Dave Rogers took a brief respite from hacking away at the overgrown Vietnamese understory to swat away yet another annoying mosquito which had decided the tired archaeologist would make a tempting lunch. Stopping to catch his breath, he reached round into his back and pulled out a crumpled yellowing piece of paper, his ‘treasure’ map. Of course it wasn’t the original, which had been carved on the wall of a small temple he’d excavated in Cambodia back in the late 70s, but if he’d finally managed to get the translations right it could lead him to the payday he’d been looking for to finally claw his way out of this dreary career he’d managed to fall into.
It was night time when he finally reached his destination. He had been about to give up hope and set up a camp for the night when the dense tangle of bushes had finally opened out into something he could only describe as a clearing, although the dense jungle canopy above the temple before him only allowed the minimum of light through. Dave felt slightly more vindicated in his decision to cut his way across country, he wouldn’t have been able to fly or drive in even if could afford it. Besides, forgoing as local guide meant more money for him when he finally claimed his prize.
His exhaustion was forgotten as a wave of adrenaline flowed through him at the thought of being so close to his goal. He shook his heavy pack off of his back and quickly grabbed the essentials he needed and left the remnants of his kit hidden in the shade of a nearby tree as he ran towards the great stone building, taking the steps up to its entrance two at a time.
The inside of the temple was incredibly dark. Dave stood there for a moment waiting for his eyes to adjust, but the already gloomy exterior meant there was little to no natural light entering through the door. He pulled out his flashlight and with a click turned it on and managed to wave the pale beam around the corridor once before it flickered out. Cursing his luck he quickly changed the batteries for spares, but every set he tried gave him the same results. Cursing the humidity which had clearly sapped all of the charge from his batteries he ventured back outside, and gathered up a hefty looking branch. Taking some lighter fluid out of his pack and ripping a strip of the blanket he’d brought with him and hastily constructed a makeshift torch, before venturing back inside.
The dull orange flickering light barely gave him enough light to see by but he pressed on regardless eager to claim the treasure that he had now decided was rightfully his. Carefully, he followed his set of written instructions for navigating labyrinth of passage ways which comprised the temple, his greed tempered by his sense of self preservation. It had taken Dave years to decipher all the writing, symbols and pictograms he’d found with the map and many of the images had depicted the terrible fates that could befall him should he stray onto the wrong path.
Eventually the maze of corridors opened up into a wide antechamber at, what he assumed was, the heart of the temple. The walls of the room where adorned with the same manner of text he’d found in the Cambodian temple, but he paid them no heed. Archaeological significance of the site be damned, he was here for one thing and one thing only. Pacing into the centre of the room he discovered what he had assumed to be three large columns supporting the ceiling were in fact just a series of giant thin pillars. As he continued to search the he began to realise something was wrong. The Cambodian writings had promised there would be a series of twenty five golden rings, each larger in size than the last, but as far as he could tell the was nothing of the sort here. Dave cursed his luck. It was just typical that someone would have gotten here before him and looted the rings at their leisure, breaking them down for money or selling the smaller items to collectors exactly as he planned to do.
Despondently, he picked a piece of loose masonry and hurled it down the one of the many corridors which branched off from the room. It was a surprisingly long time, possibly five seconds, before he heard the stone land with an uncharacteristic <i>plink</i>. Hurrying over to investigate this, he discovered the stone had landed in one of the temples booby-traps, albeit one that had already been sprung. Looking over the edge of the pit trap he couldn’t help but wince in sympathy at the poor desiccated soul who lay impaled on the spike lining the bottom. He was about to turn to leave when something gleamed and caught his eye. It was one of the rings. The dead man must have been carrying it when he sprung the trap. Carefully, he lowered himself down into the pit doing his best to avoid the same fate that had befallen his unexpected benefactor and hastily grabbed the ring before making his way back to the relative safety of the antechamber.
Sitting down with his back to one of the pillars he gave the ring a quick once over. It was defiantly gold and looked not unlike a doughnut or wedding ring, one with a hole in the middle the size of one of his records back home, and edged in a similar style of pictogram to those which adorned the temple. Idly he noticed the hole was roughly the same as the pillar he lent against. On a whim, he tossed the ring like Frisbee over the top of one of the columns. Due to more luck then skill it went on this first attempt and once it finished its gradual rattling descent to the bottom of the pillar an eerie glow began to emanate from the base, spreading across the chamber floor and lighting up certain letters. As Dave swiftly decoded the writing with practiced eyes and, as their meaning became apparent, he began to chuckle. Perhaps the trip hadn’t been a complete waste after all... .
Owen returned to the meeting place. He'd dug up a few personal effects from his old man's caches. A hair-brush with strands that didn't match Digger's, a piece of ribbon, a greeting card written in some weird language he couldn't place. Everything else had been the normal stuff. Cash, ID packets, weapons, clothes, and the like.
Tula yelps as she plunges into unexpected water, struggling to see after that blinding flash of light. It's hard to hear anything over the thrumming and thumping of what sound like coastal factories, and the pollution in the water burns in her eyes and throat. As she slowly regains her sight, the murky shrapnel of the depths around her tells her that she's been thrown much farther than just into the bay outside of Titans' Tower. Where ever she is, it doesn't look familiar.
At least she isn't alone -- the filthy water makes it hard to see well, but she's pretty sure that's Garth treading water up at the surface. Tula glances around again and shudders, then takes off swimming. It's a literal grave yard down here. Some of these rusting cars were definitely occupied when they sank.
It feels like she popped up through an oil-slick when she breaks the surface, and the air quality isn't much better than the water. She wipes at her eyes and blinks at the semi-familiar skyline at the water's edge.
Cassie Sandsmark startles awake to the blaring of the alarm on the computer console not too far from her bed. She heaves herself out of the nest, rubbing grains of sleep from her eyes, and knuckles over to the computer to find out what the alarm is for.
"Giganta here, Oracle," she says, punching the button to acknowledge the incoming message. "What's the haps?"
Tim Drake's face flickers on screen. He looks exhausted, and he's wearing his eye patch instead of one of his glass eyes.
"Get the Titans on the T-jet, Cassie," he says. "I know you're on bed-rest and all, but Vic found a problem that we need you guys on ASAP."
"I'm fine, Tim," Cassie reassures him as she punches a few more buttons to get the rest of the Titans moving while she gets the information out of her friend. He's having a hard enough time, with Bart getting totally wrapped up in being the new Flash and Batman going completely 'round the twist on them after Nightwing and the first Oracle's deaths. He doesn't need his other best friend losing it too. "My grip on reality is right where it needs to be, don't worry."
Tim doesn't even crack a smile. "Good, because we're going to need you and your magic lasso front and center on this one. I don't know how, but it looks like 'Superboy' is back from the dead."
Cassie's blood goes cold in her veins. "Send the rest of the information to the T-jet, you can tell me the rest of it en route."
Eddie had just been finishing his homework when Jason showed up at his door inviting him out to have some fun. He'd been a little reluctant at first but Jason was convincing and Eddie was eager to spend time with his new brother. So he suited up and went out into Gotham with Jason. Swinging on the lines and jumping rooftops was a lot of fun and Eddie was getting a lot better at it the more he did it. Then there was a small mishap. A strong gust of wind and a thrown away newspaper led to Eddie crashing into Jason and both tumbling right into the river. Neither was hurt but they were both soaked.
And now they're back in the Batcave. Dripping on the floor, Eddie wraps his arms around himself and manages a small smile.
Indigo light bathed the otherwise dank and dingy corner. It surrounded the nondescript white truck and those close by, in a soft comforting light an warmth to ward off the evening chill.
From the interior of the truck came soft spoken words. "Well I think this will help, but you need to get into the shelter on a permanent basis as soon as you can, for the baby. I'll pull some strings and see if I can't have a room for you by tomorrow night." Sasha accepted the hug the grateful teen gave her and before the girl could leave she had a package of food and a warm coat.
She'd been doing this since the ring found her, using these powers in small ways to help where she could. She didn't know the extent of what she could do and sure there was a galaxy out there...but all those other lanterns.They were on that...she saw the need here so close to home, and that need had to be tended.
So the truck began making rounds, part mobile soup kitchen, part clothing drive, part free mental health screenings. she looked different in the indigo garb that came with the powers, she felt different. Sasha felt like she was making a real difference for the people who mattered, finally. So word of her work started to spread, donations filtered in here and there and now she was able to help more substantially, she hoped to set up a number of shelters aside from her other work, to tend people in need with no means to get help otherwise.
"Hey Harvey," Sasha greeted a regular, his face was deeply craged and he looked as though life had used him hard and spit him out, But Sasha welcomed him, sat with him, talked with him, ensured he had a good meal and a caring human connection. She might not have realized that her acts had saved his life, she wasn't out here for the praise. But already Indigo made itself known, perhaps the most subtle of all the spectrum it worked on a deeply personal level, and that suited Sasha just fine.
Erin had been working very hard all day in the office. Cleaning a little more too. She was also obviously in a good mood. Which it was pretty rare to see her this animated. She wasn't saying why she was in such a good mood either.
That came a bit latter on when she checked the clock. It wouldn't be that much longer until it was the end of the day. She just had to last another half an hour or so of waiting and then she could go. She would be meeting Mica'kel after she got off of work and then they'd head over to her place for a movie marathon.
She looked up from the work she was filing and blinked because she had been just a little distracted. Now she's blushing and can't help it either. "Sorry Boss. I was like... a million miles away, what was that you said?"
Huntress was on her nightly patrol. Sometimes, after all the stresses of the day, it felt good to just go out and kick the asses of a couple of bad guys or two. Kicking ass was something she did best, and Huntress never tired of it.
Tonight, she was tracking a local drug trading ring. She'd been on the tail of these guys for a little while now, after they made the mistake of dealing drugs to a couple of Helena's students. It became personal then, when they put one of her students in the hospital. Now Ricky Costa was in a coma, and the doctors didn't know if and when he'd wake up.
Huntress made her way to the docks, where she'd manage to trace them to one of the abandoned warehouses. She crept over the rooftops silently, looking for any signs of the dealers.
Ollie sits alone hunched over the bar in his living room, pouring himself another shot of whiskey.. Everything that's been happening is catching up to him sinking in. Roy's gone ... just when things where finally starting to go right for the kid, after Ollie had helped him mess up his life in the first place. Donna too ... So many people are just, poof, gone. Lian's lost her mommy and daddy, like a lot of other kids probably have. Lot of parents probably lost sons and daughters too, like Ollie lost Roy.
Of course there was more. Dinah and Ollie were 'off' again, she'd been with Mid-Nite for a while now. Ollie was starting to miss her. He also let Cissie walk out his front door. He hadn't called her, tried to fix things or anything. He felt like a bastard about it. And all of this was starting to mix around in his head, making him feel depressed and pissed off.
Screw this. Misery loves company. He needs a drinking buddy, so he reaches for his phone, and gives Hal a call, inviting his oldest friend over for some booze and catharsis.
Ivy has had a very long day. She finally got home after the kind of day she wanted to just slam her head into a wall a few times. Somehow everything was just getting more annoying to deal with and all the crazies were starting to come out of the wood work.
Walking Cedric was the highlight of the day. That and getting a coffee from one of her top ten favorite street vendors. They were having a brief conversation when her dog started sniffing the air and started to try and pull his mistress in the direction of something.... fascinating.
"Oh come on boy. Can't you wait just a little longer?" She's a little embarrassed that her dog can pretty much pull her anywhere if he has half a mind to do it.
But the very big black dog has smelt something way too interesting to listen.
Today was the day. All the new recruits, even those who would not be as interested in joining as others (Constantine was very much as Jay had said. Perhaps he should have been a bit more conservative with his choice and gone with the new Doctor Fate) had supposedly shown up and were talking amongst themselves. It's a great feeling to know that he, the doddering old man who almost had the Society fall apart under his watch, could be so successful as to assemble a team with this level of power, skill, and care. It's still a work in progress. But now it's time for the official meet and greet to start. Alan sent the general signal to everyone involved, and the doors to the main chambers of the Justice Society opened up.
Blood. It's all he has left since taking his revenge. Everything else has been he lost. Screw this world. Screw them all. It had been a joke from the day he'd been born. Another spike goes into his arm to feed the blood. Riding the dragon again makes him wonder why he bothered to stop. Oh, right. She was dead - and someone upended her grave tonight.
She might not have a bank of super computers but when you know someone is dead, you can usually figure they will be sent to the morgue. Kate had spent the day having Ray do some shopping for her, he'd rather taken to the hush hush detials of her life as late. Not that being the driver for a rich lesbian ever gave him reason to be very indiscreet before, but now he was more cautious. She liked that about Ray, and Ray liked the fact that she had no qualms about his date at her Christmas party were a matching tux. They understood each other.
Ray had found and gotten a good deal on a motorcycle. It seemed easier than trying to build some fancy car, easier to conceal as well. It wasn't exactly tricked out but she had time for that later. First things first. She wanted to know what happened to her friend, and the morgue seemed like the best place to do that. Taking to her new persona, with a bit of added theatricality, Kate had made it to the morgue undetected, getting inside that was a bit harder. She found it involved a lot of waiting for someone on a smoke break to leave a rock by the door.
Once inside however she had a whole new problem. This was totally unfamiliar territory for her Why on earth would she ever need to know the lay out of a morgue? Her gut said down, or perhaps that was the last of her cheesecake from lunch. Either case, down she went, and was rewarded to see gurneys with long, black bags atop them. They were even conveniently marked with names, dates, times and pick up locations. Finding Kathy was as easy as following the tags.
Which she did, and find her she also did. Kate waited till the hall was more or less deserted before daring to unzip the bag, she got as far as an ankle before she felt both tears and bile rising. Anger and anguish over her friend drove both back and made her lean forward to unzip the rest of the- "Hold on."
Crassly she reached into the bag and yanked out a partially charred foot. She eyed the appendage before grinning and shoving it back in the bag. "I don't know who you were, sweetheart. But I know one thing, Kathy would never be caught dead..really dead in cheap, knock off shoes." Kathy wasn't dead, but a brilliant fake left in her place. Well now, here's where the real fun could begin.
It was a very nice day out. Erin was working on being in places outside of her normal setting. Which meant not Avalon or New York.
Heck she was even staying away from Cape May where her Aunt lives. This meant that she found herself in a very strange little place. It was called Happy Harbor. It was nice and the people there were friendly. There were a few tourist like things that she could do just for fun and having no reason to take herself seriously she went ahead and went on what turned out to be a walking tour of the different things that had happened in Happy Harbor over the years.
They ended with a talk about Starro. That wasn't very interesting but she paid attention until the very end. Then she left and kept walking until she found herself at some docks and she was feeling pretty dehydrated. Looking around she saw no one so she pulled her boots and socks off and rolled her pant legs up so she could shove her feet in the water.
"Ohh. Much better," she muttered as she leaned back letting her hands hold her up as she was able to do some people watching from her spot without being noticed. So far everything seemed just fine to her.
Kate had seen the van that abducted her explode, and in that instant Kate knew her reality had changed. Violence was something that belonged in the streets, among criminals. Exploding vans do not happen in high society. It shouldn't happen, but she'd felt the heat on her skin, truth and reality had hit home in a way she'd never expected. Now she wanted to know why.
Her faithful driver brought her to the home of her friend, Kathy's home was already open, the door swung easily at the push of her fingertips. fine dress be damned Kate made her way in. It was a shambles, clothes and furniture strewn about. the whole place had been turned inside out. But she got the distinct feeling that if they had found what they were looking for those guys in the masks would never have come for Kathy. So they had been here, they had looked and they hadn't found anything.
But now Kate was inside and hunting for things. Only another woman would know how to look for things, and she and Kathy were, aside from one major difference in taste, very similar in mindset. Shoes, clothes..a woman could never have too many, and it was the best place to hide things. Kate moved to the closet, row upon row of clothes and ...oh...those were nice shoes! Momentary distraction over she pushed the clothes away and surveyed the closet itself. Noting how the hangers scraped the back wall.
No closet would be made that slipshod! Hangers needed to slide freely but these scrapped slightly. It was barely deep enough for a standard shoe rack. The dimensions were off and who but a woman with an eye for fashion would have noticed that? Kate rapped a knuckle along the wall. It sounded hollow! She followed the sound to a small ornate gold robe hook. Could it be? One brow raised as she twisted the hook to the side, a small panel slid open in the wall. Inside was, well nearly a whole other room. Kate jerked back when she saw the shape of Gotham's night protector. But there was no movement. Indeed there was nothing from it..it was..a suit.
"Oh Kathy, what have you gotten yourself into. What am I getting myself into?" Kate borrowed an expensive luggage set and packed all she could find into it, Raymond brought the bags to her car and they were heading back to her place. Her friend had lead a double life her friend had been taken. It left her with few options. If Kathy could do it, so could Kate.it was only right that she find those who hurt her friend, find them and serve them justice.
The night would see a new shadow, a new woman would bear that symbol. Of course it needed a touch of red, but Gotham would see a whole new Kate Kane when Batwoman took flight!
Gar sighs, wandering down to the kitchen to find something to eat. The Zoo Crew's been wonderful, letting him stay in their base, the Z-Building (shaped, of course, like a giant Z), while he waits for rescue or sees if there's a way home.
Alley-Cat-Abra's magic didn't send him home, but it did allow him to send a message. Hopefully, someone has received it somewhere, and knows he's alive.
As long as he's stuck here, he's taken on a form that makes the others more comfortable. He's finding it easier and easier to stay in these forms, honestly; taking real animal forms or even his standard human shape is becoming harder and harder. Truth be told, he's starting to forget just what his normal form looked like.
(Okay, so maybe his chosen form challenges some copyrights. He's stuck in a universe with superhero rabbits and cats and pigs and all manner of other animals. It fit the theme!)
Sure, he helped the Zoo Crew save their universe from the threat of the demonic Cat-O'-Nine; without his efforts, this universe would have been destroyed. But he wants to go home... even if his memories of home are becoming increasingly fuzzy. And feathery, too. But his friends, at least, remain strong in his mind.
Some days heroes fought vile villains. Other days they fight common thugs. And other days some plain weird things happen.
Today was one of those days. Star Sapphire Terry Berg was thankful he'd figured out how to change his default uniform to something less stripperiffic. Especially when he caught some thugs robbing a truck transporting new artifacts to the San Francisco Museum, Durng the fight that followed, one of the crates that had been stolen broke open. This sent several things crashing through the window of a nearby bakery. One of those artifacts just happened to be magical. And when it crashed into a cake, there was quite the reaction.
Now, there's a massive, triple-layered chocolate cake monster making a mess in the streets.
"Okay, how the heck do you fight a cake?" Terry asks no one in particular, dodging a glob of icing thrown his way.
The best the Doom Patrol can tell, they were no longer in their San Fransisco base. It was very difficult to tell where they were, exactly, because beyond what was a very bright spotlight on them they couldn't see beyond that. Any attempts to leave the spotlight found them within the spotlight again, almost as if the edge of the spotlight was a portal to the point immediately behind them. For as long as they had been there (it was impossible to tell, really) there is nothing to say what else is beyond the light until same man who had appeared in the base and whisked them away reappeared, holding in his hands and floating all around him are a number of scripts.
"Welcome, Doom Patrol! We're going to be starting the full casting call in just a few moments time! Once this is all done, we shall all be as famous as Space Steven Speilberg for putting together a horror film so great it will be remembered throughout the multiverse! We'll be famous! We'll be rich!"
The man sounds very very excited about this. He never once brings up the fact he had kidnapped them in the middle of a meeting.
The mission had been a very simple one. Head out, drop off a piece of tech at the place Batman told him to, then come right back. But Batman gave it to him so Eidolon what thrilled. The mission could have been to bring out the garbage and Eddie would have tackled it with all his usual energy and enthusiasm.
And while he wasn't supposed to be looking for bad guys, Eidolon couldn't help himself when he noticed a purse snatcher. He dropped down on the man, surprise being very effective in taking down the criminal. He handed the purse back to the woman it was stolen from, got mistaken for Batgirl, and now he's scrambling back up onto a rooftop.
"Oh m-m-man...that...wow," he's excited as he talks to himself. "I hope Batman d-doesn't get mad if he finds out about that," he says, thinking he'll be alone on the rooftops tonight.
The darkness of death is a very different thing from the darkness of the ocean's deepest depths. For the former, nothing meant exactly that - absolutely nothing. No noise, no sound, no feeling...just a heavy, dark blankness, sans awareness of any sort. For the latter, it meant that seeing was difficult, but that the senses were awake, that there was awareness. Mera, once queen of Atlantis, once queen of the land known in this place as Dimension Aqua, had felt the shock of life instantly once the aftermath of the Blackest Night was over. Suddenly, she was alive again, lost in the deepest deaths of the ocean.
That was awhile ago, and a couple of harrowing things had happened since.
Today, quite the worse for wear, she washes up on the shore of the burgeoning island nation of Avalon, her skintight green jumpsuit torn, her golden tiara cracked, quite the worse for wear. As soon as she hits air, her breathing turns shallow, and she whispers, “Arthur” before blacking out.
It wasn't that Ivy was prone to girlish screaming. Oh no she often was pretty brave and damn near unflappable. It's just there was an odd smell in her basement.. She wasn't sure what it was so she started poking around.
Maybe a stray cat had come in somehow. She rattles around with her cane trying to figure out what is up.
Then something falls out from the beams above her head. She jumps because at first it's a what the hell situation. Then she realizes what just happened and she just screams in fright and bolts. She trips several times banging her knees and is out the door sitting on her front steps shaking.
Then she calls the police because seriously. What the hell. How did a mummified body end up in her basement?
At least she has her dog who is trying to get her to pay attention while she calls the cops. She shivers and settles up against his hairy frame. She doesn't want to think about her basement. They said they would send someone.
She really doesn't want to go back inside right now even if it's after dark.
"Why can't I have nice things," Ivy complains to herself as she waits. This is the grossest thing ever.
Conner was a person like anyone else despite his powers. He ate, he slept, he dreamed. And lately his dreams were strange, connected maybe. Sometimes he saw his friends, those lost at Clearwater, lost. Sometimes he was watching a movie, or reading a comic, but all the words on the page or subtitles on the screen were replaced with just one word. "ALIVE!" These dreams happened every night, and they seemed so vivid, so real, Conner had a hard time thinking they were anything but. Which is why he put out the call to the other Titans ten minutes ago.
Leading the Titans ... it was a weird feeling for someone who had never really needed to be responsible about anything before. Still, he was trying his best to be ready for it. He was actually willingly reading!! Books no less! He had already gone through Sun Tzu's Art of War. If he was in charge, he didn't want any of his friends to get hurt because he didn't know what to do. He was reading The Book of Five Rings as he waited for the other Titans to arrive. He had called Cissie too. She was an honorary Titan in his mind, and Cassie was- is- her best friend too. She deserves to be here like anyone else. Right now though ... he just hoped everyone didn't think he was crazy.
The goddess slips from her soul and something goes wrong. Something pulled her elsewhere. Somewhere dark which threatens to invade her soul.
She looks around to see herself in an urban park. Red skies swirl above her as if rubbed raw and infected. There are no birds or other signs of life. Cars are at a mute standstill as far as her ears can hear and her eyes can see, Not even the wind seems to blow. Where am I?
Her empathic sense feels more heightened than it has ever been. This is not a blessing. All around her she can feel the screaming agony of souls, yet this park is completely silent.
This place, she understands, is not home. This place is a long way from there and she understand innately this world is taking its final, dying breaths. Quickly, she wraps a cloak around herself and begins to seek out shelter, hoping it can keep her hidden from the mad thing which riddles the body of this world with a deadly cancer.
She is dying. No, she lives. Everything is a blur as the world explodes in emotion, color...
Donna remembers screaming out to her husband to hold on as the maelstrom struck following Trigon's final death. If she was meeting Persephone, she would be doing so on her feet, not her knees. An Amazon meets death with a sword in her hand - and a Titan never meets death alone.
The first thing she is aware of is the damp grass leaching warmth from her skin. The second thing she's aware of is that she is in far too much pain to be dead. Slowly, she plants her hands under her and gets up. If she is alive, then there are others out there who need her. She needs to get to the Watchtower. Her children, Lian and Aiden, are there. Her husband would not be far behind. Roy Harper was nothing if not a survivor. It was inconceivable to her that somehow they were not just waiting for her to wake up and come -
"You there!" someone calls out. "Yes, you! The cemetery grounds are closed!"
When she opens her eyes, she realizes she's not in Clearwater anymore. A dark hollow place forms where her stomach was when she sees she's in a section of graves sometimes refered to as "babyland." It's where they place plant the bodies of dead children; seeds which now will never grow, much less bloom. She knows a place just like this in New Jersey with a dark kind of intimacy. The guard calls out once more and in her spin to get a better look she sees the name on the rain-washed memorial stone.
"No!" The guard forgotten. She spins back, grasping desperately at the monument in both hands, like she were grasping a child's shoulders. "No! NONONONO!"
"You there!"the guard shouts. "Get away from there!"
She doesn't hear him. She screams the incoherent, soul-rendering cries of a mother who has lost her baby as her knees sink into the recently turned ground and she can't stop. Persephone help her! She cannot stop and she shakes the very stone from the ground.
The guard has a gun and fires. It grazes her shoulder, but she is past pain. She may be past wishing to live.
But Aiden, her second son and now last child, might still be alive.
With a glare back to the guard through her filth-caked hair as if he was of little more consequence than a requisition signature for her daughter's casket, she flew off into the starless night to find answers, hope, or possibly justice.
It was warm for early fall in Gotham. Ivy was trying to shake the frustration she felt from a morning spent in the court house butting heads with the defense at a hearing. It irked her that bail had been set at something far too reasonable.
Nothing could be changed tough. It wasn't as if he was a flight risk she still didn't like anyone getting any kind of ground on anything. But she didn't have to go back to the DA's office.
That was why she had gotten her dog, picked up some coffee, and headed out to a park. Silently she enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the way her dog was sniffing around in the grass and leaves near by. Even though she had things coming up that required her attention this was strangely nice. She really should get out more with her dog he makes afternoons in Gotham so much fun. Especially if she can ignore the distant sounds of sirens blaring and other city activities.
She's trying to relax for a bit and that is perfectly okay.
The voice was as close to God as one ever hears in a news room, Perry White called both reporters into his office with a booming command. Lois knew better than to keep him waiting when he was on the warpath like this, she didn't wait for Clark, but strode into the office and took a seat on the arm of a chair.
"You called, chief?"
Perry looked at her, one brow hiking up at the absence of her other half, he could wait, he would wait until Kent got his ass in there before he continued.
She'd been gone some time, most of it was spent trying to clear her mind. She had yet to find the peace and composure that Don Hall had, and he'd just come back from the dead. How was it that Don had been able to accept his brother's passing and done the right thing about it? Dawn would never have considered speaking to the man who'd ultimately ended Hank's terror. It had never occurred to her, why was that?
The questions with no answers plagued her night and day. Even in her dreams they would not let her rest, worse now then they ever were before. She'd traveled halfway around the world to seek the wisdom of the great thinkers. All of them had much the same things to say, be at peace, let go, you cannot hold on to that which is lost if it chooses to go. None of this helped. Dawn meditated, tried to grieve, sought to find her center and close off to worldly things, but it was still there. That nagging doubt in her mind. It would not let her go.
If she could find no peace she could never again be Dove, it was plain and simple. At least Holly would have Don, and he was fantastic for her. So Dawn could return and do something else with her life, maybe help as support staff or something. But to claim the mantel of order when her soul was anything but that would be a lie. So tonight she would sleep, and tomorrow return home.
Dawn laid her head down, her breathing slowed, her heat took on an even beating and her mind drifted. She was looking out over a city. Skyscrapers filled the skyline, far below was the faint noise of car and people. It was a vantage point Hank had loved. She preferred a more pastoral setting but he liked the life and activity of the city. He had said it made him feel alive. "Hank, I'm sorry. I wish I could be better. I wish I knew why I can't let you go. I just hope wherever you are, you're at peace." Funny how things made so much sense in dreams.
Batman was pissed. Pissed and he doesn't say a word to Eddie till they get back to the Cave after seeing Catwoman. In fact, as soon as Bruce is clear of the Batmobile, he drags his cowl off his head and punches a stalagmite as he passes it, shattering the fragile calcified structure.
"Damn her. Damn her!" he snarls into the cave, letting his voice echo.
"Son, what were you thinking? You could have been killed."
Eddie looked like a deer in the headlights as he looked up at the firefighter speaking to him. Hesitantly, he lowered the oxygen mask from his face and gave a shaky smile.
"I'm s-s-s-s-s-sorry," he paused, nervously glancing towards the burnt out building that had only recently been put out. "But...people n-n-n-needed h-help," he added. Eddie was still pretty shocked by what he had done. He'd just been looking for decent dumpster to get some food from when he saw the fire. A little listening in on the crowd had revealed that people were still trapped inside the flaming restaurant. And with no superheroes in sight and no one having any idea when the fire department would arrive, the homeless teen was torn. After a few moments of thought and gathering some courage, he took a breath and rushed in.
Eddie wasn't sure he would be able to do anything but he knew he had to try. And despite some cuts, burns, and bruises, he managed to find the three people that had been trapped by the blaze and helped them out in time for the fire department to arrive.
The firefighter just sighed at Eddie, reaching down and pushing the mask back onto his face. Eddie lingered for awhile, just watching and catching his breath. When he started feeling better, Eddie carefully slipped away from the scene. He'd overheard one of the paramedics talking about reporters and calling Eddie's parents and he didn't like the sound of any of that.
He was just trying to help after all. It was the right thing to do after all.
Looking out over the city, it didn't seem to Selina that place had changed very much at all.
The view from the top of the Gotham Roosevelt was the best there was, the hotel was positioned, designed, to give those with money the best view that they could buy. And she had money to burn. She wasn't staying in the penthouse - no - that would be asking for too much attention, but she had a large room near the top of the building with ceiling to floor windows. She smiled at the thought of it, the luxury. She smiled thinking of the warm room and soft sheets she could afford again.
Tula's alive. She's a mess of cuts and bruises, and her costume is toast; but she's alive and moving under her own power.Nothing to scoff at after the day she's had -- especially when so many of her friends can't say the same.
Gods, so many Titans dead. So many obliterated in Trigon's last, destructive gasp before the sick parody of life was taken from him. She'd been knocked unconscious in the explosion, and woken to the groans and quiet sobs of the other survivors.
They'd combed the wreckage for bodies and sent the living ones home to families, or to Titans' Tower if their only family was other Titans. Fortunately, the reporters on scene had been...restrained in their questions. Tula couldn't remember what they'd asked or what answers they'd gotten in return, but no one had thrown anyone across the blast zone or started screaming, so it must have gone reasonably well.
Tula would love nothing more right now than to teleport to Avalon or to Titan's Tower and sleep for a week; but she scrubs her free hand over her face and dials the Watchtower instead. She's got another job to do before she can rest. And it's got to be her, because she's lucky. She's alive.
And she has Garth again.
She doesn't know what she's done to have Persephone favor her while the goddess had claimed her own Champion in this battle, but Tula's going to be leaving offerings in gratitude for it for the rest of her days. She hasn't let go of Garth's hand since they found each other in the aftermath, and she doesn't intend to let go any time soon.
But because she's lucky, she's the one who needs to go find her friends' kids and tell them that they're orphans now. They deserve to hear it from someone who cares about them -- and someone who's going to be taking care of them from now on.
He had missed this. Planning a trick to see if anyone would get it. Looking at what the Batfamily might do. He was fond of them in his own way. But Riddler had to prove something that no one but Batman could give him. He needed this more than anything in the world and it was an obsession that he knew was crazy but he was going to go through with this.
After all he couldn't see the harm in this. He watched and waited.
Then left a few dozen fake IDs with unidentifiable finger prints on them at a murder victim's apartment before the cops were called in.
He also left roses sprinkled with blood in the hall way of the apartment. It wouldn't do if no one found the victim after all.
It wasn't his style to not do flashy but this new game had to be set up slowly. The Bat would bite at the end, he just knew it.
Sometimes running away is a good idea. Battles you're losing. Natural disasters. Situations that may affect your life, the way you live your life. Your family. Your loved ones. Sometimes it's a good idea to run and never look back. Selina had tried to convince herself for a while that the course of action she had taken was the right one, the sensible one. The only way.
Two years later she was on a ship, making her way back to Gotham.
Eidolon landed from his last burpee and dragged his arm across his forehead. Breathing heavily and sweating, Eddie's not smiling for once. He'd been training down in the Batcave, running through the exercises he'd been given and doing a little extra before he got to the burpees he owed. Eddie really didn't mind the exercise. He liked the effects it was having on him. The fact that he wasn't such a scrawny and skinny guy anymore amazed him. He actually had muscle tone these days. Not a lot but it was there. What bothered Eddie was that he was still stuttering. He hated it. Especially after the speech Batman had given him when he set up the 'burpees every stutter' thing.
"Got to...stop. Stop stuttering," he told himself. "Be better, stop being afraid," he went on. He stood there, trying to catch his breath and debating just doing more exercises.
Apparently the universe isn't done with him yet. Time for life's littlest punching bag to summon up his trademark pluckiness and go at it again.
"Stop it Ch'p," he mumbles to himself "you've been down that road before and you know where it goes."
Besides, he has a job to do. The corps has been through a lot while he was away (he still has a hard time with the word dead,) and it needs him now. Waking up as a black lantern was horrifying, not being himself and doing all those awful things. But then he could feel Hal drawing him back and he knew he would make it. Now he is here. One injustice has been remedied (I mean come on! A yellow truck!), the rest can wait. He will do his duty to the corps.
Hal... he would go see him eventually, right now he just needs a little time to deal with all this.
As he flies over the small town toward a meeting with Travis, his newly assigned partner, his ring pipes up with a warning. The young man has taken off his own ring. Tsk Tsk, now that is just sloppy. They will have to have a talk about that.
Ch'p flies the last few miles toward his destination taking in the scenery. Even in winter this planet is beautiful. He still misses H'lven with all his heart, but as far as surrogate home's go Earth is more than adequate. He had spent his first day back out in the wilderness just taking it all in.
After another few minutes his ring breaks his reverie again. His new partner is asleep in the house below. Normally he would feel bad for waking him up, but if they assigned him to this kid it must have been for a reason. Sleeping in the middle of the day, taking off his ring before he does it: Ch'p is afraid he is going to have to channel his friend Kilowog to get this one in line.
Ch'p flies down to the door of the house, creates a human sized hand out of shining emerald energy an uses it to knock loudly on the door.
The last thing Garfield Logan remembers was fighting Black Lantern Trigon. He had less than 24 hours of life, only so long as that deputy ring remained, but he was going to make it count. He was going to save the world.
But then... that white light. And Raven going after Trigon... and the explosion...
Am I dead? he wonders. I... felt like I was made alive again. I feel alive.
Well, he feels like he's lying on concrete. He hears people murmuring in hushed voices around him. Scared voices.
He opens his eyes. There's an anthropomorphic cow, dog, and llama looking down at him. They yelp and scurry back.
Oooookaaaaaaay. He sits up, rubbing his head. "Did anyone get the license plate of that exploding demon...?" he starts to ask. But his voice drops off as he looks around himself.
He's found himself in a Looney Tunes cartoon, or something. Maybe be is dead.
Wait. He's been someplace like this once before... when he helped that Captain Carrot guy and his Zoo Crew to defeat Grodd from taking over Stagremento.* Did he end up here again somehow? And if so... how?
And how will he get back?
**see Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #20 (1983).
The house was old, very old. Anyone could tell you that just by looking at it. Paint was flaking off of the front door, the windows were nearly opaque from a thick build-up of dust and the yard was overgrown and filled with years of accumulated detritus.
None of the neighbours were able to say who had previously lived in the house, in fact most of them had a nagging feeling that it hadn’t been there yesterday. But it must have been mustn’t it? After all a house can’t just appear out of thin air...
Hippolyta's meeting with Alan Scott and Carter Hall had been very eye-opening for her. She had learned a good many new things, some interesting, some surprising. Many times a mix of both.
One of the more interesting things that Hippolyta had learned, though, was that there were some Amazons who had made their home on an island called Avalon.
That was where she was headed now, by way of ferry. She was dressed in what modern society called a Grecian-style gown, bought from some designer's boutique in Manhattan. Most of her clothes were gone, along with Themyscira, and she had no wish to wear the dirt-addled clothes that she had come back to life in. Even when cleaned, one could tell that she'd been buried in them. She had retained her crown and her bracelets, though. As well as the sword that was strapped to her back.
She had sent ahead word that she was going to make a visit before having departed the JSA Brownstone and making her way down towards New Jersey.
The ferry ride was shorter than Hippolyta had suspected it would have been, and she enjoyed the ride thoroughly. She'd always loved the ocean back home in Themyscira, and the waters here were not all that different.
Far less clean, perhaps, but there was nothing to be done for that.
Soon, the boat approached the dock, and Hippolyta made ready to set foot on this new island.
She had been driving a truck which was making a run from Star City to Coast City. On the way were zombies.
They had been over-run 40 miles from Coast outside of O'Neill Army Base. The memories were a blur. The black ring came for Green Arrow senior, Oliver Queen. The Korean siege weapon Green Arrow junior, Connor Hawke, rigged up ran out of ammo. The truck had been swarmed. The last thing she remembers, or thinks she remembers, was a tommy-knocker green light telling her something.
Now she's awake and in her house. She doesn't how she got here or even if they won. The zombie thing could have been a weird dream for all she knows. In the here and now, it feels like a hamster met its untimely end in her mouth, every joint is stiff and making its protests heard and she has the mother of all headaches. Only through sheer will does she focus through the pain and lean up in bed. The first thing she registers is the radio.
If you ever change your mind about leaving leaving me behind baby bring it to me bring your sweet loving bring it on home to me
Eddie can be found in the kitchen of Wayne Manor this afternoon. He's busily putting away groceries that had been delivered while Alfred's busy resting. He's quiet as he does this, in thought.
He's been thinking about a lot of things, including Jason's return and the fact that he's actually training to be a superhero for real. He's been working hard at that training, wanting more than anything to make Bruce proud and live up to everything Batman had said about him down in the cave. And while he's been incredibly curious about Jason and eager to get to know him, Eddie's been keeping his distance from the second Robin. He hasn't wanted to overwhelm or annoy the guy.
For now, he just keeps putting away groceries while thinking about what he has to do for his training later that night and the sixty burpees he owes for when he gets down to the cave.
Jason had been spending time getting used to being alive once again. Which was more than just being so happy that he wasn't dead and in the ground. He had found out about his grave. That had been unsettling and he wasn't going to go near it.
No, he did not need that kind of closure. What he needed was to start understanding what had happened since he had expired. (He'd say die at some point. He really would, just not yet.)
So he had retreated to the Batcave frequently. He had smirked when he found out he could still get into the computer. It was way different now though. New OS, new layout and all. It had made him stop and just sit there to take it all in.
Then he had gone back to looking at things. Reading and studying everything just after his death. So much had happened since he expired. It was disturbing how much had happened. Poor Babs she deserved better and she had to go through so much around the same time he died. Still Jason didn't stop reading even as his hands started to shake a little from just how much had gone on. He had gotten up into the middle of 2005 when he had to sit back and rub his eyes.
It is possible for eyeballs to ache after a time. And right about then he is aware he has been here for hours. Maybe he needs a break.
He knows he isn't ready to go flying out there. Not yet. Bruce knows that; of that Jason is certain.
Night settled over Gotham City like a thick, oppressive wool blanket, more scratchy than it was comforting. As the last rays of the sun faded away into night, the few citizens of Gotham who had even a modicum of common sense scurried away into their homes for the night and wouldn’t be seen until the sun rose early the next morning.
Stephanie Brown was not one of those people. I’ve already died once, she mused as she slid the eggplant colored hood over her head, so that one could barely make out the black mask that covered her entire face. If one got a good enough look, they would see a pair of light-reflecting white lenses eerily staring back at them. What’s the worst that could happen to me after that? She could, of course, die again, but Stephanie’s flame burned too brightly for her to think of something like that happening again. If anything, she’d learned from some of the biggest mistakes she’d made, and she wouldn’t be repeating them if she could help it.
Especially not after the way her mother had reacted when Stephanie had arrived on her doorstep, alive and well. Crystal Brown had nearly had a stroke that night, and Steph wished that she’d planned that particular reveal better. It had taken a lot of hospital tests and like to convince her mother that the Blackest Night had indeed brought Crystal’s own daughter back to her, and not a zombie or a hollow or something equally scary.
I wonder how I would react if my own daughter... Stephanie didn’t follow through with that thought. The fact of the matter was that Stephanie did have a daughter - one she’d given up for adoption a couple of years ago. Well. More than that, considering my time as a corpse. It was not a decision that she regretted - Stephanie would never have been able to provide a stable life for the girl - but one which still haunted her. It had been hard enough giving up a puppy when she was five years old. Giving up something that was her own flesh and blood...
So not the time to think about this, she thought as she took a grappling hook out from her belt. Mom would be so angry if she knew I was doing this. Crystal had made it clear to Steph in no uncertain terms that she was not to gallivant around town as the Spoiler anymore. Stephanie had reluctantly agreed.
Then, two nights ago, she’d been walking home from her part-time job at Gotham West Mercy hospital when she’d inadvertantly stumbled upon a hold-up in process. Unable to stop herself - Stephanie had pulled up the hood of her sweatshirt and sprung into action. She’d disarmed the thugs, saved the girl, and done a good job. It was at that moment that she’d realized that, no matter what, she wouldn’t be able to stop being Spoiler. Please don’t hate me, Mom. I can’t help it. She fired the grappling hook and took to the skyline, the rush and exhilaration washing away her doubts and worries. God, but I missed this.
She had to take a few deep breaths before this began. Then quickly ran a comb through her dark hair patting it down again then sighed. She hated that appearances meant so much yet she had no idea what she really looked like. This was important though.
She took another deep breath. Then stuffed the comb inside her suit jacket and grabbed her cane making her way down to where the news conference was being held. She felt calm and collected now.
She hated this part though.
She could feel the glow of the hot white lights and felt someone near her elbow. The detective being put in charge of this mess she bet.
The roar of ten different reporters began to fill the air and Ivy shot them a look that could melt steel.
"As you have heard for the past three weeks cops have been found murdered on the night shift. We can't give you any more details than have already been leaked. But suffice to say these are brutal and senseless deaths deaths. The Gotham District Attorney's office morns the loss of the eight men and women who served the city.
The DA's office will be working closely with the Gotham Metro police department closely. We want the killer or killers found. We ask that anyone who thinks they know anything to please call either our offices or the Gotham PD. Please."
To tell the truth the murders might have started earlier. But the police and the DA had both agreed that mentioning that might not be the best idea. The first death had appeared to be very random and an isolated incident.
They just didn't want to rule it out. Ivy tenses up and gets ready to start fielding questions. She can feel the cop next to her also tensing up. This isn't going to be easy at all.