Hey, guys. Domino5555 here, and I'm posting the first chapter of my new story. Actually, it's not really the first chapter. It's more of a prologue that sets up the events and gives you, the readers, some background so that you won't be as confused as hell (even though I'm sure that most of you will, but you can't fault a guy for trying to help, okay?). You won't have to read any of my previous work to understand the story. In fact, it's barely connected to my previous work at all. At any rate, here is the prologue.

Gotham City, Veteran's Day, 2077. Ranked worst place to live in America, runner-up being Detroit. Of course, the world's isn't all that well off, to be honest. Every continent is one large smokestack powered by a bunch of smaller ones. It's not a pretty place to live. Hell, it makes 2019 from Blade Runner look like paradise.

My name is Terry McGinnis. Officially, my day job is the secretary for my boss at Wayne Industries. Unofficially, I am Batman Beyond, the Batman's successor in stopping crime in Gotham City.

Let me give you the run down on how Earth became the cesspit of the galaxy.

March 20, 2027. The day that Clark Kent and Lois Lane are married. Not exactly the starting point of how the world went to hell, but it will serve as a prologue. Obviously, like any normal married couple, they consummate their wedding later on in the evening.

Three days later, the doctors find that Lois is pregnant with twins. She and Clark become excited, and Bruce Wayne offers to be their Godfather.

A week after that, though, is when things start going seriously wrong. Conner Kent, Clark's semi-clone, is captured on a mission to one of Lex Luthor's laboratories. Luthor's scientists experiment on him to transform him into Doomsday, a Kryptonian monster meant to kill Superman.

Soon enough, Conner or Doomsday (let's just call him Doomsday for simplicity's sake) does what he was made for: killing Superman. In a chaotic battle of the Metropolis suburbs, the Justice League are beaten by Doomsday, and Superman is killed by a spear coming from Doomsday's arm.

For what it was worth, Superman did not go out quietly, and manage to wound Doomsday, to the point his injuries were nearly fatal.

This allowed Miss Martian, who was Conner's girlfriend, to reach Conner inside of Doomsday's mind. Conner telepathically begged M'gann to kill him with the discarded kryptonite shotgun that one Private Leeroy Jenkins had tried to shoot him with but died in the attempt.

Normally, I would mock the presence of the shot gun as a "deus ex machina", but what happened next was a fate that Conner certainly did not deserve. A death for such a good guy transformed into a monster that would be a contender for "most tragic ending" alongside The Fly.

With the death of Superman, Luthor was free to continue his plans without his nemesis's interference. Dick Grayson would later tell me that Clark's death was one of the catalysts that led Bruce down a darker path, and I couldn't blame him.

Luthor then hired a PMC to firebomb Smallville, ensuring that Jonathan and Martha Kent would die. Assassins were then hired to assassinate Lois Lane-Kent and Clark's unborn children.

His political and monetary influence, combined with the Kryptonian monster known as Doomsday, enabled Luthor to initiate a smear campaign against various superhumans, banishing Wonder Woman and her disciples back to Themyscira, Aquaman and his apprentices to Atlantis, and Martian Manhunter back to, well, Mars.

Various members of the Justice League were disposed of or otherwise incapacitated: Professor Zoom was hired to assassinate Barry Allen, which he succeeded (though Barry was able to take Zoom with him); Sinestro murdered Carol Ferris, and the Guardians of the Universe being morons as usual, led Hal Jordan to use a Yellow ring; and Bruce, what the Joker did to break him, it was strike two on for the no-kill rule.

I learned about the details when I was starting out: how Joker tortured Tim Drake into becoming his heir; Joker paralyzing Barbara Gordon, and making her confined to a wheelchair to this day. At least that son of a bitch was killed by his own creation: Red Hood, courtesy of a revolver. The mad clown died a very painful death, and the world was better off because of it. At least, it was better off for a while.

Shortly after Tim and Barbara were decommissioned, Green Arrow, who now co-ran the Watchtower with Bruce, had intercepted internal messages at LexCorp concerning Superman's corpse. He sent the message to Bruce. However, M'gann, who was now hiding out on the Watchtower, had gone ahead where Superman's body was being held, and was obviously captured.

Bruce, Dick, and Jason went on an operation to that LexCorp facility in downtown Metropolis, where the damage had still not been repaired. Their mission was two-fold: rescue Miss Martian, and recover the corpse of Superman, so that it can at least be given a proper burial.

Upon achieving the former objective, however, they found M'gann to be brutally tortured, and something in Bruce broke as a result. Evidently, he gave Jason permission to unleash maximum prejudice upon the scumbags who did this to M'gann.

Meanwhile, Bruce continued searching for his best friend, discovered from various audio/video logs that Clark was alive, and found him, just not in the rightest of minds. Upon learning of the deaths of his adoptive parents and pregnant wife, Clark struck at Bruce in misplaced anger, even as Bruce pitied him for what had happened. When Bruce was able to get Clark to calm down, Dick called Bruce to tell him that the operation was a trap: the Watchtower was under attack, and they needed to get into orbit immediately.

Once they reached the damaged space station, they found countless superheroes and Watchtower crewmembers murdered. The dead included Jinx, Question, Director Inverse, Zatanna, the new Batgirl Cassandra Cain, Fire, Ice, Captain Atom, B'wana Beast, Shining Knight, Vigilante, Stargirl, and Cyborg. The shuttles were able to get the survivors out of the Watchtower, before it was destroyed, but there was now a newer problem: a colossal-sized boom tube signaled that Darkseid was invading with his Parademon army, and that Brainiac, Lex Luthor, Sinestro, Bruce's rogue gallery, and General Zod were allied with him.

The result was a planet wide massacre as there were too few heroes to defend the entirety of the world from such an onslaught. Many of the younger heroes at the time still have nightmares over the civilians they were unable to save.

Victory was achieved, and all of these villains wound up dead, thankfully. But the cost may have been too high a purchase: asides from the billions of people who died, the resurrected Superman lost his cousin Supergirl to a Kryptonite superlaser on Luthor's airship; Lieutenant Colonel Steve Trevor rammed his warplane in a successful kamikaze run to destroy the airship; Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, and Blue Beetle sacrificed their lives to get Bruce off the airship before it was destroyed; Talia al Ghul was shot by her father Ra's when trying to convince him to stop this madness; Damian Wayne needlessly sacrificed himself to make Bruce proud (it only brought him pain); Red Hood was mortally wounded in the battle to get Bruce off the airship and died afterwards; Artemis Crock was killed as retaliation for trying to snipe Darkseid (admittedly with a cheap shot); Queen Hippolyta and Donna Troy were among the many Amazons who died in a diversionary attack on the Parademons; Hal Jordan self-destructed his ring to take out Sinestro; Vixen, Hawkman, Huntress, and Black Canary went out by destroying Brainiac; Roy Harper managed to make amends with Wally West by sacrificing himself to destroy a squadron of Parademons with a hand grenade; Catwoman died by trying to get civilians away from the superlaser; and Wally, along with his girlfriend Linda Park, died when debris from Luthor's airship hit them, as his foot was permanently stuck in the concrete, and Linda decided to comfort Wally in his last moments by staying with him as he died.

Normally, you would expect from all this effort that the world would be a better place. Maybe that'd be the case for other Earths in the multiverse, but it sure as hell isn't for this one. In the aftermath of the invasion, corporations invested money into reconstruction efforts, and people were grateful.

Not all such corporations did this for purely humanitarian reasons, though. With the amount of superheroes that died in the battle, there would be little interference from the Justice League, and once people trusted the less scrupulous corporations, they would be free to run things to their will.

With very little regulation of business, the earth became a stripmine. Of course, there were those that wanted the situation to be reversed, but few of them had the power to do anything about it.

Even the heroes that survived had very hard lives: feeling unimaginable guilt for the billions who had died, Bruce withdrew back into Wayne Manor, relying on Alfred and later Dick to keep him alive; for his part, Dick had a daughter with Starfire, but when the time came to choose between Bruce and Kory, he chose his adoptive father; M'gann attempted suicide in the aftermath of the attack, but only resulted in frequent shapeshifting and telepathy at random, not even at will.

The worst thing about all of this, though, wasn't necessarily all those deaths, but rather the fallout: far too few good people remained to make the sacrifices of those who died matter. In the end, those who give their lives in a heroic way will never know if it meant anything. Because it's up to those he saved to keep on working to make his sacrifice matter. Ain't that a bitch.

How is it that I made it through this madness, then? Well, after Mom and Dad divorced, over the possibility that she cheated on him, I wasn't sure how I was going to get through life. When Dad was killed by a corporate enforcer, though, I had my answer: I was able to figure by age sixteen that long ago Bruce Wayne was the legendary Batman. And I wanted training to put an end to crime.

Becoming Batman was my calling, but it also made realize that what separated my parents wasn't an affair, but rather genetic engineering that turned my Dad into a genetic replica of Bruce Wayne. That's how I got my dark hair, after all.

Being able to reconcile with Mom and Matt, getting a day job as Bruce's secretary, and getting engaged to Dana Tan helped me establish my life. But even though my life's not as bad as it would be without Batman. I've always felt like someone should go back in time to prevent all of this craziness from ever happening.

I sent Bart Allen, Barry's descendent to the past a few years ago, but he arrived in the past a couple years earlier than intended. Maybe he's in trouble. Maybe he needs my help. But I also don't want to erase Dana from existence. She's the best thing that ever happened to me, even more so than Batman.

And yet, I can't help but pity the four billion lives that have never gotten a future. I guess I'll talk to Bruce about this.

Holy shit. Talk about setting up a dark future. I know that just from the overwhelming darkness alone, I've already lost more than a few of you. Don't worry, though, the story won't be anywhere near as nihilistic as the prologue makes it out to be. There will be plenty of humor to balance out the drama, or as a certain Titan once said: "perfectly balanced, as all things should be." And before you ask, no, I did not rip off "half the population" shtick from Infinity War. It was more of a coincidence than anything.