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Convergence Point – Episode One: A New World
Ever since the events of the so-called Superhero Civil War two years ago life had been relatively peaceful for Earth's superheroes. After his plan to utilize the Registration Act to gain vengeance against his longtime foe Superman was uncovered by investigative reporters Clark Kent and Lois Lane-Kent Former American President Lex Luthor had languished in federal prison on charges of treason. Alongside Luthor in confinement sat other high profile members of his renegade administration such as former Director of Hammer Norman Osborn and former ARGUS Director Amanda Waller, each was charged with multiple counts of corruption and human rights violations. To the shock of many of their detractors, the superheroes of the United States and the wider world (with only a few notable exceptions) did a more than adequate job of policing themselves once free of the constant antagonization from Luthor and his compatriots. The various superhero groupings even created an official Superhero Tribunal, or ST for short, to deal with the most egregious breaches of what came to be known as the "Superhero Code of Conduct" or SCC. Although rarely applied the SCC proscribed harsh penalties for any superhero who broke the code reserving the punishment of possible banishment from Earth for those who wantonly caused the deaths of civilians through their actions or inactions. When Dr. Octopus briefly took possession of Spider-Man's body it was the ST to whom his troubled wife Mary Jane turned to for assistance because of her husband odd behavior. The ST then quickly uncovered the truth and remedied the situation by switching back the minds of the involved parties.
A Remote Island located somewhere in the South Pacific, afternoon
"It's about damn time you two tied the knot. How long have ya been dancing around the issue Bats? Seems like forever by my reckoning." The Thing Ben Grim said.
"Thank you," The Flash Barry Allen said. "I've been saying the exact same thing for years. They make a perfect couple. Why they never got together before now boggles my mind."
"I don't see either of you hurrying to the altar. When is the last time either of you even went on a date?" Batman said dourly. He hated being the subject of gossip.
"Hey, ya should know better than most Bats that being a superhero is a full-time job. I have no time for dating. Besides I'm a confirmed bachelor who is to set in his ways to change. Ain't no chick who would want a big lug like me." The Thing said.
"You've got that right." Human Torch Johnny Storm snickered from nearby.
"That's it hot head it's clobberin' time!" The Thing growled.
"Catch me if you can rocky, flame on!" Human Torch said as he soared away as a frustrated Thing ran after him.
"So when is the big day?" Flash asked Catwoman ignoring Batman's patented bat glare which was currently leveled at both him and the departing Thing.
"Likely sometime in summer. Perhaps a June wedding would be nice. What do you think darling?" Catwoman said.
"Whatever you want, dear," Batman said.
"Wack, she's already got you whipped." Flash laughed everyone nearby laughed.
"I wonder if she whips him literally?" Deadpool said.
"Would be hot if she did." Said Harley Quinn who was leaning against Deadpool.
"True dat my little minx," Deadpool said pulling Harley in closer.
Harley giggled at Deadpool. "Maybe I can break out the whip tonight along with the chains and handcuffs and the taser and blowtorch."
"You're too good to me babe. She's a keeper people." Deadpool said while others stared in a mixture of disbelief and horror.
Batman muttered something under his breath while he shook his head in dismay. He hated these annual picnics. He swore they got worse every year plus he had to move a Wayne satellite into position to block the view of the island from orbit (damn losing that bet about Luthor getting impeached to Tony Stark). He glanced around looking for Damian but his son was nowhere to be found.
Some distance away from where Batman stood the newest Robin Damian Wayne sat on an outcropping of rock by himself. He kicked a few loose stones away having nothing better to do. In general, twelve-year-old Damian was not a happy boy. Having spent most of his young life with the League of Assassins Damian had not never been permitted to enjoy himself much or even given any real degree of freedom. Damian glanced over at the happy superheroes who were mingling around the hilly, green island and felt profoundly uncomfortable. He knew in his heart of hearts he did not belong here or attending an upscale school in Gotham or playing semi-nightly dress up alongside his father. Damian felt lost, adrift. He was in search of a sense of purpose, of a place to belong. Other than his friends Jon Kent and Annie Parker he had yet to connect with anyone in his own age group. Damian feared he would never fit in with others, did he even want to? Speaking of the duo they appeared over the nearest hill at that precise moment.
"There he is." Eleven-year-old Jon Kent said.
"Found you," Ten-year-old Spiderling Annie Parker said.
"Hi," Damian said simply. He remained crouched on his perch.
"Why did you leave the picnic?" Jon asked.
"Yeah, we were looking for you they are about to start the junior three-person treasure hunt. With the three of us on the same team, we are sure to win. The prize is a mystery but you know it'll be something great. Last year they gave away three adamantium coated signal bracelets, so wicked." Annie said excitedly.
"I felt uncomfortable," Damian admitted.
"Still shy around crowds, huh?" Jon said sympathetically.
"I am," Damian said.
"You just need to mingle with people more," Annie said.
"I doubt that'll help," Damian said.
"You should try either way," Jon said.
"Maybe," Damian said getting off the rock.
"Ah, here we are, three young heroes, around your age," Dr. Strange said after appearing in a flash of light. Next to him stood a subdued looking, grey-skinned girl of twelve who was dressed in a navy blue cloak with pulled back hood. "Greetings young heroes this is my charge, Raven."
"Um, hi," Raven said weakly.
"I think spending some time with those her own age will benefit Raven greatly in terms of socialization. Please be kind to her. Raven has had limited exposure to other children." Dr. Strange said. He gave Raven a gentle push forward. "Go along, they won't bite."
"Much," Annie joked but she and Jon both ceased laughing when they noticed Raven visibly flinch. "Sorry, I was only joking. I'm Annie by the way. This is Jon and he's Damian." Annie said indicating herself then the two boys in turn.
"I'll leave you four to your play, have fun." Dr, Strange said. When he noticed the pleading look in Raven's eyes he added. "I'll be nearby if you should need me." He vanished in another flash of light only to reappear among a distant group of adults.
"so Raven, what TV shows do you like?" Annie asked.
"I don't watch TV. Dr. Strange says 'television rots the mind'." Raven said.
"Oh," Annie said.
"Are there any books you like?" Jon asked.
"The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis," Raven said.
"Okay," Jon said not sure what that was.
"Stop badgering her you two. Can't you see you are making her uncomfortable?" Damian said. He knew what it was like to be peppered by a million questions courtesy of Annie and Jon. Shortly after his arrival roughly one year ago they had done the exact same thing to him they were now doing to Raven. "Would you like to go for a walk around the island together?"
"That would be nice," Raven said taking the hand Damian offered in her own. She quickly looked away when they made eye contact but Damian could have sworn her unusual complexion blushed slightly pink for a fleeting moment. The pair then walked off hand in hand.
"Smooth operator," Jon whistled.
"Shucks our plan is sunk without Damian," Annie said kicking the ground in frustration.
"C'mon on don't give up. I'm sure we can find a third. What about Gabby?" Jon said.
"Good idea lets go find her," Annie said as the pair ran off to locate the junior X-Men member.
At a long line of picnic tables, many more heroes young and old mingled while eating and drinking. Wonder Woman and her longtime partner/husband (although the pair had only made it official a few years ago after emerging from more than fifty years of icy slumber) Captain America stood chatting with the current Dr. Fate (who three years ago narrowly prevented a temporarily insane Scarlet Witch from depowering ever X-Gene mutant on Earth). The ever stoic Martian Manhunter J'onn J'onzz was there as were Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards and his wife Invisible Woman Sue Richards, Superman Clark Kent and his wife Lois, Spider-Man Peter Parker and his wife ex-model & fashion industry hopeful Mary Jane, and Obsidian Spider Miles Morales alongside a plethora of others including many members of the X-Men who where gathered around an expecting couple.
Jean Summers softly rubbed her bulging belly. "Everything checked out okay at my last appointment. A few months from now Scott and I should welcome a healthy baby into the world." She said happily.
"Do you know the sex?" Polaris asked.
"We prefer to be surprised." Cyclops Scott Summers said. "With everything we've been through we're just happy there have been no surprises with the pregnancy."
"So, how does it feel knowing you'll soon be a godfather sug?' Rogue teased Martian Manhunter.
J'onn had been close with Scoot and Jean ever since the Phoenix Force incident five years ago. J'onn's highly advanced telepathy combined with his knowledge of alien entities allowed him to detect that Jean was not Jean but rather a duplicate created by the Phoenix Force. Once the heroes ended the menace of the Phoenix Force they searched from the real Jean Grey soon finding her in an undersea cocoon not far from New York City thanks to Aquaman and his half-brother Namor. Jean and Scott felt they owned their lives together to Martian Manhunter, as a result, they asked him to be the godfather of their children when Jean learned she was expecting.
"I anticipate the upcoming event with great excitement." Martian Manhunter replied woodenly as was his custom.
"You could have fooled me," Nightwing Richard Grayson said to much laughter. "So, I hear you're moving to my neck of the woods," Nightwing said turning his attention back towards the raven-haired young lady next to him X-23 Laura Kinney.
"Your sources are impeccable as always, which shouldn't surprise me given who trained you," X-23 said. "I recently accepted a job with a security firm in Bludhaven."
"Talk about a trial by fire," Nightwing said. "If you ever need any help or want to team up after hours I'm always available."
X-23 smiled at Nightwing. "Are you hitting on me?" She asked.
"Ah, not if you don't want me to," Nightwing said paling slightly as his body grew tense.
"I kind of do, so it's fine if you are," X-23 said still smiling.
"Good to know," Nightwing said visibly relaxing.
"The only thing that troubles me about my new job is I have to leave Gabby behind in Bayville. I know New Jersey isn't technically that far away from Upstate New York but I'm the only family she has since Logan died." X-23 said with a hint of sadness.
"Why not bring her with you?" Nightwing suggested.
"I don't know. She'd miss her friends at the Xavier Institute. Fitting in with new people isn't always easy when you're a mutant or a clone of a famous or infamous one, depending on who you ask." X-23 said.
"Well, if do bring your sister to Bludhaven I can introduce her to a few younger residents I know," Nightwing said.
"How sweet of you," X-23 said. "I guess your reputation as prince charming among the ladies is no lie."
"Among what ladies?" Nightwing said.
"Starfire, Batgirl, Power Girl,-" X-23 was counting off on her fingers while she talked.
"Okay, okay, I get the point sheesh can't a guy be popular with the ladies without being some sort of creep?" Nightwing said.
"So you're a creep, huh?" X-23 laughed.
"I give up." Nightwing sighing X-23 laughed.
"I wish Bombshell was here. But I can't trust her with our secrets." Obsidian Spider lamented.
"Dating a supervillainess if never easy, kid. I speak from experience." Daredevil Matt Murdock said patting Obsidian Spider on his shoulder.
"Who knows maybe things will work out between you look at Batman and Catwoman," Spider-Man said.
"You think so?" Obsidian Spider said his voice a bit happier,
"Sure I do," Spider-Man said. "If my career as a superhero has taught me anything it is that people can change."
"What about Norman Osborn, or Lex Luthor, or-," Obsidian Spider said.
"Most people can change." Superman who stood nearby with Lois said weighing in. "Don't let a few bad apples ruin your day."
"Thanks, guys, I really needed the pep talk." Obsidian Spider said before he walked off to chat with some heroes his own age.
"He had to capture Bombshell again. He's pretty torn up about the whole ordeal." Spider-Man explained to Superman who gave him a questioning look.
"Poor Miles," Lois said. "Will that girl never learn?"
"I think Miles would be far happier if he was dating Kamala Khan or-," MJ began.
"Oh no, we're not playing matchmaker with Miles the kid has enough problems already, Red," Spider-Man said shaking his head.
"But, tiger-," Mary Jane said.
"No buts, Miles has to sort this out for himself," Spider-Man said.
"I agree Miles needs to deal with his feelings for Lana without input from us or anyone else," Superman said.
"You two are no fun." Mary Jane pouted.
"Tell me about it. We married the straightest arrows in the superhero community." Lois said with a groan.
"Straight and dependable," Spider-Man said.
"What's wrong with being a straight arrow?" Superman said.
"*Cough* Boring *Cough*," Daredevil said into his hand.
"We aren't boring," Superman said.
"Yeah, we aren't boring," Spider-Man said.
"Prove it," Daredevil said.
"How?" Superman asked giving Daredevil a suspicious look.
"We're up for any challenge." Spider-Man proclaimed.
"Okay, do something spontaneous." Daredevil challenged.
"I've got it," Spider-Man said snapping his fingers after a moment of thought. "How about a camping trip. I've always wanted to see the Mojave Desert."
"A camping trip is a great idea. The kids would love it." Superman said.
"No thanks," Lois said. "I hate snakes and the desert is full of them."
"I'm with Lois on this one." Mary Jane said. "My idea of fun isn't roughing it out in the desert."
"Your lose ladies. We'll have fun with the kids on our own, right Clark?" Spider-Man said.
"Right, Peter," Superman said.
Our heroes spent the remainder of that carefree day frolicking in the idyllic paradise. They mingled with each enjoying a rare moment of peace. They then cleaned up their mess leaving the pristine island as they had found it for another year.
An uncharted planetoid somewhere in deep space
Two astronauts from Earth entered a castle-like structure. Inside they found little of interest aside from various ornate furnishings all collecting dust. Although everything was in good order the place appeared abandoned.
"The place seems to be deserted." Said one of the astronauts a young male with brown skin and dark hair. "Are you reading any lifeforms?" He asked his companion a pale-skinned young woman with light hair.
"I'm not sure." The female astronaut replied giving her handheld device a hard tap on its side. "These readings are confusing. Maybe it's picking up interference from somewhere?" She suggested.
"Wait, I think I heard someone coming." The male astronaut said.
Sure enough, a loud rhythmic banging sounded could be heard from behind a large metal studded door. The door creaked open to reveal a horrifying sight. There in the doorway stood a towering entity which greatly resembled Superman but his body was made up of shiny black material overlayed with a neon yellow pattern of circuitry. The menacing figure regarded the pair with its neon yellow eyes. He opened his jagged-toothed mouth to reveal more neon yellow within.
"It's been so long since I've had visitors. Come join me." The figure said. tendrils shoot from his body impaling the astronauts through their suits. They screamed as the material slowly absorbed them into itself. When it finished nothing remained of them or their suits. The entire process took about twenty minutes. "Earthlings, far from home." The figure said as he analyzed the data flooding his mind. "Much has transpired in my absence it would seem. Kal-El and his friends have grown strong free from powerful opposition."
The figure had once in another lifetime been a human astronaut himself named Hank Henshaw. After being exposed to cosmic radiation his body perished but his consciousness somehow remained. Holding Superman and the Fantastic Four (who had been through a similar ordeal) responsible for failing to save himself or his crew from death Henshaw stole Superman's birthing matrix from orbit and traveled the cosmos until he found a warlord named Mongul. Henshaw driven further into madness by his isolation made an alliance with Mongul to destroy Superman and the Fantastic Four but when they reached Earth he learned a creature called Doomsday had already "killed" Superman. Undaunted by his setback Henshaw instead used the knowledge he gained of Kryptonian DNA from the birthing matrix to create a cybernetic version of Superman's body. Calling himself Cyborg Superman he impersonated the Man of Steel by claiming he had been rebuilt after death by unknown aliens. His ultimate goal had been to destroy Earth and blame it on Superman and the Fantastic Four thereby forever ruining their reputations within the wider galaxy. His scheme would have succeeded if not for two things; Superman did not remain dead but returned and teamed with the Fantastic Four who he had been attempting to con into helping him create "clean energy", in truth massive bombs, to both kill Mongul (though by accident) and destroy his new body. His consciousness survived, however, and sought refuge once more in the stars. Months later Henshaw's consciousness encountered and usurped control of a branch of the Technarchy becoming a new strain of Phalanx which possessed great power due to his ability to replicate all things Kryptonian at will. He had wandered the stars ever since consuming all he encountered to increase his majesty but he hungered for more, much more.
"Absorbing all life on Earth will greatly enhance my perfection and by destroying their homeworld I shall inflict an emotional wound upon Superman and the Fantastic Four from which neither will ever recover. The time has arrived, I'm going home." Phalanx-Cyborg Superman declared. Given the limitations of Earth technology, the journey would likely take many months if not a year or more in his stolen ship but he was a patient entity he could wait. "Anticipation only enhances enjoyment and I plan to enjoy my vengeance to its utmost." Phalanx-Cyborg Superman stalked out of the room his mind full of visions of mayhem.
To Be Continued
Please read and review or private message me (if you prefer). If you don't do either how will I know if I am doing a good job so far with this concept?
Author's Note -
I decided to make Damian twelve, Jon eleven, and Annie ten as I feel their previous ages were slightly too young for the adventures I have in mind. I decided to put Raven in the same age group as the New Trinity because I loved the dynamic between her and Damian in "Justice League the Judas Contract" and hope to replicate it here.