DISCLAIMER: The Justice League was created by Gardner Fox. The main protagonists of this story, and several characters who are alluded to or have character traits incorporated into characters who are present, were created by Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Louise Simonson, Jon Bogdanove, Robert Kanigher, Sheldon Moldoff, Bill Finger, Bob Kane, William Moulton Marston, Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke, Gardner Fox, Harry Lampert, Mark Waid, Alex Ross, Len Strazewski, Mike Parobeck, James Robinson, and Brett Booth.

...I could've been tilling the fields, Calvin thought. I could've been writing in my blog. I could've gone with Loana to a charity event. Hell, I could've built an extension to the barn, installed a Jacuzzi in the house, plucked any of the vegetables ready for plucking, and still have time to do anything else I felt like doing in the span of a day. Instead, I'm in outer space, fighting a giant starfish monster, and hoping I don't get blown up by a ship that's about to go nuclear!

Darting to his left, Superman evaded a massive tentacle being swung in his direction, albeit barely. With just he and Green Lantern dealing with Starro now, it was becoming even harder to try and keep him at bay. And it most certainly wasn't helping that his mind was distracted, thinking of the bomb in the shuttle, the one he'd hoped wouldn't be used.

Guess Bruce gets to tell me he told me so, Calvin concluded, blocking a swing from Starro and punching his tentacle away. Assuming we live through this...

"Superman, I'm running low on juice!" Green Lantern warned, smacking Starro away with a giant green boxing glove on a sling. "I need to recharge!"

"Get back to the ship!" Superman yelled. "I'll hold him off!"

"Alone?!" Simon demanded. "Even for you, that's suicide!"

"Just GO!" Cal bellowed, grabbing hold of one of Starro's tentacles and swinging him away.

Gritting his teeth hard, Simon nodded, returning to the shuttle. With him gone, Superman found himself squaring off against Starro alone, the creature eyeing him like a piece of meat. The Man of Steel neither flinched nor sweated, balling up as he prepared for battle. Clearly, this was the most powerful foe he'd met up until now, and while that should've scared him a little bit, it also made him realize something that made him grin a bit in spite of himself: This was the first fight he'd ever been in where he wouldn't have to hold back.

"...Alright, big guy, let's dance!" Superman yelled, charging in with a fist raised.

Flash skidded to a halt as she came to the very back of the shuttle's interior, quickly spotting the bomb with her visor. Undoing the panel on the side, she got a look at the wiring, going into it fully expecting to see multi-coloured wires. Naturally, having such expectations, she felt the need to slap herself as the wires were all the same colour: Green.

"Okay, little problem!" Jesse declared over the comm. "The wires aren't colour coded!"

"For the love of..." she heard Batman groan. "Is your visor equipped to tell them apart?"

"Not so much!" Flash admitted. "Think there's any chance I could just yank it free?!"

"That could cause it to go off prematurely!" the Dark Knight responded.

"It's gonna go if I do nothing, too!" Flash reminded him.

"...Point taken," Batman relented. "Do what you can, CAREFULLY."

"Roger!" Jesse said, looking back to the bomb. Finding a pair of supports keeping it attached to the wall and floor, she reached into a hidden pocket of her costume and hauled out a strange looking screwdriver with multiple end settings. Picking the right one, she set it to one of the many screws keeping the bomb in place and began to twist.

"Think there's any chance she can pull this off?" Pamela asked as the others waited in the cockpit.

"I'd feel more confident doing it myself," Batman admitted, laying on his side as pain racked his body. "But, I suppose I don't have that luxury."

The conversation was quickly interrupted as the hatch leading outside the ship was suddenly enveloped by a green glow. It opened the hatch, but kept an energy field around the opening, keeping the air and everything else in the ship from being blown out, as Green Lantern slipped back in, closing the hatch behind him. He then quickly fell to his knees, taking a quick breather as his suit dematerialized, leaving him in somewhat raggy-looking jeans and a tank top. Doctor Fate's eyes widened at the sight of the dark-skinned man before them, spotting the Arabic tattoo on his arm, and instantly recalling where he'd once heard this man's exact description: On a wanted poster.

"...Well, I suppose that explains that," Khalid said simply, accepting the situation quickly.

"Superman's holding off Starro," Simon explained, going to a storage panel. "Need to recharge."

"How long does it take to recharge the Green Power Ring?" Wonder Woman inquired.

"Not long," Simon Baz answered, opening the panel and removing what looked to be a large emerald lantern from it.

Poison Ivy observed this, stroking her chin. "So, you really take the whole 'Green Lantern' thing pretty literally, huh?"

"It's a power battery," Baz explained, setting the lantern down. "It's used to charge the ring."

"How?" Diana asked.

Simon didn't answer. Instead, he curled the fist with his ring on it and placed it to the side of the battery, a powerful emerald light pouring out from it. Even his tattoo began to glow green as the ring began to charge, Baz reciting a quote he'd learned when he first received the ring...

"In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power, Green Lantern's light!"

With this oath spoken, the cockpit became filled with a flash of green light, temporarily blinding its occupants. As the light faded, it surrounded Baz only, as his Green Lantern costume suddenly rematerialized, covering his body from head to toe, although the faint glimmer of his tattoo could still be seen for a moment under his suit before fading.

"Alright, back to work," Green Lantern declared.

"Better get to the back," Doctor Fate advised. "Flash is trying to remove the nuclear explosive."

"On it!" Simon replied, lifting off the ground and heading to the back of the ship. After about a minute, he finally arrived at the back, spotting Flash carefully removing screws from the bomb's supports.

"Hang on, I got this," GL said, creating a green jack to keep the bomb off the ground as well as several screwdrivers that began to assist Flash in removing the supports from the wall and floor.

"This thing's heating up like crazy!" Flash exclaimed, a bead of sweat rolling down her face. "It's gonna blow at any second!"

"Then it's a good thing I know just what to do with it," Lantern replied with a smirk.

Superman let out a loud battle cry as he flew at Starro as fast and hard as he could, slamming both fists into the creature's underside. Starro groaned in pain, but quickly coiled a tentacle around the Man of Steel's throat, needles protruding from his skin. However, they barely managed to poke Superman's throat, failing to pierce his skin, though it still brought pain to the hero.

"Get...off...!" Cal groaned, trying to pry the tentacle off of him. Despite his best efforts, though, Starro continued to apply pressure, now trying to simply choke him out, as even in space, Superman still needed to be able to breathe to remain conscious. The starfish-like alien conqueror then lashed out his other tentacles, wrapping them around Superman's wrists and ankles and spreading his body out.

"Superman, hold on!" Calvin heard Wonder Woman shout over the comm.

With Superman unable to move and slowly beginning to lose consciousness, Starro glared at his foe with his single red eye. However, before the Man of Tomorrow could fade, he caught the sight of a glimmering light behind Starro: The warm, yellow light of the sun. Focusing on that, he felt his eyes begin to heat up, and his vision became tinted with vermilion. He then turned his gaze to Starro, his eyes narrowing as he felt himself adjusting his vision, much like when he used his x-ray, except that now, it unleashed the heat burning inside him as a pair of blistering vermilion beams. They streaked across Starro's body, causing him to screech in pain as his body was burned and the tentacle clasped around Superman's neck was actually seared clean off. The Man of Steel gasped hard as he tore the tentacle from his neck, trying desperately not to hyperventilate as Starro backed off.

"Superman, are you alright?!" Doctor Fate demanded from the ship. "What happened?!"

"I'm alright...!" Superman moaned, distancing himself from Starro a bit. "I used my storage of solar energy as...some kind of heat vision!"

"Didn't know you could do that," Batman groaned over the comm.

"Neither did I," Cal replied, his eyes widening as Starro began to slowly regenerate his tentacle and heal the burns. "But I...I think I overdid it. I'm too weak to keep fighting, and he's still regenerating from every hit I land!"

"Help's on the way!" Green Lantern responded. "Just keep him busy for a little while longer!"

Superman let out a short groan, trying to regain his strength as the next round of fighting was about to begin. Sure enough, just a few seconds later, Starro charged him, his fully regenerated tentacles coiled together like a giant sledge that the creature swung at the Man of Steel. Cal yelled out in pain as it connected with his side, but quickly collected himself, grabbing the coiled tentacles in both arms and swinging Starro around and around, going faster and faster, until finally releasing him, sending him spinning out of control into space.

Once the stars stopped spinning for him, Superman managed to focus on Starro, who was just beginning to right himself. Curling a fist, the Man of Tomorrow flew as fast as he could at Starro and punched him in the eye, then kicked him hard in the underside. As Starro backed off, Superman pursued with punch after punch, despite feeling himself begin to run low on energy, while he was sure Starro's regenerative capabilities were allowing him to heal from each blow. Still, he needed to give the others as much time as he could, which meant pushing himself as much as possible.

Unfortunate for Superman, Starro managed to get a single swipe of his tentacles in, nailing the Man of Steel in the face. This was just enough to stun him long enough to strike him all over with jabs from the starfish-like alien's tentacles. Finally, Starro curled himself into a ball and launched himself at Superman, slamming into him so hard, he was nearly knocked out. Cal sailed backward a bit before finally coming to a stop mere inches away from colliding with the shuttle.

"Lantern...not to rush you, but I could sure use that assist any time now," Superman groaned, holding his side.

"Almost there!" the Emerald Crusader yelled, he and Flash finally undoing the last of the screws holding the bomb in place and gently keeping it up with large green cushions.

"Go!" Flash shouted, motioning to the back room's emergency hatch before running back to the cockpit.

Green Lantern nodded, using his ring to ensnare the bomb as he flew out the hatch. He could feel the shield around the bomb start to fade as it continued to heat up, ready to blow at any second, but kept his focus, flying toward Starro as the creature menaced Superman. With one forceful shove, he shot the bomb into Starro's underside and launched both far away with a green energy blast. With that done, he grabbed the Man of Steel and flew him back inside the shuttle, almost crashing to the floor of the cockpit as he shut the hatch behind them.

"Punch it, Flash!" Superman yelled.

Jesse nodded, having taken control of the helm again. Steering the shuttle away, she floored the engines, speeding away from Starro as the nuclear weapon caught in his tentacles finally detonated, taking the alien conqueror with it. However, as the shuttle sped along, the shockwave from the explosion quickly caught up, just on their heels.

"I can't outrun it!" Flash screamed. "It's gonna hit!"

"Then we need to cushion it!" Wonder Woman exclaimed.

"On it!" Ivy replied, looking to the back of the ship. "Lucky for me, I stuck a few seeds to the back, just in case! Fate?!"

Doctor Fate nodded. Reaching out with his mind, he saw the seeds stuck to the ship's aft hull, and enveloped them with the same energy fields he'd used on the team earlier. With that done, Poison Ivy used her own powers on the seeds, causing them to burst out into bark that spread across the hull, growing harder than bamboo as they gave the back of the ship a second coating of armour. However, as the shockwave hit, the bark quickly began to crack, and the ship shook hard as it began to spin out of control.

"I've lost helm control!" Jesse announced as sparks flew from the various panels.

"The hull's going to come apart!" Batman groaned, watching one of the few read-outs of the ship that were still working.

"Like hell it is!" Green Lantern shouted, grabbing the power battery. "Time to see what this baby can REALLY do!"

Holding his ring to the side of the battery for a few moments, Lantern took in as much power as he could, feeling the hum of the battery's energy start to lessen. Then, he slammed his hand to the floor, releasing that energy as a coat of green light that spread throughout the ship, eventually spreading over every last inch of the hull. Despite this, however, the ship was still shaking hard as the hull was barely holding together, Baz's suit fading enough to show the beads of sweat rolling down his face.

"He can't hold it for long!" Fate observed. "We need to help him!"

Hearing this, a light bulb went off so hard in Superman's head that it blew apart. "It runs on willpower! If ONE man's will isn't enough..."

The others quickly clued in. One by one, they all clapped their hands over Green Lantern's, ending with Batman's as he crawled over. With all seven heroes focusing their will through the ring, the shield around the ship grew so bright and powerful that it completely dissipated the shockwave around them, though the resulting burst of energy burnt out the engines as the ship took one last horrid shake that sent the crew tumbling across the cockpit. The last thing Superman saw was the hard steel wall in front of his face before everything turned to black, the ship drifting aimlessly through space as its crew laid unconscious.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Before anyone asks, of course I had Superman's 'world of cardboard' speech from Justice League Unlimited running through my head when he was facing Starro alone. lol Also, I decided to make his heat vision vermilion instead of its usual blood red, since he's channeling yellow solar energy, so it should have SOME orange mixed in there. Naturally, as he's only recently learned to use it, Superman's heat vision isn't quite as powerful as it's been shown to be in other media, or at least that he can't use its full potential without completely burning himself out (for a lack of a better term).

Anyway, thanks for reading, and sorry this chapter wasn't that long. Really, in hindsight, I think this and chapter 3 should've been just one long chapter. Next chapter, the team finds themselves adrift in space with no engines, but at least Starro is gone...OR IS HE?! Find out next time. Ja né!