,> I gesture for Artemis and Donna, who head off to reinforce our allies. <Hold tight.>

    Superboy, Powergirl, Tuxedo Mask, Trident, Miss Martian, and I, are nearly done with the battalion of C-list villains. When Cadet Marvel and Rocket return with the runners, I can evaluate the situation better.

    <Half on watch duty half will go digging for Brain.> The Kryptonian siblings, will be coming with M’gann and myself. <We all know he’s going to spring something horrible on us.>

    <My money is on Hawkman and some kind of Nth Metal mass production.> Robin voices his opinion. <Maybe some kind of new battle suit for himself.>

    <I bet he’s got Green Lantern’s power battery here and he’s making a planet buster.> Kon grimly share his own dark vision.

    <We know he’s bringing Martians here,> Lena insists firmly. <It would make more sense for it to be the Manhunter.>

    <I guess we’re going to find out soon.> I lead my squad, deeper into the facility.

    <Lab of some kind,> Lena stares at a featureless wall, frowning. <Someone’s on a table inside.>

    She shoves her fingers into the wall and pulls at the door only she can see. Behind the wall, is a small lab with a single table. A sickly looking red Martian, is moaning on the table.

    “Superboy keep lookout,” I inform him, pointing to the door. “Powergirl, help Miss Mars with the captive. I’m going to find out what they had going on in here.”

    While they rush to the assigned tasks, I start flipping through the computer. Checking the more recent updates, shows a series of horrifying experiments. The Martians who have been brought to Earth while still alive, have been exposed to radical mutations.

    The Red Martians, had been exposed to several serums and gas baths. The thirty or so victims, transformed into an entirely new species. No longer red, they are now a dull pink colour. They have also shrunk in size, but retained the long limb proportions.

    <Brain created the Genomorphs here.> I inform the Team, sharing the information as I read it. <A ship of six hundred white Martians, crashed on Earth during the Appellaxian invasion.>

    I scan the earliest files with any mention of Martian. I can see fifteen dead adult Martians and one barely living one. He was transformed through a series of vial experiments, into the G-goblin Dubbilex. The surviving children meanwhile, got turned into the G-trolls, gnomes, elves, dwarves, and sprites.

    <He beamed the results, into the Cadmus bases for slave labour.> I stammer through the link.

    It makes a horrific amount of sense, Martians are shapeshifters and used to caste system. Brain simply exploited it to the horribly extreme conclusion.

    <So we’re part Martian?> Kon asks slowly, trying not to be insensitive.

    <I guess so.> I admit, with the realization he’s right.

    <Not a single brick of this place,> M’gann is glowing with an aura of visible anger. <Will be left standing!>

    Her waves of psychic energy crash into the walls, tearing through the metal like soggy noodles. The energy flows around us, leaving us unharmed. But looking around the lab, shows nothing but crushed equipment.

    <Get him to the Bio-ship, Superboy.> Demands M’gann, more forcefully than anything I have heard her say before now. <We’re going to say hello to the one behind this.> She stares at a corner of the wall, which Lena soon does as well.

    “Good work finding him.” Powergirl is visibly impressed. “Now let me open a direct path.” She starts to spin, before colliding with the exposed stone.

    Drilling through the rock with ease, she carves a tunnel straight to Brain’s secret lab. Four hundred feet through frozen ground and she doesn’t even look tired. The beret wearing gorilla on the other hand, is shocked at her sudden arrival in the lab.

    <Hang on!> M’gann instructs, so I wrap my arms around her and she shoots through the tunnel.

    Lena has taken the gorilla down already, but Brain opens fire with a familiar blast of green energy. The metal shell encasing his brain, is surrounded by an emerald glow, with a dozen constructs at the ready.

    <Brain has Hal’s ring!> I call out a warning, as a jade rhino collides with me and sends me tumbling back down the tunnel. <We have a code green.> I groan on my back, struggling to breath.

    “AARRGHH!” Lena’s agonized scream from above, fills my gut with dread.

    “Oh excellent, I wonder how long I can make her screa-” His voice cuts off suddenly. And only Lena’s groans, break the ominous silence.

    “It seems you children, are more than simply an annoyance to my peers.” Brains inhuman voice intones. “I will not forget this. Littl-” Silence from him again.

    “Stop doing that!” Shrieks the Brain. “I will be coming for you, when you have been brought low by an enemy. When you can barely believe you survived, I will ensure you do not!”

    A flash of green light shines down the tunnel, blinding me with the emerald intensity. The sound of drilling and collapsing rock, comes right as M’gann drops down the collapsing tunnel. Lena is cradled in M’gann’s arms, as she keeps the debris away with her mind.

    <Brain blasted the entire roof down,> M’gann’s voice, is shaking over the link. <I barely got Lena out of the way in time.>

    <Thanks for that by the way,> Lena chuckles in M’gann’s arm. <It felt like he hit me with a Kryptonite hammer.>

    <Green Lantern’s are capable of replicating a synthetic variation,> Robin informs us, with a chuckle. <I’m kind of surprised Lex never tried to get a ring.>

    <Oh damn, does that hurt.> Joining the conversation, Kon groans in pain. <I tried to shoot him down, but he bathed the Bio-ship in that fake Kryptonite stuff. It nearly crashed the ship.>

    <You be careful with him!> Alarmed, I tell off Kon. <He’s just gotten back into good condition.>

    <I’ll give him a wax, tomorrow, I definitely grazed the ground a few times.> I can feel his embarrassment over the link.

    <Do I need to give you flying lessons?> I tease him, just relieved we survived the encounter.

    <Do I need to show you how to work the remote again?> He counters, with a mentally visible smirk.

    <It has too many buttons.> Defending myself with a pout, I exhale painfully. <I think I broke some ribs, I’m going to need some help.>

    October 2, 2010
    12:26 AM, NZST

    Inside Brain’s private little workshop, is some kind of firing range. It’s separated from the lab with high strength, translucent titanium. I don’t know if it’s magically done, or some form of super science.

    Inside the range, is a series of advanced ray guns. All of the are pointed at the same horrifying sight. Instead of a target, a brain in a jar is connected to a collection of vital organs in the same glass containers.

    A single human finger, is still attached to the organs by nerve strand. A green lantern ring, is on the digit and all I can sense is infinite agony.

    As soon as I opened my senses to the brain, I was lost in the endless void of overwhelming pain. I don’t remember a time before I hurt everywhere and I know it will never end. I can’t even cry, this is my existence now and how this are supposed to be.


    An unknown amount of time later, I have felt my entire self broken down into a puddle of worthlessness and somehow rebuilt into some semblance of a person again. This process, has repeated countless times, but this time something is different.

    In brightest day,”

    Instead of breaking down instantly under the weight of all my failings, I hear a voice remind me what is important. I can remember her name.

    “M’gann.” I mumble to myself, reminding myself this can’t be infinity if she isn’t here.

    I remember someone who stood beside me, even when I fell to my knees. I remember someone who loved me, even when I was scared to love myself. I remember someone who I will not abandon, even to a defeat as total as this seems to be.

    In blackest night.”

    Flashes of my life begin to back into me. I live through the last few months again, in vivid detail. All the tragedies like losing friends and failures I have gone through, flood me. But these are overwhelmed, by a cascade of good memories.

    No evil shall escape my sight.”

    The voice, I can recognize as Hal Jordan. He hasn’t broken here and he was alone. Now that I know he repeating his oath so as not to break, I can add my love to his will. I’m stubborn, but only when it’s for something I love.

    Let those who worship evils might.”

    Focusing on those who have given me the strength to keep going, I think of my Superfriends and family. Kon, who has taken the place of one of my lost brothers. The one who looks up to me, even though I know my own failings.

    I think of Dick, who had become my other brother. The one who saw my screw ups, as sign posts to avoid and my few true wins as goals to aim for.

    Artemis flashes in my mind. The one who has become my sister. A sibling so much like me, that we can’t stop squabbling. Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance, fill my memories. Both people who have stepped in as surrogate parents for Roy and in turn me.

    I remember Wally. A better friend than I deserved, with all my half truths and manipulation. Zatanna, Raquel, Mary-Jane, Donna, Billy, Kaldur, Tula, Garth, and Gretchen the new girl we saved from death all believe in me. Hell, even Lena god damn Luthor is someone I would die for.

    Beware my power...”

    Missions we succeeded on, begin to domino through my mind. The girl I saved at the mall, fills my mind with her smile. Wally telling the world on camera, heroes will always rise is what I reminisce about next.

    I remember how I lead a team of inexperienced sidekicks who could barely work together, into what feels like a family. I remember how we organized a resistance against the most power organization above the Earth and won. I remember this fight isn’t over, and it’s time to turn off the artificial Light.

    Green Lantern’s light!” Hal is no longer mindlessly repeating, in stubborn refusal to break. Now he is fighting to win, adding hi voice to my own.
    Humans fight!” I focus on every drop of love I have for those in my life and the ones I have lost. I won’t stop fighting, until I know each of them is safe.
    <Superfriends’ might!> We can both hear a chorus of voices, M’gann and my Team break through the falsity of this bleak existence of loneliness and pain.

    Mount Justice
    October 19, 2010
    9:17 AM, EDT

    I slowly come to awareness. Shivering not on the cold Metal floor, but a hospital bed. M’gann has her fingers on my scalp. Her eyes are glowing, and her skin is its natural shade of ivory white.

    “You look good without makeup on,” I mumble to her, but I hear Artemis loudly laugh.

    Sitting up slowly, I can see he entire Team is in the room, as are Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Paula Crock the newly named hero Jade.

    Cheshire had to fake her death, to have any hope of deceiving the shadows. She’s going to be on Themyscira for a decade, working off her debt to society.

    “Thanks,” M’gann giggles in relief at my recovery, her eyes no longer glowing. <But you know this isn’t how I really look.>

    <Then this is the ‘natural’ look that’s going to be coming into style.> I send her a mental shrug, not caring if she looked like Jabba the Hutt. <Besides, I can’t even remember what I look like.>

    I really only have the basic facial structure now, unless we need to be seen in public that is. Can’t scare children with my face, except on Halloween.

    Free game on making my villains disgusted though and I know it works. When I start making my face drip like melted wax, well over half can barely fight back.

    “Dude!” Robin is sending off waves of concern. “You collapsed like eighteen days ago. I was worried you weren’t going to wake up.”

    “Only that long?” I groan out a response, grabbing my head. “Felt like I was born in pain and that was all the universe had in it.”

    “Whoa...” Billy looks horrified at my admission. “Are you going to be okay?”

    “Of course I am,” Grinning in gratitude, I reply. “I saw how horrible existence could be and it still failed to win. My love for all of you, it overcame an infinity of agony.”

    <Especially yours.> I privately send to my other half, which has her blushing a shade of violet on her cheeks.

    “No more scaring me like this,” Ollie chokes back his emotions, making a go for humour. “For at least a year.”

    “We decided to move the wedding to December,” Laughs Dinah, grabbing Oliver’s shaking hand. Ollie will be bald worrying about you, if we wait for April.”

    “Balds not a bad look for people.” I wink at M’gann. “I’ve been thinking of shaving my head and wearing wigs. It’ll make disguises way easier.”

    “Can I please do it?” Begs Artemis, her devious glee is flowing in waves.

    “If you want.” I stand and approach the translucent wall. “I just need to ask, what Hal wants us to do.”

    “You better not be thinking, of linking back up with him!” Ollie slaps the back of my head.

    “M’gann barely got you out of that.” Robin adds, his voice still shaking.

    “Yeah but we got through to him in the end and M’gann can link with me, from the beginning this time.” I insist firmly. “He kept me sane until M’gann and you all reached me. I’m not leaving him in that nightmare.”

    “No.” M’gann denies me, which I admit hurts. “You are empathetic primarily.” Oh. “You’re linking with me and I, will go into Hal’s mind.” It’s really hot, when she’s so confident in herself.

    “Yes dear,” I relent, realizing I will never win this fight. Her eyes glow again, as her mind enters Hal’s private agony.

    “I’m sorry you keep getting the fallout from my bad luck,” Oliver groans in frustration, gesturing at everyone. “And I mean all of you, it’s not safe knowing me. The longer you hang around, the worse it will be for each of you.”

    “Someone’s full of himself.” Lena is laughing, bent over and slapping her thigh. “I was a clone before you even got stuck on that island.” Ollie stops talking.

    “Roy was cloned because the Light was going to take you all down.” Lena is glaring at Green Arrow. “Don’t you dare put all of this on some stupid curse you believe in. Have you saved the world by yourself yet?” she gets right in his face, poking him in the chest.

    “No? So you clearly haven’t ruined everyone’s lives by yourself either. Each of us makes our own choices and the world reacts.” She takes a step back, her anger nearly burnt out. “You are acting like a Luthor. Thinking everything can only occur, because of you and the choices you make.”

    “Hal wants us to turn off his life support.” M’gann interrupts, her voice shaking. “He said his ring will return to Oa and inform the Corp.”
  5. Disminded

    Disminded Versed in the lewd.

    Apr 5, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Mad respect to Mercy. Getting her arm torn of but still comforting the kid who did it? Boss move.

    Of course, it’s Lex saying this, so may or may not be true.
    Flightless Man likes this.
  6. Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Lex always had a weird amount of loyalty to her. I wanted a reason he felt her worth getting the high tech laser arm. She has impressed me in every version of her since StAS.
  7. Threadmarks: Episode 19: Halloween
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 19: Halloween
    New York
    October 27, 2010
    4:04 PM, EST

    “Why are we all dressing up and going to a high school dance?” Kaldur asks with a confused look. “Lena, you, and myself, do not attend any high school.”

    “Because Billy invited us all and Halloween is my favourite holiday.” I plead with the morose Atlantean. “I need this after nearly three weeks of torture.”

    “Okay.” He relents, with an amused smile on his face. “I guess I should attempt surface customs.”

    “That’s the spirit.” I reach for a high five, that he grudgingly returns. “Kon can even come, as long as he wears a mask.”

    “Wally wanted me to be an anime magical girl.” Zatanna sighs, looking through the racks. “Sailor Mercury, feel like an appropriate fit. She’s really more of a science magic cross.”

    “Here.” Artemis shoves a Terminator costume at Kon. “Now you have massive glasses, half your face will be covered in metal, and you have a reason to keep your mouth shut most night.”

    She’s forgiven him, but he’s really getting my old harassment now. It’s kind of hard for her to mess with me, after what I just went through.

    “It feels weird dressing as a robot, after the whole Amazo thing.” He whines, but accepts the costume.

    “You can run off to Kyla, after the dance.” Teases Megan, as she holds up a Black Widow costume.

    <I approve.> I send a wave of desire her way, which has her blushing.

    “You can definitely pull it off,” Donna gives her own approval. “Connor can even go as Hawkeye, if you want to do a couples costume.”

    “Fine by me,” I grab my own outfit, from the Marvel movie rack.

    “I don’t really dress up,” Lena tries to deny, but I can feel her want for the Vampire Slayer clothing. “Buffy is low key. I’ll go as that, if you’re making me dress up.”

    “We are,” Giggles Robin, as he grabs his prize and conceals it from us. “It’s team bonding.”

    “Hiyah!” Cries Billy, in his newly bought Goku costume. “I’m so wearing this home, I look so cool.”

    “What about you Gretchen?” Donna asks softly. “Anything catch your fancy?”

    “Would you pick one with me?” The shy girl whispers back. “I don’t want to stand out by myself.”

    “Of course,” Agrees the Amazon, looking for an appropriate choice.

    “I got mine.” Raquel holds up a bag. “You can all find out what I am, at the dance.”

    “While I’m going as Alice in Wonderland.” Admits Artemis, grabbing the blue dress.

    “Now we don’t feel so childish, choosing Dorothy from Oz.” Mary-Jane has her own choice up, grinning happily.

    Happy Harbour
    October 31, 2010
    6:21 PM, EDT

    The world that denies thee.” A middle aged white man with short brown hair, chants in the back of his costume shop.

    Thou inhabit.” He waves a sprig of burning hair, over a bowl of wine.

    The peace that ignores thee.” His voice thrums with invoked power.

    Thou corrupt.” He traces a series of demonic runes, over a map of the city in blood.

    Chaos.” In his purple robes, he begins to dance around a bust of a two headed god.

    As ever.” He throws a cloud of powdered bone, onto the statue.

    I am your faithful.” The man approaches a table, with a bound and naked Kent Nelson.

    Degenerate son..” “Finishing the ritual, he slashes the old man’s throat.

    As the magically potent blood activates the magic, the statue comes to life and my master returns to the mortal plane.

    “Oh Ethan, you did splendid.” Klarion cackles in glee. “Tonight will be ever so much fun.

    “Mreeow.” I remind Klarion of my presence.

    “Oh yes Teekl, the children will suffer for hurting you.” He pets his familiar, giggling menacingly. “And everyone will wonder, what happened to the little annoyances.”

    Artemis Crock
    November 26, 1865
    ?:?? ?M, WLT

    “Aaaahhh!” My first reaction, is to scream.

    One moment everyone was walking into the school and the next, I was falling through a black void. My careening plunge, is delayed when my dress catches the air and slows my fall.

    The blackness around me, soon is illuminated by a light from below. As I realize I am staring at hundreds of clocks, my ass collides with something. A rocking chair, has broken my fall bringing me safely to the floor below.

    My first thought, is that someone had to have spiked the punch. When I remember I never had any, my second guess is that Zatanna is playing some kind of prank. This is absurd, but it all feels to real to deny.

    I stand up slowly, expecting the hardwood floor to collapse beneath me. When it remains a normal floor, I step towards the small round table. On a silver tray, is a cup of steaming tea and a scone.

    “You really don’t expect me,” I shout into the room, my ire growing. “To eat some random and likely poisoned food, do you?”

    The food vanishes as does the tray. The door barely big enough for a house cat, grows back to normal human scale.

    “That’s what I thought,” Grumbling to myself, I step through the doorway and find myself in surreal landscape.

    Vibrant orange grass is everywhere, growing as tall as my waist. The door I emerged from, has vanished from the tree it was on. Left with no way back, decide to get a better vantage.

    I climb the tree, reaching up into the blue leaves and climbing higher still. By the time I reach the top, my arms are aching. I was not prepared for a five story climb.

    “Where the hell am I?” I stare over a forest of blue trees, that part around a river of amber. Behind me the orange grass, extends into the distance forming a vast prairie. I can barely make out the shape of a castle, at the very edge of my sight range.

    “Oh no. Oh no.” A white man sized rabbit in a green suit, races along a barely visible trail. “Can’t be slow, or she will know.” He reaches the edge of the grass, pausing as he decides which fork to take.

    “Hey you!” I call down at him, sending him racing into the woods.

    “I don’t want to die!” He shrieks in fright.

    “Come back here!” Yelling after him, I fire my grapple line into a tree in the rabbits path. “I just want to talk!” He refuses to stop, clearly terrified for his life.

    “Won’t trick me, you fiendish she!” Yelling at me over his shoulder, the bunny man picks up his pace. “The Queen’s messengers, keep ending up dead. And I very much like my head!”

    Growing tired with the chase, I force myself into a sprint. Closing the gap between us ever so slowly, I pounce.

    “Alas this is the end,” He plays dead, splaying himself on the ground.

    “Nice try,” I laugh at the attempt, grabbing him by the ankles and lifting him into a handstand. “But now its time to tell me, what the hell is going on.”

    “A lass is threatening me, that’s what.” He spits on my shoes, struggling to kick free.

    “So tell me where I am and how to get home.” Growling out my demands, I squeeze his ankles and make sure my point is made clear. “Or I’m having rabbit stew.”

    “We’re in Wonderland of course, the Heartland’s to be specific.” He whimpers out a reply, leaving me stunned.

    Artemis Crock
    November 26, 1865
    ?:?? ?M, WLT

    I may have lost he rabbit, but the trail through the woods is easy to follow. It lead me towards a small clearing, with the Mad Hatter’s tea party in full swing.

    Two large men dance around the table, singing nonsensically to themselves. One has blue overalls over a yellow shirt, while his twin’s colours are reversed. A nearly ten foot long green caterpillar, is coiled around one end of the table and puffing from a hookah.

    A pair of yellow and orange ringed eyes, float above a massive smile. The features have no face, but I know it’s the Cheshire Cat. One eye rolls around completely, staring directly at me.

    “It would seem my friend,” The purple form of the feline, shimmers into view talking to a shockingly young Hatter. “That the guest of honor, has finally arrived.”

    “Oh this is splendid.” I recognize the kids face, I saw him at the party a few weeks ago. ”I thought this dream was getting rather bland.”

    Marvin I think was his name, is wearing a long red coat. On his head is bright lime green top hat and he looks to be fully invested, in the strangeness of the night.

    “Tweedle Dee, Dweedle Dum.” Marvin snaps his fingers wildly, gesturing my way. “Grab our guest and give her a seat. It’s time for the party to begin.” His oversized goons, happily saunter towards me.

    “I know how this movie goes,” I snarl, kicking the first of the Tweedles in the solar plexus. “If you can change things, so can I!” Cartwheeling past the second thug, I take off running.

    Ignoring the well lit path, I sprint past the tree line and vanish into the woods. When I reach a creek of the bubbling honey like fluid, I leap and grab an overhanging branch. Before my pursuers can catch my trail, I hoist myself into the canopy and hold my breath.

    “Catch her you fools!” The shrieks of Marvin, carry through the forest. “My Alice finally came and you let her get away!” His voice is nearly sobbing now. “This was supposed to be my dream, but it’s turning into a nightmare.”

    Below me, The lumbering oafs run past. Riding the caterpillar, is the teen who is desperate to find me. I have to contain my laugh, when his mount runs through a bramble bush.

    “Ah. Ow. Wrong way, you ignorant insect” His pained yelps, have me smiling in glee.

    When I can no longer hear them, it has to be at least twenty minutes later. I start to breath normally again, searching for a hand hold back down to the ground.

    “It was awful rude of you,” A voice purrs from above me. “To run away like that.” The Cheshire Cat, is laying on the branch above me. “Should I go and get our friends?”

    “No thanks,” Stammering out a surprised reply, I curse my lack of weapons.

    “Well that sounds boring.” The purple feline pouts at me. “How about a hunt instead?”

    “I haven’t really seen very much alive in these woods.” I tilt my head, wondering what the game would be.

    “Of course not little Tigress,” He purrs again, before blinking.

    When he does, his body vanishes from view. When his eyes reopen, his body also reappears and it’s now twice the size of the largest tiger.

    “I get ever so hungry,” He snarls down at me, then begins licking his lips. “Let’s give you a thirty second head start. That sounds exciting.”

    I don’t respond, already running along the branch. When I get low enough, I leap across the creek and roll along the ground. Not slowing down, I spring to my feet and tear a slit in my dress.

    “You’re going to be fast food, I can tell.” The predator behind me, laughs in delight.

    Dick Grayson
    Cloud City
    3 ABY
    ?:?? ?M, IGT

    One second I’m walking into the high school, the next I’m in the pilot seat of an advanced aircraft. Clouds fill the sky, blocking my view of every direction. Before I can freak out and crash, I hear the now comforting voice in my head.

    Richard Grayson.” The snide Scarab, whispers in my thoughts. “Allow me direct control, or we shall crash.”

    <You can focus on giving me instructions,> I counter his suggestion and grip the controls. <It’s not that much more advanced than the Bat-plane.>

    If you insist.” The snarky AI relents, used to my constant denial. “Adjust these settings.” I do as instructed.

    “Whoa, the engines not making that click-click noise anymore.” A woman grabs my arm. “What did you do?”

    “Wraaaagggghhh” A bestial roar I recognize as a Wookie, sounds from behind me and somehow I understood him. “He stopped over clocking the backup engine.”

    “Just wanted to hear myself think.” I grunt out a reply, the Scarab keeping my nerves from reacting.

    “They want us to land on flight deck six.” Princess Leia informs me and holy Millennium Falcon Batman, I’m in Starwars.


    “We’re going to be betrayed at dinner tonight,” I inform Chewbacca. “So send a message to Luke now, telling him to hoof it here. Vader’s on his way.”

    “Then why are we staying?” The princess starts to worry. “We have time to escape.”

    “Because they wanted to trap us, the force being sent in is small.” I reply, working off my knowledge of the movies. “I’m taking out Vader here and now.”

    When they start to freak out about my suicidal plan, I throw Leia the key to the Falcon. This has everyone shut up, allowing me to take charge again.

    “He’s going to have the Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett with him, when Vader ambushes us tonight.” The Scarab has wanted to test it’s skills against these hypothetical warriors, ever since watching the movies from my eyes.

    This will be an excellent test of our capabilities, with no worry of observation from the Heroes.” The Scarab whispers in glee, which has me grinning as well.

    “If I take out Vader,” I grab Leia’s hand, living out the dream of so many nerds. “You’re taking me out to dinner.”

    “Why are you giving me the key, if you’re so confident.” She’s shocked at Han’s sudden change of attitude.

    “You mean a lot to the rebellion and Chewie is the best friend a guy could have.” I look to C-3P0 and smile. “Even Goldie here should get to choose.” Firestorm had raised a good point. The droids have intelligence, but few rights of any kind.

    “Really?” The droid is shocked as well. “I had not realized, you cared.”

    “Every person gets to make the choice on their own.” I grab one of his golden hands and shake it. “The rebellion would have failed, if you and R2 had given up before finding Luke.”

    “My medals on the ship, I want you to have it.” I look Chewie in the eyes and smile. “You get them out of here and send that message to Luke.”

    The Scarab may be confident, but I have very little. We need to delay the end of the fight, as long as possible. Luke and I, can take them down together.

    Chewie roars in anger, but grabs the princess under his arm. She beats on his furry limb, but he leads C—3P0 away. I showed him the Scarab armour, while Lando was giving the others a tour. Chewie is mad, but resigned and has already sent the message to Luke.

    "This isn't how the movie goes!" I hear her shriek at the Wookie, but its too late to ask who she is. The plan has already been decided.

    Once they are gone from ear shot, I scurry into an air shaft and begin setting charges in key locations. It’s going to be a drawn out marathon battle, so I need to rig the field to my advantage.


    When Lando comes to get us, I signal to everyone on the Falcon and the lift off. He looks concerned at my solitude, so I cut to the chase.

    “Better start evacuations on this section of the city.” He stops walking and stares at me with eyes wide open. “You’re here to tell me Vader and his goons are here, right?” I stare him down and his lips begins to shake.

    “You came to say how we need to turn this into a win for the rebellion and that’s why the section is rigged to explode, when I press this button.” I hold up a detonator and smile deviously. “Like I said, begin evacuations and go hide somewhere safe. I’m going to dinner.” Lando rushes to alert his staff, while I strut down the hallway and whistle a tune.

    <Ready to finally see what you can do, with no holding back?> I turn my thoughts inward, anticipating how badly this can go.

    Indeed I am, Richard Grayson.” Scarab responds eagerly. “This will be a learning experience for you as well. Seeing how a true warrior can use this body.

    As I walk towards the ambush site, I grant the Scarab full control for the first time. The black and blue armour, covers my body. My optical display, shows only a small force inside the room.

    “Lesson one.” Both of my arms rise, of the Scarabs accord. “Turn the ambush to your own favour. All your enemies are in a single location.” My arms combine and form into a massive cannon, charging an EMP wave. A rocket fires from my shoulder, blowing the door into scrap and allowing me to fry the electronics in the room.

    “Lesson two.” My arms reform into a pair of plasma mini-guns. “Overwhelming force is nearly always the superior option.” The cannons fire into the room, blowing the storm troopers out the shattered window.

    One hand becomes a normal appendage again, pressing down on the detonator a single time. Causing the explosive charges in the floor, to detonate in a shower of radioactive plasma.

    Of course it couldn’t have been that easy. Vader is leaping through the blast, red glowing sabre drawn.

    April 11, 2012
    2:08 PM, EST

    I recognize the feeling of my entire reality shifting mid blink. Finishing the motion, reveals I’m now in a hover-jet of some kind. My bow is drawn and an explosive arrow is on the string.

    “Take the shot.” A man in black combat gear, orders from behind me. “We don’t have long before SHIELD notices us.”

    I know where I am now. I’m Hawkeye and in the Avengers movie, which released two years early in the world I have been living in. Making a snap decision, I turn and fire at the floor and leap backwards into the sky.

    <Hey. It’s me.> I can feel M’gann’s mind on the flying aircraft carrier. <Tell Ironman I broke free from Loki’s control and blew up the attack ship. Oh and tell him I don’t have a parachute please.>

    M’gann M’orzz
    April 11, 2012
    2:09 PM, EST

    As klaxons begin blaring and signal nearby hostiles, I grab Tony Stark’s arm. Connor was able to fill me in quickly, hopefully I can convince Ironman before he goes splat.

    “Hawkeye broke free of Loki’s control.” He stops and stares at me, as do the other Avengers. “He took out the enemy aircraft, but he doesn’t have a parachute.”

    When he doesn't move fast enough, I force the relevant information into his mind. His vast intellect, allows him to react faster than my Team usually does and activates his armour.

    “I’ll go rescue our wingless Hawk,” He agrees, but wags his metal finger my way. “But you’re telling me exactly what he hell you just did, when I get back here.” My fervent nod, is enough to have him racing for the exit.

    “”Well I want to know now!” Bruce Banner yells, his former target is gone and he wants a new one.

    “Hey calm down Doctor Banner,” Captain America attempts to draw the ire his way.

    “The scepter is a mind control device and we have all been exposed to it.” I point at the glowing staff, which gets Bruce to pause.

    It doesn’t last long, he soon snarls again and begins changing green. Let’s see how he likes a green me. I shift my body into my false green Martian form and blast his brain with memories of the pet store at the mall.

    It slows him down for a moment, allowing the Captain to roll under a wild blow from the Hulk. Capitalizing on the delay, I continue to barrage him with the good memories I have made on Earth with my friends.

    It doesn’t calm him down, but it makes him sluggish in his reaction time. This allows the Captain to flip the release on the sleeping gas valve. A cloud of the gas spray into Hulk’s face, making him stumble back and forth.

    “Think of the puppies.” I remind the emerald giant, sending him another wave of memories. These ones are specifically of the puppies the store had for adoption.

    Lena Luthor
    October 31, 1998
    8:09 PM, EST

    When I open my eyes and find myself on a suburban street, I instantly take in the crowd panicking. People all around me, are being terrorized by an assortment of generic monsters. Rushing forward, I react on instinct.

    “To me!” Yelling into the night, I challenge the creatures. “I will keep you safe!"

    While this sends the civilians to me, it also brings the monsters. At least Buffy’s clothing, is decent for fighting.

    I land an uppercut on the jaw of some kind of Frankenstein, which has him sailing across the street. While the crowd is happily stunned, I rush through the crowd of monsters. They fall easily and soon the street is free of any visible threats.

    “Let’s get you all inside,” I assure the crowd, that I have everything under control. “Someone spiked the water and that’s why so many people are freaking out.” I use one of the standard excuses from the show, not really caring if anyone really believes me.

    “Who put you in charge?” Harmony the blonde bimbo, demands in a huff.

    “I did.” I don’t have time for this. “Either listen, or leave.” She attempts to think about it, before finally shrugging and falling inline.

    “Buffy!” I hear the recognizable voice of Willow, calling for the body I inhabit.

    “Alright I was wrong,” Xander in his soldier costume, grunts a greeting. “You look like a lot more, than the damsel in distress I was expecting.”

    “Glad you approve,” I address him briskly, before turning to the ghostly Willow. “I’m not Buffy either, but I am up to speed.”

    “Oh...” The redhead girl stammers out. “That saves time.”

    “This is only season two and I’ve seen all seven, plus Angel’s spin off.” I don’t care about blowing anyone’s world, I’m in a television show. “I know how to end the spell.”

    “What?” Willow asks, her forehead wrinkled in confusion. “How?”

    “You just these people to Giles,” I reassure her with a smile. “I’ll take care of everything I can in an hour, before I end this trick.”

    She tries to ask questions, but If this is real I don’t want to get slowed down. I need to change what I can before I break the statue. If this is only a show I’m in right now, then I have no reason to explain myself.

    “Willow, it’s fine that you like girls.” I rush out what I think will matter in the long run. “You and Xander can check them out together.”

    “Um, thanks?” Willow is shocked into near silence, at my blunt approach.

    “Xander. I’m sure if you can’t hear this, Willow can tell you.” She nods when I look at her, so I continue. “Cordelia checks you out, nearly as much as you do her. Stop being mean to each other and you could be amazing.” I snap my fingers, turning to Harmony.

    “And you, stay away from creepy tough guys.” She blinks in confusion, which I assume is a common look for her. “A jealous ex will kill you at graduation.” She should at least be able to remember a warning that blunt.”

    “Speaking of jealous exes,” I round on Willow and Xander again. “Don’t cheat on Cordelia, or a Vengeance demon gets summoned. Ask Giles about them.”

    “What’s going on?” Willow babbles out a response. “Are you from the future?”

    “Yes.” I don’t have time to explain multiverse theory, or any of my ideas fro what is going on. “And you better not even think of CURSING a vampire with an innocent soul!” My yell, shocks her back into silence.

    “In fact I would avoid magic in general, without a proper coach. You don’t want to end the world, do you?” Willow shakes her head in the negative. “Good, now get these people somewhere safe.”

    My work done, I rocket towards the library, intent on doing a repeat performance on Giles. I blur into the room of books, and glare daggers at the Watcher.

    “Nothing personal and please tell Willow I’m sorry for how rude I was. We all do a lot of good and save the world a few times.” Giles starts to talk, but I shush him.

    “I don’t have a lot of time. I have future knowledge and I have to use it, before I end Ethan’s spell.” He springs up, in equal parts rage and worry. “I’m doing to handle it, don’t worry.” I hold him back, with a firm hand on his shoulder.

    “You need to deal with Eghyon and tell Jenny Calendar – if that is her real name – about him.” Jenny and Giles should have had a future together. “I won’t care that she’s her to punish Angel, if she admits it before something goes wrong. And make sure my mom gets regular brain scans, she only has a few years.” Giles starts writing this down, frantic to not miss anything.

    “Army will be running secret experiments on demons, in about two years and a hell goddess shows up the year after that.” I try and think of anything else worthwhile. “Oz is the werewolf, Don’t let Kendra die in the spring, and don’t forget, Angel’s soul is a curse and curses are broken.”

    “Is that everything?” He’s taking down my words, as fast as he can.

    “Jonathan and Amy really need friends and both know or learn magic, invite them to help research at least.” Giles nods and jots this down.

    “Aside from that, the mayor is over a hundred and is going to ascend into a true demon.” When he starts freaking out, I stop him. “Don’t worry, I’m taking care of him and Spike tonight.”

    I bur away, while Giles is taking down notes. In the small town of Sunnydale, it’s easy to find the Mayor Wilkins office and grab him. I bring him to he beach and fling him as far out to sea as I can.

    Once I have him dealt with, I rush through the town and listen for Spikes voice. Narrowing on on him, I land beside him before he has left the warehouse district. I blast him with my heat vision, which turns him to ash and then I unleash it on every vampire in the vicinity. Twenty six in total, including Drusilla got fried.

    “Let’s finish this.” I crack my knuckles and head towards the costume shop.

    Crashing through the back door, I grab Ethan Rayne in a one handed throat grab. He starts to struggle, so I sever his arm with my heat vision, cauterizing it instantly.

    “No more Eghyon.” I ignore his screams, and smash the statue of Janus.

    When I do, reality warps around me and I find myself in the same location. Except Ethan has both arms again, something I will soon fix. Behind him on a bloody altar is Kent Nelson’s body and Klarion the Witchboy.

    Happy Harbour
    October 31, 2010
    9:15 PM, EST

    I find myself suddenly back at the high school, standing inside the entrance to the gym. The crowd of teens all beginning to panic at the surreal experience.

    “What the hell just happened?” One of the frightened kids screams, which sets the whole lot of them off.

    “Did you all just get sucked into a movie?” Asks Dick, his eyes darting around the room. “Because I was in Starwars.”

    “Yeah!” Billy enthusiastically claims. “It was so cool fighting in the tournament. Tien blinded me, and he could make copies of himself.”

    “We can discuss it once we calm the crowd,” Kaldur speaks up urgently. “They seem close to rioting.”

    The ground starts to tremble and the lights all go dark. A thunderous bang sounds in the middle of the gymnasium and soon a spiral of energy forms in the air.

    Its forms a portal, soon depositing four figures on the hardwood flood. One is a kind of recognizable, middle aged man and the others I know.

    Klarion and Teekl land softly, while a writhing Lena, is levitated after them. She’s barely aware of the change in location, her moans of pain are all she can really focus on.

    <Get the Klarion outside,> I instruct the Team. <We can’t afford to fight him in the crowd.>

    <On it.> Billy assures me, before screaming his magical words.

    “SHAZAM!” Klarion’s speech is interrupted, by a bolt of magical lightning.

    Cadet Marvel surges at the Chaos Lord, sending both through the roof and outside. When he makes his thunderous appearance, the crowds fear turns to cheers.

    <Rescue formation six.> I order the Superfriends and spring towards the man Klarion brought.

    His cackles of glee and his feelings of enjoyment at the crowds panic, have me introduce myself with a powerful punch. His eyes roll back in his head and he flips through the air, landing in a heap on the ground.

    “I was expecting more, from one of Klarion’s minions.” I grunt to myself in surprise.

    “Everyone!” Robin on a table, yelling to the students. “Follow us out the rear exit, our Team will keep you safe!”

    Kon is at his fallen sisters side, checking her for serious injury. Tigress and M’gann, are working with Dick to direct the crowd.

    Following the rest of my Team back out the front doors, I can see the battle is definitely not in our favour. Donna and Billy are failing to get close enough to land a clean shot. Firestorm and Zatanna, are not doing much more, their magic unable to penetrate his shield.

    “Trickshot to Watchtower.” I patch in to the emergency frequency. “Klarion’s at the Happy Harbor high school. Get hold of Doctor Fate.” Not waiting for Red Head’s response, I start searching for the cat.

    Kaldur is facing off with it, his trident doing a fair job of keeping the now massive feline at bay. Kaldur’s darker side, has come to the surface and he is fighting to kill.

    <Behind you.> Sending him a warning, I fire a volley of skunk spray arrows.

    “Thank you, for the assistance.” My Atlantean friend calls back at me, as he leaps over my foul smelling missiles.

    They collide with the grass near Teekl’s feet, spraying the concentrated fumes into the air. My regular nose can barely stand the smell, I can only imagine how the cat of Chaos is feeling.

    It releases a yowl of irritation, before leaping from the cloud. Slamming into me, it sends the pair of us tumbling along the field.

    “Allow me to return the favour!” A blast of water, forces the chaos spawn off of me and bouncing along the ground.

    “We need to take out the cat,” I take Kaldur’s offered hand and let him pull me to my feet. “It should banish Klarion for a good while.”

    “I remember the words of Kent Nelson.” He assures me, narrowing his eyes as the cat returns for more. “It is why I am not facing the Witchboy myself.”

    It’s moment’s like these, I really appreciate Kaldur. His calm and focused demeanour, has me confident I am not alone in guiding my Team.

    I may give orders, but they all outshine me in so many ways. It’s a relief knowing I am not needed, they could do this without me. According to the show, my changes have only made things worse. A lot of people died, who should still be alive.

    Heck maybe it’s time I take a sabbatical and finish the mission for Dubbilex. I need to keep my side of the bargain, he said he could explain my origin. No one else even has an idea of my real origin, M’gann thinks it was worst case scenarios of my own.

    I hate lying to her, but I have started forgetting what the people I knew looked like. I can almost convince myself, I really am just a clone. One who has an original to find.

    Pluto’s words may have eased my mind about Roy’s survival, but my guilt has been growing everyday. I have his life. This should have been his Team, if the Light never got him.

    Kon, M’gann, and I, are the only ones who know. I need to be a real man and realize if I really intend to do this, I can’t do it alone. I have friends who have already shown the willingness to save me, let’s give them the chance to choose.

    “Once this is over.” I make up my mind, choosing to trust in my friends. “I need to talk to everyone. I need some help.”

    “I am pleased you are learning to rely on us,” Kaldur replies, slashing a clean hit on Teekl’s side. “M’gann is doing a good job, of getting you to open up and trust those who care for you.”

    “Only so many times a guy can wake up, with all his friends worried about him.” Bashfully I admit my realization, one I had only made in the last few days. “Before he has to admit to himself, I can’t do everything myself and I have some amazing people I can ask.”

    “My friend,” Kaldur strikes through the chaotic cat’s back, pining it to the ground. “We shall aid you, in any way we are able.”

    He roars, his tattoos glowing a bright blue. A surge of energy flows through the trident, entering Teekl and freezing the feline solid.

    “Would you care to do the honours?” He removes his weapon, stepping back with a feral grin.

    “How kind,” Replying with a smirk, I fire a trio of explosive arrows at the ice block.

    The simultaneous detonation, send pieces of ice and frozen cat rain down on Kaldur and I. A shriek of inhuman fury, comes from Klarion.

    “You pieces of filth, have annoyed me one too many times!” The Chaos Lord, sends tendrils of orange electricity surging towards me and Trident.

    It collides with us, sending the pair of us soaring into the air. We reach maybe for stories, before gravity reclaims us. The chaotic energy still coursing though us, keeps either of us from softening the fall.

    Colliding with the ground hurts... a lot. I groan face down in the dirt and force myself to my knees. Spitting out a glob of blood, I feel Kaldur slam into me.

    Fireball impacts the place we had just occupied, thankfully Kaldur recovered in time. I’m nearly useless at this point, all I can really do is watch helplessly.

    “This town reeks of your influence!” A golden flash of light appears above the school, revealing Doctor Fate. “It is time to bring Order to this night.” A beam of energy fires from his fingers, forcing Klarion to break of his own attack.

    “I’m not on your level anymore Nabu!” The Chaos Lord taunts with a roar. “I’m multi-classing now!”

    A pillar of blackish purple magma, rises from the ground and slams into a hastily conjured ankh. The golden shield, crumbles to the power of Klarion’s attack and crashes into Abra Kadabra’s body.

    <We can’t let Klarion take out Nabu.> My urgency floods the link and thankfully someone is able to respond.

    “Raaaagh!” Kon’s roar of rage, comes from the roof of the school.

    He’s floating above the building and glaring swords, at the distracted Klarion. Kon wastes no time, vanishing from sight and reappearing with a sonic boom.

    Appearing a few feet above Klarion, leaves him free to deliver a two handed blow to the Lord of Chaos’ face. Klarion smashes into the dirt, creating an impact crater and yelling in rage.

    Fate wasting no time breaking free, binds Klarion with golden chains. This doesn’t stop the eldritch things fury, but it keeps him contained for Kon.

    “I am a god!” Klarion shrieks in childish rage. “”You shouldn’t be able to even lay a finger on me, you fleas!”

    Kon looks behind him, and sees a rather large portion of the students. They ignored the evacuation and doubled back to see the action.

    “Gods need to be believed in!” Challenges Kon, squaring his shoulders. “No one here even knows your name.”

    Klarion rises a few feet into the air, struggling with his restraints. His form begins to lose its humanity, becoming more demonic by the second.

    “I am Change, I am Chaos, I am Kl-” His words end suddenly, as a red line appears along his neck. His head tilts to the side and separates from his shoulders. Shining Knight behind him, her sword having cleaved through Klarion’s neck.

    “You are nothing.” Donna spits on the ashes, her rage beginning to abate.

    As the severed head falls, the body burns to ash and blows away in the wind. His head screams a final threat, before it to is nothing but scorched remains. A black shadow, rises from the remains and soars off into the sky, Doctor Fate in hot pursuit of the shade of Chaos.
    FateBurn and Disminded like this.
  8. Threadmarks: Episode 20: Remembrance Day
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 20: Remembrance Day
    Mount Justice
    November 5, 2010
    5:22 PM, EST

    Giving the signal for my friends to dig in, I try to enjoy the moment. Sensing my unease, M’gann grabs my hand under the table and squeezes it. Taking comfort from her, I look at the happy heroes and sigh.

    “I need to find the real Roy. He’s not dead.” Everyone stops talking, when I make the declaration.

    “Aren’t you the one who...” Artemis starts to say ‘the one who killed him’, but catches herself. “Told us he was dead?”

    “Pluto kind of told me he was still alive on Themyscira.” I admit, shame coursing from me at how long this has taken. “I put off doing anything, because at first we had so much to do.”

    “But it has been calm,” Kaldur gives me a knowing stare. “Giving us time to dwell on our failures.”

    “I have.” Running a sweaty hand through my hair, I force myself to continue. “I stole his life. After Halloween, I know you can handle things while I try and give it back to him.”

    “I thought you wanted to ask us for help.” I get a disappointed glare from the Atlantean.

    “I’m asking you to lead the Team, until I find the real Roy.” I exhale slowly, dreading the next step. “I’m giving my two weeks notice.” Kaldur should have lead this Team from day one, I keep getting people killed.

    “What about Wally?” Zatanna starts to worry, I did promise to help her get him back.

    “When Zatara or Fate find a way, I can be called back in.” I keep letting people down, what’s one more friend. “But you guys don’t need me anymore, I don’t think you ever did.”

    No one says anything for a moment, everyone shocked by my words. M’gann clears her throat and draws her own attention.

    “I’m giving my notice as well,” She gives everyone a hesitant smile. “If I don’t go with him, he’ll be back in a hospital bed inside a week.”

    “No kidding,” Laughs Artemis, getting the rest to start chuckling. “I think he’s just trying to get out of cooking. For someone as wise as he is, he makes a lot of stupid choices.”

    “Like this one?” Dick is glaring at me, his frustration shifting to anger. “You spend this whole time harping on us about teamwork, but you’re going off solo?”

    “What about joining the League?” Kaldur asks me, trying to reason with me.

    “I did hear Clark talking on the phone with Batman.” Kon is one of the few not judjing my choice, he’s only giving me the information he knows. “They plan on asking you to join with the next expansion on Christmas day.” The day after my birthday in my old life and the one I selected for my fake life as Connor Hawke.

    “Then I better find the real deal fast.” I shrug off the idea, I really don’t feel worthy of standing with the legends yet. I’m doing a good enough job toppling them from down here.

    “Stop calling him the ‘real’ Roy!” Lena surprisingly the one to yell at me, tears welling in her eyes. “We’re real!”

    “He might be the original, but I never met him.” Kon stares me down, daring me to argue. “I know the difference between fake and real. You’re real enough for me.”

    “I looked back at the dates, I never actually met him either.” Dick is staring at me, his eye narrowed and his arms crossed. “Besides you aren’t trying to live his life, you made sure we all knew the facts.”

    “Connor has always been my favourite name,” M’gann gives my hand still clasped in her own, another encouraging squeeze. “And you are my favourite person, no matter what you want us to call you.”

    “If you need to do this,” Kaldur addresses me warmly, a serious look on his face. “I will lead the Superfriends, until you return with Roy.”

    “Thank you,” I sigh in relief, glad they mostly seem to understand. “I am going to need Cheshire’s help,”

    “My sisters?” Demands Artemis, who narrows her eyes when I nod yes. “Why?”

    “She has knowledge of what I need to look out for and can hopefully point me in the right direction.” Shrugging, I explain my reasoning.

    “And stab you in the back once she’s done.” Scoffs the blonde girl. “Oh wait, my sister already did that.”

    “Well I wont invite her for a threesome this time.” I tease Artemis, who snarls at me.

    “You better not!” her ire is rising, but Kaldur ends my fun.

    “He is only riling you up, to settle his own nerves.” My chosen replacement, stares knowingly at me. “The League has come to rely on us, this is true, But most of us have taken time off, for things beside injury.”

    “I guess we can finally achieve a flawless mission.” Artemis teases in good humour, but it hits home hard.

    “I said you didn’t need me anymore.” I stand a give a half smile. “You’ll see how right that is soon.” I’m not cut out to be a hero. I don’t save people, I get them killed.

    Star City
    November 11, 2010
    11:10 AM, EST

    “Is your air conditioner down too?” Artemis barges past me. “Ours is fried.” Her mom follows her inside, both of them in shorts and tank tops.

    “So is ours,” M’gann calls from the bathroom, where she is laying in an ice bath in a bikini. “The solar flares are messing with a lot of electronics.”

    “Zeta beams are offline, due to atmospheric disturbance and magnetic pulses of the flares.” I grunt my own response, wiping the sweat from my brow. “Or we would have already gone, to hide out in our nice cool cave.”

    “This can’t be natural...” Artemis groans, accepting an already melting bar of ice cream. “It’s November!”

    “It’s not.” Ollie walks in, struggling to pull his leather bracers over his sweaty forearms. “Red T has traced the source to Cerdia, Santa Prisca, Rhealasia, Bogatago, and Agolea.”

    “Five enormous glass pyramids, are sending pulses of radiation into the sun.” Dinah walks wrings her hair out the window and what looks like a cup of sweat, falls from her golden locks.

    “Ladies. you get the one in Bogatoga and Connor and I, will be heading to Santa Prisca.” Oliver finally gets the last of his uniform on, turning to Paula. “Alright everyone, get ready to see my newest design.”

    He leads us to the roof, yanking a tarp from the answer to our lack of transport. Paula could fly us, but she would take hours. Speed is one of her weaker areas, but something John Stewart said Guy excelled at and was the main reason he wasn’t on earth.

    “Tad ah!” He waits for applause, which only I seem to be providing. “Well I know who’s getting the best Christmas present.” He grumbles and wipes the sweat from the back of his neck.

    “It’s six really big arrows.” Artemis grunts, shaking her head like a dog and sending drops of sweat everywhere. “Sorry we aren’t amazed.”

    He kicks a button on the back of one, causing a hatch to slide open at the top. It reveals an area big enough for two, with a pair of chairs. A jet extends from the back and a glass dome covers the cockpit.

    “Okay. I take it back,” Artemis concedes, while everyone else begins to clap finally “This is pretty cool.”

    “I call them...” Ollie pauses for dramatic effect. “The Darts.”

    “Mine’s the green one, black is for my pretty bird and red and white are for you two.” Green Arrow gestures to me and Artemis. “Blue and yellow are spares, M’gann and Paula can use them, for the trip to the cave.”

    Santa Prisca
    November 11, 2010
    2:46 PM, ECT

    As soon as the small island nation comes into view, I turn back to inform the rest of Epsilon squad. Icon, Rocket, Green Arrow, and the original Flash, is our five man group and everyone is dealing with the tension of waiting.

    Icon and Raquel, are going over last minute words of wisdom. Ollie and Jay are trading the good stories, trying to keep their minds off the waiting.

    “We got a visual,” I interrupt the conversations, pointing at the now visible island.

    “How did they build these in secret?” Asks Rocket and I have to agree.

    In the show, this was when the blizzard bases froze North America. Why is it a heatwave and solar flares? It disrupted our Zeta travel, was that all they needed?

    “We shall be finding out, once we have shut down the pyramid.” Icon calmly addresses his protege. “Our first priority, is to disable the radiation pulses being shot into the local star.”

    “Red Head’s info,” Green Arrow brings up a holographic display. “Says the power is coming from this compound.”

    A dull emerald light, coalesces into the shape of Santa Prisca. It replicates the satellite imaging of the island perfectly. The dormant volcano and expanse of jungle, separate the seven towns from Bane’s capital city.

    “You and Rocket, are going to drop us off at the pyramid and then shut down the power at the compound.” Jay Garrick puts on his winged helmet, giving us a confidant grin. “Oh, this really reminds me of Belgium back in 41’.”

    “We haven’t heard a peep from Bane in months,” Ollie warns Rocket and I. “We don’t know what he cooked up for us down their.”

    “I doubt he’s still in charge.” Contradicting him, I realize the League never checked it out. Kobra took over the island, around the time we had to hideout at Fate’s tower.

    Wally’s birthday is the perfect day, to realize how many things I have made worse. Wally should be saving a Queen today, not lost in the wind. A lot of people should still be here.

    I don’t think that Red Arrow, had even joined the Team by this time. The blame pretty obviously lays with the changes I made. What was I thinking? I had no right making choices for people I claim to care about.

    “Bane’s an egomaniac,” I finally explain my rationale. “No way he’s working with four other countries.”

    “Let’s find out, shall we?” Green Arrow tosses a salute our way, as I open the hatch for him.

    “Good luck.” Icon pats Rocket on the shoulder, before dropping from my Bio-ship and blasting off towards the glowing pyramid.

    Green Arrow fires a zip-line arrow, allowing Flash to race down the taut cord. Another pulse of radiation, surges from the glass structure and shoots towards the sun.

    “Ready to do this?” Closing the hatch, I double check with Rocket.

    She only has the normal level of stress, but neither of us are what anyone would consider a heavy hitter. Neither of us, can afford to be sloppy.

    “You know it,” Raquel responds with an anxious smile. “I’m curious how long it’s going to take, before you blow yourself up.”

    “I’ve only been in like six explosions,” I defend myself, sharing a chuckle with her at the absurdity of my claim.

    “Like Dick would say, you need to be more chalant about that kind of thing.” Her nerves are easing and just in time, for our own air drop.

    “Besides, didn’t you kill like a hundred clones of yourself and are one yourself?” Her tone is cautious, as she waits to see how I take the words. “Seems like any mission with you, has a habit of going wrong.”

    “Ha!” I burst out laughing, as I feel my own tension drain from my shoulders. “Glad someone finally had the guts, to say it out loud.” Now I know how everyone really feels being around me.

    “That’s not what I mean.” She corrects herself, with a scowl my way. “We all know you have a sixth sense, for finding the juicy stuff. I’m just glad I finally get to come on one of the secret missions.”

    “Let’s see if you say the same thing, if I blow this base up too.” I raise an eyebrow, reminding her of her own accusation earlier.

    “At least I’ll stop you from going boom with it,” She retorts with another laugh, before approaching the opening hatch. “It looks like they only have a skeleton crew.”

    Standing beside her, I view the compound as well. Only a handful of armed guards, are patrolling the base. A generating station, barracks, mess hall, and a few more normal buildings, are easily identified. What has me alarmed, is the bunker on the far side of the compound.

    “We have a lot of scared people inside that thing.” Pointing it out, Rocket agrees after a moments observation.

    “Looks like enough food, to feed a good twenty people.” She directs my gaze to a guard bringing a cart of supplies.

    “Can’t blow the base,” I sigh in frustration, because of course things got harder. “Until we can evacuate whoever is inside.”

    “Didn’t mean to jinx us,” Rocket tries to apologize, but I wave it off.

    “Don’t worry about it,” I give a sad smile. “Like you said. Everyone knows who brings the bad luck.” I don’t let her respond, leaping from the Bio-ship.

    <I’ll take out the patrol,> Informing Rocket, I start firing taser arrows. <Meet me at the bunker.>

    <I don’t think so,” She counters my order, flying ahead of me and firing a barrage of kinetic orbs. <We just went over how bad your luck is. I’m not telling M’gann I got you killed, two weeks before retirement.>

    <Fine,> I concede, before we waste any time arguing. <I’ll cover you, get the prisoners free.>

    <Let’s do this.> She shares her excitement, before we ambush the guard with the food.

    <Bane’s not sloppy like this.> I’m getting worried. <And if someone else took over... they have to be a lot better, or a hell of a lot stronger.

    <Eyes peeled, gotcha.> She acknowledges my warning, following me inside the bunker.

    “Kobra!” A pair of guards, open fire on us with assault rifles.

    “Guess we know who took over!” Rocket yells over the staccato of gunfire, her energy shield saving us both.

    When the soldiers run dry on ammo, they duck behind pillars and reload. I can see the entrance to the cells, so I can’t be too explosive down here.

    “Send the shield ahead of me.” I start running, knowing she will do it.

    The sphere of violet energy, follows me down the hall and bursts when I pass the Kobra goons. The wave of force, slams both into the wall and drops them to the floor.

    “Nice,” I call back to my mission partner. “One bird, two stooges.”

    Grabbing the keys from one, I open the prisoner wing. What’s the fastest way to get any of Kobra in here, to focus on me? I don’t want anyone being used as human shields and it looks like they have nearly a hundred choices.

    “Dónde está el baño?(1)” My very limited high school Spanish, is about to save the day. “Dos cervezas por favor y mi amigo va a pagar(2). Soy Canadiense!(3).”

    No one says anything, until I reach my final phrase. When I claim I am Canadian, the cheering begins. I want to believe that it’s love for my original home. But realistically, I know they would cheer for Atilla the Hun right now.

    “Sorry, but I don’t remember anymore Spanish,” I call into the crowd, when no one attacks me. “We’re going to get you folks out off here.”

    It doesn’t take long, four cells contained all of the hostages. When everyone is beginning to follow Rocket topside, I point at the final locked door.

    “What’s in that room?” I ask anyone, they all seem terrified of it's occupant.

    “La Ruina(4).” An elderly Hispanic man answers, fear and rage coursing from him.

    “Sounds bad.” I shake my head and follow the crowd, if the victims want it shut, maybe I should listen for once.

    Santa Prisca
    November 11, 2010
    3:21 PM, ECT

    “You ne... to... out of... now!” Ollie’s panicked voice crackles through the radio, the solar flares interfering with the signal.

    “What?” I try to keep the line open, but a discharge of static blows the circuits in my earpiece.

    <Did you understand what he was saying?> Asks Rocket, giving me pause.

    <No, but he seemed pretty freaked out.> While we try and get the malnourished civilians on board the Bio-ship, I pull one of the ones who speaks English aside.

    “Excuse me, sir?” The man in his mid twenties, smiles widely at me and nods.

    “Yes, what do you need my friend?” His accent is good, I assume Bane had him working on something important before all of this.

    “Why are all of you being kept at a power plant?” He laughs at my words, until he realizes I am serious.

    “This is no power plant.” He points to the North, where I can barely see the glow of the pyramid. “That is what Kobra created to power the country, with free and green energy.”

    “What is this place then?” It was using a lot of power, for Watchtower to pick it up. “It can’t just be for prisoners, you only took up a single building.”

    “This is where they have us make the rockets.” He points at what I had first assumed was the generating station. “The men mix the new chemicals, with Bane’s Venom and the women fill the weapons with them.”

    “And the kids?” I saw a handful getting shuffled on board.

    “Our test subjects.” A man hisses from behind me, causing me to throw the young man towards the Bio-ship. “We almost had to get more from the city, but the compound finally works.” Kobra, steps from the shadows.

    His pale scaly skin and slit yellow eyes, make him truly look part snake. He draws a curved blade, from under his dark red robes and lunges for me.

    Flipping over his slash, I land behind him and begin looking for openings. His form is excellent and I have no melee weapon, so I’m not putting money on myself.

    “Who are the missiles for?” I growl, throwing a cloud of dirt at his face.

    “Everyone!” Instead of leaving him blind, he finds me by smelling the air. He really went all in on the snake motif, he even has a forked tongue.

    “Let’s see how the little Kobra, handles a constrictor.” Trusting in my enchanted breast plate, I charge forward and take a blow to the torso.

    I breathe out a sigh of relief, when his poisoned blade snaps. I trust my friends work, but a sword to the chest would not be pleasant.

    “Arrgh!” Kobra screams in agony, as I wrap tightly around him and squeeze.

    “Beep.” I hear a muffled noise, that reminds me of a smoke alarms dying battery. “Beep. Beep.”

    “What is that noise?” I grunt from the strain of my hug. He doesn’t answer me, unless you count the sound of his back breaking an answer.

    “Beep. Beep. Beep.” Realizing the sound began when I presumably killed Kobra, I release him and leap backwards.

    “He triggered the rockets!” Raquel shouts from the ship, everyone finally on board. “We can’t let them take off!” She unnecessarily warns me.

    “I can blow them up from the ship,” I rush to her, leaving Kobra’s beeping body in the shadows. “Can your belt, contain the blast of...” I do some quick addition, as the roof of the factory opens. “Sixteen missiles?”

    “It’s going to have to, wont it.” Rocket pushes me onto the ship. “Now how are you going to do this? I didn’t think this thing had working weapons.”

    “It doesn’t.” I grab the Dart Ollie had presented to me this afternoon. “So I’m going to make my own missile.” I stretch my arms to the storage closet, grabbing my entire supply of volatile arrows.

    Dumping the entire lot of them into the cockpit, I give a mental command to G.U.S. and feel the Bio-ship rise into the air. The living spacecraft starts to rise, to a hopefully safe height.

    “You better do this soon,” Rocket warns me, pointing towards the missiles. “They look nearly locked on.”

    “Green Arrow is either going to kill me, for blowing up his gift,” I align the Dart and slam the ignition, sending it soaring towards one of the chemical weapons. “Or take all the credit for this.”

    It collides, exploding in a fireball much larger than I hoped for. It cascades into its neighbouring missiles, causing a chain reaction.

    “Now!” I remind Rocket, with a manly shriek.

    “Make sure I don’t fall out.” She steps onto the lower ramp, ignoring the wind blowing against and creates a ball of energy around the entire compound.

    Wrapping one arm around her waist, I throw my other around a part of the ship. Raquel is already shaking from the effort of maintaining the kinetic sphere.

    As the explosive force of sixteen missiles go off at once, Rocket refuses to give in. Her nose and ear are bleeding, from the strain being exerted on her. She may not be willing to give in, but her gear is another matter.

    “Raquel!” I try to warn her, to no avail.

    Her belt made from an advanced alien ship’s engine, begins to spark and smoke. Soon it glows violet, before the energy begins to disintegrate the belt from the inside.

    Instead of causing her energy field to vanish, it changes colour and grows in intensity. Now a brilliant and bright red colour, her kinetic energy barrier contains the blast for the entire duration.

    I guide the ship higher and higher, while Rocket carries the explosion with us into the sky. Everyone is quiet inside the ship, as we reach where the air thins. I can feel her struggle, as she throws the orb out of the atmosphere and into space.

    “Whoa... I did it.” Raquel mumbles to her self and falls backwards, the sphere of energy now dissolving safely in the blackness of space.

    “You sure did,” I agree with the words, and reel her back into the ship.

    “I need some room,” Warning the crowd, I carry her into the main area of the ship. One of the chairs, morphs into a bed and I gently deposit my friend on it. “Make sure she’s okay, I need to get us back down to Earth.”

    My words are followed without question, the crowd proud to be able to help their saviour. I collapse in the pilot’s seat. Raquel is a hero, no question about who saved the day.

    I definitely made the right choice leaving the Team, I killed Kobra and I don’t feel bad. It was an accident. I only wanted him to stop fighting back, but he’s dead and it was by my hand.

    Kaldur and Donna killed dangerous threats, enemies we had no hope of keeping secure. I killed because it was easier.

    “Trickshot to Green Arrow.” I try the ships radio, hoping for better luck. “Rocket kept the blast contained, all the way into orbit.”

    “Am I ever glad to hear that.” Ollie answers after a few seconds. “We got the pyramid smashed to pieces. So let’s rendezvous at the compound, make sure no one important sneaks away.”

    “Understood.” I end the transmission and groan into my fist. This is going to suck.

    When we finally arrive back at the military base, the prisoner has managed to free himself. In the short time we have been gone, Bane has ripped the Kobra cultists apart. We find him waiting for us, with a bloody boot planted on Kobra the leader’s crushed head.

    1: Where is the bathroom.
    2: two beers please and my friend will pay.
    3: I am Canadian.
    4: Bane.
    G.U.S. (Get Us Somewhere)
    shakeval likes this.
  9. Threadmarks: Episode 21: Carved in Stone
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 21: Carved in Stone
    Santa Prisca
    November 11, 2010
    4:47 PM, ECT

    “You have my thanks!” Bane yells up at me, as I weigh my choices.

    The rescued prisoners are terrified and I can feel my own nerves going haywire. Ollie and the others aren’t here yet, so I’m going to have to do the talking. I wrack my brain, for anything that may help me now.

    “I’ll let you and the chica live,” He declares magnanimously, rubbing his hands in anticipation. “Of course, you will have to return my subjects to me.”

    “He lies.” The overly excitable man who answered my questions, pours his rage out at the sight of Bane. “Life here, was no better under him. He made sport, of breaking us.” He opens his mouth in a snarl and I can see a single brass tooth gleam in the sun.

    “By allowing me to challenge this snake in single combat.” Bane spreads his arms wide and roars in triumph. “You have allowed me to reclaim my nation, by the laws carved in stone.”

    When a torrent of dread fills the ship, I swallow my own fear and do something stupid. If I leave him in power here, anything he does to these people is on my shoulders.

    “Your soul is as weak as your body!” I spit down at him, which has him growl in anger. “You couldn’t beat his champion, even hopped up on Venom. Now you claim my kill, like a snake!”

    “If you want to claim my victory, you will have to face me first.” He snarls at me, even as the civilians find their hope again. “Come and challenge me then boy, if you wish to deny me my prize.”

    “I’m more worried you need Venom, to take a piss.” I leap from the Bio-ship, landing near him in the dirt. “Can you at least make this entertaining? If Kobra beat you, I doubt it.”

    “Let’s see what sounds your spine makes.” He rushes for me, catching me when I try to roll around him.

    Once he has my arm in a grab, he lifts and slams my entire body into the ground. Instead of releasing me, he pulls back on me and lifts me into the air. Moving with his momentum, Bane starts spinning me.

    When he releases, I fly like a hammer throw and smash into the wall of the compound. Pushing myself to my feet, I spit out a glob of bloody saliva and curse my empty quiver.

    “I gave you a chance to leave!” Bane’s fist, collides with my gut. “But you had to spit on my offer.” Maybe not my best choice. I don’t know why I argued with him, he was covering for my kill. Except I know why I did. If he took credit for Kobra’s death, Santa Prisca would be his again.

    “Now I shall leave your broken body, as a warning to any other would be heroes!” He lifts my struggling body into the air, laughing at me the entire time.

    “No!” I hear Oliver yell, as he finally arrives.

    “To late.” Bane brings by body down, on his rising knee.

    Instead of a bone shattering snap, the sound of rubber slapping rubber fills the battlefield. Going limp and stretchy, my body folds around his leg and my legs slap against me head harmlessly.

    “I’m already spineless!” I ricochet my legs back, crashing them into Bane’s chin.

    In shock, he releases me and soars from the force of my kick. Crashing onto his back a dozen feet from me, I charge for him on all fours.

    He recovers before I reach him, but I’m playing dirty now. Instead of colliding with him, I only send a closed fist his way. Tossing a handful of sand in his eyes, I follow this with a left paw hay maker.

    I feel his nose shatter beneath my fist, which has him roar in pain. It doesn’t stop him though, it only infuriates him more.

    Blocking my next attack, he pulls me closer with my out stretched arm. When I’m close enough, he grabs my throat in a firm hold and squeezes.

    “Let’s make you as brainless as you act.” The muscles in his arm strain, as he chokes the life from me. “Since you have already proven to have no spine.”

    Desperate to live, I force my face forward and extend my neck suddenly. Like a hippo, I extend my jaw and combine my teeth into twisted tusks.

    “Raghr!” I roar, closing my jaw around his throat and yank backwards.

    Bane’s grip on me releases, as a shower of his blood coats me. I hear cheers from the Bio-ship, but horrified gasps from Green Arrow and Flash. Collapsing in the dirt, I groan in pain.

    Santa Prisca
    November 11, 2010
    6:12 PM, ECT

    “You’re king of Santa Prisca?” Green Arrow sounds as shocked as I feel, staring at the massive chunk of carve obsidian.

    Bane hadn’t been lying, when he said the laws had been carved in stone. I can’t understand the words he had carved himself into the two story stone, but they are fairly simple. Defeat the ruler in single combat and claim the crown.

    “He is,” The guy who has been my guide so far, explains with a deferential bow my way. “By killing both Kobra and Bane in single combat, none are willing to challenge his rule.”

    I feel worse about Kobra than I do Bane, one was an accident and one was in a life or death struggle. Even if this is apparently the law, I have no desire to rule. I can barely manage my own life, I have no right to lead a country.

    “Well my first order, is going to be figuring out how to give the power back to the people.” From inside the palace, I can see a pair of glowing yellow eyes.

    <This one, is pleased to see you again.> I hear Arenay’s familiar voice in my head. <Dubbilex said you had no reason to help us further, but you have continued to do so.>

    <I know I was part of the Team in Antarctica, but I haven’t done much.> I admit my lack of attention, to the bargain I had made.

    <This one, is free again by your hand.> She corrects me, sharing her delight at Kobra’s defeat. <As are the ones, this one came to save.>

    <More Genomorphs are on the island?> I share my confusion at the news.

    I get an image of the volcano, then the treeline at the base of it, and finally a series of mine shafts. Burly, four armed, green, Genomorphs push carts filled with gemstones and gold or copper ore.

    <This one, can now lead our kin to Dubbilex.> I start thinking, when she mentions this.

    <Do your people have a home yet?> They have suffered so much and Santa Prisca, has been horribly depopulated. <I’m kind of king here and I think you and the locals, could really help each other.>

    Before Bane took over, the population was seven hundred thousand. When Kobra took over nine years later, five hundred and twenty thousand remained. Not even six months into the cult’s rule, barely three hundred thousand are left.

    “Bane and Kobra, have more prisoners at the mines.” I speak up, which has the civilians murmur in surprise.

    “Kobra told us, the mine was too toxic even for slaves.” My friendly guide, explains the confusion I feel from the crowd. “They had to be automated, for any profit to be made from them.”

    “Automated by enslaved aliens,” I explain, as Arenay leaps onto my shoulder.

    “Meet Arenay.” The shocked crowd begins whispering, but I silence them. “She is one of the Genomorphs, her species was mutated by the organization Kobra serves. Her people are being forced to work the mines and highly toxic Venom factory.”

    “Her people have suffered more than anyone,” I move my gaze among the civilian crowd. “How about we offer then sanctuary and learn from each other.”

    <These ones, have technology to share and are willing to work for our place.> Arenay addresses the crowd, her desperation not so different from theirs. <We just want a home, where we are safe from further experiments.>

    “So here is how this is going to go,” I address everyone, my voice filled with a confidence I definitely do not have. “You’re going to set up elections, so next week you can have a leader you chose. The leader of the Genomorphs, will bring his people here and set up a city on the ashes of the Venom plant.”

    I get silence from the crowd, but I can feel the hope. Pressing forward, I outline my plan for the Genomorphs to be given full citizenship and how they will aid in Santa Prisca’s upgraded infrastructure. Bless Arenay for all the information being fed into my head.

    “Dubbilex will work as equals, with whoever you chose. In one year, you can have some non emergency elections and transition into a stable government.” I stop talking, which brings the questions.

    “What will prevent us,” My guide asks, with a wink at me. “From being conquered by the next super villain, as soon as you leave?”

    “Okay fine, we can be like the British.” I rub my temple, feeling a headache coming on. “Give all the power of the royal family, to whoever you elect next week. I can be like Wonder Woman, Santa Prisca’s super hero ambassador.”

    I can stand in as a figurehead for a week, while they transition into a self chosen government. I have to wait nearly that long before I can go after Roy anyway. Now that the League can operate on Santa Prisca, the civilians should be safer.

    Mount Justice
    November 11, 2010
    10:52 PM, EST

    “What took you so long?” M’gann greets me with a hug, when Rocket and I, descend the Bio-ship’s ramp.

    “Your boy here.” Raquel smirks at me. “Became a king.”

    “What?” M’gann holds me at arms length, demanding an answer with her eyes.

    “Green Arrow and Black Canary, are handling the Queen Industries relief efforts.” I explain, sharing the memories with the Team. “I’m getting the Genomorphs in the morning and bringing them to Santa Prisca.”

    “You do know what this means, don’t you?” Dick questions me, with an amused smirk. “You can’t really go on this hunt for Roy, you could start a war now.”

    “That’s what you think,” I respond with a chuckle, causing my face to lose all features.

    When I turn back and reveal my lack of a face, nearly everyone steps back in shock. I finally figured out how to get rid of everything but my mouth and eyes, which are now lacking irises.

    “The Question is, how will anyone conclusively connect me with the reclusive king.” I giggle, as my face reforms into the ken doll look.

    “Well if you are a king, you will need an honour guard.” Kaldur speaks and I know he is up to something, the twinkle in his eye is too devious. “It would be good publicity if Tigress, Superboy, and Robin, did this until you transition power.”

    “You guys aren’t letting me and M’gann go alone, are you?” I ask rhetorically, snorting at the grins of my friends.

    “Of course not, everyone knows you find the trouble.” Raquel reminds me of her words from earlier.

    “You aren’t the only one who was made in that lab,” Adds Kon, sharing an understanding smile. “Besides, you’re the one who said we’re cousins. The Kents would be very disappointed in me, if I let you go by yourself.”

    “I’m not going to let you run off and die.” Artemis frowns at the thought. “I just started getting used to you. I don't really trust my sister alone with you two, since last time some suggested a threesome and then got stabbed.”

    “Does this mean we are a princess?” Mary-Jane breaks the silence.

    “We’re not really related to him,” Artemis tries to explain, but the young gyndroid stops her.

    “But he gave us life.” Firestorm is certain of the claim and I’m starting to understand why, which makes me sick at how long this realization took.

    “We are a new person, we are not Serling,” The dual voices come through as one, the emotion clearly audible. “Father Is the one who created our soul with the Ruby of Life by breaking a piece off of mother Serling’s and mixing it with part of his own when she ceased.”

    “Why didn’t you say anything before now?” I start to exhale slowly, my heart constricting at another failure.

    “It was not clear to us at first,” They admit with a shy shrug. “Doctor Fate is the one, who explained the mystical connection to us a few weeks ago. How this is basically the same thing that happens during a pregnancy.”

    “It is why both Kon and us, have had a harder time adjusting.” Mary-Jane explains, their voice barely above a whisper. Our essences finished development, after we woke up.”

    “I have been feeling more... complete lately.” Admits Kon, while he examines my ‘daughters’ in a new light.

    We did not know how to bring it up.” Mary-Jane’s shoulders fold in defensively, as they explains their concerns. “By the time we realized the connection we shared, you had already sent us to live with Doctor Fate. We assumed, you did not want us around.”

    “Why did you choose the name Nelson and not Harper?” M’gann asks softly, her eyes darting between Mary-Jane and I.

    “Because Kent Nelson stepped in while we lived at his tower, besides father’s name is not Queen.” Firestorm explains sadly. “Can we please come home with you? Nabu only cares about our magical potential, not us as a person.”

    “Of course you can.” Taking a few unsteady steps towards Mary-Jane, I reach an arm out and pull her into a hug.

    “Thank you.” They wrap their arms around me hesitantly. “We don’t want to be alone, when you all go home tonight.”

    “Something has always bugged me about Wally’s speed.” Artemis breaks the awkward moment, by asking Zatanna an unusual question. “He ate a lot, but I can’t remember him ever using the bathroom.”

    “How do you think Kent and I, finally made him realize magic was real?” Zatanna giggles at the memory.

    “I was going to get a few hours of sleep here,” I speak to Mary-Jane softly, unsure of how to act. “Before I go to get the Genomorphs. You better get some sleep yourself, since you’re coming with me.”

    Raquel is likewise in need of proper sleep, so she joins Mary-Jane in bidding everyone good night. As the pair walk down the hallway to the bedrooms, I hear part of a conversation

    “Why are we being set to bed?” Firestorm asks, with confusion lacing their voice. “He knows we do not sleep.”

    “He was already freaking out, before the whole thing king thing.” Explains the exhausted black heroine. “You know what M’gann told us, about his nightmares.”

    “He is at his breaking point and doesn’t know how to ask for help,” The more robotic voice of Jane, speaks individually. “We are all to-”

    “Dude,” Dick claps an arm on my shoulder, drawing my attention away from the girls heading to bed. “I guess congratulations are in order.” He snickers at my worried expression, but I can feel his concern for me.

    “How are you handling the news my friend?” Kaldur being the mature one, refuses to poke fun at me. “This has been a day of surprises for you.”

    “I think you chose a good time to go on vacation,” I get a wave of sympathy form Kon. “You may not be able to go looking for Roy right now, but it looks like you have your plate full anyway.”

    “No kidding,” I collapse on one of the couches, groaning from the pain of my fight.

    “You got a kid and didn’t even get to do the fun part.” My situation is mocked by Artemis, who ducks a swat from M’gann.

    “Well at least now I know where to find you, when we find a way to reach Wally.” Zatanna flops down in his bean bag chair and inhales, “Instead of having to track you down all over the world.”

    M’gann curls up under my arm on the couch, as the Zeta tubes finally come back online. The robotic voice, announces Lena’s arrival.

    “Recognized. Powergirl, B one six.” We all turn back, to see the hero of a different country arrive.

    “Whoa...” Even Artemis, is wise enough not to poke this bear.

    “Yeah, yeah.” Lena growls, looking like she fell asleep in a tanning bed. “Laugh it up. I delivered the heart and saved a queen.” She has a cane in her hand, that she is keeping behind her legs.

    “What do you have?” Kon asks his sister, who finally shows us.

    “Count Vertigo’s sword, or at least what’s left of it.” She pulls the blade from the cane, revealing it shattered halfway down. “The flares kept screwing with my powers. One second I was supercharged, the next I was weaker than Dick.”

    “So you had no idea, if the blade would break or not.” Kaldur reasons out loud.

    “It was after you all stopped the solar flares,” Lena admits with an awkward expression on her face. “I made it to the hospital but I was nearly at baseline human levels. When Vertigo made his move, I just reacted.”

    “It was the action of a true hero, to do what you did.” Billy grabs her shaking hand and pulls her towards the couches. “No one can ever say you’re just playing hero again.”

    “You’re bleeding.” Kon points at Lena’s side, where her costume has been slashed and so has her skin underneath.

    “Maybe my powers hadn’t come back completely,” She sighs at being found out. “His sword snapped on my ribs, it’s really only a flesh wound.”

    “Alright fine,” Artemis groans in frustration. “I’m a horrible judge of character. Connor and you, are both good people and I’m sorry for not giving you a fair chance.”

    No one argues, most people sharing sounds of agreement in fact. This has me think back, on the conversation I had overheard.

    “Wait a minute.” I sit up hastily, staring at M’gann. “What did Raquel mean, when she was talking to Mary-Jane?”

    “I may have told the others, how close you seemed to snapping.” M’gann smiles awkwardly up at me, blushing at being caught.

    “She told us to play along, when you gave your notice,” Adds Robin with a smirk.

    “We came up with a plan of action, while you have been cooking this week.” Admits Kaldur, meeting my glare evenly.

    “Me and Kon, are coming with you to Santa Prisca.” Artemis shoves an angry finger in my face, daring me to argue. “Someone has to make sure you don’t do something stupid.”

    “If you actually come up with a decent plan next time.” M’gann squirms beside me. “We can give it a try, without me going behind your back again. I’m not going to let you run off like a moron, I love you and that means we do things together.”

    “I love you too, but like in a tough manly way.” Kon shares his own feelings, which he has been getting better at.

    "We all at least care about you," Lena admits, frowning at me. "Why else do you think we all went into your brain, when you got stuck in the pain coma."

    "Yeah. we could share the pain among each other, but it still really hurt." Artemis slaps the back of my head and growls at me. "You don't go through that for someone, unless you care." Her voice becomes softer, less angry. "Stop being selfish and stupid. You teach us to work as a team and then try and do everything by yourself."

    "He said that it was part of being a man." Adds Kon, trying to remember the drunken conversation on Themyscira. "That and not asking for directions, is all I can really remember."

    "Oh god." Artemis scowls at me again. "No wonder he went crazy, you gave him shit advice."

    "I was drunk..." Is my only defense, and I can tell it's not good enough.

    "If you say and do stupid crap like that when drunk." She flicks me in the middle of the forehead "Then you have a two drink limit."

    "He tried to get me to go rock climbing with him," Kon throws more trouble on me, as he remembers more of that night.

    Mount Justice
    November 11, 2010
    11:32 PM, EST

    “You really aren’t mad?” M’gann double checks with me, when we finally get a chance to head to bed.

    “You realized I was having a break down and made sure I was safe, but also that I felt in control.” Grabbing her from behind, I just hold her tightly. “You’re kind of the most amazing person ever.”

    Taking a whiff of her hair, I relax for the first time all day. I keep thinking I have to do everything by myself, but that’s not true. M’gann has been here since basically the beginning.

    “I feel like I’m being pulled in a dozen directions.” Stepping back from her, I sit on the bed and sigh in frustration. “Even before today I mean.”

    <I know you’re doing the best you can.> She goes telepathic, sharing memories of the successes we’ve had.

    <I just don’t feel like it’s good enough anymore.> I share my feelings of failure, focusing on how many people have died. <I’m going to get another one of you killed.>

    <So you are making every single choice, for each one of us?> M’gann is smugly amused at the idea. “I know for a fact, Wally made his own choice. So did Alan and the others. They made the choice to be heroes, long before meeting you.>

    <I still feel like they would be here, if I wasn’t.> I share my memories of season one, what she still thinks is my prediction of events.

    <You know, this was pretty close for a nightmare you had,> She finds some flaws in my memories and points them out with a feeling of confidence. <But half of those missions, the Team never did.>

    <That’s true,> I concede finally, realizing some holes of my own. <Kon isn’t a clone of Superman either.> Which makes me wonder, why are so many things different.

    At first it seemed like it was simply changes I had been involved in, or others reacting to my differences. Kon’s parentage was different, before I woke up on the fourth of July. I don’t have an explanation for him being a blonde, or for having a sister.

    <You told them about my dreams.> I state calmly, because we both know it is no question.

    <You mean nightmares?> Her raised eyebrow and wave of concern, make me admit the truth out loud. <Because I have had go in and pull you out, at least a dozen times.>

    <Fine. Yes, I keep having nightmares about different ways everything can go wrong.> I share my stress, which leads to hear stroking my hair.

    <You think I don’t feel like that?> She shares her own worries, which are very familiar to my own. <I grew up in a family of almost a hundred siblings and only two of us are white. I know how many of them really hate me.>

    <I’m so sorry.> I grab her in another hug and sigh. <Life is never simple, is it?>

    <No,> She giggles, her warm breath brushing against my neck. <But it’s been a lot happier since I came to Earth.>

    <I have no idea how to raise a kid.> I admit, letting my terror leak out. <I thought they where a twenty year old with amnesia, but they are more like me. A clone with their own point of divergence from the original.>

    <We can figure it out together.> I squeeze her hand, when she says this and flood her with my relief. <At least she’s a genius and has memories up to twelve.> M’gann laughs again, as I realize how much harder this could have been.

    <Very true,> I sigh, this time in relief and press a kiss to her temple. <I don’t know how I would make it through the day without you.>

    <You would probably send the Team off to pick up litter in the park and die, when you go after some bad guy solo.> She pokes me in the ribs, which leads to her tickling me.

    <Okay, I yield.> I laugh with her, and try fending off her fingers.

    <Good, because I’m right.> She blushes deeply and winks at me. <Now would you like to show me, what the ‘fun part’ is.>

    Santa Prisca
    November 12, 2010
    10:07 AM, EST

    “You got relief efforts going, faster than I would have believed possible.” I compliment Oliver, as I find him in the market of the capital and only city.

    “Kord Tech, Wayne Enterprises, and Lex Corp, have all thrown in a good chunk of cash and supplies.” He answers with a smile, waving off my praise easily. “Me and Dinah, are really only directing things at ground level.”

    He signs something on a clipboard, sending a Kord Tech employee hurrying up the road. Ollie pats me on the back, leading me towards the palace.

    “Got the last group of Genomorphs moved in yet?” He asks more to be polite than having a real curiosity, he’s already overworked and doesn’t have time to focus on my relocation efforts.

    “Yeah. Dubbilex is converting the mines and Venom factory, into a town of the Genomorph’s own.” I explain the reasoning he gave me, on the flights back and forth today. “He’s really the only one comfortable around humans, so they want to work on integration slowly this year.”

    “Has he given any thought, to how he will do so.” Asks Ollie, honestly curious about the plan.

    “Volunteers will move to the town and by next year, the Genomorphs hope to begin moving to the city.” I repeat what Dubbilex told me, working up to my big news.

    “So...” He stops walking, staring at me with a frown. “We kind of found out, Firestorm is my kid.”

    He waits for the punchline, but it never comes. I shrug and try and laugh off the awkwardness.

    “Which got me thinking...” His eye starts to twitch, so I rush through my answer. “Greta has no one and she’s only fourteen.”

    “So you think me and Dinah, should just take her in?” He drops the gruffness, running his hand through his shaggy blonde hair. “That’s not really how these things work.”

    “Well you adopted me, and Mary-Jane is my kid.” I walk him through our very odd family tree. “And she brought Greta back to life. So Greta is part of the family.”

    “You can be the one, to explain this crazy idea to Dinah.” He gives up on arguing, knowing Dinah has final word on everything anyway.

    “Oh I did.” He frowns at my cheeky laugh. “Me and M’gann brought the girls to see her, as soon as we made the first Genomorph drop off.”

    “So Dinah probably has the paperwork,” Ollie sighs in defeat, but is excited about the idea on the inside. “All ready for me to sign.”

    “She is an early bird,” I agree with a laugh, ducking under his playful swat.

    “Have you given any thought,” He asks slowly, trying not to upset me. “To your lack of face?”

    “I don’t want to keep pretending to be Roy,” Answering with a frown on my face, I explain my concerns. “I’m going to find him and when I do, I want his life to be waiting for him. I need to find out, what face is mine.”

    “I figured it was something like that.” He pulls a few pictures from his vest pocket and hands them to me. “I had the cave’s security camera, bring up how you looked after the transfusion.”

    I look at the photos and he’s right, one is very obviously me in the medical wing. The others are all me post ivory skin, but each has been altered in different ways. One merges me with Ollie himself, another stretches my face out, while a third is me with a round chubby face.

    “I had these done for you,” He explains the slightly varied photos. “So you and M’gann could look at them and pick who you want to be.’

    I don’t say anything, I just step towards him and grab him in a hug. I’ve been joking with my friends, but I really don’t know who I am anymore. I can never explain how much I needed this. I’m different from Roy, but Oliver and Dinah, have taken the time to learn the differences.
    Harpy81 likes this.
  10. Threadmarks: Episode 22: Electing to Abdicate
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 22: Electing to Abdicate
    Santa Prisca
    November 17, 2010
    5:03 PM, EST

    “You’re doing a good thing here,” Bruce Wayne in full playboy mode and an awkward looking Dick Grayson, are part of the secret security that have been rotating for days. “The people of Santa Prisca, have been under the heel of a tyrant for too long.”

    “You and the others who donated to the relief effort,” I shake his hand and thank him, while the cameras flash. “Have done more for the people here, than I could have dreamed of without your aid.”

    “I have been finding, I rather enjoy the good publicity,” Lex Luthor in his Armani suit, shakes my hand next. “That I have been exposed to lately. Lena suggested this would only help with it.”

    “I still can’t believe,” Dick is next with his greeting, smirking at the reporters in attendance. “You’re giving up the throne. Isn’t it everyone's dream, to have an island?”

    “I have three, it’s not a big deal.” Ollie non nonchalantly brags.

    “The five I have, give me much the same opinion.” Bruce flexes back, smirking at a now grumpy Oliver.

    “Well I found after a dozen,” Lex looks at his fingers, feigning disinterest in the whole affair. “It was superfluous.”

    “I have a hard enough time, keeping the Superfriends on task.” I playfully mess up Robin’s hair, smiling awkwardly at the cameras. “I know this country, has people who can lead it better than me. I’m only going to be a figurehead, so no more super villains try and set up shop here.”

    A wave of laughter comes from the crowd. I can feel Lex’s greed, sneak through his mental defences. One of the reporters – a certain determined Lois Lane-Kent – pushes her way to the front of the crowd and asks her question.

    “Rumours have begun circulating, that compare you to Wonder Woman.” She smirks at me, enjoying being able to report on some good news. “What do you have to say to that?”

    “I wish I looked that good in a one piece.” I get a wave of chuckles from the crowd, but a raised eyebrow from Lois. “I want to help people, it’s why I run around in a Halloween costume everyday.”

    “Giving aliens human homes, doesn’t help people.” One of the angrier reporters yells at me and I can feel a good chunk of the crowd agrees with him.

    “It does, when we experimented on them.” I stare down the man, letting the crowd part around him. “Do you want the rest of the species, to come after us for revenge?”

    “I think we all remember the Appellaxians,” Lex unexpectedly comes to my defence, placing an arm around my should and smiling coldly. “I don’t believe anyone rational, would ask for a repeat of the invasion.”

    “Problem is, Cadmus already gave them a reason.” M’gann steps forward at my signal, walking onto the stage as Megan Morse. “This is M’gann M’orzz. She is from Mars.”

    “Dubbilex and the rest of the Genomorphs, once looked like the rest of her people.” When I say this, she shifts into her green form and waves to the crowd. “Martians have three variations, white, green, and red.”

    M’gann changes into a red Martian, and the suppresses a shiver of nerves. Before anyone can tell she is nervous, she shifts into her larger and natural white Martian form. Only the crowd has no idea of that, they think she’s only showing the versions of her species.

    “Are you in a relationship with her, to help make up for what Cadmus has done?” Iris West asks me and both M’gann and I shift awkwardly, as the sea of reporters focus on us.

    “Is making her your Queen, part of the reparations with Mars?” An Australian reporter this time, asks with a saucy smirk.

    “Well...” I pause for effect and to collect my thoughts. <How do you want to handle this?> M’gann doesn’t outwardly react to my mental inquiry.

    <No more fake relationships,> She responds firmly, but with warmth. <If I’m going to be you’re wife one day, you better be asking for yourself and not because someone else suggested it.>

    “First. How would it help relations with Mars, if I turn it into a position with no real power?” I challenge the Australian, but press on without letting him respond.

    “Second. I’m not with her for any political reason.” I wrap an arm around her waist. “We have been seen together all week, because she makes me feel worthwhile.” And ironically more human than I have did before. “

    “I’m unsure of who I really am and what good I am actually doing, but she makes me wake up everyday and keep trying.” I get a mixed batch of emotions from the crowd, when I make my sickeningly sweet declaration.

    “Why did you reveal your identity, while going through with this transfer of power?” Back to Iris West, with a really good question and one I got a lot of flack over.

    “Everyone knows how the last few months have been going,” I admit to the crowd with a sigh. “Lots of people have rightfully been losing faith, in unknown ‘heroes’. If I intend to act as Santa Prisca’s national hero, the need to trust me.”

    Doing something I never expected, I gesture to Lex Luthor and give a small bow. His eyebrows raise slightly in surprise, but I focus on the positive reinforcement.

    “Lex Luthor and his daughter Lena publicly took a stand as heroes,” I ignore Bruce’s glare and press on with the words. “At a time when the world needed to find reason to keep believing in us, they showed me how we can do it.”

    “This is certainly unexpected,” Lex steps beside me and grabs my hand in thanks. “But certainly appreciated.”

    “My final statement for today, is a short one.” I address the crowd a final time. “Whoever the people elect, I will support. I’m not fit to lead a country, but I will protect the people in it.”

    “You sure you don’t want to come to dinner?”Walking away off the stage, I approach Lex and offer him a hesitant smile.

    “As nice as it is for you to have accepted my efforts,” He shakes his head and frowns at Bruce and Oliver. “The rest of the heroes, are less open to my efforts.”

    “People can change,” Looking him straight in the eye, I give him a genuine smile. “If they really want to. I know I’m trying to be worthy of being called a hero. I’m only going to blame you, for what I can prove you did.

    “If only everyone, was so reasonable to work with.” He turns his nose up, as the other adult heroes leave for dinner.

    “You get decide who you are.” I step outside of the backstage tent and shield my eyes from the sun. “Don’t get blinded by an artificial Light, natural light gives a far better view of the world.” I leave him to ponder my words, hurrying to catch up with the dinner party.

    Santa Prisca
    November 17, 2010
    11:46 PM, EST

    “Did you hear that?” I sit up in bed, whispering to M’gann in the dark.

    “I hear you now.” Her sleep addled response, comes without her even open her eyes.

    “I’m going to make sure it was one of the staff.” Climbing out of bed, I slide on my provided slippers and exit the room.

    “You should have stayed asleep,” A familiar voice hisses at me. “It would have been painless that way.”

    The speaker, is the overly helpful man who has been showing me around. He’s wearing a shirt and pant combo, of orange scale mail armour. He grins with a closed mouth, revealing a single copper fang.

    “But this way, I can claim the throne myself!” Hissing at me, he rushes for my throat and draws a short sword.

    “It’s a useless chair now.” I counter and block his blade with an end table, forcing him to release it.

    “It’s only useless, once the election is over.” He engages me in a grapple, bring us both to the floor.

    “Good to know.” I knee him in the gut and climb to my feet, while he rolls to his own. “We need to be on high alert tomorrow.” I slam a fist into his cheek, but he grabs my arm and bites down viciously.

    “To bad, you won’t have a tomorrow.” He taunts, as I can feel a burning sensation spreading up my arm.

    “Let’s see which one of us sees sunrise,” I snarl back at him, grabbing his throat in both hands. “Hope your poison, is fast acting.” He can’t respond, a second knee to his stomach leaving him choking in my hands.

    I can hear someone calling my name, as my vision goes black. I don’t release my grip though, not until the very end. I feel hands on my back, as I succumb to the fire that has finally burned its way through my veins.

    River Styx
    November 18, 2010
    12:00 AM, ??T

    It takes a few seconds, to realize my surroundings have changed. I can hear slowly running water and feel a chill breeze. When I notice the tile floor has been replaced with cold and uneven rocks, I slowly open my eyes and groan at the sight.

    I’m in a large, dimly lit cavern. An ethereal green river that casts a dim glow on the cave, meanders through the dark grey stone and disappears into a tunnel eroded into the wall.

    Near the shore, I can see a lone figure wearing a brown robe. Behind the person, is a small black stone pier, with a single rickety boat. Being drawn towards the ferryman, I start to shuffle towards them.

    Connor.” I hear my name being called, by the sweetest voice imaginable “Stay with me sweetie.

    “What?” I stop my awkward stumbling in the near darkness and strain my ears, listening for the voice.

    “Another passenger so soon?” The brown robed figure, rasps at me. “After the Amazons, I thought I had a few decades at least.”

    “I guess,” I respond, unsure of the correct answer. “I’m kind of lost.”

    “Oh I haven’t had a male passenger, since that Steve fellow.” I get a dark laugh from the figure. “Did you get shipwrecked too?”

    “I think...” I strain to remember how I got here. “I remember getting bit and then my blood was on fire.”

    “Poison?” My guide chuckles again and gestures to the boat. “Well it’s not really my business anyway. I just have to get you to the boss.”

    I have no reason to argue and for some reason, it feels right. Shrugging in acceptance, I take a step forward.

    Hang on man.” I hear a very stubborn male voice, growling through the cavern. “This is nothing.

    When I hear those words, everything starts to move in slow motion. Everything except for the robed person. They shake their head and sigh in exasperation, already turning away from me.

    “The wonders of modern medicine, have left me bored out of my mind.” Grumbling darkly, I nearly miss the words. “I remember in the good old days, most people barely made it to forty and everyone was a believer. Stupid Age of Enlightenment.”

    Alright girl, I got his heart slowed down.” This time I hear a snarky feminine voice, echoing from nowhere and everywhere. “You deal with the fang.

    It’s getting hard to focus my thoughts. I can feel the burning in my veins from before, but the cave doesn’t feel so cold anymore.

    “Last chance to get on the boat,” I get a final offer from the figure in brown. “Who knows if you’ll come back here again.”

    You said I could live with you,” A younger girl’s voice whispers in concern, making me want to do something. “I’m not letting you get out of it this easy.

    “No thanks,” My response brings a flash of flames into my vision, bring me home.

    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    1:00 AM, EST

    Opening my eyes this time, reveals a far more welcome sight. M’gann has my right hand clenched tightly in her own. Kon has my injured left arm held in his hands, while her stares intently at my bite mark.

    “Whhyyy iisss eevveerryyoonnee hheerree?” I try to ask, but all that comes out is a garbled mess.

    Raquel is standing at the foot of my bed, her hand out stretched and her eyes glowing violet. Beside her is Mary-Jane. My daughters also have glowing eyes, only they shine red like the Ruby of life.

    “Onesecond,I’malmostdone.” Rocket’s eyes stop glowing and she smirks at me. “You better make me a knight or something. That’s twice I saved you this week.”

    Everything is moving at a normal speed again and my blood doesn’t burn anymore. All I can do is laugh, once I realize Copperhead is the one who came closest to killing me. A C-list villain in a cartoon, is still a capable killer in reality.

    “As thankful as I am to be in the land of the living,” I sit up and ask anyone who will answer. “I kind of have to ask...how did you do it?”

    “Dakota Cities water supply, was one of the ones we discovered was spiked.” Rocket sits at the foot of my bed and rubs her temples. “I was drinking the water, same as everyone else. My Meta-gene activated and synced with what my belt was already doing, since it had a neural interface.”

    “So what does that mean?” I try and understand her reasoning, but my head is pounding.

    “It took awhile to realize, because of how similar my abilities are to what my belt could do.” She gives me an embarrassed half smile, when she admits this. “I can’t make impenetrable spheres anymore, but I have finer control over kinetic energy. Like how I slowed down your heart.”

    “And you got this completely random power, because you had a belt that did something similar?” I find that hard to understand.

    “My brain was already working along those lines, so I think my power...” She waves her hands in the air as she tries to explain, “Just took the path of least resistance and did what my brain knew how to do.” Her confidence in the reason is as fake as my understanding of technology.

    “It gave us time, to transmute the fang and venom already in the bloodstream.” Mary-Jan adds, smiling happily.

    “I had to find the piece of copper fang,” Kon explains with pride, why he was holding my arm so intently and staring. “M’gann kept us all linked to you, so you didn’t go into the light.”

    “No worries about that,” I snort at his unintended pun. “Of course since the Shadows are working with the Light, where do we stand? In the Fog, or should we all just gouge our eyes out and not care what the lighting is like?”

    “That’s kind of darker than I expected from you,” Barks Raquel, surprised by my remark,

    “Sorry. I think If I got on the boat, I would have died.” I sigh and try explaining what I experienced.

    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    11:28 AM, EST

    “Still intending to go through with the election?” A stern female voice, demands and answer from behind me.

    Turning around, reveals the waiting face of Amanda Waller. The black woman, is someone I really respect in Justice League Unlimited. I only remember her from a single episode in this show, but she felt inline with the character.

    “I am Amanda,” I smile stiffly, trying to hide my nerves. “I mean you are Amanda Waller and I am Connor Harper.” Her wave of amusement, is the only reason I don’t walk away in shame.

    “Yes I know.” She raises an eyebrow at me in condescension.

    “And yes, I’m still having the election.” I frown at her, starting to wonder what she is doing here. “Why are you here? Aren’t you way more important, than something like this?”

    “A country being turned from the decades long rule of tyrants, into a possible ally.” Waller smiles at me coldly. “Why wouldn’t I be interested, in ensuring it happens?”

    “Especially after the attack on your life last night.” She smirks again, as I wonder where she gets her information so fast. “America wants to make sure, you are properly protected for the transition of power.”

    “Many countries wish for the same.” Donna Troy’s welcome voice, comes to my defense. “Themyscira and Atlantis, have both sent ambassadors.” I’m glad I can count on Trident and Shining Knight in the crowd today, I’ve also seen a few other familiar faces this morning.

    “Good for them,” Waller barely even looks at Donna. “Didn’t Atlantis just get conquered and Themyscira lost its queen?”

    “Doesn’t America have a super villain attack,” The Amazonian princess, doesn’t back down. “Nearly every single day? And I seem to recall the White House was attacked recently.”

    Before Waller can make her own passive aggressive rebuttal, a loud ‘boom’ echoes across the plaza. A vortex of blue light and wind, opens in the middle of the road and begins depositing gorillas.

    They roar and charge into the crowd, the vanguard of the attack. A reddish brown one, grows to a massive size and begins smashing house beneath it’s limbs. A black gorilla, leads the rest of the apes, all of them armed with advanced weaponry.

    What looks to be nearly two hundred of the apes, begin to lay siege to the city. As civilians scream and run in terror, our more regular enemies make an appearance.

    I count almost twenty super villains, before I give up even trying. I recognize the emerald aura of the Brain, floating above the criminals. Queen Bee walks out of the portal, arm in arm with Black Adom. Sportsmaster who is followed by Devastation and Psimon, are quick to follow the royal villains.

    Poison Ivy, Count Vertigo, Atomic Skull, Wotan, and the Joker, arrive next and spread out into the panicking populace. My old friend the Condiment King is back, he makes his entrance by spraying a cloud of mustard gas into the crowd.

    Shimmer and her brother Mammoth, are with a squad of teenage villains and moving towards the palace. Jinx, Gizmo, and Icicle Jr I can recognize. But one guy in a red a costume, is making copies of himself and I can’t remember his name. His buddy has a metal helmet that shoots a laser, but I’m drawing a blank on his identity also.

    “I hope you have a plan, because I had a hard enough time sneaking in my task force.” Waller scowls at the sight, grabbing her phone and making a call.

    “He doesn’t,” Donna grabs her sword and draws it, her golden armour forming around her. “We do.”

    A yellow streak of light, races towards me and skids to a stop. Barry Allen in his Zoom outfit, is giving me a tight smile.

    “I’m supposed to get you to the bunker, and then evacuate the city.” He briskly commands, before grabbing me bridal style. “Hang on, we don’t have time for you to argue.” With his final order, he races away with me.

    Donna Troy
    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    11:39 AM, EST

    Once Zoom is off with Connor, I evaluate the plaza that’s descending into chaos around us. A few hundred gorillas are rampaging through the streets, spreading out quickly.

    “Sisters, to arms!” I spare the black woman beside me a glance and widen my eyes in shock.

    Amanda Waller removes a folding mirror from her pocket and cracks it open, tossing it onto the dirt. The glass shines once and then starts spitting out armed criminals. She glares at the seven villains and yells in frustration.

    “What are you fools doing!” She directs her Squad with a single finger, pointing towards the invaders. “Get those damn dirty apes contained!”

    “Right ya are,” An Australian in blue, starts flinging boomerangs at the armed gorillas. “Since we’re killing them anyway, can I skin my kills? We could flood the market and screw over the entire gorilla poaching organization, for maybe a year.”

    “Only warning Digger,” Waller addresses him, holding up what looks like a garage door opener. “You know the rules.”

    “Yeah, yeah.” He gives me a saucy wink and flings another of his explosive projectiles. “Can’t have any fun.”

    I can see Kaldur and his Atlantean battalion, break from the surf and join us in corralling the apes. My own forces have met the gorillas head on and a group of twenty Amazons hold back the roaring primates, at least they do long enough for the Atlanteans to reinforce them.

    “If I can’t kill a king,” A snarling woman’s voice, draws my attention to a side street. “At least I can enjoy breaking Waller, bone by bone.” A tattooed woman with red corn rows, charges towards my position.

    “We can all carve off a piece,” Count Vertigo the disgraced noble, follows with Atomic Skull and Icicle Sr. “Don’t be so greedy Devastation.”

    “You want some of this cow, you better hurry up!” The lead attacker snarls, her voice low, husky, and full of rage.

    With a snap of my wrist, my silver lasso is around her head. A hard yank and Devastation, is flying towards me. Sending her crashing to the sand with an overhead blow, I get a grateful nod from Waller.

    “Duck.” She draws and fires an oversized pistol, the bullets whizzing several feet beside my head.

    They strike Vertigo in the chest and he collapses, choking on his own blood. Gorillas have a lot of blood, because Waller’s forces have covered the street in a coating of red.

    I can see a pair her soldiers, have joined the bodies on the ground. A man in orange and green, lies dead in a pile of broken glass. One of the apes crushed his rib cage, with a single punch. Eel is the other criminal, who didn’t survive the first wave.

    “I’m Wonder Woman’s equal!” Devastation lunges at me, her form is horrible and full of openings. “So get wondering, how long you have left to live!”

    “Maybe you are my sister’s match in strength,” My response is followed by me rolling around her attack and slamming my hilt onto he skull. “But definitely not skill.”

    A trio of gorillas arrive, one black, one red, and the last one an albino white. The red one roars, and begins swelling in size. In moments, it towers over us and roars. The white ape, leaps at Waller, but is blasted aside by a wave.

    “I am sorry it took so long for me to arrive.” Kaldur stands on one of the nearby roofs, his trident outstretched and directing tendrils of water. “But I have faced heavy opposition on this day.”

    “Join the club,” Waller snarks up at him, firing another round towards the black ape. “We’re ankle deep in invaders here.”

    “Do we have a plan, one how to deal with the big one?” I call to Kaldur in concern.

    I had a hard time with the cyclops and this Titanno is way bigger. Maybe six stories tall and bringing terror with each footstep. The blonde Atlantean only smiles back and points behind himself.

    “SKREEONK!” The roar described by the others, resonates across the city.

    “Tula has this handled.” His look of love intermingled with pride, is illuminated by a beam of bright blue above him.

    The ray of energy slams into the giant ape, sending him careening backwards and crashing onto the beach. The echoing footsteps of Gojira, travel around the city and reach the fallen primate.

    “You should be focusing on the real threat...” The black gorilla speaks, surprising me completely. “Me.” He snaps his fingers, sneering at me. “Now hurt each other.”

    A wave of telepathic force, crashes over me and I assume everyone else. It takes every ounce of effort in me, to resist the urge to attack my allies.

    “An amateur like you,” The Genomorph leader Dubbilex, floats into the plaza and challenges the psychic ape. “Is only in danger, of hurting yourself!”

    I can feel the power in his words, it relieves the pressure from the ape and turns it back on him. Snarling and unable to resist, the black gorilla starts to slam his face against a brick wall.

    Lena Luthor
    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    11:46 AM, EST

    “Who woulda thunk it,” The male Terror twin laughs to his sister, backhanding me towards her. “Here we are, trashing Powergirl.”

    “Dream big,” His sister responds with her own cruel chuckle. “And see what we get for bringing in the head, of the traitor’s daughter!”

    Her elbow slams into my face, leaving with at least a black eye. As I stumble away from her, A dark grey body, slams into her. Her brother’s roar of concern, is cut of by his own collision into a brick wall.

    “Hey Lena,” A voice any Luthor would recognize, comes from out of the dust. “What happened to the buddy system?”

    Superman’s voice, is coming from a dark grey and blue suit of armour. A pair of indigo wings are one his back, looking like a set of dragonfly wings. In his left hand is a curved battle axe, it’s edge shimmers a faint blue.

    “No one told me the plan, I saw it on the news and took a Zeta here.” My response is laced with bitterness, it’s not like I’m made the Team excluded me.

    “Well how about me and Flamebird, fill in for now?” He steps forward and engages Thomas, in the Kryptonian martial arts my mother gave up on teaching me.

    “As long as this is a one time thing,” I respond with a grin in spite of what I have been told, Superman really gives you hope. “Dad wouldn’t like hearing, that you’re back in the saddle.”

    “Oh I’m not,” He answers with an exaggerated shake of his head. “I only had this made, for the big emergencies. It still hurts to move, but it’s down to toothache levels finally.”

    “Sorry about that...” I finally mutter, ashamed of myself for helping my dad. “I was raised thinking it was you, who was the waiting tyrant.”

    “I’ve been watching and it seems to me.” He drops Thomas to the dirt, moving in to restrain the male Terror twin. “Your dad only needed me out of the way, to start doing good.”

    “And a wife, who constantly upstages him.” My snarky response came before I can stop myself.

    It’s hard not opening up to him, he’s so comforting. It’s like he has a palpable aura of goodness, that I can finally see cloaking him.

    “This is really addicting,” Flamebird cheers, as she finally subdues Tuppence. “I can see why you answered every cry for help.”

    “Darling,” Kal-El introduces me, smiling at his wife’s enthusiasm. “I’d like you to meet my niece Lena. We may not get another chance for a while.”

    “Lex is rather stubborn,” My uncle’s wife greets me with a hug. “It’s going to take a real epiphany, to change his mind on anything.” Her armour is the same style as Kal’s, only in orange and gold.

    Dick Grayson
    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    12:14 PM, ECT

    “I’ve really missed this,” Remarking to my father happily, I slide under a swing from Harlequin’s mallet. “Batgirl has been hogging you all fall.”

    She keeps texting me when she’s on patrol with Batman, just to get under my skin. Maybe I won’t invite her to the Team. Blue Beetle is cool, but we spend so much time in his lab. I need to test myself on patrol, it’s the only time I can cut loose.

    “Oh no,” Taunts the Joker, cackling at something he hasn’t deigned to share. “Is the little bird, getting kicked out of the nest?”

    “I hear he’s been seen with Blue Beetle lately.” Giggling along with her abusive father’s mania, Harlequin lands a kick to my lower back.

    “Should have been earlier,” Grunts the clown, blocking one of Owlman’s punches. “You might have gotten a worm.”

    “Beetles can bite back.” Ted joins the fray, using his sonic gun on Harley. “You need to be precise.” He forces the groaning Harlequin to her knees, her sense of balance gone.

    Richard Grayson.” I hear the snide voice in my head. “Duck now.”

    Reacting to the warning, I throw my self to the floor. A fog of yellow gas, blows above me.

    Activate armour immediately,” Scarab urges me desperately, as I try to keep my face covered. “Unless you wish to drown in your own blood.”

    “You need to spray for bugs!” A new voice yells through the fog, as Condiment King makes his appearance.

    “Robin!” I can hear my adoptive father yell in worry.

    His Owl cowl makes his profile nearly indistinguishable from his Batman persona. He needs a way to work outside of Gotham again and this was the solution. Better than embracing the crimes and going after the Light by himself, like Zoom has decided to do.

    The hacking coughs of Ted Kord, grow more and more sickly. Before I can make a choice, the coughs start to peter out and become heart wrenching gurgles.

    “I was tired of being a joke!” The Condiment King roars at us. “So I had to go full on chemical warfare!”

    “I’ll explain later,” I inform Owlman with a determined growl. “But save the questions, for after the ass kicking.”

    “Language!” Dad responds automatically, as I make the choice.

    <Engage defenses.> I Think to the Scarab, as my metallic armour covers my body.

    “Sorry,” I laugh in spite of myself, of course that’s what he is worried about. “Take care of the clowns, the King is mine.” My wings extend and beat as fast as possible, forcing the mustard gas back down the hallway.

    “We will be speaking, once this is over.” Dad growls at the sight of me.

    “Sure,” I respond with a nervous giggle. “After this is handled, we can talk.”

    At last,” Scarab whispers in glee. “Now you shall experience true power.

    As Owlman takes one the now recovered clowns, I can’t even look at Ted. If I do, I’m going to break down.

    “Oh,” Psimon exclaims in happy surprise at the sight of me. “We’ve been looking for that.” He raises his hands to his temple and smirks vilely at me. “Thank you for delivering it, right into my hands.”

    <Once I make you my puppet, I can take a seat at the big table.> His voice is distorted as the Scarab blocks his mental attack.

    “When even he Condiment King is a bigger threat than you,” I taunt the scowling albino, my arms becoming cannons. “You should be content, that you even got a place at the kid’s table!”

    I fire my left cannon at Psimon, a ball of compressed air crashing into the psychic. He drops, like a puppet with slashed strings. My right weapon, is a beam of blinding light and focused sound waves. Condiment King doesn’t react at first, bu soon begins screaming in rage.

    “I’m blind and deaf!” His anger shifts into mania and he hits a switch on his backpack. “Isn’t that against some kind of Convention!”

    His canisters begin spewing out more of the mustard gas, as it violently shakes on the floor. I can see the symbols for napalm and toxic waste, so this is going to be one dirty boom.

    As I go through my options, A flash of golden light fills the hallway. Stepping from his glowing portal in the shape of an ankh, Doctor Fate assesses the situation.

    “It may be the Fate of cowards, to resort to these tactics.” The Lord of Order speaks softly, but his voice resonates with force. “But it is not the Fate of the innocent, to suffer such fools!”

    A beam of golden plasma, strikes and coalesces around the makeshift bomb. It ceases shaking, as the light flashes five times before banishing the device.

    “Well at least the fate of this Beetle is secure.” The deadly grin of the Clown Prince of Crime remarks with no concern for himself, of course after a decade of Joker toxin, he’s likely immune to most things.

    “Extermination.” He cackles to himself and asks his daughter, with a dangerous tone to his voice. “And how do we kill bugs my dear?”

    “We squish them!” She jumps up and down in excitement.

    “Yes we do. Now what was he saying about being precise?” Her evil father squints in fake confusion, before he brings his foot down on Ted’s skull.

    I hear the sickening crunch, a millisecond before my beam of plasma pierces the sick clown’s chest.

    Mary-Jane Nelson
    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    12:14 PM, ECT

    “Damn kid,” The criminal known as Icicle Jr, exclaims in shock. “I thought my dad had me in the field young.” He hesitates in his attack, his empathy warring with his upbringing.

    “Technically we are older than father.” We take advantage of his kindness, but I feel a twinge of guilt when we do.

    Our cage of fire, has him panting on the floor. When he finally collapses with his arm outstretched towards us, we end his torment. Why does his shocked, but impressed face make me feel so good?

    Our body is beginning to undergo puberty.” Jane’s mechanical, but somehow snarky voice answers me inside our head. “His concern for us and his chilling good looks, have created what is called a crush.”

    “Good work on the Popsicle,” Black Canary calls to us from the bottom of the stairs. “Do you think you can handle our weed problem?”

    The rumble of the ground, is all the warning we receive. We take to the air, just before an anaconda sized root bursts from below the stairs.

    “We shall have to,” Our response has more faith in our skills, than I do in them.

    I never wanted to get involved in this kind of life. I like being in our lab, solving a problem. Being on the Team has let us have friends and spend time with Connor, but I’m always so scared. If it wasn’t for Jane, I don’t think I could do this.

    “That’s our Hotshot!” Tuxedo Mask praises us and disables a pink haired witch, which only makes me feel more anxious.

    “It looks like Jade, is in need of her own aid.” I call out to Giovanni Zatara, who is trading spells with Wotan.

    “I will try,” The stage magician grunts up at me in frustration. “To hurry up with this amateur!”

    As we scorch away the invasion of roots, I can only worry about Paula. She’s been trading blasts with The Emerald Brain for a while now, but her constructs are getting fainter each second.

    Cadet Marvel and Rocket, are keeping the rest of the criminals from getting inside the emergency shelter. It seems we can do this, until Billy Numero becomes three hundred and sixty five versions of himself. Each one armed with an alien ray gun.

    “One for every day of the year!” They laugh in glee, releasing a hail of plasma on the stone steel and concrete shelter. “No more waiting for Billy’s love!”

    I can’t change course yet, Poison Ivy’s plants are starting to tear the entire block apart. I need to find her and fast.

    “Good,” A yellow streak begins bouncing between the copies, dropping them in seconds. “I really want to hit someone...a lot.” Zoom is visible for a second, before he starts his systematic take down of the numerous Billys.

    A glowing green sound system, forms above my allies, it starts to play a beat. Soon the resounding voice of Freddie Mercury, blares through the city. The words to ‘We Will Rock You”, fill us with vigour.

    “Looks like you folks, need to hire a Gardner!” A red headed man in a green lantern vest, announces his arrival.

    His eyes glow green, as he searches the area for the sign of something. Once found, he points towards the cities reservoir.

    “Ivy down below, she needs the fresh water for her plants to grow.” He gives me a salute and waves his sidekick forward. “Kyle here can help your friends. I’m going to give that fine woman in the sky, a helping hand.”

    He rockets towards Paula, who is now clearly losing against the Brain’s ability to multi task. Kyle smiles shyly at me and makes his own descent. His glowing green construct, looks like the team gun from Power Rangers. It’s just as effective, because it slams into Mammoth’s back and knocks him out cold.

    Artemis Crock
    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    12:41 PM, ECT

    “Oh baby girl,” My father taunts me with what sounds like pride. “You made it to the big leagues.” His hockey mask keeps his expression concealed, but this has to have helped his reputation somehow.

    “That’s what happens,” Snarling at him, I start slashing at him and force him into position. “When you trust people!”

    Green Arrow’s boxing glove, sucker punches Sportmaster. The impact barely phases him, he treats the hit, like an annoying wasp sting. All it does, is knock his mask off and reveals his grinning face.

    “I made my own friends.” He spins on the spot, throwing his weighted chain at Oliver. “Mine give better presents.”

    The ledge shatters from the collision, forcing Green Arrow to zip line away. The explosion of stone and plaster, has me tremble in shock. Since when has my dad, had super strength?

    “Any real fan, knows Sports are War!” I can feel the power behind the words and I realize what happened to Mars, back on Themyscira. “Now the games can really begin and I get to be referee!”

    He leaps into the air, directly in Oliver’s path. Choosing bone shattering driver from his bag, my father swings it into Green Arrow’s shoulder.

    “Yargh!” Ollie roars in pain, as he is sent flying across the room and collapses unmoving in a pile of chairs.

    “Looks like my friends rewards,” Dad laughs to himself, as he lands on the floor in a relaxed stance. “Trumps this thing you call trust.”

    He charges at me this time. Back down to a manageable strength, I can tell he’s toying with me. Each one of his blows is strong enough to force me back, but not enough to cause broken bones.

    “Sure you don’t want to come home to daddy?” His attempt at a smile, is marred by a lifetime of painful memories. “Be a good girl and I’ll get you a reward of your own.”

    “She knows better than that.” A dagger emerges from his kidney region, as my sister’s head peaks around his shoulder and winks. “We both do.” She twists the knife painfully and flips over him, landing beside me gracefully.

    “What are you doing here!” My first reaction, is to yell at her. “What happened to serving time with the Amazons?”

    “Donna got me a weekend pass,” Jade licks her lips and purrs. “I’m going to have to thank her later.

    “Eww.” As a team, we deflect our fathers hail of exploding pucks. “Stay away from my friends! You can never find your own thing.” She even gotten her code name, from my love of Alice in Wonderland.

    “That will be hard to do,” My sister teases back, rolling under a wild swing from dad. “She’s my warden on the island.”

    “Oh my big girl,” Sportsmaster claps in pride. “She’s nabbing herself a princess. At least one of you, makes a father proud of her schemes.”

    “What about the Hybrid I know you have your eye on?” Jade asks with a saucy smirk. “Have you sunk your claws in yet?”

    “None of your business!” Angrily hissing at her, I go for a blocked slash on Sportsmaster’s thigh.

    “Make a move baby girl,” Dad tries to offer his own advice, as out of place as it is. “Or someone else will steal your score.” Too late, I scowl bitterly and of course they notice it.

    “Of course you let him slip through your paws,” Dad scoffs at me, his face morphing into a frown. “You always hesitate, like the failure you are!” He kicks a table at me, forcing me to dive under it.

    “I can handle dad for now,” Jade lands a kick to his head. “Your friends, look like they need some help.”

    I look back and see she’s not completely wrong. Kon is getting thrown around like a rag doll, by a silent Black Adam. M’gann is trying to to keep Queen Bee away from us and Connor has Vandal Savage in single combat.

    “I trust my friends,” Denying her offer, I leap onto dad’s back. “I don’t trust this monster.” My scimitar emerges from his chest, while Jade’s sai goes into his liver from the front.

    “You didn’t hesitate...” He gives me his first honest smile, as the red light fades from his eyes. “I’m proud of you both.”

    "You shouldn't have gone easy on us." Me sister hisses at him in dissapointment. "You taught us better than that."

    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    12:45 PM, ECT

    I lasted maybe five minutes, before Black Adam’s magical strength began overpowering me. Once he did, the fight turned into a game of pong. He acts as both paddles, pacing my stunned body back and forth between himself.

    At this point, all I’m really doing is keeping the power house of Khandaq distracted. I’m really getting tired of only being good for that. If it was ever time for me to really be Super, it’s now.

    What do I want to stand for? Not being a distraction, is an easy answer. But that only says what I don’t want to be. Who am I?

    “Change of plan.” I catch myself midair and float. “No more distractions.” I growl at the dictator of Khandaq.

    He doesn’t respond, he only cracks his neck and charges for me. It’s time for me, to fight as hard as my friends have. It’s time to prove my love for them all, is more than just talk.

    I race away from the dark mirror version of a full powered Captain Marvel. Throwing myself in between one of Queen Bee’s energy blasts, I endure the sensation with a smile.

    I heard her say, she was powered by the sun. I think that means she absorbed the missing Apollo. Which means, she can give me a supercharge.

    “Let’s bring this outside!” I roar at Black Adam and collide with him, in a perfect midair tackle. “So I can really cut loose!” Not letting him go, I carry him through the ceiling and a few dozen feet of earth.

    He rains a shower of blows onto me, but I take the punishment and send him into the sky. Once in the sky, I start to really pay him back.

    I get to unleash my full fury on him, for nearly five minutes of my own. All good things end and this surge of power, drains from me with each second.

    When Black Adam catches my next punch, he shows this fight is not over by a long shot. With a blood covered snarl, he swings for my face with a mighty punch.

    Stunned by his blow, I get snared in a bear hug. He forces me above him, as he rises higher and shouts to the heavens.

    “SHAZAM!” The divine lightning crashes into me, causing me to writhe in agony and he doesn’t stop screaming in my ears.

    “SHAZAM! SHAZAM! SHAZAM!” Soon I lose count of how many times he screams to word of power. “SHAZAM!” All I can think about is pain and how maybe, I should have kept him underground.

    “It seems my hand has been forced.” My agony ends, when my father arrives. “If I was not informed of plan of this magnitude, it is obvious I am being edged out.”

    Adam’s grasp on me is released, when Ultraman lands a two handed blow. He tumbles from the sky, stunned from the blow.

    “What are you doing here?” I groan in surprise. “I thought these were your friends?”

    “Business associates,” He corrects me with a half smile. “And it would seem not even that anymore.”

    “I need to get back inside,” My grunt of pain, is accompanied by a muscle spasm. “Vandal Savage, Queen Bee, and Sportsmaster, are kicking our asses.”

    “Then let’s go and give my resignation,” My father smirks at me, focusing on the revenge at hand. “In person.”

    As one, we rocket from the cloud line and crash into Black Adam. We each keep an arm pinned and rain blows with our free hand. Aiming for my exit hole, we return to the battle underground in a shower of dirt. If we missed the hole by a few feet, who can blame us?

    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    12:51 PM, ECT

    My warning to M’gann of Queen Bee's power's was unnecessary, she had already shifted into a gender less form. She moved to intercept the Queen, who was stronger than Donna somehow. I thought she only had Pheromone control.

    “Focus on the threat at hand!” Vandal Savage snarls at me. “I have waited ages, for you to show your face again. This chance to pay you back, will not slip through my fingers!”

    For some reason, he personally has a gripe with me. The powerful and precise swings of his axe, are barely avoided by me.

    “You didn’t seem this angry,” I roll under his attack and spring away from him for distance, drawing my bow. “On the Watchtower. What changed?” Firing a pair of skunk shot arrows, I try and find out what has changed.

    “You hid behind a false face then.” He strides through my cloud of fumes and swats aside my boxing glove arrows. “Like the coward I always knew you to be. I was once so impressed by he skill you had with he bow, I even formed an empire off the back of the weapon.”

    He charges at me and grabs me by the quiver, tearing it from by back. When he kicks me away and I go tumbling along the floor, He draws my own weapon and smirks at me.

    “Let’s see if my skill has remained,” He draws an electro arrow and aims at me. “I haven’t used one of these toys, since real weapons got invented.” He releases his grip on the bow string, creating a fiery blast in front of me and scorches me with the heat.

    “Oops, I missed.” He draws another trio of the same arrow. “I seem to be rusty. Try not to move please.” He releases the string, forcing me to avoid the blasts that force me closer to the immortal caveman.

    The ceiling exploding in a shower of dirt and stone, saves me from a close range arrow. Black Adam is back, Kon and his dad have returned the bloody king to the battlefield.

    “Since you lacked the curtsy, of keeping me informed.” Lex blitzes forward, delivering a powerful punch on Savage’s face. “Allow me to show you how to properly conduct business.” He blasts a pair of freezing beams at Vandal, causing ice to coat his front. “I quit.”

    <On your left!> Kon warns M’gann, as he crashes into Queen Bee and sends her into a wall.

    She climbs to her feet slowly, appraising the fight with a sneer. She reaches down and presses a button on her belt, speaking to someone offsite.

    “Roy. Mommy needs you to bring us home.” She waves goodbye and blinds us with a flash of light.

    An echoing boom, fills the room and wind whips against my face. Before I can try and figure out what happened, the wind is gone.

    “Is it over?” I ask once my vision returns, showing Vandal Savage, Queen Bee, and Black Adam are all gone.

    “Sounds like it.” We can hear a few echoing booms in the distance, so Kon finally answers with a frown. “I can’t hear anymore of the portals.”

    “Okay, good.” I groan and wipe soot from my face. “Let’s check on the others and then I need to find Waller, before she tries anything.”

    Santa Prisca
    November 18, 2010
    7:20 PM, ECT

    We found the rest of the Team in various states of victory. Dick was involved in a very heated conversation, Owlman shooed us away when we approached. Lex was very concerned, when he finally found Lena in the city.

    Donna is found with Amanda Waller and her pair of surviving Squad members. Kaldur has already joined Tula, in securing the coastline and I doubt I will see him again tonight.

    “What are you doing here Waller?” Green Arrow sighs in frustration, when we approach her.

    “Same thing you and the other billionaires are doing,” The American Agent, scowls at Oliver. “Ensuring the security of the election. America’s interests happened to be inline, with the ones you have today.”

    “Well now that foreign agents have been apprehended,” Luthor inquires with a false smile. “What will happen to you?”

    “We’ll probably go boom!” Her Australian criminal interrupts, unable to stay silent.

    “All of us will be disavowed and the disposable assets... will be destroyed.” She answers finally, realizing we have her over a barrel here.

    A beeping noise, begins to come from Firefly and soon it comes from the Australian and the gathered bodies. As Firefly and his Squad mate begin freaking out, Waller’s neck also starts beeping.

    “Ha!” Firefly laughs darkly. “Bet you didn’t think you was disposable!” His crazed giggles are interrupted, as his head explodes.

    “Oh shit!” The Australian in blue shrieks, as he starts clawing at his neck.

    “It seems I am.” Waller’s response is devoid of emotion, but I can feel her inner rage at the realization.

    “I got this!” Rocket steps forward, determination rolling off of her. “I need Ultraman and Powergirl, to remove the bombs!” Her body glows, as an aura of violet extends from her towards Waller and the Australian.

    “You best know whatch y’all doing!” The guy in blue wails, as the beeping is slowed down considerably.

    “We do.” Lex steps towards the complainer and growls at him. “Now shut up and hold still, or I may slip.”

    <Since you have been discarded,> I think at the former agent, who doesn’t outwardly react. <I have a job for you.>

    <What do you have in mind?> Her response is clipped and precise, she clearly has training in how to communicate like this.

    <Instead of a Suicide Squad, I find myself in need of a Doom Patrol.> I send her an image, of the nearly twenty criminals in my cells. <Santa Prisca was just invaded by two foreign monarchs. I think that’s a reason to declare war, don’t you?>

    <Kind of a bloodthirsty answer, for someone who claims to be a hero.> Her response is approving, is blunt.

    <Well I did go on leave from the Superfriends.> I answer with no emotion. <And I don’t want to go to war. I just wish to return the favour, of a precise strike on Bee and Adam.>

    <Who do you have so far?> Waller asks, on board and looking for benefits. <And what is in it for me? I am a free agent it seems, so entice me.>

    <I need someone in charge of my secret services.> I admit, since Bane and Kobra cleaned house of anyone with a spine.

    <Didn’t go through with the election after all?> Waller smirks at me in silence. <I knew you wouldn’t give up the power.>

    <Actually...> I shift awkwardly, not wanting to admit what happened.

    <It was a write in majority.> M’gann the silent listener, comes to my rescue. <He’s now Prime Minister for the year.>

    <And my first law is going to be a one term maximum, so this can’t happen again.> I smile at my Martian, grateful I don’ have to do it alone at least.

    <I’ll believe it, when it happens.> Waller responds, doubtful of my intent. <But I can accept the job, for a one year contract.>

    <You get a ten percent raise, on whatever you already made.> I make a mental note of this.

    <Now we will have recover the gear, from the fallen Squad members.> Waller grimly adds. <It’s too valuable to leave in a coffin.>

    <Cheshire has already claimed Blindspot’s suit, she’s going to be on the Patrol.> I admit, having already gone over the profiles of who she brought. <And I’m taking Eel’s shock gloves and grease gun.>

    <I want to give Zatanna the shadow staff,> M’gann adds, making a good point. <It feels magical and not tech based.>

    <Mirror Masters gear, is going to the labs and so is Firefly’s.> I insist on both, they need to be replicated.

    <Shiv had a pair X-Ion daggers, Weather Witch had her wand, and Atlas had his power suit.> Amanda helpfully fills us in, on the rest of the members gear.

    <Daggers for Tigress, Witch’s wand can go to the lab, and you can have the Atlas suit.> Waller will need something, if she’s going to be on this Doom Patrol of mine.

    <That will be...acceptable.> Waller finally admits, her desire bubbling through her calm facade.

    “Rocket.” I ask, once the bombs have finally been removed. “Can you do that on a larger scale?”

    “How large?” She asks cautiously.

    “Maybe as big as a football field.” I have a plan beginning to form.

    “I think so, but not for very long.” She thinks about it and gives an estimate. “Maybe ten seconds...max.”

    “Long enough for a Zoom and a Flash.” I grab everyone’s attention and smile widely. “Let’s bring Wally home.”

    Oh, I won the write in vote, because I made Genomorphs citizens this week already. They voted for me. and most of everyone else didn't vote.

    This is the end of Season 1. The movie is going to be a 15-20 chapter arc. I’m going to take 3-5 days off and then start posting the movie.
    Hints of what will be in it (think of this like a trailer):
    - Bialya
    - Bana Mighdall
    - The Logans
    - Wally’s Return
    - Two Weddings
    - Memory Loss
    - Roy
    - Sphere
  11. Threadmarks: Season 2: Doom Patrol, Episode 1: Where Were You
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Season 2: Doom Patrol
    Episode 1: Where Were You
    Santa Prisca
    December 1, 2010
    1:47 PM, ECT

    After two weeks of preparation, we are finally ready. My plan to recover Wally, is going to require a Team effort. Everyone is going to have to be perfectly precise. We had a square mile cleared, with a ring of sturdy trees.

    “The G-gnomes are in position.” Dubbilex informs us with a calm smile, as he strolls towards me.

    The Genomorphs he mentioned, are barely visible. They are in the canopy of the treeline, with only barely visible glowing horns.

    It took a while to get them on task. Being able to walk around in the sun, has been something the Genomorphs are all enjoying.

    “Excellent.” I gesture for the rest of the necessary helpers. “M’gann, Zatanna, Raquel, and Barry. Let’s do this.”

    “Dubbilex and his people, have studied the imprint Wally bolted into my brain.” I repeat mostly for myself, if something goes wrong it’s all on me. “M’gann and I, will link to Zatanna.”

    “I’m focusing on my most important memories of him, as a lightning rod.” The hopeful girlfriend grins. “And you and M’gann will link me to the Genomorphs, who will amplify my thoughts and emotions.”

    “Yes,” Dubbilex adds with a grin, happy to be included. “My people, will lock on to his mind and steer him here.”

    “I have a kinetic energy transference field, ready to go on Dubbilex’s signal.” Raquel is as stressed as I feel, she’s really the lynch pin of my plan.

    “Once Wally is in the field,” Barry eagerly adds, his foot tapping impatiently. “You’re going to transfer his excess speed to me.”

    “As long as Artemis is wrong and I’m not an idiot at least.” I go for humour, trying to ease the tension.

    “If I have to be wrong about anything,” Artemis admits with a blank face, but the same hope we all feel. “I’m okay that it was who you turned out to be.”

    “Gee, thanks.” I stick out my tongue at her. “I feel so loved.”

    “I’m fond of you,” She laughs, tension successfully broken for now. “M’gann and Mary-Jane, can handle loving you.”

    “I’m here, because you hired me...” Amanda Waller shifts awkwardly, as we get emotional. “To keep you alive.” He glare has no real heat to it, I can tell how much she truly appreciates being valued.

    “Alright,” Barry interrupts, unable to wait anymore. “Let’s get Wally home.”

    “Zazzy Tee,” I use Wally’s pet names for her, trying to focus on his thought patterns. “Start thinking of the West Wind, my magical girl.”

    “Never say those again.” Zatanna scowls at me, as she struggles to keep her skin from going pink. “One time exemption, because of circumstances.”

    “I know, I know.” I hold back a giggle at her embarrassment, initiating the mental web. “Don’t worry, Pixie Pie.”

    “If this works, I’m going to hug you and then make you wish I would let you die.” Zatanna is glaring at me, but I can feel her memories of love swirling in her head.

    One by one our friends help Zatanna and focus on memories of the missing man. Once everyone is in the link, I extend a tether to Dubbilex. In an instant the dozens of G-gnomes add to our power and really believe we can do this.

    Zatanna Zatara
    Tower of Fate
    July 22, 2010
    12:24 PM, EST

    “So Wallace.” Kent Nelson takes a seat beside us at the mahogany table. “Zatanna here, has told me you do not believe in magic.”

    I feel my victory at hand and smirk at Wally, who shifts uncomfortably in his seat. He growls at me, which makes my heart beat faster. I don’t know why I like teasing him so much, but I know I don’t make any effort to avoid him... or is smiles.

    “Do you have an answer for him?” I tease the silent boy, with a smile on my lips. “It’s rude to ignore someone.”

    “I’m trying to think about my answer,” Wally finally admits, scowling at his hands. “I was told to be respectful even if I disagree. So I’m choosing my words carefully, instead of blurting them out.” He gives me a half smile, which makes me blush lightly.

    “Wise words,” Our senior host agrees with a sidelong look at me and a smile, covered behind his tea cup. “Ones I needed my friend Alan to say to me.” He looks wistful for a moment, before finishing with watery eyes.

    “He made sure I didn’t let my Inza walk away... Alan made sure I really looked at her and I saw my life in her eyes.” Kent wipes his eyes, as his memories overtake him.

    I feel something bump against my foot under the table and jerk in my seat. Wally mouths a ‘sorry’ at me, clearly unsure what to say now. I think on Kent’s words and make a choice. Snaking my foot forward, I catch his fidgeting one beneath my own and smile at him.

    Feeling my cheeks go pink again, I swallow my nerves and look him in the eye. He’s almost as red as his hair, which makes me feel less awkward. Even better, he’s smiling back at me.

    “Sorry about that,” Kent speaks up with a cough, making me pull my foot back in embarrassment. “Memories will do that to you one day, if you’re lucky that is.”

    “Alright. I don’t believe in magic,” Wally takes a deep breath and admits the truth. “Everyone me and the Flash fought, was a fraud.”

    “How many lottery tickets, are winners?” Asks Kent, a smirk on his lips.

    “Science can explain everything.” Wally crosses his arms, as he tries to remain respectful. “Even magic.”

    “Well of course it can.” Kent agrees, which makes Wally frown in confusion. “Magic is a very broad term and covers a wide array of energies. We tap into them, from the appropriate dimension and gain our powers.”

    “Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards, Witches, and all the other practitioners, use different means to access the varied energies.” Explains the Supreme Sorcerer of Earth. “Like scientists harness the laws of physics, we obey the laws of magic.”

    “I don’t know,” Wally grumbles, still not convinced of what he’s hearing.

    His stubbornness makes me want to slap him in moments like this. It also makes me want to kiss him, when he insists on making sure every civilian is safe.

    “Okay. How about this,” Kent grins at the speedster, like he has a royal flush in poker. “You eat enough for twenty men, but you only use the bathroom like a single person.” Wally’s eyes bulge, as he realizes the impossibility of his digestive system.

    “I... Um...” Wally gapes like a fish and I can’t help but giggle at him.

    “Tell you what.” Kent Nelson stands and smirks down at Wally. “Come up with an answer besides magic and I’ll listen.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 1, 2010
    1:59 PM, ECT

    As Zatanna’s memories flash by faster and faster, I feel the presence we are here for. Wally is running towards us, but he’s not pleased.

    Before I can warn anyone, a streak of blue light races by and is barely caught in a field of violet energy. Kid Flash is inside, mid stride and his face is full of panic.

    “No!” He shrieks at us, his voice filled with terror. “Atom hasn’t gone boom yet!”

    His words make me see who’s ankle he has in his hand, being dragged behind him. Captain Atom is alive, but unfortunately not for long. His suit is torn and leaking radioactive energy, but at a delayed pace.

    We don’t have time to do more than blink and turn to each other in a worry, before Captain Atom starts to really glow. His suit vanishes, as the quantum energy explodes at one one thousandth of it’s normal speed.

    Slow enough for us to know we will all die, but to fast to reach other for a farewell. Waller steps forward, determination rolling off of her.

    “I was just saved from one bomb, so save us from this one Princess.” Waller orders my daughters Mary-Jane, but with a kinder voice than she uses on the rest of us. “I know you two can do this. Turn his energy into something else.”

    Firestorm sheds her skin, letting her normal red metal come to the surface. She holds her hands up and a cascade of flaming runes, surround the exploding Captain Atom. The runes force the energy back in on itself, before it creates a solid form beneath Wally’s feet.

    A platinum and gold treadmill allows Wally to run in place, instead of falling on his face when Rocket’s energy vanishes.

    “I’m thankful you made some kind of Cosmic Treadmill, instead of letting everyone die,” Waller asks with a curious smile. “But why did you choose that form?”

    “I panicked,” Mary-Jane admits, as Zatanna is carried by Barry to Wally’s side. “I’ll try again, but don’t expect a work of art. It’s the only class I ever failed.”

    She does a repeat of her fire runes and this time the exercise equipment, is replaced with a golden staff. It is about six feet tall and curved into a hook at the top. It is covered in a pattern of stars, I can see when we approach ourselves.

    Santa Prisca
    December 1, 2010
    4:41 PM, ECT

    Once Wally’s adrenaline was gone, he collapsed completely drained. He had been running for months, with only the barest piece of himself outside of the Speed Force. We came prepared however and have a buffet ready for him.

    “You guys are a godsend.” He moves like a blur over the food, working his way through it like a movie montage. “I had to snag bites while I was running, sometimes I vibrated too much and ended up on a slightly different Earth.”

    “Different Earths?” Raquel interrupts him, shocked at his blase news.

    “Multiverse theory,” I explain, thinking of all the different versions of DC I have taken in over the years. “Yeah and they are all in the same place, just slightly out off sync with each other.” Wally swallows a mouthful and stares forlornly at his empty blanket. “I saw a few dozen, once Zatanna opened the alley for me.”

    “Don’t you mean, Pixie Pie.” Artemis bursts out laughing, at the deer in a head lights look on Wally’s face.

    “Laugh all you want, love brought him home.” Zatanna sticks her tongue out at Artemis and scowls. “Beside I know where you sleep.”

    “Thanks for that by the way babe, I was stuck running in circles on the walls in that place.” Wally rushes to the overjoyed magician and hugs her from behind, trying to defuse the tension.

    “I was in the Speed Force, for who knows how long. It felt both forever and barely a second had passed, before I saw a tear in all dimensions at once.” He shrugs in confusion. “I had no idea how it showed up, but I bolted through it and heard something curse at me when I did.”

    “I arrived in the alley and knew I couldn’t let go of Captain Atom, or I could have lost him in the Speed Force.” He shivers from the strain of running so long and finishes explaining. “I didn’t want to go all the way back in either, so I left only my voice on Earth.”

    “Which is why I kept hearing you!” Zatanna squeals in realization, showering him in kisses.

    “When I felt you needed me, I came running babe.” He comes up for air, blushing like a tomato. “I always will.” He sweeps back his hair and smiles.

    I hadn’t noticed, but his hair is now an electric blue. It looked like when he was eating, five of him appeared. He’s really a hell of a lot faster now, based on what he said before.

    The trail of light behind the Flash’s, being related to how fast they are going. None of them have had a blue speed trail before, and Wally was the first to reach yellow. Jay is stuck at red and Barry has been orange, until the speed transfer today gave him a boost to yellow.

    “As touching as this reunion is,” Waller speaks her mind, reaching for the golden staff. “What do we do with thi-”

    She stops talking, as soon as her skin touches the metal. An incandescent energy surrounds her and the staff, before Waller rises into the air and floats. She hangs suspended for nearly a minute, before the energy vanishes and she drops to the floor with a smirk.

    “Nathanial says he approves, for now.” She stares at the rod of Quantum energy and smiles softly. “He says most of you... lack the necessary military mind.”

    “Hey! Like you have one either.” Wally grunts out, annoyed by who he thinks is a random person. “Who is she!” He demands of us, when Waller grins back mysteriously at him.

    “Ask the King, or should I say Prime Minister?” Waller smirks at me, as she opens a can of worms. “He is my boss after all.” Thanks, we wanted to ease him into things. Preferably with a second feast.

    “What did I miss?” Wally really starts looking at us, realizing the changes. “Who is she? And what happened to Garth, Tula, and Kon?”

    “I’m Lena Luthor, Kon’s big sister.” Powergirl holds out a hand with more respect than she offered the rest of the Team on first meeting them. it’s hard to hate someone you saw run a bomb away.

    “Garth, he died and Tula is in Atlantis now.” I explain, since no one wants to. “Kon is right over...” We look and see him passed out and unmoving.

    “Dude!” Wally shouts in concern and streaks to his side in a flash of blue light. “You alright!” Kon groans and slowly sits up, with all of us concerned.

    “What happened to you?” Lena helps her brother up, her scowl hiding the concern I can sense in her. “Wally was the one we came here to help.”

    “He wasn’t responding to the psychic signal alone, but I could feel the love they have for each other.” Kon shrugs awkwardly and tries his best to explain. “And I gave him a strong nudge back home.”

    “Okay first. Thanks.” Wally is holding up his hand, with a single finger up. “Second. You can feel our love, eww. Don’t do that, it’s weird.” He holds a second finger up, soon joined by a third.

    “And third. How the hell can you do that?” Wally is as confused as everyone. “Last I checked, Kryptonians don’t have that power. And sorry buddy, but you don’t have the full package.”

    “Actually I do now.” Kon stands and looks at his feet, confessing to what happened to him. “I went crazy because I became a Kryptonian Demigod of Beauty.”

    “I learned from the Wisdom God who chose Lena. If I want to ascend to true godhood, I need to choose what I stand for,” Kon is blushing up a storm, as he opens up to us. “Before people choose for me. I chose Love, because it brought me back to sanity.”

    “A Demigod? Ascension?” Raquel is doubtful and concerned for Kon’s sanity. “You feeling alright Handsome?”

    “Better than ever.” He answers back with a smile. “I know how much you all care and now I really don’t feel alone anymore, which has made it hard being around Kyla. She doesn’t love me, only what I represent.

    “And unhealthy amount of physical attraction.” I mutter under my breath, but of course he hears it and grins at me.

    “Yeah it’s really only physical and I want more.” He shrugs with some embarrassment. “I’m working out how to end things with her.”

    “Since Wally is back, can we go to our lab soon Dad?” Mary-Jane is back into her 12 year old girl form and eager to make use of the company Ted Kord left her.

    Well technically he left it to Serling, but since she was never actually recorded as dead legally. M’gann has to pretend a few times so Serling and Mary-Jane, are seen in public together. Once a few weeks have gone by, Mary-Jane can pretend to be Serling themselves.

    “Dad!” Wally shrieks in shock. “What else did I miss?” He’s glaring at us all but then it morphs into a smile. “Ah I can’t stay mad, I’m so happy to be home. And besides, I may have gotten my own Demigod status on Themyscira. Mercury was kind of vague.”

    “Oh, so we have messenger boy now?” Artemis giggles at the idea, her laughter is contagious and soon even Waller is smirking.

    “You heard Chris,” Wally denies the title. “I have to choose, before the people do for me. I like the idea of Improvement, never settle for yesterday and work for a better tomorrow.”

    “You have gone through a lot of that.” Barry ruffles Wally’s blue hair and hugs him fiercely. “I’m so proud of you Kid.”

    “Does this mean you want to be my sidekick now?” Wally laughs, but Barry awkwardly steps away from him.

    “I’m kind of an undercover anti-hero now.” Barry presses his ring and emerges in his Zoom costume. “I’m kind of like Deadpool now, he’s your favourite Marvel character right? I had to rely on your humour, to get through the memories of who I killed while I was controlled.”

    “Officially he’s going to pay off his crimes, on the King’s new Doom Patrol.” Waller explains. “It’s UN approved and since Rocket and Firestorm are working on a new form of prison, we will be getting many sent to us by years end.”

    “Only legal adults are candidates,” I hasten to correct her, before anyone gets the wrong idea. “Juvenile criminals are being placed in a rehabilitation school if willing to have some mental commands implanted.”

    Ones like don’t attack anyone, don’t leave the Island, work towards a none criminal future. They get removed, when the sentence is over, but it will allow the teens who have been manipulated find a real future.

    The adults are offered a choice after being interviewed. Join the Doom Patrol, with much stricter mental commands. Be extradited to a country hey committed crimes in, or be evaluated.

    We learn if they go to a rehabilitation work camp prison, A mental rehabilitation facility, or a standard prison. Being able to know who really wants a different life, who is ill, and who is a lifetime criminal, has made our job much easier.

    Raquel and Mary-Jane should have the new new force bubbles, ready for mass production soon. Atlas’ power suit, is also being duplicated. Firefly’s gear is being converted into large scale vehicle use. Flying flame tanks, comet bikes, and many more are in the works.

    Mirror Master’s glass and chemicals are being examined, but it is very slow going. Weather Witches wand is also being examined on the Watchtower, as a way to end storms and droughts.

    “I’m so tired,” Wally yawns and is swaying on his feet. “But you need to know that when I was in the Alley, six demonic looking things came out also and they went looking for a sister of some kind.” His message finished, he passes out leaning on his girlfriend.

    “Harm did say something about a Brother Blood.” I strain to remember his words, it was kind of a stressful time.

    “Great, someone else to investigate.” Dick groans, but I can feel how eager he is for a challenge. “Since we’re all coming clean, I kind of got bonded with an alien AI.” Dick is soon covered in a black and blue metal armour, with a beetle style motif.

    “When I killed Klarion, I felt his essence be absorbed into myself.” Donna admits her own secret. “I believe he really had claimed godhood and it is now mine.”

    “If that’s the case,” Artemis whispers in realization, forcing everyone to lean closer to her. “Me and Jade each got half of our dad’s Divine Spark, or whatever it’s called.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 4, 2010
    1:09 PM, ECT

    “Evaluations of the prisoners,” My right hand being Dubbilex, informs me as his eyes stop glowing. “Have been completed.”

    “Already?” I’m really impressed, in only three weeks, the Genomorphs have finished sorting through memories of the nearly twenty captured criminals. “Who can we genuinely work with?” Queen Bee sent a large contingent of teenage criminals, I really hope they aren’t beyond hope yet.

    “The Queen had nearly all of her forces.” The leader of the Genomorphs, tilts his head to the side and considers his words carefully. “Under a form of pheromone control. It has finally worn off and those we have captured are becoming more compliant.”

    “Who am I talking to today?” Barry Allen and Jade Nguyen signed up easily, along with my older ‘brother’ Jim Harper.

    I’m relieved I have some people on the Patrol, I can rely on reasonably well. Cheshire surprised me during her interview. She genuinely wants to pay me back, for saving her and keeping Artemis safe. I think getting her moms spine healed, also was a factor in her change of attitude.

    Zoom just doesn’t want to have to stop for too long and think of the nearly seventeen thousand people he killed. His mind control screwed with him more than even my own has with me.

    Jim went to the same guy Lois and Clark did in Metropolis and got an overhaul on his systems. He wants to find his own place in the world, now that he can really be his own man.

    “The gorilla who calls himself Grodd,” Dubbilex lists my appointments for the day. “Followed by George ‘Digger’ Harkness, or Captain Boomerang as he prefers and then Shimmer.”

    “All three are really interested in the offer?” I figured Digger would, but Grodd is a surprise and I though Shimmer was a loyal cultist.

    “Indeed they are.” I get a confident smile from Dubbilex, which no longer looks terrifying. “Grodd desires revenge and the freedom of his people.” He only needed a little practice smiling in front of someone who wouldn’t run away screaming. “The Terror Twins, also have an interview when you are finished with the others.”

    “What about Icicle junior?” I remembered him in the adult prison with the Terrors in the show, so what’s going on?

    “Cameron Mahkent, is only seventeen.” I get my answer, when Amanda walks into the room. “He pushed to be tried as an adult, but that was part of the mass break out.”

    “Then I want to talk to him as well,” I instruct, still having a hard time giving Waller orders and having her follow them. “I have a different offer for him. He’s in a weird in between place right now legally.”

    “He’s with the juveniles,” Dubbilex explains. “It may be better to do so tomorrow, when you speak with them of the schooling.”

    “Alright, you have the schedule.” I defer to the superior management skills of the pair and head for the first cell on my list.

    “Hello.” Raising my voice, I direct it inside the cell and knock. “It’s me Connor. Can I come in, so we can talk?” I need to treat him like a person. Not a human but a sentient being I respect, like I do any non human on my Team.

    “Not recommended.” Waller rolls her eyes at me, but hands me the key card. “But you’re the boss.”

    “You heard the bad cop,” A massive hairy hand, grabs the window bars and shakes the door. “I’m not safe. I’m a vicious beast!” He roars at me in false bravado, but I can clearly feel his hopelessness, fear, and sense of loss.

    “Well that’s not true.” I correct him softly. “Why are you lying to me? You are just as much a victim of the Light, as me and the Genomorphs.”

    “More lies from man!” Grodd snarls, shaking the reinforced door again. “What do you know of suffering!”

    “Well for starters,” I speak firmly, sending my memory towards him and give him the choice to view it. “I was made in a lab almost four years ago.”

    “He’s only like eighty five percent human.” Waller scowls at the admittance.

    “Martian fills in the rest of my gaps and a blood transfusion...” I smile awkwardly and explain for Grodd. “Gave me a booster shot.”

    “He ensured my people are free and citizens here.” Dubbilex helps, sharing his own memories with the gorilla. “He isn’t like the heartless humans, we have been exposed to.”

    A few moments of silence pass, as Grodd considers the words carefully. Finally his hand releases the bar and offers itself to me.

    “Because he’s not all human,” Grodd laughs to himself as I shake his hand. “He’s got a little bit of good in him I guess.”

    “So can I come in and go over my offer with you Grodd?” I try again more hopeful now of the outcome, this is the earliest I have ever seen Grodd in his career and I have a chance with him.

    “No point.” Grodd lets go of my hand and I can hear him sit down inside his cell. “If you will free my mate and child and I guess the rest of my people, I will aid you in taking down the Light.”

    “We can do that,” I easily agree. “No one should be left in the hands of any of them.”

    “We get the same deal you gave Dubbilex,” Grodd makes his final demand. “We become citizens and we get our own town, so we can integrate at a comfortable pace. As equals to anyone else on Santa Prisca.”

    “Well an easy way to do that,” I smirk at Dubbilex and saddle him with publicity. “Is to make you and Dubbilex dukes, which is really a meaningless title here. But it’s long term legitimacy, beyond me being Prime Minister and then I make you Minister of Gorilla rights.”

    “Then we have a deal,” Grodd accepts with calm hope. “I will accept the mental commands, for my time on this Doom Patrol.”


    “Why do you want in?” I ask Shimmer, sitting across the table from her in her cell. “Isn’t your brother still with the Queen?”

    “She pulled everyone valuable out when she lost.” I can feel her shame and rage, as she realizes she wasn’t. “But not me. No, never Shimmer.” She feels worse about herself than I do, which is really saying something.

    “So you want...” I prod her, looking for her motive. “Revenge?” No that doesn’t feel quite right. “Do you want Mammoth back from Queen Bee?” Closer, but still off.

    “I want validation.” She stares me down and I refuse to break eye contact, she needs something from this. “I’m tired of being a discardable asset, first for Kobra and then for the Hive.” Parental approval issues and an inferiority complex for sure, definitely a few more issues to work through.

    “Trickshot doesn’t leave people behind,” Waller interrupts, scowling at how difficult her job will be.

    “He also has the most, in the team infirmary.” Dubbilex shares with one of his smiles. “He has a bad habit, of making bonds with his teammates and taking injuries meant for them.”

    “Don’t trust us to handle ourselves?” Shimmer glares at me, a sense of being insulted and worried rises inside her. “Or do you just micro manage everything?” Her emotions are all over the place.

    Shimmer wants this to be the real deal and a way for her to find her place, working off her misspent youth. But she’s been let down by authority so many times, she can’t believe the offer is true.

    “I do,” I assure her with a grimace. “I just spent most of my life, thinking I was the most expendable one. It’s taking some time, to see I have value and I shouldn’t jump on every grenade.”

    “I want Mammoth back yeah, he's been made simple minded and needs me.” Shimmer makes her terms known, clenching her fists and making her tattooed arms ripple. “But mainly, I want to show the people so willing to throw me aside why they should have held on to me.”

    “A monthly stipend, place to live, reduced sentence for each mission, and citizenship once you finish.” I make the offer and she takes my hand hesitantly, but shakes it firmly once she committed to the deal.


    “We get ta keep hitting people and we get paid fur it?” Tommy Terror is grinning eagerly.

    “You’re giving us, a place ta live too?” His sister Tupence is more cautious, but also excited about the offer. “We don’t need ta worry about running from cops, or finding a bed every night?”

    “Yeah. It’s the standard offer, for anyone who passes the evaluation and can still be rehabilitated.” I shake the eager hands of each and smile warmly. “You both had a childhood of bad parenting and go steered into a life of crime. It’s early enough we can find a better path, once you two work off the nine year sentence.”


    “You have to ask why I’m signing on?” Captain Boomerang laughs in my face. “I thought you were a smart guy. No bomb in my neck and a paycheck, why would I turn down an offer like this?”

    “You’re fine with the mental commands?” I ask and he has some unease but it blows away soon.

    “Better than no head and life in jail.” He looks down at his hands, imaging the blood on them and I can feel his guilt eating away at him. “’Sides, even a shithead like me wants to do a little bit of good. It ain’t all about money, sometimes people get hurt.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 4, 2010
    6:28 PM, ECT

    Taking my seat at the table Mary-Jane created from sand. They, Greta, and Dick had sculpted a work of art at the beach a few days ago, with many local children observing. Mary-Jane transmuted it into solid amber and it was floated in by M’gann.

    I look at my family and soak in the feelings of joy. We had such a hard six months, but with Wally back we all feel lighter and able to enjoy the moment.

    M’gann and Mary-Jane are discussing something technological, that goes right over my head. Jim has accepted the offer to stay with us, but he has a hard time opening up. I think it runs in the family.

    “How’s your new lab treating you?” When I notice a lull in the conversation, I take my chance and speak. “Did you get all the projects you want to work on, transferred from El Paso?”

    They swallow a bite of fried plantain, before answering with an elated smile on her face. I know she doesn’t need to eat, but it’s easy enough for her to simulate a stomach and incinerate the matter.

    “Oh yes,” Mary-Jane is nearly bouncing in their seat, as she blurts out eagerly. “But you can’t come see yet, I’m working on your birthday present.” She hastens to explain.

    I’ve really noticed over the last few weeks as I have embraced them, they have become more childlike than before. What they said about Serling growing up in an orphanage, makes me feel like she never had a chance to be a child.

    She was so smart, the system rushed her through as soon as it could and she grew up incomplete the first time. Now that they have this second chance, they are taking it with open arms. I had to put up a daughter for adoption shortly after I turned sixteen, this is a second chance for both of us.

    “Don’t worry MJ.” I reach over and tussle her now red hair, halfway between my own shade and M’gann’s. “I like surprises, even if I can’t keep them.”

    “What about hiding the mental commands?” They ask curiously. “You did not reveal hat for months.”

    “I had no choice, it wouldn’t let me talk.” I shrug at the sad fact, that I can’t keep a secret for the life of me. “I was trying everyday. If I couldn’t have talked to M’gann, I would have gone crazier.”

    “I would have been a lot more miserable, if no one on the Team linked with me for months.” M’gann reaches over and grabs my hand. “I keep you sane.” She squeezes my hand and shares a dirty memory.

    “And I keep you happy.” I squeeze her hand back, sharing something we can try tonight.

    “Gross.” Mary-Jane frowns at the display, shaking a finger at me. “If you two are going to act like that, Uncle Jim is taking me to get some more supplies from Salem.”

    “I am?” My older ‘brother’ frowns in confusion. “Did she ever actually ask me?” He whispers at me, which has my daughters roll their eyes.

    “Yes you are, Don’t you listen?” Mary-Jane returns the eye roll and raises him a dry willy. “Do I need to give your ears an overhaul? I thought Henry did a good job on you.”

    “Alright, alright.” He gives in, like a smart man would. I think I have won three arguments with Mary-Jane, since her awakening.”Let’s go now, so we can be back in time for Colbert.” He waves goodbye and leads the smirking gyndroid from the room.

    “I’ll make sure he remembers to bring me back for bedtime, don’t worry.” Mary-Jane informs me at the door.

    “I know you don’t need to sleep, or eat.” I raise an eyebrow at her mostly untouched plate. “I appreciate the effort, but you’re the one who gave yourself a nine thirty bedtime for some reason.”

    They hesitate in the doorway for a moment, before Mary-Jane takes a deep breath. I think she does it because of twelve years of memories and no actual need to do so. I could be wrong though, maybe they’re venting or something. I really don’t get electronics at all.

    “It makes us feel like a normal girl,” They admit as a light blush forms on their cheeks and they look at the floor embarrassed. “We didn’t get a chance as Serling or Danette.

    “We want to have that now.” They sprint over to me and embrace me in a full hug, “Thanks for giving it to us.” I get a peck on my cheek, and they rush from the room with a chuckling Jim.

    Once the door closes, M’gann scoots her chair closer to mine and lays her head on my shoulder.

    <Have you noticed, her face looks like a combination of Serling, Danette, and you?> Her mental voice is soft, as she is already relaxing for the evening.

    <I hadn’t.> I deny the claim with a mix of pride and disbelief. <But we all know how bad I am with faces.>

    <Yes we do...> She pauses awkwardly, sensing I’m not ready to joke yet and it’s a defence mechanism. <But forgetting what you look like and not knowing who you are, is something I wish you would have told me. Because hello Connor, I’m your girlfriend so tell me how you feel.>

    <I’ll try to do better, I’m sorry.> My response is slow coming, because I know she’s right and I have no excuse for hiding my feeling from her.

    <I’m psychic, but you have to at least think the thoughts.> She pats me on the back and then sits up. “Mary-Jane can’t, so you need to learn how to share and fast. Girls like to talk about feelings, we aren’t scared of them.”

    “Yes,” I admit with a smile, her cheering me up a success. “I know the women in my life are far braver than me and my fellow men who fear our feelings.”

    “The first step is admitting you have a problem,” M’gann giggles at the face I make, before pressing on with a smile. “Now you only have to practice.”

    “Oliver stopped by before dinner, on his way to an emergency,” I change the subject, before I forget the news entirely tonight. “The League is doing an expansion and since I’ll be eighteen, they are offering us both a spot.”

    “What did you say?” She is completely still, reeling in shock.

    “I had to talk to you first, of course.” I put a hand on her shoulder and give it a comforting squeeze. “I’m learning... see.”

    “Good. Because I don’t feel ready, like at all.” She’s close to hyperventilating, so I pull her in to a hug.

    <I haven’t felt ready for anything, since July first.> She leans back into my chest and begins taking deep breaths, when I finally admit this to her. <I just see how things can go wrong and can’t ask anyone else to do something, if I won’t do it myself.>

    <No more explosions then,> She giggles and I feel her tension flee her body. <We know you’ll take a few for us.>

    <Deal.> I give her another tight squeeze and release her. “I’ll stick to getting stabbed and shot. I’ll make sure the bad guys know, that you said so on each mission.”

    “See if I let you go on any,” She mumbles to herself and I pretend not to hear it, I wouldn’t mind a real vacation from heroics

    “I’ll tell him that we need the year, to deal with the politics here.” Shrugging, I start clearing the table. “We can see how we feel next January.”

    “That is a better idea, we do have a lot in need of doing here.” She grins at me and laughs. “What’s this I heard, about an Apeberg?”

    “Grodd wanted security for his people, so he’s getting the same deal as Dubbilex,” I yawn tiredly and explain. “Which was easy, considering he’s only committed crimes while enslaved. He’s a free ape, once his people are here.”

    “Funny that you’re giving so many non humans sanctuary here,” M’gann giggles nervously. “I got an email from some classmates, who need help and are definitely not human.”

    Rocket is kind of OP, while looking into her for research I realized how I was getting wally back with powers on the team. I came up with how before he vanished, which was why he left with Cpt Atom.

    I really took pride in combining a request to see the Wally/Zatanna/Kent conversation, with what I already had. I was able to neatly work in the matter/energy can't be created or destroyed, only changed from one form into another. Wally's Digestion as a warm up for making Captain Atom's Energy into matter
    Lightxdarkwing and Kamehb like this.
  12. Threadmarks: Episode 2: Fear of What Follows
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 2: Fear of What Follows
    Santa Prisca
    December 5, 2010
    10:47 AM, ECT

    Sitting across from Icicle junior, I let him consider my offer and simply pay attention to his reactions. He hasn’t said anything in response, only sitting in contemplative silence.

    His icy form keeps so still I would think him dead, if not for his cloud of breath occasionally. I can tell he’s not used to real choice and is struggling with the self direction.

    “I don’t get it.” He shakes his head in confusion and frowns at me. “We attacked you, but you want me to look after your daughters?”

    “I know they can handle you, if you have ill intent.” I stare him down and smirk. “They already did so.” I send him a mental image of Mary-Jane, as she is shifting into their Firestorm form. “Two young minds in a single body, combined with more power than anyone else on the Superfriends.”

    “So why does she even need a bodyguard then?” Cameron is bubbling with confusion. “Sounds like you need one and not her.”

    ”Them.” I correct him gently, yet firmly. “And yes. It’s not physical protection she needs, but someone to guide her socially in school.”

    “I dropped out in grade eleven!” He corrects me with some anger. “I’m not so stupid, that I’m in what?” He considers the age of Mary-Jane and makes a guess. “Grade six?”

    “They are a genius and are far beyond anyone who will be in school with you, except maybe that kid Gizmo.” I correct him with a proud grin. “It will be hard enough getting capable teachers, with the skills to be around Meta-humans and non humans.” We only have eight candidates so far and we have been looking globally.

    “Wait...” Cameron starts laugh lightly in realization. “You’re sending the princesses, to school with us criminals?”

    “No, no.” I shake me head and savour the confusion, my word play is causing him. “You will be going to their school. Theirs and the Genomorph’s that is.” It’s nearly finished and will be for anyone not baseline.

    “We evaluated each of you and found all of you have been manipulated or forced into the lifestyle.” Except for See-more. That kid’s a full on peeper, he’s already been sent to Arkham Asylum for real care.

    “No one made me do anything!” Cameron protests, but he doesn’t believe his lie at all. “I’m my own man.”

    “The Genomorphs looked in everyone’s head.” I explain and he pales somehow. “We know how long El Capo has been steering your choices.”

    “Not cool man.” He’s freaked out and looking around the room frantically. “I didn’t give anyone permission to go in my head.”

    “Well lucky for us,” I explain with a tight smile, because I am working to change things already. “We haven’t got many laws in Santa Prisca and the Bill of Rights, is the only thing almost finished.”

    “So you can do anything...” He shivers at my evil laugh.

    “Bwa ha ha ha!” I cough and end my act, smiling awkwardly. “Sorry, I always wanted to have a chance to try the whole evil laugh thing. Did your dad ever do it?” I ask, genuinely curious at the answer.

    “It’s not just a movie thing.” He admits with a smile, his relief rolling off of him. “My father has competitions among the crew, as a way to intimidate captives.”

    “Look,” I make another attempt at convincing him. I’m basing all of this off a single episode of the show, but I really want him to try for redemption.

    Parental issues are something I can relate to well and I want him to have at least one time in his life, he can choose for himself. I send him waves of encouragement and smile at him.

    “They are weird. So am I, but I know you’re charming.” I sigh and admit an area I am lacking. “I can get people on task, but I don’t know how to be ‘cool’.”

    “I am that.” He sits forward in his chair and smirks at me.

    “I was some kind of stoner nerd before Green Arrow took me in and the mother was in college by fourteen.” I stare him down and instill how serious I am. “I want you to ensure they are included in things and don’t sit alone.”

    “So I all I have to do, is be the babysitter?” He’s relaxing at the idea.

    “Or help them find friends and then you can just keep an eye out for them.” He takes my hand happily, with he idea laid out. “I have a feeling, the school is going to be getting fairly full. Mary-Jane will have an easier time, with one of the ‘bad boys’ looking out for her.” Besides, the Genomorphs are keeping an eye on the campus and will intervene if needed.

    “They want off the Superfriends, since they want to be in a lab and not he field. But they find normal school to boring.” I shrug, glad they are doing what makes them happy.

    Lot’s of ways to help people, without going out in uniform.

    “Since none of you are going to be involved in any action for a quite a while, Mary-Jane can help steer you lot into a successful future.” They care more about finding friends who wont make her feel guilty for quitting the heroics, but for whatever reason, I have their support in this.

    “Why do you care so much?” He doubts my motive still, even if he’s on board.

    “I was grown in a lab by the bad guys who created the Genomorphs,” I admit to the stunned Icicle junior. “I don’t like people being manipulated. I almost took down the entire League, because of my mental programming.”

    “You almost took down the Justice League?” I can understand he shock, he only knows me as Speedy the sidekick.

    “Well I guess I did... twice.” I smirk at the technicality.

    This will be nice bragging rights for the Team, now that everyone is feeling more encouraged. A few big wins in a row, have really changed the mood of the heroes. We don’t feel like we’re losing anymore and finally we are able to go on the offensive.

    “Maybe even three times, if you count being the one who ruined their reputations.” I hold up three fingers and frown in thought.

    I guess we’re still kind of mopping up, from when I infected them all. J’onn and Hawkman, are still unaccounted for.

    “Damn, you hit the big leagues, while I was in the slammer.” He scowls at the forced imprisonment, at his father’s behest.

    “Green Arrow is a Queen, while I’m a king.” I brag and remember to use that on Ollie later. “And I did get an offer to join the Justice League. I may even take them up on it, when my term of office is over.”

    M’gann M’orzz
    Star City
    December 5, 2010
    2:47 PM, PDT

    Waiting in the selected park, Artemis and I wait for my friends. Jan had emailed me, asking for sanctuary. Her and her brother are in need of sanctuary. Seeing me with the Genomorphs on the news, gave them an avenue to reach out.

    “Are you even listening to me?” I poke her in the side, while she scans the park.

    “Yes.” Artemis’ voice is flat, but I can see the corner of her lip curl into a smile. “Are you even looking for the twins?”

    “Of course I am,” I lean in and whisper. “I’m sensing for them.”

    “While I’ve seen Rose walk past three times, but she’s clearly avoided looking at us each time.” Artemis whispers back. “And once I was on edge, I keep seeing people who stand out everywhere.”

    “What do you mean?” I can’t see anything weird, but I’m not a good judge of normal human behaviour.

    “That guy has an empty stroller, the kid on the slide has a beard, and that old lady is packing heat.” Listing off what she sees, Artemis has me glad Dinah is waiting with a ready car.

    “Someone really is after them.” I understand the urgency in the message now. “We need to be careful doing this.”

    “I’m thinking snatch and grab when they show up,” Artemis hisses back at me, as she notices another oddity in the crowd. “Give them a psychic lowdown, while we make a break for the car. I don’t want to get into a fight, in the middle of a crowded park.”

    “Then we need to go now,” I inform her, as the twins enter my mental range. “They just showed up.”

    “And we have movement from the weirdos,” Artemis agrees with my assessment. “So lets move!”

    We rush across the park, with Artemis dropping the bearded child on our way. When I start opening a link, I’m surprised by the instant access.

    <Hello Megan!> I get the enthusiastic greeting from both twins, who are clearly used to his kind of communication. <We are so happy you came.>

    <That’s nice,> I brush off the greeting with more rudeness than intended, Artemis is a bad influence on me. <We can talk in he car, but we need to go!>

    <Oh!> I see the pair stop mid step and begin panicking. <What do we do?>

    <Anything besides making yourselves an easy target!> Artemis growls through the shared link, as she takes down the childless father next. <We’re outnumbered by like a quarter of the park!>

    She’s right. By the time we reach the twins, I can see people running from all over the park. I don’t know who these two really are, but something big is going down.

    <Time to go.> I levitate the pair, who still haven’t started running. <Our ride is waiting.> Sending a warning to Dinah, we flee the nearly two dozen pursuers.

    M’gann M’orzz
    Star City
    December 5, 2010
    3:02 PM, PDT

    “What the hell,” Artemis growls, as she throws herself in the back of the car. “Is going on?” Dinah hits the gas and slams the back door closed, in our hasty exit from the park. “Why are Shadows involved?”

    “Why are they after you?” I try for a softer approach, now that I have a moment to breath. “The email said nothing about humans being involved.”

    “We did not know,” Zan answers for the both of them, while Jayna peers out the back window. “We thought we had hidden our arrival here on Earth.”

    “Well you didn’t.” Points out Artemis, scowling at the pair. “Dinah we got five vehicles in pursuit.”

    “Thanks,” Responds our driver, swerving around a corner and down a side street. “Keep a lookout, I gotta focus on the road.”

    “You all better buckle up.” Artemis has already done so, but is pointing at my own and hissing at us. “Ollie likes to exaggerate, but Dinah really is crazy behind the wheel.”

    “Is she giving you lessons?” I mutter to myself, but Jayna gives me away with a snicker.

    “So who are you really?” Dinah finally asks, when Artemis gives an all clear signal. “This is a lot of effort, for two people. Shadows would normally send a single snatch squad.”

    “We are the heirs, to one of the five royal families of Exxoria.” Zan proudly declares. “When the Fearmonger and his forces took over our world, our escort barely disguised our escape.”

    “We fled his fleet and his champions, searching for a place beyond his reach.” Jan takes over for her rage filled sibling. “When we learned of Hal Jordan the Green Lantern of Earth and then Guy and John, we had a destination finally.”

    “Imagine our surprise,” Zan laughs bitterly, which is a divergence from his normally goofy persona. “To learn humans have no way to resist our pursuers. So we have been hiding for three years, hoping to remain undetected.”

    “Then why did you message me now?” If they thought they were safe, why come forward?

    “We saw you on the news with the Genomorphs.” Zan admits, staring at me with something I can’t quite place. “A place that is openly accepting those like us, will allow us to share our technology.”

    “And then,” Dinah reasons with no judgment in her voice, only a warm understanding. “Once humans have a fleet, we may be of use in helping you?”

    “That is a hope, I do not dare carry.” Zan frowns at the darker memories he has. “We found few who cared of our plight and less who had the power to do anything.”

    “Our people, have already been sold into slavery.” Jayna is shaking in either anger or grief. “Earth is a few centuries away from defeating the Fearmonger in an assault, but we can aid in the defence of Earth.”

    “Can’t go home,” Artemis understands, having gone through it herself. “So you need the new one, to be safe.”

    “Yes, exactly!” Zan exclaims, shocked she can put it into words so fast.

    “Gone through it myself a few times,” Artemis admits, not willing to share anymore. “So I can relate.”

    “Our Shadows are back,” Dinah warns us. “We’re going to be trying the new escape route, hang on kids.”

    Black Canary removes a ray gun of some kind and holds it out her open window. She shoots a light blue pulse of energy and it strikes the window of a dress boutique. It shimmers with a blue glow, as Dinah drives straight into the glass and we vanish.

    Dick Grayson
    Mount Justice
    December 5, 2010
    3:09 PM, EDT

    “What are you up to?” Barbara leans over my shoulder, peering at my monitor.

    I thought I missed hanging out with her, but she’s been so nosey since joining the Superfriends. With Lex’s severing of his ties with the Light, Batman’s new persona is being allowed on the League. This means Barbara has a lot of free time and got placed with us, as Nightingale.

    Clearly my talk with my adopted father, did not settle his nerves. Barbara is here more to spy on me, than she is to learn how to work with the Team.

    He’s never going to trust me, is he? I’m always going to be some kid he thinks is in over his head. The Superfriends are going back to emergency response and low combat missions, with the new League expansion on the thirty first.

    Maybe I should rethink Scarab’s advice and pull my ninja routine. Bruce can’t look me in the eye anymore, I disgust him for breaking the biggest rule. But I couldn’t talk to him for so long, Ted had really stepped in as my mentor and I was only annoyed by how much time we spent in his lab.

    “Checking Blue Beetle’s patrol route and cross referencing it with recent crime statistics in El Paso.” No point in denying what she can see in front of me. “I’m working out what mine should be, now that I’m taking over for him.”

    “You know you can’t patrol alone, so who are you asking?” She prods for information, in the guise of friendly curiosity.

    “He knows I’m never alone anymore.” I frown at the screen, but she can see my reflection and sighs.

    “And you know,” She tries to slap the back of my head, but a warning from Khaji has me reflexively catch her wrist. “It doesn’t count, you need a League approved partner.”

    “Then I’ll have to ask around,” I respond, as I finally let go of Barbara’s wrist. “Because Owlman is yours and I need to find my own mentor now.” Some of my frustration leaks from me, as I stand and leave the room.

    “Dick!” I hear her call at my back, but I ignore her and head for the Zeta tubes. “You know it’s not like that!”

    <Isn’t it though Richard?> Khaji warmly whispers to me, pleased with me finally breaking away from my shackles. <You have lost one family already, she took your new father and is now working on your friends.>

    <She says she only joined the Team, because of Owlman’s readmittance.> I feebly defend Barbara, to the voice in my neck that is more and more convincing everyday. <She’s here to work with the Team, since Bruce is too busy for anyone again.>

    <Then why does she spend all of her time here, following you around Richard?> Khaji’s response is right, he always sees the tactical choices being made by my foes. <She never spends time with the females here.>

    When I reach the Zeta tubes, Donna is also leaving. She’s only going to be with the Team for a little while, she’s eighteen and got an offer for the League. I get a warm greeting, but I only grumble back a response and leave the cave in a flash of light.

    Dick Grayson
    Star City
    December 5, 2010
    4:48 PM, PDT

    “Why come to me, if you need a mentor?” A response is purred to me, the voice filled with curiosity.

    Swallowing my pride, I press forward. This is the best plan I can think of, we both want some real action.

    “Because you want back in, same as me.” I stare back, not breaking eye contact. “Going back to rescue missions and natural disasters... I just can’t do it.”

    “I miss getting my claws dirty, I do admit.” The voice chuckles back at me. “But I got a nice rich lifestyle now, why would I go back?”

    “Because you didn’t choose to retire from the life, they just caught you to soon.” I smirk back, knowing I have my opening now. “You never got that final score to go out the greatest, you faded away like a forgotten memory.”

    “Oh the little Robin has talons.” I scowl at those words.

    “I’m not Robin anymore.” He gave me that name, I’m choosing this one. “I’m the Blue Beetle now.”

    “If... and I really mean if,” The voice digs deeper. “I say yes. How are we going to be effective?”

    “I have my own secrets.” allowing my Scarab armour to cover me, I enjoy the widening of my targets eyes. “And have some ideas for your own upgrades. If you agree that is.”

    “Can you make me fly?” The voice asks and I know I have a mentor, who wont be in my way and make me hold back anymore.

    “I can do that,” It’s really easier than everyone thinks, especially with the El Paso lab. “Wings will be silent, so I’ll get to work on it tomorrow.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 5, 2010
    5:17 PM, ECT

    As soon as Dinah came out of the mirror, she shattered it and left her pursuers in limbo. We’ll try fishing them out later, but I doubt many will be recovered. Zan and Jayna got a check up from M’gann and she says they are who they say.

    “Nice to meet you two,” Approaching them in the plaza, I greet the pair who are being shown around by Artemis and Dinah.

    “And you as well King Connor,” The twins each grab a hand, eagerly shaking it. “We are in your debt, for the shelter you grant us.”

    “Any friends of M’gann.” Grinning at the pair, I smile warmly. “I’ll at least pretend to like.”

    “Connor!” She yells at me embarrassed. “Be nice to them.”

    “Sorry,” Apologizing I try again and make an exaggerated bow. “Welcome to Santa Prisca. How may I be of aid, to our inter stellar guests?”

    “We only seek a place to hide from Sinestro.” Zan gives me a grim tone, as he explains the reason they fled. “Five years ago, he and his Yellow Army invaded our world. Exxoria fell swiftly, as fear overtook the everyone.”

    “We had been off world and returned to late to help.” Whispers Jayna, as her memories of horror wash over her. “All we could do was flee and seek aid, while our world burned.”

    “We searched for aid, but he sought not for us to be conquered.” Zan is shaking with rage, as he relives the trauma. “Everyone on Exxoria is a twin and we have a psychic bond. The five noble families of which we are one, are bound to the elements.” Jan places a hand on her brother’s shoulder and soon he relaxes.

    “The Fearmonger destroyed our world, as a beacon to the galaxy.” She explains for him, while Zan takes slow measured breaths. “Fear me and obey, or this will be the fate of any who oppose me.”

    “His galaxy wide edict, which the Green Lanterns have allowed.” Zan sighs, hopeless to his core. “Had given him control of three sectors, in the year before we arrived on Earth.”

    “So we have to ask Guy or Kyle,” Dinah thinks out loud. “If we want to know what the landscape looks like now.”

    “I’m willing to give you asylum, but let’s keep the Earth identities for now.” I really don’t want a Yellow Lantern Corp pointed at Earth. “You two are trying to hide out after all.”

    “Not very well,” Interrupts Artemis with a laugh. “Half the school thinks you two aren’t human and you had the Shadows watching you.”

    “I thought they did a good job,” M’gann defends her friends, frowning at Artemis. “What gave them away?”

    “I’m more interested in the element thing you said earlier.” Dinah rejoins the conversation, with a concerned look at the purple haired twins. “What can you do?”

    “It is easier to show you.” The alien heirs answer in unison, wide grins threatening to split their faces.

    “In form of, fog!” Jayna touches her fist with her brother and loudly cries out.

    “In shape of, armadillo!” Zan shouts beside her and the two shift, soon a cloud of fog billows across the street and an armadillo walks to my feet.

    <Zan?> M’gann extends an open link, checking things are as they seem. <Jayna?>

    <Hello M’gann!> The twins giggle in our minds, before swiftly changing back.

    “My sister is was born able to to become any for of water.” Zan places an arm around his sister and grins proudly.

    “And Zan was born able to use the element of life.” Jayna adds with an equal level of pride in her sibling. “He can become any animal on a planet he has been to.”

    “But within a year of leaving, I lose the ability to become those species.” He frowns, sadness flowing from him. “I can’t become anything from Exxoria anymore.”

    “You said in exchange for sanctuary, you would share technology?” I ask, steering the conversation away from the more sensitive topic for now. “What do you have?”

    “Our ship is in the Star City Bay.” Answers Jayna, grinning smugly. “We cloaked it and integrated with humans.”

    “Again, not very well.” Artemis grumbles to Dinah. “My money was on them being from the future like Abra Kadabra.”

    “Really?” Dinah makes sure the twins are engrossed in conversation with M’gann and I, before she responds quietly and I have to strain to hear her. “It was that obvious?”

    “It doesn’t say anything to you, that only a Martian finds them normal?” Artemis asks rhetorically, which has Dinah chuckle behind her hand.

    “Artemis.” I direct everyone’s attention to her, and grin at her embarrassment. “Can you bring them to the Cave and organize a retrieval with the Superfriends?”

    “I could.” She raises an eyebrow at me and grins. “But how about a nice easy mission with us, like you said the Team was for. You two can show our newbies how we roll, for their first mission.”

    “We never really got many of those,” M’gann agrees for us eagerly, her excitement to hang out with our friends is rolling off her in tidal waves. “It sounds like a plan.”

    “And we can go Christmas shopping, since I have no idea what to get Connor for his birthday.” Artemis smiles back and asks. “Since his birthday is the day before, is it fine to get him like one big thing?”

    “I don’t know, how big are you thinking about?” Asks my girlfriend, her nose scrunched adorably in confusion. <Is it okay?>

    <As long as the it’s a birthday present and I get two cards, I actually read them.> I send her a pulse of love, because of course she asked me.

    “We’ll fine, if you’re taking Jayna and the girls out after,” I grab Zan’s wrist and tug him over to me. “We’re taking Zan and going to NASCAR.”

    <Wally’s sad he missed his birthday, so he wants to go have a relaxing day at the racetrack.> I inform M’gann, so she knows I’m only teasing Artemis. <Zatanna doesn’t want to go and Wally hates shopping with us, so I’m killing two birds here.>

    “Don’t you need to shop too?” Counters Artemis with a grin.

    “Are you kidding?” I laugh when she shakes her head no. “I pick at it all year, when I see something for someone. I only have to grab something for Wally and Ted, since I’m not sure if I get him something cat related or not.”

    “I wouldn’t,” Answers Dinah with a giggle. “Ollie got him a cat bed and he was so clawed up, he said it was done by Deathstroke.”

    “Don’t you have security cameras?” M’gann asks, remembering the upgrades installed after Cheshire snuck in.

    “Yep,” Dinah responds, popping the P and smirking. “Giving everyone on the League a copy for Christmas.”

    “I get one too... right?” I whine at her, needing to see Oliver taken down by a house cat. He looked like he fell into a paper shredder, I don’t know how he covered it up for so long.

    “Alright, so something human, but adapted for feline use.” I ponder this, before I realize what he needs. “Does he need an entirely magical solution?”

    “What do you mean?” Dinah asks, concerned with the look on my face.

    “Well, I’m pretty sure we can find some of his hair and clone a new body for him.” The Genomorphs know how to rebuild the technology. “They don’t have a soul, so we can transfer his memories with it.”

    “You need to ask Doctor Fate,” Answers Dinah, eager but uncertain. “He said Wildcat was filled with excess chaos magic.”

    Cassandra Sandsmark
    December 5, 2010
    11:09 AM, EEST

    The sound of screams and gunfire, is a sharp contrast to last night. Mom and her crew, had found something under the sand. A messenger had gone to inform the King, while the workers celebrated into the night.

    Morning had come, but the messenger had not returned. While my mom worried about the search party, armed Khandaqi soldiers had rolled into our camp.

    Anyone who tries to run, is being shot down and anyone hiding like I am, is being dragged into the open. It doesn’t take long, before I’m found huddling in a duffle bag. I guess a sobbing sack, is a dead give away.

    “Found another foreigner?” A woman’s voice greets me, when I’m thrown onto my side. “Is she your daughter Doctor Sandsmark?”

    “Yes.” Mom’s voice is filled with concern, but I can’t see her with the sack over my head. “Please, don’t hurt her.”

    “That will depend entirely on you my dear.” The woman in charge declares cruelly. “You found the Orb of Ra and now I need you to find Isis with it.”

    “But the hieroglyphs aren’t in any form of known dialect!” My mom insists, her voice cracking from the stress. “I didn’t even know what I had found.”

    “Well I need Isis’ tomb found, before my wedding.” The woman sneers at my mom. “So you have until January seventeenth to learn the language, or your little girl here will be the one who suffers for it.”

    Daytona Beach
    December 6, 2010
    1:17 PM, ECT

    “Thanks guys,” Wally smiles widely and speaks with an exhausted voice, as we arrive at the racetrack. “I needed a day to slow down and laugh at people, who think they know what speed really is.”

    “This is going to be so cool!” Billy waves off the thanks, too excited for the race. “Uncle Dudley and I watch every Sunday, but we’ve never gone to one before.”

    “Can we take a trip to NASA, before we meet the girls at Disney World?” Kon asks, trying to conceal his real interest. “It’s not to far out of the way and it could be interesting.” He looks like the stereo typical cowboy, having fully embraced living in Smallville.

    “Oh yeah!” Agrees Wally eagerly. “Didn’t you say your dad had been investing in them?” The blue haired teen asks a smug Dick, who seems lost in thought.

    “I think so,” Dick grunts back at his best friend. “He said something about it, but we haven’t really talked in months.”

    “Can’t you patrol with him again?” Billy whispers in confusion. “He’s got the whole Owlman thing now.”

    “We can’t mix identities, so I have to pretend he’s a stranger.” Kicking a can down the path, Dick scowls at his feet. “He only patrols with Nightingale now.” Even with the Scarab blocking his passive scanning, I can tell he’s jealous.

    “Donna said you went to get a new sponsor,” Mal Duncan, one of our new recruits asks. “I’m working with Plasticman, who did you get?”

    “You’ll see.” Dick grins mysteriously and takes his seat.

    “To keep our designations active, Megan and I are taking over for Billy as chaperones.” I give him a concerned look, but he only sighs in relief. “He can’t keep pretending, with his current body. Sorry man.”

    “No sweat,” Billy laughs at my face. “I don’t like having to be all official, I want to hang with my friends.”

    “Ah, so now I can be the bad guy.” I nod sagely.

    “Dude.” Wally just stares at me for almost a whole ten seconds, before he continues in disbelief. “Zee told me how you got the crown from Bane. That was pretty grey man.”

    “The only voice in my head, was yours.” I frown at his response, more hurt than I would like to admit. “And you didn’t have another idea.”


    Trying to get past the awkward moment, we just hunkered down and enjoyed the show. An hour of mindless enjoyement, was exactly what we needed. It looks like Wally only needed a nap.

    “Didn’t he ask us to come here?” I speak over the snoring speedster, grabbing Kaldur’s attention. “Shouldn’t he have just stayed home and slept?”

    “Zatanna has informed me, he cannot sleep at home.” Kaldur is already on top of this, I knew I made the right choice with him. “We are the ones who brought him home, he is scared without one of us around...” He trails off.

    “He might not wake up here?” I hazard a guess, realizing how badly he needs to talk to someone.

    I’ve heard Mary-Jane talking to Dinah on the phone. Apparently I’m not doing much better and people are worried about me.

    “We’re kind of all child soldiers.” I repeat on of my daughters’ phrases. “Maybe we should schedule weekly sessions with a therapist, we all have some serious trauma.”

    “Who has the clearance?” He responds with a frown. “Black Canary is to overworked, to fill the role herself.”

    “When I’m stressed out, or feel like a right fool.” Kon leans his head into the discussion. “I go work on the tractor with Pa.”

    A beam of violet energy streaks in front of our eyes and collides with the racetrack. A shower of asphalt and dirt, showers down onto the swerving vehicles.

    Descending from the sky is a statuesque woman, with a mane of blood red hair. She glows with pink light, forming an aura of energy around her. She has pale pink skin, but is noticeably not a human shade.

    Her attire is a very revealing metallic bikini, in a violet hue. One hand carries an axe I doubt I could lift, even if I used both arms. She scans the crowd, before she bellows her arrival.

    “People of NASCAR, I am Queen Maxima of Almerac!” He gaze lands on Kon and her eyes bore into him hungrily. “I have come for a worthy mate, who will face the Fearmonger with me. My heart has lead me here, do not interfere.”

    “Dude...” Mal nudges Kon in the side. “She’s looking at you right now.”

    “I know,” Kon admits with a growl. “She’s setting my blood on fire and not in the good way.”

    “Alien space babe is looking at you like that,” Wally yawns as I wake him, the speedster coming to awareness immediately. “No one could blame you.”

    “Zatanna would blame you,” Snickers Dick.

    “Then it’s a good thing, the alien lady ain’t looking at me like that.” Wally waves his friends teasing off, focusing on the threat before us.

    “Marvel and Superboy,” Kaldur orders firmly. “Get her contained!”

    The pair launch into action and crash into her as one. Maxima is slammed into the grass, sending grass and dirt everywhere.

    She recovers fast, blasting Billy away with a pulse of violet. She trades blows with Kon, as soon as Billy goes flying.

    By the time we reach them, Billy has been thrown aside a few more times. Maxima is evenly matched in strength, but far better trained.

    “You have great strength my chosen!” Maxima shouts at Kon, as she drives her fist into his gut. “Our children shall be a blending of two powerful and noble bloodlines.”

    “I’m the king,” I interrupt her, as she topples a nearly twenty foot Mal. “These guys are only my security detail.” Of course I open my mouth like an idiot and draw her gaze to me.

    “This is not the king of NASCAR?” She frowns in disappointment and tosses Kon aside. “It is you I must claim, to have access to these warriors?”

    “That’s not wha-” I try and reason with her, but she charges at me with a grin on her face.

    “I accept these terms.” She rams into me and proceeds to swing me around, like a limp rag doll. “I will have to toughen you up, if this is all my husband can offer.”

    “You still have to go through us lady!” A streak of blue light slams into her, freeing me from her grasp. “You heard the king, we’re his protection detail.”

    “Allow me,” Maxima blasts the ground all around her, sending Wally rolling along the ground. “To clear away these distractions, they only hinder our love.”

    “Stay ‘tracted on this then!” Dick’s voice is muffled behind his Blue Beetle armour.

    His arms have formed a tripod cannon and a sphere of red energy, crackles through the air. It hits the queen’s violet aura, but fizzles away uselessly.

    “Is that all the fabled Scarab Warriors can do?” She gloats, before making a barrage of lasers strike Dick’s location.

    In my distraction, I get snagged by Maxima once more. Although I doubt I ever could have avoided her grasp. She moves like Donna, but has the range of Paula.

    When I struggle in her grasp, she tightens her grip on my skull. When that doesn’t stop me, She points a glowing fist at the stands.

    “Yield, or I destroy your kingdom!” Maxima roars in my ear. “I have claimed you!”

    “Get your hands off of him!” My favourite voice comes to me rescue.

    Maxima releases me and clutches her head in agony. She recovers quickly, meeting and overpowering M’gann in midair.

    “Oh, it seems the true power behind the throne has arrived.” Maxima lands a clean blow on M’gann’s face, but she rolls around it and continues to fight. “Once I defeat your concubine, I will finally be free to claim you for myself.”

    <Did she really just call me that?> M’gann’s voice, growls angrily in my head.

    <She did.> I know better than to lie right now. A determined M’gann is sexy, but terrifying.

    <Don’t get in the way honey,> M’gann informs me. <I’m going show her how much power, is really behind this throne!>

    M’gann snarls at Maxima and I can feel her rage pour into the Almeracian queen. Maxima resists for a few seconds, but soon her roar becomes a shriek of agony. Falling from the sky clutching her head, the violet light flickers and fades to darkness.

    “Whoa.” Artemis speaks, as she is dropped off by Lena. “Didn’t save any for us?”

    Notes: sorry this was so late today, my bathroom wall started leaking and flooded the floor. It took a while to get under control and now we can’t use the shink/shower for a while.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
    Kamehb likes this.
  13. Threadmarks: Episode 3: Defenestration of the Heart
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 3: Defenestration of the Heart
    Santa Prisca
    December 6, 2010
    6:24 PM, ECT

    “You went savage on her.” Lena grins at M’gann and throws and arm around her should in camaraderie. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

    M’gann doesn’t answer right away, she just watches as Guy removes the Star Sapphire form Maxima’s subspace storage. The Queen will recover but it’s going to take a few weeks for the Genomorphs, to put her back together.

    “I didn’t mean to hit her so hard...” M’gann whispers and her voice echoes in the room, so I grab her hand. “But she just triggered all of my instincts of jealousy. I kind of went crazy, when she said I was a concubine.”

    “She didn’t know how to stop her emotional leakage.” Guy answers, holding a violet crystal star in his hand. “This is a prototype, same as that fox Paula’s is.”

    “Anyone who was open to emotions, would have had a hard time staying focused.” The red headed lantern pats M’gann on the shoulder and smiles at us. “You did good, taking her down before anyone else went love crazy.”

    “I didn’t take you for the jealous type,” I tease her gently. “But it was nice, seeing you defend my honour like that.”

    “I’m not normally,” Admits M’gann. “Martians are a three gender caste system. I only stayed quiet, because everyone was so weird about Kaldur, Tula, and Garth.”

    “Most of us got raised in a western culture,” Zatanna explains, her eyes wide at the revelation. “We just aren’t used to that kind of thing.”

    “We need three Martians to reproduce, one of each colour.” Everyone stares at her as she explains, Guy Gardner grinning like a loon at me. “Body, mind, and spirit come together as one.”

    “So if the alien queen hadn’t tried to push you aside...” Wally winks at me, as he questions M’gann. “She might have left with both of you?”

    “It’s entirely possible.” M’gann agrees, concerned with the gap in our mental defences. “We keep an open link between us most of the time. It must be how she influenced me so fast.”

    “Who’s this Fearmonger?” Dick demands from the Green Lantern. “Two separate species have been attacked by Sinnestro, that we know of.”

    “Way more than that.” Guy growls bitterly. “He was one of the Corps best, before he vanished for two years. He came back and had his own army of Yellow Lanterns, who run off of fear.”

    “Is he a threat to Earth?” I start worrying, doesn’t the Yellow Lantern Corp kick off a cosmic war?

    “His forces claimed seven sectors in his first push and has gone defensive since.” Guy answers with a grim frown. “They have only expanded a bit in the last while, they control thirteen sectors now and have for a few years now.”

    “Doesn’t answer my question.” Dick reminds him, his foot tapping impatiently.

    “Don’t worry kid, we have a treaty with them now.” Guy tries to pat Dick on the head, but he avoids the hand and glares at him. “The Yellows are pointed at the wild sectors, the Reach, Thanagar, or one of the other empires.”

    “Wild sectors?” Lena asks for clarification, which all of us needed.

    “The Guardians divided the universe into sectors,” Guy explains with a rough construct of the universe. “We control a little over three thousand six hundred, but we have ten thousand in total.” He makes two thirds of the map fade away and he points to an area deep in the green.

    “We’re here and the Yellows are way over here.” He traces his finger about a tenth of the way around the construct. “We have a decade, even if he comes right for us and steamrolls everyone in his way.”

    “Finally some good news.” Wally groans in relief. “I really don’t want to relieve the Appellaxians.”

    “No one does,” Zatanna squeezes his arm and shivers in memory. “I was only five, but so many cities burned.”

    “One invasion, is enough for a lifetime.” I agree, glad this one is not for us to deal with.

    “This is Waller,” The head of my forces, speaks in my ear. “I need authorization to mobilize the Patrol, Queen Bee has made some moves.”

    “What do we know?” I tap the microphone on and link the others in, so I don’t have to repeat myself.

    “Khandaqi forces have taken over an archaeological dig site and Qurac is signing itself over to Queen Bee.” Amanda growls in my ear. “Black Adom and her, have declared upcoming nuptials and we need people on the ground. Bialyan forces are moving to the border of Qurac now, but Khandaq is amassing beside Jordan.”

    “Are the two trying to start a world war?” I respond, as I feel my mouth go dry.

    “That’s why we need to go in and find out.” She snaps back, waiting for my signal. “Before they have things locked down and secured.”

    <You said Marie Logan and her son lived near the border.> M’gann’s mental voice is chalk full of concern. <Are they going to be alright?>

    <We’ll make sure of it.> I assure her and then respond to Waller. “Mission is authorized, but I want you to extract Marie Logan and her son once you finish.” She knows who I’m talking about, we have already gone over potential safe houses in the area.

    “We’ll use it as a staging ground, this will be observation until they call in details.” I know she has targets of opportunity and objectives already, but I have no idea how to improve her commands. I’ll let her direct the Doom Patrol, she has the training for these kind of missions.

    “The Harjvatis are likely being controlled by Queen Bee,” I confirm her plans. “I’ll have medical personal waiting by the mirrors for an emergency retreat.”

    “How long until Steel Guardian is ready for action?” Waller inquires sternly. “We’re only waiting on his transplant.” Of course she got the Patrol ready before even calling me, she is nothing if not efficient.

    “Maybe fifteen minutes?” I answer her, as I try and guess what Guy is miming. “It should be plug and play.”

    “Good, send him my way, as soon as he’s back online. Waller out.” She’s resisting her code name, but in the field she’ll be going by Starwoman.

    “I’ll get this in your ‘brother’,” Guy holds up the glowing violet star. “Then I’ll bring his old battery to the Watchtower.”

    “Sounds good.” I send Guy off with the new heart. “Kon and Lena can finally stop claiming to be allergic to my house.”

    “We are...” Lena grumbles to her brother, scowling my way dangerously.

    <While they plan their revenge, why didn’t you say anything to me about the three gender thing?> I sever the public link, opening a private one with M’gann.

    <You mind is clearly fine with the idea, but you have only had eyes for me.> She answers with no hesitation.

    <I know you’ve seen me check out Donna and the new guy Mal,> I remind her. <And who was ogling Lena’s ass while we had to dive down for Zan and Jayna’s ship?>

    <Who could help themselves? Even Billy noticed.> She giggles back. <Besides, I heard you offered Artemis’ sister a threesome?>

    <I was stalling for time,> I defend myself, even as I ca feel her amusement at my squirming. <So you could take her down.>

    <I’m sure that’s what it was.> M’gann winks at me and holds back a laugh.

    <Why didn’t you tell me something big like this?> I press past the playful banter and focus on the topic at hand.

    <Since I’m not sure if we can even have children, I didn’t see a reason to complicate things.> She shrugs and shares her own confusion over the mixed species relationship. <I don’t know if you’ll be dead by the time I’m a Martian thirty five or If I have to become human for a year.>

    <We can always do a test tube thing, if we ever are ready.> I offer easily. <And we can get a closer look at my genes now, the Genomorphs should have an idea.>

    Dick Grayson
    El Paso
    December 6, 2010
    9:48 PM, MST

    We crawl across the roof top and peer into the alleyway below. A meeting between the dealers, is nearing completion. Ted Grant gazes at me with slit eyes and growls.

    “I see eight in total.” His feline body shivers with excitement.

    <Inform him of the two drivers, waiting in the street Richard.> Khaji reminds me helpfully.

    “Did you miss the drivers old man?” I whisper at him, pointing out a green sedan and a white jeep.

    “Ha ha, very funny.” Wildcat snarks back at me. “Give me one of Rex’s pills and I’ll have most of an hour, to show you how old I am.”

    “You aren’t bullet proof and still have the mass of a house cat.” I remind him with a smirk. “So try not to get kicked.”

    “I know.” He catches the tossed pill in his mouth, swallowing it instantly. “I’m as strong as a lion, I don’t have the size of one.”

    “Good, I’m glad you remember to let me take point.” I form one of my hands into a pneumatic cannon and smile in anticipation.

    “I’ve heard nearly every variation on the ‘how many ways are their to skin a cat’ joke,” Ted’s voice rumble angrily. “Any good boxer can duck and weave, so get ready to watch me pounce like a tiger and bite like a jaguar.” He throws himself off the roof, leaving gouges clawed into the stone.

    <Do not let him have all the fun.> My Scarab buddy snaps me out of my inaction and I make my own entrance, with a bunch of bangs.

    December 7, 2010
    12:06 PM, CST

    “Richie, I’ll meet you on the field.” Seeing Kyla make her way towards me with a smirk on her face, I send Richie on without me. “I need to take care of something first.”

    “Don’t take too long with Kyla,” He groans when he sees where I’m looking. “I told you I have something important I need to tell you. I think something is really wrong with me.”

    Don’t worry man,” I assure him with a warm look. “I’ll be out soon, but I need to do this.”

    “Alright thanks,” He frowns at his feet and accepts I’ll be outside soon.

    “Hey, we have something to talk about.” Approaching Kyla, I don’t hug her back when she greets me.

    “Or we can go find a quiet corner...” She winks at me and smirks. “You spend all your time with your friends, I’m getting lonely.

    “We both know,” Decision finally made, I break the news to Kyla. “That all we have is physical.”

    “I thought you enjoyed it.” She frowns back at me with concern. “I know I do.”

    “I did, but it’s not healthy for us to never deal with what happened.” I can’t even remember my first month with her. “I feel like I took advantage of you, but it was you who took me to the cave.” I glare at her, glad my talks with Ma and Pa have given me some clarity.

    “You knew what would happen and set me up.” Kyla shifts awkwardly at my accusation. “I look at you and all I feel is used.”

    “But we have both been chosen,” She tries to plead with me, her voice a desperate whisper. “We are meant to be together.”

    “If that’s true, this will only be a break.” I break eye contact with her and swallow. “I’m done being chosen, I’m choosing how my life goes now and I never chose you. You mystically date raped me, I’m allowed to be upset.”

    I walk away from her and ignore her calls of apology. When I tune her out, my hearing picks up a smattering of other conversations. I can hear Richie getting harassed again and make my way towards the back door.

    I need a distraction and intimidating some jerks, sounds like exactly what I need right now. I pick up my pace when I hear his shrill yell of panic and I break into a jog, when I hear him get slammed into the ground.

    “Leave me alone Whitney!” My friend screams and I break into a run, when I hear the wind get knocked out of him.

    Screams come from every direction and send me skidding to a stop, as every window explodes. I feel time slow, as I throw myself between a pair of underclassmen and a storm of glass. My shirt is shredded, but my classmates are thankfully okay.

    “Get outside and stay away from any glass!” Shouting down at them, I make a beeline for Richie.

    I shouldn’t have put him off for personal drama, he came to me for help. I rush past bleeding teens, but I can’t stop. If Richie caused this, he may get set off again.

    “Oh my god!” A girl screams, when I make it to the field. A crowd has formed outside one of the classrooms, with a shivering Richie on his knees and his tormentors still bodies beside him. A pool of blood, stains the pavement crimson.

    “What happened!” Another student yells in shock, as he takes in the scene outside.

    “Somebody call an Ambulance!” One of the cheerleaders cries, as she cradles the head of one of the three bodies. “Terry is still breathing!” In a blur of motion I’m beside her, kneeling in the sticky blood and listening.

    “Ka-thump” I finally hear the weak heartbeat in Terry Ross and carefully lift him.

    “Meet us Smallville General.” No longer caring about my secret identity, I race away through the air and head for the hospital in a blur of red and blue.

    I land in front of the sliding doors, and rush him inside. Laying him on a stretcher that is wheeled my direction, I yell into the shocked waiting room.

    “The windows at the high school exploded!” My words have the emergency personal spring into action. “I’ll be coming back with more, so get ready for at least a few dozen teens!”


    In twenty minutes I get most of the kids to the hospital, but I haven’t seen Kyla or Richie. Since I left the first time, it’s been a constant back and forth. I haven’t had time to search, I always had a bleeding kid to take care of.

    “Chris?” One of the teachers approaches me nervously. “Richie is waiting with the police, in one of the dugouts.” I thank Miss Baker, but she stops me before I can go to him.

    “We also found Kyla...” My heart leaps into my throat at her tone. “She... didn’t make it.”

    “Show me.” My voice has no emotion in it, as I follow her to one of the bathrooms.

    “She was in front of one of the mirrors, we think fixing her makeup.” I wanted to end things with her, I didn’t want anything like this to happen to her.

    Kyla’s body has a drying pool of the now familiar red under her. She was leaning into he mirror, when the glass shattered. She died, because I didn’t talk to Richie first.

    “I’m so sorry Christopher...” Miss Baker places a hand on my shoulder and I collapse to my knees beside Kyla.

    “This is my fault.” I whisper to her and close Kyla’s eyes.

    “None of this is your fault,” Miss Baker tries consoling me, but I ignore her words. “Richard Foley is the one who did this.” I can hear her own anger, but mine is overwhelming me.

    “If that’s what everyone thinks, I’ll handle him.” I stand and growl my response, making the teacher look at me in concern. “This won’t take long.”

    “Chris. Stop and think first.” She tries to block the door, but I push her aside and smile softly at her.

    “It’s not his fault, that his Meta-gene triggered.” Frowning at my own meet I explain my own guilt. “I knew something was wrong, but I told him to wait. I need to get him out of here, before someone in town does something stupid.”

    “I don’t think I’ll be coming back to school in January, so thanks for everything Miss Baker.” I smile at her and blur away, needing to keep moving.

    If I stop and think, the guilt will keep me frozen in place for days. Get Richie somewhere safe and then I can punish myself. Too much glass at the cave, or really anywhere in a city. I’m going to have to bring him to Connor, he’s taking in refuges and he owes me a few favours by now.

    Jade Nyugen
    Logan Animal Sanctuary
    December 7, 2010
    7:12 PM, EEST

    “Your mask is so cool!” Garfield Logan crows in excitement, as he leads me and the Patrol minus Waller to the Barn. “Sorry mom is making you all stay out here, but the animals will keep you warm.”

    His mom Marie, is going over the details and working out how to evacuate without tipping off the Bialyans. She doesn’t completely trust us yet, so her and Garfield aren’t being separated.

    “Looking after kids, was not in the job description,” Boomerang grumbles behind me and I have to agree.

    “So don’t piss off Waller,” I remind him with a concealed scowl. “And she’ll assign someone who does to the protection detail.”

    I’m doing this to show my mom and sister, that I’m not a lost cause. I may have told Artemis I left for myself, but that wasn’t true. I made a deal with dad’s bosses.

    If I could be as effective as two Shadows, the would only keep her under observation. I was as good as five, so they stayed away from her until everything went wrong.

    I can’t even blame the clone for screwing up my life, he got my mom’s back fixed and my sister has been seen smiling. He’s giving me a chance to be around my family again, So I’ll babysit if I have to. Besides, kids are cute when they still think everything you do is awesome.

    “We only have to be here a few days, while we look for the archaeologists and it looks like they are being held with the Harjvatis.” Grodd remarks and uses a softer tone on the boy showing us around. “This will be functional Garfield, I thank you and your mother for the care you show each being here.”

    “Of course we would Mister Grodd,” The red headed Logan boy smiles widely and responds with a tender voice. “These animals need help and love, because my mom says it’s what really makes you grow big and strong.”

    “It does,” I think of Artemis and how far we got by ourselves. “It really does.” It wasn’t until we did it as sisters, that we finally got free from dad.

    Santa Prisca
    December 7, 2010
    2:25 PM, ECT

    “Our facilities for the cloning of organs,” Dubbilex informs me, once his horns stop glowing. “Is now fully operational.”

    “Good.” I rub my tired eyes and scan the files in front of me. “We really need a way to bring in some income on our own. I can approve the deal with the UN now and we can start selling to the member nations.”

    “We will need the patients to have he procedure done here,” He reminds me with a grin at my enthusiasm. “We need to grow each organ and limb, with the patients DNA. We can provide nearly limitless supplies of blood however.”

    “True, I’m having a hard time keeping track of everything.” I can only keep things afloat, because Dubbilex is so capable at infrastructure management. “We’re going to need some new buildings. A school, a prison, a hospital, and I really don’t want to live in Bane’s mansion anymore.”

    “I’ll add it to the list,” His horns glow blue for a moment, as he informs the construction crew. “Check ups on the children and adults, show Kobra began enhancing the next generation.”

    He removes three separate vials from his lab coat, laying them on the table before me. One is the normal sickly green colour of Venom, but the others are an unknown pale blue and a brownish red.

    “Kobra synthesized new strains of Venom, creating two variants.” He points to the blue one and frowns. “This one increases the intellect greatly, A six year old gave me a good game of chess this morning. The downside is, that it suppresses the empathy centre of the brain. She suggested I be dissected, so she cold learn from my insides.”

    “What about the red one?” I hold up the third vial and ask, with concern lacing my voice. “It looks kinda like blood.”

    “That is the strain of Venom, that increases the speed, reaction time, and reflexes of those it was used on.” Dubbilex removes a few pictures and shows me a trio of teenagers. “These three have all been exposed. These children – all under nine – have shown accelerated aging and an even worse need of calories, than your friend Wallace had at his worst.”

    “No magic was involved in the science, so these strains of Venom are truly toxic.” It’s the only thing I can think of, for why Wally was so lucky.

    “That would make sense, his experiment was unable to be recreated by Cadmus.” Dubbilex looks thoughtful, the idea of magic fascinating him.

    “How bad is it?” I feel my stomach churns at another issue I’m responsible for, but to late to stop.

    “Strain one was tested on three of the villages, a little over a five children below ten exhibit increased strength.” He looks thoughtful, as his horns glow and he receives the rest of he information directly. “Strain two and three, got tested in a single village each and we have between thirty and fifty children dosed.”

    “Six hundred super powered children?” My jaw drops at the news.

    “Yes although most are below seven, a few dozen range up to the age of ten.” He frowns, before explaining the problem. “The dosing of the water supply, is what contributed to nearly three hundred thousand deaths this year. We need to purify every source of fresh water and soon.”

    “You’re running for my job next year, right?” I question him, because he’s already doing more than half of it now.

    “I shall see how I take to the spotlight,” He answers with a small smile. “It may be more prudent, to find another puppet like you.” I’d be offended, if I couldn’t feel himself holding back the laughter.

    “As long as I’m on strings and I don’t have a hand up my butt.” I grin back at him, enjoying the moment of camaraderie.

    “You’ve far exceeded any of my wildest expectations.” Dubbilex stops for a moment and really looks at me, examining me down to my bones. “When I put the clone of Roy Harper to sleep, I did think it would be you who woke up to my call in July.”

    I don’t visibly react, beside a widening of my eyes and a slight opening of my mouth. As my palms get sweaty, I wait for more of an explanation.

    “I hoped that Kon and you, would be a champion for our freedom.” He frowns at his hands and apologizes to me. “I didn’t need to blackmail you into helping us.

    “With what you had seen from humans, I can’t really blame you.” I take his offered hand and pull him into a firm hug, letting him slowly relax in my grip. “We have a lot of people who the Light screwed with and it’s going to be left to us, to clean up the mess the left everywhere.”

    His horns glow again and he pushes me away, scowling at the message.

    “Their was an accident in Smallville,” Dubbilex informs me abruptly, wasting no time for breaking the news gently to me. “Kon is bringing someone with a newly activated Meta-gene here now. He says we should set up a shelter, with absolutely no glass in the vicinity of any kind.”

    “Do we need to send anyone to Smallville?” I ask, concerned for the teens at his school.

    “That is unnecessary, the Superfriends are already on the scene.” Kaldur is on top of things, which lets me breath.

    “Good.” I stand and leave the room with Dubbilex right behind me. “Then let’s get something set up, before Kon gets here. We have enough empty houses, we can use any of them.”

    Jade Nyugen
    December 8, 2010
    9:47 PM, EEST

    Zoom’s report has lead us to a textiles factory in the capital. He saw someone who looked a lot like the kidnapped Doctor Sandsmark, being lead inside the building at dawn. Shimmer and Grodd are keeping an eye on the Logans, but I don’t think we need them.

    “Looks like our intel is off.” Boomerang squats beside me on the roof, peering into the darkness and pretending to be useful. “I haven’t seen anyone come in or out, besides the last of the workers for the night shift.” A bunch of impoverished women had changed shift two hours ago, no one else has gone in since.

    “We’re going to have to double check and you know that,” I growl at him, wishing he was the one left behind.

    “Well I wont really blend in.” He smirks at me and points, whistling in appreciation. “You definitely have the right figure though.”

    “I’ll do the hard part.” Activating my new stealth tech – courtesy of a dead Blindspot – I enter through the roof access.

    “You better keep an eye and ear out, I don’t want to be left behind if one of the other ops goes wrong tonight.” Growling at him, he just snickers at me in response.

    “Don’t worry about these eyes darling,” He stares at me with a smirk and I want to stab him several times. “I’ve had them on you all night.”

    “Waller expects a few casualties,” I warn him with a raised middle finger. “Be careful on lookout, you don’t want to slip and fall.”

    I don’t hear his response as I slide into the dark building. The owner is so cheap, his workers only have lights at every other station. Heading away from the work floor, I prowl towards the back office.

    Picking the locked door takes no time, but inside reveals only an empty room. I search the normal places, but find no hidden compartments. Downloading the files with a special flash drive, I leave and lock the door again.

    “Nothing in office.” I tap in Morse code, onto my wrist receiver. “Heading for basement.” His response is a barely decipherable ‘Roof all clear’.

    Waller really needs to crack down on him, or he’s going to be a liability one day. I only have to do nineteen more missions and my record is wiped clean. If this asshole gets me killed before I’m free, I’ll make sure his bloodline is cursed forever.

    “We have captives.” Is all I send to Boomerang, when I descend the stairs into the basement and find the missing Sandsmarks, but only a handful of the missing dig crew. “Nine in total. Call this in, we need more hands to extract these people.”

    I get no answer from him and start freeing the captives in a hurry. When I get to the blonde women, I realize my error. Neither are Sandsmarks, but both are Shadows and smirking at me.

    Logan Animal Sanctuary
    December 8, 2010
    10:17 PM, EEST

    When Cheshire returned without Boomerang, Waller ordered an evacuation. Marie and her son, proved to me once again, not all humans are the same. They refused to go through the mirror, until we finished getting the animals through first.

    “Mister Grodd!” Garfield calls for my aid, as he struggles with one of the ungulate calves. “Oryx can’t walk very good, he needs our help.”

    “Allow me to carry him,” He’s only a child, but the entire herd follows his instinctual commands. “You can get the door for us and lead the rest of the herd.”

    “Okay Mister Grodd, we only have this barn left and we can leave.” He assures me the job is nearly complete.

    “Steel Guardian and the Twins are back,” Waller’s voice comes through the receiver, her grim voice only has more bad news. “They managed to find an entire battalion and are coming in hot.”

    “Mister Grodd and I are coming with the last of the animals now.” Garfield reaches for my bandoleer of gear, since my arms are busy with his calf and speaks for me.

    “Don’t wait for your mom, she’s stabilizing President Harjvati.” Waller instructs the boy firmly but not unkindly. “Grodd, make sure the boy gets through.” Finally her commands are logical and aimed at saving those who deserve it.

    “Garfield will be safe with me, this I assure you.” I growl into my mouth piece, as Garfield holds it up for me.

    “Good, because Black Adam is with the soldiers,” The sound of energy blasts concerns me, but I must focus on the most important task first. “And they have more of the advanced weaponry your Gorillas used.”

    As we send the herd out of the barn, I see a pair of approaching drones. They are flying low and are both armed with missiles. Instinctively reacting, I grab Garfield In my free arm and shield him with my body.

    The drones rockets impact the barns in an explosion of wood and fire. I feel my body impacted by the shrapnel, as the building collapses around us.

    Covering his small body with my bloody frame, I use my feet and start digging a pit to keep Garfield and Oryx safe in.

    Jade Nyugen
    Logan Animal Sanctuary
    December 8, 2010
    10:29 PM, EEST

    When the barn explodes, Marie shrieks in anguish and draws gunfire her way. The bullets tear through Tupence and impact the veterinarian in her arms, sending both tumbling along the sand.

    I activate my stealth tech and make a break for the fallen pair. Tupence is already dead, but Marie is still with me for now.

    “I got Marie,” I growl into my headset. “We need cover fire, or this is going to be over fast.”

    “Having a hard time with Harjvati,” Waller responds with a snarl. “He’s not free of Bee’s control and is trying to go back to her forces.”

    Shit. Saving the Logans was a priority, but the president was the entire reason we came to Qurac instead of Khandaq. We get relief, when a trio of figures emerge from our exit mirror.

    Trickshot, his Martian, and my sister’s hunk emerge and move quickly. Superboy collides with Black Adam, removing most of the enemies air superiority. The King heads for Waller, while M’gann moves towards Marie and I.

    <Are you okay Jade?> She opens a mental link, making me twitch involuntarily at the intrusion on my mind. <Or do I need to lift you both?>

    <I’m fine, but I don’t have the cover to get Marie clear.> All I’ve been able to do, is keep pressure on the wounds and keep as low in the ditch as I can.

    <What about her son?> M’gann realizes he’s missing, worry making her look for him in futility.

    <Garfield was in the barn with Grodd.> I point to a collapsed pile of smouldering wood. <Drone strike hit the building.> My mental voice has more emotion than my mouth normally provides, my worry for the boy leaking out.

    <Let’s get Marie through,> M’gann asks me with a frown of worry on her face, but I wave off her concern.

    <Don’t worry about me, I’m hard to find, but a floating woman would have been an easy target.> Gesturing to what is left of Marie’s jeep, I make a suggestion. <Can you keep the metal debris floating between us and the soldiers, while we make a break for the mirror?>

    <I can do that,> She confirms with a tight smile on her lips. <Good idea.>

    Logan Animal Sanctuary
    December 8, 2010
    10:33 PM, EEST

    Waller wasn’t exaggerating. President Harjvati is struggling in Tommy’s grip, trying to return to Queen Bee’s forces. He keeps repeating a single phrase to himself, intent on fulfilling his instructions.

    “Leave or resist and Noor dies.” His voices is dry from disuse, but his message is clear to me and I can easily feel his controlled emotions struggle inside him.

    “He wont say anything else,” Tommy Terror growls at me, holding the president carefully. “I don’t know what to do with him.”

    “We’re going to have let him go,” My answer has him widen his eyes in shock and makes Waller snarl at me.

    “What do you mean, let him go?” Demands Amanda, as she sends a blast of quantum energy into a tank and makes it explode. “If we do, we achieved nothing here.”

    “Except the satellite footage of this entire thing, being sent to the UN from the Watchtower as we speak.” I frown at her and point at the president. “His brain might melt if we force him to leave, we’re going to leave a tracer on and in him and give him back.”

    “Acceptable,” Waller finally admits and signals for me to do it.

    “Sir you look thirsty, have a drink.” I hand him a Nano-tech infused canteen of water and smile at him when he takes a drink. “And your shoes are untied, you can’t go back to the Queen looking like a slob.”

    “No, I must keep appearances normal.” He mumbles a response and lets me pant a tacker on his sole.

    “All done Mister President, you can go back now.” I pat him on the back and push him towards the soldiers. “Let us pull out and you can have Harjvati back!”

    Instantly the gunfire ceases and a lull takes place for a few moments. Black Adam disengages from battle with Kon and lands in plume of sand.

    “You have three minutes.” The king of Khandaq declares, marching towards the controlled president. “Do not waste them.” He grabs Harjvati and exits the battle, soaring away towards the capital.

    “Doom Patrol, we are in full retreat.” use M’gann’s boost and extend my command across the sanctuary. “Two minutes and forty seconds before the ceasefire ends.”

    Tommy makes a break for his fallen sister, while everyone else joins me in my run for our escape. In the handful of minutes since our arrival, the number of soldiers has almost tripled.

    Garfield Logan
    Logan Animal Sanctuary
    December 8, 2010
    11:04 PM, EEST

    Waking up with a hacking cough, I feel a large weight pressing down on me. I start to panic, before recognizing Mister Grodd’s arm around me. His fur is singed and burnt, but he’s still breathing somehow.

    “Mister Grodd, wake up.” I prod at him and he groans. “We’re trapped and the barn’s still on fire.” It takes a while, but he finally responds with a groan.

    “Garfield...” His words are slow to come and he seems to be in a lot of pain. “Are you and Oryx alright?”

    “We are,” I assure him with a terrified sob, clutching his arm. “But I can still hear the tanks outside.”

    “I will get us out of here, and you and Oryx will flee into the wilds.” He passes me a small device and grins. “Keep this hidden on you and the King will come find you.”

    He struggles at first, but soon he rises to his feet and tosses aside the smouldering wood. I try and run, but collapse on a painful ankle.

    “Ahh!” My scream of agony, draws the attention of any guards who missed Mister Grodd’s roar.

    “Well isn’t this a surprise, one of the missing successes and a useless boy.” A woman’s voice sneers at us, as her soldiers circle us with weapons drawn. “I have an archaeologist, who could use some help.”

    “If you desire my aid in anything,” My protector growls at who I can now recognize as Queen Bee. “The boy stays with me and remains unharmed.”

    “Well you better be as smart as Brain claimed, or this deal wont last for long.” She snaps her fingers and her soldiers begin leading us towards a covered truck. “But his projects have a high rate of success, so I’ll give you a week to prove it.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 8, 2010
    6:51 PM, CST

    M’gann has Marie’s hand clench in her own, as her hero slips away in front of her. For all our advances in medical ability, fourteen bullets was too much trauma for her body.

    “You have to save Garfield,” Marie whispers to M’gann, desperate to be heard. “He has to be so scared by himself.” I choose not to remind her of the barn, she’ll see her son soon enough with the heartbreak.

    “We will Marie,” M’gann chooses to embrace the dying woman’s delusion, as Mary-Jane stares in confusion.

    “Death scares us,” They admit to me with a whisper. “We don’t think anything waits for things like us after we live.”

    “You aren’t a thing first off.” I pull her into a hug and fail to see her eyes shine like a rainbow, with an identically colored halo of light appearing around Marie Logan’s head, for a fraction of a second.

    “You are two amazing people in one adorable package. Not many people can say they are worth twice as much as someone, but you can.” I lead her from the room, because with nothing we can do they don’t need to see this.

    Notes: My Theory on what Green Light really is (Pride not Will) is going to begin coming in to play, as will my theories on another character.
    It looks like a standard ooh now he can have two girlfriends thing. I promise you I’m subverting the expectation at least twice.
    Kamehb likes this.
  14. NowaifuNolaifu

    NowaifuNolaifu Oh myyyyy...

    Nov 4, 2015
    Likes Received:
    ... wouldmt it make more sense to be closer to courage? The guardians rebranding for a more palatable emotion works either way but aside from a few examples not many GLs are overtly prideful while every other corp shows their emotion.

    Also, the rings would have descended upon Luthor already then.
    Flightless Man likes this.
  15. Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    I don't look at it in the sin of pride way, but the pride in ones skill/self confidence with Anti Green Lantern rings being more the sinful variant. Hal, John, Guy, Kyle, Killowag, and most generic ones, all have a very "I will not falter/I can do this" attitude. I see fear weakening them because of self doubt, while hope makes them think others believe in them.
  16. Threadmarks: Episode 4: Life
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 4: Life
    Santa Prisca
    December 9, 2010
    4:10 AM, CST

    Walking into the bedroom after working all night with Amanda, I find M’gann sitting at the end of the bed in her Marie form. She looks older than normal, closer to Marie’s true age.

    Her feet are dangling off the end and her expression is blank. Stepping into her line of vision and waving, I get her attention and startle her.

    “Oh my!” She jumps to her feet and throws a hand in front of her mouth. “I didn’t hear you come home.”

    “Sorry, I thought you’d be asleep by now.” Changing into my pajamas, I let out a big yawn and stretch. “Did a miracle happen, or did things go how they seemed?”

    “Marie didn’t make it,” Answers M’gann with a shiver, so I pull her into my arms. “I was linked with her and she just kept sharing memories of Garfield.”

    “A mother’s love is powerful,” Whispering my response, I press a kiss to her temple. “She must have been making sure you look for him.”

    “She was, but so much of her slipped through with it.” M’gann shivers and continues slowly, no longer able to speak. <I remember so much of her life now.>

    <Like what?> That has to be intense.

    <I remember parts of carrying Garfield inside of me and filming ‘Hello Megan’ with Rita Farr.> I can feel her embarrassment leak through, when she admits the last part.

    <Got some naughty memories?> I tease her but a frown slips on my face, this sounds like a partial version of what happened to me.

    <And then some,> She sighs in my arms and rests her head on my chest. <She really liked girls and now I can remember why she did. I also have an overwhelming desire, to start looking after animals.>

    <So she’s not really gone then, a part of her still lives.> I brush her hair aside and hear her fall asleep.

    I gave trackers to Harjvati, but he vanished as if by magical means. Waller and I searched for hours, but found no trace of Queen Bee, Black Adam, or any of the captives.

    Santa Prisca
    December 9, 2010
    7:27 AM, CST

    When we arrive at the hospital, it’s to a scene of celebration. Patients are dancing in the lobby, while nurses and doctors walk around in a daze. One of the Genomorphs on staff, approaches us with a confused smile.

    “This one, has good new for everyone.” The G-elf bows on slender legs, leading us to one of the elevators.

    “Something is causing the recovery, of all who rest within these walls.” The voice is shocked, but happy. “When the sun rose this morning, so did every single person who was in a bed here.”

    “Marie?” M’gann is hopeful, but I worry about a different patient.

    “Maxima!” I shout in worry and run for the stairs. “Who’s watching her?”

    “No one, her brain had almost no activity and It wasn’t changing soon.” One of the security guards answers, while jogging behind me. “If the monitors saw a change, an alarm would have sounded.”

    “Does it look like the powers on?” Grunting from the exertion, I question the logic of the plan I likely signed off on. “Because I don’t hear an alarm.”

    The building shakes, as something heavy impacts one of the concrete pillars. Screams sound from every direction, and I see Maxima holding a nurse by the throat.

    “Where is the King of Nascar!” The seven foot tall alien growls at her struggling captive.

    Maxima’s hospital gown is thankfully a custom made one, her buxom frame would have been exposed in a standard one. The nurse struggles in her hand, unable to do anything but point at me.

    “Let go of the thing sound comes out of,” I shoot her in the back with a cable arrow, smirking as it binds her and makes her drop the woman.

    “You!” She snarls behind me and glares.

    “Yes me,” Answers M’gann with a confident growl of her own. “Stop making a mess of our hospital, or I’ll give you a second stay here.” Maxima considers the words, before clapping her hands together and grins widely.

    “You fought fiercely and won,” She drops to a knee before M’gann and lowers her head. “My only shame, is that I can not bring an army back to save my world.” Her self loathing, is a familiar feeling that I know all to well.

    “What do you expect us to do with you?” M’gann asks slowly, her eyes narrowing at the alien queen.

    “Keep me as a trophy,” Maxima’s answer is simple and with no anger. “It was the bargain struck with King Nascar, before our challenge began.” I send M’gann a memory of my exact words, showing her this is a misunderstanding.

    “Cultural differences,” M’gann explains with a firm voice. “Nothing more.”

    “I am not a prisoner?” Maxima frowns and looks down at her gown. “This is not the garb of a captive?”

    “No. I kind of hit you in the brain, a little too hard.” Blushing slightly, M’gann admits her eagerness in the battle. “We didn’t know when you would wake up.”

    “I am mighty, even without my crystal of power.” Maxima brags smugly and finally snaps my cable, by flexing her arms slightly.

    “Yeah about that...” I interrupt the posturing with an apologetic tone. “My ‘brother’ kind of had a radioactive heart and needed a transplant.”

    “You bound me to your bloodline?” Maxima exclaims in shock, getting more from the action than I intended. “My skill in battle impressed you enough, that you found me worthy after all. But not of yourself.”

    <Get Jim here now...> I beg M’gann to call my “brother’ and fast. <I think I got him married by accident and I don’t know if Almerac has annulment.>

    “Yeah, lets go with that for now.” I seek to keep the massive warrior calm, until Jim can get to my location.

    “Who was the woman who healed me?” Maxima asks after a moment of thought. “I had thought she worked for you, but that does not seem to be true.”

    “Anything distinct about her?” With my mind racing, I try and consider any possibility.

    “She was glowing with a violet light,” Answers the Almeracian queen with a sigh. “She left the room before I had fully recovered. I didn’t have a chance to learn who she was, or how she wielded he same power as the crystal.

    Opening my senses, I search for sudden surges in emotion and find spikes a few floors up. Whoever is doing this, must be here still.

    “People are having overwhelming sensations of happiness on floor five.” I let M’gann know and Maxima follows us.

    It’s easy to find our target, the cries of joy in the pediatric ward leading us. We find a handful of nurses, with a crowd of silent children and a glowing Marie Logan.

    “Does anyone else hurt?” She has Marie’s voice, but the tone and inflection are wrong.

    “No Miss,” A nurse thanks her, his smile nearly splitting his face n half. “You did the work of angels here today.”

    “She even has a halo, look.” One of the children whispers to me, when she sees my look of wonder. “Mommy said if I didn’t get better, I would go live with the angels. But she came to live here with us and made all of us better.”

    I don’t care what is going on, the children dying of Venom infection are walking. This entity can have anything in my power.

    “Marie?” M’gann speaks clearly but with concern in her voice. “Is that you?”

    “I don’t think so.” The glowing woman who was once Marie Logan, answers my Martian with a confused look on her face. “I’m not sure who I am, but people here need help. I wish to do so.”

    <You and Mary-Jane want to keep an eye on her, while I bring the Queen to Jim?> I direct the question to M’gann, who responds with a worried smile.

    <Alright, but no more challenges of ownership without me around.> She leads my daughters and the body of Marie to the stairs up, while I lead Maxima back down to the ground floor.

    If her and Jim have any issues working out ownership of his new heart, I would really prefer it to happen outside. If we thought his Kryptonite core gave him power, the Star Sapphire is like a volcano in comparison to a campfire.

    Santa Prisca
    December 9, 2010
    8:18 AM, CST

    Watching the first clone Jim stare down with Queen Maxima, I can feel his disbelief and her excitement. The Almeracian royal finally ends her examination and grins in approval.

    “You even gave me the better looking brother,” Maxima declares with eagerness. “I was worried he would be as sickly looking as you, but he is a true warrior.”

    “So am I,” I mumble to myself, but Maxima responds anyway.

    “You fight with a cowards weapon, but my mate has had armour bound to his flesh.” She steps towards him and brings a hand to the metal half of his face. “Freeing my world will be glorious, with a warrior like you beside me.”

    “Hot alien queen is alright with my metal half?” Jim just glances at me and grins. “I’d be a moron to turn his down. Do I have to get her a ring?”

    “I believe it is human tradition.” Maxima decides with a devious smirk. “Make sure mine is the biggest.”

    “I’ll get right on that.” Jim frowns, realizing he hasn’t been paid yet.

    “Now I will find your mate and we shall plan the wedding!” The pink skinned queen roars in excitement, before racing back to the hospital.

    <Incoming,> I warn M’gann of her royal visitor. <Maxima wants your help planning the wedding.>

    <Thanks for the heads up,> I get a wave of gratefulness from her. <Whatever is driving Marie’s body, has only a handful of her memories left.>

    <Didn’t Marie give you a copy of her memories last night?> I ask what I think is obvious, but she denies the idea.

    <Mary-Jane says she feels different from last night, but still familiar somehow.> M’gann’s mental voice is confused, but trusting in Firestorm’s word. <We’re going to keep with the observation for now. Find out what she wants to do, once she finishes with the patients. >

    <If she cares about people, maybe bring her through the villages and see if she senses any unreported ailments.> Making the suggestion, I consider where else she might like to see. <Bringing her to the gorilla’s settlement could be a good idea, and a visit with the sanctuary animals may jog her memory.>

    <Good call, we’ll steer her that way soon.> M’gann ends the conversation with a mental hug.

    “I’m surprised how well you took the news.” Turning to a still shocked Jim, I smile awkwardly. “I was expecting a little yelling at least.”

    “You know what I really look like, without the false skin covering me.” He sits on a nearby bench and stares at his hands, as he clenches and releases them. “I didn’t think anyone would ever look at me again, like Maxima just did.”

    Remembering how I felt after my transfusion and having my new look, I sit beside him and put a hand on his shoulder. I send him a pulse of how I felt about myself, when I looked like a Ken doll and let him know he’s not alone.

    “I get how that feels.” We sit in silent contemplation for a few moments, before Jim finishes sharing with me.

    “She wants me as I am, so I’m going to take a page from my little brother’s book and accept the warrior alien babe’s offer and just roll with life.” Is that what he thinks I’m doing, because I’ve been flailing wildly since June.

    “I’ve just been reacting,” I reject his praise with a shake of my head. “I was too scared to do this all alone.”

    “Maybe I am too. We are basically the same base person.” Jim answers softly and we sit in silence.

    Cassandra Sandsmark
    Bana Migdhall
    December 9, 2010
    6:33 AM, EEST

    After being captured by Queen Bee and her soldiers, my mother and I were sent through a vortex of screaming blue light. We arrived in a city of beautiful, if deadly women.

    I could see and hear the raging clouds of a sandstorm outside the city walls. In the days since our arrival, it has not stopped once.

    Mom is taken away each day at dawn, returning well into the night with new bruises each time. We have received a piece of bread and cheese each day, with a single fruit and cup of water.

    Yesterday Noor Harjvati was locked up with us, to keep her father inline. She isn’t scared like I am, she’s angry at the injustice of the situation and that keeps me from breaking down further.

    The sound of footsteps outside our cell, lets us know they are here for my mom again. She groans in tired pain and stands at attention, with Noor and I soon following her.

    “Line up and back against the wall, you know how this works.” A guard kicks the door, yelling in at us angrily.

    “No need to be so stern Corporal,” the Queen scolds him and speaks to us herself. “My guests, I apologize for my staffs manners. They only worry about the speed of the translations.”

    The door opens, revealing the cruel woman and her guards, but this time a boy my age is pushed inside. He waves goodbye to a gorilla named Mister Grodd, while my mother hugs me tightly and leaves to an again locked cell door.

    “I got some help for your mother Cassandra,” Queen Bee taunts us. “And Noor, we found your father dead in the desert. Sad to say the kidnappers did not wait for a ransom.”

    “I will not believe the lies of a whore!” Noor snarls and throws herself at the cell door angrily.

    “Oh naughty language will not be tolerated Noor,” The walking stops leaving the cell and returns to us. “Bring Noor to Doctor Isley, she has been running low on healthy test subjects.”

    Our cell opens again and two guards stride inside grabbing Noor between themselves. The kick aside the new boy when he tries to stop them and point a pistol at him.

    “Play nice kids, Noor will be back tonight with mommy and Grodd.”

    The cell door slams shut and the crowd leaves us in darkness again. Once the sound of footsteps leaves us in near silence, I approach the groaning boy.

    “Are you okay?” Helping him sit up, he groans.

    “I think so,” His voice is shaking with the anger I felt my first day in here. “Who are you?”

    “Cassandra Sandsmark. My mom was doing research in Khandaq when we got captured.” Answering him with my frown hidden in the shadows, I turn his question back on him.

    “Why did they grab you?” He stills at my words and sighs.

    “Mister Grodd said if they didn’t keep me safe, he wouldn’t help them.” I widen my eyes and ask for clarification.

    “The Gorilla?” He nods and I can barely see him do so.

    “Yeah he’s really smart,” The boy whispers to me. “Some guy called the Brain experimented on him and now he knows everything. Oh and I’m Garfield, my mom would smack me for having bad manners.”

    “I’d say it’s nice to meet you...” I start to giggle in the darkness and he joins me. “But I think we’d both be happier if we never met here.”

    “That’s for sure,” His giggles finally end and he gives me a hand to shake. “Horrible to meet you Cassandra, I’m Garfield Logan. Why did they want your mom?”

    “Horrible to meet you as well,” I shake his hand and smile softly. “They want her to translate something my mom found, called the Orb of Ra.”

    “Sounds important.” He’s right, even though we had no idea something like it was at the dig site.

    “It must be,” I admit with a snort. “She killed most of the workers and sent the rest to Poison Ivy. The Orb is supposed to lead her to the Tomb of Isis.”

    “Everything will be okay.” He pulls something from his shoe and passes me a small disc. “The Doom Patrol was staying with us, trying to find out Queen Bee’s plan. Mister Grodd said this will let them find us.”

    “Who are the Doom Patrol?” I haven’t heard of a superhero team with that name.

    “A super cool top secret team, who goes where the Justice League can’t.” His words are awe filled and I can only hope they are worthy of it. “They will definitely come for us... I hope.” His confidence wavers by the end and all I can do is hug him, while we both pretend not to cry.

    Neither of us notice the crimson spider observing us in silent judgement.

    Wallace West
    Mount Justice
    December 12, 2010
    3:48 PM, CST

    Things are completely different in the cave, when my parents finally let me visit that is. Kaldur isn’t in a corner with Tula and Garth anymore, now he is separate and alone. Apparently Tula has a new titan sized pet. Old me would deny the science behind its mass, Zatanna has shown me I don’t have all he answers.

    Kon is looking after one of his friends, who’s Meta-gene recently triggered and his sister is on the Team. Connor and Megan are royalty now or something and Firestorm is his kid.

    Dick apparently has hardly been by for training in weeks, his new secret mentor is taking a lot of his time. It’s weird, because Barbara is on the Team and I know he missed her this summer.

    Donna is soon moving up to he Justice League, so she’s been absent also. Her replacement is a new Green Lantern, some guy named Kyle Rayner. He’s an artist from California and seems cool.

    Billy’s friend Mal has joined the Team. He goes by the name Smasher and can grow nearly twenty feet tall. He’s a nice guy, but a complete stranger and not really the welcome home I craved from my friends.

    Greta I can at least recognize from my arrival here, but the alien twins are totally new. Zan and Jayna are oddities for sure, but seem to be earnest in helping.

    “Everything is so different.” Following Zatanna and Artemis on the tour of the upgraded base, I feel a pang of loss at what I missed. “It doesn’t really even feel like the same Team anymore.”

    “I like having a girl on the team who’s in my weight class,” Artemis counters with a smirk, she at least seems more relaxed than before I disappeared. “Donna and Lena have to hold back a lot, even Kaldur can throw me around too easily for an even match.”

    “I’m sure Connor not being around is nice for you,” I try teasing Artemis, but she shakes her head and smiles.

    “We buried the hatchet,” Her response baffles me. “I kind of miss having him around actually.”

    “See!” I exclaim for emphasis. “Everythingisallweirdanddifferent.” My words blend together, as I react to the changes. “Did you guys get the right Wally back? I saw a lot of different versions of everyone on my run.”

    “Don’t even joke about that!” Zatanna slaps me in the arm and then clings to it, as if she’s worried I will vanish again. “Only the right Wally would have come back to me.” Every single time babe.

    “I said no mushy stuff if you wanted me to hang,” Growls Artemis at the display of affection.

    “Fine. If you don’t want mushy stuff,” Grinning back at her, I make a suggestion. “Why don’t we check the news, I’m starting to feel restless at home and could use some excitement today.”

    Wallace West
    December 12, 2010
    5:51 PM, MST

    “I could use some excitement,” Artemis snarls at me, from beneath her white mask. “I blame this one on you, you should know better than to ring Murphey’s doorbell like that.”

    “This isn’t exciting though, just very odd.” Mal comes to my defence and gestures to the roof of the diner. “Sure the few thousand crows have caused a few power outages, but they haven’t done anything else.”

    “I don’t care, this is freaky as hell.” Tigress argues, her eyes constantly scanning the sky. “I feel like we’re in a Hitchcock movie.”

    “That went bad fast,” Zatanna’s new shadow staff is in her hands, while she scans the small Canadian town. “The people living here didn’t even call in the flock for a week.”

    “Because the birds have been devouring the black flies,” Reasons Barbara, doing a good job of filling in for Dick. “That are escaping from the animal feed plant.”

    “I’m still stuck on the reports of them cleaning up litter.” Mal points at the road. “I’d almost eat off that road.”

    He’s right, the entire town is spotless. Focusing on the flock of birds, I realize we’re being watched. In a creepily human, I watch the flock of ravens take turns observing us. They alternate which birds are staring at us and the handful other people on the street.

    “A portion of the flock, is circling over something.” Barbara Gordon informs us, or I guess Nightingale as she is known in the field. “We should investigate.”

    “Be right back.” I vanish from the group, racing down the street with a streak of blue behind me.

    Arriving before her argument finishes coming through my earpiece, I take in the scene.

    A girl about ten or so, is hiding behind a smoking blonde man. Across the road is a scrawny Asian man, he has a disturbingly large smile on his face and is walking towards the pair. He has blue jeans and some Mario shirt on, both dripping with an orange sappy ichor.

    The young girl has dark blue hair, or maybe it’s even purple. I’m having a hard time distinguishing colour all of a sudden. Her... let’s go with dark cloak, flaps behind her in a non existent breeze.

    Her companion’s trench coat has smoke and blood stains, and his hand holds a dagger with a cross guard hilt and he smirks at my arrival.

    “Hey Kid, you and your friends are the good guys right?” His accent is from somewhere in Britain, but I have no idea of a specific location.

    “Yeah,” Answering him with a confident smile, I wave at the girl behind him. “I’m guessing you’re involved in the weirdness here.”

    “Trying to avoid it,” He drawls out and takes a long drag from his cigarette. “But we keep getting found.” He evaluates me and I can sense he is doing so with magical senses.

    “Hey!” I growl at him with narrowed eyes. “I know enough about magic, to know that’s rude.”

    “Had to make sure I wasn’t leaving you to die.” The caster smirks at me and kind of apologizes. “You should be fine with Gluttony here,” He snaps his fingers and points to his companion. “We need to put of the family reunion a little while longer, can you get us out of here?”

    The girl nods and her eyes glow red. Shadows begin to whip around her and wrap her and the smoking wizard in them. The shadows coalesce into a vaguely birdlike form and flies away, leaving me shocked.

    “You’re going to pay for interfering.” The scrawny Asian guy challenges me, a hungry gaze on his face. “But you smell like you have some real power in you. Let’s see how you taste.”

    His mouth opens, showing me his massive fangs like Baraka from Mortal Kombat. He doesn’t stop though, his jaw unhinges and stays gaping. I could be swallowed whole inside his open maw.

    “That’s bad for the teeth dude.” Kid Flash would have been worried and tried to buy time for his Team. “You should close your mouth!” Blue Streak will have this finished before they arrive, Zatanna will be so impressed.

    I duck under his attack and deliver a full power kick to Gluttony’s jaw. It snaps closed and he goes rolling heels over head down the road.

    “Found the source of the disturbance and have engaged.” I tap my ear, informing the others of my actions. “Should be done soon. So hurry up if any of you want in on the fun.”

    “You better not do anything stupid!” My magical girlfriend shrieks in my ear. “I could sense the magic from here.”

    “Don’t worry the British guy and the girl are gone,” I try and calm her down. “It’s just some big mouth named Gluttony.” No way this is the real deal... right?

    Mount Justice
    December 12, 2010
    6:19 PM, HST

    “Wally was supposed to be allowed back today... right?” I have to double check with M’gann, because the Cave is empty right now.

    “He was,” She answers with a worried tone. “But no one is here now.”

    “We shall check the Zeta tube logs,” Mary-Jane informs us, bringing Zan and Jayna with her.

    “Good call, we can worry after we know for sure.” I follow the sound of the television into the recreational area and find a movie has been left on.

    I thought it was illegal to make entertainment based on real heroes, or at least wrapped in red tape. So either this is a foreign knockoff of a Superman movie, or I’m watching a news clip of General Zod getting his neck snapped in Metropolis.

    “Are you going to turn the TV on,” M’gann interrupts my thoughts of copyright law and points to a now blank screen. “Or are you just going to stand their all confused?”

    “Sorry I totally spaced for a minute.” Clicking on the television, a news report from Canada comes on.

    An Asian teen is on the news, fighting five of the Team. His unhinged jaw is working like a high power vacuum. It’s sucking everything before him towards his gaping maw, while he swallows cars whole.

    “Found him.” My eyes widen in surprise, as Blue Streak runs through the cyclone.

    “He’s really gotten faster,” M’gann exclaims, when he snatches Artemis from the air and brings her to safety. “Do you think they even need us?”

    When I recognize the four glowing red eyes, I think back to the warehouse with Black Canary. A sharp pain in my head, makes me stop. I can’t remember how we dealt with that, I don’t like having no answers.

    “I recognize those eyes,” I correct M’gann with a shake of my head. “We’re calling Dinah and then heading in, before something weird happens.”

    “Don’t you mean weirder?” Laughing at me, she follows to the Zeta access.

    “Compared to our daily life?” Smiling at the idea of knowing what normal is, I join her in laughing. “I only recognize the really unusual now.”

    Zatanna Zatara
    December 12, 2010
    6:31 PM, MST

    “I’m sorry okay!” Wally drops Artemis beside me and races back for Barbara. “This is all my fault!”

    “At least you learn fast,” Nightingale snarks at him, when she joins us in relative safety behind a wall. “Now do any of us plan fast?”

    “Don’t look him in the eyes,” Trickshot announces, as a trio of explosions throw the ‘thing’ away. “He’ll mess with your heads.”

    “Good to know,” Wally shouts to his friend, a massive smile on his face. “And glad you could make it. It’s nice to work with you again, your highness.”

    “Stay focused,” Connor retorts with unusual sternness. “Tigress, Canary, and I, faced his brother and I can’t remember how it ended.”

    “Alright sorry, I’ll be serious.” Apologizing for his attitude, Wally starts peppering the fiend with high speed rocks. “At least Zee is still awesome,” I barely hear him grumble to himself, as he races back and forth along the street.

    “Oh you’re the ones who met Greed?” An inhumanly deep voice, comes from the massive maw of Gluttony. “He shall be so upset, I got to snack on you instead.” A prehensile tongue snakes forward and wraps around a massive Mal’s waist.

    Somehow what looks like licorice against the giant teen, pulls him towards the ever expanding mouth. Smasher’s struggling does nothing to slow him down.

    “!reggirt sih gag xelfeR” Using my new staff as a focus, I direct a bolt of white energy at Gluttony.

    It crashes into him and soon his cyclone ends. He begins retching and heaving, before spraying a highly corrosive acid everywhere.

    “Oh god that’s gross!” Artemis growls, tackling me out of the way of the spray.

    “Thanks, I owe you one.” Watching the bile eating through the road and exposing the sewer below, I can only sigh in relief.

    “Uh... Zee.” Wally’s voice is slow and careful. “Don’t look over here, it’s not a pretty sight babe.” I can’t resist looking, but soon wish I had.

    What is left of Gluttony is melting away, congealing into an orange paste. The image makes me gag, but I manage to keep down my food.

    “We’re going to need to call your dad or Doctor Fate for the clean up.” M’gann lands beside me, Firestorm right behind her. “The demonic stomach acid, is way beyond Balzac’s clean up crew.”

    Realizing I killed him and this mess is my fault, I feel my mouth go dry. Soon my hands are clammy and shaking uncontrollably. My ears are ringing too, because I can’t hear what the others are saying.

    Connor is the first to notice me and how distraught I really am. Everyone else is either celebrating, or examining the corrosive remains before they finish melting away. He says something to the others and Wally is beside me in a flash of blue.

    “Let’s get you home Zee.” Once he has me in his arms and we’re running from the scene, I can finally hear him speak again. “I can bring your dad back with me and check things out.” It really is nice being able to run away from any problem and know it can’t possibly keep up.

    Richard Grayson
    El Paso
    December 12, 2010
    6:31 PM, MST

    “I’m sure you have a good reason, for missing training this week.” Kaldur and Donna have us corned on the roof. “Please provide it and the mentor who has taken you on.” Kaldur stares at me, sadness still ever present in his eyes.

    <Dick, They will only hinder the Mission.> Khaji’da reminds me of what really matters. <You can’t be distracted by them for long tonight, we have a short window to strike.>

    <I know, don’t worry KD.> Approaching the pair with Wildcat beside me, I mime looking at a watch. “I’m glad you two decided to swing by, but we need to talk on the move.” Letting Ted leap into my arms, I gesture North. “Cadmus has a new shipment of Q-Juice coming in tonight. Wildcat and I, are making sure it doesn’t deliver.”

    “Then we shall accompany you,” Insists Kaldur with a stern look. “This is not a task for two people. You should have requested aid from us.”

    “I’m impressed by the fact you realized Wildcat was still in the system.” Donna admits with an approving look my way. “I was worried you had hacked the systems and made a fake mentor. I can get behind teenage rebellion like this, it’s well thought out.”

    “We have to disagree then,” Kaldur chides me still. “I find this behaviour reckless.”

    “Punish me when we save the cities water supply then.” I don’t have time for this interrogation, the truck is heading this way. “We need to follow and hit it when it crosses the overpass on Seventh.”

    “Any reason why we strike then?” Trident pries for more information, likely feeding it back to Barbara and my dad.

    <That is most likely the intention of the Atlantean.> My friend agrees with my assessment. <Dick it is not paranoia, when Batman really is watching you.>

    I need to get to Santa Prisca and talk to Connor. He and M’gann kept us off the trail as long as they needed, we only learned when he told us everything. I need some advice on how to do the same, once I figure out the right way to ask.

    “Move now and stay in the smog!” I leap with Wildcat, as Khaji extends my silent wings. “We know the route, so don’t get jumpy.”

    “We are aware of procedure,” My Team leader reminds me with a chuckle, Donna lifting him by one arm and following behind me. “I am glad you still can remember to follow it.”

    We follow above for the trip through El Paso, watching as the truck heads towards the water treatment plant. When it finally crosses the designated overpass, I give a signal and dive down in silence.

    “Go for the wheels,” Kaldur directs us from behind. “I shall restrain the driver.” Donna throws him at the cab of the truck, before moving to slash some tires.

    “We could really use a batch of the finished product, if we want to have any hope of minimizing fatalities.” Wildcat moves in next, landing on the windshield and slashing his way inside.

    Notes: Halo. I always thought she fit the Life entity, more than the Motherbox change in YJ show (I will admit it’s a good narrative counter to Victor and the Fatherbox, but Victor Stone won’t be Cyborg.
  17. Threadmarks: Episode 5: Notice Me
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 5: Notice Me
    Donna Troy
    El Paso
    December 12, 2010
    8:04 PM, MST

    “The truck is already empty.” Dick growls angrily, from behind his black and blue mask. “We tailed them the entire route, when did they have a chance?”

    “Download the trip, we’ll back track and find out.” Instructs Kaldur, while he knocks the driver out with a sleeper hold.

    “You know you wont be able to keep doing patrols with a cat.” Standing behind the new Blue Beetle, I shrug apologetically at Ted. “Sorry, but it’s true.”

    “You’re moving up to the League,” He retorts back at me, not even looking as his fingers finish downloading the file. “Because the Superfriends have been moved back to mostly search and rescue. I need to be doing more.”

    “You only have four more years and you’ll get the invite.” I remind him with encouragement.

    “But I already have more experience than anyone else on the Team.” He removes his finger from the dash computer and growls angrily. “It’s not fair that I have to wait longer than all of you and watch you all leave.”

    I share a look with Kaldur, as Dick slams a fist into the door. His Scarab armour leaves his hand fine and the door hanging from a single hinge. Dick breathes in and out, before staring at us.

    “Dad hasn’t had time to patrol, since we freed the League.” His voice sounds dead, as if he’s forcing himself not to feel the words. “But Barbara keeps rubbing her stories in my face. She has her own dad, why do I have to lose this one too?”

    “She’s not trying to steal your father from you,” Kaldur tries to calm him down, but only makes him angrier.

    “Of course not, she already did.” His mask looks as angry as his voice has become. “I know she’s spying on me for him, but all he had to do was ask!”

    “You sound like I did a few years ago,” I laugh, unable to stop myself. “When I told Diana I would never be Wonder Girl, but my own hero Fantastidame.”

    “Ha!” Dick exclaims in shock, with even Kaldur smirking at me. “What did she say?”

    “She was proud of my choice to be my own woman, but I was not going to do so alone.” I lower my gaze and blush lightly. “My choice was to ask another hero, finish high school, or beat her in combat. So can I say I’m really glad you two formed the Team, I got a fourth option.”

    “That was Trickshot, he said what we wanted to yell.” My Atlantean friend grimaces in reflection.

    “And he even has a new Squad,” Dick sighs, his anger coming in waves and now is a down spike. “I don’t think he’ll make me wait four years.”

    I have a lot of respect for Dick, his skill is on par with my own and he strives to find his own path. I look so much like my sister, the news assumed I was her daughter at first. I’m not going to be Wonder Woman, I’m not her shadow because I will cast me own soon.

    “I’m going to get in trouble for this, I just know it.” Exhaling through my nose, I take a second before making the offer. “I’m going to be able to sponsor my own protege in a couple weeks, I’d be willing to work with you in an upperclasswoman kind of way.”

    His eyes widen in grateful shock, before his neutral expression is back. Accepting my offered arm, he clasps my wrist and nods at me seriously.

    “I would be honoured sempai,” His helmet peels back and exposes his face. “I promise not to let you down.” He twists my arm, pressing a kiss to the back of my hand.

    “Hey!” Wildcat interrupts, saving me from having to do the scolding. “What am I, kidney bean pie?”

    El Paso
    December 12, 2010
    8:42 PM, MST

    “They aren’t dosing the humans,” Dick realizes before any of us. “The Q-Juice is going to the livestock, so they can regulate the dosage better.”

    “Why was the water treatment plant the final stop?” I ask in confusion, but begin piecing things together. “The only reason to bring an empty truck...”

    “Is to fill it.” He nods at me, his voice deadly serious. “El Paso is producing the chemical under a shell company name, but Cadmus is definitely behind it.”

    “Ultraman very publicly has embraced the heroic role and our friend Lena assured us it would be stopped.” I have to remind him of the facts, this may not be what we assume.

    “Friends can lie,” Dick is quick to counter me, which makes me wonder what he lies about. “Besides, she only joined after we got a few wins. She could be a mole.”

    “Dick. Go check the barn with Donna,” Ted stops the coming argument, and leads me towards the chicken coops. “Me and Kaldur will check the birds.”

    “Fine, but this isn’t over.” He grumbles, but lets Shining Knight lead him away.

    “I’m disappointed you went along with his plan.” I need to make my displeasure heard, but not in front of everyone. “You should have known better.”

    “What do you mean, I’m the one who left the note for Dinah.” He stares me down with a tilted head. “I assume she told you to come looking for him tonight, since Wally was coming back. With Connor, M’gann, and Mary-Jane visiting, you could slip out unnoticed.”

    “Then I must apologize, I was wrong to judge you so harshly.” Wildcat purrs in amusement when I admit this, then glares at me when he realizes what he did.

    “Tell anyone and I have sushi for dinner.” His threat is delivered with enough heat, I believe he means it. “But if you need a scapegoat, throw me under the bus. He’s going through a lot right now and needs his friends more than a cat.”

    “That is surprisingly well planned...” I hesitate, as I search for the right words.

    “For Wildcat you mean?” He laughs at my face, before entering through the chicken door and unlocking the man sized one for me. “I may have mellowed out in my old age, but don’t tell Dick unless you have to. He still thinks I’m cool and savage.”

    “Your secret is safe with me,” I agree with a grin.

    Dick thinks everyone is spying on him, but I can see they want him to have the space to grow. Barbara only knows him, who did he think she was going to hang around? I don’t know why Batman is keeping him at arms length, but he must have a good reason.

    “Get in here!” Wildcat’s yell is pain filled and furious. “These things are the size of Emus!”

    Realizing he needs help now, I kick in the door and start tenderizing the meat inside. My pair of hydro hammers smash the birds into nugget paste, carving my way towards Ted. He’s managed to take down a handful, but the flock is nearly a hundred strong.

    “Do you have a plan?” He hisses at me and takes down another over sized bird. “Because the talons really hurt!” I can see what he means, his fur is matted with his own blood as well as the chickens’.

    “Get out side and flood the building,” Doing some mental math, I’m confident some will live through it. “It should drain before they all die.”

    “Or burst the whole coop,” Wildcat snarls back at me, jumping over a bird and running out the door.

    “Either way, the poultry will be washed.” I dive outside after him and direct the water from the ditch inside, flooding the building faster than it can empty itself.

    “Can we keep a few for Christmas?” He finally asks me, when I cease the flow of water. “They really do look good.”

    “We can grab them all for testing.” Dick and Donna approach, leading an oversized dairy cow on a rope. “We’ll be grabbing the bodies of this girl’s herd, she’s the only one who survived.”

    “She was also the only dairy cow, the rest were only for meat.” Adds Donna, making sure we don’t overlook anything.

    “I’ve been using the El Paso lab, since ‘Serling’ moved the head office to Santa Prisca.” Dick gives us a destination for the cow. “We can bring this girl with us and then find a home for her later.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 16, 2010
    8:40 AM, CST

    “Bwunda has secured its Western border and is pushing East to the Atlantic.” Waller directs my gaze to the displayed map. “Human refugees are being forced from the rain forest in droves. The United Nations has requested we intervene, while the Justice League and Superfriends work on the public relief side of things.”

    “Human refugees?” Why did she specify?

    “The army is a collection of apes,” Explains my stern head of operations. “Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and Bonobos, all armed with more advanced weaponry.”

    “Maxima wants to see what her mate does,” I let her know the Queen’s intent to go on the mission. “I made sure she knows the chain of command.” She wont listen to anyone but Jim or Amanda, but I told her.

    “We can’t have you coming.” She smirks at my grumbling. “Our president cannot keep throwing himself into firefights.”

    “Did M’gann, or Dubbilex talk to you?” I glare at her, because I’m trying to avoid the work. Dubbilex is far better suited to the administration.

    “Both, so I have a different task for you.” She crosses her arms and stares me down. “Captain Boomerang’s beacon has comeback online.”

    “Isn’t he dead?” His signal just ended in Bialya and we had no idea what happened to him.

    “We assumed that was the case, but he’s in Australia now.” She scowls at me and shakes her head. “I told you bombs was a better idea.”

    “I’ll bring Shimmer with me, she’s a local.” I frown back at Waller, not willing to concede yet. “We’ll find out what actually happened and revisit the idea when I get back.”

    December 16, 2010
    5:17 PM, ACST

    “Signal keeps cutting in and out.” I stare at the handheld device and point farther down the sandy beach. “But it looks like he’s nearby.”

    “He said he kept trying to get away from his past.” My Australian guide thinks back on her interactions with Captain Boomerang. “But the dreams of home, kept bringing him back.”

    “You and your brother are locals, do you have any ideas?” I ask her with a look of concern towards the sea. “Digger had nothing in his thoughts, about making a run for it.”

    “What about a swim for it?” Shimmer points towards a body on the beach, one wearing a very familiar blue trench coat. “Because I think we found him.”

    We sprint towards his body, but we are far too late. He’s grey, cold, and has been dead for at least an entire day. He has no visible wounds, but clutched in his hand is a sheet of what looks like Papyrus.

    “Tamam Shud?” I pry it it free and read the only two words on it. “Does that mean anything to you?”

    “It sounds like something I heard in school, but I can’t remember what it was.” Shimmer shakes her head and starts checking his clothing for more clues.

    Hey,” I hear a man’s voice whisper from behind me and feel a surge of hope.

    When I whirl in concern, I see no one behind me. Instead of relaxing, I notice foot prints in the sand and watch as they keep coming towards me.

    “Shimmer, we got company,” I warn her and leap to my feet in a defensive stance. “At least one and invisible.”

    I don’t get a response from her and I swerve my neck around. She’s standing still and prodding her chest inappropriately. A weird smirk is on her face and when I search for her deeper emotions, I can feel her overwhelming panic being suppressed by perverted excitement.

    “He he,” She giggles to herself and grins like a loon. “I got boobies.” This comment has her inner turmoil boil over, her indignation forcing out the second set of emotions.

    “Get the hell out of me!” Shimmer is roaring at the unseen being. “And don’t ever think of coming back!”

    “Did you just get possessed?” Asking in concern, I start scanning the beach for footprints or feelings and extend a link to Shimmer.

    I feel some bundle of emotions slam against my mental shields and hastily increase our defences. I see the sand create an imprint of an ass.

    As a cloud reveals a humanoid form for a brief moment, I dive forward and try to pine the figure. I fail and fall through, or maybe into the spirit.

    A presence is in my mind and I can hear Captain Boomerang. His memories of the last few days are jumbled up and all he can really remember is a half naked woman and kangaroos.

    <I told her I kept coming back.> Digger’s words are filled with snark. <Didn’t think it would be you lot who found me. I don’t think I’ll be getting inside either of you now.>

    <What the hell are you talking about?> I growl out loud and keep shoring up my emotional barriers.

    <I keep dying, but it doesn’t want to stick. When I die, my body winds up back in Australia. > Boomerang giggles like a madman over the link. <When someone finds my body, I take it over and try and get as far away from here as I can.>

    <You tried to steal my body!> Shimmer is rightfully upset with Digger. <Oh you are a Deadman!>

    <Yeah I know, that’s why I tried.> Boomerang growls at her in condescension. <You really are dumb.> Turning his spirit towards me, he asks in a stage whisper. <You sure I can’t drive her body, she doesn’t seem very useful.>

    “Shimmer, call M’gann and have her bring in Doctor Fate, Firestorm, and Ghost Girl.” Growling the words, I keep her mind and my own secure. “We need to do an exorcism.”

    <Hey now,> Digger whines at me. <Don’t be so hasty, I can always take over someone you hate and give you all the secrets they have.>

    <Is taking someone over permanent every single time?> I can see how this could be useful, so I keep him distracted while Shimmer makes the call. <No, because otherwise you would be Shimmer right now.> I realize and start making tentative plans.

    <If I have control for a full day, I keep the body.> He admits with a spectral shrug. <A few times I got thrown out and wound up beside the old body, but it’s been a few decades.>

    <If I can’t find some way to ensure you aren’t possessing anyone,> I remove Shimmer from the link, as I make some dark plans. <We don’t both agree on, I’m going with the exorcism option. Unless you want we to see if I can put in a good word with Pluto.>

    <Why would I care about some dog?> He grumbles back at me. <If you’re trying ta give me a Make-a-Wish, I prefer strippers with a big behind. Don’t send me to Disneyland.>

    <The Roman god of the Dead.> I correct him. <It may be better than wherever you end up. Body snatching sounds like a pretty big no-no.>

    <I stopped thinking I would find out a long while ago. My seventh body back when I was Prime Minister.> He adopts a confused expression and questions me. <How did you did you keep me out anyway? It normally takes hours for someone to muster the emotions to force me out.>

    <It’s kind of my thing,> I explain with a chuckle. <I’m an emotional guy.>

    December 16, 2010
    6:49 PM, ACST

    “So Doc, tell it to me straight.” Boomerang’s now visible spirit, pesters Doctor Fate. “Am I going to live?”

    “Fate has already decided that,” Nabu’s voice speaks through Abra Kadabra’s body. “You know this William Buckley, although it seems the land does not.”

    “Too hot for Hell,” The ghostly Australian brags. “And too down to earth for Heaven.”

    “The Dreaming has lain claim to your soul.” Doctor Fate’s voice is stern and foreboding. “We shall need to either sever the connection, or bind you.”

    “Thanks for doing this.” I’m glad he was the only one who came, this wold be hard to explain to the others.

    “We shall see if you thank me still,” Answers the sorcerer mysteriously. “When you wake up.” A flash of golden light washes over Shimmer, Boomerang, and I, sending me crashing to the dirt.

    Always and Notyet
    Before and After, Day and Night

    Opening my eyes, I find myself laying on my back in a field of chest high grass. The sun is shining, but the moon and stars are also out. Flakes of snow are falling, but no clouds are in sight and the ground is bone dry.

    Clambering to my feet, I see Shimmer nearby and offer her a hand up. Boomerang floats towards us pointing to the sky.

    “You seeing this shit?” His voice is filled with awe, as he gestures towards a flock of flying dolphins.

    “We’re in the Dreamtime.” Shimmer scowls and kicks a clod of dirt at him. “Nothing is normal here.”

    While the two bicker, I feel the sensation of something watching us. Spinning casually, I realize it’s everywhere. When I crank my mental defences up, the presence makes it’s move.

    Shimmer convulses in place for a few seconds, before suddenly she stops. Snapping her eyes open, I see glowing compound eyes revealed. The rainbow shine soon spreads from her eyes and seeps into her skin, casting her in an ethereal shimmering aura.

    “We are the Collective, the voice of the Folk.” The voice is distorted and echoing, as it answers the question I have not yet asked. “Not yet, but you do eventually. We only spared ourselves, from you asking us again.”

    “My head hurts.” Captain Boomerang rubs his head, his eyes crossed in a constipated expression.

    “It should, you will be cast out long ago!” The Collective bellows at the spirit of Boomerang, making him cower in shock. “You have going to repay the sins, one day already you committing to us.”

    “Speak plain and simple or don’t bother talking,” Digger growls in defiance at the being inside Shimmer. “I have no idea what you think I did to you lot, but accuse me of a crime and give me a trial. I know my rights!”

    “Already you are paying for crimes you will commit in your final life.” The Collective answers him with a snarl on Shimmer’s face. “The trial is ongoing, it is already over! If you want to see an after ever, you must make a better before now.”

    “I give up,” He throws his hands in the air and groans. “You can try making sense of this.”

    “Why am I here?” We were on a beach, shouldn’t we be on one in the Dreaming?

    “You are here, because Dubbilex will wake you up almost five months ago.” Shimmer’s body smiles awkwardly at me, in what I think is an attempt to be comforting. “You will find yourself so much sager on awakening, the dreams you already had will be windows into the future.”

    “Is that why I remember watching this life as a cartoon?” I ask, as my head starts spinning.

    “Indeed,” The Collective confirms this serenely, now that Boomerang is out of sight. “Dubbilex has answers of what he will program into you while you sleep.”

    “Why do I have memories of different shows then?” I interrupt his migraine filled explanation. “And keep dreaming of different versions.”

    “The barriers between will be weakened, which is how you dreamed of so many more existences than this one and the futures they will have.”

    “So I just dreamed of the life of an alternate universe version of myself?” I frown at the ground and deny this. “No way, it felt too real to have only been some vision.”

    “Tell us how real this was,” Shimmer’s arm slaps me full force and my vision swims again. “When we see you last time.”

    December 16, 2010
    7:07 PM, ACST

    I’m back on the beach and Shimmer is also looking confused beside me with her arm outstretched. My face is aching in pain, but I don’t have time to dwell on it. Doctor Fate steps between us holding one of Digger’s boomerangs up to me.

    “His spirit is bound to this now,” Explains Doctor Fate. “He can inhabit any body struck for up to an hour, depending on the target. He will return to the artifact each time.”

    “Whoa, binding him to his own boomerang?” Shimmer speaks up, as her shock at my savageness rolls off of her. “I thought Waller was vicious.”

    “I’m a nice person... the first time I make a deal with someone.” I poke the body of Captain Boomerang with my boot. “This asshole tried to steal your body and I don’t tolerate betrayal of me and mine.”

    “Oh,” She answers softly and looks at her feet.

    “This ends any debt between us,” Doctor Fate reminds me solemnly. “A body for a body.”

    “Fine with me,” I respond with a grunt, glad to have the mystic debt over with. “He tried to take over Shimmer. He’s going to be in her hands until he pays of his debt to Australia and her.”

    December 16, 2010 (Earth Date)
    45:817 DT, AKLT (Apokalypse Time)

    Father’s quest for the Anti-Life Equation, has left me free to carve out my own empire. Once he sees how my soon to be people beg for death, father will finally notice my achievements.

    My bride to be, will sneak me into the palace and leave me free to slaughter the family who mocks her. She may lack her royal gifts for now, but this will be remedied once the crown is mine.

    Our technology is painful, but advanced far beyond mortal understanding. It’s even beyond my understanding, which is why I needed to borrow a few of father’s scientists.

    “Ready the Parademons General Zarmel.” The New God of Pessimism acknowledges my order, but looks focused on the view screen. “I want them ready for my signal, because everyone in the capital dies today!”

    “Yes my prince, I will ensure they are prepared for the slaughter.” He shakes his head and shambles off giggling to himself. “They will try and defend themselves, but of course everything will go wrong for them. We’re here.”

    As my cloaked ship descends on the capital city of Tamaran, I grin and rise. I will claim this world and with my improved bride, I shall carve pieces off the warring empires. Thanagar invaded Reach space, with someone called Manhawk and his harem leading the charge.

    The Thanagarian conquered an entire shield world for three days, before the Reach returned and glassed the entire traitorous planet from orbit. Then they moved into Thanagar space and began a war that now covers eighteen sectors, with six more soon to follow.

    Birds and bugs are killing each other, leaving the flanks of both unprotected. I’m not alone in my aggression, Sinestro is expanding again and so are these new Red Lanterns. In fact many old conflicts are coming to the surface and battles are breaking out across the universe.

    I’m not an idiot like everyone assumes, but I am far from the smartest New God. It is far easier to act like a brute who gets lucky, or sometimes says the right thing to father. No one is plotting to overthrow me, they think it will be easy and this leaves me free to do as I wish.

    Two long distance hibernation ships leave the surface as my ship decloaks, angling around me and hoping to flee. Before I can shoot them down for sport, a message comes in from my bride to be.

    “My world is yours Prince Kalibak, but as a wedding gift to me,” Komand’r my dark haired beauty appears on screen, wearing nothing but a sheer robe and smiling at me. “Please let my brother and sister escape our new order for Tamaran. They do not need be part of the message to my world, even if we must claim it is so.”

    “Weakness like this is unbecoming of a soon to be royal wife of Apokalypse,” I growl, but decide to be kind for the third time ever. “But a body like yours and the cunning to wield it so well, deserves a reward. Choose one to spare, the left ship or the right.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 17, 2010
    5:42 AM, CST

    Emerging from the mirror, Shimmer and I are back in my kingdom and M’gann is waiting. She hands us each a cup of hot chocolate and greets me with a hug.

    “How did it go?” I know she’s waiting to hear how things went wrong.

    “Australia spoke through Shimmer and I found out I’m even crazier than I thought.” Reaching up, I rub the bruise on my cheek. “But we did bring Boomerang back with us.”

    Shimmer holds his prison up and shows it to M’gann, while I consider what I learned. I saw the lives of every world a Roy exists in. Now I don’t know if it happened when I took over the clone coming to this world, or if I really am just a collection of dreams that believes I am a person.

    “He tried to possess me,” Shimmer explains with gratitude pouring from her. “But the King kept me safe, he remembered.”

    “He does tend to do that,” Agrees my girlfriend, with a bemused expression on her face. “We better check in with Waller, Kon made her job a lot more stressful.”

    “What did he do?” He was supposed to be doing civilian defence in Gabon, how much trouble could he have gotten into?

    “He took a lesson from you and brought the apes I freed with us.” M’gann shares the image of a few dozen chimpanzees, who are currently taking shelter with what remains of Grodd’s invasion force.

    A hundred gorillas and now maybe half that many chimpanzees, live in the expanding settlement of Apehattan. A peninsula on the Atlantic side of Santa Prisca is the location Grodd chose, before he was captured in Qurac.

    “How is that a problem?” I’m confused, we always intended to bring more back here.

    “Because the leader of the Chimpanzees showed us it’s not only apes,” Growls M’gann and I can feel her rage washing over me when she says his name. “The Brain has been experimenting on in Bwunda.”

    “Correct M’gann,” A high pitched male voice greets us when we enter Waller’s office, revealing a Chimpanzee wearing a deer stalker hat and tweed suit. “The monster known as the Brain, also experimented on his canines, and felines.”

    “Bobo is smart,” A black lab sticks his snout into my leg and starts panting in excitement. “Bobo find help and Bobo save us.”

    “He transferred them from India, when the Justice League shut his base down.” Kon speaks up and glares back at Amanda. “I’m not sorry I brought them back with us.”

    “Director Waller is not mad at you, but with herself for each flaw in her plan I have revealed.” Bobo the Chimp explains smugly.

    “Richie will keep an eye on Rex and his pack,” Kon volunteers the friend he is staying with. “I’ll give him a hand with them.”

    “Superboy is nice,” Rex the dog eagerly exclaims, rubbing his black side against Kon’s leg. “Superboy find us good home and call us good girls.”

    “And we’re giving Mary-Jane Otis for an early Christmas present.” M’gann shares a memory of the talking lion, who is currently sleeping on my daughters’ bed.

    “Sounds like the Brain is trying to catch them all.” I laugh and then remember this world doesn’t have Pokemon, which makes me realize it’s a free IP to exploit.

    “Very likely, considering how many wildlife preserves he hit on his march.” Waller scowls and keeps me on task. “The UN has managed to land a joint army, pushing Brain’s forces back inside Bwunda for now.”

    “That was fast,” Shimmer remarks with shock, which makes Waller groan in frustration.

    “It was only ever a shock and awe attack,” Explains Amanda with an incensed hiss. “Brain was keeping us distracted, while he searched for and found something.”

    “More crap to worry about, great.” I rub my tired eyes and groan.

    “Well we also have the twenty missing kids,” Waller snarks back at me. “In the last three days, they all left Happy Harbor High and never came home.”

    “Ooh,” Bobo exclaims eagerly. “Ah, Amanda. Could I have a crack at this case, it sounds intriguing.”

    “Knock yourself out, Superboy can show you the area.” Waller sighs in relief. “Now I only have Brain’s hidden agenda and whatever Queen Bee and Black Adam are planning to to uncover, before we all get screwed over again.”

    “We’re helping already!” Rex barks proudly. “Bobo is smart, Bobo will find the kids and we can help. My nose is really good!”

    Lena Luhor
    December 17, 2010
    10:56 AM, EDT

    Watching your parents marriage falling apart before your eyes, should be more upsetting than this. Except I can’t find it in me to care. The things my parents have both done, make me sick.

    The things they convinced me to do, make me hate myself. My dad and his friends took down the Justice League and he only grew a conscience, when he learned how many secrets they kept from him.

    Mother will keep Cadmus, but Father will keep everything else. She didn’t even make a token effort to keep me with her. I saw her smile for the first time in years, when she told father he could take me.

    When she removed her ring and threw it at my father, his eyes flashed with some unnamed emotion and then he was a wall. He caught the ring with a pained grimace on his face and left with me and Mercy last night.

    “Rargh!” I hear him cry in pain from the pent house bathroom and rush for my father, Mercy right behind me.

    We find my father on his hands and knees groaning in agony, my mother’s wedding ring sparkles on the floor.

    “Mercy,” He growls at his cybernetic assistant and struggles to his feet and backs away from us. “Get my Lena away from me!” His face is contorted in anguish and his skin is a deathly pale grey.

    “No way!” I try to move towards him, but Mercy blocks the way. “Let me through.” I growl out, but she doesn’t even look at me.

    “Something is wrong,” She explains with a hiss.

    “Kara it seems...” My dad starts choking and coughs up some blood into his hand. “Would rather be widow, than divorced.”

    “Daddy...” I try to reach him again, but Mercy stands firm in my way.

    “I’m so proud of you Lena,” He gasps out, each breath paining him greatly. “You are the best part of your mother, never forget that.”

    He collapses forward and lays unmoving on he floor, this time Mercy rushes forward with me. When we reach him a moment after he hits the jade tiles, all I can do is wail.

    Mercy gives me some time to grieve, but soon she is yanking on my collar. When I open my tear filled eyes to scold her, I see what has her so worried.

    My dad’s body is moving again, but not in a way that makes me happy. His face is bulging, as bone spikes protrude from his skin. They soon erupt all across his body, which is rapidly swelling in mass.

    “Let’s go!” Mercy grabs me and runs from the bathroom, while my father bellows is reawakening.

    His nearly ten foot tall frame, shatters the tile with each step after us. His now grey body, is faster than expected and he reaches us in a few strides.

    Sensing his oversized fist, Mercy throws me out the balcony door and into the morning air. Inside I have time to see my monstrous father grab Mercy’s good arm and tear it from her body in a show of blood.

    “Get away from here now!” When I try to help her, Mercy screams at me in agonized rage. “I thought you were smarter than this Lena. Go get help, or we both die here.!”

    I want to help, but Mercy unleashes her full power arm cannon on my father and he doesn’t even flinch. My every instinct is screaming at me to be Wise, so I fly away with a tear filled face.

    My desperate flight towards the Zeta access ends, when I crash into a familiar form mid flight.

    “I didn’t think you’d be running from the fight, what’s wrong Lena?” Clark holds me above Metropolis as I shake, overwhelmed by my ordeal. “We saw the light show, but Lois can’t get involved in this stuff right now. So how can I help?”

    When I explain, he radios in for the Justice League and we return to hopefully save Mercy. Even without his powers my cousin inspires hope, because I have hope we can save them both and this day doesn’t end in doom.

    Lena Luthor
    December 17, 2010
    11:21 AM, EDT

    Returning too late for Mercy, all I can do is make her sacrifice mean something. Kal and I slam into my mutated father, bringing him outside and driving him seventeen floors down.

    Thankfully he doesn’t seem to retain his power of flight, or his super speed. It seems like all of his powers have been funnelled into his strength, because we are no longer evenly matched.

    Unlike each training session with my dad, this time he gives me a sound thrashing. He recovers from the airdrop and proceeds to beat the pair of us senseless. I doesn’t matter what we try, no amount of exploding cars even slows him down.

    Each blow from my father, sends pieces of my cousin’s armour flying. While I struggle to my knees, I can onyl watch helplessly as Kal’s protection is torn off of him, exposing his face to the beast.

    “YOU!” The guttural roar from my father shocks me, I didn’t think he could still do that. “YOU STOLE MY CITY, YOU STOLE MY REPUTATION, AND NOW YOU TRY AND STEAL MY DAUGHTER!”

    “Hey Lex,” Kal groans feebly in my dads oversized claw. “Been a while.”

    “I’M GOING TO TEAR YOU APART!” The bestial version of my father roars in Superman’s face and swings with his free hand.

    My cousin faces his end with a serene smile and a nod of belief in me, except his end doesn’t come now. A blur of red and green crashes into my father’s massive frame, forcing him to drop Kal.

    The two powerhouses trade blows that send shock waves down the street, shattering windows in every direction. Icon has arrived and with each attack, is forcing my raging father away from Kal and I.

    Breathing out in relief, I watch the rest of the League join the fight. The new Green Lantern Guy, combines his construct with Paula’s and restrains my father in emerald shackles.

    Nelvanna and the Flash arrive and begin evacuating anyone still in the vicinity of the battle.

    December 17, 2010
    11:40 AM, EDT

    I arrive at the site of the battle with the Doom Patrol. We’re only nineteen minutes behind the League, but blocks have already been toppled. Roars that chill my blood, echo through the remains of downtown.

    “Contain Luthor and put him down hard!” Waller bellows at us and is not even looking awkward in her Starwoman uniform anymore. “We already have two casualties! Halo make sure we don’t get anymore!”

    Whatever Marie Logan is now, accepts her orders with a nervous nod and follows Connor into the dust cloud. She’s been working at the Santa Prisca hospital, but we needed a healer onsite for this.

    When Icon was killed by a clawed by a clawed fist driving through his chest, all available help was called in. Considering the level of destruction I can see, we still might not be enough.

    Connor said it was Doomsday when we saw the battle on screen and I’m starting to think he’s right. When I hear Lena scream in agony and it is followed by the snap of a bone, I charge into the obscured conflict.

    The lead in the area is blocking my vision, but I do fly over a barely conscious Nelvanna and a badly bleeding Guy holding her. Clark is crawling along the rubble, trying to reach an unmoving Mercy Graves.

    “Get off my sister!” I slam into the demonic form holding my sister in his claws.

    He drops her but I don’t have a chance to check on her, it looks like everyone else has already been taken down. Love fixed my messed up emotions, let’s give it a try now.

    Concentrating the energy I have only recently been able to name, I pool the heat in my face and let loose a beam of pink energy. It crashes into my father’s chest, bathing him in violet energy and I think he nearly stumbles. It doesn’t last though, as he leaps over my assault and slams me into the rubble.

    “Yeehaw!” Tommy Terror comes to aid and distracts the raging behemoth, for a grand total of eleven seconds and then is promptly knocked unconscious.

    “Let’s try this again,” I spit out in frustration and charge forward again, this time Maxima joins me with a feral grin and we slam into Doomsday as one.

    “Oh you really know how to show a girl a good time!” The pale pink queen cheers happily, as we send my father rolling across the ground. “I’m really starting to love the Earth.”

    A blast of violet strikes Doomsday, before he can climb back to his feet. When my dad tries to step towards us anyway, the beam increases in power and sends the monstrous body flying into a fallen building.

    “And I’m really starting to love my mate,” Maxima growls seductively, as the Steel Guardian emerges from the debris cloud. “He fights with skill, power, and ruthlessness, like a true warrior of Almerac.”

    “I’ll show you real skill and power once we’re married,” Jim retorts with a smirk. “But let’s handle the monster first dear!” He follows his declaration with a salvo of heat seeking rockets, they whistle through the cloud of lead dust and impact Doomsday in a ball of fire.

    “He’s apparently my dad, so let’s try and avoid the lethal option.” I felt something when my Love Vision hit him, so I know we can reach him.

    “We must subdue the demon and carve your father free!” Maxima lends me her bloodthirsty support.

    “I just need you two to keep him busy, so I can hit him with another blast of love.” I interrupt her eagerness and give clear instructions. “I should be able to reach him, if anything is left inside of that thing.

    “I’m kind of powered on the stuff, but even I know how wrong that sounded” Jim remarks with his gaze locked on Maxima. “If my fiancee can hold him off for a few minutes, we can double team the beast.”

    “Now who sounds gross?” I growl back at him, as Maxima stands tall and proud.

    “I will be hard pressed keeping such a fierce foe alive, the real glory is always in the kill of the powerful.” She draws her axe and grins at Jim, a love struck expression plastered on her face. “But for you my heart, I shall do my best.”

    “Thanks darling,” The cyborg clone kisses her deeply and slaps her behind. “Now go kick Luthor’s ass for me please, he is the one who did this to me after all.”

    Wallace West
    Mount Justice
    December 17, 2010
    11:48 AM, PDT

    Watching the news makes me sick. In minutes the League was torn apart and the Doom Patrol won’t do any better. Of course my Team will not really provide any difference either, so I’ll have to be fast if I want to stop this.

    When I was running, I realized how far I could really go. I swallow my sadness and relish the few extra weeks I was given with those I love. I write a note for each of them and vanish through the Zeta tube.


    I make my entrance in a streak of blue, that blows away a large cloud of dust, showing a battlefield covered in groaning bodies. Kon is one of three still fighting back, with Maxima and the original Roy clone.

    Kon and Jim’s beams of violet energy seem to be having some kind of effect on the monster being called Lex Luthor. Lex is writhing in Maxima’s grip and his struggles are slowing each second.

    “Hey Blue Streak, glad you decided to show.” My uncle looks constipated, as he approaches me in his yellow Zoom outfit. “I wasn’t fast enough to do anything by myself.”

    “If whatever is going on doesn’t work...” I hesitate, but finally explain my plan. “I’m going to have to use as much speed as I can access and run him as long and far as I can.”

    “I thought so, you really are going to be the best Flash of all of us one day.” He holds out his hand and passes me a replica of his costume ring. “So I’m going to have to do what any good uncle should.” He grabs my wrist and I feel almost all of my energy being siphoned out of me.

    “I’m not as fast as you, so be Still for once.” He smiles apologetically at me and finishes draining my speed. “But whatever we did with Rocket, has let my steal speed. So I’m going to borrow yours for now.” He vanishes from my side and grabs onto a now still monster.

    “Do whatever you have to!” Lex’s anguished voice bellows across the field of debris. “I can’t hold it back for long!”

    “We can repent together!” Barry grabs him and starts running.

    Originally I was going to have the League's infection be hidden until season 2 and it was going to be a 2 season story. Season finale of season 1 would have been Ollie and Dinah's wedding and the kill Ollie programing would have kicked in. When she said I do, she was going to scream it at his face and kill him, revealing the programming. I changed things for a longer story fairly early on once I was sure I was enjoying writing as much/fast as I was. But I wanted to share the idea even though it's not being used.

    Dick is being weird, because he's getting horribly outdated dating advice.
  18. Threadmarks: Episode 6: Holidays
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 6: Holidays
    Santa Prisca
    December 24, 2010
    4:12 PM, CST

    We get lead by Dubbilix and Arenay, to the clearing the Genomorphs have been working inside. They had an island wide ‘don’t look over here’ psychic field set up, so I really have no idea what they have created.

    “You expressed a desire for new lodgings and upgraded an school facility,” Dubbilex smugly declares, gesturing to the empty air behind him. “We have finished the construction in time for the festivities.” Nothing changes, except we can now pay attention to what has been hidden for weeks.

    Standing tall and proud in the middle of the buildings, is a twelve story tall tower in the shape of a T. It has white stone foundation and is covered in titanium.

    No visible windows can be seen from the outside, but when he leads the lot of us inside I can see through the one way transparent metal. We get lead inside the elevator and get a proper view of the other building and which also resembles a letter, this one shaped like an S.

    “The other building is to be the school for the empowered children.” My vice president smiles ”We have already secured the employ of Lucas Carr as principal.” serenely, as my friends and family guess the purposes of the other buildings.

    “He had security clearance in the past,” I remember looking at his files. “Should be easy to get him back up to date with procedure.”

    “Indeed, this was the reason Waller signed off on his appointment.” We share a laugh and join the rather sombre party.

    Lena is living at Mount Justice right now, refusing to go home and damming her grief away. Today is the first time she’s left the cave, except responding to an emergency since Lex became Doomsday.

    “Nice digs dude!” Wally zips to my side and throws an arm around my shoulder. “You’re totally hosting movie nights now.”

    “Yeah, I can see the whole island from here!” Billy adds in excitement, only to flinch when Artemis elbows him in the side.

    “You have super sight, us baselines just have a really nice view.” She enjoys her limited view anyway, scanning the horizon with a smile on her face. “I do agree with Wally though, we’re going to be bothering you a lot more often now.”

    “Yeah,” Agreeing with her, Wally tosses himself on a couch. “Since the upgrades, it feels like a military base and not our own clubhouse anymore. I really wish I had taken some souvenirs of the good old days.”

    “No making me feel old!” Zatanna scolds him from in front of the sound system. “Dad’s already pestering me about going to college.”

    “I thought we gave gifts on this day,” Exclaims Maxima in confusion, while Jim tries to keep her voice at an inside volume. “Why has only Dubbilex done so? Did the rest of you forget?”

    “No we got ours,” Zatanna explains with a smirk. “We just wanted to give everyone else a chance to go first, because ours will knock your socks off.”

    “But I do not wear socks,” Maxima argues. “My feet are not injured and in need of bandaging.”

    “Honey,” Interjecting with an exasperated smile, my older ‘brother’ clarifies for his bride to be. “She means we can go first, She thinks hers is going to be the best and is trying to spare our feelings.”

    “Earthlings are clever.” Maxima nods in realization. “The weak battle with words, so the strong do not know the clear way to victory. I shall not underestimate those I assumed had no worth on the battlefield.”

    “Here, hope it makes you smile.” Jim hands me package, which I open to eager eyes. “Maxima thinks a king should advertise his kingdom better.” Inside is a leather jacket, with a crown emblazoned on the back and the word NASCAR beneath it.

    “And so you don’t need to flee like a coward, when an enemy closes the distance with you.” Maxima thrusts her own gift at me, a bladed bow that is cutting through the amateur wrap job.

    “Finally got a ring I see,” I thank them and point to the pink sapphire band on her finger.

    “Yes!” She holds it up proudly, so all can stare in wonder. “Jim had it carved from his very heart, so I wold always have him with me. After the holidays, we shall take the Exxorian twin’s ship and retake my home world from Sinestro.”

    “Ambitious,” Is the only response I can muster, they are going to have heir work cut out for themselves.

    “Diana found my choice of gift...” Donna speaks up with a frown, from her spot beside Dick. “Unsuited for a king, so she is sending a breeding pair of Pegasai.” I can feel most of the girls and a few of the guys squeal internally at he news, but I shift uncomfortably.

    “I’m going to have to make sure to provide a fitting response for your own birthdays.” I’m terrified of horses, so I plaster a fake smile on my face and accept the gift how it was intended. “Thank you so much.”

    “Thank my sister.” Donna shrugs off the praise. “She insisted. I was going to settle for an enchanted shield.”

    “I know you must be missing the good stuff, now that you have your own place.” Oliver walks towards me and hands me a folded piece of paper, then grabs me in a tight hug.

    “Mary-Jane can look, but don’t show M’gann until you’re married.” He whispers in my ear firmly while embracing me, before raising his voice back to normal levels. “My chili recipe. So you always know even as a king, you will always be a Queen to me.”

    “How do you work this thing!” Exclaims Zatanna in frustration, before pointing angrily at the new Blue Beetle. “Dick, make it play the right song.”

    “Alright, one second.” Dick acquiesces to her demand and heads over to fix the stereo.

    “I hate the Monkees,” Grumbles Kon mysteriously, while Mary-Jane hands me a small and expertly wrapped box.

    “We know you don’t like talking about what bothers you, even if you are willing to ask after everyone else.” Mary-Jane explains quickly, trying to get through the embarrassment. “So we designed a limited artificial intelligence.”

    “They came to us and had us interview several dozen experts in the field.” Dubbilex takes over the explanation. “We paid them for a copy of memories about the education and work history each experienced.”

    “We then compiled it into data and created a therapist’s personality, from a compilation of over fifty people and used our voice files of Kent Nelson.” Mary-Jane finishes he explanation proudly. “Each one is unable to connect to the internet and will grow in time with each personal patient.”

    Removing a small device the size of a Walkman, I realize it works the same as one does with only a few buttons.

    “We even ensured it was not to complicated, so it doesn’t explode on you...” They hesitate and then press forward awkwardly. “Dad.”

    “This is amazing and I don’t even have words to describe what this means to me.” I grab them in a hug and let my joy wash over everyone.

    “I wouldn’t mind having one of those myself,” Wally admits with a chuckle, but several people are quick to voice agreement.

    “I’d rather talk to a voice in my head, than try and keep things confidential with a real therapist.” Lena’s words raise a valid concern we have all had and why most of s have avoiding seeking professional help.

    “Are they waterproof?” Kaldur asks with a raised eyebrow, envy at the gift leaking from many of them.

    “This will revolutionize mental health among the heroic community.” Dinah exclaims with a massive grin on her face.

    “How much for one for everyone on the Justice League and the Superfriends?” Oliver starts haggling immediately.

    “You will all open one tomorrow.” My daughters promise, embarrassed by all the attention.

    “I’ll make sure to get a patent established for you,” Oliver makes his own promise. “This is something you need your name on.”

    The strum of a guitar and the beat of a drum, draws everyone’s gaze towards Zatanna who has a guitar around her neck and Dick who stands grinning behind a keyboard. They aren’t alone now, the rest off their ‘band’ beside them.

    Wally is on the drums and tapping a beat smugly. M’gann has a bass in her hand and she gives me a gleeful wave, before starting to strum along to ‘Daydream Believer’. Kon and Artemis each have a microphone and explain what is going on.

    “Wally learned all the instruments for us in a weekend,” Kon points back at the blue haired speedster with a backwards thumb.

    “And M’gann transferred the knolwedge to the rest of us, so we could be the entertainment tonight.” Adds Artemis with a grin.

    “Hardest part was learning how to sing the parts for the girls,” Wally brags from his stool. “But anything for my bud.”

    “Everyone chose an instrument, so we can all switch out a few times.” M’gann adds with a lovely smile. “I’ll give you all of them, so you can join in once everyone has a chance to play a song for you.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 25, 2010
    8:48 AM, CST

    “I can really move into the Tower?” Richie is being shown around by Kon and I, while his pack of dogs explore eagerly.

    “Yeah, we have no glass in the building.” It’s all the transparent metal, something the new hire of Mary-Jane’s came up with. “You can thank Henry Irons later, Mary-Jane’s new recruits had some family and will be coming over for dinner tonight.”

    Henry and his niece Natasha who he has custody of will be coming, as will Doctor Silas Stone and his ten year old son Victor. Doctor Spence who used to work for Cadmus and a Doctor Adam Strange who is working on more advanced Zeta beam technology are coming.

    The teachers already living on the island will be coming as a way for everyone to break the ice. Most of the Doom Patrol and the juvenile criminals will coming, but Waller and Dubbilex both chose not to attend.

    “I thought I could imagine how incredible your life was, when you gave me six grand to show you around town.” Richie explains with his voice barely above a whisper. “But I had no idea. I can’t believe I get to have Christmas dinner with superheroes.”

    “You paid him six grand to find me?” Kon coughs in surprise at the news.

    “Oliver taught me how to bribe people,” I admit with a blush. “Rich people are kind of out of touch and we may have a hard time understanding how much is a lot to normal people.”

    “I’m not complaining, that kept my dad off my back for a long time.” Richie gives me a grateful nod and moves on, before we can dwell on his asshole of a dad any longer than necessary.

    “You ready for classes in the new year?” The pair are going to be enrolling and testing out the program with the Venom enhanced children and rehab teens.

    “Can’t be any worse than Smallville High,” Offers Richie with a shrug and smile at Kon. “Here people will know I’m friends with Superboy and probably not dunk my head in a toilet.”

    “No they wont,” Kon assures him with a grimace. “Although you kind of have your own reputation now.”

    “I do?” Richie pries eagerly. “What are people saying about me.”

    “You’re another crazy criminal that Connor is rehabilitating here.” Kon refuses to look at his friend, when he shares the island gossip. “No one is sure what you can do, but the dogs are giving people some funny ideas about you controlling them.”

    “I’m a bad boy...” The nerdy teen exclaims in glee. “That is so cool.”

    “I’ll make sure to tell Mary-Jane to avoid you.” I smirk at Richie as he sputters back.

    “What did you get them?” Kon asks and hands me three wrapped boxes.

    “I had a zoo set up for the animals from Bialya,” Explaining my gifts to the girls, I hand Kon a picture of a two person sailboat. “And I got the flag redone in Firestorm’s colours.”

    “What’s this?” He looks at the picture with confusion on his face.

    “For you and it’s down at the marina.” Some of my best time growing up was learning how to sail, it really gave me time to think.

    “Thanks.” Kon looks out and I think he spots his boat when he smiles softly.

    “Whoa!” Richie points at me in shock, while I open my gift from Kon. “Your pyjamas just changed colour.”

    “Yeah M’gann gave me one of her uncles spare suits,” I change my clothing into a white suit with a thought and slide the dark purple trench coat on, slipping the matching Fedora on next with a smile.

    “That’s really sweet,” Remarks the awkward teen, handing me a small object wrapped in a palm leaf. “Here man, this is for you. Thanks for taking me in, I really appreciate it.”

    “You made this?” I exclaim in shock, holding up a blue and pink glass hippo. “This is incredible.”

    “I had a lot of time to myself and decided to clean up the glass washing up on the beach.” Richie looks at his feet, blushing at the praise. “I decided to practice my abilities in a constructive way. I’ve kind of got a shack full of these kind of things now.”

    “Sorry to interrupt the bonding gentleman,” The Detective Chimp Bobo, exits the elevator and shares his news. “But I have traced the list of Cadmus shipments, that Zoom acquired in Hawaii.”

    “Is that really rush over immediately news?” He was supposed to join us for dinner, couldn’t it have waited?

    “Not normally no,” He grabs the remote and turns on the news. “But I wanted to save time and give context for the catastrophe.” We see a city in Russia and it’s listing casualties of over three hundred thousand.

    “Oh my god!” Richie exclaims for all of us.

    “What happened?” I ask for details, even as the news is listing theories.

    “Someone’s Meta-gene has triggered, bathing the city in radiation and killing nearly eighty five percent of Sochi.” Bobo explains with a frown, taking intermittent puffs from his curved pipe. “Russia is looking for war and you’ve finally been given Senate approval to go after Cadmus.”

    Rachel Roth
    Dakota City
    December 25, 2010
    4:51 PM, MST

    “We’re going to have to hit the road again Rachel.” John flicks his cigarette outside and slams the door behind him. “One of your brothers found us and is in town for a family visit.” Which one is it this time? Kirby wont be coming after me anymore, but I still have five brothers out searching.

    “It looks like Wrath,” He peaks out the motel window and groans. “Because a gang war is starting to spill into the streets and either this city is full of half breeds, or it’s chalk full of those Meta-humans.”

    “I can’t keep using my powers to escape,” I remind him with a frown. “You said it’s how they tracked us.”

    “It is,” He sighs and tosses me a helmet. “So I... acquired a ride for us.”

    “You stole another vehicle... didn’t you?” I stare the Hell tinged magician down and after letting him squirm for a bit, give him a wide grin. “At least this one should drown out your whining.” For such a ne’er do well, he complains more than the matrons of Azarath.

    “It’s not whining,” He complains at my word choice. “It’s griping and I’m allowed. You may be my sisters kid, but I only found out she lived to have you a few months ago.”

    “You don’t have to keep protecting me you know,” I whisper and struggle to keep the dark eventualities from forming in my mind. “No one can stop Trigon.”

    “Well good thing Giovanni always calls me no one important,” My uncle smirks at me with confidence I wish I could borrow. “Because I’m going to kick your dad’s teeth in for what he did to my sis.”

    “And then he’ll devour you and digest your soul.” I scowl at my hands and know in three years, I’m going to be the one who kills the world.

    “You said I have three years to get ready for daddy dickhead,” John remarks with a confident smirk. “I’ve already got a lead on some help. Apparently the head of Kord Tech, has the Ruby of Life.”

    “I thought you said Sargon died in world war two,” Wondering out loud, I remember him mentioning the battle against a foul entity called Nekron.

    “Yeah, when the Lord of the Unliving got some of his essence free from his prison,” My uncle scowls, but doesn’t hide anything when I ask him directly. “Sargon gave his life, to give Nekron’s chosen agent Blackhand immortality and the Justice Society sealed him away in secret.”

    “But if his Ruby is being used, didn’t someone find the place?” I ask in concern, because Nekron sounds as bad as my father.

    “Sargon left it to family, so hopefully this Serling Roquette is reasonable.” He gestures to the bathroom. “Make sure you pee, we’re not stopping until we get clear of the cloud of rage hanging over the area. People are really going nuts outside, so no dawdling.”

    Raquel Ervin
    Dakota City
    December 26, 2010
    1:17 AM, PDT

    Icon isn’t coming to save the day, I force the dark thought away so I can focus. I have to hold the shield over the community centre, until someone responds to my alert. I have a few hundred people freaking out in here with me and a gang war taking over the streets.

    “You sure I can’t do anything to help Raquel?” Sharon’s little brother is eager to do something to keep his mind busy, he knows his dad is outside with the rest of the cops.

    “Just keep an eye out for anyone in a costume,” Answering Virgil with a calm voice, I try to keep my own panic from showing. “I’ll need to let them inside.”

    I can do that!” He assures me and rushes off to check the windows, while Sharon and Adam approach.

    “You’re good with him,” Admits my friend. “I just yell when I’m looking after him.”

    “Virgil tries to piss you off,” Her boyfriend reminds her with a chuckle. “He’s got a crush on Raquel and is trying to impress her.”

    “As funny as it is making Sharon squirm, I need to focus.” I grit my teeth from the strain of someone crashing a vehicle into my kinetic barrier.

    “I know you’re giving the kid busy work,” Adam remarks slowly. “But he ain’t the only one who drank the water.”

    Before I can ask what he means, His lips start to vibrate and he begins creating the sound of a space shuttle inside his mouth. He holds up a glass from the kitchen and I watch it crumble to dust, when the sound Adam is making changes to a high pitched hum.

    “And if I have to blind some bastards, I will.” Sharon starts to glow beside Adam, her skin becomes hard to look at with how intense the shine is.

    “Let’s keep you two as a last resort,” I instruct them to check the perimeter. “My Team should be here soon.”

    Dakota City
    December 26, 2010
    5:42 AM, PDT

    Dodging the swing of a chain, I knock out the thug and try clearing a safe space in front of the hospital. Something is setting off everyone in Dakota City with anger issues and the Superfriends are the only team not hitting a Cadmus base right now.

    <Have Kaldur and Artemis, made it to Raquel yet?> I check with M’gann, who is coordinating the action from her Bio-ship.

    <They have and are working to subdue the Bang Baby gang.> She updates me and then goes back to her task. <You and Billy have incoming, be careful darling.>

    Her warning comes in time for me to let Billy know and we’re able to catch the group unaware. The dozen or so people, are being lead by a woman with a trail of dark purple smoke clinging to her. She sees us between her and the people inside, snarls in feral rage and charges.

    “I think we’ve seen more people this morning with powers,” Billy blitzes into the smoking woman and drops her as gently as he can. “Than they have inmates in Arkham.”

    “Next few years are going to be interesting,” I agree grimly, working my way through the crowd. “We need to find constructive uses for the thousands of enhanced people popping up, or we’re going to have an army of villains all angry at the world.”

    “Good thing I know at least one president,” Cadet Marvel retorts back with a cheerful grin. “Who’s got a school ready for what did Dubbilex say, two thousand students?”

    “Yeah but like half of that is for the locals,” I remind him awkwardly. “I’m not going to be able to solve the worlds problems for them. I’m only going to be able to show them a possible way to handle the changes coming.”

    “Handle the big screw ups first, so the rest of the leaders are more willing to follow a less aggressive plan.” He laughs at the face I make and restrains the final rage filled person. “Maxima had a hard time keeping quiet about anything, once she found the eggnog.”

    “For such a big woman, she’s sure a light weight.” I have to laugh along with Billy, because how did her world never discover alcohol?

    “I am so glad...” A high pitched voice, echoes down the street. “You are enjoying the festivities.” A slightly over weight skin head walks down the middle of the road.

    He has a once white muscle shirt and blue jeans, both covered in blood as he leaves a trail of foot prints behind him. On his face, is a maniacal grin and he keeps licking at the trails of blood.

    “I worked so hard on the festivities for my sister,” The maybe twenty five year old man snarls at us, his face contorting. “But since she decided not to say hello, I think I’ll get revenge for what you did to Gluttony!”

    His arms grow disproportionately and his fingers extend into bone claws, the tips shredding through his skin. His face now has four red glowing eyes, the ones that make my head hurt just by looking at them. I remember seeing them in one of my TeleVisions, but trying to recall which one makes me want to hurl.

    “I’m going to slice you into a dozen chunks of man meat!” The raging man charges towards us and leaps for Billy’s face.

    December 26, 2010
    2:28 AM, PST

    “I know you found us distasteful before,” The robotic voice of the Brain echoes through Kara Luthor’s office, as the pair stare each other down. “But you seem to be running out of options.”

    His words carry even more weight, when the sounds of explosions come from above. Kara finally nods and stands, shaking the green light constructed hand.

    “You give me what I want,” The Brain hums eagerly. “And I shall ensure you can take your late husbands place, ensuring he takes the fall will be child's play.”

    “We had best hurry then, my exits are being cut off as we speak.” Kara leads the brain and his guard towards her vaults.

    “I have my own means of escape,” Brain remarks flippantly. “You don’t think I waste time like a plebeian and fly?”

    “I will admit I have curiosity,” Kara concedes begrudgingly. “As to how you arrived both undetected and before the costumed buffoons.”

    “You shall see soon enough, now show me the body.” Brain follows her inside and stops in front of his prize.

    Amazo’s body has been reassembled and has had the fake skin removed, revealing the golden metal beneath. Brain’s mechanical casing vibrates in glee, even as more explosions draw closer.

    “My forces are nearly depleted, you best get us out of here fast.” Kara grabs the android’s body and stares expectantly at the Brain.

    “Indeed, you have followed your part perfectly and now for me to do the same.” Brain makes a snapping sound. “Arsenal, open the Boom tube back to your ‘mother’. Once I’m in my new body, we can finish the search for Isis and Tiamat’s tombs.”

    His body guard raises his canon hand and shoots it at the wall, causing a vortex of screaming blue wind to open. The cyborg is what is left of the original Roy Harper and some gift from the alien partners the Light has made.

    “We shouldn’t wait any longer, the heroes will be here soon.” Brain somehow smirks at Kara and remarks. “Ladies first.”

    “You should know I’m not as arrogant as Lex, I’m ready for a Kryptonite surprise.” Kara scowls, but walks into the wormhole.

    “Noted and slightly impressed,” Brain lets out a snide laugh, sending a radio signal through before Kara. “Cancel the welcome party, she’s proven more useful than originally believed.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 31, 2010
    11:50 PM, CST

    As Jim and Maxima’s celebration winds down in expectation of the fireworks, I drag Billy and Artemis by the wrist and search for Dinah. Finding her with a drunk and amorous Ollie, I interrupt the two.

    “How did we deal with the gold guy,” Glaring at Dinah, I let my frustration leak out and blanket the others.

    “We took him down and got him locked up.” Oliver frowns at me for intruding. “Why are you asking this now?”

    “Because we fought two of his brothers,” I growl at my adopted father, demanding he wait for me to finish. “And I only remember how one of the three encounters ends.”

    “You don’t remember what happened at the hospital?” Billy has a concerned look on his face. “We barely kept our heads on and then the freak cut a portal into a wall, vanishing through it when the Team came to back us up.”

    “No I didn’t,” Admitting my lack of memory is easy, because I’m freaking out. “I only know I’m missing any time at all, because I saw the news was still covering the riots and pieced my time together.”

    “I don’t remember what happened in the warehouse,” Dinah grabs her head and groans “It’s agony even trying to think about it.”

    “Well one of these things,” Ollie frowns at Billy, who looks dapper in his custom suit of armour. “Ain’t like the others.”

    Maxima believes our dresses and suits are pointless, when our world is so dangerous. She insisted everyone attended her wedding, armed and in armour. Jim made sure to warn the guests, no gifts that cannot kill someone or keep them alive.

    She chose today, once she learned we lit our sky aflame with explosions. Now every explosion she creates, will be in honour of her and my brother’s love. Which gives me an idea.

    If we each plant a tree on anniversaries, birthdays, births, and deaths I’ll have a forest grown from love and it will carry on long after each of is gone.

    “I’m magical,” Billy remarks, bringing me out of my thoughts. “Which must me why I can remember and you can’t.”

    “Why do we remember the guy Zatanna killed then?” Artemis finds a flaw in his theory. “And My head head doesn’t hurt, I just wasn’t inside when the gold guy left.”

    “Wally was running all over the place, before anyone else showed up.” The kid in a teenager’s body, realizes with a snap of his fingers. “He coated the area in his Speed Force magic.”

    “And that was enough to block whatever they’re doing to everyone’s memories?” Artemis scowls.

    “You said you and Jade felt something, when you two killed Sportsmaster.” I add, remembering her revelation. “I think that’s more evidence in the ‘Artemis is a demigoddess’ file.”

    “Ever since it happened, I feel more at odds with my sister and closer than we ever have been.” She admits to us with a frown, kicking the remnants of a sandcastle over.

    “Well we need to figure this out and some British guy was found sneaking around, but he got his tails drunk and lost them,” I explain why I pulled them aside. “He was in Balzac and it can’t be a coincidence he’s here now.”

    “I didn’t even know Genomorphs could get drunk.” Oliver’s eyes widen in shock.

    “Neither did I,” Admitting my lack of knowledge, I ask for my favour. “So I kind of need you four to sneak out and go find him, before he causes too much mayhem.”

    “Parents are supposed to interrupt the kids canoodling,” I barely hear Green Arrow grumble under his breath, as he checks his quiver is full.

    Rachel Roth
    Santa Prisca
    December 31, 2010
    11:58 PM, CST

    John left me in an abandoned shack on the beach, shortly after we arrived on the island. He warded it from casual notice and rushed into the festivities, heading for Kordtech to get something of Serling’s.

    He may not be a powerful mage, but my uncle has learned more tricks than than most whores turn. His words and not mine, I remind myself as I hear my mother scolding me for my language.

    The shack is cleaner than I expected, for one abandoned since November that is. We made sure no one currently lived here first, but I’m begin to doubt it was not in use.

    When the fireworks begin lighting up the sky, I can see the shack is full of glass sculptures. I can also see both human and dog tracks in the sand inside. When I hear barking on the beach and it is accompanied by a male voice, I cloak myself in shadows and crawl out the back window as silently as I can.

    “Who’s that!” I fail in my attempt, because I fall into a bush immediately.

    His dogs begin barking and I swear it sounds like broken English, but I have to be panicking. Dogs that speak, that sounds more like a hellhound.

    “If you wanted a sculpture, I give them out for free!” The voice I can now recognize is barely older than I am. “You don’t have to steal them!”

    “Found girl!” A black dog is suddenly beside me, sniffing at my legs. “Over here Richie! She smells good, like a bird!”

    “Good doggies...” I swallow my shock and send a wave of calm towards the dogs surrounding me. “You don’t need to bite me,” I whisper at the pack, who defend themselves instantly.

    “Richie says we don’t have to bite anyone anymore,” The lead dog speaks for his pack of mixed breeds. “We’re good boys and only bite people who want to hurt us or kids,”

    “Does she want to hurt the kids?” A Greyhound growls lightly at me when it makes the suggestion.

    “No I don’t!” I assure them quickly.

    “Then why are you crawling out my workshop window?” The teen finally finds me, sticking his head out the window and frowning down at me. “At midnight no less.”

    “I was only looking for a place to hide and thought this was abandoned.” I struggle to right myself and when I do, give him an embarrassed expression. “My uncle should be coming to find me soon.”

    “She’s playing hide and seek!” One of the dogs falsely concludes, which has the rest join his excited barks.

    “Can we play with her too Richie!” A border Collie begs at my feet, which gets me to scratch behind it’s ear absently.

    “I’m the best finder!” The Black Lab brags. “”You all go hide with Bird-girl, me and Richie find you!”

    The Collie grabs my cloak and drags me deeper into the woods, while Richie only smiles and waves at me.

    “We’ll come find you in a hundred Justice Leagues,” His voice is filled with warmth and I feel no trickery from him, so I let the dogs drag me away. “The dogs will make sure you don’t get lost, I promise I won’t leave you in the woods.”

    “You better leave my uncle a note!” I call back at the shack. “He’s kind of over protective of me and may burn you alive!”


    Richie keeps his word, him and the lab find me and my Collie guard first. We hid in a tree because the Collie Pineapple, said they would never look up. This may even have been true, if he didn’t insist on marking every bush and rock on the way here.

    Once I was back on the ground, I grab Pineapple with a hand of shadow and lower him down gently. He rushes straight for a bush he marked earlier, emerging proudly with one of his namesake.

    “Whoa...” Richie exclaims, because of course I forgot to keep my abilities hidden. “You have shadow powers?” He has talking dogs, so it kind of slipped my mind to keep things secret. “I can control glass, but shadows would have let me hide so much easier.”

    “You can control glass?” I let out a sigh of relief, he isn’t what John calls a Muggle.

    “Yeah, It’s why I lived out here for a while.” He helps me over a branch and points to a log with a tail sticking out from behind it. “I killed someone by accident, so I had to stay away from anyone soft for a while. Don’t worry, I have a pretty good hang of it now.”

    “That’s okay,” I give his hand a squeeze, when I realize he still hasn’t let go. “I know what it feels like, when you have a power that hurts people.”

    "It was my best friends girlfriend," He whispers. "And he doesn't even blame me."

    "It was my mom and I know she doesn't blame me." I share awkwardly in the dark and try changing the subject. "So why did you leave the celebration early?"

    "The doggos don't like being close to the fire works or the band, so I brought them out here until it's over." His explanation is honest and filled with care for his pack.
    Lightxdarkwing likes this.
  19. Threadmarks: Episode 7: I Want Her Now
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 7: I Want Her Now
    Santa Prisca
    January 1, 2011
    2:46 AM, CST

    “I know we haven’t had a chance to talk much lately,” Artemis keeps her voice quiet, as we follow Richie’s trail to the shack. “Not since Kyla...died.”

    “I’ve been making sure Richie didn’t blame himself and do something Halo couldn’t fix.” She nods at this, but puts a hand on my shoulder in sympathy.

    “I don’t want you putting all the blame on yourself, because I know your shouldering Richie’s for him.” Artemis sighs and really opens up to me.

    “After Jade left and before my mom got out of prison,” She lowers her voice even more, making sure I’m the only one who can hear her words. “My dad left me locked in a warehouse overnight... with a known psychopath.”

    “I’m sorry,” Breathing out my nose angrily, I give Artemis a meaningless apology.

    “Sometimes accidents happen and you have no one to blame,” She scowls at her hands and I can easily imagine the blood she sees on them. “When you’re really the cause of someone’s death, you don’t struggle with guilt. You see the truth every single time you close your eyes.”

    “It’s not your fault for defending yourself.” I insist firmly, which makes Artemis smile beneath her cowl.

    “I know, but it took a lot of talking with Dinah to really believe it. And it’s not your fault,” She adds with a firm, but somehow gentle voice. “For dumping a date rapist. It’s not even Richie’s fault for any of this, Cadmus is the one who did this.”

    She’s right, I realize slowly and feel my anger churning. My mother is the one who did this and me and Lena will need to decide who gets first crack at payback.

    “When did you get so understanding?” I give her a playful shove, which has her grab my wrist. “You never seemed to want to talk about anything before?”

    “I had...have,” Artemis corrects her self, chuckling at the understatement. “Trust issues galore, but I’m trying to go after what I really want now.”

    “I’m glad,” She hums softly in agreement as we finally can see Richie’s on the sand. “What do you want?” I ask and she turns away, her heart starting to pound wildly for some reason.

    “Kon!” Skittles the Greyhound, rushes along the sand towards us. “I missed you! Did you bring us treats?”

    “Of course I did,” I laugh happily, as the cheerful dog licks at my hands. “But you need to tell me first, if the girl inside with Richie was nice to you boys?” Is this a hostage situation, or are we about to crash a date?

    “Bird-girl is nice, she play hide and find.” Wagging his tail, Skittles greedily accepts his treats.

    “Then we’ll go say high,” Artemis remarks, which makes Skittles start to whine.

    “But she telling scary stories, I wait outside.” The Greyhound licks Artemis’ palm goodbye and wanders of into the underbrush.

    “Why does Richie have a girl in his shack?” Artemis whispers, as we get close enough to hear the girl’s voice. “I thought he was gay.”

    “It’s what he told us at Christmas,” Whispering back, we enter and find a girl in dark blue robes.

    She looks to be a few years younger than Artemis, maybe thirteen if I’m being generous.

    Her hair matches her cloak, being a dark indigo. She has pale skin, with a blood red crystal embedded in her forehead.

    The Richie and her, are sitting cross legged with the pack of dogs lazing about around the pair. The girl stops her story when she sees us and I can tell she’s starting to panic.

    “Hey dude. Sorry to barge in,” Trying to calm the situation, I give the girl a warm smile. “You had me worried, the fireworks ended hours ago and we have some weirdo sneaking around.”

    “We wanted to make sure he hadn’t got you,” Adds Artemis, frowning at the girl. “But it looks like you just made a friend.”

    “Yeah sorry.” Richie bows his head and introduces us, chuckling at the memory. “I found Rachel here sneaking out of my window. He uncle left her here, while he went to handle some things.”

    Artemis and I share a look at this, Rachel notices but Richie doesn’t and she gets ready to flee.

    “Do you need help,” I ask slowly, because acting without facts has been screwing us over. “Or is your uncle here to hurt someone?”

    “He’s here to ask the sorceress for help,” Rachel admits, when she notices Artemis has moved between her and the window. “Serling might be able to help me.”

    “With what?” I dig for information, but with a less aggressive tone than Artemis would have.

    Sixteen years of fears, can only end in tears.
    If she joins her kin, we’ll be one with sin.
    If you wait, the world is bait.
    The blood of the daughter, soul of the sinner.
    Trade them both, or all shall roast.

    Rachel exhales slowly, her whole body shaking as she recites the words.

    “If Serling can’t help us, I don’t think my uncle has many friends left to ask.” She whispers softly and even though I can sense her love for this uncle, I don’t see any hope in her eyes.

    “Well I hate to break it to you,” Artemis breaks the awkward silence eventually. “But Serling is dead.”

    “But we saw her on the news!” Exclaims the morose Rachel. “She can’t be dead

    “That would be the princess,” Richie fills in the details for the magical girl. “She’s Serling and King Connor’s kid.”

    “So she’s skilled enough, to craft such a skilled illusion?” Rachel widens her eyes in shock.

    “It’s not an illusion,” I admit to the girl. “Mary-Jane can use magic, but that’s a full transformation with technology.” The rest can be shared when and if, Mary-Jane meets this girl.

    “We do know Doctor Fate,” Adds Artemis with a grimace. “If your dad is as bad as he sounds, we should probably give him a call.”

    “John said it was a last resort,” Rachel shakes her head and counters the suggestion. “If Doctor Fate can’t find a solution in line with his duties, he won’t hesitate to end me. My uncle will probably be killed as well, if a Lord of Order ever has him at their mercy.”

    “Maybe we should go find him,” I suggest, worrying what he’s doing in the city. “Get this sorted out before Doctor Fate goes looking for him.”

    “Yeah he did come for the wedding,” Agrees Artemis, reaching for her radio. “But I think he was going to set up some wards, before he went back to Salem.”

    “Alright,” Rachel concedes with a worried frown. “John is hard to miss, he likes to talk and doesn’t know when to stop.”

    “Sounds like how Wally would have ended up,” My friend in all white laughs. “If Zatanna didn’t find out how to muzzle him.”

    “With her mouth?” My retort has Rachel and Richie join in the laughter, but I meant it. Since he rejoined the Team, the pair have been joined at the hip.

    “Whatever works.” Artemis grins and licks her lips.

    “Hey guys make a wish!” Richie shouts, pointing at the stars. “Make your wish before it burns up and it’ll come true.”

    “You really believe in that kind of thing?” Artemis teases my friend from Smallville, but I can see her lips silently wishing.

    “Not really, but it’s getting awfully big...” Richie admits, excitement filling his voice. “I think it’s going to hit!”

    “Kon!” Hands are at my back, as Artemis hisses in my ear frantically. “You can’t let that hit the water, or it could wipe out entire coastlines!”

    “On it.” I assure her and soar towards the plummeting meteor.

    Gritting my teeth in worry I couldn’t reveal to the others, I pick up speed. Forcing myself ahead of the blazing hunk of space debris, I slam my fists into the rock and force it to slow down.

    My best effort isn’t enough on it’s own though, something else is helping me. When I realize it’s thrusters shooting downwards, I understand I have spacecraft in my hands and decide to gently place it on the beach.

    Artemis Crock
    Santa Prisca
    December 1, 2011
    3:19 AM, CST

    When Kon lands on the beach and drops the asteroid in the sand, Lena has joined him and aids him in the descent. The rock cracks and falls apart showing a dark purple metal underneath.

    They speed the process up, tearing larger chunks free and I appreciate how tightly Kon’s costume hugs him from behind. Once he’s done mourning Kyla, I’m going to make sure he knows how I feel about him and that I don’t blame him for being influenced anymore.

    Fairly quickly, it is made clear something artificial is inside the space debris. A van sized object in the shape of a teardrop is revealed and Kon looks up at me in shock.

    “Someone’s inside this thing and it looks like she’s waking up!” His voice is concerned, because of course he doesn’t even consider she might be a threat.

    Lena finds a seam none of us can in the darkness and tears a section free from the ship. Reaching a hand inside, it emerges again with an orange arm. It’s attached to voluptuous alien, who looks to be a year or two older than me.

    She has a body like one of the Amazons, but with ears pointed like a cats and slit eyes. A mane of curly crimson hair, cascades down her body and helps to conceal her lack of clothing. It helps but doesn’t hide the fact, she does have a rather pronounced figure.

    She jumps to frantically trying to speak, but none of us can understand her words. Her meaning is clear, she is thankful for the help and that is all I can be sure of.

    When Lena tries to interrupt and explain we don’t know her language, the nude alien grabs Lena’s cheeks and presses a kiss to her face. Lena widens her eyes in shock and struggles at first, but something in the technique makes her allow it.

    “Here, for you.” A loud ripping sound, is followed by Kon holding up his cape to the orange girl. “So you don’t have to be embarrassed.”

    “I am not a bad flyer,” The as Wally would say “alien babe’, defends herself and shocks us all. “Our ships are landing like this.”

    “He meant about being naked,” Lena steps back from the forward girl, explaining what I assumed was obvious.

    “Why would I be embarrassed?” Our new arrival asks in confusion.

    “We wear clothes on Earth,” I cut and laugh at Kon’s face. “Otherwise the good boys like Kon, will never get anything done. I assumed you had been to our planet before, since you know English.”

    “My people can be learning language,” She explains with a wide grin on her face. “From the act of the kissing.”

    “I know Vietnamese,” I blurt out without considering the consequences.

    “Oh, thank you for the offering,” She rushes toward me, keeping her makeshift towel around her with an arm.

    I could avoid it, but I am the one who opened her mouth and maybe this will get Kon to look. Besides I have always been curious and this gives me a perfect cover, if it’s not as fun as Lena’s face made it look.

    “This will be helping me communicate, yes?” She steps away from me and smiles at everyone.

    “The kissing thing will help with some people, but I’ll pass thanks.” Richie giggles with Raven. “But maybe start with your name next time.”

    “Please be forgiving me.” She blushes a dark red and bows. “I am Princess Koriand’r of Tamaran.”

    Santa Prisca
    December 1, 2011
    3:47 AM, CST

    “Why did we find you sneaking around my daughter’s workshop?” I growl angrily at the guy who looks disturbingly like Keanu Reeves in Constantine. “Which one of the Light sent you?”

    “I was looking for Serling, not some little kid.” He blows a cloud of smoke right in my face, frowning when I don’t react. “And no one sent me. In fact... I’m kind of going against what was written.”

    “What do you mean?” I lean back in my chair and search him for emotional clues.

    “First off, you should get out of my head.” He smirks at me and winks. “It’s a scary place and you might not find a way out.”

    “I’ll keep that in mind.” Cutting off the full power of my empathy, I leave it on a more passively aware state instead.

    “And second,” He frowns at his hands and slams a fist into the table. “My niece needs some serious magical help, or it’s going to be the end of the world. So we came to ask Serling, who I know has the Ruby of Life.”

    “My daughters, are the ones with the Ruby,” I share, sensing no ill will from him towards any of us on the island. “Who are you and who is you’re nice?”

    “I’d say call me John, but since I don’t keep friends for very long.” He offers me a hand and a saucy grin. “May as well get used to Constantine and my niece’s name is Rachel.”

    “Connor.” I stare him down and dig into what he said. “Now how’s the world going to end?”

    “My niece’s dad, is a demonic god know as Trigon.” As soon as he says the words, my head has a killer migraine as some magical knot is cut and I remember things.

    I remember seeing Raven in the Teen Titans cartoon and comics, I remember who Trigon is and what he can do. I even remember the fights with the other two sinful spawn of his.

    “So what do you need from us.” I waste no time doubting him, because this is so far above my level I can’t even see the stairs.

    “You just believe me... like that?” Constantine stares at me in shock and I can feel his love for Rachel and his Rage at Trigon, become tempered by hope for a solution.

    “Dimensional seer,” I say outloud for the first time, because if anyone will believe the absurdity, it will be him. “I’ve seen what he can do first hand.” I think back on the episode where he turns everyone to stone and share the image of a flaming world.

    “This ain’t no Sargon the Sorceress,” He grins in devious glee. “But this is a hell of a lot more useful than anything I expected to find here.”

    “So how long do we have?” It happens on her birthday, so worst comes to worst, we have a lantern bring her to a different planet.

    Maybe the Guardians can contain Trigon, maybe not, but we have a lot of options to try.

    “Exactly three years,” Constantine growls and angrily lights another smoke. “Her sixteenth birthday.”

    “Since I know I’ve heard Giovanni complain about you, I’m guessing Doctor Fate will be of a like mind?” He shifts awkwardly but does concede to my claim.

    “Yeah we should ask someone else if we can.” He shrugs and explains his dilemma. “Problem with ruining the lives of all ya friends, you have no one left to ask for help.”

    “Well then it’s a good thing you suck at sneaking through a jungle.” Laughing at his grumbling, I clarify. “Because I can ask Giovanni for you, this is a big deal and I don’t mind hiding you when he shows up.”

    “And when he can’t do anything?” He stares me down, waiting for me to take the easy way out.

    “I find someone else, maybe interrogate Circe and offer her a deal.” Constantine realizes how serious I am no and gives me an approving grin. “If I have to, we send her off world for her sweet sixteen. Prophecies always say it’s the end of the world, but what if she’s not on one?”

    “I like how you think.” John slaps his thigh and he laughs happily. “Never give up and spite the bastard the entire way.”

    Mount Justice
    January 4, 2011
    3:35 PM, PDT

    “This is a most splendid fortress,” Our new arrival Koriand’r, exclaims with wide eyes. “It will endure much damage from the outside yes?”

    “We are indeed secure inside this place.” I smile at her enthusiasm and how Lena’s eyes, have not left Kori since they arrived an hour ago.

    “When are your other friends, being finished with the school?” The orange alien asks, eager to meet her new comrades.

    “Billy will be here soon,” Artemis explains and throws herself on the beanbag chair in a heap. “He goes to school in the city here, but everyone else is scattered across the country.”

    “Why are you all separated?” Kori has a frown wrinkling her face. “Battle-bonded like you all, should live and learn as one.”

    “Connor only just got his new school set up,” I clarify for our new royal teammate, leading her and Lena through the Cave. “I believe many will transfer in the next few years.”

    “This is of the good,” Koriand’r nods sagely and leans into Lena’s face with a wide grin. “Where is the room for training. You said it is one of the last things your father had a personal hand in designing, before he moved into the room of boards.”

    “Yeah, he designed it for me when I was nine,” Lena answers and it’s easy to see her getting lost in the conflicting memories. “But it takes too much power and really can only be justified as a training room, or a prison for someone as strong as Superman.”

    “Your cousin yes?” Kori’s voice is softer now, aware of the shift in Lena’s mood. “The one you wish to apologize to?” Lena looks at me sharply and I turn away, making it clear I ‘heard nothing worth repeating’.

    She may have started her time with us on the wrong foot, but she’s one of us now. I’m not going betray the only trust she has left.

    “Yes, but I told you not to tell anyone else that.” Lena hisses at the Tamaranean princess. “It was a private talk.”

    “But it was not like the one,” In confusion, Kori tilts her head and asks for clarification. “We had about my privates and why I must wear this social armouring, outside of my home.” She glares irritably at her purple skirt and tank top.

    “Earthlings keep lots of things private,” The blonde Kryptonian blushes, but does clarify for her friend. “Bodies, feelings, and what we really think of people.”

    “This is sounding so lonely,” Kori shakes her head sadly and wraps Lena in a hug, lifting her off the ground. “On Tamaran, we are sharing all of these things.”

    “Well... Humans are weird,” Lena agrees with a sigh.

    “Billy has arrived,” I nod slowly at Lena, deciding my presence is not required. “I have some mission details to go over with him, can you please finish showing Princess Koriand’r around?”

    “Oh Kaldur no,” Interrupts the orange girl with a playful scowl on her face. “My friends are calling me Kori, or Starfire when in the battle.” I see she’s already chosen her code name.

    “I apologize, I did not want to presume.” Giving a short bow of my head, I turn to leave. “Once Lena has show you around, please join us for training.”

    “I look forward to the meeting of the others.” She agrees with an energetic head bob, that sends her crimson mane rippling.

    “Take your time, we have a while before we begin.” I get a grateful nod from Lena and return to Kon and Artemis, only to soon wish I was elsewhere.

    The tension between the two is just as thick as the situation I had just left, maybe even more so. At least Lena and Kori are bantering, this pair is just sitting in awkward silence and are still watching the menu screen.

    “Kori seems eager and I hope she will mesh with each of our combat styles.” Artemis jerks in surprise, accidentally choosing whatever she was hovering over.

    “I’m just happy Lena finally has a friend,” Kon admits. “Being a Luthor, means nothing to an alien princess.”

    “And it helps...” Adds the blonde girl, a single eyebrow raised at Kon. “That Lena doesn’t act like she’s better than everyone anymore.”

    “It has been more pleasant, since she found Wisdom.” I agree with a soft smile, because I really do trust her to have our backs in the field.

    “Artemis...” Billy enters the room and strides towards her in full costume. “I have something for you, it’s from a friend of ours.” He holds up a white top hat for her, which has me realize he’s wearing a red toque and has a very blank look on his face.

    “Do not accept the gift,” I warn her, even as she backs away from Billy.

    “No worries about that,” Growls Artemis, while Billy just tilts his head in confusion. “He’s definitely being controlled by something. After last year, none of us will fall for such a bad performance.”

    “Oh well...” Billy remarks ominously and slams into Kon at full speed.

    Kon’s back slams into the reinforced wall and his head makes a horribly loud crack. He falls forward unconscious, but Billy is already moving for the next biggest threat... me.

    I feel a rib or two break, from the train known as Billy Batson. He crashes into me with a savage elbow and drives me into the concrete floor. Not taking the time to finish me off, he goes for his real prize.

    “Come Alice, I have so many wonderful things to show you.” I can hear Billy speak, but the cadence is definitely from someone speaking through him and not his natural pattern.

    “It’s you!” Hisses Artemis, even as she struggles in Billy’s grip.

    “You won’t need these old friends anymore,” The controlled Cadet Marvel warns her and looks at the time on the television. “Say your goodbyes now, because Rose should be done setting the bomb, right about... now.”

    He sees me struggling to stand and snaps my ankle with a dark grin. Billy covers her mouth when Artemis begins to scream in rage, carrying her from the room and leaving me crawling towards Kon.

    “Lena!” I roar as loud as I can, forcing myself through the pain in my chest. “Bomb!” I defiantly have a punctured rib I realize, as I reach Kon.

    “Get out now!” Gritting my teeth, I grab Kon with one arm and struggle to my feet.

    Zeta tubes are farther away, but I may not be able to swim both of us out. I don’t have anymore information than a villain’s word, so who knows how much time is left on the clock.

    Artemis Crock
    Happy Harbor
    January 4, 2011
    4:17 PM, PDT

    “Don’t cry my darling Alice,” Billy holds my arms firmly behind my back, while the freak Marvin from Halloween strokes my face. “I know this is the happiest day of your life, but we’re together now.”

    “I think she’s crying,” Rose Wilson from school is here and I knew she was involved in the car chase, no matter what Dinah said afterwards. “Because I blew up her friends.” Trying to headbutt Marvin, Rose predicts the move and yanks my head to the side.

    “Well then, maybe they shouldn’t have killed your brother,” Marvin presses a kiss to my temple and inhales the scent of my hair, making me squirm harder in Billy’s hold. “Don’t worry, I promise to make you forget such awful people. You will only think of me soon.”

    “Wendy!” He smiles devilishly and snaps his fingers.

    One of the girls from Billy’s school, walks out from behind a closed door. The girl with the short black pixie cut, is wearing a slave Leia bikini and has another one of the weird looking hats on. Hers is a costume viking helmet, to go with her more medieval look I assume.

    “Bring my dear Alice to the wardrobe please, I want her to look her best for our date.” Marvin grins at me and puts the white top hat on my head. “She should start seeing things my way soon.”

    “Like hell I will, you sick freak!” Snarling at the nerd doesn’t get me anything, besides another patronizing pat on the cheek.

    “You are strong my sweet Alice,” Marvin frowns at me sadly. “But even you... can’t face this alone. When you’re ready to admit need me, you only have to call my name and I will save you my love.”

    I don’t have long to wait, his meaning becomes clear as dark voices begin whispering. The insecurities I thought buried and the dark thoughts I run from, coil inside my brain. I’ve only taken three steps, but already I just want to sob. How is he doing this to me?

    I welcome these whispers. After seeing Mount Justice explode, I just wanted to hear Kon’s voice again. Even this dark fantasy of him blaming me, is better than silence and my own thoughts.

    Lena Luthor
    Mount Justice
    January 4, 2011
    4:31 PM, PDT

    “Get to Kaldur now!” I roar at Kori, scanning the Cave for the bomb. “Take him and Kon out the sea door!

    Her eyes are glowing with a green fire, as she blasts off and heads for our fallen. I see the timer on the bomb, showing I have twenty six seconds to act. It’s beside the geothermal generator, which will set off a chain reaction and take out most of the city.

    “Come on...” I appear beside the explosive, in a rush of wind and find nothing but an on switch. “Alright, plan B it is then.” Grumbling to myself, I do what I know Kal would.

    Grabbing the stereo sized bomb with one arm, I cradle it and soar straight up. I go through the exhaust vent, tearing a fissure through the stone. When I near the peak, I hear the timer pick up speed and let go.

    With a final surge of speed, I break through the top soil and feel the ground explode beneath me. The force of a volcano, rumbles through the rock and starts collapsing the landscape around me. What kind of bomb was that, it’s imploding the entire mountain!

    Wasting no time, I race towards the ocean and dive into the waves. Kori doesn’t have oceans like this on her world, she said the only have a network of very shallow seas.

    I saw Kaldur barely moving and I don’t think she can swim very well, so I’m going to have to find all three before things get even worse. Not allowing myself to consider the fact that I may be too late, I surge through the water and find the three sinking to the sea floor.

    January 5, 2011
    8:49 AM, JST

    “Artemis and Billy’s com signals got shut off quickly,” Detective Chimp explains to the rest of the Team, who Cheshire and I are accompanying on this rescue mission. “But the trackers you all drank, are still giving us a location.

    “I still can’t believe you chipped us all,” Wally grunts, scowling at. “At your birthday no less... not cool man.”

    “Eleven days later and it’s already coming in use,” Retorting back, I give him a wink. “Besides, you already flushed it from your system. I’ll need to actually implant one in you, if you ever let me.”

    “No need,” Remarks Zatanna, leaning her head on Wally’s shoulder. “I have the bits I need, if I have to do a locator spell on him.”

    “Never tell me what they are.” Cheshire shakes her head and laughs darkly.

    “It was only some hair and a baby tooth!” Wally defends his girlfriend’s magic, scowling fiercely at Jade. “Don’t be gross.”

    “Stay focused,” Kon growls at them, while I leave GUS in a hover position. “Two of our friends and over twenty girls are missing, we can’t screw this up.”

    “Calm yourself my friend.” A freshly healed Kaldur, places a hand on Kon’s shoulder. “Do not lose yourself in anger, we shall recover them.”

    “Cheshire will be leading Beta squad,” I start giving out Team assignments. “Blue Beetle, Secret, Miss Martian, Detective Chimp, and Superboy, will be finding and retrieving the captives.”

    “And the rest of you get the fun part,” Cheshire snorts. “You get to bash the Shadows head’s in.”

    I’d let you trade, but you know the layout of the bases best.” She accepts my words, with a stiff nod of her head.

    “You each have an emergency mirror,” Kaldur reminds Beta squad. “Use it as soon as you find the missing girls.”

    “Yeah, Halo is on standby.” I Add and double check my gear. “Good luck everyone and remember... this is an operation against the Light, War protocols are enabled.”

    “That means we don’t have to arrest the bad guys,” Lena explains to Kori, a savage smile on her face.


    It doesn’t take long, for things to get chaotic. As soon as Lena busts through the front door, we’re in a fight for our lives.

    The Shadows seem endless at first, but we have been making progress through the compound. The at first rather bland temple, conceals an entire training base in the forest.

    By the time we fight our way to the main room, Beta squad has already beaten us here and engaged the enemy in battle.

    <Get the hats off them!> The comforting mental voice M’gann, fills us in when we rush to help.

    Some teen I recognize but can’t place, is clearly directing the controlled. He’s across the pit of glowing green goo, tapping commands into a console furiously.

    “What is that stuff?” Zatanna nearly gags, when she sees a skull floating in the dark liquid.

    “Lazarus pit,” Cheshire explains with a grunt, blocking a slash from a blank faced Artemis. “Ra’s uses them to-” She cuts off suddenly, as a sword pins the sisters together.

    “Now we’re even for my son.” Deathstroke kicks the bleeding pair off his sword and flicks the blood away casually, ignoring the screams of rage from the Mad Hatter. “We’ve lost the base boy, time to retreat.”

    A girl in nearly identical clothing emerges from a Boom tube, grabbing the shrieking teen and yanking him through. Deathstroke and a big bald black man, escort Ra’s through next.

    “Artemis!” Kon throws Billy to his sister and rushes to the impaled girls. “No. No. No.” He checks for a pulse, growing desperate for us all. “Not again. You can’t leave me too.”

    “Put them in the pool!” He does as I say, trusting me as soon as the words leave my mouth and rolls all three inside with a splash.

    “You!” I hear my own voice shriek over the wind and turn in confusion. “I didn’t think you would really be here.”

    My eyes are locked on the very familiar face. The original Roy has been turned into a cyborg, with the same metal as Sphere replacing over half his body. He strides forward from the vortex of blue wind and raises his arm cannon.

    “I’m going to pry my life out of your skull!” He roars at me, with his face contorted in a snarl.

    I try and leap out of the way, but he surprises me by cancelling his first portal and creating a new one beneath me. The change in air pressure, yanks my straight down and I can only shriek in defence.

    “Ahh!” is the last thing my friends hear from me, as I fall into the unknown.

    January 5, 2011
    9:29 AM, JST

    Emerging from the vial green ooze, I keep a hand on each sister and stop them from sinking to he bottom. Connor said to get them in the goo, so I did. I’m realizing though, he probably didn’t mean me with them.

    I feel my body tingle and then my skin starts to burn. When Jade and Artemis start twitching in my hands, I ignore the discomfort and pull them both towards me.

    “Whoa!” I expected them to be disoriented, but the two are acting like savages.

    The sisters alternate between clawing me and each other, even as M’gann floats us all out of the dark green ooze. As we rise, I can’t stop myself and grab Artemis in a full body embrace.

    “It’s me Artemis,” She keeps struggling in my grasp, even as I try soothing this feral attitude she has now. “I’ve got you and I won’t let go. Come back to me please... I need you.”

    She isn't raging nearly as badly as my dad was, so maybe this will work. I focus all my love - as embarrassing as it is to even think - and blast Artemis with a blast of dark pink. It works enough, that she stops thrashing in my arms and looks up at me.

    She stares at me intensely before capturing my lips with her own.
  20. Threadmarks: Episode 8: Face to Face
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 8: Face to Face
    Bana Migdhall
    January 5, 2011
    11:05 AM, EEST

    “Roy did excellent,” Queen Bee purrs from her throne. “Didn’t he my dear?” Black Adam bows his head and confirms her words.

    “He did my love,” Adam’s voice is slow to come, making me think he’s being controlled. “And soon you will have control of Santa Prisca.”

    The queen stares at me, my face being pressed into the floor by Roy and considers her options. I take a deep breath and retract my own royal jewels. I don’t know how well this will work, but it’s not like I really have anything else to try.

    “Hello Connor,” She approaches me, sauntering seductively with each step. “You came here to sign some treaties, why are you on the floor? I don’t require my noble guests to debase themselves, unless they wish to of course.”

    I can smell cookies being freshly baked, intermixed with the odour of M’gann’s cherry shampoo. As soon as I recognize the scents, I next feel the Queen’s emotional control seeping into my brain.

    Normally I make my shields stronger, but that makes no noticeable difference. So next, I try to amplify a different one. I get angry, but I can still feel myself falling for Queen Bee.

    “Come now your Majesty,” She whispers in my ear, placing a soft hand on my cheek. “You don’t need to fight these feelings. We can have fun with my betrothed later, he doesn’t mind sharing me.”

    “Sorry,” I make a choice and sever my connection to my emotions. “But I’m allergic to bees.” The only way way to avoid being controlled by her, is to not feel anything right now. Once I get out of here, I’ll be able to fix this... I hope.

    “Oh, you can resist?” Bee giggles darkly, before snapping her fingers. “Let’s see how you do tomorrow, after a day in Ivy’s tender hands.”

    “I have a thing for green girls,” I snark back, while Roy levels his cannon at the back of my head. “You might have better results, If you wear body paint next time.”

    “Don’t talk to Mother like that!” he snarls at me and drives one of his heels into my spine. “She’s nothing like your Martian whore.”

    “It’s alright Roy,” His ‘mother’ calms him down with her calm words. “The imposter will learn manners, you can even watch if you want.”

    “Can I really?” My genetic donor sounds like he’s being offered candy, he’s actually bouncing on his heels and it really hurts. “I won’t bother Aunt Pamela, I promise.”

    “I know you won’t Roy,” Bee pats him on the head and praises him. “You’re a good boy, unlike this king we shall need to break... the hard way.”

    “He and the Martian may be strong mentally.” Roy grabs me by the neck and lifts me to my feet. “But he’ll break like all the rest have mother.”

    “Of course he will,” Queen Bee smirks, her words sounding like poisoned honey. “And once we crack his secrets open, we can free your father and the rest of the League from his control.”

    “Noor lasted three days before breaking,” Roy laughs at me, as he begins dragging me from the room. “But she was strong, you won’t last even half that time.”

    He drags me through a sandstone fortress, getting respectful greetings from each person we pass. I don’t feel anything right now. I’m not upset nor am I worried, I just think over what Roy has been saying.

    “You’re right you know, but not about everything.” Make friends with your captives, it makes them less likely to kill you. “Someone did steal your life and gave it to me.”

    “You admit the crime so readily,” The cyborg growls and squeezes my shoulder so hard it breaks. “Do you take pride in what you did to me?”

    “I didn’t do anything to you, I was grown in Luthor’s lab.” I’m not going to make him see reason, he’s way too emotionally invested. “They gave me your memories, and suppressed my own personality.”

    “So you’re innocent?” He snorts in grim amusement. “Likely story.”

    “I turned back on, and did my best to break free of the control.” We reach a sealed door and wait for entry. “Once I did, I made it clear I wasn’t you.”

    “Yet no one came looking for me!” He slams me forward into the door and I hear bells ringing. “Green Arrow is a hero, he wouldn’t have left me!”

    “We all thought you were dead until recently,” I admit the half truth, but leave out my own fault. It won’t make him like me anymore, to learn I was the one who blew him up.

    “More lies from the chimera!” I can hear him grind his teeth behind me, as the door whooshes open and reveals Poison Ivy in a lab coat.

    “Don’t injure him too badly Roy,” The green skinned woman, halts any further assault on my person. “I need him fit enough for the tests, or he’ll have no chance of survival.”

    “Sorry Auntie Pam.” Roy shoves me into the lab and forces me down onto an operating table. “I won’t hurt him again, unless he tries to escape.” He mumbles an apology, while strapping me down with multiple restraints.

    “Of course dear,” We can’t have him running lose in the city, he would upset the sisters ever so much. Not even your mother, could stop them from skinning him.”

    She injects me with a vial of amber fluid. It sends ice shooting through my blood and I can’t stop shivering. Minutes turn into hours and then days, as I fade in and out of consciousness.

    Bana Migdhall
    January 10, 2011
    9:46 PM, EEST

    “Roy.” Someone is talking, so I open my eyes to swirling colours.

    I have fragmented memories of who knows how long. Some are of Poison Ivy injecting me with different chemicals and taking notes of each ones result. I have memories of Roy’s cyborg face, implanted in my mind and stuck in a vengeful smirk.

    “Take him to the others,” I hear a woman say with no care for my well being, but I can’t tell if it’s Queen Bee or the Doctor. “If he survives the night, we can question him in the morning.”

    Roy undoes my restraints and carries me down the winding path through the palace. He’s more gentle than before, taking care to keep me from any collisions. I guess my current condition has even him, feeling like I don’t need my head crashing into things.

    “I didn’t think you would last so long,” Roy mutters and I doubt he thinks I can understand him right now. “Maybe you really aren’t an alien.”

    “Clone...” I mumble up at him and reel from the pain, that is still coursing through every inch of my body. “Cadmus...”

    It took nearly all my effort to say those two words, so I don’t hear what his grumbled response is. He isn’t made enough to toss me inside, handing me off to a pair of warm and very large hands.

    “Make sure he survives the night,” Roy orders whoever is in the dark cell with me. “I still have questions for him.” He doesn’t wait for a response, slamming the door shut and leaving me in the dark.

    “Who is it Mister Grodd?” A young boy asks and I realize it’s a gorilla holding me.

    “This would be the King of Santa Prisca,” Grodd’s voice rumbles in his chest. “He doesn’t look good Garfield, I need you to get off the bed please children.” I hear them comply at once and the sound of rustling straw, lets me know my destination.

    Bana Migdhall
    January 10, 2011
    11:17 PM, EEST

    “Grodd?” I sit up and groan, glad to see a familiar face. “You fixed me?” I can feel again and even the pain in my body is abating.

    “It was simple enough to reconnect your emotions,” His voice rumbles deeply, with the words having a curious tone. “It was as if your brain was already beginning the process on it’s own, I only needed to direct the force behind the repairs.”

    “We already have one crazy guy in here with us,” A blonde girl that I recognize from the reports as Cassandra Sandsmark, scoffs in irritation and gestures to one corner of our cell. “Marvin has just been muttering to himself for days over their.”

    “I took one look in his head,” Grodd growls out dismissively. “And decided we are all far better off, without him in control of his faculties.”

    “I’m glad you’re alive.” Accepting a cup of water, I take a few small sips and pass it back. “But this must mean...”

    “We are being concealed magically?” The gorilla smirks at me and nods sagely. “Yes we are. In the city of the Amazons.”

    “We’re on Themyscira?” How the hell have they hid this from Wonder Woman?

    “No,” Cassandra’s mother clarifies with an exhausted voice. “These are the Lost Sisters who left after Hercules invaded. They have hidden the city behind a constant sandstorm.”

    “Queen Bee is the child of one warrior,” Grodd adds with a dark chuckle. “Who was captured on a mating raid and raised by the Bialyan, who was her father.”

    “Was?” I ask with a frown at his tense. “What happened to him?”

    “Bee needed to hide her heritage,” He gives me a savage grin, exposing his fangs. “So she could marry into the royal family and claim the throne. Once she did, she waited for another raid on her men folk and captured an Amazon alive.”

    “Her ability gave her a willing puppet, who could show her the way home.” I realize and Grodd confirms my words with a nod of his head.

    “She gained control of the city, either by force or persuasion.” Doctor Sandsmark adds, he body shaking from exhaustion. “We haven’t been able to find out, Grodd is only watched by low ranking warriors.”

    “As glad as I am you’re all relatively okay.” I check them each over with a quick glance and see no major injuries. “Why are you still alive?”

    “They need my mom to decipher the Orb of Ra.” Cassandra scowls and slams a fist into the wall, knocking a sandstone brick into dust.

    “Impressive.” I smile and wonder if her mother, has similar abilities. “Does it run in the family?”

    “Uhmm... wow, the stonework here is really shoddy.” She steps away awkwardly and averts her eyes from mine.

    “No need to keep secrets,” Grodd adds with a more friendly smile than I’m used to him having on his face. “We are in this together and besides, I already gleaned the important details the first night.”

    “It does, but on her fathers side.” The missing archaeologist grimaces in memory she wished forgotten.

    “Why didn’t you tell me Cass?” Garfield sounds like she stabbed him in the back. “I told you when the spider bit me.”

    “You had to!” Cassandra whisper shrieks at the boy. “You turned red!”

    “What are talking about?” Her mom leans closer to the Logan boy. “He looks normal to me.”

    “That would be his illusion,” Laughs Grodd, who winks at the blushing boy. “The children have been practising.”

    ”Why did you keep it a secret Garfield?” Helena asks, using her ‘what else are you hiding young lady’ voice.

    “Because it’s a curse!” Garfield growls and steps into the narrow bar of light, his illusion shimmers and reveals his new form. “Look at me!”

    His skin is now a bright cherry red, while his hair has taken on a darker shade. Garfield no longer has two eyes, each one has separated into four smaller ones. They form a cluster on his forehead that now lacks the concave eye sockets and instead has eight small dimples for each beady eye.

    “If it is indeed a curse Garfield,” Grodd places a hand on Garfield’s shoulder and pulls the trembling boy into a tender hug. “Then why can you hide it from us?”

    “I dunno...” He rubs at his eyes, hiding his tears from us.

    “I think someone wanted you protected and gave you a gift to do so.” The gorilla explains softly. “You have a destiny young one and it begins with getting us out of here.”

    “Don’t worry about how cool you look.” I try my own hand at cheering Garfield up, making sure he sees my wink. “Once I got my own powers and new look, I got a hot alien girlfriend and now I’m royalty.”

    “Really?” Garfield’s locks all eight of his eyes on me, smiling hopefully.

    “Yeah and since your mom has some memory damage,” With a less jovial voice, I inform him of his mothers condition. “You’ll be living with my family for a while anyway, once we get out of here. Lots of chances to earn a knighthood.”

    “Wow...” The scarlet skinned boy squeals in disbelief.

    “Duke Grodd here, will be in need of a squire.” Letting out a snort at Grodd’s shocked expression, I clarify. “Waller and the Doom Patrol, have been running rescue missions in Bwunda. We haven’t found Brain’s base yet, but Apehattan has nearly hit a population of seven hundred.”

    “We managed to sneak my beacon inside, in the sole of Garfield’s shoe.” Grodd holds up the small device and smirks. “I told them if a single hair on his head was harmed, I’d make sure to melt Bee’s brain before I was taken down.”

    “He made one of the soldiers,” Garfield snickers and barely contains his amusement, each word nearly breaking him. “Crawl over and lick his butt!” Garfield can’t hold it any longer and breaks into a giggle fit, Cassandra joining him with more restrained laughter.

    “After this display,” Grodd discloses with an innocent grin on his face. “Garfield was allowed to walk inside under his own power, no search required.”

    “So you’re saying,” I wonder aloud, with a face contorted in thought. “We only need need to get the beacon far enough away?” Plans already forming, as I consider the people here with me.

    Helena will slow us down, but if Grodd can carry her we can do this. I don't know how, but in the time we have been talking I feel almost as good as new. The only symptom I have now, is an admittedly high fever.

    “What kind of illusions can you make?” Sitting beside Garfield, I look for specific details.

    “Anything I can think of, but making animals is a lot easier.” He explains, squinting at how close I am.

    “Alright, here’s the plan.” I make sure I can sense no one guarding our cell and give a hushed explanation.

    Artemis Crock
    Santa Prisca
    January 11, 2011
    5:17 AM, CST

    With Mount Justice gone, it made sense for the Superfriends to move into the Tower. Connor and M’gann have the facilities in place already and after Marvin grabbed Billy at school, everyone is scared.

    The Light knows who the League are and we can’t keep everyone safe, it’s been proven. My body hurt all over and I have no memory of the day I was being controlled. Billy doesn’t either, none of the girls Marvin kidnapped do.

    Richie gave me one of his dogs and Rex has been doing wonders for my nerves, he reacts to sounds I haven’t even heard. He evaluates the sound and will let me know if he thinks it’s dangerous.

    I think Richie came to the same conclusion I did about my time as a captive, because he smiled sadly and shared how the dogs make him feel safe now. We never confirmed anything with words, but he’s not just Kon’s friend anymore.

    “Thank you for coming for me,” I whisper and lean my head on Kon’s shoulder, the static on the TV is strangely soothing. “And I’m sorry it took me so long, to figure out my feelings.” We could have avoided a lot of drama last year, if I had just been clear about what I wanted.

    “It’s okay.” Kon strokes me hair and then hums softly. “I had to figure out who I was too. If we rushed into things in the summer, it would have just been physical.” I know that idea makes him think of Kyla and I hate what she did to him.

    Bana Migdhall
    January 11, 2011
    6:57 AM, EEST

    “Stay silent and ready the illusion,” Grodd whispers to Garfield, who’s eyes flash red in acknowledgement.

    The two children shimmer and fade from view, replaced by hovering flies. Replicas of each of both, appear sleeping on the floor and I lay on my back acting like I felt last night.

    “Keep Cassandra hidden and get outside the walls,” Whispering to the flies, I remind them of the plan and send a wave of confidence to each. “The beacon will trigger and my team will be on the way.”

    “So stay quiet and don’t wait for us,” Helena adds with a cough. “We’ll catch up with you two.”

    “I don’t believe you...” Her daughter’s voice is angry, which is reflected in the fly’s frantic back and forth.

    “I’m going to find Noor and then Grodd will guide me, to himself and your mom,” With a confident voice and wave of calm, I reassure the eight year old kids. “Once I have them, we will come for you.”

    “Away from the door!” Our escort roars at us, before peering inside and sneering at us. “Good, you are learning you place.”

    When the door opens, Grodd and I reinforce the mental link being shared with the five of us. Helena and Grodd, are forced out of the cell at gun point and escorted away.

    Roy stalks in next and looks nowhere, but at my falsely shaking form. He isn’t gentle, kicking me to double check my unresponsiveness and throwing my limp body over his shoulder.

    “I almost feel sorry for you,” Roy remarks quietly, as he carries me down the hallway to Ivy’s lab. “But we don’t have a way to prepare for Mar’s attack on us. We need to know how to fight back, against a species that already controls the Justice League.”

    “Gnyah...” I give off a forced groan, playing up my condition and hope for more ranting.

    “Roy, just leave him on the table.” The door opens and Poison Ivy waves my original inside. “I’m almost ready for the next injection. Remember not to worry about this imposter, he stole everything from you.”

    And once he’s gone, I can get my life back.” Roy slams me onto the table and straps me down.

    “You want your life back?” I whisper, forcing him to lean in close. “Then have it.”

    I spent most of the night, collecting every implanted memory from Roy’s life before his abduction and the three years before I ‘woke up’. Holding the memories in a tight bundle, I shove it into his brain and feel it surge through.

    It awakens memories, that had nearly been wiped clean from his mind and fills in the time that I acted like him. I even give him the first hour or so of when I woke up in the Hall of Justice. I can get by with context, but this is the only way I can think of to make him see we are both victims here.

    “Roy!” Ivy screams in panic, as the cyborg collapses on the floor. “What did you do!”

    She rushes towards me, intent on prying the answers from me. When she gets too close for comfort, I snake my right arm forward grab the syringe ready for use on me. Stretching like a whip, I slam the needle into her neck and watch black veins spread across her skin.

    As she shrieks in agony, I thin my limbs and slide out of my restraints. Now free, I grab Ivy’s head and use the boost from Grodd.

    I dive through her mind link a rank amateur, tearing down the walls she has built her persona with. As Ivy’s mind collapses around me, I finally find what I need and pry the base’s layout from her memories.

    I had to practice on Marvin, but I was finally able to get what I needed. He’s less functional than a potato now, but the memories I saw make it something I can live with.

    He was trying to turn his captives into the inhabitants of Wonderland and even forcing experimental surgery on them. Half of them look like real life catgirls, or some other sexed up animal girl. Yeah... somehow I’m fine with what I did to him.

    Ivy is in a slightly better state, she’ll probably regain function in a few days. I tore out her foundations, but the big chunks of who she is are still inside. Marvin’s personality, I turned that to dust and I don’t know if he will ever recover.

    “Not leaving you behind again.” I mutter to myself and hoist a motionless Roy to his feet.

    He weighs a lot, but he’s a lot lighter than Jim. The more advanced metal, is very light weight. I think Roy barely weighs over two hundred pounds.

    <I’m on my way,> Sending a message to Grodd, I carry Roy with one arm over my shoulder and make my way as quietly as I can. <What’s it like on your end?>

    <I’m a little preoccupied!> Grodd brushes me off, as a surge of rage comes from him and terror comes from Helena.

    <Grodd is fighting one of the Amazons,> Helena explains. <She didn’t go down with the others and is a better fighter than he is.>

    <Is not,> Grodd counters with a mental snarl. <She just has some kind of enchanted armour.>

    <I’m almost at Noor, are you two going to be able to make it to me?> I pause at a fork in the corridor, concerned for the pair.

    <Of course not,> Grodd laughs darkly in my head. <Someone has to draw the Amazons away and what better way, than destroying the Orb of Ra.>

    <Yeah well I can’t carry Noor and Roy out of here on my own,> I remark with a scowl he can’t see. <So I’m going to have to cancel your self sacrifice, not sorry.>

    <If you’re going to do so, you better get here soon.> Helena’s voice is more resolute than last night, the decision to save her child has given her a newfound strength. <Grodd is making a lot of noise.>

    <Yeah I noticed.> A bestial roar echoes off the stone, leading me towards the action. <I’m coming in and we’re getting the hell out of here.>

    <Fine by me...> I can feel Helena straining from effort. <I’ve almost got the Or--.> She cuts off suddenly, her mind going blank and I break into a sprint.

    <What happened to her Grodd!> I demand frantically, but Grodd only laughs in my head.

    <Oh you’ll see,> His words are filled with amusement. <I admit, I am fascinated by this occurrence.>

    Arriving in the room, I can see nine Amazons motionless on the floor. A tenth, is embedded in the wall with a strange looking woman before her.

    It looks like Helena and is wearing her dirty clothing, but her legs look like sandstone and her upper half like the enchanted steel weapons. Grodd is beating his chest in triumph and I can see the remains of the Orb of Ra near Helena.

    Cassandra Sandsmark
    Bana Migdhall
    January 11, 2011
    7:24 AM, EEST

    Garfield hasn’t let go of my hand since we left the cell, not that I’m complaining. It was really scary at first, trying to sneak past all the guards. Something happened though and almost all of them have abandoned their posts, I hope my mom is okay.

    “Do we wait for them?” I whisper and Garfield shakes his head no.

    “No.” He sounds grim, but as long as I’m touching him I can see through the illusion. “We need to get far enough away, so this turns red.” He shows me the beacon and grits his teeth in determination. “Mister Grodd isn’t going to come, he’s going to make a distraction.”

    “What?” But he’s with my mom, they have to be coming.

    “So if we want to save him and your mom,” His voice is low and grim “We need to find something to protect us from the sand and go as fast as we can.”

    “I’m not just strong...” I finally admit with an embarrassed blush, it’s weird thinking my dad is Zeus. “I can fly too.” He blinks with each eye and finally smiles in understanding.

    “That is so cool,” He remarks with a sad smile, handing me the beacon. “That means you can take this over the sandstorm.”

    “We can,” I correct him and grin, excited to finally share this with someone. “As long as you aren’t scared of heights.”

    “I’m more scared of the sandstorm, or what will happen if I stay here.” I get into the piggyback position and he climbs onto my back.

    “I’m going to go up and over,” I explain my plan with an excited smile. “Let me know as soon as we have a signal.”

    Bana Migdhall
    January 11, 2011
    8:01 AM, EEST

    My King may still be searching for a way out, but Helena and I have already come to a decision. The children will get free and we will allow it to occur, with every second we fight back. If Connor had simply followed the plan and gone for Noor first, he wouldn’t be joining this last stand.

    Never in my wildest dreams, did I think I would willingly sacrifice myself for a man. Yet for Garfield, the boy who’s heart is bigger than my brain and Cassandra I didn’t even consider leaving them behind.

    “If we go for Noor,” I bellow in frustration. “She’s going to die with us.” Catching my foes wrists, I squeeze and feel her bones snap between my fingers.

    “I’m not leaving her behind!” Connor is still in denial about our fate, ignorance gives confidence it would seem.

    “We’re the ones, who got left behind!” Helena is not so kind as I, her ability to do something has made her release the pent up aggression. “We’re the distraction.”

    “Damn...” Connor mutters in dark amusement. “This must be how Connor always felt.” Shaking his head in laughter, he finally locks eyes with me and shares a savage smirk.

    “Why do you look so pleased?” Helena in her new stone and steel form, inquires with a frown. “We aren’t getting out of this.”

    “Exactly.” My King shares, his eyes drawn in determination. “Now I have nothing to lose. So what do you think we could do, that would be the most distracting?”

    “I haven’t seen much I can rig into an explosive,” Grumbling under my breath, I recall only the labs have advanced gear. “What do you suggest?”

    “Taking out the Queen of course.” Connor’s voice is grim, but focused.

    “Black Adam poses a problem.” I remind him with a frown. “He never leaves her side, unless something truly draws her ire.”

    “Then let’s hit the whole building.” He laughs darkly and draws strength from a mind not my own. “Roy has some kind of infinite power source and with him out cold, I’m getting no resistance from his systems.”

    “What do you intend?” I ask in confusion, when he passes the cyborg to me.

    “For you to use his cannon, while I share how scared I am.” Connor shakes his head and shudders. “I don’t have anyone here, to stop me from getting on the boat this time. Death is scarier than I thought, it’s just the beginning and I don’t have any idea what comes next.

    “I’m scared too,” I don’t think gorillas have an afterlife, so what will happen to me?.

    “I’ll put in a good word for you,” Connor shares a dark smile with me and chuckles. “I don’t think an ape has ever prayed before, so maybe you can be the first to find an afterlife.”

    “What choices do I have?” I absent mindlessly ask, while I get the arm cannon online. “Are they all real, or only a few?”

    “Pluto I at least know exists and the same with the Kowachan spirits, you can trying calling out to them.” Connor explains, his eyes glowing a vibrant yellow. “Whenever you two are ready.”

    “Make them fear us!” Helena demands, her metal fists clenched in rage. “The way they instilled it in us!”

    “Done.” He remarks coldly and I feel a wave of psychic force explode from him.

    It surges through the palace and washes over each person in the way. Screams of terror soon begin to echo, from every corner of the massive complex.

    “Let’s make an entrance.” Helena growls and I oblige.

    Sending a beam of plasma carving through the ceiling, I begin to stomp my feet eagerly. The few Amazons who are still coherent, rushing to meet us in combat. Reacting instinctively, I drop each with a precise shot of plasma and watch it eat away at them nearly instantly.

    After the dust clears, Queen Bee and Black Adam approach the shattered ledge above and look down on us with sneers of condescension. An arrow clatters uselessly at the feet of Queen Bee, Connor cursing beside me.

    “I may have given my skill with a bow to Roy,” He chuckles awkwardly, and I can only scowl at his error. “Because I kind of remembered how to draw and aim, but that was worse than a kid at summer camp.”

    “Do you at least remember how to hit someone?” Helena drives her metal fingers, into the gut of one Amazon and breaks the leg of the next to approach her.

    Helena may have gained incredible strength from the Orb of Ra, but she has no idea how to fight and is being cornered. Sending a steady beam of energy at the Amazons surrounding her, I watch them vanish in a blinding flash and roar another battle cry.

    She pats the clearly controlled Pharaoh of Khandaq on the cheek fondly and whispers something to him, which sends Black Adam into a snarling rage. He rockets towards me with an outstretched fist and only Connor’s stretched arm rescue, saves me from a cratered head.

    It’s strange fighting with him beside me, because he is actually covering our blind spots. Whenever a new Amazon recovers enough and makes an attack, he slingshots into them and allows me to keep blasting away.

    “If all humans acted like you two and the children,” I let out an emotional bellow, aiming the cannon for Adam’s unprotected back. “I would regret things more.”

    I hit the Pharaoh in the back and he crashes through the wall, allowing me to take aim on the Queen. She directs her warriors with a worried face, which only makes me smirk in delight.

    “What is a Queen...” I blast her with a lance of blue energy. “To a Grodd!”

    “It would appear,” Somehow she survives the plasma, a beam of yellow meeting my own. “The Queen, is still the most powerful piece on the board!” Her once elegant voice, is distorted in a savage snarl.

    “We’re not playing Chess,” Trickshot gives me an opening, by drawing Bee’s ire. “We’re playing Jenga!” He sends me a clear mental image, which I gladly make occur.

    Yanking the arm cannon of Roy downwards, the floor beneath the Queen crumbles and she falls with the broken stonework. I don’t let up and keep an ongoing barrage of plasma, pummelling the place I can feel her mind.

    “Adam!” She shrieks, her voice echoing with some kind of otherworldly power. “Stop wasting time, and get back here!”

    “What’s going on with her voice?” Helena holds position at the door and uses her vastly superior strength, to overcome the Amazons superior skill. “She sounds possessed.”

    “They turned some of the Roman Gods to stone,” The King of Santa Prisca clarifies, his voice deadly serious. “And we believe she absorbed Apollo’s essence.”

    “Which would mean...” Doctor Sandsmark trails off, as Queen Bee begins glowing.

    “I’m the God Queen of the Sun.” My last sight before she burns my vision away, is the stone above us crumbling, to reveal the outline of Black Adam. “And I require sacrifices.”

    Garfield Logan
    Bana Migdhall
    January 11, 2011
    8:00 AM, EEST

    “Why isn’t anyone here yet?” Cassie complains, unable to stop pacing inside the small cave we found as shelter. “They said we would get rescued, if we got the signal red!” She’s nearly shouting now, her voice laced with fear.

    I can’t blame her, I’m as terrified as she sounds and I can’t fight back. We’ve been cowering here for long enough, one of the heroes should have shown up.

    “I don’t know,” I admit, nearly in desperate tears. “When the animal sanctuary got attacked, it was only a few minutes before more heroes arrived.” I don’t understand why they aren’t coming this time.

    “Over here!” A booming voice sounds from outside the cave, leading more people towards us. “Signals coming from this cave.”

    “What cave?” A girl’s voice this time and she sounds angry.

    “The one hidden by an illusion,” The first voice explains, which has me creep towards the mouth of the cave.

    “Grodd?” A familliar girl's voice echoes and I can see a very welcome sight. A guy who looks like a younger version of Black Adam, Cheshire, and a blonde girl in a white uniform, are waiting for an answer.

    “Jade!” I drop the illusion, glad to see someone I recognize. “You came!” I run towards her sobbing and throw myself at her, she thankfully catches me in tight hug.

    “Garfield?” Shaking in her arms, I explain the situation and that we need to go back through the sandstorm. “I can’t believe you’re alive.”

    “’Bout time we got some good news,” The girl in the white tiger costume, grumbles to the Black Adam copycat.

    “How are you going to get through the storm?” Cassie demands, not caring if these are heroes. “It filled in the sky, once we passed through it.”

    “We saw the storm on satellite and came prepared.” Tiger lady grins and holds up some kind of copper staff.

    “Red Head, finally got them working?” The boy in a red version of Adam’s uniform grins. “Can I use it please? “I only have ritual magic and I want to feel like Gandalf for once. Tuxedo Mask always looks like she is having so much fun, flinging around her spells like she’s Hermione Granger.”

    “Aw. You’re jealous,” Cheshire laughs at the revelation. “Give Marvel the staff, he’s at least used to controlling one kind of weather.”

    Jade Nyugen
    Bana Migdhall
    January 11, 2011
    8:05 AM, EEST

    I keep telling myself, I’m only doing this to pay off my debt and get my pardon. That’s not the only reason and I have to admit, it’s a lot easier to please the women in my family than it was my father.

    Nothing was ever good enough for him, but mom is just happy seeing me safe. I thought Artemis would never be able to understand why I left, but she willingly spends time with me. It seems being able to vent on Connor all year, left her seeing people’s actions and not just the words the say.

    Her raw anger is almost completely gone, she’s been forged into someone who knows exactly what she stands for now. She’s spent all year fighting for peace, while all I did was perpetuate the war.

    “I think it’s time I went for a new code name.” I mention to offhandedly to Artemis, as we watch Cadet Marvel dismantle the sandstorm. “Cheshire doesn’t feel like protection anymore, it’s only a target.”

    “What do you have in mind?” My sister half turns to me, making sure to keep Billy in view. “Well,” I awkwardly praise her. “You’re the white sheep of the family, so I was thinking... I follow in your footsteps this time.”

    “Wait... what?” Her eyes widen in shock and a proud grin sneaks onto her face.

    “Hiding from our families sins, only got me locked up.” I remove my mask, so I can look her right in the eye. “You faced it head on, so I’m going to be Orange Tigress and be the sister who gets her hands bloody.”

    “Again?” My little sister scowls at me and crosses her arms with a huff. “Do you have a single creative bone in your body?”

    “Dad made sure I didn’t think for myself very well,” I admit darkly, sliding my mask back on. “I’m not as strong as you alright... I only ran and hid. The only thing I ever cared about protecting was you and sometimes... I almost told them to take you, it was just so hard.”

    “But you never did.” Artemis smiles at me, while Marvel chants like a fool.

    All of a sudden, the raging wind dies and the wall off sand rains down. Marvel cheers in success and has Blue Streak, rush ahead with a set of mirrors.

    “Uh guys...” Billy trails off, his voice suddenly heavy. “Parties already started, I’ll see you inside!” He rockets off the sand and slams into someone, who was sailing through the sky like a thrown stone. Marvel doesn’t catch him though, he greets him with a savage elbow strike.

    “Mirrors are in place.” Wally is already back, grinning confidently and vibrating with enthusiasm. “Let’s go save the day!” He doesn’t wait for a response, charging into the section of sand Firestorm turned into glass.

    “Hit hard and stay safe!” Lena and the orange alien soar into the sky, intent on aiding Billy.

    “You two ready?” Kon lands beside us, his blue cape fluttering in the dying wind.

    “I don’t like owing people,” I purr out a response, activating my camouflage.

    “Neither do I,” Adds my sister and even Supperboy, gives a solemn nod of agreement. “So let’s bring Connor home.”

    <Link is secure.> M’gann’s voice, comes across as very tense. <I’ve sent the kids back to Santa Prisca, so we have no distractions. Noor Harjavti, Grodd, Helena Sandsmark, and Connor, are the only people we have to extract.>

    <Don’t worry, we know our assignments,> I assure the anxious Martian. <We’ll find Connor and get him out.>

    <Well you better hurry,> M’gann grimly informs us. <Because that miasma of fear you can feel... that’s coming from him.>

    <He’s the thing,> Rocket growls over the link. <Making me want to piss myself?>

    <Since when has he had this kind of power?> Demands Zatanna.

    <I can’t even boost him to a tenth of this,> M’gann admits, her mental voice now beginning to waver. <I have no idea what could be doing this.>

    <Well let’s find out.> Emerging from the mirror, I find some rock and metal woman fighting off the Amazons.

    “The children made it?” Grodd roars in hopeful joy, as he sends a barrage of plasma at the Queen.

    “Yeah, they’re on the island!” Kon answers with a grin and charges into Queen Bee. “We can really cut loose, once Blue Streak finds Noor.”

    “Oh her?” Bee blocks Kon’s charge and delivers a stunning headbutt to his face. “Once she broke, I gave her and the boy’s pet to Blood. She lacked the proper attitude, for my society.”

    Billy and Adam crash into the room, sending a shower of stone in every direction. The roll along the floor, until Adam pins the younger Marvel beneath himself. Once he has Billy trapped, Adam lays into him with a frenzy of blows.

    Making a rather dumb choice, I approach from behind and yank his cape over his face. Before Black Adam can slaughter me, Billy grabs his wrists and gives me a bloody smile.

    “You abuse the powers given to you!” The divinely powered boy roars. “It’s time to sever the connection you have with the gods.”

    “You think you have the power to do so?” Adam ignores the cloak and charges his power, soon his entire body is arcing with electricity.

    “I don’t need power,” Cadet Marvel declares, forcing Adam off of him and regaining his footing. “I have Superfriends!”

    “SHAZAM!” Marvel’s voice echoes through the city and even I can feel the magic that was just discharged.

    A wave of thunder ‘Krakooms’, knocking me off my feet and lightning strikes the grappling pair. When I groan and roll back over, I see Billy in his school clothes and a man who looks like an older relative. The man in his twenties looks shocked for a moment, before he begins to rapidly age before my eyes.

    In seconds, he has reached the look of a man over a hundred and then he begins to break apart into smoke. He doesn’t look angry, in fact Black Adam looks happy for the first time since the camera was invented. He pats Billy on the back, as the eleven year old pants on his hands and knees and then the ancient looking Adam is gone.

    “Fine then!” The furious Queen rages, locked in the middle of her beam war with Grodd and Kon. “I guess I’m going to need a new consort. Superboy, kill the monkey and I’m all yours.”

    “Not going to work!” Kon’s voice is slurred, but still clearly focused.

    M’gann is leading our link and in a genderless body. This is stopping Bee’s pheromones from taking full control of anyone. Grodd’s energy beam suddenly ends, forcing him to leap aside or be burnt to ash.

    “You lied to me!” The cyborg who looks like another Roy clone shrieks at the Queen and rises to his feet. “He never stole my life... you gave it to him!”

    Firestorm removes her hand from the cyborg’s neck and he gives them a curt nod. If Mary-Jane is giving the all clear, that means they purged any means of technological override. Since he was already unconscious and in Grodd’s hands, I can only assume they also dealt with any mental commands inside him.

    “Don’t let them trick you darling!” Bee takes out Kon, with a floating orb of red sunlight and smashes him into a wall. “They want to take me from you now!”

    "Wow, I thought my dad was the worst." I bark out a laugh, the Queen is just a big of loser as my dad was. Needing to control those around her, so she doesn't have to face how alone she really is.

    “If you really consider me a son,” Roy roars in visible rage, his arm reshaping into a crimson morning star. “Why do you turn me off every night and leave me in a closet!” He leaps at her, not holding anything back in his attack.

    “Because you need to conserve power sweetheart.” The Queen tries to explain, but takes a spiked ball of metal to the back.

    False” Firestorm’s two voices, come out in unison. “You have an engine of nearly infinite energy bonded to you, and do not need recharging. She want’s to control you, it is why she bound the New God’s machine to a man.

    “You’re more machine than I am...” Cyber Roy pauses, keeping his eyes on a rising Bee. “How come you even care?”

    “She keeps trying to hurt our dad.” Mary-Jane ignites in a blazing blue aura. “We have a problem with that.”

    Firestorm meets Bee’s solar beam, with a drill of blue fire. It pierces the yellow light and punches a hole through the energy. When it’s clear the danger she’s in, Bee tries to avoid the incoming inferno.

    Her dodge comes to late and the blue fire catches her left arm. It doesn’t stop with a glancing blow, the techno-magic fire swiftly covers the Queen of Bialya. The last anyone sees of her, is a corona of blue outlining a disintegrating skeleton.
    Ajlove and Kamehb like this.
  21. Threadmarks: Episode 9: Unholy Grail
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 9: Unholy Grail
    Bana Migdhall
    January 11, 2011
    9:42 AM, EEST

    “Is that... Hippolyta?” I ask Donna, who slowly nods with shocked joy plastered on her face.

    In Bee’s bedroom, is a collection of her trophies. The one on most prominent display, is the missing Queen of Themyscira in all her petrified glory.

    “Yeah, it’s her.” Donna runs a shaking hand over the stone arm. “I can’t believe it, they didn’t smash her to pieces.”

    “We followed the Queen Goddess, because she defeated our own divine protectors and slew our Queen.” One of the Amazons informs us. “Now we follow you.” She directs her awe filled gaze towards Firestorm.

    Being the most senior soldier left, the red headed Artemis has been our guide. I don’t know if Artemis, Ted, John, or Martha, is the most common name on this Earth.

    My daughters’ defeat of Bee, was felt be all who worshipped her. I have already heard hushed whispers from the warrior women, calling Mary-Jane the ‘Phoenix’. What they are about to do, will not put the rumours to rest, only fan the flames higher.

    “This is wrong.” With arms spread wide and eyes glowing in a swirl of red, blue, yellow, and orange, sends a gout of golden flame forward.

    It burns the stone in seconds, leaving only a fine white ash behind. A cough from Hippolyta surprises all of us and a cloud of the magical residue forms, around what was seconds earlier only a statue.

    “Mom!” Donna is coughing in the ash cloud, gleefully grabbing her mother in a hug.

    “Donna?” The Amazon Queen asks slowly, still coming to terms with her sudden awakening. “What’s going on? Has the attack been repelled?”

    “Months ago, as well as the one on my Island.” I assure the confused woman. “My Teams are here, to rescue the both of us.” Sharing a wink with Donna over her mother’s shoulder, she knows I also thought that saving Hippolyta was a lost cause.

    “We are in the city of the Lost Sisters,” Explains Donna, gesturing towards the red headed Amazon. “We found them.”

    “Why was Bee looking so hard for Isis’ tomb?” I ask Artemis of Bana Migdhall, who glares fiercely at me and nearly doesn’t answer.

    “Isis is the only one of our Goddesses, that Bee did not slay herself.” The response is growled low, so as not to disturb the royal reunion. “She sealed away the Unholy Grail. Once Queen Bee had found it, she would have no longer needed the weak men of the Light.”

    “Well it’s somewhere in the Outback,” Helena joins the whispered conversation, he body now made of a khaki fabric. “Grodd and I found that out quickly, but knew to keep it quiet.”

    “Truly?” The red headed Amazon exclaims, amazement filling her voice. “You found her?”

    “Well... more like we narrowed it down a lot.” Grodd adds, his voice rumbling deeply. “It shouldn’t take to long to have an actual location, now that I no longer have to work slow on purpose.”

    “What will happen to us?” The highest ranking Amazon of Bana Migdhall demands of me, ready to fight for her sisters when I give the expected order of execution.

    “Well this region is going to be going through some serious upheaval and we can’t leave a city of militant man haters in a position to conquer.” I explain my position openly. “You’ll be given a choice. Go to Themyscira for reintegration, come to Santa Prisca with me, or face the crimes you committed in the area for centuries.”

    “Our ancestors left Themyscira, because they lacked the courage to face the evils of man head on.” Artemis growls in defiance. “Only our cowards would even think of returning.”

    “Well you can come to Santa Prisca.” I offer again.

    “A nation ruled by a King?” She snorts darkly, deriding my ability to lead. “Why would any of the True Sisters, go to such a place?”

    “My daughters are the one who killed Bee...” I stare Artemis down, my arms crossed and my expression deadly serious. “So don’t you need to keep them safe, from my evil male influence?”

    “Maybe.” She finally looks away, conceding defeat.

    “Good,” I casually explain. “Because as soon as we leave, I’m guessing some bombs are going to be falling here.”

    “Yeah the neighbours aren’t very fond of my sisters.” Donna agrees, her and her mother approaching with arms linked. “My Queen is going to be assigning me as the Themysciran ambassador to Santa Prisca, help Mary-Jane show them a less bloody way forward.”

    “But your mother,” Hippolyta remarks with a grin. “Is making sure you spend time with friends.”

    “So make sure my room in the Tower,” Donna gives me a smirk, concealing her emotional flood from her mothers return. “Is facing the West, I want a nice sunset every night.”

    “You handle the Superfriends’ combat training, while M’gann handles the more Den Mother portions?” It would give Dick a reason to come around more.

    “Maybe, but I’ve been thinking we should rethink the Team name.” She gives me an apologetic shrug, but I’m no longer a member. I have no room to complain. “I don’t think any of us really want to be worshipped, but we are revered. Kind of like the Titans of old.”

    “Splitting the Team,” Realizing she has a point, I follow her line of thought and think out loud. “Would let us have a younger, more inexperienced Team of Superfriends. They can work on training, teamwork, and non combat fieldwork.”

    “While the ‘Teen Titans’, can do what we are already doing.” Donna nods her head, glad I’m seeing her point. “Handling the stuff to small for the League and outside a protected city.”

    “And this will get Dick to stop whining.” We share a laugh at my remark, but she does agree.

    “Yeah, he’s gotten quite paranoid and thinks everyone is a spy for his dad.” She lowers her voice and hangs back with me and her mom, while the rest carry on ahead.

    “He does know girls think he’s cute... right?” I have to ask, because Barbara and Greta are the ones I remember him complaining about.

    “He’s kind of got a one track mind and is basing his new style off of...” She gives me an awkward look and makes sure no one else is nearby. “You.”

    “What?” Hissing back in shock, she only gives concerned shrug.

    “He saw how you took charge, did what had to be done, and never really asked anyone for help.” Donna explains and I can only scowl at my own screw up. “You get respect from the League, the world, and even the villains we face. He looks up to you.”

    “Well damn,” Groaning, I run a hand through my greasy hair. “That means I’m going to actually have to talk about my feelings with someone else... out loud even.”

    “I appreciate it,” Donna puts a friendly hand on my shoulder and thanks me. “You can always talk with the rest of us too, M’gann isn’t the only one who cares about you. You all became my sisters last year...” Her eyes widen and I laugh.

    “Don’t worry,” I wave off her slip of the tongue and appreciate the intent it was delivered with. “I’m already telling the world, I’m a knock off of you sister. Wally keeps showing me fan art with me in her uniform, only in the new Santa Prisca colours.”

    “So you in a one piece,” She smirks at he revelation. “But in your daughter’s pattern?”

    “Yeah...” I admit finally, no way to put the cat back in the bag.

    “Aw,” Her mother coos at the teasing. “You’re such a good father.” She grabs my hand and shakes it firmly, I think we just made a deal of some kind. “My daughters will learn not all of mankind is evil.”

    “But the ones who are,” I give a serious answer, to a serious commitment. “We make them pay for their crimes.”

    Santa Prisca
    January 11, 2011
    4:12 PM, CST

    “Are you speaking without mouths again?” Maxima demands of Jim, irritation marring her features. “We have discussed this my Love Machine. It is rude if I am not included, we are one now.” She’s here for the family reunion, at her insistence of course.

    “Love Machine?” Roy snorts in amusement, which has Jim shrug awkwardly.

    “I needed a heart transplant,” He opens his dress shirt, showing a violet glow beneath his skin. “She had a glowing rock of space love.”

    “I don’t know why he wants me here,” Oliver’s anxious voice carries through the room, when the elevator door slides open.

    “Because you’re his dad and he needs you.” Dinah pushes him forward, shaking her head at me. “Now stop dragging your feet and say something to him.”

    “Hey Roy...” Oliver wipes at his sweaty brow. “How are you feeling?”

    “Conflicted.” Roy finally admits, stepping forward. “I was so angry because of the lies. But since Connor gave his memories, I remember how worried you were when he was found.”

    “You gave him your memories!” I’m surprised by Oliver’s vehemence.

    “Only the ones from when I thought I was him,” I explain casually, hoping to underplay the news. “But I will need some refresher lessons, I kind of forgot how to use a bow.” I was embarrassing with the bow I borrowed from the Amazons.

    “I’ll make sure to book some time off then,” Oliver smiles and turns back to Roy. “How about you, want to join us?”

    “Kind of can’t anymore.” Holding up his arm cannon, Roy sighs.

    “We couldn’t do anything for Jim, he was missing too many organs.” Roy listens to me with rapt attention. “But you have all of your brain and heart. Dubbilex has said, we can grow replacement limbs, kidneys, liver, and lungs.”

    “You can fix me...” Roy stammers and I can feel his overwhelming emotions, churn up inside him.

    “If you want, yeah.” I’m not ready for the hugs. Ollie’s I can handle, but Roy’s takes us all down in a heap. “Santa Prisca makes it’s money cloning blood and body parts, we already have things set up.”

    “Thank you!” His words are thick with gratitude. “I can’t stop hearing the machine beep and whistle in my head.”

    “No problem... dad.” Roy’s face blanches at my remark.

    “Um... what?” His voice cracks, while his eyes are nearly popping out of his skull.

    “Well only in a mystical sense,” I clarify, before he can really freak out. “Biologically we’re triplets. Sorry, I was trying to break the ice with a bad joke.”

    “Ever since he became a dad, his humour got a lot worse. He really likes puns now,” Ollie shakes his head at me scornfully, but I see his reflection in the window.

    “Who me?” Twisting my head around like an owl, I smirk at his expression.

    “Oh god!” He really does look green right now. “Don’t ever do that again!”

    “You have a daughter... Firestorm right?” Roy asks and I can see him doing the mental math.

    “Yeah.” Nodding my confirmation, I smile sadly and think of how Mary-Jane came to be. “Her mothers Serling and Danette are no longer with us.”

    “Two girls and you?” Roy is leaking confusion, while Ollie and Dinah laugh at my explanation. “How does it work like that?”

    “Very fun.” Ollie adds with a leer, flinching when Dinah elbows him.

    “One was an elemental gyndroid and one was a human.” My words only make Roy frown even more.

    “That doesn’t answer anything!” His eyes are crossed and his voice is shrill. “I only have more questions now.”

    “We have a really weird family tree now,” I admit with a chuckle. “Ask me how we’re related to Superman at dinner, it always makes Lena uncomfortable.”

    “Be nice to her, she’s hurting right now.” Dinah glares at me, chiding my choice of humour.

    “It’ll bug her, but remind her she has family here.” I shrug under Dinah’s glare, but don’t back down. “She needs some normalcy.”

    “Most of the Team, is transferring here for school,” I change the subject, trying to get through the list before anyone else shows up to eat. “You can go back to Star City with Oliver and Dinah, or you can stay here.”

    “Team?” Roy’s eyes are gleaming, because of course he remembers right up until we left for Cadmus. “Do I have a place on it?”

    “After the surgery and recovery time, yes.” I cut off Oliver, knowing Roy will do what he wants and we may as well make things less dangerous for him. “You’ll be able to work with the Superfriends first and learn the new procedures and teamwork. After you show you can do both, you’ll be able to move up to the Teen Titans.”

    “Teen Titans?” Interjects Oliver, because this is news to him.

    “Donna and I got to talking and we think it’s a good idea to split the Team.” I explain and he nods in understanding. “Half the Team is not ready for combat missions, or at least the same level as the rest of them.”

    “Having a tiered system,” Dinah admits, her face locked in serious thought. “Sounds like a good idea.”

    “M’gann will be sponsoring the Superfriends, while Donna is chaperoning the Titans.” I explain, smiling at Mary-Jane’s enthusiasm at a purely rescue based team. “It’s definitely easier to share leadership, as I have learned painfully. Which is why the Superfriends will rotate every week, while the Titans vote every month.”

    Santa Prisca
    January 11, 2011
    7:19 PM, CST

    “You aren’t my mom!” Garfield Logan accuses fiercely, when Halo walks in. “Who are you?”

    “I don’t know,” The entity inside Marie Logan admits softly, aware of how upset the boy is and unsure what to do about it. “The children at the hospital, have taken to calling me Halo.” Halo enters the living room and lets Garfield vent.

    “Halo... like an angel?” Garfield mutters darkly and glares at the entity. “Why would an angel, steal my moms body? Angels are good and stealing is bad!”

    “M’gann has her memories, but your mom’s spirit has passed on.” Halo explains awkwardly, unused to such anger being directed at her. “I only have her body and desire to heal.”

    “I recommend talking to T.E.A.C.H,” I interrupt the brewing hostility, mentioning the AI therapist.

    “Who?” Garfield is confused, so I run to M’gann and I’s room and grab the Walkman sized device.

    “Talk Emotions Always Capable (of) Harm.” I enunciate each word clearly, showing them both the label. “Mary-Jane made it and they have given one to each person they know so far.

    “We have some spares already assembled,” Mary-Jane offers shyly “One for each of you, Roy, and the Sandsmarks.”

    “My moms dead...” Garfield realizes what we’ve been talking around, tears welling up in all his eyes. “And I’m alone now.”

    “Never.” M’gann rushes to him and embraces him tightly. “Marie gave me all her memories of you before she died, she wanted to make sure you always had someone who would care.”

    “Really?” Garfield sobs into her shoulder, so I share the feeling of love I already have for Mary-Jane.

    “Of course,” Approaching slowly, I pat him on the back and join the hug. “You also have Mary-Jane and I. M’gann accepted my own kids, so of course I’ll love you too.”

    “He does have a thing,” M’gann giggles quietly and stage whispers to the crimson boy. “For loving fast and claiming everyone is family.”

    “We’ll never replace Marie, nor do we want to.” I assure him firmly. “But you will never be alone, I promise.”

    “That means he’s giving you a bed time,” Mary-Jane adds with a smirk, so I reach over and pull them into the family hug. “And a bodyguard.”

    “You knew?” I sigh, because of course they did.

    “Of course,” They remark with a warm smile. “You never told Cameron to keep it a secret.”

    “Oh.” This is what happens when I make a plan without M’gann, I miss the obvious holes.

    “Thanks for doing that dad,” MJ remarks and I can sense how much they mean it. “Mother Serling didn’t have friends in school. It’s strange being the popular one, but we kind of like it.”

    “I have to go to school?” Garfield groans, going rigid in our embrace. “That is so not fair.”

    January 13, 2011
    8:01 PM, AEST

    “You’re sure the Tomb,” Kaldur double checks with Helena. who has accompanied the newly formed Titans. “Is within this region?”

    “I kind of figured an Egyptian Goddess,” Scanning the dry brush land for any kind of clue, Wally raises a good point “Would be you know... entombed in Egypt.”

    “All markers on the Orb of Ra,” Helena Sandsmark clarifies, her body has taken on a Hodge-podge of whatever each limb touch last. “Signified the Tomb of Isis, is somewhere on the North Eastern coast of Australia.”

    She’s become very invested in working with us, since being chosen by Ra and learning the Gods are in fact real. I can’t blame her.. I’ve gone from not being sure if I believe in anything at all, to trying to decide which one is right for me.

    I’ve seen townsfolk lay gifts at the feet of the statues outside the T tower. Dubbilex had obsidian ones created in the likeness of each member of the old Superfriends, even Garth has one. It’s made it clear to me, that Donna is right.

    People do revere us, even if it may be to different levels. Mary-Jane’s statue, by far has the most offerings and Wally’s is not far behind. I’m the King here and I’m tied for fourth with Kon, even Raquel has me beat.

    “Well we have signs of someone else looking here,” Dick in his Scarab armour, crouches down and examines some tracks in the red dirt. “Australia doesn’t have gorillas, so I’m going to say Brain is already here.”

    “Question and Answer. Link up and do a scan for anyone in the area.” Artemis takes over, finally getting her chance to lead in the field. “I don’t want us walking into a trap again.”

    <She’s doing a good job of moving past what happened.> Referring to Artemis, M’gann and I scan the nearby wilderness for any sentience. <I don’t know if it should impress, or concern me.>

    <You’re the only one who actually knows what happened and she saw what you did to Marvin,> My other half remarks seriously. <When and if she wants to deal with it, she’ll come and talk to you. Right now, she’s still dealing with killing her dad and is okay with repressing.>

    Marvin got mad every single time she resisted his instructions and advances. When Artemis said no, he used a shock collar on her like she was a dog and had her writhing on the floor.

    She never said yes and he finally realized he would have to finish making her into a docile Alice later, once the rest of us had been handled.

    I was worried he was taking his aggression out on the other girls, but he only has eyes for his ‘Alice’. Of course the surgeries done by the Shadows, have given each of them very visible mutations and he intended to control them like puppets with his hats.

    <I know, I just want to do something.> I groan internally and clarify. <Artemis gets to decide when and how she wants to deal with things, I know this.> She likes to repress her emotions, so hopefully she talks before something forces the issue.

    <Good.> M’gann gives me an approving smile. <She’s had enough of men in her life telling her how to think and what to feel.>

    <I just wish she would say, ‘Go hit this person a lot and I’ll feel better.’> I get a snort from M’gann who directs my awareness to a group a few miles away.

    <Well what do these people feel like?> She shows me a cluster of emotions in the distance, checking to see if she can do a deep dive on them.

    <Anger, hate, fear, and the rest of the usual villain grab bag.> I give her the all okay and her eyes glow white.

    “Yeah. they’re waiting for us alright,” M’gann lets the rest of the Titans know, pointing in the direction we found them. “And they already called in our arrival to Brain, so we need to hit them now.”

    “You heard the Answer,” Artemis claps the dust off her hands and starts giving out orders. “Beta squad. surround and contain, while Alpha plays bait with Question.”

    “Why do you always make me play bait?” I whine without meaning it. “I thought you got over wanting me dead.”

    “You know we need you and M’gann to act as our radios.” Artemis growls at me.

    “Yeah I know,” I retort back, scowling at the idea of being the bait.

    “So do you really want her to switch with you?” She changes her uniform to stealth mode, the white shifting to orange and I hear her mutter under her breath. “Like to see my sister be Orange Tigress now.”

    “No I don’t, you know that.” She smirks at my concession and points to the direction of the ambush.

    “Good, now go Question the goons,” Artemis shoos me away and vanishes into the underbrush with Beta squad. “M’gann will Answer why we’re here.”


    “How many are we expecting?” Kaldur asks quietly while we hike, making it look like nothing more than casual conversation.

    “Five human of level intelligence and around twenty of the enhanced animals Brain is growing fond of.” I inform him, but make sure Lena, Mal, Raquel, and Kori hear me as well.

    “The apes are hard to distinguish from humans,” Lena understands my meaning and makes sure to clarify for the others. “So it’s going to be something like Richie’s dogs I assume.”

    “I’d put my money on whatever the hell those are!” Raquel interrupts our debate, warning us of the pack of charging... things.

    They look like a cross between a crocodile, baboon, and a horse. Each one is complete with snapping jaws and long swift legs. Only a few have riders but even from this distance, I can recognize most.

    Killer Croc looks to be leading the charge, directing the riderless beasts and roaring in savage glee. Cheetah runs beside him, her eyes locked on my throat. A pink feathered bird man, rides behind him and resembles a flamingo.

    On all fours and racing towards us, is a nearly ten foot tall Mammoth. He has a body covered in shaggy brown fun, a prehensile trunk, and massive tusks ready to gore me. They extend from his shoulders and point forward like lances, when he lowers himself for a charge.

    Above them flies a literal Mothman. His every wing flap sends a shower of glittering dust into the breeze and killing the grass it lands on.

    “Stay clear of the dust and try taking them alive.” Lena advises Kori seriously.

    “Or...” I can feel the anger and frustration inside each hybrid mount. “I can do this.” Focusing on all the anger I have, I send it into the beasts and drive them into a savage frenzy.

    “Yeah that works,” Mal gives me a high five and starts to grow. “I’ll take their big guy.”

    “It’s not football remember,” Lena remarks with a teasing grin. “Don’t just slam into him and grapple, you can hit him as hard as you want.”

    “Leave the pretty bug person to me,” Declares Kori with a sad look on her face. “He has to be controlled and in need of saving, yes? So I will be freeing them!” She waits for no more discussion and we have to race after her, or let her be surrounded.

    “I got the cat girl,” Rocket’s eyes glow indigo, as she claims her own opponent. “She looks fast, but we all know I can deal with that.”

    “You’re stronger than I am,” I admit with no shame. “You take the crocodile guy.” Kaldur agrees with my assessment, leaving me to handle the flamboyant cannibal.

    What looks like a pyramid, rises tall on the horizon. It’s covered in trees and overgrown by time, but the unnatural shape is easy to define in the setting sun. It seems fitting the Goddess of Fertility, has a tomb overgrown by nature.

    January 13, 2011
    9:56 PM, AEST

    “We told,” Mammoth grunts out an answer to my question of why they are here. “Wait in cave.” M’gann is getting really good at undoing indoctrination, she didn’t even knock him out. “Call Brain and catch heroes.”

    So whatever we’re here for, is inside the cavern. Turning back to the others, I hold in a giggle at the sight of Killer Moth. He realized very quickly how outclassed he was and acted like the simple insect Kori assumed he was.

    She’s treating him like a pet and I’m going to have to explain the reality of the situation. After she finishes brushing him and attaching the ribbons of course, it will keep him from causing trouble until we can figure things out.

    “Starfire.” Artemis gets her attention and laughs at Kori’s expression of glee. “Can you and the Wonder Twins, send these guys to Waller. Brain’s on his way and I don’t want him to have reinforcements on hand.”

    “Of course friend Artemis,” Kori salutes eagerly and starts to round the beaten Animen up. “We will be ensuring the safe confinement of them all and returning for the combat.”

    “Kor,” Lena sighs at the lack of protocol, leaning in to Starfire’s side and whispering. “We talked about this, remember to use code names when we’re in uniform.”

    “Forgive me White Tigress,” Kori bows her head in shame, her emotions as easy for everyone else to see as I view theirs. “I will learn from this mistake.”

    “Don’t make a big deal out of it or anything,” Grumbles Artemis, uncomfortable with such seriousness in her friends. “Just don’t do it again... please.” She even remembers to add, when she sees Lena’s scowl from behind Kori.

    “Are we going to call in the League?” Kyle Raynor the replacement Green Lantern for Hal, asks uncomfortably. “Didn’t Brain thrash you all when he only had Hal’s power battery? Now he has that Amazing Android, or whatever you said it was called.”

    “Which is why we aren’t,” Counters Dick, his Blue Beetle armour sliding over his face. “We don’t want to give him even more powers to choose from.”

    “Well... how did the League beat it last time?” Kyle asks, his voice more uncertain than expected for a recruit of Guy’s.

    “Brawl that lasted for hours,” Dick explains smugly. “Eventually Batman realized the weaknesses also got copied and got his shard of Kryptonite.”

    “And you have some right?” Kyle checks with the younger teen, who shakes his head in the negative.

    “Nope, but we have other weaknesses to exploit.” Joining the discussion, I try to reassure the overthinking Green Lantern. “If he copies my powers, freeze him and smash.” Admitting my weakness is not something I like doing, but I trust my friends now that the villains are gone.

    “Sound or smell overload,” Kon adds for himself and Lena. “Magic will also work.”

    “Fire if he goes Martian.” M’gann shivers at the idea, ready for the eventuality.

    “And I have a way to maybe shut down his ability to use the Green Light.” Kyle looks very concerned, when I reveal this to him. “I just have to bury him in fear, so I hope you really have none.”

    “Hal’s ring was malfunctioning,” Admits Kyle with a frown at his hand. “It chose me, because it almost ran out of power over my house.”

    “Well then, it’s time we got you some well earned pride in your skills.” Clapping him on the back, we finally catch up to the others in front of a stone door. “Will is not an emotion and the thing each Lantern I know has had in common, was pride in the skills they had. Hal kept repeating ‘I can do this, you won’t break me.”

    Kyle stares back at me and nods slowly, seeming to finally get my meaning. I don’t mean the sin of pride like he likely assumed at first, but the unwillingness to pass the buck to someone else. The belief in oneself, that you can do anything.

    “I. Me.” I give him a shrug and continue awkwardly. “Sounds like pride, or maybe confidence to me.”

    “Yo, Question!” Wally interrupts our discussion, to point out the problem. “What kind of lock is this?”

    The grey stone door, has a long hole the width of an arm and no other openings. It has a faded painting that covers the entire surface, showing a massive three headed dragon and pale woman. They are shown being defeated by a group of humanoid figures, the features of each shrouded by light.

    “One we need a big key for,” Holding up my arm, I frown and get ready to stick it inside.

    “What the hell are you doing!” M’gann slaps my hand aside and crosses her arms angrily. “I love you, but damn do you need to think first. What happened last time you just grabbed something magic!”

    “You tell him sister,” Raquel agrees with her and doesn’t keep her voice quiet.

    “Sorry,” Admitting my idiocy, I step away from the door. “Wasn’t thinking.”

    “Of course not.” Winks Artemis, leaking amusement at my situation. “I stopped calling you an idiot everyday and now you slipped back into bad habits. Idiot.”

    “Let’s all use our HEADS,” Zatanna laughs at my face, when she adds extra weight to her final word. “And THINK about this.”

    “I love it when you use your teacher voice.” Wally realizes he said that out loud and slinks behind Kon awkwardly with a wave.

    “It’s about time someone hit him with a clue-by-four.” Rolling her eyes at me, Artemis turns away before she can laugh. “He’s been in the medical bay, more than all of us combined.”

    “Well as leader at the time,” Defending myself halfheartedly, I grumble under my breath and they just scowl back.“I consider that part a win.”

    “We don’t.” The Titans respond in unison, glaring at my attempt to excuse my injuries.

    “Well clearly it’s the size of an arm, so who is going to try?” Conceding defeat, I gesture to the arm hole.

    “The Orb of Ra was the map and it’s what changed me into this.” Helena Sandsmark steps forward with awkward confidence. “We should assume it made me the key.” She slides her arm into the slot and her body becomes the same grey rock.

    I honestly only brought you,” Admits Artemis. “So you could read any hieroglyphs, but now I’m really glad I did.”

    “So am I,” M’gann adds, still glaring at me and disappointed. “I’m getting really tired of worrying every couple of weeks.”

    “Let’s see what’s inside,” Helena breaks the tense conversation, by twisting her arm and causing the stone doors to slide open. “Or shall you bicker like the children you claim you aren’t? You did say Brain is on his way, correct?”

    Inside is a large open chamber, with walls covered in rune carved gold. A sarcophagus of an exquisitely carved woman, lays beneath a large sphere of dark red energy. Inside the crimson ball, I can barely make out a female figure and she looks as pale as I do.

    “Oh, this was indeed much easier than forcing my way inside.” A French voice, with the hint of mechanization comes from behind us.

    Emerging from the ground with the use of his Martian Manhunter abilities, Is the Brain. Each arm carries someone with him and I recognize one immediately. Kara Luthor, is grasping the left arm of the golden android. She is in some kind of pitch black body suit, that is covered in silver plates.

    In his right hand, Brain lifts a very elderly man covered with blood red runic tattoos. He isn’t frail like I would expect, especially considering he looks over a hundred. He’s very fit and I would say it looks like he has more musculature than Kon.

    “Now then, I shall only give you a single chance to surrender.” Amazo’s gold arms cross, an aura of emerald forming around Brain’s new body. “What do you say?” The pink brain is not visible inside the torso of the android, but I can sense the source of the arrogant French cyborg.

    “I say...” Artemis looks worried for a second, before shifting to a predatory smirk and draws her X-ionized daggers. “Titans go!”

    We move as a team, me blanketing the battlefield in a miasma of fear. It works a little better than intended, because Kyle’s green light flickers out along with the one around Brain.

    With the newfound increase in my power, I send my friends alone a surge of self confidence. I believe in them, it’s time they know how much.

    “In brightest day, in blackest night,” Kyle’s voice echoes through the cave, leading the charge into battle as the Titans shake off the fear I caused. “No evil shall escape my sight.”

    He begins to shine green again and rises into the air. His voice clearly showing his conviction, even in the face of fear.

    January 13, 2011
    10:22 PM, AEST

    “My mother, is mine!”Lena roars in anger, crashing into Kara and sending the pair into an evenly matched aerial ballet of blows. None of us want to get in an angry Powergirl’s way, so we leave the mother and daughter pair to vent.

    “Let’s show you some real fear!” The buff old man, grins darkly at me and reveals a pair of wicked looked fangs. He cracks his neck releasing the tension of his travel and leaps forward, slamming into me.

    For a man who looks too be over a hundred, he’s moving with a speed I’m unable to match. The rune covered man isn’t anywhere near Wally’s speed, but he’s going faster enough to leave an after image.

    “It was so nice of you children,” My foe taunts me, as he catches my punch and slams me hard onto my back. “To bring us a choice of sacrifices.”

    I can feel a cloud of darkness inside him and barely a hint of the good emotions. I’m not going to find a way to slither into his mind, so I don’t try.

    Shooting my legs forward like a pair of pistons, I catch the elderly man in the gut and send him sailing away into Kaldur’s ready blow. The magical trident stabs right through his chest, sending a spray of black blood into the air.

    “Are you alright?” Kaldur looks back at me in concern, not seeing the ancient man pull himself along the weapon’s shaft.

    “Look out!” I warn my friend too late and he reacts in pained shock, as a pair of fangs are driven into his neck.

    “Gross!” The vampire man coughs in disgust and throws Kaldur at me. “You taste like fish!”

    “Then allow me to wash the taste,” Kaldur sends a torrent of water from his weapon, driving it into the fanged face. “From your mouth!”

    The man climbs to his feet and glares at us, his eyes glowing a blood red. I make eye contact with the fiend for only a moment, but it’s long enough for me to feel his power.

    His runes glow like hellfire and the vampire starts throwing Kaldur around with a gesture. Some kind of link must have been established when he drank from my friend, so I throw myself at him like a tornado of blows.

    I take full advantage of my more elastic body and don’t stop hitting him. I feel bones crack and then start breaking under my assault, but I keep going. It’s only when he explodes in a fog of blood, that I realize I may have gone overboard.

    “Such a vicious little creation you are.” My self disgust vanishes, as the old man forms behind me. “It’s a shame they couldn’t keep you controlled.” He slashes forward with clawed hands, each strike carving bloody gouges in my skin.

    I feel the rest of my blood, slowly get drawn from my body, rising into the air and combining with a stream from Kaldur’s neck. Weakly I collapse backwards and feel the cold stone of the sarcophagus pressing into my spine.

    “I’m going to have to show my temporary allies,” He grabs the dropped Trident and sneers up at Kara. “Why the magic of Blood, is superior to foolish science.”

    He turns from us and sighs, realizing he lacks enough of the scarlet substance. Observing the Kryptonians in the air, he readies himself and shoots a lance of crystallized blood.

    It soars through the air and impales Lena through the side, near where I think her liver is. I’m not a hundred percent sure, her organs may be in different places for all I know.

    Her scream of agony, lets me know it hurt though. Her mom takes advantage of the distraction and drops Lena, with a two handed strike.

    Lena is sent rocketing into the grey stone floor and doesn’t move. A familiar trail of blood, soon flowing from her wound and joining the growing sphere above me.

    No!” A female voice comes from every direction at once, from all around me and the deepest corner of my soul. “She cannot be freed!”

    My gaze slides to the even larger orb of unholy black blood, with the grim looking woman inside. Now that I’m really looking, I realize she’s awake and struggling inside a prison made of her own blood.

    You must stop them!” The voice insists and I wish I could do something about things, but I can only watch helplessly.

    Dick and Donna try to overwhelm the Brain with a combination of alien tech and magical weapon. It doesn’t go any better than Kon’s earlier attempt and the join him in a bloody heap at the Vampire’s feet.

    “Then give me some help,” I groan out at the disembodied voice, while my head swims dangerously close to unconsciousness. “I’ve already given most of my blood to stop this, I don’t have many drops left in me.”

    Then have my lifeblood for this purpose, but be aware this binds us now as one.” The woman’s voice intones firmly. “You get my power, but also my duties.

    “What would those be?” I ask first, because M’gann is right and I need to think before I act more. Watching Kara blast my love with heat vision, hurts me deep and I know I’ll say yes to anything the voice demands. The sight of Amazo’s body taking out the rest of my friends, is just extra motivation.

    Guide and protect the Lost Sister’s,” The voice details my purpose and I find no reason to debate any of the requirements. “And make sure the Unholy Grail does not make contact with her father.”

    “Is that it?” This is a bargain with something powerful, I can’t be getting of so light.

    Become the father of another, for each soul you end personally,” She insists firmly. “Bring growth to the places of desolation and bring new life to those who seek it.”

    “That’s the kind of thing I was expecting,” Mumbling incoherently, I know only the voice could have understood me. “Life long obligation and responsibility for even more people. But I’m not backing down, so yes to whatever else you’re going to insist on.” M’gann and my friends need help now, not after I read the fine print.

    So the bargain be!” Her voice echoes through my skull and I feel my weakness become a newfound strength.

    My veins burn for a moment and then surge with the fluid of life. My heart begins beating faster and I feel my limbs grow warm.

    When my vision stops showing me triplicate, I glare at the vampire and Kara beside him. He’s drawn the blood from most of my Team already and formed an equal sized sphere of crimson. Bringing it towards the blacker blood already working as a prison, he has them change places and now the pale woman is inside the scarlet sphere.

    The body is yours’,” The black blood surges into the open mouth of the elderly man and his years literally melt off of him. “I have what I wanted.” His body turns back to Kara and reveals he now looks maybe twenty at the most. “And I must say, that God’s blood had a very New taste.”

    Now!” The voice is faded to a whisper now, but still as insistent as ever. “Before she can bring ruin to all!” And with those words, the voice is gone and I feel strong.

    I stand and suddenly in my hands is a whip of flexible wood. Somehow I know, it’s as strong and stretchy as I am and the thorns are probably a sign I’m hard to handle. I give it an experimental twist of my wrist and smile, it follows my mental command like an additional limb.

    I send it spearing forward like a barbed lance and drive it through the now youthful vampire’s right eye. It barely slows him down though and he grabs my whip, pulling me towards himself with a deadly grin on his lips.

    “Blood, stop playing with your food.” The Brain interrupts snidely, tossing Kyle’s groaning body at Blood’s feet. “And Kryptonian, why haven’t you done your part yet? I will need you both to pilot the vessel.”

    “Apologies Brainiac, I will do so now.” Kara growls out, her bitterness poorly hidden.

    She blurs towards the pail and shivering Grail and with a powerful exhale of breath, freezes the Goddess’ head solid. For a brief second at least, before she shatters it with a sneering headbutt.

    “Good, now come with me. Blood will finish these weaklings and join us soon... won’t he?”

    “He will,” Blood responds with a bloody smirk on his face and stalks towards me. “You smell like sap, so I won’t be trying a second taste. So I’m going to have to beat you to death instead, I apologize for the... inelegance of it.”

    I last longer than I would have expected, maybe even a whole five minutes. Each punch of mine is, being delivered with bark covered fists.

    My kicks are landing with the force of oak tree and I’m dodging like a willow in the wind, but I can’t do any lasting damage. His eye has already grown back, like I ever even wounded him

    “You will be paying,” Starfire announces her return, with a barrage of green star bolts. “For harming my Lena!”

    Blood is forced to cover his face and this leaves him open for the disc of razor thin ice. Jayna reforms on his other side with a proud grin. Starfire collides with his top portion and Blood’s body falls in two separate halves.

    “Oh I don’t think so,” The vampire remarks casually, as a river of blood pulls himself together again. “But I don’t have time to play with you anymore, Kara intends to leave me behind it would seem.” He snarls in frustration, as the pyramid rumbles and the ceiling rises.

    He leaps into the air and sends a lash of sticky blood at the now flying gold metal. He does this just before the plates begin to reshape and he is drawn inside the protective shell. My confusion is cleared up soon, as the top half of the golden pyramid rises from the earth and roars in the sky.

    It reshapes its advanced metal and energy systems into a ferocious and imposing form, becoming a three headed dragon of golden metal.

    Each head gives off an earsplitting war cry and then shoots a different coloured beam of spiralling energy. Each of the three goes North towards Maryborough and I hope it’s not as devastating as it looked.

    It doesn’t wait for more attacks to be fired, soaring into the night sky and vanishing into the incoming storm clouds.
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  22. Threadmarks: Episode 10: So Many New Emotions
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 10: So Many New Emotions
    Santa Prisca
    January 14, 2011
    10:17 AM, CST

    “How long are they going to be under?” Oliver and Dinah approach us in the waiting room, shortly after Ted and Roy have been wheeled inside for the operations.

    “Ted will be a few hours,” Explains M’gann, gratefully accepting a cup of tea from Dinah. “His new body has already been cloned, they just have to transfer his memories now.”

    “Roy will be most of the day,” I add and take my own hot chocolate from Ollie. “But he should be able to get out in the morning.” I know I’m not allergic to coffee in this body, but habits are hard to break.

    “How did the interviews go?” Asks Dinah, as they take a seat on either side of us. “How many did Waller approve?”

    “Mammoth and the Mothman.” The other three are unrepentant cannibals, but Mammoth has been misled the whole time. “Shimmer’s brother is to simple minded to be choosing his own actions, so we’re leaving him in her care.”

    “And the bug guy Koriand’r wants to keep as a pet?” Ollie asks with an amused chuckle.

    “His daughter Kitten, was killed in one of Captain Atom’s fights.” It was a during his battle with Major Force a few years ago and he’s been consumed by revenge. “Once he learned the Captain’s fate, he finally started to feel remorse. It seems likely that he will use Kori as a surrogate daughter, if he is permitted.”

    “She’s not opposed,” Adds M’gann with a wave of sadness. “Her parents are also gone, she’s as lonely as he is.”

    “So what kind of deal did they get?” Ollie presses for details.

    “Mammoth is going to be working at the Marie Memorial Zoo, he isn’t legally responsible for his decisions with the Light.” I share an image of the zoo and the strange creations, we acquired in Australia. “Mothra as he’s going to go by now, has a thirty year record to work off. He’ll have a clean one by next year.”

    “What about Poison Ivy?” Dinah notices my omissions and finds out why.

    “I’m still trying to build the nerve,” I admit, without making eye contact with anyone. “To do Ivy’s interview.”

    “And Marvin, what is his condition?” Ollie asks softly, doing a good job of being sensitive.

    “I’m going to dive into Marvin’s mind and try putting him back together,” I’ll need a day of happy memories, if I’m going to deal with his twisted mind. “After we get back from shopping with the kids.”

    “You’re still coming with Greta, right?” Asks M’gann with a worried face. “She hasn’t met Garfield.”

    “Of course,” Laughing, Dinah clarifies. “Waller isn’t letting the entire royal family go shopping, without adding some of her own security. She made sure we’re coming and so is Paula and Jade.”

    “She’s taking advantage of her early release.” She’s been pumping out missions non stop and is personally responsible, for the recovery of over three hundred apes.

    “I know you didn’t really punish the juveniles,” Dinah asks, concern for the teens clear on her face. “But do you just have them all living in a dorm, with no foster families?”

    “Uh...” I raise a hand and then lower it in embarrassed shame. “I want to say I have had a lot on my mind, but that’s no excuse for leaving half a dozen kids unsupervised.” I took responsibility for them, when I kept them in Santa Prisca.

    “Harley’s family was killed by the Joker, so she’s going to need some serious attention.” Jade’s taken her under her wing, but I need to see if she wants to make it official.

    “Bill ‘Numero’ Schuster, Gauri ‘Jinx’ Dixit, and Micron ‘Gizmo’ O’Jeneus,” I list the other three orphans. “All are lacking in any... living family members.”

    “I know Icicle Jr’s dad is alive,” Ollie frowns, but makes his point. “What are you doing with him?”

    “He was given a choice and filed for emancipation,” M’gann explains for me. “He’s been making sure the others, don’t give Mary-Jane a hard time.”

    “I’m going to ask Cameron to come with us,” He knows Jade and Artemis, this could be good for him. “Jade will probably want to bring Harley, but I’m leaving the three with powers.”

    “John wants to bring Rachel, they’ve been on the run for months. They kind of need some new clothes,” M’gann reminds me with a smile. “And don’t forget, Kon’s bringing Richie.”

    “”And Lena want’s you to go with her to the Lexcorp meeting afterwords,” I’m nearly at the end of the list and sigh audibly, this is going to be an entire episode. “So she’s bringing Kori, so she can finally have more than her uniform.”

    “Helena asked if we can bring Cassandra,” Dinah adds another person to the parade, with an apologetic wince. “Since she’s having a hard time looking normal.”

    “Okay.” Oliver grabs his beard and twists it anxiously. “Now that we talked about the sensitive stuff... I kind of need to scold you.”

    “For getting captured, or something else?” I ask, my confusion plain to see.

    “You did a great job looking after things, while the League was controlled.” He wrings his hands and has a hard time making eye contact with me. “But you turned down the League position and Donna has barely gotten her seat warm.”

    “What he’s working his way towards,” Dinah takes over for the fumbling archer and stares me down hard. “Is you don’t get to just restructure a League sponsored team, without talking to us.”

    “I guess I kind of went from leading the resistance, to being king.” I can admit, I may need to stop making decisions for everyone.

    “The Justice League had a meeting,” She continues firmly, but not unkindly. “And we agreed with you about most of it.”

    “M’gann can’t be the sponsor for the Superfriends, but Paula wants to be around her kids more.” Oliver takes over, his normal cockiness back. “So she will take the position and move to reserve League member. We already talked to Donna and she’s fine having her membership post dated for a few years, so we can establish proper protocols.”

    “She knows Dick will push for his earliest opening,” M’gann realizes and it makes the most sense to me. “If she holds off, she can make sure he is protected longer.”

    “Since Ted is getting a new body and he stopped the aging at thirty five.” Dinah scowls at her mentors choice. “He can take over Paula’s absence on the League and the Atom will work with Dick.”

    “What about the Titans, who’s babysitting us?” I grumble, because they’re right but I got used to no oversight.

    “Paula will be in the tower, with the kids on the lower floors.” Oliver smirks at me and shakes his head at my scowl.

    “If you need her she’s onsite,” Dinah cuts him off, before his teasing gets out of hand. “But the League agrees, you all earned some independence last year.”

    “And you’re still understaffed,” I sense something else in the explanation given and unravel it. “So we can handle the intermediate stuff, while you keep recruiting the best the UN is pushing at you.”

    “Well yeah,” Ollie admits with a sigh. “We’re going to be having a dozen new members, out of the forty or so they sent for tryouts.”

    “Good thing you managed to sneak ‘Nightwing’ and ‘Owlman’ in, before the forced expansion.” I grin at the fact that they have people bossing them around too.

    “Does the League have any sign of Tiamat?” I groan and force myself to ask.

    “No. it’s cloak is old, but still more advanced than any of our sources of detection.” Dinah explains, worry starting to leak from her at the idea of the incoming destruction. “We have no idea what the first target will be.”

    January 15, 2011
    10:44 AM, CEST

    “You make sure to listen to Dinah and Paula.” I don’t let go of Garfield’s shoulder, until he acknowledges the words vocally.

    “I know,” Garfield gives an aggravated sigh and relents. “I can look after myself you know, I did grow up in a war zone.”

    “Fine, go have fun.” I let him go with a smile and watch him run off with Cassandra and Victor Stone, who’s dad is really taking advantage of the childcare we provide.

    “If I could handle these two,” Paula teases her daughters. “We can handle three kids, who behave better than you.” Dinah gives a goodbye hug to Greta, before walking of with a giggling Paula.

    “I know I can trust these two, to look after Harleen.” Jade grabs John’s collar and pulls his face close, hissing at him dangerously. “But you better make sure nothing goes wrong, this is her first time having a day of fun... in a very long time.”

    “Don’t ya worry ‘bout a thing luv,” The British magician smiles cockily and tries to charm the ex-assassin. “I’m making sure my niece has a good time herself. So after we do the responsible stuff and send the kiddies home, How about I take you out and show you the real night life in town.”

    “Oh!” Kori hears the offer, but misses the subtext. “This is sounding most fun. We can come too, yes?”

    “If Lena and M’gann want to, when they finish at Lexcorp.” Jade stares Constantine down and smirks. “You better not be all talk.”

    “Flirt with him later,” Artemis growls, annoyance leaking from her. “We need to get Kori a wardrobe and explain why we wear clothes in public.”

    “I don’t need to be wearing the clothes,” Kori’s exclaims, her eyes shining with understanding. “When we are being in the tower, yes?”

    “I wouldn’t complain,” John mutters and Jade nods along with appreciation.

    “Dad, can we go?” Mary-Jane grabs my arm and I realize how long we’ve been standing in the mall. “Rachel wants to look at the bookstore.”

    “Sorry,” Apologizing, I say goodbye to Kori and the sisters.

    “So... is she single?” John waits until Jade is out of sight, before elbowing me in the side. “Or do I gotta seduce her guy too?”

    “Zatknis babnik,” His niece kicks him in the shin and then grabs his hand, dragging him towards the bookstore. “You said we could have a normal day for once.”

    “Fine. But I’m taking you to a record store after,” John concedes with a fake groan, but is flowing with amusement inside. “Need to show you lot some real style and class.”

    Lena Luthor
    January 15, 2011
    12:36 PM, CEST

    “Thanks for doing this,” I whisper to M’gann, who currently looks like my brother in a blue suit. “I have no idea who I can believe.” Probably none of the board members, but it’s good to know for sure.

    “Well you’re basically family,” She smiles back and reassures me. “You can count on me.”

    “No way I’d say no to this,” Oliver Queen adds with a wide smile. “I’m going to walk away, with a big chunk of Lexcorp.”

    “The board is either cowed or corrupt,” Sighing to myself, I explain more for my own sense of dread. “It’s better to break the company up and go after the smaller evils, instead of leaving it free to do harm to the whole world.” I still haven’t come to terms with destroying my families legacy, but it has to be done.

    “I know and I’m sorry for making light of it,” Mr Queen puts a comforting hand on my shoulder and pauses. “You have a place in Queen Industries and I’ll sell you back any of the assets, when and if you decide to give business a try.”

    “I appreciate that Mister Queen,” I try to thank him, but he cuts me off before I finish.

    “What did I say about that?” He scowls playfully. “Call me Ollie. Like ‘Chris’ here said, we’re basically family.”

    “Oops,” Squeaks out M’gann, my brother’s face going a bright red. “Sorry.”

    “No more mistakes like that,” Ollie chides her gently, which makes me miss my father. “Better play up the strong silent type inside and keep and eye on the board member’s minds.”

    Artemis Crock
    January 15, 2011
    2:02 PM, CEST

    “Your coloration will go best with purple, as you have already found out.” My sister hangs more clothes on top of the dressing room door. “But blues, browns, and white, will also pop.”

    “Why do you know all this stuff?” Dad never trained us in this stuff, he said it was a waste of time.

    “Easier to kill someone,” She retorts with a dark tone and a smile that doesn’t reach her eyes. “Once they invite you inside and take off their clothes.”

    “Maxima is right,” Exclaims the orange princess in glee. “The clothing is armour and your weapons must be very weak, yes?”

    “Kind of, but it’s more of a weapon and armour at the same time.” My sister explains and I still find it weird, how helpful she is being.

    “Oh...” Jade waves off my uncomfortable look, when I realize what she was implying and hands me a dark blue cocktail dress. “What’s this for?”

    “Try this on,” She pushes me into my own stall and remarks with more excitement than I expected from her. “You’ll need something nicer than what you have at home, if you and your cowboy are coming tonight.”

    “My clothes are fine,” I argue, but try on the dress anyway.

    “Sure, for training and hanging out.” She tosses a few more over for me and goes into her own stall. “But I’m not bringing you out in Rome, looking like a grungy tomboy.”

    “Why do you care so much?” Constantine isn’t that good looking and he may be charming, but he reeks of smoke.

    “I worked hard for this,” Retorts my sister and I can hear her exhaustion, no matter how well she hides it from everyone else. “I’m not missing out, on a chance to cut loose and have a fun night.” I can almost see her eyes, shining with tangible hope.

    “Lena is being sad as well, when she forgets to be in the moment with me and thinks of her family.” Koriand’r adds, her own voice confused. “I don’t understand, why you humans dwell on the bad feelings so much.”

    “You have way more to be upset over,” Asking the princess, I realize she’s been upbeat the whole time she’s been here. “How come you aren’t mourning your world’s fate?”

    “My people, don’t worry about the bad things that happen.” Kori’s voice is light and carefree. “We instead seek good experiences, to overshadow the sad. We only grieve when something occurs, the pain dulls quickly.”

    “Well humans and Kryptonians, wallow in our sadness and take a while to get over it.” I snort before I can stop myself, when Jade makes the comment. “If we ever do.”

    “Then I will doing my best,” Kori promises us both, her voice determined and eager. “To share my joy tonight.”

    Her raw passion, makes me think dancing may be more fun than I originally considered. Kon does look good when he dresses up and like my sister said, we earned this night off.

    “Have you finally chosen a code name,” I press Jade for an answer while I slip back into my normal clothes. “That you thought of yourself?”

    “I have and I was just trying to rile you up about the Tigress part,” She sighs and opens up, when she hears my bitterness. “I meant the part about being the bloody sister, but I’m going to be the Red Lion. Time for me to have some pride in myself for once, instead of just anger at dad and how he made me see everything.”

    January 15, 2011
    2:58 PM, CEST

    “Something’s different about you today,” Remarks John, who’s eyes dart between Kon and myself. “You feel like Chris and his sister now.”

    “I kind of made a deal with Isis and absorbed her essence,” I keep my voice low, while the girls pick through the racks. “According to what Lena said, we’re demigods until we gain some form of worship.”

    “Something’s been killing off a lot of deities the last thousand years and really picked up this century.” He scowls at the mystery and then shrugs. “At least this way, we’ll know who comes after you lot.”

    “I’m a good distraction.” Kon smirks and points towards Cameron and Richie, who are being used as dress up dolls. “What’s Cameron’s story anyway? Why do you have him, as MJ’s bodyguard?”

    “Basically the same as Artemis and her sister,” After making sure he’s not coming over, I explain what I know. “His dad is just as bad and he was getting desperate. I gave him a way out and he’s been nothing but on his best behaviour.”

    “John!” The panicked voice of Rachel, carries over the noise of the shoppers. “Do you feel that?”

    Constantine refutes this but believes the claim. Wasting no time, we rush forward and reach a shaking Rachel.

    “Who is it?” John demands firmly, but with no anger in his voice. “Which one is here?”

    “A different one,” Her voice is terrified, so I grab my radio and make a call to Dinah.

    “We got a demonic based hostile incoming,” I make sure my voice is commanding, so she doesn’t waste time arguing. “Get your three kids back to the island and then you can back us up.”

    “Understood,” Dinah’s response is more nervous than I’m used to from her. “Keep Greta safe for me.”

    “So one of Rachel’s relatives?” I look for clarification, while Kon explains the situation to the others. “More messing with our minds?”

    “You’re safe from the passive effect now,” John reassures me, his eyes scanning the crowd. “Only have to worry about a targeted one now.”

    “How come the mirror hasn’t been set up yet!” Roars the scoundrel, which has Roy snap back angrily.

    “It’s not working at all!” Roy’s voice is angry, but he’s flowing with fear at the unknown danger. “Something is blocking the connection.”

    “I’m guessing it’s that guy,” Cameron speaks up, gesturing to the parting crowd. “The one who looks like an Emo reject.”

    “My brother...” Gretchen stammers, when her eyes lock onto the sneering face of Harm. “But he died.”

    “Tu hermano no tiene la ingle.” Rachel remarks and her uncle is torn between laughing and chiding her language. I only know she said something about Harm lacking genitals, because of the Spanish I have been learning by osmosis.

    “What?” Roy doesn’t have the same luxury and doesn’t like being confused.

    “I don’t know,” With a deep blush on her face from Roy’s close inspection of herself, she mumbles out a response. “I heard John say it a few times in Mexico.”

    “Cameron.” I stare down the oldest one of the teens and give him strict instructions to follow. “Keep the kids clear of the fight and get them to Artemis and Jade, as soon as you see an opening.”

    I slide my Martian fabric mask on, assuming my faceless form. Constantine cracks his neck and pats his niece on the head, while Kon just hands Mary-Jane his hat and Jacket.

    “Since we know he ain’t here for anything good,” Constantine suggests to us with a savage smirk. “Let’s hit this bastard, before he sees us.”

    “Fine by me!” Kon agrees with the magician and rockets into Harm, sending them both through the skylight above us.

    “I got this!” Richie’s voice is shaky, but he is true to his word. “Hop on!” He catches the shower of glass and forms it into a solid disc, floating at head height and ready for passengers.

    “Nice dude!” Cameron claps Richie on the back, causing the disc to wobble. “Sorry...” He jerks his hand away from the concentrating blonde and gives him space.

    “It’s fine,” Richie grunts out and smiles at Cameron. “I just haven’t done this before, while I was scared for my life.”

    “My dad trained my with mine that way,” The response from Cameron is light, but I can feel his terror filled childhood.

    “Mine didn’t care if I was scared,” Richie commiserates with the reforming teen. “He just wanted me silent.”

    “Flirt at the club, you can share life stories tonight.” John interrupts, as he hoists himself onto the clear platform. “Dead guy possessed by a demon, kind of takes priority here.”

    “Sorry your right,” Richie apologizes and sends me and John through the shattered skylight.

    Kon is in a headlock and Harm is looking very yellow bellied. His body is now a pale yellow and I recognize Etrigan. His magical strength was able to match Kon’s and overpower him, while we deliberated below.

    “With no head, you will be dead,” EtriHarm as I’m going to call him in my head, chants his sadistic rhymes and squeezes Kon’s neck.

    “Not bloody likely,” John snarks back, completely unperturbed. “I was expecting you months ago and it turns out my friends here, are the ones who delayed your arrival. So I’m more than ready for you now, thanks for that by the way.” He turns back to me at the end and winks. “Was a big help.”

    He draws a silver chain and lassos it around EtriHarm’s neck, black smoke rising where it touches his flesh. Kon breaks himself free and delivers a payback blow, to the demon’s unprotected gut.

    EtriHarm snarls in rage and I can feel a fog of fear spreading from him. I’m not a small time empath anymore, my skills have been unlocked by whatever Ivy did to me. I fight back against the terror he creates and focus on hope, sending it into the mall as a shield for everyone inside.

    It works, but the fear bearing down on the roof increases threefold.

    It’s taking everything I have to keep this going and I can’t move an inch, if I do the shoppers will stampede. The strain is making my vision blur, because everything is now cast in a sickly yellow glow.

    “This monster is creating fear indeed,” A sneering voice announces from above. “But it is not even half of what the Fearmonger detected.” A trio of aliens are floating above the roof, each with a Yellow Lantern uniform and citrine aura.

    “Well it’s not the one filled with love,” The large four armed one snarls and his companions laugh cruelly.

    “Not. One. Leaking. Hope.” The stilted voice of the female, is the next one to speak. “Yellow. One. Must. Be. Playing.” She looks like a bronze chitin covered woman, with a scorpion like tail raised behind her.

    “Well let’s find out,” The first voice remarks, and I can tell it was the Thanagarian male. “Fiend! You have the ability to instill great fear. You have been chosen.” A yellow glow shots toward EtriHarm, who snatches it in his clawed hand.

    “I find the bargain lacking,” The demon remarks, his voice cruel and conniving. “So I will send you packing.” EtriHarm slides on the ring and rushes the aliens.

    “I love the taste of your fears!” The fiend roars in feral glee. “I will savour the rain of tears!” He grabs the black winged Thanagarian and tears his arms off, the ring joining the first on the yellow claw.

    “Came. To. Recruit.” The scorpion looking alien panics, when she is next to be grabbed by EtriHarm. “Why?” Are her last terrified words, as another ring is added to the demon’s collection.

    “I kill!” He races after the final alien and incinerates its’ head, with a belch of hellfire. “For the thrill!” It’s hard to look at the demon now, his four ringed glow has made his aura nearly blinding to the naked eye.

    “Oh how I love this fear,” He chants, his eyes scanning the roof of the mall. “I can smell my sister near.” He avoids Kon’s tackle and crashes back inside, with the three of us in pursuit.

    Richard Foley
    January 15, 2011
    3:16 PM, CEST

    “You two,” Cameron steps in front of us and his body glistens, as he becomes an ice sculpture. “Get the girls out of here.”

    Roy scowls, but he lacks the equipment to argue and starts leading them down a side corridor. I turn and start to follow, but Cameron’s scream of agony makes me hesitate.

    Scanning the area, I lock my gaze on the store windows. It will be enough, to hopefully make a difference in the beat down.

    “Duck!” I focus on the glass and shatter it in a storm of fist sized shards.

    Throwing them at the glowing yellow demon, I resist the urge to gag. They go right through the golden barrier and slash the fiend into a bloody mess.

    “That was mean,” He begins to rhyme, his voice coming out like a snarling dog. “Let’s make a scene!” He shakes, sending his nearly black blood into the air.

    Once the monster is relatively clean, he rushes for me and snarls. When his claws are nearly at my face I close my eyes in terror. A blast of cold air overcomes me and causes me to land hard on my back.

    “You can open your eyes now.” Cameron grabs my hand and pulls me up with one of his cold hands. When my hand doesn’t come free from his, I finally open my eyes and gasp.

    The demon is covered in a thick layer of ice and only it’s eyes are moving. When I look down at our joined hands, I realize my skin is frozen to his icy hand and laugh.

    “Sorry,” He lets his arm return to normal skin and I’m finally able to pull my fingers free. “Not used to helping people up.”

    “You okay?” Chris calls out in concern, Connor and John right behind him. “That freak hits hard.”

    “I learned that the hard way,” Cameron grabs the left side of his face and calls back to them.

    “Artemis. We’re near the maintenance room,” The faceless King speaks into his wrist. “You three can meet us here.”

    I don’t hear what her response is, since I don’t have my own earpiece. Considering his relived smile, I assume the girls are close by.

    Chris tackles me out of the way, as the sound of shattering ice makes me flinch. The demon slashes for my back, but my swift rescue saves my hide.

    “Things are getting to dicey, I was not expecting it to be so icy.” The yellow demon chants again, now free from his confinement and amused. “Tell my sister I’ll be back, but for now I shall have a snack.”

    He dry heaves and a thick black smoke, billows from the depths of Hell and emerges from his snarling mouth. It clings to the demon and obscures him from sight, but leaves an outline of him still visible.

    “Not a very good concealment spell!” Connor taunts with confidence, but this soon vanishes from him.

    His thorn whip rips through the smoke and shows nothing inside, making John curse in several languages. With a scowl on his face, the wizard stomps forward and dispels the cloud.

    “Of course he ran,” Spitting through the last puff of foul smelling smoke, John growls angrily. “The bastards never want to stick around and let me finish them off.” He trails off, muttering curses in a half dozen languages.

    “Didn’t run,” he voice echoes from everywhere at once and I feel my nerves falter, then break soon after. “Wanted some fun.”

    A lance of yellow light, bursts from the floor and splinters for each of us. An individual arrow forms even for the girls who have just arrived and pierces the head of each of us.

    “I’ll have a taste and begone with haste.” The voice growls inside my head and I feel my bladder release, as my worst fears come true and everything fades to yellow.

    Tower of Fate
    July 24, 2010
    12:21 PM, EST

    “You three lasted a really long time,” Kent Nelson helps me sit up and I find myself back in his Dream Desert, Kon and Artemis waking up nearby. “The others are waiting down in the den, Megan made a lot of treats. I think she has bad news for someone and is trying to soften the blow.”

    “How long did we last this time?” Kon groans and grabs his head with a wince.

    “Almost half a year,” Kent informs us with a grandfatherly smile. “Which is a great improvement, from the usual few days you survive.”

    “Well, I guess we’re just that much better than the others,” Artemis brags and shakes the sand from her hair. “Can’t wait to rub this in Wally’s face.”

    “You had better hurry,” Kent’s words are kind and the smile reaches his eyes. “He’s been eyeing the treats already and Megan can’t fend him of forever.”

    “Ooh,” Artemis teases me and for some odd reason, I remember her being past that behaviour. “She’s baking without you, wasn’t that your thing with her?”

    “I guess,” Trying to play off the remarks casually, I can’t stop worrying. “But we’ve been in the dream most of the day, she probably got bored.” Except Kent’s words, have me thinking she is reconsidering us.

    We are a new thing and being able to reveal everything, may have made her had second thoughts about me. Now that she can spend time with anyone, maybe she’s over my bad jokes and ugly mug.

    “I should inform you,” Kent turns to Artemis and lowers his voice, sadness pouring from him. “Your mother’s procedure... encountered some complications.”

    “What does that mean?” Artemis pauses, her face going as pale as my own.

    “She didn’t make it.” Kent reaches a hand for her, but she jerks away and her face starts to well with tears. “I’m so sorry my dear, but this was always a possibility.”

    “No!” She refuses his concern and rushes for her room.

    “I’m going to go after her,” Kon explains awkwardly. “I don’t think she should be alone right now.”

    “Such a nice lad.” Kent smiles proudly and I nod my head in an absent minded farewell, my thoughts spinning with fear. “Now come along, no point in keeping such a lovely lady waiting.” Normally I would agree with our genial host, but not when I think I’m going to be dumped.

    “What did you do, when you got Inza mad?” I ask and am shocked by Kent’s transformation.

    “Never speak of my angel like that!” His hair whips in the wind, while his skin becomes a dark jaundiced yellow. “She was never angry!”

    “Sorry,” I meekly whisper and Kent returns to his normal persona. “I was just looking for advice.”

    “Oh I’m sorry my boy,” Kent brings me into the dining, with a snap of his fingers and coldly declares. “But this is unavoidable, she told us how you kept her isolated and all to yourself.”

    Wally and Zatanna stand and stalk towards me, cutting me off from exit. Kaldur, Garth and Tula, hedge me in from behind and I realize something is really wrong.

    “You’re a liar, a killer, and you just look really weird,” M’gann makes her green skinned presence known, accusing me with a shaking voice. “Why would I ever settle for a freak like you, when I could have someone worthy and good looking.”

    Her words hurt, but they sound wrong. In fact, I shouldn’t be hearing words at all. M’gann would never have such a big conversation out loud. This would all be telepathic, so she had control.

    When I take a second look at her, I start to see the flaws in her appearance and realize everyone looks like a cartoon. M’gann wouldn’t do this to me, not after everything we have been through.

    With my hope in our future growing, I feel the overwhelming fear get pushed back. Everything looks yellow for a brief moment and then I wake up from this nightmare.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
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  23. Aetra

    Aetra Getting sticky.

    Jun 4, 2020
    Likes Received:
    I'm at chapter 4 right now and all I can say is why the stretchy powers? They barely have synergy with the bow and arrow. Break his bow and then he realizes he's the bow? That just sounds like throwing with extra steps, he's literally throwing the arrows with his body. Should've just given him minor regeneration and a basic body tune up to enhanced human levels with how trashy his stretchy + featureless face powers sound like and it looks like Mr Fantastic from the movie type stretch instead of Luffy rubber body stretching which means he can't use his body as a bow with how slow the return to original form is. Why is he featureless? So he doesn't think himself as Roy, sure, but can't he think himself as the SI? Why is he going the Slenderman route?? Is it just so he can get it on with miss martian? Just a flop to me
    Ajlove likes this.
  24. Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Well the stretching is because of a few reasons. One is the ability to become a bow, and then a balistae. Second is because it is related to the martian shapeshifting, Third is because I love stretch armstrong.

    It is a stiff form of rubber stretching and their is a reason his head is heating up faster, making his face harder to control.

    I'm really good with names, but I can't even remember what I look like after a couple days without seeing a mirror/picture. Anything the SI reveals as things from his life, are all things that happened to me. I'm thinking of him as a character, because the SI lacks most of my insecurities so he works better in a superhero setting.

    He is featureless, because he's not very Speedy and that is stage one of his costume change. He's 1/4 Clone Roy/Red Arrow, 1/4 the Question, 1/4 Elongated man, 1/4 Psycho Pirate.

    And no it's not so he can get in on with miss martian. My original plan was for that to be a short term fake relationship with them being friends afterwards, but needing space because of codependency. People on SB (where I post the pieces of each episode first) liked them together, so I made it official. The original plan was for him to be more paranoid and crazy leading into him becoming the Question. Once M'gann became a real relationship, him being crazy didn't make as much sense because of more time in each others head and not being alone/breaking down.
    The transfusion was always the plan but not the ship.

    Well thanks for reading what you did and I'm sorry it's not for you.
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  25. Aetra

    Aetra Getting sticky.

    Jun 4, 2020
    Likes Received:
    I just found it weird with the path you chose for "Speedy" and thought it was random but since you have a plan, an interesting plan too, I can jump on that wagon. Looking at my previous comment I only really picked on the powers he gained, the story I think is pretty good, the characters are distinct and are reminiscent of their canon forms and the mind blockage plot is interesting since most authors usually just brite force straight through it with Martian Manhunter. I think you should really try not to give spoilers in your comments though, that's what really set me off when I was reading through chap 4 or 5 and saw your comments on the powers he gained.
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  26. Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    You gave valid criticism and asked why I made choices. I do apreciate any form of respectful critique, because I want to improve. I really apreciate the comment about keeping the characters distinct and inline with canon.

    I really had the mind control virus idea, from watching the Season 2 episode and Tigress asks Black Manta if it was possible. And Then I realized if it was sleeper commands with a telepath on the team and everyone is used to linking up (like with J'onn on the League) it gave a great way for the team to be forced independent.

    I'm really bad at that. I really have a hard time not oversharing. I've been working on it but it's a lifelong struggle.
  27. Threadmarks: Episode 11: Saturday Nightmare Fever
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 11: Saturday Nightmare Fever
    M’gann M’orzz
    January 15, 2011
    3:47 PM, CEST

    “What the hell happened here?” Exclaims Oliver in concern, as he checks Artemis’ eyes and finds them also unresponsive.

    “Gretchen’s brother showed up,” Connor explains with a groan and tries to get his shaking under control. “He turned into this big yellow demon and started laying in to us.”

    “But I thought Mary-Jane killed him in the alley?” I grab Connor and hold him close, surprised at how cold he is.

    “We never actually checked,” Connor leans into me and sighs gratefully, smelling my hair. “I guess she just buried him alive.”

    “Or the demon brought him back to life.” Retorts Connor’s dad, done checking the unmoving. “What did he do to everyone anyway?”

    “Some knock off Yellow Lanterns, came looking for some big generator of fear and I think they meant me.” Connor shakes his head clear and meets Ollie’s gaze.

    “You?” Green Arrow is amused, but waiting for more information.

    “When Bee had me and when we fought Brain.” My other third remarks darkly and I remember the terror he created. “I pumped out enough, to turn off Hal’s Battery.”

    “Oh,” The billionaire twists his forked beard and hums in shock. “That would be kind of hard to miss, according to the Greenies at least.”

    “Well they tried to recruit the demon instead and he slaughtered all three of them.” Connor presses a kiss to my temple and thinks, so Oliver can’t hear him. <I’m so glad you’re here with me, you make me be better and try harder.>

    <And you make me feel loved.> Blushing at his rather rare public display, I remind him of his own positives. <You have also been making me reconsider my reliance on my green form.> I shift my skin to my natural white and let my hair grow into a darker crimson, that I know he loves together.

    <With or without makeup, I’ll always love you.> He shares an image of my natural form and I find no trace of discomfort. <You stuck with me, even when my face looked like melted Mozzarella.>

    <I told you already, to a Martian the body shouldn’t matter.> He shares his grateful relief and I remind him how special he makes me feel. <But until I met you, I was judged by everyone.>

    “So how did you snap yourself free?” Oliver interrupts our private discussion unknowingly, bringing us back to the situation at hand.

    “I realized that the nightmare was fake, when he really got M’gann wrong.” Connor gives me a final squeeze for comfort and kneels beside Kon. “I was with Artemis and Kon at first, so we should by breaking them out.”

    “Once we assure them it’s only a nightmare, we can work through the others.” Explains Connor, as he links his power with my own. “Once we do, me and you can do Constantine’s by ourselves. He said his mind was dangerous and I believe him.”

    “Best leave me as lookout,” Oliver offers. “You’ll all be sitting ducks, if Harm comes back for seconds.”

    “What are you going to do against him, if he does show up?” Connor teases him, but Ollie just laughs warmly.

    “Wake you two up, of course.” He holds up his disco alarm arrow and I believe that will work. “I’m not that arrogant.”

    Mount Justice
    September 17, 2010
    11:40 PM, EDT

    “Do you hear something?” Artemis hisses in my ear, the darkness of our room a false comfort these days.

    Ever since the attack on the Tower, we’ve been holed up in a powerless base. The Light and the controlled Justice League, find it amusing to leave us helpless.

    I assume our fathers have some kind of deal with the leaders, which is why we have been left unmolested. Well... as long as we stay in or on the mountain that is. When we try and leave, the Lexmen being led by Jade force us back inside and are not gentle. The bodies of our friends are strung up on posts, forming the boundary we can move inside.

    “Yes.” I stand from the bed we share in a desire to not be alone and she follows me into he corridor, Trickshot’s bow in her hands. “Two people are approaching.” I can make out separate footsteps and gesture down the left fork.

    “Finally getting a family visit?” She wonders and I shake my head no.

    “No way I could hear Cheshire this easily,” My voice is kept low, while I clarify for Artemis. “This is probably just kids from Happy Harbor, up here on a dare.”

    “Let’s hope so,” Her voice is close to cracking and I feel the strain on my own nerves. “If it’s not, we don’t really have anywhere else to run.”

    “Well good,” Connor’s voice echoes through the dark hallway and my heart clenches. “I don’t want to see anymore of this nightmare.”

    “You can’t be here!” Artemis snarls in indignant rage, shooting a salvo of arrows into he darkness. “We saw you die!”

    “No you didn’t,” M’gann is the next dead friend to taunt us, her voice as warm as I remember. “This isn’t real, we freed the League months ago.”

    “More lies to twist the knife even deeper,” I growl and switch to my thermal vision, seeing the bodies of both in the hallway.

    “I didn’t think logic would work,” Connor’s voice is sad, but expectant. “It was emotion that shook me loose, so we’re going to need some of that now.”

    “If this is really the end,” M’gann’s ghoul changes tactics. “What’s keeping you going?”

    “Love.” My answer is automatic and I’m not even really sure why.

    “Hope,” Artemis remarks calmly and I’m not sure how. “That a meteor will hit the Watchtower, when the Light has it’s next meeting. All I have left is Hope for Peace, because we don’t have the power to fight this anymore.”

    “Good,” Connor remarks with a smirk. “Focus on those emotions for me please.” I try not to, but the feelings surge and grow inside me.

    I feel the love for my lost friends and family overwhelm me. My feelings for Artemis roll through my mind and everything fades to pink, before a white void floods my sight.


    “Glad to be out of that bleak mindscape,” Connor remarks in front of me, while Artemis locks hands with my own and seeks familiar comfort. “It’s comforting somehow, to find out one of your worst fears was all of our deaths.”

    “Worst fears?” Artemis demands an answer from Connor and M’gann, who awkwardly try to explain.

    “The yellow demon, he locked us all in our worst fears.” Connor raises his hands apologetically and clarifies. “I was able to force an emotional surge, when M’gann tried to reach my mind.”

    “And we came back in to get you all free,” M’gann adds with a sad frown. “I did not think so long would have already passed in your minds, we must hurry and free the others.”

    “How are we going to do that?” I ask, because Artemis and I lack any kind of psychic abilities.

    “We send you into Lena’s mind and Artemis into her sister’s.” My spiritual brother explains, his voice soft but determined. “M’gann handles the link and I go into Cameron’s nightmare. Once we have them free, we can move on to Koriand’r, Richie, and Constantine.”

    Lena Luthor
    October 2, 2010
    2:16 PM, GST

    Looking down on the world, I can only sigh and clench my fists in disgust. My father chose correctly and his friends in the Light, they took over the foolish heroes of the world. Mother then proved she was the real power in our family, by turning her husband into the raging beast Doomsday.

    In the middle of the Light’s meeting over the successful plan, my father attacked them and only Vandal Savage walked away alive. When he found my mother in control of the League, they made a bargain of some kind and now they rule the Earth. God King and Queen of the Humans, with our sights set on Mars next.

    Tearing my gaze away from the window looking down on the planet, I enter the room containing my goal. My brother and his friends were spared, at least most of them anyway. The ones with psychic abilities, had to be put down. Locked in a red sunlight room, Kon watches over his friends in permanent cryogenic sleep.

    “You can still make peace with mother you know.” I eschew a greeting, because he won’t return the pleasantries. “And have a place ruling with us.”

    The words feel like lies in my mouth, because we don’t really rule. Over sixty percent of humans are dead and the rest... are in the process of being upgraded. Baseline humans will be useless against the Martians, so we need our armies more powerful.

    My brother’s eyes lock onto mine and I see them shine with a violet glow. He doesn’t scowl or ignore me like normal. This time, he smiles warmly and rises to meet me.

    “Lena,” His voice is confident and strong, in a way I haven’t heard before. “It’s really good to see you’re alright, I was worried about you.”

    “Worried about me?” I snort, because that’s a new one. “Stockholm syndrome is finally setting in I see.”

    “You’re smarter than this.” He stares me down and refuses to look away. “You know how wrong everything is. This isn’t how things are supposed to be.”

    “How things are supposed to be?” I scowl back at him and cross my arms. “According to my mother, we should never have been on this primitive rock.”

    “So you aren’t supposed to exist?” Kon smiles sadly at me and I turn away, no longer willing to look at his accepting face. “No, you’re no mistake. You’re the best part of mom.”

    “Dad always said that,” I stammer, unsure how he knows the phrase. “I still don’t really understand what he meant.”

    “I didn’t get it either, until I saw her in Australia and it finally clicked.” My brother’s voice, has the answer to my biggest question in life. “She was trapped as a Luthor and without the Ruby of Life, you would have been made soulless. Seeing how much dad loved genuinely loved you, she found a way to reincarnate herself inside you.”

    “I’m my mother?” I want to refute the nonsense outright, but it sounds correct for reasons I don’t fully understand.

    “The reason you don’t really have any memories until eight or nine,” Kon forces me to look at him and smiles. “Is because that’s when you and her became one, forming a new person... at least in the mystical sense.”

    Before I can spiral into dark thoughts, Kon’s eyes glow pink. He blasts me with a pair of eye beams and I feel his brotherly love, as it breaks through my fear and everything fades to violet.

    Jade Nyugen
    Rocky Mountains
    October 2, 2010
    6:52 PM, PST

    Pressing myself against the cliff face, I force my breathing into a slow and steady pace. When my heart stops pounding in my ears, I strain to hear my pursuers.

    Ever since my failure to bring in the Clone, I’ve been forced on the run. My bargain to keep Artemis safe, was no longer secure and we had to flee. For over two months now, we’ve been hiding out in the mountains of British Columbia.

    We’re going to have to move now, because the forest is covered in Shadows. Once I killed the fifth one, it was clear I was being herded and so I had to make a break for my sister’s location. Once I know I’m not being observed, I slip into to crevice and enter the cavern we call home.

    “Artemis, we need to move and now.” Wasting no time on pleasantries, I grab my sleeping bag and backpack. “Dad’s goons have found us.”

    “I got to say,” My sister’s voice, lacks any of the terror I expected. “This really changes how I look at all your needling over the years.”

    “I’m glad you aren’t scared anymore, but we can have this heart to heart later.” I toss her weapons to her, but she lets them clatter to the cave floor.

    “You really have always been their for me,” I can hear the gratitude in her voice, as she thanks me. “I should have been looking at your actions and not been distracted by the words.”

    “It was one of dad’s first lessons.” I smile in the darkness, even though I know she can’t see it. “Stay focused on the objective.”

    “Yeah well...” She laughs and I can’t help but let out one of my own. “You acted like that, before I had that lesson.”

    “I had it first,” I admit awkwardly. “I might have been a little overzealous with it.”

    “Yeah well, I shouldn’t let myself get distracted now.” She goes silent for a moment, before her voice firmly declares. “You know this isn’t real, dad wouldn’t have let us hide for months. You’re letting yourself get distracted by fear.”

    “I don’t get distracted.” I refute her claim, even as a worm of doubt wiggles into my brain.

    “Then what happened to the mall and yellow demon?” My sister demands. “What about earning your release and the night off at the club?”

    Her words strike a chord inside me and I feel righteous fury. My prize was stolen and I’m going to get my revenge on that yellow bellied fiend. My memories flood back into me and I all I see is red.

    Star City
    October 2, 2010
    8:35 PM, PDT

    When I arrive in Cameron’s nightmare, I immediately recognize Star City. Even covered under several feet of ice, I can easily make out the landmarks of downtown. The spire of ice and castle on top, is a new addition though.

    As soon as I reach the several stories of ice, I begin my climb by stretching for handholds. When I stop for breath halfway up, I gasp in shock and nearly fall.

    Inside the ice tower, is the entire population of Star City. They have all been frozen and added to the foundation of the fortress, filling me with a cold determination.

    “Why won’t you stop attacking me!” Cameron’s voice wails, when I finally climb into his castle. “I don’t want to hurt anyone else!”

    “So don’t!” My voice echoes of the icy walls and carries to wherever he is hiding. “You already proved to me today, that I made the right choice.”

    “What are you talking about?” He sobs in guilt. “Didn’t you see all the children I froze? I’m a monster!” Well that gives me a few choices of emotion to work with.

    “Clearly you aren’t!” I shout back and send out waves of compassion. “This wouldn’t be a monster’s worst nightmare, nor would they feel as bad as you do right now!”

    “If I’m not a monster,” Cameron demands, his voice filled with remorse and shame. “Then what am I? What am I meant for, except this?”

    “My purpose was supposed to be taking down the Justice League,” I find him in a bathroom, curled up in the shower. “I decided I didn’t like that and found my own.” I reach down and grab his hand, yanking him to his feet. “So wake up and find your own, whatever you decide it is.”

    “I want to make up for the pain my father caused and what he made me do.” Cameron smiles, his voice growing more firm with each word. “I want to make people’s lives better, like you are.” His icy body takes on a purple sheen for a brief moment, before everything vanishes in purple light.

    Artemis Crock
    October 5, 2010
    11:42 AM, GST

    Entering Kori’s nightmare with Lena, is definitely not what I was expecting. She said her world was conquered, when her sister sold them out to some conqueror. I was prepared for an enslaved world, or at least one in flames.

    “Whoa...” Everything is pristine and very orange. “Everything is so phallic.” The grass and leaves are nearly the same shade as Kori’s skin, while the building’s look like they are carved from marble.

    “Or shaped like boobs,” Lena agrees with a snort, pointing towards some of the smaller houses between the towers. “I don’t see any fabric either, so I guess your girlfriend’s entire species are nudists.”

    “She’s not my girlfriend,” Lena counters, but I can see her blush and I smirk back at her.

    “Only because you haven’t explained what that means,” I insist with a grin, because it’s adorable how much attention Lena pays to the princess. “And then you have to ask her, it’ll be a good chance at the club tonight. Jade made sure to pick something for you and Kori liked the colour of it.”

    “What club?” She frowns in confusion as she scans the city with her X-ray vision.

    “Oh yeah,” Her and M’gann missed the invite and I may have ruined the surprise. “We’re all going out to some magical club, once we finish with this head trauma.”

    “That actually sounds kind of fun.” She points to he West and we make our approach.

    “Is everyone looking at us because we’re not naked,” I hiss at her, so as not to attract even more attention from he gawking locals. “Or because we aren’t orange bombshells?”

    “Kori said her world was pretty isolated, because of some kind of protection her Gods created.” Lena answers calmly and leads me into the fairly empty market. “So most of them haven’t ever seen an alien.”

    “I never thought I would be the alien.” I can’t help but laugh, my life is really strange and I’m just now realizing by how much.

    “You’re all technically aliens to me,” Lena reminds me of her Kryptonian status, which makes me remember I’m dating a half human hottie.

    “Is that her family?” I ask, when we approach the sole shoppers.

    “Yeah and since it’s only a dream,” She answers with a wink. “I won’t tell Kon, if you check out her brother.

    “Kori!” Calling out to our friend, I avoid the remark. “You call this a nightmare?”

    “Friends Artemis!” She returns my greeting, by rushing for us. “And Lena!” The nude princess collides with Lena and grips her in a tight hug. “How are you being here?”

    “We got woken up from our nightmares and we came to get you,” I answer for Lena, who is having a hard time breathing.

    “Truly?” Kori releases the Luthor heiress and grabs me next. “You really are the superest of friends and I am being so lucky, you have accepted me as one of you.”

    “Of course, you’re one of us now.” Lena grabs Kori’s hand and gives her a reassuring smile. “I promise, we’ll find a way to free your people one day.”

    “I am believing in you.” Koriand’r accepts the words with a soft smile and waves a sad farewell to her family.

    Instead of the difficult time explaining this is all fake that I was prepared for, Kori accepts it as fact. As soon as she does everything vanishes in a flash of blue light and we all wake up in the mall.

    Richard Folie
    Arkham Asylum
    October 2, 2018
    2:16 PM, GST

    I can’t remember how long I’ve been in here, they don’t let me out of my cell anymore. Killing half the inmates in one of my freak outs, made the guards job easier. Also killing half the staff, made them all want me dead. I lost count of my days in solitary, sometime around year three.

    Once I realized I was never being let out, I finally was able to relax. I killed everyone in Smallville when my powers activated, or enough that the town was emptied afterwards.

    When my cell door opens with a rusty creak and a beam of dim light blinds me, I realize two figures have entered. They end my torment, by slamming the door shut and leaving me in the comforting darkness again.

    “Richie.” The voice of a ghost intrudes on my penance and taunts me. “It’s me Chris. We’re here to get you out of this nightmare.”

    “Finally here to bring me to Hell?” I mumble back.

    I’m scared, but I won’t run from this. After all the lives I ended, it’s time for me to face judgment. Who better than the ghost of my only friend?

    “What?” Chris demands in shock. “Of course not, we’re here to save you.”

    “I definitely don’t deserve Heaven, so what else do you have in store for me?” I argue firmly, my guilt shackling me better than this prison ever could. “Am I going to wander forever, as a ghost of Arkham?”

    “No you brooding Emo!” His partner Artemis, growls in impatience. “We’re here to wake you up... from a literal nightmare.”

    “You killed one person that day and I forgave you for that, because we’re sharing the blame.” Chris reminds me and I start to remember what really happened. “Everyone else who was injured at the school, has already made a full recovery.”

    “Oh yeah...” I trail off, as a blast of pink overwhelms me and that’s all I can see.

    Santa Prisca
    January 4, 2013
    4:02 PM, CST

    “Out of an ice age and into a hellscape.” I growl in anger, as I look over the smouldering ruins of my tower.

    The rest of Santa Prisca burns and the smell of burnt flesh fills the air. Glad my mask filters out the worst of the odour, I sense for any sign of John’s mind.

    Following the emotions that are only slightly less dark than the entity of evil, I find Constantine in Richie’s shack. A row of grave markers lines the beach outside and I refuse to give weight to this nightmare. Not looking at any of the names, I enter the only shelter I have seen still standing and say hello to a shocked magician.

    “I didn’t think you would fall for this.” He jumps at my words and then relaxes into a scowl, his single arm attempting to cross. “I expected more from such a defended mind.”

    “I know it’s fake, but I need to find more clues,” John remarks and I see the writing on the wall, in I believe his own blood. “This is the first thing I’ve found in weeks.”

    “If you seek to be free of this fate, the only escape is love so great.” I read the messy writing and he nods.

    “I found the Book of Blood and read the prophecies inside,” He slams his left and only hand into the wall angrily, before calming enough to finish his explanation. “But as soon as I closed the book, I could only remember the last page I read. I’ve been looking for answers, all over the Americas.”

    “You’re looking for prophecies, so you can stop Trigon?” I frown at the idea, because it seems fear has him locked on a single line of thought.

    “You showed me the vision of what happens if I don’t.” John glares at me, assuming I’m giving up on him. “I really thought you knew what was at stake.”

    “I do, so here’s a prophecy and I’ll keep it nice and simple.” Meeting his glare with a confidant smirk, I reveal my words. “We beat his kids and then we kick Trigon’s ass.”

    “It doesn’t work like that you know.” Constantine denies my words, but finally softens his expression.

    “Sorry, do I need it to rhyme? Let me try that again.” I grin and think fast. “I hate evil the most, so Trigon is toast.”

    He tries to say something, but I cut him off. I’m a king so it’s allowed, this is my kingdom after all.

    “If you’re going to say it needs some kind of mystic mumbo jumbo, I say.” I share the memory of being in the Dreaming and the awareness of my full abilities being awakened. “I’m kind of a sage now and you already know I made a deal with Isis.”

    “Yeah we really need to have a talk about magical deals and knowing all the details first.” Constantine grins savagely. “But who knows, maybe that’s how you give prophecies. It is a new era, so maybe magic is finally catching up.”

    “We won’t let this happen, I promise Rachel will be protected. With my very life if I have to.” I start to share his most prevalent emotion, so we can finally break out of this bleak horror. “I need you to focus on all the rage you have at Trigon, or we aren’t getting out of here.”

    January 15, 2011
    10:14 PM, CEST

    “You said this place was downtown,” Jade remarks with an amused smirk on her face. “I didn’t think you literally meant it was underground.” She stands in front of the catacomb entrance and I have to agree with her, we are all too dressed up for such an eerie location.

    The wind makes her red dress ruffle in the breeze and so does her hair. Jade did an excellent job colour coordinating the girls outfits and she even made sure M’gann and Artemis’, didn’t make them feel out of place.

    It was easier for her to choose mine and the other guys clothes for the club, she just grabbed six suits in different shades. I didn’t think it was something she would have wanted to do, but I guess she wanted a reason to put her infiltration skills to use... in a situation that won’t end in bloodshed for once.

    “Darling, it may look dead out here.” Constantine strides forward in his black and red striped suit, snapping his fingers with a confidant wink. A spark of his magic rises from his hand and races into the catacombs, igniting torches along each wall. “But it’s got a real charm to it on the inside.” He tries taking her hand, but she swats it away with a smile.

    “Well you better not be all talk,” She turns up her nose, at something only she can smell and saunters inside. “This is my first night off in... nearly seven years. I’ll be pretty mad, if this is a waste of my time.”

    “Don’t worry luv,” He assures her with a confidant smirk, strutting into the ancient stone corridor behind her. “You’ll only be pretty tonight.”

    “He’s good, as much as it pains me to admit it.” Artemis pokes at Roy, who borrowed my Roxbury suit and rejoined us. “Connor only got M’gann, because he knows before he pisses her off. Watch John and learn, or you’ll die alone.”

    She loops arms with Kon, the two in a matching navy blue suit and cocktail dress. Ignoring the odour they can now also smell, they leave a fuming Roy behind and head inside next.

    “Why is she always so mean to me?” Roy grabs my arm and frowns. “What did you do to her, before you got the face lift?”

    “He got her house blown up and she and her mom had to go into witness protection.” M’gann answers for me, since I was leaving only an awkward silence.

    “Show her you aren’t me,” Groaning at Cameron’s laughter, I do my best to help him improve relations. “She’ll get over it fast, once you tell jokes that are funny and don’t blow any computers up.”

    “Staying out of the hospital will help as well.” M’gann hides her giggles behind her hand and rushes inside with a chuckling Lena and confused Koriand’r.

    “What kind of reputation,” Roy scowls at me, as we take up the rear. “Have you been creating for us?” The torches each going out as we pass them.

    “Uh...” I take a moment to consider the question and really consider how my actions have come across to my friends. “Accident prone and bad with technology. My programming made me aggressive and impulsive before that.”

    “So what...” Roy glares at me, as we finally catch up to the others. “I have to be a nerd or some kind of quiet jock, if I want to have my own identity?”

    “Well Jim kind of went the strong silent type route already,” I add and Roy barks out a frustrated laugh.

    “I’m the oldest brother, but I got last pick.” He shakes his head and realizes we’re not moving. “What’s the hold up?”

    “Jade’s making friends with the bouncer,” Growls Artemis and our friends part so we can see the spectacle.

    A nearly nine foot tall ogre with mottled brown skin and a fancy black suit, is playing dice with a crowing Jade. She’s clearly winning and doesn’t seem to care, or notice the bouncer’s growing anger.

    <Let her keep her winnings and don’t make a big deal out of it,> I open a mental link with the ogre, trying to avoid any violence. <And I’ll give you triple what she takes.> When the ogre grins deviously, I realize I may have misjudged his intelligence.

    “Jade hurry up, I want to see who’s singing.” Her sister grabs her arm and frowns.

    “Sorry Boris,” Jade relents and scoops her cash up. “Maybe we can play again, when I go out for a smoke.” He glances at me and I nod slowly, so he smiles widely.

    “Of course miss Jade, I eagerly await a chance to make my money back.” His well spoken manner, makes me certain I was stereotyping. I realize in a fight, that could have gotten me killed. “Enjoy your night at Pan’s.”

    He grabs a handle on the massive round door and rolls the shimmering silver, into a slot in the wall. Inside is a well lit room, that looks like a barroom version of the M.C Esher painting.

    Stairs lead down to a bar, with a werewolf behind the counter. He’s serving drinks with a wild energy, to a group of giggling leprechaun girls.

    Directly above the bar on what should be the ceiling, is a dance floor with a band on stage. A satyr, centaur, and some human with backwards legs, are on the instruments and some kind of nymph is singing.

    Stairs leading into directions that shouldn’t be possible, end up at secluded seating on the towering walls. I can recognize goblins at one booth, are jeering at a dancer who is shifting between the bodies of celebrities.

    A trio of hags are acting as the waitresses and giving a very uncouth, yet incredibly amusing service. They berate every single patron they serve, but the patrons accept the words with a smile and tip well.

    One sideways area on the wall, has a sphinx with a circle of assorted drunks around herself. Her trivia is clearly heard over the music, as soon as I focus on her in specific. It must be some form of enchantment, because the acoustics could never do that.

    “Order what you want, I’ll grab us one of the good tables.” Constantine informs the others casually and grabs my arm, leading me down one of the side stairwells.

    “What are the exact terms of your deal with Isis,” John throws me into the booth and slides in across from me, M’gann boxing me in between themselves. “Because you generally only have a year and a day with the whole mystically bargain thing, before the consequences set in.”

    “Become a father, for each life I personally take.” I think back on who’s deaths I’m responsible for. “So I think I need two more kids.” Neither laugh, but John lets out a half smile.

    “What else?” He presses and I know M’gann put him up to this, she’s really been worried about my impulsiveness.

    “Look after the Amazons of Bana Migdhall and they’re already building a new city on Santa Prisca.” I sigh when M’gann pokes me in the ribs and continue explaining. “Bring life to places that are desolate, stop Grail from meeting her father, and give people who genuinely seek it a chance at redemption.”

    “Could have been a lot worse,” John remarks lightly, his eyes darting between M’gann and I. “But you two should probably have a talk about the whole kids thing.”

    “We will,” M’gann assures me with a firm voice and then leans her head on my shoulder, enjoying the music of ancient Rome. “But not tonight.”

    “No skin off my nose, just my friendly advice.” He checks the stairs, making sure no one else has arrived. “Now I’m going to need you to look after Rachel for awhile, I need to check some very unsavoury places for information on her dad’s plans.

    “Since that involves the safety of the world,” I make an offer, since Waller and Grodd have both been offered a place on the Justice League. “Why don’t you join the Doom Patrol and lead it with Jade?”

    Alarms start to blare and patrons begin stampeding for the exit, as a section of stone glows red. It quickly melts through the magically warded rock wall and reveals a glowing red figure, in a by now familiar uniform.

    The Gordanian Red Lantern cuts of his gout of corrosive flame and roars. Once his arrival is announced, his eyes lock onto Kon and he rockets towards him.

    Kon see’s the angry approach, while he’s on the dance ceiling with Artemis and shields her with his body. He shrieks in agony, as the red plasma collides with his back.

    “Rage?” He mutters darkly and laughs. “I can get angry, try not to get burnt.” His eyes glow red and it surges forth, covering the world in red and washing the nightmare away.

    January 15, 2011
    10:14 PM, CEST

    “You said this place was downtown,” Jade remarks with an amused smirk on her face. “I didn’t think you literally meant it was underground.” She stands in front of the catacomb entrance and I have to agree with her, we are all too dressed up for such an eerie location.

    The wind makes her red dress ruffle in the breeze and so does her hair. Jade did an excellent job colour coordinating the girls outfits and she even made sure M’gann and Artemis’, didn’t make them feel out of place.

    It was easier for her to choose mine and the other guys clothes for the club, she just grabbed six suits in different shades. I didn’t think it was something she would have wanted to do, but I guess she wanted a reason to put her infiltration skills to use... in a situation that won’t end in bloodshed for once.

    “Darling, it may look dead out here.” Constantine strides forward in his black and red striped suit, snapping his fingers with a confidant wink. A spark of his magic rises from his hand and races into the catacombs, igniting torches along each wall. “But it’s got a real charm to it on the inside.” He tries taking her hand, but she swats it away with a smile.

    “Well you better not be all talk,” She turns up her nose, at something only she can smell and saunters inside. “This is my first night off in... nearly seven years. I’ll be pretty mad, if this is a waste of my time.”

    “Don’t worry luv,” He assures her with a confidant smirk, strutting into the ancient stone corridor behind her. “You’ll only be pretty tonight.”

    “He’s good, as much as it pains me to admit it.” Artemis pokes at Roy, who borrowed my Roxbury suit and rejoined us. “Connor only got M’gann, because he knows before he pisses her off. Watch John and learn, or you’ll die alone.”

    She loops arms with Kon, the two in a matching navy blue suit and cocktail dress. Ignoring the odour they can now also smell, they leave a fuming Roy behind and head inside next.

    “Why is she always so mean to me?” Roy grabs my arm and frowns. “What did you do to her, before you got the face lift?”

    “He got her house blown up and she and her mom had to go into witness protection.” M’gann answers for me, since I was leaving only an awkward silence.

    “Show her you aren’t me,” Groaning at Cameron’s laughter, I do my best to help him improve relations. “She’ll get over it fast, once you tell jokes that are funny and don’t blow any computers up.”

    “Staying out of the hospital will help as well.” M’gann hides her giggles behind her hand and rushes inside with a chuckling Lena and confused Koriand’r.

    “What kind of reputation,” Roy scowls at me, as we take up the rear. “Have you been creating for us?” The torches each going out as we pass them.

    “Uh...” I take a moment to consider the question and really consider how my actions have come across to my friends. “Accident prone and bad with technology. My programming made me aggressive and impulsive before that.”

    “So what...” Roy glares at me, as we finally catch up to the others. “I have to be a nerd or some kind of quiet jock, if I want to have my own identity?”

    “Well Jim kind of went the strong silent type route already,” I add and Roy barks out a frustrated laugh.

    “I’m the oldest brother, but I got last pick.” He shakes his head and realizes we’re not moving. “What’s the hold up?”

    “Jade’s making friends with the bouncer,” Growls Artemis and our friends part so we can see the spectacle.

    A nearly nine foot tall ogre with mottled brown skin and a fancy black suit, is playing dice with a crowing Jade. She’s clearly winning and doesn’t seem to care, or notice the bouncer’s growing anger.

    <Let her keep her winnings and don’t make a big deal out of it,> I open a mental link with the ogre, trying to avoid any violence. <And I’ll give you triple what she takes.> When the ogre grins deviously, I realize I may have misjudged his intelligence.

    “Jade hurry up, I want to see who’s singing.” Her sister grabs her arm and frowns.

    “Sorry Boris,” Jade relents and scoops her cash up. “Maybe we can play again, when I go out for a smoke.” He glances at me and I nod slowly, so he smiles widely.

    “Of course miss Jade, I eagerly await a chance to make my money back.” His well spoken manner, makes me certain I was stereotyping. I realize in a fight, that could have gotten me killed. “Enjoy your night at Pan’s.”

    He grabs a handle on the massive round door and rolls the shimmering silver, into a slot in the wall. Inside is a well lit room, that looks like a barroom version of the M.C Esher painting.

    Stairs lead down to a bar, with a werewolf behind the counter. He’s serving drinks with a wild energy, to a group of giggling leprechaun girls.

    Directly above the bar on what should be the ceiling, is a dance floor with a band on stage. A satyr, centaur, and some human with backwards legs, are on the instruments and some kind of nymph is singing.

    Stairs leading into directions that shouldn’t be possible, end up at secluded seating on the towering walls. I can recognize goblins at one booth, are jeering at a dancer who is shifting between the bodies of celebrities.

    A trio of hags are acting as the waitresses and giving a very uncouth, yet incredibly amusing service. They berate every single patron they serve, but the patrons accept the words with a smile and tip well.

    One sideways area on the wall, has a sphinx with a circle of assorted drunks around herself. Her trivia is clearly heard over the music, as soon as I focus on her in specific. It must be some form of enchantment, because the acoustics could never do that.

    “Order what you want, I’ll grab us one of the good tables.” Constantine informs the others casually and grabs my arm, leading me down one of the side stairwells.

    “What are the exact terms of your deal with Isis,” John throws me into the booth and slides in across from me, M’gann boxing me in between themselves. “Because you generally only have a year and a day with the whole mystically bargain thing, before the consequences set in.”

    “Become a father, for each life I personally take.” I think back on who’s deaths I’m responsible for. “So I think I need two more kids.” Neither laugh, but John lets out a half smile.

    “What else?” He presses and I know M’gann put him up to this, she’s really been worried about my impulsiveness.

    “Look after the Amazons of Bana Migdhall and they’re already building a new city on Santa Prisca.” I sigh when M’gann pokes me in the ribs and continue explaining. “Bring life to places that are desolate, stop Grail from meeting her father, and give people who genuinely seek it a chance at redemption.”

    “Could have been a lot worse,” John remarks lightly, his eyes darting between M’gann and I. “But you two should probably have a talk about the whole kids thing.”

    “We will,” M’gann assures me with a firm voice and then leans her head on my shoulder, enjoying the music of ancient Rome. “But not tonight.”

    “No skin off my nose, just my friendly advice.” He checks the stairs, making sure no one else has arrived. “Now I’m going to need you to look after Rachel for awhile, I need to check some very unsavoury places for information on her dad’s plans.

    “Since that involves the safety of the world,” I make an offer, since Waller and Grodd have both been offered a place on the Justice League. “Why don’t you join the Doom Patrol and lead it with Jade?”

    Alarms start to blare and patrons begin stampeding for the exit, as a section of stone glows red. It quickly melts through the magically warded rock wall and reveals a glowing red figure, in a by now familiar uniform.

    The Gordanian Red Lantern cuts of his gout of corrosive flame and roars. Once his arrival is announced, his eyes lock onto Kon and he rockets towards him.

    Kon see’s the angry approach, while he’s on the dance ceiling with Artemis and shields her with his body. He shrieks in agony, as the red plasma collides with his back.

    Artemis Crock
    January 15, 2011
    11:22 PM, CEST

    As soon as Kon throws me to the side, I’m reaching for my concealed daggers. By the time I land in a crouch, I’m ready with both drawn. Kon’s shriek of agony, has me roar in anger and charge at the glowing red lizard person.

    It snarls in pain when I land on it’s back, driving each of my daggers into his admittedly tick hide. I slide through the flesh like butter and drop to the floor in a shower of blood.

    “Get away from him!” My roar is met by one of the alien’s own and then he smacks me with a blast of red energy.

    It throws me off the dance floor and my entire sense of gravity shifts, when I reach a certain height. Once I get to close to another section, it’s gravity pulls me in and slams me into the table.

    “Sorry ladies, but you really should get out of here.” The group of leprechauns shriek in terror and leap over the balcony, hopefully to safety.

    A shadow descends on me, so I roll backwards in the nick of time. A torrent of the red plasma is vomited down on me, from the snarling jaws of the reptilian.

    For an alien skilled enough to reach our planet, I’m surprised by the complete lack of constructs. Even my mother was more creative than this, mere moments after slipping on Alan’s ring.

    I don’t really have time to judge my attacker’s technique, because I’m hard pressed to stay alive. Each of his blasts is raw and unformed, but not lacking in power.

    “Move!” Lena roars from below and I dive away from the Red Lantern. Lena crashing through the plasma being belched at her, with the silver door as her shield and ram.

    It works well enough and almost half of her makeshift weapon remains, when she smashes him into a bloody paste beside me. She gives me an apologetic smile and winces at my body covered in blood splatter.

    “Sorry about that,” Lena tries to apologize to me, but my anger at this alien overpowers me.

    “How is Kon?” Interrupting her, I demand an answer.

    “He’s alive, but that red stuff did some serious damage...” She trails off and my heart pounds in my ears.

    The melted disc of silver shifts and I tense, but I can’t react in time. A flash of ruby light rockets towards me and slides onto my finger.

    I scream in pain, as my veins ignite in burning rage and I feel my heart begin to ignite in passion. I start to cough and I know I should be concerned when I see blood on my hand, but I’m just so damn angry.

    “Artemis...” I can barely hear Lena, over the thunder in my ears. “Are you alright?”

    I don’t answer with words, only letting a savage snarl escape my lips and shooting into the air. My rage is like an aura of blazing red and it makes my flight come easily.

    It takes a few brief seconds and I’m beside the twitching body of Kon. His skin and muscle have been eaten into, exposing the bone of his right arm and one of his ribs. My anger that I know could level a city, is unable to do anything for him.

    “Kon...” I mumble to myself and lose myself in anger, my vision fading to red.

    Roy Harper
    January 15, 2011
    11:31 PM, CEST

    All day I’ve felt useless. I had to run at the mall and didn’t make it back before the action was over with. Now I was helpless to save Kon, being forced to watch him writhe in pain from across the massive gap to the ceiling.

    All I can do is hope. Hope that the guy who gave me back my life, is able to do something in the face of my uselessness.

    When I see Artemis land beside her fallen friend, I can’t help but feel hope. Those rings are supposed to be able to do anything, Oliver said so many times on team ups with Hal.

    Artemis doesn’t seem to have the practice yet, because she roars in anguish and shines like a miniature red sun. She floats into the air and begins blasting away at everything in sight.

    Her anguished rage, has caused her to lose her grip on the moment and now she’s a danger to everyone in the club.

    I need to do something, because otherwise... why did I insist on coming. I want to prove I deserve my life back, because Connor’s done a pretty good job with it so far.

    While I look for a weapon of any kind, I don’t see the sapphire object hit me. I do however, see it shine a brilliant blue and hear it speak to me.

    “Roy Harper of Earth. You have the ability to feel great Hope.” I guess I do, considering the fact that I refused to give up. It's the only thing that kept me going with no memories. “Will you help spread it?” The ring’s voice is light and feminine, kind of like a kind grandmother.

    “Can I help her and Kon?” I have to know, because all I have right now is Hope.

    “Yes.” The ring assures me and I hold out my hand.

    “Then I Hope this works out, because now you’re stuck with me.” I agree to the offer and feel my body surge with calmness.

    A blue glow surrounds me and then my clothing is replaced with a generic Blue Lantern uniform. With my faith in the ring’s promise, I rise into the air and soar towards the dance ceiling.

    “Keep her from killing anyone!” I yell behind me and can only Hope I was heard by someone capable of doing the deed.

    Kon is moaning on the floor, his blood staining the hardwood beneath him. I waste no time and land, dropping to my knees beside him.

    “I’m here Kon. I’m going to do... something.” I think hard and Hope the ring has an answer.

    “Watch and learn my boy,” The voice very much like Betty White, calmly reassures me and guides me in the procedure.

    “Whoa...” I exclaim in aw, as tendrils of blue light connect to Superboy. “I hope this means I won’t be sidelined now.”

    “I doubt it.” Jade slides to a stop beside us and watches with an unreadable emotion on her face, but I can feel my ring charge the slightest fraction. “You Rainbow Rangers, are kind of big leagues.”

    “Well the blue ranger was the nerd and he had a triceratops robot,” I laugh at how things seem to work out. “Maybe I really should embrace this fresh start.”

    “You going to be able to do something about my sister?” She whispers beside me and glances upwards.

    “I Hope so,” I mutter and I can sigh in relief, as Kon looks almost as good as new. It’ll always look like a faint rash on the parts I had to regrow, but it should mostly fade in a few months.

    “Well. You’re definitely an excellent medic,” Remarks Jade with amazement, while she pokes at Kon’s new skin. “If they don’t want you on the Titans, you can have Jim’s place on the Doom Patrol. Him and Maxima are leaving soon and I’ll need some replacements.”

    “Ring, uh...” I start to ask and then realize I’m not sure what I need to do. “How do we stop a Red Lantern from going rage crazy?”

    “Reform the boiled blood into a heart,” Betty Blue answers me immediately and I finally feel like I’m not facing the world alone. “Then you can remove the ring and cleanse the mind of residual anger.”

    “I’m counting on you,” Jade informs me, her voice deadly serious. “You’re brothers are based on you and both impressed me. This is your chance to show us all you wont be a shadow trailing after everyone, but be a beacon to follow.”

    “No pressure right?” Snorting at her lack of laughter, I lift off once again and cautiously approach the battling women.

    Lena, Kori, and M’gann, are the only others able to fly and are trying to contain Artemis safely. They aren’t doing well, as the crumbling stonework can attest to. If they don’t hit her hard enough, the attacks don’t even phase the ruby rager.

    “Hold her as still as you can!” Yelling out my plan, I watch the trio do so with relief. “I got to rebuild her heart!”

    What the hell does that mean!” Kon roars beside me, already recovered and floating nearby.

    “The red rings make you so hot, your blood boils the heart and prevents an easy removal.” My words have him growl angrily, but Lena is the one who answers.

    “No duh,” Her voice is tense, as she strains with Artemis’ left arm. “Only my mom can live without one and maybe the Brain.”

    “Grab the ring now!” I roar, as I finally get the blood into the proper shape. “I can’t hold this for long!”

    M’gann tears the ring from Artemis’ hand and sails towards Connor and John. I see Constantine pocket the ring, before Kon forces my attention back on his girlfriend.

    “Is she going to be okay.” I can feel his Hope charge my ring and soon it makes a leap in power, as the rest of the heroes observe me.

    “Yeah, she’s just going to have a fever for a day or two.” He sighs in relief when I repeat the rings words and I Hope this isn’t a sign of worse things to come.
    Ajlove likes this.
  28. Threadmarks: Episode 12: Planting Seeds
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Episode 12: Planting Seeds
    Santa Prisca
    January 16, 2011
    9:01 AM, CST

    “My people are having a hard time reading you,” I open with irritated praise of her skill, but Pamela Isley doesn’t seem to take any pride in this.

    Her normal green tint, has become an unhealthy brownish yellow and her hair looks to be falling out in clumps. She scowls at me, her body shaking with muscle spasms the entire conversation.

    “So it’s up to me...” I stop talking until she meets my firm stare and then I finally carry on, with a stern voice. “To see if we can work out a rehabilitation program for you.”

    “Like your pet Grodd?” She snorts derisively and tries to take a scornful position in her chair. “Pass. I have self respect.” The tremors her body is going through make the effect negligible, but I can respect her spirit. She really feels like I’m a horrible person and just another part of the global problem called humanity.

    “I believe you mean Duke Grodd.” My correction has her widen her eyes in shock and her mind reels with confusion. “He earned his title, so please respect it.”

    “He was telling the truth...” Ivy trails off and she thinks back on what she has seen, her mind leaking frustration.

    “Queen Bee had a way to control anyone who was attracted to women.” I snap her out of her thoughts, by going right to the answer. “So we don’t really have a concrete way to know if you chose your actions freely, or if she was a source of major influence.”

    “Why does it matter?” The plant woman growls, her voice creaking like dry wood.

    “Well I need to know if you’re criminally responsible, or if you need conditional care.” If she’s being misled or fully on board with the Light, will decide what deal I offer in the end.

    “How does that make a difference?” She glares at me with tired eyes. “Belle Reve or Arkham, either way I’m locked in a cell.”

    “I only send away the real sickos,” I assure the woman shaking like the last leaf on the tree. “Or political terrorists, but neither apply to you.”

    “So why are you here?” She’s sick, but not stupid and knows I’m working up to something.

    “You get to make a choice.” I slid over the legal documents for her, but explain the gist of it. “Do you want to go live with on Themyscira and serve your sixty years with the Amazons? Do you want to work it off with the Doom Patrol, or would you like to work on my reforestation projects?”

    “What do you have planned?” She’s curious and leans forward in her chair.

    “I know plans will begin soon, to create a kilometre wide barrier of trees around the Sahara’s expansion.” I explain my concern and she nods with serious conviction. “I bonded with Isis, you know the Goddess your boss was looking for. So now I need to bring life back to places lacking in flora and fauna.”

    “So I will work off my ‘crimes’,” She snorts at the last word. “Growing this forest for the rest of my life?”

    “Of course not,” I laugh at the idea, because that would be a waste of resources. “We should have this done in a few weeks. I’m fertilizing the ground and you’re going to release seeds of all kinds, the plants will grow quickly and be a barrier within days of planting.”

    “Then I’m free?” She asks and I have to shake my head no.

    “No. The Doom Patrol gets years off for each mission, but they risk life and limb.” Ivy can go with them, but she didn’t seem interested earlier. “You’ll get a year off, for each country we grow a forest in.”

    “Sixty forests, before I’m free...” She smiles and considers the deal.

    “Well the Sahara one covers like eleven countries,” I remind her of the geography, because I don’t think she recognizes human borders. “So that will be a big chunk all at once.”

    January 22, 2011
    2:28 PM, UTC

    “This is going faster than even I thought,” I call up to M’gann, who’s piloting her Bio-ship over the sand. “We’re already over Mali, two days ahead of schedule.”

    Ivy and I are on the extended ramp, each tied onto the ship for safety. She sends out a shower of the seeds she selected and I make each plant grow strong, with the fertility powers I’m beginning to grasp.

    It’s even had beneficial effect on Doctor Isley, her foliage has retaken a green hue and is no longer drooping. It turns out that M’gann’s new love of animals, is a great conversation point for the two on this extended mission.

    Me and Pam will never be friends, but I find it hard to hate her when I was also controlled at one point. Her drive to protect nature, has been directed since day one. Once she was a globally recognized Eco-terrorist, the Light moved to recruit and control her.

    Mammoth might not be able to verbalize his thoughts very well, but he’s not stupid and due to his genetic modifications he remembers things like an elephant. He was around for enough of Bee’s private discussions as her bodyguard, that we managed to piece most of Ivy’s story together.

    “I wish we could do this kind of thing to Mars,” M’gann’s voice is sombre, and I can sense her dwelling on thoughts of her uncle.

    “Well who says we can’t?” Ivy remarks casually, unaware of the mind control on Mars. “We’re in a spaceship and I am still working off my time. I think making Mars green, should give me a clean record.”

    “I spread the mental infection to her uncle,” I inform the half plant woman, my expression tight from guilt. “And then the Light sent him back to Mars, which has lead to a three way civil war.”

    “Oh...” Ivy is sad for M’gann, but doesn’t really care about the other Martians.

    “Yeah. so until we have a way to protect against a world of potentially hostile telepaths...” I trail off awkwardly and Ivy finishes my thought.

    “It’s not really feasible to go and check.” She shakes her head and then whacks me with a vine. “Stop slacking off, this was your idea.”

    She’s right and I shake me head free of the dismal thoughts, focusing on what I can do right now. I may be overcompensating for my earlier lapse, but I pour my divine energy into every single plant and encourage new life to grow.

    “What ideas do you have so far?” Ivy keeps her voice low, so as not to alert M’gann and upset her more.

    “We’re working on robots to supplement a strike force.” Sighing, I have to admit out lack of progress. “I’m not comfortable making artificial intelligence’s, only to send them off to war. Mary-Jane is a gyndroid, so I would be a major hypocrite and this has impacted the combat abilities severely.”

    “I will admit,” She concedes and it sounds like teeth are being pulled. “You do a better job than Queen Bee did, at keeping children off the battlefield and in school.”

    “Well technically I’m only four.” I laugh at her perturbed look. “Lex Luthor’s wife cloned me and I’ve really only been awake for like eight months now.”

    “I’m concerned for your subjects even more now.” She shakes her head and ignores me for now, her emotions swirling with concern for M’gann.

    Zatanna Zatara
    Santa Prisca
    January 26, 2011
    1:09 PM, CST

    “It’s still so weird,” Wally throws his arms in the air, looking around the courtyard of our new school in amazement. “We don’t have to hide anything here, except the confidential mission stuff.”

    “We get to be normal teens with powers,” Agreeing with him before he can really get his rant going, I look around at the other students. “We aren’t supposed to talk about the hero stuff at school, but everyone still knows who we are.”

    “I’m cool here.” Wally tosses his bag beside one of the picnic tables. “I never thought it would happen and my parents are excited about the chance to use my speed... in a non violent manner.”

    “I’m just glad it’s Monday to Thursday,” Dick steals one of the fries on Wally’s plate and agrees with his words. “Gives me four whole days away from home.”

    “Dude...” My blue haired boyfriend shakes his head sadly and sighs. “You and your dad need to get over this.”

    “He needs to stop getting my friends to spy on me!” Dick roars in anger and rises. “I can’t believe even you would do this to me.”

    “You can’t believe I would care about my best friend?” Wally is shocked and starting to let his own anger boil over. “Dude! All I can see, is you pulling away from all of us and you won’t even tell us why.”

    “You wouldn’t understand.” Growls out the boy wonder, fully settled into his defensive stance.

    “Of course not!” Artemis joins Wally in the dressing down. “You haven’t told us what’s wrong or how we can help. All you do is grunt all day and vanish after training with Donna.”

    “The Atom lets us handle his normal patrols of Toronto,” Dick is nearly snarling in frustration. “They trust me to pull my own weight and don’t treat me like a child.”

    It’s ironic, because that it’s exactly what is being done. Until he acts more mature and admits what’s bothering him, Owlman did ask us to not vote him Team leader. We all agreed, because until he can communicate better nobody wants him in charge.

    “Well we are kids,” Wally defends is point fiercely. “And I’m terrified now that I’m back. It was so easy to grab Captain Atom and just run, but now I have to live with the choice I made.”

    “His mom nearly forced him out of the costume,” I add like we planned, so if Dick is mad at Wally he might still talk to me. “Dad wants me to stay on the Superfriends, so you aren’t the only one with an overprotective parent.” I don’t really mind because after last year, I’m not sure if this is the life I really want anymore.

    “Every time I run now, I have to stop myself from going to fast,” Wally admits to Dick, who needs vulnerability from us. “Or I don’t know if I’ll ever stop again.”

    “You don’t have to push us away too,” Softly, but firmly I make my message heard. “We’re friends and we all need to lean on each other.”

    “We both killed someone,” Artemis adds with an unusually tender voice. “And I still have nightmares about it, so please talk to us.”

    Rachel Roth
    Santa Prisca
    January 26, 2011
    5:18 PM, CST

    “Your uncle should be back in a few more days,” Miss M’orzz informs me, when I arrive home from school with her kids. “His report said they have a solid lead in Vlatava and are investigating something called the Wildebeest Society.”

    “Is Doctor Isley eating with us again?” I ask for Garfield, who is squirming at the sight of her.

    “Yes.” M’gann explains awkwardly. “I know it’s uncomfortable, but she has been controlled since her first stay in Arkham.”

    “I know you’re mad about what she did to me.” Connor reaches over and ruffles Garfield’s hair. “But I already got her back for that, so now she gets the same chance as everyone else. Besides, she was being controlled, I can’t blame anyone for that.”

    “I wasn’t controlled,” She corrects him with an embarrassed scowl. “But I was given experimental treatments to reverse my transformation. Dubbilex’s examination of my genetics, found this reduced my ability to rationalize my actions.”

    “So yes she did commit those crimes,” Adds M’gann, while Ivy lowers her head in shame. “But she lacked the ability to resist her impulses.”

    “She isn’t sick like the Joker was,” Connor firmly declares his stance on the matter. “People like him revel in the darkness and don’t want treatment.”

    “Whatever,” Garfield finally concedes, rolling all eight of his eyes and taking a seat to do his homework.

    “It’s easier for everyone staying in the tower to have shared meals,” Connor scolds him. “We have nearly thirty people with the Critter Kids, it’s not fair on the staff to serve two meals.”

    “If you can get over it...” Garfield mumbles and finally looks at Ivy. “Mom always told me to give people a second chance, so I’ll give you one.” For an eight year old, he has some serious conviction in his voice.

    “Are you liking school?” The Martian foster mother asks, leaning over Garfield’s shoulder and pointing out a mistake in his math. “Making friends with anyone?”

    “Victor’s pretty funny and Cassandra’s in my class, so it’s not too bad.” He admits and frowns at his problem, confused by the division. “Mary-Jane let’s us sit with her and her friends at lunch, so people think we’re cool too.”

    “It’s a school of people with powers, intelligent apes, and some aliens.” Connor remarks, his voice losing the tension from earlier. “Everyone thinks they are the weird one and really no one is normal, so don’t worry about it.”

    “Easy for you to say,” I remark sarcastically. “You’re apparently a god of some kind, according to John.”

    “Whoa...” Garfield exclaims in awe, his pencil clattering to the floor. “Really? Now that really is awesome, everyone at school will be so jealous.” He mutters the last part to himself and I don’t think his foster parents heard.

    “Like half the Titans are...” Connor defends himself with a playful smirk on his face. “I’m just the only one who knows what my responsibilities are. So I have to follow through on them.”

    Dick Grayson
    January 26, 2011
    10:42 PM, EDT

    “You better call it a night,” Ray Palmer looks up at the clock and groans. “It’s a school night and I got a meeting with my boss in the morning. Besides, Donna already went home.”

    “But we only got in one fight tonight,” I complain even as Khaji screams a warning in my ears. “Why do we hav-” My voice cuts off, as Khaji covers me in his armoured carapace and I see the problem with the sonar imagining.

    “Hostiles!” I throw myself forward and tackle Ray out of the way, as a section of the ceiling explodes and crashes down on her previous location. A father and daughter known as Deathstroke and the second Ravager, drop inside with swords drawn.

    Immediately behind them is Heatwave from Central City, and the Rat Catcher from Gotham. Atom’s ability to shrink is nearly useless, in the face of dozens of gnashing teeth and noses capable of sniffing him out.

    “Grab both if we can,” Deathstroke instructs his team and charges for me. “But Atom is the one the Brainiac wants, so the bug boy is a only a bonus.”

    My arms morph into jagged blades and I begin trading blows with the snarling assassin. He is nearly as skilled as my dad, which means I have to fight dirty.

    Expelling a cloud of flammable dust, I leap away from Deathstroke and watch it ignite from the exposure to oxygen. His bellow of pain, is followed by a volley of exploding throwing knives.

    Heatwave hasn’t joined the fight directly, instead sending flames into the walls and ceiling. As the smoke blocks my sight of the others, I lock my gaze on Ravager and throw myself at her.

    We smash through the weakening floor and tumble into a basement filled with old paperwork. The flow of air from our descent, spreads the flames almost instantly and leaves us trapped in a raging inferno.

    “I’d be angry about the lose of a second child, but this one at least took you with her. Bruce will be devastated.” Deathstroke taunts from above, before turning away and dropping something down on us. “I can live with this trade and if enough of her remains, I’ll be given use of a Pit.” He takes off in a dead sprint, as his delivery descends and I realize it’s a sack of dynamite.

    Rose Wilson
    January 26, 2011
    10:49 PM, EDT

    I know what is coming, I've seen this a dozen times already and know I only have one way to escape this fate. Searching to my left, I reach through the smoke and grasp the warming metal. Brandishing the crowbar I step towards Blue Beetle's back and thrust it forward.

    He jerks to the side, as I shove the metal bar into the ground and heave. The access shaft is exposed and I throw myself forward. In his confusion, my target is easy to hit and we both go tumbling below.

    The explosion rocks the building above us. The preset explosives set off a chain reaction and the entire structure comes down on top of the sewer. As the ground shakes around me and debris tumbles through the access shaft, Blue Beetle stalks towards me.

    “You saved me...” His voice is younger than I expected when he speaks, as his bladed arms become hands again. “Why?”

    “You just saw how easily my father just threw me aside.” I stare him down, my left eye boring through his face plate. “Imagine seeing that several times a day for a week and knowing nothing I did, would change his mind.”

    We both flinch, when the tremors of the collapse above come and nearly knocks us off our feet. He hesitates for a moment and I can hear him mutter quietly to himself, but eventually he offers me a hand.

    I reach for it, even though I know what he’s going to do and force myself not to tense. He grabs my wrist and pulls my towards him, hooking a set of handcuffs onto me.

    “I’ll need to bring you in for interrogation.” He waits for me to react, but this is the most direct path to my goal and so I feign submission.

    “I figured.” Scoffing at the obvious, I allow him to lead me towards an available exit and listen to his report.

    “Blue Beetle here,” His voice is stressed out but maintains a steady rhythm. “Deathstroke just kidnapped the Atom and blew up his lab.” He goes silent for a moment, while his allies respond.

    We turn a corner and he gestures for me to climb the ladder first. Taking a moment to see if I slip, I do as instructed and begin my ascent.

    “Don’t worry SK, I made it out before the boom and I even got his kid.” Blue Beetle follows me up. “We’ll be able to find out where they took him and get him back safe.” By now we know how they have been cracking the prisoners for information and I only have need to know details.

    Jade Nguyen
    January 27, 2011
    3:22 AM, MSK

    John’s lead, actually paid off and led us to a cliff side manor, overlooking the Black Sea with a breathtaking view. Horned cultists in vomit green robes, leave a trail of cloven hoof tracks from the village below.

    “It doesn’t look like anyone else is coming up the road.” Love Machine keeps his voice low, but avoids the easier to hear sound of a whisper. “Everyone is in position, we can move whenever you need us.”

    “We’ll signal for you, as soon as we find anything worthwhile.” John lets the cyborg know and casts his disillusionment spell, his body fading from view and leaving only a faint outline.

    Following him across the lawn, I can only frown each time he makes me stop. To my expert eyes everything is fine, but he chants in a variety of languages and breaks through a tangible force.

    “These folk really don’t want to be noticed.” John’s British brogue comes out in a cocky whisper. “Which only makes me more curious.”

    “Give me a boost.” He nods and presents his cupped hands, lifting me onto the roof of the manor. “No lights are on up here,” I let him know what I see on the second floor, reaching down and hoisting him up behind me.

    “So that means everyone is in the basement.” He understands and removes the magic on one of the windows, lifting it open afterwards. “Keep your nose out, for anything that smells like blood.”

    Inside the window, it is revealed to be a bedroom covered in a think layer of dust. Chanting from below, carries through the vents and provides an eerie moan to the building.

    “Stay close,” He warns me with a hiss and pulls me back into him, when I get near a dresser.

    Before I have a chance to snap at him, a swarm of spiders covers the wood and he raises a finger to his lips. Leading me around the summoned arachnids, we exit the room and listen for anyone nearby.

    “Do you smell that?” He asks and I do, nearly gagging when I nod yes.

    “It smells horrible, what is it?” I hiss at him and slide on a version of my Cheshire mask, only this one has reversed colours.

    “Let’s find out.” He grabs the doorknob and unlocks it magically, twisting it open soundlessly.

    Inside is a copper wash basin, nearly over flowing with black bubbling blood. Runes written in blood cover the walls and paint a dark idea of how many people would need to provide it.

    “What are they doing with all this blood?” I ask despite my inner dread and John’s eyes are alight in anger.

    “Control scheme,” He spits, before beginning to wipe away some of the runes. “They have power over anyone who provided a blood sample, whether it was a willing donor or not.”

    “How many people does it look like this covers?” My voice manages to conceal my disgust, as I grab for the silver chain in the tub.

    “At least a thousand people, maybe even two.” He gives the okay, so I yank the plug free and the blood begins to gurgle down the drain. “They’re getting ready to revolt.”

    A scream from downstairs interrupts our discussion and then cuts off as suddenly as it began. We share a glance of concern and I reach for my radio.

    “We got at least one captive in here,” The Doom Patrol doesn’t waste time on chatter, following the plan we already came up with. “Hit the basement, we’ll meet you downstairs.”

    John reaches for his pocket and then hesitates, going for a different one at the last second. He removes a jagged stone knife and tests the weight.

    “Maybe you should upgrade from the stone age.” He scowls at my remark and shakes his head.

    “This is special made for carving cultists,” He smirks and holds it up to my eyes, revealing white runes carved into it. “Any power not from this dimension, will offer man no resistance.”

    “So it’s great for cultists and anyone being possessed.” I realize and he gives me a cocky wink. “But a brittle piece of rock on anything else.”

    “Basically yeah.” John laughs quietly and hands me a second shale dagger. “So try to only hit the soft spots, I’m running out of these and won’t be back in Ireland for a long time.” His eyes are sad, even though his words are carefree and that means something juicy happened.

    As soon as I kick the basement door of it’s hinges, I yank John forward with me and ride the wood down the stairs. He manages to stay in a balanced crouch, while we surprise the two dozen cultists.

    I drop two before they react to our presence and by then I’m tearing through them. John keeps me covered from the bolts of fire and lightning, shielding me and leaving me free to kill the goatmen in green robes.

    I don't get to enjoy our victory for long, because my entire sense of gravity is stolen by a gesture from the leader and I collapse feebly. Walking forward, he removes his hood and reveals the rotting face of Count Vertigo.

    M’gann M’orzz
    Santa Prisca
    January 27, 2011
    6:07 AM, MSK

    Sliding out of bed, I phase through the wall and float down to the patio attached to the living room. Getting nestled in the wicker chair, I allow myself to enjoy the sunrise and think.

    We still have a red Martian in a coma and my entire planet is in the middle of a civil war. I’m safe here on Earth, but my family is in danger and I haven’t heard from them in months. It’s moments like these, that really make me understand how much has been thrust on me.

    Connor is great, but so much happened and I just don’t feel ready to be a mom. He adjusted so quickly, because it really is just like a smaller team.

    For me, every day I wake up and less of Marie’s memories are present. I can’t remember when Garfield’s birthday is anymore. I still care about him, but I know my training wheels aren’t going to last much longer and I’m terrified.

    Being a normal parent is hard enough, but we have to worry about constant super villain attacks and we’ve already lost friends. The stress of keeping him safe and happy, is something I thought I would have time to prepare for.

    My life has changed so much in a single year and it’s time to stop acting like a highschooler. I’m the oldest one of our friends and it’s time I acted like it.

    Connor is constantly on edge, having to make all the hard choices for everyone and I should be helping him with it. It’s been nice working so closely with him the last week, so I need to involve myself more in the decision making from now on.

    Mind made up, I rise from my seat and glide towards the beach. Pamela should be awake by now, getting the next batch of seeds ready and so I approach the hedge maze that conceals her garden.

    “To what do I owe the pleasure of such an early morning visit?” She greets me warmly, but remains hunched over a mound of dirt. “We aren’t supposed to leave for hours still.”

    “I’m tired of being a passenger and only reacting to life.” I give a firm stare and press forward. “I need to hurry up, or this choice will be gone too.”

    “I assume you have need of my services.” It’s not a question, but I nod yes anyway.

    “I need a pair of crowns made of Snakewood, along with a tiara and circlet.” I explain and hope Connor isn’t mad about this. “I’m also going to need two rings with empty sockets.”

    “Oh...” Her eyes go wide in realization and then she gives me a tight smile. “Good for you.” I know I wont be able to read her mind without serious effort, which is what makes her so intriguing to me.

    “Thanks, when do you think they’ll be ready?” Struggling not to blush with excitement, I keep focused on what I still need to do. “I’ll need the rings first of course. I shouldn’t be presumptuous about something like this.”

    “You spend how much of each day in his head?” Pam snorts and extends a hand forward. “You’re allowed to make some assumptions.”

    “You’re just lucky Kobra was importing the seeds, or this would be a lot harder.” She smirks at me as the rustling of a vine approaches and she grabs twin bands of wood. “Are these good?”

    “They’re perfect...” I reach for them with shaking hands, as what I’m planning to do feels real. “Thank you.”

    7:38 AM, MSK

    “You want me to do what?” Kaldur stares at me with a confused expression on his..

    “Dive for the sunken pirate ship off the North coast, grab the biggest jewel you can find on board, and give it to Kon.” My answer only leaves him with more questions, so it’s a good thing I’m he Answer. “He’s going to blast it with his love vision and Zatanna will bond it with the wood magically.”

    “You know the treasure remains?” His amused smile, shows he has caught on to my plan. “I would have thought it claimed by Bane.”

    “It was,” My response has him chuckle at air breathers. “He used it as his royal treasury.”

    “Why don’t you retrieve it then?” His words make sense, but I shake my head no.

    “It will mean more, if I get our friends to help with this and so I want you to pick the shiny rock.” I may love Earth, but the obsession over rocks is still an oddity for me.

    “And she needs to act normal,” Artemis explains with a calculating look. “Which means I need to go get ready and cover flight detail today.

    “You’d do that for me?” Exhaling in relief, I grab her in a tight hug.

    “Someone needs to keep the idiot distracted.” Accepting my embrace, she grunts out a teasing remark. “And I have the most flight time after you two, so that means me.”

    “Besides he’ll know something is up if you go,” Kon adds, stroking the few hairs on his chin in thought. “You two have been sharing head space since July, so it’s better to keep you separate until he gets back tonight.”

    “Wont he have to check on Rose’s interrogation?” Artemis remembers the prisoner Dick brought in last night.

    “No,” Explains Kaldur. “The League will be handling the case, as we would when one of us is captured.”

    “I guess that’s okay,” She scowls, but concedes to the fairness of it. “Atom is one of them.” After a moment of silence, she realizes something and leans in to whisper. “You’re going to ask me to be the Maid of Honour... right?”

    “Zatanna might have something to say about that,” We share a giggle at my remark and she defends herself as a choice.

    “Well she’s only making some magic glue,” Artemis has a confidant smirk, as if she knows I’ve already made a choice and I only need an excuse for our other friends. “I’m keeping your elongated man busy and I’m even going to make sure we do a longer flight, so you’ll have until seven tonight.”

    “Am I not also made of honour?” Kaldur asks, a hurt look on his face. “Why am I not also in consideration, or Kon?”

    “Uh...” Artemis tries not laugh, while my eyes dart back and forth between the Atlantean and Kryptonian. “On the surface-” Kaldur’s own laughter, makes me realize he’s only teasing.

    “Oh... you had me for a second,” She jabs a finger into his rib, which Kaldur doesn’t react to.

    “My skin is to dense for a poke like that, same as Kon.” Kaldur smiles down at her, his voice amused. “You know this my friend.”

    “Yeah, but at least my boyfriend pretends.” She scowls up at Kaldur and exhales through her nose slowly.

    “Then perhaps it is him, you should have prodded.” I let a giggle slip at his words, which has Artemis throw up her hands in defeat.

    “Whatever.” Turning to me, she gives a firm farewell. “Just make sure you get everything done before we get back, I’m not spending a second day with only Connor and Ivy in a confined space.”

    Jade Nguyen
    January 27, 2011
    3:55 AM, MSK

    “The notorious Constantine,” Vertigo rasps and steps forward, his remaining followers move to restrain the pair of us. “You will be an excellent first step, in repaying Brother Blood for my second chance at life.

    “You should have gotten a better deal,” Groaning on the ground beside me, John manages to keep his gaze focused on the rotting face and snark back. “You look like crap.”

    “That is no way to speak to the soon to be King of Vlatava.” Vertigo’s face contorts in a grimace. “You have just made the traitor’s death... much more painful.”

    Knowing he means me, I exhale and close my eyes. My sense of balance is gone, but my other senses are still functioning. Centring myself, I rely on my years of ingrained training and let my sai fly through the air.

    With a wet ‘thunk’, the weapon impales his throat. His gargling rasps are a relief, because I can already feel my brain stop spinning.

    “Nice throw.” John laughs darkly when I finally look ahead.

    “I just wanted him to shut up.” Grinning with raw savagery, I shove him backwards and drive my remaining blade into a charging cultist.

    “Something is keeping him intelligent,” The Brit explains with a grunt, while he avoids a thrust from yet another goatman. “So we need to carve it out of him, or he won’t stay down.”

    “Let battle be joined!” The welcome roar of Maxima, precedes a blast of violet energy that strikes my foe and clears my path to Vertigo.

    “Sorry we took so long!” Love Machine provides covering fire, letting me know why they are alone. “The others are dealing with the goats.”

    “More of the goatmen?” John clarifies, while I rush towards the Count.

    “No!” Bellows Maxima in response, cleaving one such foe in half with her axe. “A herd of fire breathing beasts was released, each the size of Otis.”

    Vertigo barely blocks my first attack and is left open for my followup. I pin his sword arm to his thigh and take him down with a leg sweep.

    “Where do I start digging?” I growl at the Magician.

    “Heart, brain, or liver.” He explains grimly. “It has to be one of the three, for the kind of autonomy that ghoul has.”

    I almost feel sorry for the zombie face of Count Vertigo, he looks so pathetic trying to hold his neck in place. I don’t want to have to look him in the eyes while I do this, so I finish the job and severe his head completely.

    “You can check the brain then.” Throwing the still blinking head back at John, I laugh at his gagging noises.

    “Then I claim the heart!” Maxima tosses the last cultist aside, striding towards me and the body. “For I made the most kills.”

    “Because I was trying to take at least one prisoner dear.” Jim smiles indulgently at his wife and enters the basement, checking the bodies for life.

    “You weren’t crippling them for me?” She sounds almost hurt by this fact.

    “I know you don’t need my help,” Jim’s eyes go wide and I can see him thinking fast. “A warrior as great as you, should face her foes at full strength.” She considers his words with a frown on her face, while she digs through Vertigo’s chest cavity.

    “Because the Earthlings have no record of my deeds,” She finally smiles widely and removes the black heart of the Count. “You are allowing me to prove my valour, so your world knows the value of an alliance with Almerrac”

    “Exactly.” He shrugs at me over Maxima’s kneeling body, as she rips the heart open and a small red shard clatters to the ground.

    “I think we got a winner.” I grab the fragment of glowing ruby and wipe it clean on a cultist’s robe.

    Artemis Crock
    January 27, 2011
    5:28 AM, UTC

    Is this what I can expect in a few years, working all day and taking in the kids of those who die because of us? I may tease him all the time, but Connor really isn’t an idiot. He’s just impulsive and thinks he’s responsible for everything. Which I guess he kind of is, considering the fact that he’s royalty and keeps offering the refugees we find a place to live.

    He’s only a few years older than me mentally, but I can really only count a handful of times that he’s cut loose and just had fun. It’s really only when he’s able to get a minute alone with one of the kids, or I see him smile at M’gann like a dope.

    It’s weird. for someone with so many reasons to take a minute and just deal with the things on his plate, he just seems to march forward and pile more on top. I’m worried if he doesn’t bend soon, he’ll break and yes I know how ironic it is considering he’s basically rubber.

    “Cut out the rough flying,” Poison Ivy demands from the ramp, her voice definitely sounding off. “I’m going to hurl, if you keep flying like this.”

    “Sorry,” Calling down to her, I bring us lower and drop speed by a quarter. “Since you’re going to be done Mali soon, what do you have planned for after this?”

    “We’re going to plant some new hybridized plants in Sochi, where that Meta-teen bathed the area in radiation.” Connor answers with pride and I can’t blame him, it is nice helping and not having to hurt someone for once.

    “By then he thinks Dubbilex should have the Mammoths cloned and we can accelerate the Siberian grassland regrowth.” Ivy snarks, but I can hear the eagerness in her voice. “I’m already not hating our bargain”

    “Good, because Waller wanted bombs in each of your heads.” I laugh when the ship goes silent at his remark and I only wish I could see both of their faces. “I managed to convince her it was a bad idea, but she keeps trying.” I know he’s lying, but his deadpan delivery is convincing.

    “I have no idea what M’gann sees in you,” Ivy retorts finally, her voice has a slight tremor again. “And I said slow down!”

    “You really have a bossy prisoner.” Grinning when I Ivy starts to curse a me, I make sure to have Connor’s back and hit an air pocket. “Sorry.” I call down at them with false sweetness, but don’t mean it at all.

    “I know, but M’gann likes the challenge of making a friend who’s mind she can’t read.” Connor laughs and sends out a wave of raw joy when he says her name. “So I’ll keep Doctor Isley around, at least until she works off her debt to society.”

    “Who died and made you king?” Ivy mumbles to herself, but the words carry and I snicker at the coming response.

    “Bane did.” His voice is flat and I can picture the awkward shrug he makes. “I ore out his throat wit my teeth.”

    “That was after you broke Kobra’s back,” I add and smirk at his awkward thanks.

    “Yes... it was.” His words are stilted, which means he’s trying not to get distracted and start something with me. “I was trying to prove my point, not sound like an Arkham inmate.”

    “Well now you did both,” Snickering to myself, I finally hit a smooth patch of air and let us get some work done.
    Cormác, Ajlove and Kamehb like this.
  29. Threadmarks: Episode 13: Royal Responsibilities
    Flightless Man

    Flightless Man Not too sore, are you?

    Aug 17, 2020
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    Episode 13: Royal Responsibilities
    M’gann M’orzz
    Santa Prisca
    January 27, 2011
    2:47 PM, CST

    <Everything is ready for tonight, or are my services required?> Dubbilex greets me with a knowing smirk, which means someone needs a refresher in how to keep information confidential.

    <Almost. I just have one more thing I want to take care of first.> If I’m really going to propose, I’ll be Queen and that means I may as well get started on the real responsibilities. <Where is Marvin’s cell?>

    <For what purpose?> The Vice President frowns at my request. <He is still unresponsive and incapable of being interrogated.>

    <Connor’s going to put it off until Artemis is ready to talk about what happened,> Explaining my reasons, he shrugs and begins leading me to the cell. <I really have nothing to do once the kids go to school and I have the most skill with this task. I should be pulling my own weight.>

    <I will not turn away your offer of help.> Dubbilex leads me into an elevator and we start going down. <The Genomorphs may all be psychic, but those of us with real skill are becoming overwhelmed.>

    <I guess that means I better make this a more permanent thing.> Frowning at the number of occupied cells, I follow Dubbilex into Marvin’s room.

    He’s strapped down on a gurney and hooked up to life support. The constant beeping is kind of soothing, but looking at the monitors shows nearly no brain activity. It’s kind of hard to imagine this scrawny kid, is the one who caused so much trauma.

    The girls he had altered, have so far been resistant to any kind of remedy. We’ve been able to offer the families a chance to move here, but some have just abandoned the girls to our care.

    I can’t really comprehend such disregard for your own child, but Artemis and Richie have assured me it is all to common on Earth. Connor hasn’t mentioned his parents from before Oliver took him in and now he can’t even remember his life as Roy, so I can’t use him as a guide for a normal human.

    <Time to get started.> Sighing to myself, I take the only chair in the room and open my mind fully. <Can you come back for me at six please. I’ll need time to freshen up after this.>

    <Certainly and good luck.> Giving a half bow that he normally reserves for Connor, Dubbilex begins to leave the room.

    M’gann M’orzz
    Happy Harbour
    October 31, 2010

    ?:?? PM, EDT

    As soon as I enter Marvin’s mind, I sense something else present and observing me. The mindscape is a grey-scale version of his old high school. It’s dark and dreary even in the middle of the day, as a cold rain pours down on me.

    Thick dark clouds blot out the sun, leaving the schoolyard covered in shadows and without any lights on. The area is empty of anyone visible, but I know someone or something is here with me. I hope it’s the remnants of Marvin.

    “You shouldn’t be here,” The school’s loudspeaker announces, a boys solemn voice coming from all around me. “He’ll make me hurt you.”

    “Who will!” Cupping my hands, I yell across the courtyard. “Marvin!” As I yell, I can sense something approaching. “Where are you?”

    “Hide!” His terrified voice screeches at me over the speakers. “He’s coming!”

    A rumbling from above, followed by the roar of a lion and I realize to late I have already been seen. Looking up with rising dread, I can see the nearly black clouds above have formed a sneering face.

    “You may not be the Amazon,” Klarion’s voice echoes across the mental terrain. “But at least I can pay your lover back, for killing my poor dear Teekl.”

    As the face in the clouds roars down at me, it begins to be lit from above with a dark purple glow. A hand forms with wicked looking claws continuing to extend and it stabs down at me.

    <Don’t let him use you like this,> I throw out a determined plea, hoping Marvin has enough of himself left to do something. <This is your mind so think of something happy!>


    Everything vanishes in a bright yellow light. Red and blue explosions come next, revealing a night sky filled with fireworks. The boats on the water make me assume it’s summer, but I’m not sure which holiday.

    “Marvin?” The sound of soft sobs from nearby, has me lift off of the sand and float over the water. “It’s okay, you got us away from him.”

    “He’s going to come back,” It’s easy to find him in a red canoe, he’s the only person in any of the boats. “He only left me alone, when I did what he wanted.”

    “What was that?” Sitting across from him, I place a tentative hand on his trembling shoulder.

    “He made me hurt them,” Marvin looks up with red ringed and puffy eyes. “I just wanted Alice back, but he wouldn’t tell me who she was.”

    He starts to rock back and forth, pulling desperately on his hair. “He’s going to ruin the world and he said if I helped him... I could keep her safe from him and his friends.”

    “What about all the other girls you took?” His words don’t sound evil, but his actions raised a racket and so I have a hard time forgiving him.

    “I made a deal for each task he needed me for,” Marvin whispers and gestures for me to get low in the canoe, as a massive shadow passes over us. “I was saving them from the coming Chaos, but they wouldn’t follow the rules and I had to punish them.”

    “Saving them?” Hissing back at the flinching brunette, I watch the roving dark cloud. “By kidnapping them and then changing them at a genetic level?”

    “It was the only way to keep them safe, His voice is hollow and I can only see desperation and terror in his eyes. “A little bit of Chaos now and they’ll fit in with the Wonderland Klarion is going to create. It was the only way to control the changes they would have.”

    “The Genomorphs haven’t been able to reach you,” I share what Dubbilex has told me and frown at Marvin. “Why won’t you let them help you?”

    “The demons?” Marvin jerks backwards and rocks the canoe. “If you weren’t a pretty girl, I would have tried harder keeping you out of my head.”

    “They aren’t demons, they’re Martians that Klarion’s friends experimented on.” Gesturing for him to stay calm, I observe the clouds beginning to double back on us. “We just want to help put you back together, so you can finally wake up again.”

    “Found you!” Klarion cackles and sends a bolt of orange lightning at us. “Now it’s time to play!”

    “No!” Marvin shrieks in defiance and throws himself between me and the magical discharge.

    As Marvin writhes in agony, everything fades away...

    . . .

    Groaning to myself, I find myself back in the cell beside Marvin’s body. His vitals are going haywire onscreen, with alarms blaring and his body shaking.

    Santa Prisca
    January 27, 2011
    9:02 PM, CST

    “Have fun and say hey to M’gann for me,” Artemis gives me an exhausted yawn goodbye, clearly unused to a twelve hour shift flying. “I’m going home, before Jade gets back and steals the shower.”

    “I’d hurry up,” Laughing at her scowl, I explain why. “Dubbilex let me know the Doom Patrol is back, but still being debriefed. It’s apparently something big enough that we may not be flying tomorrow.”

    “Well don’t tell my mom,” She remarks with a mischievous look on her face. “So I can skip class tomorrow and sleep this off in GUS.”

    “No way I’m lying to Paula,” I deny the request firmly. “Your mom terrifies me.” I remember what she did to Infinity Island.

    “Oh really?” Pamela asks, an intrigued look in her eyes. “I need to meet her.”

    “And I don’t need to put up with his.” Sticking my tongue out at the thorny woman, I giggle inside when she restrains her desire to hit me.

    “My mom’s helping Jade look after Harleen, which has been an experience let me tell you.” A dark look crosses Artemis’ face. “I thought me and Lena had crappy parents, but Joker just killed Harleen’s family and abducted her from from the carnival before the bodies got cold.”

    “Well since Pamela here still hasn’t chosen a home,” I stretch an arm and shove Ivy down the fork in the road to the Crock’s house. “Bring her home with you for dinner. I’m not in the mood to cook for everyone this late.”

    I don’t know why it bothers me that Pam is into my girlfriend, shouldn’t that be the dream? Self confidence is the problem, because even with what she said about her people being a three gender species I’m jealous and I can’t help it.

    No matter the fact that she’s been with me nearly every step of the way, I’m terrified one day M’gann will look at me and see me how I feel deep down. I’m a scared little boy, one who is in over his head and trying to tread water.

    “May as well,” Snorts Artemis and leads Ivy down the road. “At least you’d be better than that Gardner jerk.”

    Once they are out of earshot, I head into the tower and take the elevator up. Rubbing the exhaustion from my eyes, I step out and head for the kitchen. The lights are nearly all out, but it looks like a lamp is still on in the dining room.

    Pouring myself a glass of water, I take a big drink draining the glass and go to turn off the light. To my pleasant surprise, M’gann is at the table with dinner steaming and served for two.

    “Isn’t this a wonderful treat,” I stretch my head forward and give her an enthusiastic kiss, before she pushes me back gently and I retract with a goofy smile on my face. “It smells amazing dear, what’s the occasion?”

    “I have something I want to ask you, and I’m not above playing dirty to ensure you answer the way I want.” She stands slowly, fluttering her eyelashes seductively and reveals the fact that she’s wearing my favourite outfit... nothing at all. “I had a bunch of plans to woo you, but Kon was right.”

    “If this was his suggestion, I’m knighting him.” She laughs at my words and steps closer.

    “He reminded me how busy you are and to keep things simple.” Pressing a hand against my cheek, her human face blushes a dark pink. “I love you and I’m taking charge of my life, so will you marry me?”

    “Don’t you need to find someone else first?” I have to ask now, before I make this commitment. “What about what you said?”

    “That’s only to reproduce and we already have kids,” M’gann giggles and I join her in relief. “If we lived on Mars or maybe in Atlantis it would be different, but I spend almost all my time as a human anyway and should be adopting the customs.”

    “I hope Garfield and Mary-Jane aren’t here tonight.” I raise my eyebrows suggestively and she smirks back.

    “Paula took them and Rachel for a sleepover.” Her words give me ideas, but she holds up a finger to my lips. “Before we get distracted with the fun stuff, I do need an answer to my question.”

    “Yes.” Is the only thing I have to say and she slips a wooden band on my finger.

    Jade Nguyen
    Santa Prisca
    January 27, 2011
    9:02 PM, CST

    “This is a piece of the Ruby of Life?” Bobo holds up the blood stained shard of crystal to he light, staring at it with a curious frown on his face. “So it’s not all in young Firestorm?”

    “No,” Remarks John with a frustrated sigh. “She only has the portion Sargon managed to assemble. I’d say maybe half the mass is still missing.” That is frightening, considering the ghoul of Vertigo.

    “We need to recover the other pieces,” Waller interrupts with a firm command. “I want you and Constantine here, looking into possible locations.”

    “Each one that Sargon found,” John answers, accepting an offer of Bobo’s pipe. “Was inside a Lazarus pit and needed to be drained completely.”

    “Is that why Ra’s was so desperate to keep the locations a secret?” I wonder out loud and the magician gives me a nod of confirmation. “He said the world once had many more of them, but never gave a reason for the decline in number.”

    “It was shattered when then dark side of the moon was facing the Earth.” Explains the charming Brit. “Back twenty thousand years ago, give or take a few centuries.”

    “And you know this how?” Waller raises a good point, is this fact or legend?

    “I’ve been looking for a way to stop Trigon... anyway I can.” He levels a dark stare at the stern woman. “The Ruby was an option, before I had a chance to examine it closely anyway and I made sure to do my research on it.”

    “Do you have anymore leads?” Waller doesn’t back down, just somehow manages to glare even harder at John. “I can’t waste time sending the Patrol on a wild goose chase.”

    “Well if he doesn’t,” I speak up, remembering the mission where I died. “We know one was in Japan and one of the halves of Infinity Island.”

    “Then it looks like you have your assignment for tomorrow.” Waller finally relents in her glaring match, giving me a grateful nod and breaking eye contact with John.

    I have bad memories of each place and would rather avoid this pair of missions, but they’ll need me as a guide. At least the Japan base was only a few moments of darkness, so I guess that’s the one I’ll start with.

    “Japan first, It’s more likely to still have anything useful inside.” I instruct with confidence and Waller just agrees with a casual nod. “If the Island was going to be emptied, it would already have happened. Japan’s base has to cover up what they remove, so we may get lucky.”

    Santa Prisca
    January 28, 2011
    10:14 AM, CST

    <This one wonders.> Arenay greets us from her place crouched on the desk, her excited voice entering my mind. <How did your night go?>

    <Very good,> Assures M’gann, who is apparently picking up shifts at the prison now. <Everything went according to plan. Please thank Amanda for giving them such a long route yesterday, it gave me time to prepare.>

    <This one has been informed.> Arenay has a mischievous look on her face. <That it is better for national security, if we have a clear line of succession.>

    <Arenay, are you feeling okay?> I ask in concern, because something about her feels... off.

    <This one is fine.> The G-gnome tilts her head to the side in curiosity. <What is concerning you?>

    I can’t quite place it, but something just feels... incomplete inside her. In fact all the Genomorphs I have passed today, have had the same sensation of incompleteness.

    <I’m not sure.> I can’t do anything right now, because I’m not even sure if something is actually off. <I’ll talk to your dad about it, once I’m done with Miss Wilson’s interview that is.>

    <This one wishes you luck,> She shakes her head vigorously. <Rose has a tricky mind and she remembers things that have never even happened.>

    <Doesn’t mean they won’t.> Sighing loudly, I contemplate what this could mean.

    Is she like me, or is this just normal precognition? Maybe she’s like Abra Kadabra and actually from the future. I guess she also could have gotten a surge of knowledge somehow, but I should probably go find out for sure.

    <You better not touch Marvin’s mind, until John arrives to ward you up.> I remind my fiance, a stern but caring look on my face. <Klarion is to much for anyone to handle alone.>

    <I know, he should be here in a while.> She gives me a smug response, because we both know I would have dove right back in. <I’m here to back you up, so you don’t leap without looking again.>

    “Well let’s do this,” Speaking out loud outside Rose’s cell so she knows we’re here for her, I ignore the teasing from M’gann and open the door. “Ready to talk today Rose?”

    The white haired teen has only a single eye, which locks onto me with murder blazing in it’s reflection. Her uniform has been replaced by a pink jumpsuit, covered in yellow ducks and white bunnies.

    It was Waller’s idea to customize the pattern for each prisoner and I agreed. Dehumanizing our captives would always feel wrong, but now I have to consider that half my friends aren’t human and I’m marrying a Martian. I’m really going to have to do something about the legal terminology we use in Santa Prisca.

    “So first things first,” I address the glaring girl, pacing back and forth before her. “You want us dead and why is that?”

    “My brother is gone because of you and whenever I try to see him,” She growls at me, her voice low and dangerous. “All I see is my face in a mirror."

    “Blue Beetle said she had some for of prior knowledge,” M’gann reminds me, staring at the girl with more empathy than I can muster. “So why do you think we’re responsible?”

    “Because he followed you through the window and here you are,” Rose cross her arms and is nearly snarling her response. “But he’s not here, or anywhere I can see. So you either killed him, or have him hidden somewhere magically.”

    “The car that followed us?” M’gann realizes slowly, her face growing concerned and embarrassment begins to leak from her. “We never did go in and get them.”

    “Oh...” I exclaim softly and realize why Rose is so angry with us. “We should probably get on that.”

    “You really didn’t kill him?” Rose’s glare softens by a minuscule amount, but I can sense hope instead of anger now.

    “No,” M’gann answers Rose, her voice has a layer of guilt in it.

    “Well solitary confinement in the Mirrorway for however long it’s been,” Giving the one eyed girl an embarrassed explanation, I shrug awkwardly. “Should wipe away most of his sentence.”

    “And getting him out, might stop my dad from carrying out his hit on you all.” She snorts and then giggles for a few seconds. “Not likely though, you really pissed him and his friends off.”

    “Well I’m not going to be sending you to America, Deathstroke will have you out in days.” I stroke my chin in thought. “So do you want to go to school, or stay in our juvenile detention?”

    “What’s the difference?” Rose snorts and I let a smile slip.

    “If you go to school, we help you find a better life.” Stopping my pacing, I stare her down with crossed arms. “If you stay in here, we only care about stopping you from causing problems for us.”

    “You’re going to try and get my brother out... aren’t you?” She stares at me and I can finally see some vulnerability, even if it’s only for a moment.

    “Yeah.” Nodding, I watch her make a decision and stare me down with concern on her face.

    “Can I come?” Rose’s question is weighted, but if we only activate one mirror from the outside we should be fine.

    “If I let you,” I bargain with her, intent on getting another child away from the side of the villains. “You need to allow M’gann or a Genomorph, to do a full and unimpeded scan for honesty.”

    “Understandable,” Rose agrees begrudgingly, her anxiety rising steadily as I stare her down. “If we find my brother, I’ll agree to your terms.”

    “No.” I shake my head and make a counter offer. “I’m not bringing you with us, until you get evaluated.”

    “Fine.” Rose accepts my offered hand and let’ M’gann scan her for lies, or any intent to cause harm.

    It’s always slightly uncomfortable watching M’gann work, when no one else is in the room. Both girls are just standing motionless, with blank expressions across each face. Almost ten minutes of awkward silence passes, before M’gann blinks and gives me a confident nod.

    “She doesn’t have any concrete plans,” M’gann keeps her voice low, while Rose begins twitching back to awareness. “It was more about her finding out what happened, so she knew how far to take her revenge.”

    “Well... I guess we have to bring you.” Rose grins at my words and gives a confident nod.

    “Good, because I make liars into diers.” I raise my eyebrows at that, looking at her chained ankles and wrists.

    “I almost want to see how you would try it.” M’gann growls when I say this, so I don’t pursue the line of thought any farther. “Is that even a word?” Is my back up choice of words, which has M’gann release her tense shoulders.

    “Doesn’t matter what words are real or not, after you’re dead.” Rose narrows her eye at me and then winks dangerously. “But we made a deal, so don’t worry you Highness.”

    “Oh I like that,” I turn to M’gann and laugh. “It reminds me of high school.”

    “Do you have some kind of plan?” Rose demands, not in the mood for my banter.

    “We haven’t seen him on any of our trips, so we’re going to need a way to go deeper than we normally go.” I think someone would have mentioned a car and passenger floating by.

    “We can take my Bio-ship inside, we’ll just have to make one of the ponds act as a reflection.” M’gann finds a solution, before I even really considered anything past sending a flyer inside with each person who can’t.

    Santa Prisca
    January 28, 2011
    4:28 PM, CST

    “Hope you didn’t sleep through class,” I greet our friends, as they walk out the gates of the Allen Academy. “Because I got a head scratcher, for whoever is interested.”

    “What do you mean?” Raquel is quick to get clarification before volunteering. “You gonna have us checking through reports for a clue or something?”

    “Really?” Groans Artemis, glaring daggers at me. “I covered for you yesterday and this is how you repay me...”

    “Since you aren’t sobbing,” Kon smirks at me, his arm casually thrown around the blonde’s waist. “I assume things went well with M’gann.”

    “Oh yeah she proposed.” I shrug off the details, because as far as I’m concerned nothing has really changed between us yet. “We’re going into the Mirrorway for a recovery mission, who wants to come?”

    “Are you asking me too?” Cameron looks surprised and I can feel his hope churning inside. “Because that sounds really cool.”

    “We can work out the details on the way to the tower,” Zatanna silences the Makhent with a single raised finger. “I want details. Considering the work we all put in on this for her, we need them.”

    “Aren’t you and M’gann supposed to do that and then you all threaten me with harm, if I ever hurt her?” Confused by the inquiry, I shake my head. “I thought the guys had to bring me out and give me life advice on how not to screw up, but since we’ll be drinking the wisdom will be hit or miss.”

    “That’s basically what happened whenever one of dads guys got hitched,” Remarks Cameron who is still wanting to come and hasn’t left for his training with the Superfriends yet. “Except they had strippers and way harder stuff.”

    “That sounds...” Wally cuts himself off when Zatanna raises an eyebrow and smirks dangerously at him. “Very very tacky.” She nods in approval when he corrects himself in time. “You should definitely go for something more high class.” I’m surprised it worked, she’s really getting him to slow down and appreciate the moment.

    “I do have homework,” Richie adds, his voice hesitant about interrupting. “I don’t know if I should come.”

    “Well I kind of need you to, you’re our secret weapon inside.” I explain with an apologetic shrug. “We haven’t seen them on any of our quick trips, so the car of four has gone deep. We’ll only be doing a few hours of searching each day, until we know if it will have long term effects on us. “

    “M’gann’s idea?” Realizes Raquel, smirking at me with crossed arms. “Because you normally jump right in and don’t share the plan until we’re on our way.”

    “I normally don’t have a plan fully formed,” I let a wave of embarrassment pulse out and laugh a myself. “Until we’re back from the mission. I usually have maybe eighty percent of one ready by the time we deploy.”

    “Which makes me even more relieved.” Artemis scowls at me, but with no heat and only habit is causing it.. “It’s about time you actually shared responsibility with us, since you’ve just admitted you can’t do everything by yourself.”

    “Yeah and what’s this gossip I heard,” Wally finally speaks for himself, his arms waving wildly in frustration. “About you being the only one of us, to handle your responsibilities?”

    “I’m pretty sure that conversation, was about the divine responsibilities.” Everyone is glaring at me now and I rack my mind for when I said that. “That some of us have apparently taken on.”

    “Oh...” Wally realizes what I meant and looks embarrassed. “Yeah I have been ignoring those voices, but they’ve been getting louder.”

    “Um, what?” Zatanna is glaring at her boyfriend’s admission. “You’re hearing voices in your head and didn’t say anything?”

    “Well...” He wilts under her stern gaze and tries explaining. “We all do because of M’gann, I thought it had to do with the Genomorphs drawing me here.”

    “I’m guessing those are people who genuinely believe in you and are the same kind of prayers I’ve started hearing.” He looks shocked when I admit this and I can sense everyone else is equally unprepared. “Last few days... I’ve been hearing prayers in Spanish, Martian, and the language Grodd is developing for his apes, normally around bedtime.”

    “Speak for yourselves,” Kon is smirking at me, pride evident in his stance. “I’ve been doing my part for a few months now.”

    “Really?” Artemis is disbelieving, because Kon hasn’t seemed to be doing anything extra. “Like what?”

    “I’m the Titan of Love, according to Connor's classification anyway.” Kon points to Wally and Zatanna. “I helped reunite lost love, I slowed down my dad’s ferocity and made him see reason, and you and Jade even get along now.” Kon makes an exaggerated bow, sharing a goofy grin with Artemis when he straightens himself. “I’d say you all need to play catch up.”

    “I keep hearing athletes for the most part,” Wally admits. “I guess I really represent pushing yourself to people.”

    “You showed America and anyone else who saw our speech,” I speak slowly, as I remember the moments after and Wally’s disappearance for months. “Not to give up... ever.”

    “A hero is just someone who gives up a minute after everyone else has.” Wally smiles softly, his mind reeling as he remembers something his uncle said. “Barry always said that when I thought was too tired to run another step and then he reminded me how much we can do in that length of time.”

    “Jade is really going all in with the chaos of battle thing,” Artemis adds, leaning into Kon with a sour look on her face. “And for some reason, it’s been making me want to try talking things out more.”

    “Wow.” Cameron looks shocked. “So what are you War and Peace now?”

    “Maybe...” Artemis shares his expression for a moment, before letting it fade into a content smile. “But I guess that could be good. I’m not against fighting or anything, but my ideas are more long term and not only about the current ‘battle’.”

    “You want to at least see if it can be solved nonviolently?” Checking, I’m also surprised when she gives a hesitant nod.

    “Yeah.” She shakes her head to clear out the heavy thoughts and stares at me. “So who are we going to rescue?”

    “When you and M’gann rescued the twins, we kind of left a car in the Mirrorway.”

    “So?” She still hasn’t fully embraced her new ideology clearly, since she has no care for assassins.

    “One was Deathstroke’s son and Dick managed to trade his daughter for Blue Beetle. You should know a Rose Wilson.”

    “Oh her?” Growls Artemis, her voice now a dangerous tone. “She wanted me to ditch M’gann my first day in Star City, so I dropped her like I tried with Brainfreeze here.” She jerks a thumb back at Icicle Jr, laughing when he starts to whine.

    “You and Jade happened to be my only female friends when I was working for dad,” He grumbles in his own defence. “My choice for a first crush was her or you and I know she would have stabbed me, you would have only hit me.”

    “Cameron I want you here,” He nods at my command. “Something will go wrong eventually and you still have bodyguard duty.”

    “I am far more powerful than he is,” Mary-Jane’s voices have become a lot more synchronized and only a slight delay on Inferno’s words is presents. “Why do you insist on me having a bodyguard?”

    “Because you still ignore anyone you don’t already know,” I pat them on the head tenderly. “He’s a social bodyguard, so people don’t think the Princess is weird.”

    “Garfield doesn’t have one...” They twist sideways, leaving my patting air and MJ scowls up at me.

    “True and I’m going to have to do something about that.” She is right and If we’re adopting him, he will be a Prince and in need of protection.

    “Doesn’t Grodd have a son?” Wally snaps his fingers in excitement, which has Garfield looking intrigued. “You said the apes would start soon, so why not have both of them protected by the same person?”

    “I think it will make more sense for MJ to get an Amazon guard after school and Garfield can have one of Grodd’s Apes look after him when school is over.” I give him a smirk which he returns playfully. “You spend most of your time at the zoo anyway and I finally have enough teachers with combat training, who are also certified as educators.”

    “Who did you finally settle on?” Raquel asks, clearly focused on her education. “Because the dozen or so you have are being run ragged.”

    “Well I’m going to be hosting some Atlanteans, a few dozen want to do a year above.” I consider the list Kaldur has given me. “Queen Mera has sent six instructors with them and Donna got her mom to send a few Amazons, to give a contrast to the Bana Migdhall ones I’m employing.”

    “Did you really get Cassandra’s mom to teach sometimes?” Garfield asks and I confirm this.

    “Yeah. She’s going to handle some history classes for you all, which has me considering retaking my senior year for that alone.” I love history and even more so now, with the fact that so many legends are somewhat true.

    “I haven’t seen the alien robot since our separation...” Roy looks conflicted as he forces himself to ask. “Is it alright?”

    “Sphere,” Mary-Jane explains with a finger to the sky. “has chosen to remove herself from humanity for now, so she can recover from the trauma. She is staying on Watchtower and observing humans from a safe distance with him in orbit.”

    “She doesn’t have eyes, so what do I call her?” Wally wonders to himself, before his eyes light up. “Sister Ear, since she she’s listening in on everyone...” He looks proud and then concerned. “Which is creepier the more I think of it.”

    “And isn’t your brother basically watching the planer all day everyday?” Artemis adds with her own growing frown. “So we have a Brother Eye and Sister Ear.”

    “He is our uncle technically.” Mary-Jane is quick to be accurate with the labels. “And he is only watching the weather patterns for oversized storms in need of dispersing.”

    February 2, 2011
    5:46 PM, CST

    “We haven’t found anything in days...” Artemis groans and stretches. “Are you sure he didn’t fall out of a mirror somewhere?”

    “If he had,” Rose growls back at the blonde. “I would be able to see him.”

    “Because you are such an oracle,” Having none of her attitude, Artemis snaps back at our captive. “Sorry for forgetting the complete lack of any relevant predictions.”

    “I don’t mind if this takes even longer,” Richie admits, his eyes pressed up to the windshield and observing the reflection windows that float by. “This is incredible.”

    Some are permanent surfaces that give a clear and permanent look out onto Earth, but most are temporary and faded. Those are ones made on things like water, which waver and fade before our eyes.

    “It better not take much longer,” Rose grunts and crosses her arms, glaring at the back of Artemis’ head. “Or my dad will try again.”

    “Guys...” I interrupt the arguing behind me, to gesture at the oddity before us. “I think we found something.”

    A massive cube of glass floats in the clear void, it’s dimensions are easily the size of the moon and maybe closer to Earth in scale. I can make out mountains of jagged glass, oceans of liquefied silica, and even what appears to be cities of the substance, all on a square planetoid.

    “Hang on!” I warn them as the ship jerks forward, caught in some kind of gravitational pull. “Something has us and is reeling as in.”

    Even as I try to reverse the Bio-ship, a grey glow has surrounded the vessel and begins pulling us down to the surface of the planet.

    yraurbeF 2, 2011
    6:01 MP, TSC,

    “What’s happening?” Richie’s panic filled voice, speaks for everyone on board.

    “I don’t know,” Nothing I do gets a reaction from the ship. “Rose what’s going to happen when we land?”

    “I have no idea!” The one eyed girl shrieks at me. “I can only see backwards in here.”

    “When we land,” Kon warns Richie, the only one of us not in a uniform. “You better stay on the ship.”

    “No worries about that,” Richie agrees easily.

    “Hang on everyone.” I warn the others, when the ship starts to pit up speed. “I don’t know how hard this landing is going to be.”

    “I’ve got this,” Raquel assures us with a determined grin. “Don’t worry.” He violet aura spreads from her to the ship, encasing us in a sphere of kinetic energy absorption.

    “Good work Raquel,” Compliments Kaldur and with his voice steady, secures himself in his seat.

    “Are we being brought to Mount Everest?” Wally points at the colossal spike of glass, even as Zatanna forces him into his own chair and clips him in. “Thanks Babe, but seriously... look how big that whole mountain range is.”

    “That did look like the Indian coast.” Kon agrees with Wally, his implanted knowledge is now coming in handy. “I think Wally’s right, this is some kind of Bizarro Earth.”

    “Would explain the scans I’m getting.” Kyle is frowning at his ring. “It’s like everything is powered by magic, because my ring is only saying ‘insufficient Willpower’.”

    “Zatanna, you sensing anything?” Her boyfriend asks and she draws Shade’s staff, pointing it at the planet below.

    “Whoa...” She slumps in her seat after a few seconds, clutching her head in pain and groaning. “Someone, or something... is definitely on Klarion’s level.”

    “You positive?” I need more information and press her, even as Wally glares at me. “Do you have anything else useful?”

    “It might not be one person,” The black haired magician informs me, her voice shaking like she has hypothermia. “It feels like the entire planet is magic, I was overwhelmed by the feedback.”

    “We’re slowing down,” Lena realizes, her mind still focused on our descent. “Whatever is doing this, will be in sight soon.” She heads for the hangar, getting ready for a quick exit when we land.

    “Looks like that cave is our destination.” Dick realizes before any of us. “And I can see people outside.”

    “Are they wearing bathing suits?” Her voice is shocked, when Artemis can make out individual features.

    “Yeah...” Looking the people over, it looks like each one has frostbite over the entire body. “I can feel emotions, so I know they aren’t zombies.” But something is wrong.

    Instead of at a minimum a discomfort from the cold, each each one is filled with ecstatic pleasure. The powdered glass that falls like snow, allows the grey skinned humanoids to leave bloody angels in the snow and likewise crimson footprints as a trail from the valley below.

    Our ship is drawn inside a cave of even more glass, it kind of resembles dark brown beer bottle in coloration. We’re pulled through a long and winding tunnel with dozens of branching paths, finally coming to rest in a large cavern with several large mirrors facing us.

    Dozens of robed figures are standing in a half circle behind the mirrors, chanting in a somehow familiar language. The one leading the group is female by form, but her face is concealed by her robes.

    Beside her she has what appears to be a child or apprentice of some kind, clearly defined by being nearly half the height of everyone else in a white robe. I can make out jet black hands, but that is the only defining feature I see.

    “Don’t hit anyone first,” Issuing commands, I’m relieved everyone goes silent to listen. “We don’t know if they are actually hostile yet.”

    “I said I can look backwards,” Rose speaks up with a snarl. “And now that I know where to look, I can see what they did to Grant.”

    “Want to share with the rest of us?” Growling at Rose, Artemis cuts to the chase. “We’re on a tight schedule here.”

    “They over powered him and his agents.” The white haired girl concentrates, as she scrys backwards in time. “They got sentenced to amusement.”

    “That doesn’t actually sound so bad,” Wally looks relieved, but I feel like we’re missing something.

    “You better hope so.” Rose scowls, drawing her own sword and approaching the ramp. “If he’s not, I’m killing Connor... or whoever gets between us.”

    “If you try,” Artemis steps in front of me, a faint shimmering of the air forms between the two girls and then it’s gone. “You should know exactly what I’ll do to you.”

    “Only If I don’t break her first,” Remarks M’gann, her own anger at Rose’s words is leaking out.

    “Enough,” Kaldur breaks up the tension with a single word and then reminds us of the trouble before us. “We are outnumbered and on a foreign world, we need to work together.”

    “If you can’t,” I add with a smirk. “You can stay on the ship with Richie.”

    “Well anyone getting out, should probably do so now.” Richie frowns and points out the fact that we have landed. “They don’t look very patient.”

    “Be ready for anything.” Donna is first one done the ramp. “This whole situation is backwards.”

    “Seize them for trial!” The shriek of the woman in charge, makes it clear we’re going to fight our way out.

    “Titans, go!” Kaldur commands and the entire team charges forth.

    “What the hell!” Artemis stops in front of me and I slam into her, knocking us both to the ground.

    Climbing to my feet in a hurry, I can only drop my jaw in shock. Standing in a line and ready to meet us, is copies of each of us. I know whats going on now.

    “Bizarros...” I exclaim in worry, but have no time to share more.

    “Me am going to hug you to life!” Kon’s mirror, charges forward and meets him in the air.

    “You am faster than me!” A Bizarro Wally taunts his counterpart. “Me will never catch you!” He races forward and slams Wally into the ground, sending both bouncing along the smooth glass.

    “Why you stay still for me?” My own copy roars in confusion, as he throws wilds attacks from every direction. “Me love you!” He may be less intelligent than I am, but he’s clearly more in tune with his body.

    “Me believe in you!” Kyle’s reflection catches the Green Lantern in shackles of clear light, that take on a green tint upon making contact with Kyle. “”You am fearless and me no win!”

    “Bind our foes for judgment!” Before any of us can gain the upper hand, the cultists speak as one and send a wave of magic forward.

    The floor melts and the surges up my legs, leaving me sealed up to my neck in the incredibly hard substance. The leader and her small companion approach and wave off our copies.

    “?t’nsi siht a esirpruS” The boy steps up to Zatanna and pulls back his hood. “.Rehtom sah dessim uoY” He looks like a male Zatanna, but his skin is ebony black and his hair snow white and he only looks to be a couple years younger than her.

    “.retsis, ti si os ecin ot teem uoY” Only his reverse coloration and habit of speaking his normal sentences backwards mark him as different from her.

    “Mom?” Zatanna stammers in shock, looking like she may faint.

    The leader removes her own hood next and shows a middle aged version of Zatanna, who we all know is supposed to be dead. The shadow of a purple haired woman floating over Sindella’s body, seems to be demonic and in control.

    “My daughter will be joining me,” The fiend informs her followers, not even looking at the rest of us. “Her friends will face amusement without her.”

    yllaW tseW
    yraurbeF 2, 2011
    8:11 MP, TSC

    As soon as our sentence was declared, we got split up and loaded into mine carts. The liquified glass formed into shackles on our ankles and wrists, leaving me unable to vibrate through the magical substance.

    Zatanna was pulled aside and lead away, while her mother’s goons found Richie on he ship and tossed him in his own cart behind me. The fifty or so robed figures seem to be higher in status than the Bizarro versions of everyone, because the remaining few are directing the battalion of grey skinned goons.

    <What’s the plan?> I’ve tried everything I can think of already, the ten minutes since our capture was more than enough time to exhaust myself of ideas.

    <Wait until we have less covering us and then we bust free,> Connor informs us, sending a surge of sorely needed calmness to us all. <If it looks like this is going to be worse than basic imprisonment, of course we smash free immediately. I’m not get experimented on again.>

    <You called them Bizarros...> Dick is quick to realize what I missed. <Do you know what these are?>

    <I’ve had dreams about one of them,> Question answers with his faceless mask showing no emotion, but he’s leaking uncertainty now and I don’t like an uncertain leader. <Superman’s copy and his name is Bizarro.>

    <What about the people in the robes?> M’gann asks for all of us, as her cart begins clacking forward.

    <No idea.> Connor shrugs and then my own cart starts to pick up speed. <Hang on and be sick to the right!>

    <Yahoo!> The orange space babe is excited, throwing her shackled arms above her head in glee.

    We gain so much speed, it feels like riding an escalator. If I can even notice the momentum, the others must be going through torture.

    <Link everyone who’s sick to my senses!> I command M’gann, who takes a few moments to respond.

    I can feel the relief of my friends, as they can finally open their eyes. I focus on my breathing and keeping my perception at only a single speed.

    <Okay, that’s a lot better.> Artemis is finally able to lean away from the right side of her cart and give a weak thumbs up. <Thanks you two.>

    <No problem,> I respond and conceal my smirk from her, I’m right behind her and would have gotten hit.

    <Do you think of anything but Zatanna?> Raquel laughs over the link.

    <Take my word for it,> Connor throws me under the bus. <She takes up at least half of his brain power.>

    <Not just her...> Defending myself, I ignore everyone’s amusement. <I have lot’s of ideas I want to try, like Speed Force engines.> We spend what feels like hours, barrelling down the tunnel to a destination unknown.


    “You stay here.” One of the Bizarros orders me, shortly after we pull to a stop in a run down amusement park.

    “Okay?” I don’t want to argue with Batman, especially one who looks like a zombie.

    This doesn’t seem to make him happy, because he grabs me by the hair and yanks me from the mine cart. He holds me infront of his face and snarls, his foul breath washing over me.

    “You want a breath mint or something,” I speak before I can hold myself back. “Cause that is nasty.”

    <Don’t piss off our captors moron.> Artemis glares at me, trying to force me to shut up with her body language alone.

    “Thank you,” Batzarro grins like a loon at me, finally pleased with something I said. “Me brush my teeth everyday.” The dark yellow teeth look to be nearly falling out and full of cavities, so I give him a weak smile back.

    “I can tell, the girls must scream when they see you.” I can feel the rest of my friends add their own glares to Artemis’.

    “Me am having all the girlfriends.” He nods enthusiastically and then knees me in the stomach, dropping me to the ground. “But you am too quiet, so you wake up now.” I dodge his next kick, but when he sits on me it’s over.

    He plugs my nose and holds my mouth shut and holds his hands firmly in place. When I stop struggling and close my eyes, he stands up smugly.

    <Play possum if you piss them off.> I explain, which calms down a panicking Richie.

    <I’m keeping the link open, so no heroics until we know what’s going on.> M’gann sounds a lot more sure of herself than she did when we first met, it seems like she really is taking charge of life in all ways.

    <We’re being split up, so stay safe and see you soon.> Connor’s voice is calm but conceals an edge of concern.

    I get thrown over Batzarro’s shoulder and he begins walking into the park away from the others. My trip is relatively short and soon I’m being placed inside a metal container, so I open my eyes.

    “Me am hoping you have fun,” Batzarro waves at me as the ride begins, my teacup beginning to spin faster than a racecar.

    <Guys.> I don’t think this will be to hard to break out of, it’s just a carnival ride. <I should be out soon, then I’ll come find you all.> I confidently declare and then I shriek like a banshee.

    When my teacup goes down and changes directions, a body slides into me. One of the robed people is in here with me, but he looks like he should be in an old age home.

    He groans at me and feebly reaches for my arm, before he gets flung back around to the other side of the cup. Grabbing the wheel in the middle, I begin to alternate my spins and force the ride to stop its rotations. Once I’ve done so, I grab the groaning old man and leap from the ride.

    Cradling his body with my own, I slam into the dirt and cough in pain. The black skinned man is so old and sickly looking, he looks more of a charcoal grey. He has pointed ears like an elf and snow white hair that is thin, falling out in clumps.

    “.knaht uoy yobnam” He speaks like Zee would cast a spell and I have to work to understand him. “,tel em pleh esohT” Thanks and let me help, is the gist of his message and he does so by shattering the glass on my limbs with a single word. “Break the glass!”

    “Thanks dude, now find somewhere to hide.” I shake my wrists and crack my neck. “I’m going to break my friends free, we’ll grab you on the way out, and then we’re saving my girlfriend from her mom who is supposed to be dead.” Saying it out loud and summarizing my goals like that, makes it way easier to avoid the details... like how I’m going to do this.

    “Guide us to the aliens!” The elderly man chants, his words of power create a cloud of rainbow fog.

    It separates into a colour for each friend and the fog takes on the form of a flock of bright birds, each flying off n a different direction. “.wollof eM” He commands and I can do nothing but shrug, lifting him bridal style so we can get this done.

    yllaW tseW
    yraurbeF 2, 2011
    9:19 MP, TSC

    “What is this place?” Grunting at the old man in my arms, I streak through the fairgrounds and head for M’gann’s location. She’s one of the only ones still in the link, but something is blocking communication.

    “Prisonland.” I have to slow down to translate in my head, but am I ever glad Zee tried to teach me some of her spells. “Have fun for the rest of your life here.” He coughs and I realize how frail her really is, so I grab one of my no longer needed energy bars and give it to him.

    “Who’s the lady in charge?” She looked like Zatanna’s mom based on the pictures I’ve seen in Shadowcrest, but she died when Zatanna was three.

    “Tala.” He doesn’t add anything else, assuming her name is enough for me and it really isn’t.

    “And why does this Tala, look like my girlfriend’s dead mom?” I have all the time I need for this guy to answer his questions and recover, it’s not hard to increase his perception of time along with my own.

    “Our Goddess wanted a host,” He looks away from me and sighs in shame. “So we found one of the half-breeds and brought her here. She was not our first choice, but she bargained for the young man who called out to us in search of his missing kin.”

    “Tala is a Goddess?” I clarify, because the backwards speech is still tricky to comprehend. “Of what?”

    “Everything.” The old man frowns in confusion. “Is your Goddess not all powerful?”

    “I don’t know about the monotheistic ones on my world, but our pantheon based ones aren’t.” I know I’m not.

    “My grandfather’s grandfather, he came to you world long ago to spread the teachings of magic under the high priestess M’rgann.” The eyes are filled with memories of his better times, but he stays focused on his explanation. “She betrayed our Goddess and sealed her here in this realm of her own creation.”

    “Whoa... that’s heavy.” I gesture for him to continue and do my best to avoid interrupting again.

    “Our predecessors refused to join her in overthrowing your King A’rthurr and got banished with our goddess.” He looks at his hands intently and sighs. “This place changed our people, as it will change you before long.”

    “So we’re on a tight schedule?” I groan when he nods. “Great, just when I learned to take my time. Why are we locked up in a carnival anyway?” I have to ask, because it’s just so... odd.

    “Because after our return to Earth, Tala was again betrayed by her new priest W’tann.” He lowers his voice when a search party goes scurrying by, it seems our escape has been noticed. “He went alone to Earth, but never opened the portal for our return.”

    “Ouch.” I wince at that visibly, betrayal like that would sting something fierce.

    “Our Goddess had enough and replaced us with her new creations, the Bizarros.” I can hear the shame and anger in his voice, both in equal amounts. “Once we found her a host from Earth, she only needed the most loyal of us to lead her armies.”

    “And you are?” I press for a name to his species, but am still somehow left wanting.

    “Humans once called us the Elves, while we lived on Earth in disguise.” That’s like me saying Humans used to be called Homo Habilis, come on dude.

    “Give me a minute, I’ll be right back.” I blur away from the elder once I find a place to hide him near the Gravitron.

    <M’gann it’s me,> I try her again, but only get a feeble groan over the link. <I’m coming in to get you, don’t puke on me please.> It’s definitely the rides blocking the link, because with the door open I can hear her again.

    She’s been on the ride for over an hour now and the green colour on her face is not a natural one. Her eyes are screwed shut tightly and I think she’s counting to herself in an attempt to centre herself.

    <Ground control to Major Megan!> I shout-sing in her head directly, which has her snap her eyes open in shock.

    <Wally!> Her mental voice is nauseous, so I race into the ride and grab her before she can get sick.

    “I gotcha Meg, just keep your eyes closed for a few more seconds.” I warn her with a cocky grin on my face and reverse the momentum of the saucer shaped ride.

    The engine groans from the strain and a loud bang makes me smile. With this ride no longer working, I look at the other occupants and turn away sadly. I don’t know how long the white haired dark ‘elves’ have been in here, but these four didn’t make it.

    Vanishing in a flash of blue, we appear behind the dumpster. The elder jumps in fright when I arrive with M’gann, but thankfully doesn’t keel over on me.

    “How long have you been here?” I ask in concern, because the others inside also looked ancient.

    “Since the Tala merged with her host and had no need of thinking citizens any longer.” M’gann looks up and frowns at the name he says, mumbling something to herself quietly.

    “Something wrong?” I slap myself in the forehead at her giggle, because all of this is wrong. “Sorry stupid question. Keep an eye on our friend here, while I round up the others.” I give her a two finger wave and rocket away in a cloud of dust.

    I only have a few patrols of Bizarro people to avoid, before I find my next teammate in need of rescue. The water slide sounds like it would be perfect for Kaldur, but not when he’s inside a rotating doughnut.

    An infinite water slide must feel like being inside a whirlpool. I’m going to need to vibrate myself inside without blowing it up, and then run in place until Kaldur floats by.


    Sprinting up the tower at the sound of Richie’s terror filled scream, I reach the top before it can release again. The Drop of Doom has one of our targets for extraction beside the screaming blonde. It’s not Rose’s brother Grant, so I ignore him and unbuckle my fellow nerd.

    “Yo dude, I got you.” Her grabs me tightly around the neck and doesn’t cease his wailing. “You can stop screaming now, or else I may drop you.” He goes silent at my words and I have to assure him I’m only joking, but I don’t think either of us buy it.

    “How’d you get free?” Richie pants in relief when I drop him off with the others, who have had to relocate to the gift shop.

    “Made friends with a local.” I point to N’thann, who is now joined by a half dozen or so of his fellows. “He got mine off and will have yours off in a jiffy.”

    “Only you can use that as a real measurement of time,” Dick snorts at me and then tilts his head to the side, likely listening to his scarab’s snarky response. “Connor should be in that building,” He guides my stare towards a three story tower.

    “It looks like Rose is on the Ferris Wheel,” Adds M’gann with a concerned look at the aforementioned tower. “While Kori should be on the other roller coaster.” We found Mal on the rickety wooden one, so that means the Princess is on the fancy new one and is probably the one screaming in glee.

    ataraZ anataZ
    yraurbeF 2, 2011
    8:35 MP,

    My mom snickers to herself once my friends have been rolled away. She looks exactly like I remember her, but something about this place has changed her.

    The boy beside her watches me in silent curiosity, so I give him a hesitant wave. Seeing this, mother smiles widely and pushes him forward.

    “Go on Zachary, say hello to your big sister.” He returns my smile and eagerly strides towards me.

    “What is going to happen to my friends?” I ask and adjust my words to match the mirrored language they use. “Dad just finally started approving of Wally, I kind of need him back.”

    “What is dad like?” My brother asks softly, his voice desperate for knowledge. “Mom doesn’t like talking about him.” That doesn’t sound right, because everyone who knew her said the two couldn’t shut up about each other.

    “Very overprotective.” Mom laughs at my remark and leads me through he glass palace, stopping in front of a large mosaic.

    “Considering what happened to his wife, I cannot blame him.” She smirks at me, but her eyes are cold and I can only focus on her odd choice of wording.

    “Who is this?” It shows a young man, maybe only a teen and he is wearing a full suit of black armour.

    “The traitor’s son,” Mother scowls. “He is here as a reminder, of what happens to those who betray me.”

    “Did you come to set us free?” Zachary is losing his nerve around me and is now demanding answers. “Did you finally hear mom calling for you?”

    “No.” I shake my head confused. “We came in here looking for some people in a car.”

    “Oh...” He looks hurt.

    “You’ve been calling me?” Mom grins at my question and draws us in for a hug.

    “Yes, but you are protected from those beyond the Earth.” Her voice sounds like a hiss. “So my words went unheard.”

    “Well I’m here now,” I remark with concern, pushing myself from her hold and staring her down. “What’s next?”

    “We’re going to in-” Zachary is cut off suddenly, when my mom grips his jaw with her left hand and holds it still.

    “That is a long discussion and one best had after a good nights sleep.” Zachary squirms in her grip, like any child would in his place. “It is past my prince’s bedtime and I know you are in need of rest.”

    “But mom,” My brother whines, his ivory ponytail shaking along with his head. “She just got here.”

    “And she will still be here tomorrow,” Mom’s words and firm, so he gives me a quick hug and walks away grumbling to himself.

    “Have a good sleep,” I can’t help myself and throw out a goodnight to his disappearing back.

    “Now my dear, we can speak without innocent ears around.” She puts an arm around my shoulder and leads me down a different hallway. “What do you want to ask mommy?”

    “Dad said you died...” I let the words hang in the air, but she responds with a giggle.

    “Of course he did,” Mom explains with a sardonic smirk on her lips. “Since I didn’t leave a body, he had to choose between a wife who left him... or a dead one.”

    “It’s not like that!” I won’t let anyone – even her – badmouth my dad. “He hasn’t even been on a date since you disappeared on us.”

    “A decade of pent up energy?” She ponders and I feel sick at the look on her face. “Maybe I should pay him a visit after all.”

    “Why are you here anyway and keeping Zachary from us?” If she can go back to Earth, why hasn’t she?

    “Because someone came to Giovanni and I, in search of help.” She scowls in memory, and starts squeezing my shoulder unconsciously. “He was seeking his sister, but he found the Goddess and was to scared to accept her offer.”

    “Who was he?” Dad never mentioned this.

    “I don’t remember, it was a long time ago.” She releases my shoulder to my relief and starts gesturing with her now free hand. “You were to be claimed instead and when he reengaged on the bargain, I took your place here as priestess instead.”

    yraurbeF 2, 2011
    9:41 MP,

    “So what are you in for?” My fellow prisoner yells over the wind of the indoor skydiving. “You’re the first human they’ve thrown in with us, I’m curious how you got here.” He has to be our target, unless he stole Grant’s clothing.

    “Looking for you actually,” I explain and grin when he is shocked silent. “Your sister made a deal with us, she’s really guilty about what happened to you.”

    “Why?” He shakes his head angrily. “She didn’t send me, dad did and she should know that.”

    “Apparently he has some kind of new armour, a gift from some friends he made.” The Light, but I’m not sharing anything I don’t have to. “Last time Rose was able to look at his future, he was fighting the new Blue Beetle and she got captured by us.”

    “You aren’t working with her?” He isn’t defensive like I would have assumed, in fact he seems very relaxed and dare I say... fun.

    “We are now,” I reassure him needlessly. “I’m not charging her with any of her crimes, but she has to finish high school.”

    “Seriously?” Ravager stares at me and I relent, sharing my memory of the event. “Ha... I owe you one. She was dead set on following us into the family business and being here changed my mind about that being a good thing.”

    “It did?” I’m confused, because Rose said he was a militant little follower of dad.

    “Yeah.” He reaches for his face and removes his orange and black mask, revealing his now grey tinged face.”I’m starting to see how much fun life can be and all dad wants us to do is work. Rose needs time to grow into her own person first.”

    He means everything he says, all I can feel is genuine love and concern for his sister. His feelings on his dad are more jumbled and still being changed. I’m worried about how he felt about Rose before, if this is him reversed.

    “I have an idea.” I spot a green button, which looks like an emergency stop in Bizzaro land. “I get you down to the button, you get us free.”

    I don’t let him say no, reaching over for him with elongated arms and reeling him in. Once I have him in my grasp, I lengthen my body and become a makeshift slingshot.

    “Whoa!” Grant is startled by my actions, but adapts quickly and curls into a ball. “Warn a guy before you melt like that.” His heart is racing, but he gets it under control soon. “Alright. You can shoot.”

    I stretch back as far as I can in this wind and let my body snap forward, flinging Grant Wilson towards the door. I groan when he slams face first into a wall, several feet above the doorway and grab him for a second try.

    “Feet first this time,” He grumbles and readjusts himself.

    yraurbeF 3, 2011
    6:41 MA,

    “We need to slow down.” When I turn back at her remark, it’s easy to see why. “Grant has to have a concussion, he’s seeing double and keeps tripping.”

    “...Weird.” I hold in a concerned look, because for some reason he hasn’t told her how we got out. “Yeah we can take a break for a min-” I concede since his condition is my fault, but Wally is having none of that.

    “No we can’t!” He interrupts angrily. “We got your brother out, like we agreed. Now we save my girlfriend, from whatever is controlling her mom.”

    “It’s fine Rose,” Ravager groans behind his mask, refusing to take it off and show his changes. “I just have a headache and want to get out out of this place.”

    “See Grant is fine.” Wally gives the son of Slade Wilson a grateful nod and turns to me with an expectant look.

    “M’gann can lead us to the Bio-ship,” Relenting to his determined face, I give him the go ahead. “We can keep you linked while you find Zatanna and extract her.”

    “Her mom might be possessed,” Wally adds with a snort, shaking his head at my idea. “But Zee’s not going to leave her here.”

    “Find them and come back for Lena,” She’s lighter than Kon I reason, Wally’s glance at the siblings confirms my theory a moment later.

    “Yeah, that will work.” He vanishes in a streak of blue, heading back up to the mountains peak.

    “Did they move the ship far?” Kaldur is staying focused on our escape, his eyes scanning the tunnel behind us.

    “I don’t think it’s been moved at all yet.” Shaking her head, M’gann keeps her eyes closed and focuses.

    “Finally a break.” Artemis sighs and resumes the climb.

    “Hey guys,” Wally pants out suddenly, as he reappears in a gust of wind. “Need Lena now, meet you soon.” He grabs the startled Kryptonian and sprints away, a look of grim determination on his face.

    “So we all agree that doesn’t sound good?” Everyone agrees, so I point at Kon and Kori. “You two go back them up.”

    “Got it,” Kon rises with only a single glance at Starfire. “We’ll meet you in the air.”

    “Good luck my friends, be having the good luck.” Kori smiles at us and waves, before the two race away.

    “Kyle.” I address our resident Green Lantern, who jumps to attention at my tone. “You better put the rest of is in a construct and screw stealth, we’re definitely the slow squad.”

    ataraZ anataZ
    yraurbeF 3, 2011
    6:42 MA,

    It took forever to finally fall asleep, but the locked room and enchanted bed made it hard to resist. So when I wake up bound to a glass pillar and see one of the Drow – that’s what Wally said a Dark elf is – approach with a crystal clear dagger in her hand.

    “You’re awake, good.” My mother’s voice comes from behind me and she strolls into sight eventually. “We can say goodbye.” She grabs my chin harshly and leans in. “Thank you for coming to find me, it is so nice to finally find someone dutiful.” I wasn’t and I know she is aware of this fact.

    “What are you doing!” I can’t hold back a yelp, when her follower slashes my forearm.

    “I need you and you brother both, to bring my army home.” She smirks with devilish glee and I see my sleeping brother on an identical pillar, his skin a frighteningly pale grey.

    “What?” As I grow weak from blood loss, I try to focus on the fiend wearing my mom.

    “One of Earth and one of Htrae,” She is nearly singing her explanation. “Bleed them both and the window will become a door.”

    “But why?” I try and struggle, but can feel my magic has been bound.

    “It is time for Tala to have her revenge,” My mother licks her lips and her eyes burn with rage. “And I have so many targets. Sorry you won’t live to see it, I’ll make sure to name something after you two.”

    “How considerate,” I spit at her and finally get my hat to fall from my head, shoving my hand inside and grasping the Shadow Staff.

    I fling the hat off my hand, revealing the powerful artifact and blasting my mother with a wall of shadow. It slams her into the far wall and reshapes into a sheet that binds her tightly.

    “I don’t think so!” The Drow assisting my mom, is moving to hold a knife to Zachary’s neck and I find I have issue with this.

    I send another tendril of shadow forward, watching it form a spear and pierce the dark Elve’s spine. Gagging at his blood that is already pooling around him, I bring the staff down onto my ankles and shatter half of my bindings.

    “And now for you,” I mutter to myself and wrap my wrists in shadow, sawing through the middle with less than precise cuts.

    “Oh your mother is so proud of you,” The fiend taunts me, now free from her bindings. “And I find myself impressed, but I do still need your blood. You understand how these things are.” She giggles to herself and then sends a wave of glass shards at me.

    I tense for impact, but familiar hands grab me and carry me to safety. A gust of wind and flash of blue later, leaves me beside my brother. While I move to free him, Wally watches my back.

    “Sorry it took so long, the others are so slow,” Wally’s voice reassures me and I finally feel like I’m going to survive this encounter.

    “I can see why Giovanni approves of him,” More shrill laughter from my mom has me tense, but Wally stops her next attack with a cyclone of wind. “If you somehow survive, he has my blessing as well.”

    “Thanks Mrs Zatara,” I can hear the grin splitting his face, in spite of how dangerous the situation is. “Hope this doesn’t change your mind.”

    “What are you talking abo-” She cuts of suddenly, as something slams into her at incredible speed.

    “Too fast!” Wally curses and grabs my shoulders. “We need a shield and fast Babe, Lena made a sonic boom inside a glass castle.”

    With eyes wide in realization, I form a shell of shadow around the three of us. A massive boom comes a second after and then comes the shattering of the entire building.

    Massive chunks of razor sharp glass, fall all around us, even as the floor collapses beneath our feet. Only the shadow keeps us in place, but soon Kon and Kori are bringing us into the sky and away from the deadly crumbling.

    “Yeah I don’t think I’m keeping her approval,” Wally laughs and then pulls me in for a quick kiss. “Okay now you can wake the kid up.”

    “Go faster!” Lena shrieks at us, my mom unconscious in her arms. “I knocked something out of her and it’s mad!” Lena slams into the sphere of shadow with one arm and adds her own momentum.

    It looks like a yellowish version of a green Martian, only covered in horrific burns. The spiked head, instead looks like a drooping slope and the facial features are barely recognizable. Only the bodies general proportions and shape, give me even a hint as to the origin of the so called Goddess.

    Behind her, I can see thousands of her grey skinned dimwits and each of these can fly. When they close the distance between us enough to see costumes on each one, I know we’re in real trouble.

    <Get inside!> M’gann’s voice comes a few minutes later, when we’re somewhere over what looks like Rhealasia.

    Doing as instructed, the three shove us inside the Bio-ship’s open hatch. I can see a few dozen of the Drow are on board, but all look infirm and not a threat. Richie looks to be seconds from having a breakdown, so Wally’s words really don’t help.

    “Oh god, am I glad you guys found us.” My boyfriend isn’t looking at the others, just panting on his hands and knees. “We got an army in the thousands after us and I thought it was over.”

    “And whatever that thing is,” Lena adds with her own worried tone. “God, demon, or other, it’s powerful and wants to conquer Earth.”

    “Chris,” Richie stops pacing, a look of placid calm on his face as he stares at Kon. “I want to thank you for everything, you’re the best friend a guy like me could have asked for. And I have to thank for giving me a chance.” He looks at Connor who nods back slowly, a look of apprehensive understanding in his eyes.

    “Why are you saying these things?” Kon’s in denial at his friends words.

    “Because it’s time for me to be the hero.” Richie walks down the still open ramp and waves goodbye. “I need you guys to not wait up for me, I’m going to do some Damage and stop them from following.” With that he jumps and the ramp retracts at Connor’s command.

    “Let me get him!” Kon slams a right hook in our leader’s face, sending him to the floor groaning. “We can’t leave him!”

    “We need to fly into the window he makes.” Connor doesn’t respond to he demand. “He’s breaking everything made of glass, so we need to go. Unless you want to be here forever.”

    Lena nods at a look from Artemis and grabs her brother, forcing him into a seat. Kon struggles, but command from Connor finally makes him listen.

    drahciR eiloF
    yraurbeF 3, 2011
    7:09 MA,

    It takes every ounce of my willpower, but I’m finally able to make up for the Damage i did by accident. Ironically, I’m doing so by purposefully doing more than I could have ever imagined.

    “You. Shall. Not.” Oh my god, I can’t believe I have a reason to actually say this.“Pass!” With extra emphasis on each following word, I focus my power on all the glass I can see.

    When you’re in orbit between a moon and planet made entirely of the substance, a guy like me can do some real damage. As soon as the Bio-ship passes through the sheet of glass I made into a gateway, I shatter everything at once.

    “Seven billion to one?” With a roar at the advancing army of Bizarros, I channel every iota of rage I have suppressed my whole life. “You fools are outnumbered here!”

    Forming the moon into a sword fit to kill a god, I bring the blade through the demon’s torso and relish her shriek of agony.

    Shaking from excitement and not from fear, I unleash the shards of the planet on the rear of the army. As the army is torn to pieces, I remember to shatter every mirror in the Mirrowway and leave them trapped here with me.
    Ajlove, ZzzSlothzzZ and Kamehb like this.