AN: I do not own Young Justice, or any of these characters. If I did, the story would be very different. Warning, this chapter is mostly just references to episode one. But, the rest of my story will be quite different. Just hang in there.
"I can't believe that my mentor, my king, does not trust me. What else have they been hiding from us?"
Kid Flash huffed. The two sidekicks were standing in the library of the fake Justice Hall, both of them looking sour. Neither of them appreciated that there were secrets being kept from them, and the two of them were starting to think that they should've left with Speedy. "Well, maybe if we solve their case, they'll trust us more!"
Aqualad looked unsure. "I don't think that would be a good idea."
The speedster rolled his eyes. "It's just a fire- we can handle it. All we have to do is a bit of detective work while we're there. No biggie."
"But what if we discover something important?"
"Then we come back and report what we found to the League. They'll finally know that we can do things without them!" At the Atlantian's uneasy look, Wally sighed. "Do you honestly want to be treated like a kid? Not just a kid, but a sidekick?"
Anger sparked in the older teen's eyes. "No," he said sternly, "but how are we going to investigate? We don't even know where project Cadmus is."
Wally waved a dismissive hand. "I have that covered. I caught a glimpse of the news, and I know exactly where to go!"
Wally dragged his friend out of the way just as one of the giant creatures attempted to squash him. The two of them had snuck into Cadmus, and the speedster noticed as they were snooping around that an alien-like creature was escaping through one of the elevators. Aqualad had agreed that it was more than a little suspicious, and had wrenched the elevator doors open with his Atlantian strength. What they discovered next was a huge puzzlement to them both.
"What are they?" Aqualad whispered as they watched the creatures stomp away.
"I have no idea." He looked a little worried. "I guess this is what Cadmus was hiding."
"That seems to be the case. Maybe we should contact the League."
Kid Flash elbowed him at the suggestion. "No way! Let's go a little farther and see what else they have down here. If we call the League now, they'll get all the credit!"
Aqualad ran a hand over his face and nodded. "Fine. But we're only staying here a little longer."
"Whatever you say."
The two not-sidekicks continued to roam around the vast hideout, avoiding the strange monsters as they went. Even though they stayed as quiet as they could, they were eventually found by Guardian and a squad of G-Gnomes. KF hissed in pain as one of the bigger ones threw him onto the ground, and quickly backed away from the group of monsters. "Wait...Guardian?"
Aqualad frowned. "I know you. You're a hero."
"I do my best. Now, let's call the Justice League. I'm sure we can work something out."
"The League won't approve of you breeding weapons!"
"Weapons?" A strange look passed over Guardian's face, and the horns of the creature on his shoulder glowed. The puzzled look soon morphed into one of fury. "Take them down!"
Kid Flash gulped and grabbed his friend by the arm, dragging him away from the fight and towards the elevator. "I think we should retreat."
"I agree," the Atlantian mumbled as they entered the elevator. The doors closed just as their enemies came forward. "Shouldn't we have been locked out?"
"Maybe their security really sucks." A shrug. "I'm not complaining."
The Atlantian winced as the monsters pounded on the door relentlessly. "Where should we go?"
"Let's get out of here, duh!"
Aqualad seemed uncertain. "I fear that Cadmus is hiding something much bigger downstairs. I don't know why...but I feel as though we should go down."
Wally hesitantly nodded. He could somewhat understand what his friend was talking about. One should never ignore their hero instincts, after all. "So, where are we going?"
A pause. "Sub-level fifty two."
"Why there?" After another loud bang on the door, Wally sighed. "Never mind. Let's just go."
The elder boy nodded and quickly pressed the button that would lead them to their destination. In no time at all, the two teens found themselves standing in a creepy red room, with two distinct paths waiting for them. "Which way..." Aqualad said out loud, getting a shrug in response.
"Halt," someone commanded, and another strange creature stepped out of the shadows. KF and Aqualad simply glanced at each other before sprinting into the closest hallway, avoiding the technology that was thrown at them as they went. As they approached the large metal doors, they suddenly slid open, and a young woman stepped out. Not waiting any time, Kid Flash sped up and grabbed the closest object to him, using it to keep the door open. "Hurry!"
Aqualad grunted in response as he increased his speed, jumping through the gap in a few seconds. As he turned around he spotted Guardian and his G-Gnomes running towards them, and swiftly pulled the canister out from between the two sides of the door, allowing the doors to close. As soon as the entryway was shut, a strange click sounded, as if it was being locked shut. Aqualad furrowed his brow in confusion. "How did you lock it?"
Kid Flash blinked. "I didn't. Maybe it was just a glitch?"
"Right..." the Atlantian suddenly turned his gaze to the pod in the middle of the room and frowned. "What is that?"
The other boy followed his gaze and mimicked the frown before stepping forward to the control panel. After a few seconds of studying it, he pressed one of the rectangular buttons that let the tube light up. A gasp escaped his lips as the light revealed that a teen boy, baring an eery resemblance to Superman, stood inside with his eyes shut. Wally swallowed as he ditched the panel in favour of moving closer to the sleeping boy. "Big K, little r. The atomic symbol for Kripton!"
Aqualad moved to stand beside his friend. "This is wrong. What is he? A clone?"
"I took you might be right..." KF frowned. "Those creatures sitting with him seem to be telepathic. You saw the way they took control over Guardian. Whatever these guys are telling this dude, it can't be good."
Aqualad looked worried. "Now, we contact the League," he said as he brought his hand down to the symbol on his belt. The symbol glowed at his touch, but otherwise, didn't give the Atlantian any response. "No signal."
"We're in too deep...literally." the two of them heard the muffled noise of angry voices from the other side of the door. In response to this, the creatures with the clone made their horns glow. "This is wrong...We need to let him out."
The other boy nodded in agreement, but wished that they had some sort of technological genius to assist them. This whole assignment would've gone a lot smoother if they did. As if sensing his thoughts, the sound of a child's laughter cut through the air, and both of the young heroes stared in confusion as the front of the pod sprung open with a hiss.
"How did you do that?" Kid Flash asked, startled.
The clone's fingers twitched slightly before curling into a fist, bones cracking. The Atlantian narrowed his eyes as he watched the G-Gnomes's horns glow once more. Superboy's eyes suddenly opened and before anyone could say anything, the clone had Aqualad pinned to the ground. Superboy immediately launched into a series of punches on the other boy's face, until KF rushed forward and grabbed his arm. "Woah! Take it easy! We're on your side!"
Superboy merely elbowed the speedster in the face, who went flying backwards and landed in a heap. While the clone was distracted, the Atlantian slammed his foot into the boy's face and rolled away from him, climbing back up to his feet. As the clone steadied himself, the Atlantian summoned up a giant electric hammer and used it to send Superboy flying towards his abandoned pod. The clone quickly picked himself back up and calmly walked back towards his opponent.
"We are trying to help you," Kaldur said angrily, holding up a hand as if saying 'stop.' The other boy ignored him and tried to land a punch on him, but it was avoided. The Atlantian quickly moved behind his opponent and pulled both of his arms backwards as he sent a current of electricity towards him. Superboy howled in pain and jumped up high, slamming the other boy into the ceiling before coming back down. When the Atlantian's grip didn't falter, the clone repeated his actions, this time sending the boy into the depths of unconsciousness.
"Ung..." Wally forced his eyes open and was alarmed when he realized that he couldn't move. As his eyes adjusted to the strange lighting, he realized why. He was in some sort of pod, with his arms being restrained. A quick glance to the side revealed that his friend was in the same predicament, looking as though he had woken up minutes ago. He was looking at something intently, and Wally followed his face to Superboy. Great, just great. He was starting to really dislike this guy. "We freed you, and you turned on us! How's that for gratitude?!"
"KF, please," Aqualad said softly. "I believe that our new friend was not in full control of his actions." The speedster thought about these words and resisted the urge to sigh. He was irritated, but he could not blame the clone for what happened. If he was in Superboy's shoes, he'd be as confused as hell.
"What if I-" the clone paused. "What if I wasn't?"
Wally blinked in shock. "He can talk?"
The clone's hands balled into fists, and he was about to make an angry retort when the sound of a child's laughter cut through the air once more. "Of course he can! Did you think Cadmus would create an idiot?"
Superboy stiffened. "Show yourself!"
"Sure thing!" A young boy with raven black hair and a strange mask over his eyes suddenly dropped down from the ceiling, landing a few feet away from Superboy with a grin. The boy was wearing all black, the front of his shirt having a red R printed on it. "Hey, Supes."
The other boy growled and rose a threatening fist, but Kaldur spoke up. "Wait, I heard you before...You were the one that told me what floor to go to. I also heard you laughing while we were trying to get Superboy. You helped us."
The young boy smiled smugly. "I'm glad you figured it out." He turned to look at the clone with a more serious expression. "Look, these guys can help you. They can help you see the real world."
Wally blinked at the sudden subject change, but decided to go with it. "You haven't seen the world outside of this place?"
"Images are planted into my mind, but no."
Aqualad frowned. "Do you know what you are? Who you are?"
The blue eyed boy's expression didn't change. "I am the Superboy, a Genomorph; a clone made from the DNA from the Superman, created to replace him should he perish. To destroy him should he turn from the Light."
The young heroes sh ared a look, and Kaldur spoke up once more. "To be like Superman is a worthy aspiration. But like Superman, you deserve a life of your own. Beyond your pod. Beyond Cadmus."
"I live because of Cadmus!" Superboy said angrily. "It is my home!"
The raven haired child shook his head. "Your home is a test tube. Don't you think that you deserve better than this? These guys can actually show you the sun!"
"Pretty sure that it's after dark..." Wally pointed out. "But we can show you the moon."
"We can introduce you to Superman." Kaldur said softly, almost smiling at the amazed look that his words received.
"No." Someone said, causing everyone to look in that direction. "They can't." Two people in lab coats, as well as Guardian, walked into the room. "They'll be otherwise occupied. Activate the cloning process." The only woman in the room nodded and walked closer to the teens, while the unnamed man glared at Guardian. "And get the weapon back in its pod! As for you, Renegade," he turned to the raven haired boy. "You're going to regret trying to help these intruders."
While Guardian stepped forward and put a hand on Superboy's shoulder, the leading scientist pulled a small remote out of his lab coat and pressed a red button. The boy, Renegade, suddenly cried out as waves of electricity coursed through his body. Kaldur inhaled sharply at the sight of his new acquaintance being hurt, and looked at Superboy. "Help us."
The clone frowned and pulled out of Guardian's grip. The head scientist noticed this and walked over to the two, ignoring the howling teen on the ground. "Don't start thinking now." The G-Gnome on his shoulder leapt away and landed on Superboy, horns glowing. A dazed look crossed over the teen's features. "See, your not a real boy, you're a weapon. And you belong to me, and so does he!" He said this as he pressed the button on the remote again, silencing Renegade's cries. He paused. "Well, to Cadmus. Same thing. Now get back to your pod!"
Superboy immediately turned away and walked through the exit without another word. The scientist watched him leave before turning to look at the female, giving her a small nod. The woman responded by hitting a few buttons on the control panel, which caused robotic devices to spring forward, shooting out tendrils of electricity at the two trapped boys.
"Stop!" Renegade demanded as he sat up.
"It looks like you haven't learned your lesson." The man said as he hit the button once more. Soon, the cries of the two heroes were joined by the screams of the young boy, the electricity being used on him being far more powerful than what the other two had. "Where's Dubbilex?" The man asked suddenly, and a taller looking creature stepped out of the shadows. "Hmph. Lurking as usual. Get the G-Gnomes downloading their memories. When that's done, delete the source material." He looked down at Renegade. "And as for project R, another few days of solitary confinement should do the trick."
Wally, having to have heard all of this, looked up sharply, unable to contain his anger. Kaldur closed his eyes tightly as he endured the pain. Suddenly, he had an idea. Superman had super hearing, right? Maybe that meant... "Superboy," he whispered. "You live. That gives you the right to follow your own path. A weapon, or a person. The choice is yours. But ask yourself: what would Superman do?"
A few seconds passed, and Kaldur briefly feared that he was not heard. However, the banging noise on the door was enough to prove him wrong, as the metal was pulled away to reveal the clone. The shocks that were administered to the heroes suddenly stopped, and Aqualad sighed in relief. However, the young Renegade was still on the ground, groaning in pain.
"I told you to get back to your-" the scientist was silenced as the clone shoved everyone away from him forcefully. While the man was dazed, Superboy bent down and snatched the remote out of his hands, crushing it. Immediately, the boy's cries were silenced and replaced by ragged breaths.
"T-thanks," Renegade mumbled as he stood up.
"So, you gonna help us, or fry us?" Wally asked.
Superboy stared at the hero for a moment. "Huh. I don't seem to have heat vision, so I suppose helping is my only option."
Renegade moved his gloved hands and a lock picking tool came out of his pointer finger. He blinked his eyes warily before speaking. "Free Aqualad. I'll get Flash Junior."
"Don't you give me orders either," the clone growled, but complied.
"Yeah, and it's Kid Flash! Sheesh." The speedster grumbled as the kid used the device to remove his restraints, while Superboy simply crushed Kaldur's.
The Atlantian smiled as the clone steadied him "Thank you." He said. The other boy simply nodded in response before moving to let him jump out, Wally doing the same. The four of them shared a look before sprinting out, ignoring the angry words that were shouted at them.
The teens ran through the darkened hallways, aiming their course for the elevator. However, a couple of the bigger creatures jumped into their path and as they turned around, more sprung out of their strange pods. The teens rushed past the monsters with the exception of Superboy, who shoved his way right through them. It wasn't long after that when they reached the elevator, and Kaldur yanked the doors open forcefully. Renegade barely paused as he whipped out a grappling hook from his belt and used it to fly upwards. Superboy grabbed onto Aqualad and used his own legs to launch himself into the air, face pinching in utter confusion when he started to fall. Renegade noticed their descent and threw a dagger into the wall near them, which Aqualad quickly latched onto. "Superman can fly..." The clone looked devastated. "Why can't I fly?"
"That's something to worry about later. This will have to be our exit." Renegade pointed up at the descending elevator. Superboy and Aqualad both nodded and pushed the elevator doors open. As the four of them filed into the room, they barely had time to catch their breath as more creatures gave chase to them, making them run.
'Turn left brother.' A voice spoke in the clone's head. Superboy hesitated before speaking, "Go left!" The others automatically obeyed. "Right," he ordered, right after the voice spoke again.
It was a dead end.
"Great directions, Supey." KF said sarcastically.
"I...I don't understand."
Renegade grinned as he stopped next to them. "Perfect!" He exclaimed as he jumped into the air and grabbed the cover of the air vent, pulling it off before crawling inside. The other teens shared a look before following.
"At this rate, we're never getting out of here." Wally complained.
"Shh." Superboy said suddenly, causing the others to pause. Then, they heard the sound of multiple creatures crawling after them. Renegade sighed and kicked open another exit before promptly escaping, the other closely behind. The boy then carefully fit the cover back into place and closed his eyes as if he were in a trance.
"What are you doing?" Kaldur whispered harshly.
"It's hard to explain. Just know that my mind is literally connected to Cadmus's security systems." A grin worked its way to his face and he opened his eyes, looking triumphant. "I hacked the motion sensors."
"Sweet!" Wally said cheerfully. "Now I finally have room to move!" With that, the speedster threw the nearest door open and run up the stairs with his speedy ability. On the way up, he purposely ran into the incoming Genomorphs, making them collapse on the ground. The other boys were not too far behind. At a certain point, Superboy kicked a section of the stairs which disconnected it so that they wouldn't be followed. As soon as the teens exited the staircase, the door leading to freedom slammed shut.
"This way." Renegade led the boys into a nearby room just as a few of the giant creatures approached them from behind. However, as soon as they stepped inside, they were surrounded by G-Gnomes on all sides, as well as a blank faced Guardian. The teen boys all shifted into their battle stances, ready to fight their way out. Sadly, the horned G-Gnomes used their telepathic ability to force them all onto the floor before they could try anything.
'Perhaps for the sake of all Genomorphs, our brother Superboy should make up his own mind.' A voice cut into the clone's thoughts as the taller creature from earlier stepped into the room.
'It was you.'
'Yes, brother. I set the fire that lured your new friends down into Cadmus, woke them when they were in danger, -'
'And guided me. Why?' Superboy frowned. 'And what about Renegade?'
'I was also the one to awaken the young experiment. You needed Renegade's assistance.' The thing stated. 'And I guided you because you are our hope- the Genomorph hero. You will blaze a trail for all of our brothers, showing us the way to freedom.' The glowing finally stopped, and the teens slowly picked themselves up, including Superboy. 'What is your choice, brother?'
"I. Choose. Freedom." The clone said out loud. Dubbilex's lips twitched upwards at this decision.
"Feels like fog...lifting..." Guardian lowered his hand from his head and have the teenagers a determined look. "Go. I'll deal with Desmond."
"I think not."
xXx (Skipping the fight because I'm not changing anything here) xXx
The boys crawled out of the rubble that used to be the Cadmus building. The teens were all breathless, but were quick to check each other over to make sure that no one had any serious injuries. "We...did it." Kaldur said, awed.
"I didn't ever doubt it." Renegade countered. Wally grinned at him and gave him a high five, which resulted in the two of them groaning in newfound pain.
Superboy ignored them and walked over to the fallen form of Desmond, who was pinned under a giant piece of rubble. "See?" Kid asked, making the clone turn around. "The moon."
Superboy gazed at the sky in compete awe, Renegade matching his expression. "Wow," the shortest boy breathed. "I almost forgot what it looked like."
Before Kaldur could question his meaning, the distant figure of Superman appeared in the sky. Wally grinned and stood next to the clone. "And it's Superman! Do we keep our promises or what?"
Superboy's eyes shone as he watched the Justice League members touch down on the ground. The two sidekicks in the group glanced at the gathered heroes, feeling somewhat nervous about what the outcome of this meeting would be. Renegade's face was unreadable as the boy took a couple of steps backwards, hiding in the shadows. As Superman stared at the teenagers, Superboy walked forward and showed him the S-shaped emblem on his shirt. A look of utter disbelief crossed over the Boy Scout's features while his clone gazed at him patiently. A second passed, and stern look replaced the startled one, making Superboy's face fall into a frown.
"Is that what I think it is?" A man in black suddenly appeared behind the Kryptonian.
"Um, he doesn't like being called an it." Wally said lowly.
The clone's face pinched in anger. "I'm Superman's clone," he said loudly, causing the other League members to look at each other in shock. The not so subtle disturbed looks that he received seemed to only irritate the clone boy further, not that his friends could blame him.
The man in black suddenly looked at the boy in the shadows. "And him? Is he a clone too?" The other adults hid their surprise, as they apparently didn't notice the child before.
Wally frowned. "We're not too certain about that ourselves..." and suddenly, all eyes were on the boy hiding in the dark.
The masked boy cleared his throat as he stepped into the light. "I am project R, though the scientists sometimes call me Renegade." He shrugged. "And no, I'm not a clone. I'm a regular human kid that Cadmus has been experimenting on for years."
The man in black narrowed his eyes at this information and looked at the two sidekicks. "Start talking," he ordered.
The teens launched into an explanation, every single one of them contributing to the story. Batman stayed silent through the entire thing, only looking mildly impressed when he was told about Renegade's master hacking skills. Afterwards, the League stepped away from the teens and proceeded to talk amongst themselves. A few minutes later, Batman returned. As he approached, the boys noticed that some of the League members were leaving. "Cadmus will be investigated. All fifty two stories." The Dark Knight stated, the Flash and Aquaman at his sides. "But let's make one thing clear-"
"You should've called." The Flash said, ignoring the look that the Bat gave him for the interruption.
"End results aside, we are not happy." Batman declared. "You disobeyed direct orders and endangered lives. You will not be doing this again."
The teens quickly voiced their disagreement, Aqualad and Kid Flash pointing out how they were trained to handle these things. Their mentors looked slightly annoyed at the argument used against them.
"If this is about your treatment earlier, the two of you-"
"The four of us," KF corrected. "And it's not."
"Look, Batman," Renegade said, stepping forward. The other adults gave the young boy a sharp look, knowing that the Dark Knight hated disrespect. Who did this kid think he was? "You look like the man in charge. You and I both know that we're perfectly capable of doing this."
Batman glared at the boy, but Renegade met his gaze head on. They continued this staring contest for what felt like several hours before Batman finally looked at his teammates, a small smile gracing his face. The other two glanced at each other in surprise, knowing that the sight of the Dark Knight smiling was one of the rarest things in the universe, especially since a couple of years ago, after 'the Incident.'
"It's simple." Superboy said as he stood next to Renegade. "Get on board, or get out of the way."
The other teens nodded in agreement and stared at the adults, waiting. The League members shared a look, and Batman narrowed his eyes slightly as he took everything into consideration.
The boys watched as several members of the League cleared out the cave that they were standing in. "The cave was the original secret sanctuary of the Justice League." Batman explained. "We're calling it into service again. Since you four are determined to stay together and fight the good fight, you'll do it on League terms. Red Tornado has volunteered to live here and be your supervisor. Black Canary has agreed to assist with training. I will deploy you on missions."
"Real missions?" Kid Flash asked.
"Yes, but convert."
"The League will still handle the obvious stuff." Flash said, grinning almost mischievously.
"Cadmus proves that the bad guys are getting smarter." Aquaman stated. "Batman needs a team that can operate on the sly."
Batman acknowledged this with a look. "The five of you will be that team."
"Cool!" Renegade grinned. He was the only one of the kids that kept his mask on, saying that it would hurt to take it off after having it on so long. When someone asked how long he wore it, a distant look fell onto his face, and the subject was dropped. "Wait...five?"
That's when the team met Miss Martian, who smiled shyly at the four of them. KF grinned and stepped towards her. "Hi, I'm Kid Flash! That's Renegade, Aqualad. It's cool if you forget their names."
The boys soon gathered around their new teammate, properly introducing themselves to the young girl. In response to their friendliness, she smiled and chatted with them, losing her shyness almost instantly. As the group of young heroes got to know each other, Martian Manhunter walked away from his niece and joined his fellow League Members.
"What's up with you, Bats?" Flash said quietly so that the kids wouldn't hear him. "Was I imagining things or were you smiling just a second ago? You did that earlier, too!"
The other two looked equally curious, and Batman shrugged indifferently, a smirk forming on his face. "I was just thinking, maybe it's about time I get my own protege."
The Flash's eyes went wide. "You're kidding, right?" After the vigilante shook his head, the speedster looked at the teens and almost immediately let his eyes fall onto the form of the young Renegade. "What's so special about him?"
Another shrug. "I see potential in him." He also watched the teens. "And I think I know him from somewhere."
Martian Manhunter looked a little uneasy about this, as did Aquaman, who spoke, "If this is about that kid..."
Anger flashed through the vigilante's eyes. "He's not just some kid." He snapped, and the teens looks over at the adults curiously.
"I didn't mean-"
"We'll talk later." The man said briskly, before turning around and walked through a zeta tube, disappearing in a flash of light and leaving behind a room full of confused teenagers along with sympathetic adults.
Whew. Finally finished the first chapter to my very first Young Justice story. And since I'm writing a Teen Titan story as well, I'm probably going to be hooked on the idea of super heroes for a while.
Anyways, you know the drill, my dear readers. Tell me what you think! I would love some feedback, even if it's harsh criticism. It's your opinions that make my writing better! :)