Chapter 1: The Confrontation
February 8th, 2012
Despite the time of year, there was not a single snowflake to decorate the land. Plenty of clouds and rain occurred on a daily basis but there was not even a hint of the gentle caress that is typically carried by snow. Yet somehow, that winter was colder than anything that came before and after it.
"Is everyone clear on the mission?" asks Batman in his usual calm yet commanding voice.
"Yeah, yeah, get to the warehouse, stop the trade, beat the bad guys and leave them tied for the cops to find, says Kid Flash.
"You missed the 'try not to get ourselves killed' part. This is the League Of Shadows we are dealing with," replies Artemis with audible denouncement.
"Given are track record I say we will be fine. We are ready," says the team leader Aqualad in a stoic matter.
"Well what are we waiting for? Let's get going! Dips on the window seat hahaha!" enthusiastically exclaimed the Boy Wonder as he rushed to the Team's Bio-Ship.
"You know that all seats are window seats, Robin", sarcastically exclaimed
And they are off. The newest members, Zatanna and Rocket, did not join the mission due to Rocket having fallen sick the day prior and Z decided to stay and look after her.
The Team was approaching the warehouse where the League Of Shadows was scheduled to meet with an unknown partner for a deal of sorts. It was supposed to be a fairly simple and by the numbers mission. Get in, stop the deal, defeat the bad guys, get out. No big deal. Yet everyone had a strange, worried feeling. The very air felt heavy, with every inhale causing more discomfort than the previous, as if someone had pierced their lungs with a knife. Why was it like that? Fear of the unknown? There was nothing unknown about the assignment other than the Shadows' contact. Worries about meeting certain familiar faces? Perhaps but still not quite. Whatever the reason, it prevented the group from interacting in the way they were accustomed to, with everyone only resorting to short questions which gave birth to even shorter replies.
Once they arrived, the sensation grew stronger but a mission was a mission and they couldn't let it get to their heads.
"We are right above the warehouse" said MM, the usual pilot of the ship.
"Doesn't seem like we will need stealth this time. The place looks deserted" said Superboy with a hint of relief in his voice.
"Affirmative. No signs of vehicles either" agreed Robin.
"Either way, proceed with caution" ordered Aqualad.
The Team deployed and hid in the nearby bushes while the Bio-Ship entered her camouflage mode.
"It really does seem abandoned" confirmed MM
"We have to make sure. KF, make a lap around the perimeter, SB, check for heat signatures" strictly ordered Robin.
"No heat signatures in sight, neither outside nor out", confirmed Superboy
KF returned shorty after
"Nothing around the place. We are alone" he said.
"Are on a wild good chase?", sarcastically asked Artemis.
"No, Batman was certain something was going down here, perhaps we missed it" replied Robin with dissatisfaction audible in his voice.
"Whatever the case, we came out here to investigate. We're going in" said the leader.
Superboy and Aqualad forced the entrance to the warehouse open, with the sound of the moving gate loudly echoing in the room. Despite them being alone and in no imminent danger, the feeling of uneasiness continued to increase to a point that it became claustrophobic even with the entrance wide open, as if something was draining the oxygen out of the air.
"Look for anything that might be of interest."
"Yessir" replied they rest of the team unanimously.
Everyone searched for anything of value, yet they couldn't find anything except for cobwebs, expired dog food and a rusted bicycle which looked like it would collapse if someone was to breathe in close proximity to it.
"Nothing…" said Kid Flash with a deep sigh.
"Nothing" confirmed Miss Martian.
"I guess Batman really did get wrong intel huh?" Jokingly remarked Artemis
"It's very unlike him. First time for everything I guess."
"Perhaps it would be wise to contact him" suggested MM.
"No the League has a mission of their own. No need to disturb them just to say that we haven't found anything. Let us return to the cave" ordered Aqualad.
At that moment KF caught something with the corner of his eye. As he turned to face it, a feeling of terror filled him from head to toe.
"G-guys? Don't mean to cause panic but, were those two lights here this whole time?" he said with fear in his voice which made it hard for him to swallow.
As the rest turned to look in the direction pointed at by KF, they saw two red lights in the dark corner of the place. Lights which finally explained the feeling of uneasiness felt by everyone during the entire mission and which seemed to get closer to them by the second. In time, out of the darkness emerged a figure, clad in a light grey and orange armour, which somehow inflicted even more fear in the Team than just its eyes.
"So is anyone acquainted with our friend over here?" Asked Superboy
"Looks like Deathstroke, GA and I crossed paths with him a couple of times. Not a nice guy" suggested Artemis.
"No, look closely it's someone else. Deathstroke is missing an eye remember?" Insisted Robin who, along with Batman, had had several confrontations with the mercenary themselves.
"Stay on your guard team, a fight is coming our way" cautiously advised Aqualad.
"Let's make quick work out of him and get out of here." confidently remarked Superboy
"SB, WAIT!" Shouted Robin
Before A could finish that sentence, SB had already leapt in the air charging down on the adversary ready to strike. Before he could do that though, the figure threw a grenade looking device at him which dispersed a cloud of light green smoke. SB could not react and inhaled some of it, causing him excruciating pain in his chest and making him drop on the floor, barely managing to catch his breath. He knew that pain, it was kryptonite yet somehow the pain he felt as much stronger than when he was first exposed to it. As he was struggling to breathe and the pain grew stronger and spread throughout his entire body, the figure appeared out of smoke and hit SB's face causing him to bleed. He was shocked and scared. He did not pay as much attention to the pain anymore as he was more focused on the bleeding now, something he had never experienced before. As the crimson liquid continued its journey along the gaps, Superboy struggled to get back on his legs and another strike from the figure soon followed suit, this time a kick in the stomach. A kick which sent the boy of steel to the other side of the room, where he finally collapsed in his friends' legs while all they could do was watch in terror, with Miss Martian screaming Superboy's name at the top of her lungs.