Disclaimer – Like anyone could mistake me for their owner.

A/N – Written because of Livia's Random DC Generator, which I found while investigating Teland. The prompt was; Any character that is an alien in a ficlet that contains the phrase 'They're all dead now.'

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Alleyway Dirge

By Scribbler

September 2004


They're all dead now.

She bends, checking for a pulse. The gauzy fabric hangs loose and torn, shredded in places and sticky in others. She has become too used to the scent of blood. It doesn't bother her anymore, and she can read things in it. This is less than an hour old, and rather than bring a blinding flash of insight it simply confirms her suspicions. The body is bait.

She shifts, sliding into a combat-ready stance; arms loose and relaxed, legs slightly bent, weight all on the balls of her feet. Her eyes dart around, searching the shadows and daring them to give up what they hide.

She thinks she can see something moving on her left, but a second later it's gone. A thin, reedy giggle tells her where to, but she makes no move to attack. This is their ambush. Let them do the footwork.

The contours of the shadows are too firm, too rigid. She counts at least five, and those are only the ones not bothering to conceal their presence.

The attacker on the rooftop doesn't even try to hide his blade. It flashes in the dull light thrown out by the nail-clipping of a moon – viridiol alloy, of course, and capable of cutting through even tough Tamaranean skin. They all carry high-velocity tasers and an assortment of physics-defying projectiles. They have done since they landed on Earth and decimated all forces sent against them – when they decapitated Superman live on CNN and tore Wonder Woman to pieces. The finest warriors of an entire planet have been obliterated by their worlds-ahead technology, and yet they face her with blades.

There is a certain amount of irony to it that she can't appreciate.

There is also irony that Slade would outlast the Titans so thoroughly, and yet be pipped at the post once again. Well, if his ghost is hanging around here then he might be pleased to know he – or at least his corpse – has been instrumental in her downfall.

Except that she's ceased to care. Earth has been her home for over six years, but this is not the Earth she grew to love. This is a husk, an empty shell that should not be allowed to go on existing. It's already dead. It simply doesn't know it yet.

Robin may have been horrified to know she thinks such things. But she is also changed from the youngling who fell in love with lush forests and lofty ideals and boys in green tights. Being pelted with your beloved's viscera will do that, alien or not – as will finding your best friend in a crumpled heap at the foot of the stairs. She buried Raven and Robin in as proper an Earth fashion as she could. She still sees pieces of Beast Boy and Cyborg sometimes, sewn into the monsters the invaders have made from Earth's populace. Gear used to postulate they were harvesting people for an army to be used in something far greater than this Hell, possibly a war light-years from here.

She is harder now. She wears armour and talks in terms of battle strategy and calculated loss and tactical manoeuvres. The training that drove her from Tameran as a youngling has proved inordinately useful in this fight that can't be won, on a world that is not her own.

But even she knows that it's useless. She's walking death. She's come to realise it, and she knows that there is only one exit from this place she has reached. She killed three invaders yesterday – one of whom wore Green Lantern's ring around his neck like a trophy – and then wondered why she'd bothered.

Some part of her hopes her contingent doesn't find her. Another hopes they will. That part reasons that Static will have already begun searching. He's a good second-in-command that way.

She is one of the strongest left. When she falls, they will have to accept that it is over. Earth is lost. They will have to leave it to the scavengers and become the refugees their pride has stopped them from being for so long.

She doesn't even know what solar system these attackers hail from.

Maybe they have none, and that's why they invade populated planets, searching for the life they think is owed them.

Maybe they will go back to their world when all this is over, and start again somewhere else.

Maybe it doesn't matter anymore.

She can hear screaming, but she isn't sure if it's real and here and now, or another memory of another death. Those she loves – loved. Those she couldn't save. Those she had to bury and mourn and fight for. Those she had to see twisted into something they never were in life.

And suddenly she's totally dead inside, as if all possible feelings have been used up. She wants to feel angry, but her fury has melted into something smoother, something no less potent but far less impulsive. She used to know fear, used to worry and fret and fuss about not being good enough, about letting people down. Now not even failure can faze her.

She lets a starbolt form in her hand. It's not in her nature to take punishment without even a semblance of fighting back.

The figure on the rooftop drops like a stone, and the ignominious alleyway flares bright green.


FINIS.