|Bad Wolf: Phantom Agents
Author: Amazing Bluie PM
Danny, Sam, and Tucker find themselves as agents of the Bad Wolf, at Clockwork's behest, fixing the multiverse as they travel to a multitude of worlds. Every chapter is a different crossover, including DC, Marvel, Narnia, SG-1, Due South, and many more!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure - Rose T. & Danny F. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 68,693 - Reviews: 40 - Favs: 35 - Follows: 55 - Updated: 06-01-12 - Published: 10-01-10 - id: 6366633
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Happy New Year!
As a bit of warning, I don't know if I'm any good with action scenes, as I've had little practice. The reason I tell you this, is that this is the most action-packed chapter I've done, and maybe will do for a while. Don't expect many (or even any) more like this, whether that's a good or bad thing. If you think I make great action sequences and want to see more, review! If you think I'm lousy and want me to stay away from them, review!
Actually, I wouldn't care if you reviewed even if you didn't care about it one way or the other! -)
Edit: This has been partially edited since its original posting. Thanks for tips go to Cordria. If I had more time, I'd incorporate all the tips and make this and previous chapters even better; but as it is, I'm sure you would all rather me put my energies into new chapters. Sorry for the long wait!
"So, it all comes down to this, huh? Just you and me, facing off for the last time..."
"You're going to lose, Flash."
"I've faced super smart gorillas, weather controlling wimps, psycho billionaires with hair-loss issues, and any number of odd creatures from the deepest reaches of space. I can beat you."
The other man's head slowly shook, almost mockingly, "You can't beat me, Flash."
"I'll... I can beat you by... Batman will help me beat you!"
A grunt sounded behind Flash's head. "No, I won't."
Flash's opponent started getting impatient. "Just make your move!"
Faster than the Green Lantern could blink, the scarlet speedster shot his hand over the chessboard and called out, "Okay, your turn!"
After a moment of staring at the board, John Stewart suspiciously said, "That wasn't there before."
Flash innocently replied, "What wasn't where before?"
John frowned as he leaned forward. "And where's my rook?"
The red-suited man waved his arm over at the slightly-larger-sized pile of chess pieces off to his side. "I took him off the board awhile back, remember?"
The green ring on John's finger activated menacingly. "No, you didn't. I specifically remember my rook being right there!" he said, pointing at a spot next to one of Flash's pawns.
"Well, when you reach that certain age, they say memory is-" Flash was suddenly interrupted as an emergency signal came through, lighting the ceiling red and wailing insistently, sending everyone in the cafeteria rushing to the control room and leaving the already forgotten chess game behind.
Flash was the first to get there. "What is it? What's going on?"
Everyone else came in as Superman, who had guard duty for the past hour, activated a message sent from Gear in Dakota. "I just received it. Didn't have a chance to play it, yet."
The screen in front of the league activated to show Static and Gear in the middle of a thunderstorm with a couple of civilian kids behind them. The latter's voice was calling in a tone imitating an old police radio operator, with only a slight tinge of panic. "Calling the Justice League! Repeat, calling the Justice League! Can you read me?"
Superman pressed a button before nodding and calling out, "We hear you fine, Gear. What's the problem?"
Gear obviously couldn't help his slightly loud whispering of, "Dude, this is so cool!"
Luckily, Static elbowed past him into a better view and got to the point. "We have a problem concerning a very powerful ghost called Phantom from another dimension, over!"
An African American kid with a red beret stuck his head between them. "Actually, he's from another universe."
The new kid was yanked back and replaced by a young girl with black hair and purple lipstick. "Actually, he's from another dimension in another universe. The point being that we need help. As in, anything you've got!" Rain started pouring heavily as she had begun to talk, then completely stopped again before she'd finished. It was oddly erratic weather, perhaps being controlled by whatever entity they were dealing with.
Before Superman could respond, Static added in a real quick, "Over."
Superman shook his head. "Enough with the "overs," Static. Get those kids out of there and we'll send a team to deal with the problem."
As the teen superhero started to respond, Sam shoved him out of her way and took over the conversation. "Look, no offense, whoever you are, but this is as much our problem as it is yours. And it's a much bigger problem than you realize. I don't know if you've fought ghosts before, but this is no ordinary dead spirit. This massive thunderstorm here isn't just for show, and that's the least of our worries." A bolt of lightning struck nearby as if to emphasize her point. It was much stronger than anything natural, the enormous white streak blowing a large hole through a car wash in the background.
Superman's eyebrows shot up, along with the rest of the Justice League's, at the display of power behind the teens. Superman cleared his throat. "With all due respect, miss, we are more than capable of dealing with whatever entity you're fighting. But we can't properly do our jobs with innocents in the way!"
Tucker would have intervened right then - tired of being left out - but even from behind her, Tuck knew what Sam's face would be saying. Danny was knocked into a coma, and it would not be smart to get in her way. He listened as she continued very heatedly, "We've been dealing with his kind long enough to know his weaknesses, what few he has, and how to use them against him. From what I've been told, you've never even encountered anyone of his kind before."
Superman held up his hand peacefully, trying to interrupt. "Now, just a minute."
Sam ramped up her anger, "Don't you 'just a minute' me, blue boy. My friend got knocked into a coma and I'm ticked! Every warning I've given since coming to this world has been ignored and got nothing but insults. I'm tired of being treated like the little girl in peril and if you don't listen to me when you all get here, I'll tear apart your hides myself!" Suddenly the screen went dead and showed nothing but digital snow.
As soon as the comm went out, Superman turned around and sighed. Whoever this girl was, she didn't seem like someone who took orders from anybody. He had a bad feeling about her.
It only made it worse that he caught Bruce smiling.
"Be careful with him!"
Gear nodded quickly to her, not wanting to challenge this suddenly fiery young girl. "You got it. I'll make sure nothing happens to him." He carefully rose off the ground, carrying an unconscious Danny towards the nearest hospital outside of the storm.
Another enormous blast of electricity created a hole in the ground a short distance away, followed by a thunderous laughter that came from all directions.
"Static!" Sam yelled to the only superhero left, "He's playing with us now, but he'll get serious when your friends arrive. You'll need to help everyone by acting as a lightning rod!"
Static blinked and yelled back, "What? A lightning rod?"
Sam nodded. "Yes. I know his ability, he can only be accurate to a certain extent. If you create a field of static electricity in the air, centralized on you, all lightning in the immediate area will redirect into you. Do you think you can handle that?"
Static turned to the last hole created from the intense electrical blasts and stared at it. After a moment, he turned back and nervously answered, "How hard can it be? Can you excuse me first, I think I need to find a lawyer."
Blinking at the odd comment, Tucker asked in confusion, "Lawyer?"
Static nodded. "Yeah, I'm going to need a will for this one!" He turned to Sam only to find she'd ignored him and pulled something out of her backpack. Static was surprised to see what looked like a bazooka. "What's that?"
Sam answered without looking up from her preparations, "A present for our friend up there! I'm not sure what the ghost zone portal setting would do in this universe, but the new rocket mode ought to bring him down a notch." She finished what she was doing and looked up at the sky, which had just switched from not raining anymore to a light hail. "Maybe."
Static walked up behind her and watched the sky. "So, you say you've fought this ghost before?"
"Who is he?" The electric superhero glanced back down and between Sam and Tucker, curious about their familiarity with him.
Both of the ghost fighters shared a long look with each other before turning away. "You heard him," Sam said. "His name's Phantom."
"But why does he have the same symbol as Danny?"
Tucker, not wanting to let Sam do all the deflecting of the truth, decided to jump in with his big mouth. "It's a popular symbol for ghosts! Everyone's wearing them!"
Sam shot him a glare before turning back to Static. "Look, can we save the twenty questions for later? We've sort of got a problem on our hands!" She pointed up to where Phantom appeared suddenly in the air, slowly lowering himself towards the teens. A stroke of lightning flared around him, dramatizing his descent and highlighting the fanged smirk on his face.
"Just thought you'd care to know," Phantom began, drawling his words with unconcern, "as I was dumping the meta-dorks and trashing the thermos, I saw a big group of idiots in their underwear flying this way. Are they your friends you told me about?"
Static stuck his chin up. "Maybe."
The large ghost's face broke into an enormous grin. "Good." He fired a powerful ectoblast at Static, plowing the teen into the wall where he then slumped to the ground. The smirking ghost glanced around. "Got that tech boy to get Danny out of harm's way, huh? I guess I can always finish him off later. I've already worked out that he's not from my universe, so there's no problem with me ripping him apart. Heh, molecule by molecule even." Phantom chuckled a little at the memory as he swiftly dodged a shot from Tucker.
As Phantom lost focus on her, driving Tucker away from the scene with his ectoplasmic shots, Sam pulled out the Fenton Bazooka and set to fire at the villain's back. But just as she pulled the trigger, Phantom's head spun around, separate from his body, as he simply said, "Boo."
The freakish movement had the desired effect and threw Sam's balance off as the rocket fired, causing it to miss its target by a large margin. Phantom grinned viciously as his body turned around, slowly moving towards her as he taunted the suddenly scared girl, "I know everything that happens around me, Samantha. It would have been nothing for me to avoid that missile you so cleverly waited to fire at my back. But for you to have just missed me..." He closed the distance between them and floated above her in a powerful position, deep voice shaping into a domineering chide. "...shows me just how little you belong in these battles."
Sam tried to stop herself from backing up, but found she couldn't. She knew she couldn't aim and fire her Wrist Ray fast enough, and nothing else was coming to her frantic mind. Her back hit a brick wall and she felt herself shaking as this dark visage from the future looked upon her. He smiled and held a charged blast in his hand, directed at her.
"I haven't been human for a long time, now. But I think I'll still enjoy this blast of the past. Goodbye, Sam."
Suddenly, a red blur flew by and Phantom's head snapped back, causing him to stumble backwards. The blur came past again and again, several times in rapid succession, each passing causing the ghost a painful step back. Before Sam could figure out what was going on, a man dressed in red was standing before her, looking down at her. "You all right, miss?"
Stunned by his sudden appearance, all Sam could say was, "Who are you?"
The scarlet speedster smiled proudly and answered, "Flash, fastest man aliv-"
A green blast flashed from the back of his head as her savior flew face first into the wall next to her. Sam spun to see Phantom, looking no worse for wear, standing in the street with a satisfied smirk. "I'll admit I expected you to take longer in navigating that storm. You caught me by surprise. But you really shouldn't have slowed down like that, it makes for an easy target." Phantom charged another blast to send to the unconscious Flash.
As he fired it though, another man suddenly appeared in its way. Dressed in red and blue, with a cape flowing behind him, this one caught the ectoblast in his hands where it harmlessly fizzled out. Having hardly let out a grunt from catching the blast, the man with an S on his chest folded his arms and spoke to Phantom, "I don't know who you are or where you're from, but this stops now."
Phantom held himself in a thoughtful position, mockingly thinking it over. "You know, I don't think so. Guess you're just gonna have to make me, huh?" His smile revealed his sharp fangs, red eyes glowing in the darkened light.
The new guy's eyes narrowed. "Not going to be a problem." As he finished, a woman with wings, a bird-like helmet, and a mace landed to his right while another woman wearing a red, white, and blue ...swimsuit, a crown, and a rope landed to his left. Neither outfits were quite what Sam would be caught dead wearing, especially the swimsuit, but it somehow suited them.
Phantom wolf-whistled. "Ladies, it'll be a pleasure getting tackled by you." With a wink, he shot a wad of sticky ectoplasm onto the right woman's rope, binding it to the leg it rested against. "I'm sure we could have fun with that later."
"How... inappropriate." Sam nearly gasped when a green ghost wearing blue shorts, a blue cape, and a red X over his chest flew through the wall next to her and stood with the other heroes.
The newest fighter caused Phantom to hesitate. "You're not a ghost."
Sam looked up at the green man as he replied, "No. I am a Martian. But since the desolation of my world, Earth has become my home and I will-"
Phantom waved a hand at him and yawned. "Yeah, yeah, bore me to tears why don't you? Where's your last member I saw coming, the other green one? Did he get lost on the way?" He smirked at his small joke.
A green light suddenly pounded him into the ground from the back. A strong, military voice came from above. "Not quite. You ready to give up, now? Or is this going to go down the hard way?"
The Justice League started to relax for a moment, before a deep, reverberating chuckle came from the Green Lantern's crater where the ghost lay face down. Suddenly, lightning blasted all around them as Phantom's head turned a hundred and eighty degrees with no signs of stressing his neck. Green Lantern frowned and said, "Silly me. It's always the hard way, isn't it?"
Lightning suddenly struck next to Hawkgirl, causing her to stumble. Superman called out over the now howling winds, "We have to get out of this storm and find some way to contain it! Whatever he's done to cause it, it's getting worse!"
Another bolt of lightning flew down, but was redirected to a purple, electric field several feet away. "No problem, Superman," Static's cocky voice rang out. "I've got your back! Give that dumb ghost one for me, would you?"
"Good job, Static. But I don't think that will be necessary." Turning back to the ghostly captive, Superman continued, "You're out of moves, Mr. Phantom. Time to turn yourself in."
Sam finally broke out of her shock right then. She looked around and noticed something was off. Upon landing her view on the eyes of the ghost of interest, the goth knew immediately what it was.
Green Lantern cuffed the submissive Phantom, feeling a little disappointed. "So much for not making it easy. That was a bit too anticlimactic."
Sam shouted, getting everyone's attention, "That's because it's not him!"
Hawkgirl, anxious for a fight, readied herself with her mace. "What?"
Superman clarified, "What do you mean it's not him?"
Sam pointed at the copy of the evil future alternate self of her best friend. "He can create duplicates of himself and I'm willing to bet that's one of them!"
Everyone turned towards the copy as he laughed. "Very good, Samantha! You deserve a prize." He then took a very deep breath in, expanding his chest.
At that very moment, J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, was very lightly skimming the mind of the young girl, Samantha Manson. As the ghost took a breath, a memory burst forth in her mind of what was coming next: the incredibly destructive ghostly wail. Before she had a chance to open her mouth, he was already moving. Snatching Sam and Flash, he phased them through the ground as a massive wave of spectral sonics obliterated the area.
The superheros left behind could take the beating and Static was far enough to the side that he would be safe. But the power behind that blast of a scream was awe-inspiring, far more than the Black Canary was capable of letting loose. The side of the building, which had been evacuated, crumbled and the structure started collapsing. Superman sped over, despite his pain, and did his best to hold it up as he made sure everyone got away. It was made extra difficult with the ache from his super-hearing throwing him off balance.
Phantom had easily slipped out of the grasp of the Green Lantern and turned invisible, reappearing in front of Superman, who glared at him as he pushed to continue holding the building upright. He was still weakened from that blast and would be slow to heal with the sun blocked by the storm. The ghost sneered at him and said, "I have eight other copies causing havoc on your cities, and you and your friends have no way of knowing which is the real one, the only one who can stop the others. Your world is mine!"
He then let loose a powerful, ecto-charged punch that blasted Superman into the rubble under the collapsing building. Phantom phased out as the whole structure collapsed on top of them, crushing anything underneath.
After being satisfied with the destruction, and with no sign of Superman, the copy dispersed itself, ending its existence and recombining with the original some distance away.
Batman stood from his position behind the console. He had watched and listened as the Justice League took on the newest threat, studying the methods of the enemy. It wasn't much to go on, but he didn't like it. This new foe was more than just powerful, he was smart, too. Batman needed the girl who already knew at least some of this ghost's capabilities. It was important to know what they were up against. First, though, he wanted to meet the ghost himself for that very reason. An assessment of his intellect would be necessary for any future plans.
As the Dark Knight sent copies of files from the League console to his Batplane, he mentally prepared himself for meeting Phantom. Known attributes included control of the weather to an unknown extent, a sonic scream several levels above Black Canary, some form of green energy discharge from the hands, strength only a few levels below Wonder Woman's, invisibility, and an unknown high level awareness of his surroundings. The last might actually be a strong familiarity with the girl in black, but the detective could take no chances. He'd have to be careful.
Arriving in the hanger area, Batman boarded his jet. Having prepared it for take-off remotely, it shot out of the hanger area within moments of sealing the cockpit. His fine-tuned, multi-million dollar aircraft made its way through the Earth's atmosphere and dived towards America, fixing on Gotham. Within minutes, Batman was soaring over the rooftops of his home, slowing to land on a helipad on a subsidiary building of Wayne Enterprises. With his new cloaking device installed, Batman found it much easier to park. What he felt uncomfortable about was landing here in the middle of the day. Batman was supposed to be nocturnal, and though many League activities forced him into the daylight, he preferred to stay in the darkness while in his city.
But he was being called.
A storm was blowing a mile away, one of nine storms that had started immediately after the one in Dakota finished. It wasn't there by chance, despite what Batman knew the League would say if they were asked. Phantom was calling him specifically. Having faced the other heroes of the world's mightiest force, the ghost would want to flex his muscles against the seventh member. Batman wisely took it as a warning that Phantom knew enough to not underestimate his opponent. One of the Dark Knight's many advantages against super-powered foes was their desire to dismiss him as too little a threat. It wouldn't be that easy, this time.
Batman carefully made his way from rooftop to rooftop, using every ounce of stealth he knew. It was a considerable amount and would normally prove to be the quickest route to taking an enemy down. However, this time Batman used it to test Phantom and the ghost's awareness of surroundings.
Having spotted the building under which the floating ghost waited - sending the occasional lightning bolt at the streets - Batman silently made his way around, watching every movement Phantom made. Using the few shadows available to him, Batman made his way across the roof to the halfway point he'd marked off in his head.
Upon reaching it, however, he heard Phantom's voice speak, "And who might you be, trying to sneak up behind me?"
Batman frowned as he stood straight. He was hoping he could get closer before being spotted. This level of awareness... complicated things. "You know who I am."
Phantom turned around with an eyebrow slightly raised. "Really? What makes you say that?"
"I watched as that copy confronted the League. The only weapon he disabled was Wonder Woman's magic lasso."
The ghost shrugged. "So? I guess I'm just lucky."
"Hawkgirl carried that big of a mace and he only took action against a thin rope? I don't think so."
"Well, now, it looks likes someone's clever. Guess those claims of 'the world's greatest detective' aren't all that far-fetched." Phantom looked at his opponent curiously. "What now?"
"You came to Gotham to draw me out, you tell me."
The ghost shrugged. "I went to a lot of places."
Batman shook his head minutely. "No, your copies did."
That raised the villain's eyebrow as he looked over Batman again. "My, you are smart. I think I'll have fun with you." He grinned wickedly, "After I torch your city, of course." Phantom raised a fiery green fist to emphasize his point.
Batman didn't even flinch. "That's not going to happen."
The ghost lowered his arm. "Are you going to stop me?"
"I don't have to. Superman allowed you to think he was down. He should be here momentarily. With you unconscious, your copies will likely disintegrate."
"Superman? Ha!" Phantom flew to within inches of Batman's face. "He'll make this even easier for me. You see, I can control people. And with someone as powerful as Superman, I'll destroy your precious little city! And the rest of your world will burn after it!"
Batman raised an eyebrow at the new information, but shook his head. "Superman's been controlled by better than you. None of them last long, between his Kryptonian mind and powerful strength of will. You don't stand a chance."
"Oh, but what you don't understand, Batman, is this..." The villain leaned in to whisper, "I don't need long."
Realization came and Batman's eyes widened beneath his cowl as he tried his hardest to shout a warning to the now-approaching Kal-El. But with Superman shifting into a higher speed, Batman had no time.
As Superman flew at the ghostly being in front of Batman, he was only aware of Batman's suddenly faster heart-rate. Could this ghost actually make Bruce afraid? Superman put on an extra speed boost, ready to take down this newest threat. The last thing the Man of Steel saw was his hand reaching through the stranger's semi-transparent body, and then Clark's mind fell into turmoil.
Batman jumped back just as Superman's body slammed down the roof's center, quickly running and diving off the edge of the building as it crumbled and imploded while the possessed alien blew through several floors of office space before blasting through a gap into the next building. Luckily, the immediate area was evacuated at the beginning of the storm, thanks to Batman's warning sent to Commissioner Gordon. But the caped crusader knew that this area would not be enough. With Clark's speed and strength, this could reach the next state within minutes. He had to find a way to steer them away from populated areas until Alfred could deliver the Kryptonite tranquilizer he'd built.
He hated resorting to such measures, but there would be no hesitation. The only problem was, Batman knew exactly what would happen once Superman got hit with the tranq gun. The ghost would leave freely and the League's heaviest hitter would be out. Despite this distasteful outcome, Gotham's guardian knew every second counted.
Batman reached the top of a building a block down, then gathered his bearings. Superman was flying through buildings in a direction forty-five degrees from his own. His head was gripped in his hands, flying crookedly and randomly as he fought an internal battle with the increasingly annoying Phantom. If the ghost continued to be this effective at destruction, the toll on Gotham would be tremendous. It would put the city, and even the state, in a disarray that would have repercussions for years to come; a situation that must be avoided.
Having worked through all of this in a fraction of a second, Batman called the Batplane to come pick him up as he darted across rooftops. He needed to slow down Kal-El's path in whatever way he could.
Leaping onto the rope ladder that automatically dropped, Batman scurried into the cockpit and shot towards Superman, aiming for the likeliest place the alien would dart to next. Batman had already worked out a slight pattern to the random flying and plunging, and he fired a small rocket to help direct his friend into the jet's path.
"Sorry about this." Hitting his accelerators as hard as he dared, Batman slammed Superman into the grip of two pincer-like bars that protruded from the front of the plane. Having Kryptonite-laced spikes lined along the interior didn't make the catch any less painful for the Kryptonian. Batman immediately hit the accelerators to maximum and fired the secondary jet propulsion units. It would only take a minute to reach the target area at the new speed.
Warning alarms blared as Superman's thrashing caused metal to rip apart. Batman pulled a few barrel rolls to slow him down, but nothing would last long. Aiming the squirming superhero near the Wayne Manor estate, Batman sent out a call to Alfred with directions on where to deliver the tranquilizer. Knowing the butler would be there within a minute of landing, Batman dove with his captive into the hillside.
At the last second, before he would no longer be able to escape the impact or debris, Batman ejected out of the plane and allowed his cape to guide his controlled descent to the ground. Taking stock of his surroundings, he spotted a familiar vehicle approaching.
Below the caped crusader, the jet immediately collided with a small group of sturdy trees. Despite the strength of their roots, however, they were blown apart as the aircraft plunged through them and ignited in a large explosion. Batman could feel the intense heat as he neared the ground, and saw a few pieces of the aerial vehicle flying in various directions. Luckily, his Kevlar kept him safe from whatever small debris came his way, and he had wrapped his thick cape around the exposed part of his face to keep it safe.
Landing next to the expensive Rolls Royce that had just pulled up, Batman walked over to where Alfred waited for him. The butler raised an eyebrow as his employer reached him. "I do hope that's not another vehicle you've totaled in the past month..."
Batman took the offered tranq gun and prepared it. "The boat doesn't count."
Alfred sighed. "I'm starting to think you enjoy working long hours into the day on fixing or even remaking vehicles that don't survive your fast-paced lifestyle."
Bruce smirked as he snapped the safety off and aimed for the wreckage. After only a moment of silence, a fist punched through the plane and tore apart a hole big enough for Superman to lean through, one hand on his head as the other blindly lashed out. Batman lined up a shot and let loose a flurry of darts filled with a very special formula. One guaranteed to knock out Superman for several hours.
Superman flailed wildly as he was hit by several of the little stingers. He slowed down and let out a moan as he lost his strength. The Kryptonian's hand drooped out of the hole in the wreck and all was silent for a moment. It didn't last long, as Phantom's hideous laughter floated from the unconscious body. The spirit appeared, leaving the fallen hero's body behind.
Phantom looked around, impressed. "Nice job, Batman. I don't know how it happened, it was pretty busy in there, but you just took out your heavy hitter." The ghost gave a mock salute. "Thanks a million!" He laughed loudly as he flew into the night sky, ready to head back to a more populated area.
"Good heavens," Alfred said, staring after the villain, "I take it he's the troublesome spirit you mentioned? You might need some help taking him down."
Batman narrowed his eyes. "From more than just the League."
"You must stay here!" The Martian Manhunter's voice was clear and left little room for argument.
Sam was used to working with little room for argument. "I am going to help! And there's nothing you can do to stop me!" She looked like she was resisting the urge to shake her fist in the alien's face.
J'onn's monotone voice had somehow grown irritated. "My powers make me more than capable of halting your ceaseless-"
Tucker tuned them both out, sighing as he considered the situation they were in. After John, or whatever his name was, saved Sam and the red dude, he picked up Static and Tucker. Carrying all four of them, the creepy alien from Mars found a hotel room to stuff them in. After Flash woke up, he gave his thanks and disappeared out the door, with Sam attempting to follow. Tucker resisted the urge to chuckle when he thought about the look Sam gave the Martian when he first tried to stop her. Poor guy.
Tucker looked out the window, where Static's fading figure could still be seen. It didn't take too long after Flash left for the teen superhero to convince the Martian to let him leave. He was a superhero after all, and he promised to focus on making sure the people of Dakota were all right. After a quick call to Richie, Static saluted everyone and flew off.
Tucker sighed as he thought about Richie's backpack. So beautiful...
"...Isn't that right, Tucker?" Sam finished, turning towards her friend.
Sitting backwards in his seat, Tucker's head jerked up from where his chin perched on the back of the chair. He blinked in confusion before answering. "Yeah, of course, whatever she said."
Sam threw her hands in the air as she snarled towards the ceiling. Looking back down at Tucker, she shouted, "Are you paying even a little attention to what's going on?"
Tucker shrugged, used to her outbursts. Lowering his head back to the chair, he said, "I just want to see Danny."
Now it was Sam's turn to blink, as she suddenly lost her anger and sat on the bed, dejected. "He'll be fine," she whispered. "He always is..."
The stony-faced Martian stayed silent, letting the teens brood over their friend's state. He disliked that such young children should have to face something like this. J'onn started to lose himself to his thoughts. Thoughts of the war his world suffered. Thoughts of little children crying in the streets as their homes crashed around them. Thoughts of his family...
J'onn shook his head. No one so young should face war, and he wouldn't let these children go face this menace of a spirit. No matter how much they wanted to. But... seeing their friend might do them some good. And maybe bringing them to him will help his recovery, as well. Clearing his throat, the Martian gathered the attention of the two teens with blank stares.
"Perhaps a visit to your friend will-" the Martian cut himself off as he cocked his head to the side and put his hand to his ear, receiving a signal from Batman.
"Manhunter here." The Martian's blank face distorted into shock as Batman informed him Superman was 'down' without giving any more information. "Is there anythi-. Yes. Of course."
After a moment, J'onn put his hand down and turned to Sam and Tucker, sighing. "Batman will be here shortly. He requests," the Martian nearly flinched when he used such a light word to describe Batman's cold demand, "that you prepare to give him all information regarding Phantom."
Sam and Tucker looked at each other before turning back and nodding. Tucker attempted a smile. "Got a PDA?"
Another blast of lightning barely missed the Flash. They were getting closer. The speedster didn't know how Phantom was getting more accurate, but he knew he needed to figure out a way to switch it up and throw him off.
Phantom, or his clone, was currently hovering in the air, throwing lightning, hail, and rough winds at Flash and Green Lantern without breaking a sweat. Being too high up for Flash to hit, the speedster had to find loose objects to pelt him with. However, these only served to distract him as he quickly put up glowing shields or turned intangible when something came his way. The only real headway the heros made were Lantern's attacks, which were slow and unsteady due to John having to split his focus between attacking and creating a lightning rod to protect himself, not to mention the occasional deflection of oversized hail.
Their foe laughed maniacally again, teleporting behind Green Lantern and tapping his shoulder. Turning invisible and intangible, the ghost flew through the galactic peacekeeper as he spun around and pounded an ecto-charged fist into the hero's back. He laughed and disappeared again.
John cursed, then shouted, "He's screwing with us!"
Flash called out, "Can you blame him? He's too powerful!"
John growled, "No he's not!" Raising his ring to his face, Green Lantern queried, "Ring, find any traces of unknown substance and transmit location visually." Lowering the ring, John willed a visor to cover his eyes. Muttering to himself, he whispered, "You're powered by ectoplasm, right? Well, my ring can scan any substance, invisible or not. So you'd better find another way of hiding..."
Slowly rotating around, the Green Lantern kept a watchful eye for his quarry. As he gazed through the green field in front of his eyes, he caught sight of a dark silhouette in the Phantom's shape. The chuckling ghost was currently distracted by Flash's flurry of pebbles flying through the air, which weren't even close enough for him to bother turning intangible. John grinned. "Gotch'a!" Pushing forward with all the speed available to him, he created a spear and rammed it at Phantom's chest. The surprised ghost was quick to dodge, but not quick enough. The spear rammed through his shoulder and caused a massive shock of pain.
Green Lantern reached a few yards away and turned around. "Ha! How do ya like that, creep?"
The clone snarled and fully healed his arm. It had hurt, but the damage wasn't permanent to someone with that much power. Now that he was angry, he decided to pull out the big guns. Phantom's clone threw his arms up into the air and twirled them around, causing the giant cloud that hovered over the city to twist down in front of him.
Green Lantern and Flash gaped as a giant twister touched down upon the earth, shredding the sides of buildings and any vehicles on the ground. A tree was quickly uprooted and thrown high into the tornado. It was slightly terrifying, even if they were only focused on the damage it could do to the city that they'd be helpless to stop.
The ghostly foe held a sadistic smile as he chuckled. "Have fun, boys! It should be a breeze! Ha!" Flying away from the conflicted do-gooders, Phantom's copy took his fun elsewhere.
The mighty whirlwind tore through the cars on the street like they were made of paper. The pull from the stern wind caused uncertainty in the heroes, dragging both towards the monstrous pillar in front of them. Flash froze for only a moment before taking a couple of big breaths.
John shouted worriedly, "I'm not going to be able to contain it! It's too big! We need to abandon this position and make sure everyone is safely away!"
Flash didn't blink as he stared down the approaching tornado, responding. "You can't stop it!" Preparing himself, he added, "I can!"
Flash started running, faster than he'd run in a while. He aimed for the side of the tornado, angling himself to hit it at a tangent. As he neared, the winds appeared to start slowing down, as did everything else. In previous battles, Flash had made tiny whirlwinds to assist him by running in a circle at high speeds. He wondered if he could do the reverse. Running counter to the giant tornado facing him, he stepped up the pace. Running faster and faster and faster, Flash felt the pull of the twister lessen.
From normal time, outside the tornado, all the Green Lantern could see was a blur of red. He felt like he could see it gaining speed, and he watched the whirlwind rapidly slow and dissipate. It lessened in intensity, and then started fading away as the speedy superhero slowed down with it. John lowered himself to where the Flash finally allowed himself to stop and pant.
Looking around, the Green Lantern saw the street was no worse for wear, minus the wrecked automobiles and a couple of walls. The troublesome ghost was still causing some mayhem with lightning nearby, but nothing too dangerous at the moment. Landing next to Flash, he looked at the speedster silently.
Flash raised an eyebrow and managed to say, "What?"
"Nothing, kid." John smiled approvingly. "You did good."
Flash smiled, then stood up straight. "All right, enough of this mushy stuff. Let's go rip that vampire ghost a new one!" As the Flash blew past him, John rolled his eyes and followed.
"What's taking him so long?" Sam was starting to get impatient. Tucker sighed and leaned back in his chair. He had turned around in it when they worked out a detailed list of Phantom's capabilities, as far as they knew, and now just wanted to fall asleep. It had been a long day.
As Sam frustratedly gripped the notepad provided by the hotel, ready to shove it at this 'Batman,' J'onn J'onzz frowned. "You need to be patient, Samantha."
Sam spun and glared at him as Tucker sat up straight in his seat. "What did you call me?"
J'onn looked confused. "Is that not the full name of a female Sam? I am not fully accustomed to your world's odd naming rituals."
Sam bit her tongue and sat down with her arms crossed. She could forgive him for being an alien. "Just don't call me that again."
"It might be wise to listen to her." The voice came from the window, which had been closed moments ago. Sam and Tucker jumped in their seats, spinning around to look at the Dark Knight, standing there so calmly.
Sam caught her breath and crossed her arms again, trying to look stubbornly challenging. "I take it you're Batman."
The hero in regard looked at her and held out his hand. "The list."
Sam handed him the notepad. "You get right to the point, don't you?" Sam looked at Batman's 'eyes' to show she wasn't afraid. But what she saw was more than just two white slits resting in a mask. He radiated a calm power that broke through her defenses.
Sam had looked all sorts of people in the eyes. Dangerous, powerful people. Vlad himself could cause most people to scare by just looking at them. But with the possible exception of Danny's future evil self, Sam had never been afraid of anyone and always stared into everybody's eyes as an equal. Until now, when the unforgiving eyes of the tall, imposing man in black looked into her soul and called her out on her hidden fears.
She couldn't help but shift uncomfortably as they stared each other down. She felt herself gulp visibly when she lost, involuntarily glancing to the ground. His gaze was... unnerving.
Batman coldly responded, "Do you want Phantom to win?"
Sam nearly cracked her neck as she shot her head up to look at Batman in shock. Tucker and J'onn also looked surprised. He continued, "Do you want him to destroy entire cities? Filled with innocent civilians?"
Sam blinked in shock at the question, before choking out, "No, of course not!" She looked nearly in tears.
J'onn started to step towards the Dark Knight, heart aching for the struggling child before him. Batman stopped him with a raised hand, a small gesture to tell him he knew what he was doing. "Then tell me everything. What are you holding back?" Sam's eyes widened before looking back to the ground. After only a moment, Batman turned around and headed for the window, growling out, "I don't have time for this."
Sam burst out with the truth before she could stop herself. "He's Danny!"
J'onn's eyes widened as he looked at her. Batman stopped but didn't turn around. Sam continued, "My best friend, Danny Fenton, is also a half-ghost named Danny Phantom. One time he had to face an alternate timeline where he turned evil in the future. Danny won. But this was in another world. We're from another world, we've never even heard of the Justice League before now."
Sam took a moment to compose herself, trying not to break into tears before finishing. "We came to this world because we're trying to fix cracks that break between universes, and whatever those cracks leave. In this case, it's another evil future of Danny, calling himself Phantom. But Phantom caught Danny by surprise, and now my best friend is lying in a coma somewhere, and I don't even know how he's doing!" Now Sam was crying, if only barely, as she tried to keep it together as best she could.
No one moved. Sam pulled herself together enough to transform her sadness into anger, "Well?"
Batman turned to J'onn. "Take them to the boy. Do what you can to save him, we'll pick up the slack." And with that, Batman jumped out the window and disappeared, allowing no trace that he'd been there except for the open window.
J'onn stared out after him for a moment. Then he turned to the teens with him, "Sam. Tucker. Are you ready to go see your friend?"
He received two very determined nods as his answer.
After sealing the cockpit and taking off, Batman contacted the League. "What's your status?"
Green Lantern responded, "Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl have taken down two copies, they're moving to a third. Flash and I are still having trouble with this one down in Los Angeles, though, and we could use a hand."
Batman raised an eyebrow under his cowl. "They defeated two so quickly?"
Green Lantern confirmed, "Yeah, thanks to Hawkgirl."
Batman nodded. "Nth metal. Her mace must make quick work of the copies, disrupting their connection to the original."
There was a moment's pause before Batman received a response. "Uh, sure... that makes sense. Personally, I thought she was just hitting them really hard. It is Shayera."
Batman grunted, the closest he got to rolling his eyes. "Keep her focused on all targets except the one now appearing in Metropolis. That attribute of the Nth metal would have little effect on the original, and we need to slow the copies' progress. Tell Wonder Woman to join us and have Flash assist Hawkgirl. We're going to need the heavy hitters against the original."
"Will J'onn be joining us?"
"No." Batman didn't bother with an explanation, he knew the Marine would accept his answer.
Batman activated the League comm again. "Flash, do you copy?"
Flash's cocky voice came over the line. "Yeah, I copy big guy. I'm already on my way to Shayera's position."
"Do not go near the ghosts. Keep them distracted from a distance so Hawkgirl can dispatch them. Do not engage directly. The last thing I need is for one of them to gain your speed."
"I'm too important to lose, got it!"
Batman signed off and calculated the route to Phantom in Metropolis. Gunning the engines, he set about making a plan for the upcoming confrontation. In the back of his mind, he was also searching for a way to awaken the young boy, Danny. Considering the foe they're currently facing was his future, he would be a big advantage.
J'onn would see to his mind, but if the boy's body was broken, there would not be much that could be done.
Batman pushed the jet's accelerators further, then frowned in thought. There was a possibility...
It was an average hospital room. White, sterile, with lots of medical thingamajigs around. It was Tucker's worst nightmare.
Sam took a moment to look at her technologically inclined friend. To get him this far in the hospital would take either a miracle... or a nightmare come to life.
She wasn't surprised to see he didn't even care.
Neither of them were of any use to anyone at the moment, unfortunately. It may have helped to keep busy. Just sitting around, in the same room as Danny's comatose body...
She sighed as she got off that track of thought and looked at the green alien she and Tuck were growing accustomed to. Sort of. His current state of entering Danny's mind was a little off-putting, but they'd all seen weirder. Right now, his hand was on her friend's head while he closed his eyes in concentration. He was so still, she jumped when he spoke.
"On the list, you made mention of the ability to heal himself?" J'onn lowered his outstretched arm as he turned to regard Sam. When she nodded in confirmation, he continued, "From what I know of the different physiologies I have studied, the best answer I can give you as to why he hasn't awoken is that his body is not ready. His regenerative abilities have been greatly slowed, perhaps intentionally."
Sam couldn't tell for sure what that meant, and it didn't help that the Martian's face was so hard to read. "What does that mean?"
"He may take a while to wake up." J'onn's voice was somewhat grim, but seemed to convey that they were lucky. His voice switched to one of better news as he continued. "The good news is that his mind is still intact. He is only comatose as his body's reaction to rerouting all energy towards healing himself. While I am unsure why it has not been enough to do so, this is good news. Once his body has healed, he will be back to his old self. For now, I will try to determine how soon his body can pull together to heal itself."
Sam didn't necessarily like the situation, but that did help calm her nerves. Danny would survive.
Now, if they could just stop Phantom...
As Batman neared Metropolis, he made one more call to J'onn before making his decision. He needed an update on Danny Fenton's mental stability.
The Martian answered immediately, apparently having already spent enough time with the boy. "Danny's mind is fine, but his body is too damaged for him to safely regain consciousness at the moment. As far as he's concerned, he's dreaming. I won't risk making him aware of his situation."
Batman considered his options for a moment before finally agreeing to his initial decision. "I'm sending someone to help."
As Batman clicked off, his only reply was, "A friend of a friend."
He then switched channels to one he tried very hard not to use. He knew how much his apprentice valued privacy, just like him. But more than that, the boy needed independency from his mentor. However, that would have to be put on hold for now. "Robin, do you read?"
The comm was silent for a moment, before a static-filled voice replied, "Batman? What's wrong?"
Batman spoke very abruptly and more quickly than when he talked with others, despite it having been awhile since their last conversation. He knew Robin would understand him better than most. "We have a situation. I need a favor from one of your team..."
J'onn shook his head sadly as he looked to Sam and Tucker. "I'm sorry. It could be weeks until he revives, months before he can be active. Whatever it is that repairs him under normal circumstances appears to have been damaged to the point of near uselessness. My guess is that Phantom is somehow responsible for its slow state."
Sam and Tucker looked at each other, then slowly turned around and sat down. Their friend's mind may be sturdy, but without a body... "He'll be fine, right?" Sam's worried voice broke out first. "Assuming nothing else happens to him, Danny's body will heal in a few weeks?"
J'onn nodded. "Yes. There is nothing I can do to speed it up, but..."
"Maybe I can." A new voice had come without warning and everyone shot up in defensive positions in time to see a hooded figure step out of a black hole that had appeared at the door. "My name is Raven. I was sent by Batman to help."
Sam's eyebrow shot up as she crossed her arms. Normally, she would comment on this new person's style, wearing a dark blue leotard and hood over her pale skin and violet-blue hair. Under the circumstances, however, she could only be suspicious. "Help out how?"
Raven took a moment to study the three teens and the Martian. She then turned to Sam. "One of my abilities is healing, whether of myself or others. It isn't that powerful, but if he already has the ability to heal quickly, perhaps I can boost its strength."
J'onn nodded towards the new girl. "I have heard of your abilities. Your thoughts on how to use them are astute. It should be sufficient."
Raven shrugged. "It was Batman's idea, but I'll do my best to help."
Sam hesitated for a minute, still looking over this strange girl in front of her. There was something off about her... Sam shook her head. It didn't matter, they just needed to get Danny up. Sam felt Raven looking at her as she heard herself say, "Save him."
Raven nodded and floated into the air, coming to rest at the head of Danny's hospital bed in a cross-legged position. As she went about her... whatever it was she was doing, Sam went up to Danny's side and held his hand, looking pleadingly at his closed eyes. 'He has to wake up. He just has to...'
Wonder Woman had just arrived in Metropolis, where the largest storm the city had ever seen almost overwhelmed the fighting going on a few miles away. A torrent of heavy rain and hail made it difficult to see, but the green coming from the battle managed to light its way through. Between the glowing emerald blasts thrown from Phantom and the familiar green energy flung from John Stewart's power ring, Diana could quickly make out what was happening as she neared. The continuous lightning didn't hurt, either.
Batman and Green Lantern were visible, fiercely battling the powerful spirit from another world. She had to admit it looked like John was doing the more furious attacking, distracting the ghost from the numerous attempts by Bruce to find its weakness. His current strategy seemed to be a combination of cryogenic batarangs and acidic exploding pellets, if the smoke's color was anything to go by. While it seemed to have an effect, it wasn't enough to satisfy the Dark Knight, who drew back into the shadows to strategize.
Knowing that the constant thunder and heavy rain would make it difficult to communicate, the Amazon princess flew into the fight without sending a warning to her allies. She came from above and a bit behind Phantom as he was dodging an attack by the Green Lantern a few yards away. She swung both her fists down together as she dropped towards the alien ghost, connecting with his back instead of his head, as he had started moving quicker than she expected. Still, the surprise attack had achieved its objective and Phantom reeled away in pain. But as Diana attempted to follow through with an uppercut, her hand went right through him.
Looking into his face as she realized she couldn't touch him, the warrior princess felt the tiniest twinge of fear looking into his eyes. His dark, red eyes glared through her in anger. His blood-thirst was easy to see while he left no doubts about what he was willing to do. This monster, whatever it was, was definitely not human. Yet, Diana wondered whether it had been, once. A hatred as intense as what she saw could only come from an agony caused by loss. This creature was born of pain, a pain that called for vengeance. It was unfortunate that her enemy was too far gone from whatever it had once been; there would be no reasoning with it.
All this had flown through Wonder Woman's mind for a mere second, but the distracting thoughts were just enough to slow her reflexes by a tiny margin. That's all her enemy needed to strike. Turning tangible, Phantom slammed the palm of his hand upwards into Wonder Woman's jaw, then gripped her neck and kneed her in the gut. As he started to slide an intangible hand inside her, to mess with a few organs, Phantom spotted a green battering ram of energy about to pummel him into a nearby building. Acting quickly, the ghost instead jerked back, dragging the disoriented princess with him. With no time for John's reflexes to kick in and stop the attack, it hit Diana.
That attack had all of the ex-Marine's force behind it, and Wonder Woman was sent flying through an office window, down for the count. Green Lantern looked on in shock, unable to believe he let himself get so careless. In his fear for Diana's safety, he hadn't thought through his attack, a mistake not made since his early days in the Corps. He turned a very hard look to the chuckling nuisance below.
"Well, now, I like how accommodating your Justice League is. I don't think I've taken a single one of you down, you seem to do it for me. First Batman takes out Super-dud, and now you've just knocked Wonder Loser into the next century!" Phantom clapped his hands in mock admiration. "I like fighting you!"
From the shadows of the building next to him, Phantom heard a gruff voice call, "Not for long." Having had only enough time to figure out the voice belonged to Batman, a batarang came from nowhere and attached to the gloating ghost's chest. A small electric charge and a high-pitched sonic shriek emitted from the center and Phantom grasped his head in immense pain as he cried out.
"Are these guys learning from each other? They seem to get harder to take down each time!" A green blast of energy hit Hawkgirl's wrist as she tried once again to smack the silly smile off the ghost copy with her mace. The blast knocked her off balance long enough for the villain to easily dodge.
Flash yelled up to her while continually dodging blasts and throwing rocks, "I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe they're some kind of hive mind?"
Shayera gritted her teeth and adjusted her grip on the mace handle. "Well, then I hope the original feels THIS!" Hawkgirl threw her arms with all of her strength, using perfect aim to slam a killing blow on her opponent's chest. She never expected what came next, when the fake Phantom transformed into some kind of mushy substance. Her weapon blasted through what may as well have been mist. She blinked in surprise. "What?"
"Nuh, uh, uhhh..." Phantom taunted while morphing back together a few yards away from her. "I think I've learned by now that even touching that thing will put me out of commission. Heh, you're just going to have to try something else."
Not particularly caring for the ghost's attitude, Shayera growled at him. "Then, I guess we'll just have to see how fast you are, because I will have the satisfaction of plowing this through your cold, undead body!"
Phantom frowned. "What am I, a zombie? But you're right, I might not be fast enough." Smiling nastily, he leaned forward, "But I know someone who is!"
Realizing his implications, Shayera took her attention away to check on Flash. She spotted him, but it wasn't good. Apparently, he'd blindly turned a corner and ran into a large pile of that green goo the ghost seemed to be made of. It must have absorbed his friction as he tried to run, because he was stuck in place. A sitting duck.
Unfortunately, she wasn't much better off, because her surprise allowed Phantom to catch her off guard. With a fast punch that could break a brick wall with ease, the specter blew Hawkgirl backward into the wall behind her. He then changed directions and flew towards the helpless Flash.
Wally was disgusted at first. It was some nasty, sticky stuff he was in. But as he realized he was an open target, and the ghost guy was coming for him, he began to panic. Batman's words came back to him about keeping from getting caught, and the speedster knew it would be bad if his abilities were added to Phantom's own.
Throwing his arms in front of himself, the Flash spun them so fast that the wind picked up from them and pushed against the incoming ghost. Unfortunately, all it did was slow him down, as the ghost had great momentum, power, and his own gust of wind at his back.
Flash put all of his effort into concentrating and pushed his feet into vibrating at a powerful speed. He might not have been able to get the friction to move, yet, but he might have a chance at evaporating the substance he was standing in. When he looked down, he was relieved to see it was working! As he looked back up, however, the scarlet speedster's face fell.
He was out of time, and not going fast enough.
Taking a deep breath, awaiting whatever crazy weird feeling he would get when the ghost took over his body, the Flash tensed up. The ghost was right on top of him, and then...
Wally blinked. Glancing all around, he waited a few moments in silence. Phantom had disappeared. Not an unusual thing, in and of itself, but when he had the upper hand?
Spotting Hawkgirl groggily flying towards him, looking at him in confusion, he shrugged. "I don't know where he is. He was here one moment, then gone the next!"
She landed next to him, took a look around the area, then used the comm unit to contact the rest of the League. "Can anyone tell me why our villain disappeared on us?"
Unfortunately, of the few items the young Manson girl listed, most were not available in this universe. But her limited knowledge of ectoranium gave Batman some ideas to work with. Among them was a working theory that disrupting the ghost's ectoplasmic energies could play a part in taking him down. There was a small chance this could minutely be done with an electric batarang. Obviously, a physical attack as small-scale as that would not be enough, as ghosts appeared to have very fast regenerative capabilities. However, Danny's healing was slowed down with his mind in a coma, so if the physical attack on Phantom's DNA would be complemented by a mental attack, there was a chance it would disorient the ghost enough for him to lose all current control of his abilities.
Having come to this conclusion, Batman rewired an electric batarang with parts of a sonic transmitter to fire a sonic pulse at the same time as its initial attack. Soundlessly edging around the roof, Batman lined up a clear shot to the blabbering ghost. As the Dark Knight let loose, throwing the device towards its mark with perfect accuracy, he couldn't help growling out, "Not for long," in response to Phantom's boasting.
As the ghost flailed about from the crackling energy and disorienting sonics, Green Lantern captured him within a large, green bubble. The space cop held it steady and contained the thrashing Phantom, but Batman knew it was a distraction at best. Their foe was smart, and even if he didn't have the power to break out by force, he could throw John off balance enough to out-will the Lantern's power ring and escape. It didn't matter, because how quickly the ghost could break free would be more data for the detective to use.
As the storms that Phantom had been fueling let up from his lack of focus, Batman faded back into the shadows and continued observing while preparing another batarang. The first attack gave him some necessary data and he could wire the next few to be a bit more effective on the specter. He would not be able to get the amount of power he'd need to take down the villain for good without several hours away from the battle at best, and they could not afford losing any more members from this battle. Already, J'onn and Superman were not able to join, and with Hawkgirl and Flash focused on the last few duplicates on the other side of the world, and Wonder Woman temporarily down, that only left himself and Green Lantern. It wasn't an ideal situation as-is.
Suddenly, the comm sounded. Hawkgirl wanting to know why their enemy vanished. Batman smirked. That's one problem down. "We broke the original's concentration. If I'm correct, sensors should indicate no more duplicates exist. Get to Metropolis, we could use assistance with the primary Phantom."
"On it," came the voice on the other end of the line. Batman clicked off and got back to his preparations.
As Batman continued working, he watched Phantom angrily claw at his own chest. The spook finally managed to rip off the batarang, despite the extra surge any time his hands touched it. Giving a snarl of infuriated satisfaction, the spectral entity turned his dangerous eyes on Green Lantern. John poured more power into the ring as Phantom started pounding away on the shield encasing him. The ghost angrily punched the wall between him and the only enemy in sight a few more times before putting both hands together, raising them over his head, then gathering all of his strength as he brought them down hard!
Apparently, there was a bit more pent up energy in the fiend than anyone had realized. The green field shimmered and John's face looked in pain as he tried to mentally withstand the blow. This would drain his energy fast, and that's something they couldn't afford right now.
"Lantern," Batman's voice came over the comm unit as Phantom prepared another strike. "Release him. NOW!"
Despite initially starting to question the order, Batman's final command struck the military chord within John's mind. He evaporated the bubble just as Phantom's fists came down, throwing the villain off his balance as his momentum was used against him. Not knowing what Batman's reasoning was, the galactic police officer went back to beating the enemy up, little by little. He could always ask questions later.
And to think, for a moment he thought it was over.
Danny shivered as he felt those words wash over him, chilling his body to the bone. He had been on the beach, relaxing and watching... the waves. The many girls jumping in them just happened to be there.
Danny nervously struggled to stay relaxed. Whatever was disturbing him was very unwelcome. He's been fighting so much, for so long. He needed this break away from it all.
You are needed.
He grimaced. That's the last thing he wanted right now. He was needed plenty enough, couldn't he take a break?
Your friends need you.
Danny frowned at that last statement. Who was the voice talking about? Sam, Valerie, and even Paulina were just fine, jumping in the waves as they played. He'd just seen Tucker head from a nearby beach chair for some refreshments, so he wasn't in danger.
This is not real.
He knew it was coming. He had known all along that it couldn't be real. But couldn't he...
Suddenly, a beautiful girl appeared in front of him. She wore a dark blue, one-piece bathing suit with a sarong draped from the waist, covering her left leg. She had very light skin and purple hair, with amethyst eyes that reminded him of Sam. Her face was serious, yet sorrowful. She obviously did not wish to disturb him.
"Hello, Danny. My name is Raven." When she spoke, he knew it was her voice that he heard mere moments ago- or had it been longer? It was not loud and echoing around him like before, but was clear and concise. He sat up and turned, placing his feet on the sand, as he looked down guiltily.
"It's hard..." Danny started, refocusing on his friends. They were no longer playing, but sat around together with his family, calling for him to come join them. He hadn't been gone from his universe long, but it felt like years. He'd never been away from home for this long before. Seeing his future self again had brought... other memories to his mind. Clearing his throat, Danny managed to continue. "It's hard to leave. I feel tired." He paused for a moment. "There's so much to do, and I'm not sure how. Sam was right. We've had it easy, but it won't always be that way."
Raven smiled and slowly sat next to Danny. Staring off into the distance, she said, "I'm far from home myself." Danny turned to look at her as she continued, "I'm from another dimension. The specifics aren't important, but I never get to see my mother or my home anymore."
Curious, Danny asked, "What about your dad?"
Raven turned from him and hid the dark look that passed across her face. Danny looked guiltily at the ground again. "I'm sorry."
Raven shrugged. "It's not your fault. The point is that, like you, my life right now is my mission. I'm here to help others, to do what I can." Danny nodded in understanding. His life, even before being called by the Bad Wolf, was ruled by his mission. The girl continued, "Sometimes it's been hard. I have powers that are activated by emotion, and this world involves far more emotion than my own. It's difficult to keep it under control."
Danny couldn't help asking, "How do you deal with it?"
"I don't think I'd be able to, if I didn't have friends to help me. They fight just as hard as I do, but they also take the time to have some fun. They've taught me the importance of balance, that I need to let myself relax a little. I owe them... so very much."
Danny looked over at his dream versions of Sam and Tucker. "I know what you mean."
Raven nodded. "But the mission comes first, Danny. Your friends, your real friends, are out in the real world. And they need your help. You have a responsibility to fulfill, and now that I've helped your body heal, we have to go."
Danny frowned. "How do I know when to relax? Part of my problem was that I ignored Sam when she said we needed to keep going. Wouldn't that mean I need to relax less?"
Raven stood and looked down at him. "I've seen your mind, Danny Fenton. Your friends are a gift. Tucker will always tell you when you're pushing too hard, and Sam will always tell you when it's not enough. Listen to them Danny, they are your compass." Then she smirked, "But if you don't know for sure, duty first."
Danny was still for a moment, digesting what was said. He finally nodded and stood up, facing Raven. "I'm ready," he said.
With a flash of light, the world around them fell back into the recesses of Danny's mind.
When sleeping, the mind has been known to solve problems that plague it. Sometimes, when thinking of something bothersome while falling asleep, one might wake up with the answer.
When dreaming, there is only access to part of the brain. Once someone wakes up, they are capable of realizing and understanding things not possible in the dream world.
As Raven opened her eyes and pulled back her hands from Danny's head, he jolted awake. Sitting upright in a sweat, he saw and then felt his friends excitedly tackling him into the bed. His mind only partially registered this, as something new was racing through.
After a minute of being hugged to death, Danny put aside his thoughts and smiled. "Hey guys. What'd I miss?"
Sam and Tucker quickly filled him in, telling him that they were having difficulty with Phantom, as he was calling himself. Neither kid could think of anything to use against the ghost, as this world did not contain blood blossoms or ectoranium. Only the Justice League, whom they filled him in on, could stop him, but even they were having trouble. As they finished their tale, though, Danny grinned.
Sam furrowed her eyebrows. "What?"
"The Justice League aren't the only ones who can stop him." Danny's eyes gleamed excitedly. "I know another weakness..."
Phantom dodged another punch and jabbed his fingers into Wonder Woman's side, hitting a nerve that only caused her to flinch. She hadn't been out for long, and now he was starting to regret not making sure she stayed down. She was certainly more resilient than he gave her credit. Taking advantage of her flinch, Phantom flew upwards and slammed his elbow into the Amazon's face.
Before he could further the advantage, however, he caught sight of green heading towards him. He dove downwards a few feet and flew up behind Diana, putting her in the way of the green energy. Lantern was far more cautious about his attacks, which was both good news and bad news for the ghostly menace. It was fairly easy to avoid them now, with Wonder Woman there, but the annoying galactic policeman had adopted a strategy to wear him down. It was starting to work.
As the energy lanced towards him, Phantom decided to up the game a notch. He couldn't seem to find Batman anymore and he couldn't get close to Green Lantern. Something about that energy disrupted his phasing enough to worry him. Now that Wonder Woman was back, the ghost decided it was time to try another... hostile takeover.
As Diana's fist came around, quicker than he'd expected and nearly clipping him, he phased his body into hers and began his taking over of her mind. It was not nearly as intense as the mental struggle with Superman had been, though she certainly had a strong mind. The difference must have mostly been the alien DNA. Shrugging his, or rather her, shoulders, Phantom turned to the shocked look on Green Lantern's face. The intruding ghost could easily imagine the glowing red eyes John Stewart saw coming from his friend at the moment.
Opening Wonder Woman's mouth to taunt the hero, both were suddenly distracted by the voice coming over the League Members' ear pieces. J'onn J'onzz's calm voice crackled, "What is your status?"
Green Lantern quickly shouted, "Phantom's somehow taken control of Wonder Woman."
Still struggling a little with the mind he was controlling, Phantom decided to respond to that with Diana's voice. "What? J'onn, Phantom's using some kind of control over Green Lantern's body. It's in him!"
Green Lantern ground his teeth before replying, "That's absurd!"
The Martian's voice came back, "Silence! Support is on its way, we will deal with the situation when we get there. Whichever of you is in control of yourself, just hold out a little longer." There was a pause as J'onn took a breath before finishing, "Now where's Batman?"
Wonder Woman and Green Lantern both answered at the same time, "No idea."
It seemed to be enough for the alien. "Martian Manhunter out."
Green Lantern smirked. "Ha! Looks like it doesn't matter."
Phantom shook Diana's head. "Wrong. I've picked up quite a few tricks, you see. Stuff that most ghosts have never had occur to them. I wasn't able to do this with Superman, but with Wonder Woman? You bozos don't stand a chance!"
John raised an eyebrow. "And what is it you plan to do with Wonder Woman?"
Letting out a big, predatory grin, Phantom pulled the Amazon's body in. Bringing her arms and legs into her chest as he bowed her head, bringing her into a fetal-like position, he suddenly cried out in pain. What he was attempting was rare and used a lot of energy. It was completely worth it, however. He screamed as her body expanded back to it's previous position and John's face fell. There, where one Wonder Woman used to be, were three.
John blinked a few times as he unconsciously backed up. "What in-"
The three Wonder Women laughed loudly. "Do you like? And each one is as powerful as the original! And since I won't tell you which one is the original, you can't take the risk in destroying what may or may not be a copy!"
John's eyes widened. This was actually going to be a problem. He decided a warning to the rest of the League would be the best idea at the moment. Before he could make the call, Phantom beat him to it. "He's duplicated himself! I don't know how-"
Quickly interrupting her, Green Lantern shouted, "Don't listen to her, she's the one who he's duplicated! You've got to get here now!" After that, he frowned. Turning to talk to the fiend overshadowing his friend, John questioned, "What am I worried about? You're the one there's three of!"
Suddenly two of them turned invisible, leaving only one smirking, overshadowed Wonder Woman behind. "I don't need to distract them long. Just long enough."
John sighed. The rest of the League couldn't get here fast enough. Suddenly a voice rang out that he'd not been expecting so soon. One he'd begun to greatly enjoy the sound of.
"All right, which one of you is possessed so I can beat the tar out of you." Hawkgirl hovered above the two fighters, threateningly slapping the palm of her hand with her mace.
Green Lantern smiled, but pointed his finger accusingly at Diana while she did the same to him. He watched as the winged woman frowned, nearly muttering, "Of course it's not that easy."
Having circled behind Hawkgirl, one of Phantom's Wonder Woman copies smiled sinisterly. This was too easy. Connecting with the minds of the original and the other copy, they all prepared for a simultaneous strike. Hawkgirl and Flash, who had shown up at the same time on the street below, would instantly fall by the two invisible menaces. The attack on the winged alien would distract Green Lantern long enough for him to be struck by the third, and then all three would take out the green pest for good. All that would leave was the Martian and the Dork Knight. Not too bad.
Putting Diana's fists together and raising them above Hawkgirl, Phantom prepared for a massive blow with the princess's inordinate strength. Just as the two invisible foes were about to strike, each had a sonic-electric batarang thrown at their chests. The powerful pulses emitted were damaging to both of the Wonder Women; though, Hawkgirl and Flash were caught in it as well. It was, however, far better than the alternative.
The third Wonder Woman, who first wore a look of shock before allowing it to dissolve into fury, managed to spot the smirking Batman on a rooftop's edge. Forgetting his normally impressive patience, Phantom seethed at the caped crusader. This was becoming very tiresome. He wasn't even sure he had the energy to conjure up another storm, at least not of the same magnitude. This Justice League was not only powerful to begin with, but the irritating fools just kept coming back!
Suddenly, Wonder Woman's earpiece crackled to life, bringing the Martian Manhunter's voice to the ghost. "We have arrived in Metropolis and will be reaching your position within moments."
Phantom snarled in Wonder Woman's body, focusing his energy and anger on Batman. Green Lantern and the recovering Hawkgirl and Flash were frustrating, but Gotham's protector was a true nuisance. "It doesn't matter. You think you've beaten me?" The ghost's lips pulled back in a mix between a smile and a sneer. "Ha! I can just disappear! I could be anyone, anywhere. I could decide to blow up the White House one day, and I'd be gone without a trace by the time you clowns show up!"
Looking at the blank face of Batman was pointless, but the specter could see the fear on Green Lantern's face, if only a trace. Military training was, apparently, not as good as whatever Batman studied. Phantom's face changed into a predatory grin. "You've won nothing! You can't stop me. You don't even know what I am!"
"But I do!" Phantom turned Wonder Woman's body to take a look at where the voice came from, recognizing it immediately. It was once, after all, his own. But as he faced that direction, the black and white blur that was his former self reached the possessed princess. The older Phantom felt the younger's hands push through Wonder Woman's body and expel his spectral form out of her physical one. Unfortunately, the ripping of ghost from Amazon affected both as each screamed from the current fusion of their duplicates, which were themselves screaming before finally fading away. Wonder Woman fell unconscious to the earth, where she was caught by Flash.
Phantom, on the other hand, was not so lucky. Danny took full advantage of his older self's disorientation and returned the pummeling he'd received earlier. As they blasted through the sky and a nearby building, the two Danny Phantoms kicked, punched, and pounded each other with ectoblasts. While most of the Justice League rushed to catch up, with Sam and Tucker still hanging on to J'onn, the ghosts landed on a rooftop. The fight continued, amping up when Phantom got another burst of energy and seemed to dominate Danny for a moment.
Hawkgirl got just above the fight first. She narrowed her eyes, clenched her teeth, and aimed her mace, preparing for a massive strike against their enemy while he had his back to them. Seeing this from the next building over, Batman knew what she was doing and recalled the consequences of the Green Lantern's redirected attack that took Wonder Woman out. They couldn't take the chance of letting the kid get injured like that, healing ability or not.
Just as she was making her move, Hawkgirl was thrown off her attack by a batarang flying across her vision, inches from her nose. Looking at Batman in frustration, she suddenly heard his voice clearly over the comm. "Do not attack! Phantom has shown himself to be adept at using our attacks against each other. We cannot risk you hitting the boy, especially since he just came out of a coma."
Shayera gritted her teeth. "Well, what are we supposed to do then? Let him fight by himself?"
Batman took no offense to the tone of Hawkgirl's voice, or didn't show anything if he did. "Danny has experience fighting his kind. He can handle himself." The Dark Knight didn't mention that he knew this not only because Phantom was Danny, but that the boy had defeated him before.
Hawkgirl seemed to seethe, probably feeling helpless, Batman surmised. "So what if he's fought ghosts before? He doesn't have to do it alone! That's stupid!"
Batman looked back at the fight, at the determination showing on Danny's face. This was hardly just a physical fight for ghost boy. He had some inner demons to work out. Perhaps this would help him find closure with his past, his future, and himself. "This one is personal." Batman left no room for argument.
The two struggling figures managed to separate themselves, panting from exhaustion on the roof. Phantom had been battling all day, and it was showing. Similarly, Danny's coma had taken a lot out of him, as well. Both stared at each other under the watchful eyes above.
Danny smiled and took a deep breath. "Come on, give up! You know you can't beat us all."
Phantom stood up straight, grimacing a little, but otherwise hiding his pain well. "As I was just explaining, I don't have to win here. Your thermos is busted, as is mine, and there's no other technology in this universe to hold me." He grinned, "I can even allow myself to be captured, because there's nothing you can do to keep me permanently! I can just phase myself through the floor, rest up, and come back with precision strikes that you can't possibly defend against!"
Phantom threw his arms out wide, dramatically getting into his little monologue, "Don't you get it? There's nothing you can do!" Danny was no longer focusing on his doppleganger, silently watching something behind Phantom. The older ghost started laughing maniacally, slightly crazed from the long day. "There's nothing you can hit me with!"
"Wanna bet?" Phantom spun around at the new voice, shocked to see the young electric hero from earlier hovering behind him before landing on the ground. As the ghost opened his mouth to question what the teen was doing here, Static Shock let loose a massive amount of electricity into Phantom. Phantom, expecting it to do no more damage than regular electricity, prepared to fight off the attack the same way he did against Batman's earlier electric batarangs. After all, without sonics to distract him, what's the worst it could do?
Phantom's lack of concern for the attack was deeply regretted. When Danny and Virgil had merely touched hands after first meeting, the unique electricity and ectoplasm had an impressive reaction. Some ectoplasm from Danny's hand destabilized and attached itself to Virgil instead. Now, Static was throwing massive amounts of that same energy at that same ectoplasmic substance, and the ghostly menace felt every bit of it.
Danny hadn't been afraid of a ghostly wail when attacking Phantom because his older self had no energy for it. Neither of them even knew what a ghostly wail was before Phantom's shrieking. As Virgil poured the juice into his attack, the League fell to their perspective roofs and Danny and his friends all did their best to keep from collapsing under the strain of the sound. Windows around them shattered from the stress, little pieces falling to the empty streets. Had Phantom been screaming into any direction but straight up, the damage would have been far worse. As it was, the screeching was terrifying.
It didn't last long in reality, but when Virgil could take no more and grasped his head as he sank to the ground, no one had a clue how much time had passed. As they slowly lifted themselves up, they felt weary and hoped this meant it was over. As each person looked up, though, they were almost shocked at the look of Phantom. His unconscious body bubbled on the roof's surface, little tiny pops that could be heard from several yards away. Much of it was blackened, but with green still being the dominating color. Destabilized ectoplasm. Ghost blood.
The features could still be made out. Phantom still had a face; but it's pale complexion had green lines running through it, like blood vessels bursting at the seams. His entire suit was streaked with green lines and filled with black spots, and his flaming head of 'hair' had died away. Even his teeth seemed to rot, charred and worthless.
Danny looked at the mess in front of him and felt his stomach stiffen. He knew the ghost's healing could cover the most of it, it seemed to have already started, but this was sickening. He knew it was the only way, but...
A slight sound of someone landing behind him caught the ghost boy's attention. Turning around, he saw that J'onn had just dropped off Sam and Tucker. He was almost caught off guard as they pulled him in for a group hug, but he needed it. As the rest of the League, minus Superman, gathered around him in congratulations, taking turns shaking his hand, Danny started to feel pretty good. Happy, even.
Until a small, cold gasp escaped his lungs.
He barely awoke, feeling a fiery pain lance through his entire body. It was unimaginable, but he had to get through it. All he needed was a few seconds to get his revenge. Maybe that blasted boy would finally become what he was destined to be. It all hinged on one person. All he had to do was kill one person, and the stupid kid would finally man up and do what was necessary. One person who held Danny Phantom from reaching his true potential.
Phantom had prepared for a lot of things while recuperating during his stay with the Meta-Breed. Even having no energy. So he borrowed something from a nearby pawn shop. Pulling a hidden gun from his insides, rather easy with them leaking all over the place, he took aim at the one person he'd need to kill to send Danny over the edge. Smiling, the ghost pulled the trigger.
Feeling his ghost sense go off, Danny immediately felt a sense of dread wash over him. He knew what it meant, somehow.
Looking at Flash, who was standing between Danny and Phantom, the ghost boy threw himself forward, throwing the speedster off balance. His eyes widened as he saw Phantom pointing, of all things, a gun at someone to Danny's side. Danny glanced where the gun was aiming, seeing Sam standing there, gazing at a sunset. His mind briefly wondered when she had left him to do that, but the thought was pushed away as realization hit him. Then he heard the shot.
Nothing happened. Sam jerked towards the sound, along with most everyone else. At first, Danny thought she reacted to being hit, but he quickly realized this wasn't the case. He turned to see what had happened and felt his jaw drop. Standing there was a big man in blue and red tights; Superman, he suddenly recalled from Sam and Tuck's earlier briefing. He seemed to have caught the bullet and was now staring down at Phantom... disapprovingly? Seriously?
Danny was still staring in awe at the man in front of him when Superman's deep, powerful voice said, "Only a coward shoots someone in the back." Phantom looked up at him dumbly, before losing the last of his energy he'd gathered together. The menace was officially over as the ghost passed out once more.
Turning to his shocked fellow League members, Superman grinned. "So, did I miss anything?"
Tucker was the first to break the silence with, "Dude, that was awesome!"
Flash rubbed his chin as he stared at Phantom and asked, "Where'd he pull the gun from?"
As Sam rejoined them, she shook her head, "My guess? You don't want to know."
Turning to Superman, Wonder Woman smiled, "Just in time. We were beginning to think you'd miss all the fun."
Hawkgirl snorted, "If you call that fun." When Green Lantern raised an eyebrow at her, she clarified, "I haven't been allowed to hit anything for over an hour." She looked threateningly towards Phantom's body, daring it to wake up again.
Superman chuckled. "I'm just glad nobody was seriously hurt." Danny shook his head at that. Was this guy for real? Did he see the bubbling body behind him? How many crazy days like this do these people have?
Feeling a little out of his depth, Danny took a look at the dark superhero with a bat on his chest. He looked somewhat close to a frown, but the half ghost really couldn't tell for sure. Superman seemed to have the same idea, because he immediately asked him, "What's wrong?"
"You should have been out for another hour. I'll have to rework the formula." Batman abruptly turned around and walked away.
Tucker frowned. "That guy needs to invest in a personality."
Sam, though, was more hesitant to cast judgement. She also found herself moving to catch up to the Dark Knight after a moment, signaling to Danny she'd be a minute. She needed to thank him... and ask about something on her mind since the hotel room.
Danny turned from watching Sam follow...Batman? Something like that. Purposefully not looking in the direction of his alternate future self, the ghost boy gazed out at the sunset. Despite his weak stomach at what he saw, Danny was feeling okay. He couldn't help but see a pale girl's face in his mind's eye as he looked into the horizon. The memory of his dream was still fresh, as were Raven's words in it. Sam and Tucker were his compasses. He needed to remember that.
He also needed to remember to picture girls dressed a little more conservatively when having guests in his dreams.
Danny blushed and turned around, suddenly anxious to join Tucker in meeting the coolest bunch of heros he'd seen. Work was done for now, making it time to let Tucker's compass lead him to fun.
As Sam rounded the corner of the stairwell entrance on the roof, she found Batman waiting for her. Impressed and slightly intimidated, the goth stood in front of him for a moment, nervously finding her words. After a minute of opening her mouth, Sam finally said, "Thank you."
With absolutely no expression change on his blank face, he replied, "Superman saved you."
Sam rubbed the back of her neck, "I don't mean about that. I mean, yeah, thank you all for everything. You were all awesome back there...but I mean about the hotel...um, maybe not thank you, exactly, but...I... How'd you know?" she finally managed to blurt out.
Batman raised an eyebrow, only somewhat noticeable with the mask. "About?"
Sam frowned and got a more stubborn look on. "You know! How did you know that I wasn't telling you everything? How did you know how to get it out of me? How did you know I'd be able to tell you?" She got a bit embarrassed and looked down as she said, "I wasn't exactly Miss Stable at the time."
"Are you usually stable when discussing your friend?" His face was still blank, not showing any interest or disinterest he might have had in the conversation.
Sam frowned again, but didn't look up. She didn't respond either, which was answer enough. Batman looked at her, recalling how she stood up to Superman the first time he'd seen her. She didn't know who he was, but something about Clark's voice stopped people in their tracks; when he wasn't disguising it for that stupid reporter identity of his. She had fire when she needed it.
Before answering her, Batman thought about what she needed to know. There was something about these kids. Something special. They were going into a very long, very dangerous situation from what he had heard. Sam needed a guidance the other two would not have. Danny may have the powers, but she was the safeguard. The backbone of the group. She would know, more than the others, what would need to be done for the mission. He could see it in her eyes. Now, she just needed to know to trust herself to do it.
As well as knowing a few other things, especially what may be required of her to succeed in their mission. Something none of the other league members could properly accomplish as well as he could. They wouldn't have the stomach for it. Some advice requires someone strong enough to say it... and someone strong enough to hear it.
So he told her.
"This is amazing!"
Sam and Danny both stood in front of a giant window in the Watchtower, where everyone had gathered to say their goodbyes. Static and Gear were not present, as they had secret identity issues to deal with. Green Lantern was missing for the moment as well, having taken Phantom to get fitted for some heavy duty cuffs.
Staring with his friend - and girlfriend, as he frequently had to remind himself - Danny felt a grin on his face that wiped all his doubts away. A view like this, of Earth, from space... it felt a bit cleansing of the spirit. He had to agree with Sam. Absolutely amazing.
Turning to see what his other friend thought of the view, Danny's eyes found Tucker drooling over the very expensive looking equipment that the Watchtower was made of. Chuckling to himself, he turned back to watching the world spin slowly by. He wanted to enjoy the moment while it lasted.
Unfortunately, the moment ended too soon as Green Lantern returned to the room with a subdued Phantom in tow. John led the ghost to a machine and locked him inside. What looked like some kind of scanner passed over the malicious specter, while the space cop joined the rest of the group.
"It'll scan him for any more little surprises he may have hid inside himself, like that gun he stole from a pawn shop in Dakota." The emerald hero shrugged nonchalantly. "You never know."
Danny shook his head. Not one of them seemed a bit phased by a ghost from another dimension in another universe, that they've never heard of, attacking the world. They must've dealt with a lot of weirdness to be that unaffected, while Danny's own head was spinning from confusion.
But the view outside did help.
Slowly, Danny tuned in to whatever Superman had been saying. "-at's why we decided to make the Watchtower capable of geosynchronous orbit."
Flash took another bite of the ice cream he had retrieved from elsewhere in the orbiting station, before replying with his mouth half full, "Yeah, and so we could time travel if we get it to go fast enough!"
Green Lantern rolled his eyes. "You've been watching too many movies."
Flash gulped down his bite. "No, no, it's true! If something moves around something else fast enough, it goes back in time! Right, Supes?"
Superman raised an eyebrow. "How would I know?"
Flash frowned, desperately wanting to prove his point for some reason. "I bet ya I can make this ice cream disappear through time!"
Everybody watched skeptically as Flash spun around while holding his little bowl of ice cream. He spun faster and faster, causing a mini tornado. It wasn't causing enough wind to do more than make loose clothing flap about, but that added to the effect. Suddenly, he stopped. The ice cream in his bowl was gone, and he grinned.
"See?" After a moment, his smile faltered as he asked, "What's everybody staring at?" Following their gazes, the scarlet speedster saw that the Man of Steel's chest was covered in melted ice cream. Flash rubbed the back of his head sheepishly as almost everyone let loose with some light laughter. Superman was one of the ones not laughing.
Sam, however, did find herself laughing. Something about Flash's antics brought her a light-heartedness she hadn't felt in a while. Though he confused her at first, she realized he somehow managed to appear completely childish and silly while simultaneously being a wise and fairly responsible adult. Kind of like Tucker at times, not that she'd ever admit it.
Sam calmed herself from laughing and got rid of most of the smile on her face, enjoying herself but still trying to be professional. For a moment, the young girl reflected on how much she had grown over the past couple of years, and how necessary it was for her to have done so so very quickly. First it was ghost hunting, and now this? It felt like she'd already left being a teenager behind. The responsibility she found thrust about them as a group seemed overwhelming at times, and she wondered if she could ever go back to being normal. Even her rebellious nature had mellowed considerably from what it had been merely a year or two ago.
Out of the corner of her eye, Sam caught a quick movement a short distance from the rest of the group. Batman ushered her towards him with a slight flick of two of his fingers. She stopped in front of him, looking back to see everyone else laughing at some story Wonder Woman was telling about her confusion with man's world. Focusing back on her newest hero, she watched the Dark Knight pull out a small, black ring and set it in the palm of her outstretched hand. Sam closed her fingers around it immediately and hid it out of sight where it would be safe. She looked up into the white slits covering his eyes as he said quietly, "You know what to do, when the time comes."
Sam nodded, completely sobered with the implications that statement made. Batman returned the nod, giving a dismissive look towards her friends. "It looks like you're leaving soon. Better go say goodbye to everyone while you still have the chance."
She gave a grim smile and nodded, before hurrying back. Somehow, conversations with Batman made it feel like talking unnecessarily was some kind of forbidden taboo.
She'd have to learn that trick for dealing with Tucker.
Batman followed her over to the rest of the group, catching a look from Superman who, somehow, managed to subtly move towards the Gotham hero without anyone noticing. "What was that about?" the Man of Steel asked quietly.
Batman's face was as neutral as always as he responded, "You should keep your ears to yourself, Clark."
Superman shrugged, accepting the answer. He'd learned long ago to trust Batman's judgment. More importantly, he knew not to ask him too many questions.
Superman still had that uneasy frown he'd had for the last few minutes. "So, you're sure about this?"
Danny nodded, looking over to Phantom. The other ghost had powerful devices that could best be described as high-tech handcuffs covering his hands and part of his arm. He seemed secure enough for now. Looking back at the inspirational alien, Danny said, "Yeah, once we have the portal to the next world up and running, we'll just set it to reroute us to... our boss, you could say." The ghost boy shrugged with the poor description. "We can drop Phantom off with her and continue on our way."
The Man of Steel nodded, somewhat satisfied. These kids had proven that they at least have somewhat of an idea of what they're doing. This boss of theirs seems to have their respect in the power department, if they were so sure she could deal with the menace beside them. Now that everyone had said their goodbyes, there wasn't any reason for the three multiversal travelers to hang around any longer. Still, Superman had quickly grown somewhat fond of Danny. That boy was special.
Tucker finally finished fiddling with the thing, and a stable tear in the space/time continuum opened in front of the group. Danny and Tucker took either side of Phantom while Sam stood behind them. All three turned around directly next to the portal as Superman stepped forward for one quick farewell.
"Good luck with whatever you face out there. And if you ever find yourselves in our world again, remember that you have some friends. You are all extraordinary, and we would have been honored for you to join our team, given the chance. Don't forget to watch each other's back out there! There's nothing you can do alone that you can't do better with help."
As Superman finished, ignoring what was almost a snort from Batman at the end, Danny smiled and turned to Tucker. "Okay, Tuck, do your thing!"
Tucker nodded and went to reroute their course. Before he had a chance to do anything, they all heard a crack. Everyone glanced up to see Phantom's strained face, a mixture between a snarl and a smile as the device containing him started to give way. Apparently, there was a miscalculation as to the limits of the ghost's strength.
Before anyone even knew what was going on, Phantom jerked forward then back, loosening Danny and Tucker's grip on him. He then turned one way, pushing Danny in line with the tear, before spinning around, breaking Danny's grasp and yanking Tucker along until both Danny and Tucker were aligned with the rift. Jumping and sending a powerful kick into Tucker's chest, he landed to see both boys get knocked into the portal. Pulling together all of his strength, Phantom busted out of his restraints, freeing himself once more.
Before he could rejoice in his newfound freedom, Sam slammed shoulder first into his back, gripping him around the waist as they both fell into the rift after Danny and Tucker. The rift closed immediately after, allowing only a small, swiftly thrown device to get through before cutting off the travelers from the world of the Justice League.
As Phantom and his passenger fell through the rift, he reached behind himself to grab Sam, pulling her forward to face him and wrapping his hand around her throat. "Well, Samantha, it would appear I'll get the chance to kill you after all. What do you think of that?"
Instead of trying to answer, however, Sam simply smirked despite not being able to breathe. The ghost snarled, "What are you smiling at?"
Before his captive had a chance to respond, he heard a beeping. As he turned to look at its source, Batman's EMP batarang activated, spiking the villain's body with Static's electricity. With a howl of pain, Phantom let go of Sam and was thrown off the course set by Tucker's PDA. Sam flew towards the next world, watching the disappearance of their enemy into multiverse.
"Welcome to the Xavier Institute!"
"So what are your mutant abilities?"
"I'm not actually a mutant."
"This child comes from another world. And the power he possesses... I must have him!"
Destiny's head was ablaze with her apocalyptic vision. She could only cry out to the emptiness, "Raven... NO!"