Justice League Unlimited
by Lord Akiyama
Author's Note: The events of this story takes place after the episode "The Cat and The Canary." Additionally, all characters are the property of DC Comics and AOL Time Warner. They are in no way being used for profit so please don't sue. And now, on with the show...
Midway City, Michigan
"I take it you boys are from outta town," the store clerk said in a calm tone.
"What makes you say that, old man," one of the three robbers spoke. He stood his place with a gun pointed at the clerk while the other two plunder the store of money and other valuable necessities. "We could be someone you know and never suspected to commit such crimes."
"Around here, highly doubtful," the clerk said. "If you had lived here for a long while, you'd know better than to try something like this." The gun carrying robber noticed how the clerk, whose arms were raised as ordered earlier, was very confident and sure of himself. Sure enough not to be shaking whatsoever.
"You planning something, old man?" the robber said, moving the gun inches closer to the clerk.
"Wouldn't dream of it," the clerk said, shaking his head. "Just warning you that tonight is not going to turn out to be a good night for you boys, that's all."
"We got everything we need, man," the robber pulling cash from the register said, quickly moving past the clerk from behind. "Let's bolt before the cops arrive."
"I'd say 'Have a good evening,' but I doubt it'll do you boys any good," the clerk commented as he watched the three robbers make for the door, his arms still raised in the air and was as calm as could be.
The robbers paid no attention to the clerk's warning as he hopped into the car. The gun carrying robber slid into the passenger seat, the cash stealing robber in the back, and the third robber driving. "This was a lot easier than we could've hoped, guys," the driver laughed as he key into the ignition. "And they said Midway City's a bad spot to rob."
Just as the driver started to turn the ignition, a large crashed was heard. All three practically hopped out of their seats in terror. They looked forward to see a shadowed figure just jump upward from their view. Smoke was coming from the front as they realized that the engines had been completed smashed.
Thump noises came from the right. Once again, the shadowed figure was completely gone just as they blinked. The cash stealing robber tried to open the door on that side to no avail. "It's jammed!" he cried. The thump noises returned, this time to the left. They turned to see the shadowed figure disappear again. "We're trapped!"
"One of the many disadvantages to using a car when committing a crime, I'm afraid," a proud, strong voice spoke. The robbers turned their attention to the voice. The shadowed figure stood before the smashed engine. And he was carrying a large weapon.
"What the hell is that!" the driver screamed in horror. As if on instinct, the gun carrying robber fired his weapon endlessly without caring to see if the bullets made contact or not. The driver, on the other hand was able to see and sure enough the figure's weapon deflected every single bullet shot at him. "D-don't kill us..." the driver muttered, curling himself up in his seat hoping that the figure wouldn't notice. His fellow robbers followed along.
"It's doubtful he would do such a thing," another voice said. The robbers turned to see a smiling store clerk walk out from the store and up to the figure. "You'd have to be one of those metahumans to be on the receiving end of his beatings." The clerk turned his attention to the figure. "Out-of-towners never seem to learn, do they Hawkman?"
"They keep expecting this fair city to be an easy-pickings version of Gotham," the figure said. Sirens began to be heard as the figure the clerk called Hawkman turned his attention back to the robbers. "I believe you boys have something to belongs to him."
"In a hurry there, Hawkman?" the store clerk asked curiously as he is slowly returned his stolen loot.
"Not really" Hawkman replied. "I think it would be better if these boys learned about the value of returning stolen property before they get any more ideas." The robbers noticed that as the flashing police lights drew nearer, the more they could see of the figure's appearance.
Their eyes widened in fear. The weapon was a giant mace. He was wearing a mask like those superheroes they kept hearing about. And then there was his wings...
The Watchtower - Three days later...
He noted that this was one of the few times she ever stepped out of her room that didn't involve getting lunch. He sighed as he watched her staring out upon the view of Earth below. Was she still trying to find herself? Was rejoining the League really the thing she needed to do? So many questions were bottled up inside. He wanted to just fly down the few levels and ask her himself.
"We need to talk," a voice said behind him. The reason why he hadn't talked to her was standing right behind him. He sighed once more and turned to face Mari. His girlfriend. "We need to talk about her now, John." Or so he thought.
"You sure you want to engage in this conversation?" he asked her with a sigh.
"You've been asking me that ever since she rejoined the League, John," Mari said, crossing her arms and keeping her eyes narrow and stern. "Not once have we had a chance to really be together since then and I'm starting to get irked by your constant moping over her."
"Last chance to get out of this conversation, Mari," he said. "There's no changing whatever comes out of my mouth."
"At this point, I'm willing to take that chance," she replied. "This is the fifteenth time I've asked for this conversation and you keep coming up with something to get out of it. I don't care what comes out of that mouth of yours, John Stewart. I want answers. Now."
John sighed as he dropped his head. This was not going to be the easiest conversation for him. Looked to the side as if he could catch a glance of her wings. "Ask away," he finally said.
"I'm just going to get straight to the point," Mari said, taking a couple steps forward. Enough for her to reach out and turn his head to face her dead in the face. "Me or her?"
John always heard about people, mostly females, who would make what was called a puppy dog pout. He never quite understood the meaning of them. Now he did, but he sure as hell didn't know how to do one. Instead, he let the sadness speak through his eyes.
"I don't have a clue," he replied.
"Oh no, that's not an answer, John Stewart," Mari said, clearly getting unhappier with John by the minute. "Its either me or her. I don't want any of this 'I dunno' crap."
"Then you step into my shoes and answer it yourself!" John snapped back. He watched her taken aback before cooling his temper. He sighed once again. "It's just not that simple for me, Mari. I was in love with this woman and she leaves because of what she had done to me, to our comrades, to this planet. I honestly didn't know if I was ever going to see her again. And then you come along. You have the spark, the fire, the energy that had me back on my feet and kicking. I have a blast when I with you, especially when its just the two of us."
"But then she returns..." Mari said, regaining her stern posture.
"And now I'm faced with the question I just can't answer," John said, shaking his head. "You're both incredible women and I care very deeply for the both of you. But I can't just choose one of you without having to feel terrible for breaking the other's heart. And I could end up just depressing myself with the thought of whether or not I made the right choice."
"Yet you seem to be place your attention on her," Mari said.
"If the person you once loved returned practically a shell of their former self, wouldn't you be concerned too?" John asked.
Mari opened her mouth to answer, but then stopped herself. She thought about the question for a moment and then looked to the side. He had a point.
"We're heading down to the surface and we need you both," a voice said behind Mari. The two almost jumped in surprise before turning their attention to the speaker. Batman had just entered the room and Wonder Woman was following behind. "We're also bringing Shayera on this one."
"What for?" Mari asked curiously.
"I don't like it myself," Wonder Woman replied, not caring if Mari was actually against the idea as she was, "but Batman says we need her just in case her mace might come in handy."
"We're going up against something we're unfamiliar with, huh?" John asked.
"A pair of thieves broke into the national bank in Midway City," Batman said, walking over to the railing to see if Shayera was still looking out upon Earth. "According to the police dispatch, they can transform themselves into shadows and blend into the darkness."
"And you're assuming that if the four of us can't find a way to stop them, Hawkgirl's mace might," Mari said, pressing the tablet that transform her into her Vixen costume.
"Better to have her with us instead of finding out after the fact and having to wait for their next hit," Batman replied. "You three get going. I'll talk her into coming."
Midway City, Michigan - Five minutes later...
"Keep those lights on the building, boys," the officer said. "We don't wanna give them an opening to escape before he gets here." He sighed as he started digging into his coat pockets for cigarettes. After a minute, his hands were feeling against something, but they weren't a pack of smokes. He pulled out the object to examine it. He chuckled in realization that he made the promise to quit smoking. He removed one of the nicorette gums and placed it in his mouth when three figures approached him. He chuckled some more. "Must be my lucky day," he said. "Seems we captured the attention of the Justice League on this one, boys."
"Are you the officer in charge?" Wonder Woman asked.
"George Emmet," he replied, extended his hand out for a shake, "Midway City Police Commissioner. We figured that by keeping the lights all over this building they wouldn't escape."
"Mind explaining what exactly you have here, sir?" Green Lantern asked.
"Store manager was closing up for the night when he thought something slipped past him and into the bank," Emmet said, turning his gaze upon the building. "He called for a cop just to make sure and moments later you have half the police department trying to figure how to pump lead into a couple of creatures that blend into the shadows. It took a simple flashlight to figure out that light reveals them."
"Seems you have everything under control," Vixen commented, looking upon the highly lit building.
"We've got a friend coming in to bag these boys before the generator on these lights overheat," Emmet said. He stopped for a moment and thought while taking a quick glance at the three heroes he was speaking to. "You know, maybe I should you in touch with him. He seems like the sort to be part of your team."
"He's a costume?" Wonder Woman asked with curiosity.
"If that's the term you heroes use," Emmet chuckled. "He's been around for pretty close to a year now and has done us a lot of good in keeping this city clean. So much so that most of the lawbreakers nowadays are from out of town."
Suddenly, something twirled past them and landed toward the side of the lit building. Everyone turned there attention and noticed a small gap of the building was not lit. And one of the shadows started to run.
"Blast, I thought we covered the entire building," Emmet muttered. "Get extra light over there and keep the other one trapped in quick!" As quickly as it was ordered, additional light was aimed at was previous a shadow gap. "I take it you three about to live up to their names."
"Couldn't have said it any better," Vixen said as she sped after the escaping shadow thief.
"We'll be back to take care of the other thief, sir," Wonder Woman said as she and Green Lantern flew off to join their comrade.
Emmet watched the three heroes at work with a small smile. Moments after the three had disappeared from view, the familiar cheers of his fellow policemen was heard. He looked up to see the all too familiar figure appear in the sky. "Take your time," he muttered, even though he was speaking to himself. "Our guy's here."
"Shayera is standing by at the city limit and I've been following from the rooftops," Batman reported through the communications wire. "I'll try to slow him down in a few blocks. Be ready for anything."
Having activated her cheetah tablet, Vixen was gaining on the shadow thief. What looked like the thief's head turned to see the heroine catching up to him. Suddenly, he dropped and appeared to have seemingly disappeared. Vixen was caught off guard, yet tried to regain her composure so that she could make a complete stop without falling. She looked about to find the shadow thief nowhere in sight.
"I hope you've got eyes that can see, Bats," she said through the communications wire. "He must've slipped into one of the shadows." Without warning, Vixen was socked in the face. Upon landing on the ground, she looked up just as the shadow thief ran past her and turning a corner. "He's on the move and I don't think I can catch up."
The shadow thief cut through many corners and adapted himself into the shadows. He was almost outside the city limits when bright lights appeared before him. The thief stopped in his tracks and covered his eyes for his before trying to see where the light came from. He soon saw the figure of a female standing tall with a mace in one hand. The mace was giving off electrical circuits and shining bright lights in the direction of the thief. The thief also noted her long red hair and the wings on her back.
"I've got him stopped in his tracks," Shayera said through the communications wire. "You might want to get here fast to lock him down, Lantern." She watched as the shadow thief made an attempt at an attack. The electrical circuits gave off a strong discharge that had the him taken aback. He decided to make a run for it. "He's back on the move," Shayera said as she flew off after him, the mace still giving off lighting.
"Stay on him and we'll be there in a minute," Green Lantern said through the wire. "We've got your back, Shayera."
The chase raged on for many blocks and Shayera noticed that she was losing speed. Something needed to happen and fast if there was hope in stopping him. Suddenly, something smashed head on into the thief's face. Shayera slowed to a stop and watched as the thief dropped. She scanned around the body and noticed the head of a mace stuck into the ground. It too was giving off electrical circuits. And it looked so much like her mace.
She was trying to compare the two visually when Lantern and Wonder Woman arrived. They spotted the fallen shadow thief on the ground and were about to ask Shayera what happened when a thump was heard. They looked to see the second shadow thief dropped next to the fallen first. This one tied up and just as knocked out. All three looked up to see a winged figure make his decent to the ground.
"They never learn that running is not such a good idea," the winged stranger said as he picked up his mace. "It causes him more trouble than it is worth." The strange looked up at the Justice League and stopped all together. Three bewildered faces were looking upon him, but there was only one that caught his attention. The red hair, the wings... the green eyes...
Batman and Vixen arrived and they too soon laid eyes upon the winged stranger. He shook himself as best as he could from his trance and broke the silence. "Ah, pardon me," he said as calmly as he could. "I believe you are members of the Justice League... I see." His attention came right back to her. Her face told him everything he needed to know. A surprise that shook every bone in her body.
"Ah, there they are," a familiar voice spoke. The League turned to see Commissioner Emmet appear from behind the stranger. "I was hoping we would catch you before you left. I want you to meet our resident guardian, as it were. The children like to call him 'The Winged Avenger of Midway City.' Though we prefer to keep it simple with Hawkman."
"H-Hawkman?" Wonder Woman managed to say, still bewildered at the sight before her. Another Thanagarian. Another Thanagarian on Earth. And he's a hero?
"Well, how about that," Emmet said as he took another look at the League. "You got yourselves a winged avenger of your own." The other policemen, who were shining lights on the unconscious thieves, also took notice. "Huh, I guess maybe you don't need Hawkman on your force after all."
"I believe they were, uh, unaware of my existence, Emmet," Hawkman said. "In fact, I think they do wish to have a further interest in at least speaking to me."
"Is that so," Emmet said as he studied the League. "Well, just give me a minute with him before you ask your questions. We need to finalize the arrest record."
"I believe they also wish some privacy for our meeting," Hawkman said, his eyes still on her. "Head for the roof of the abandoned apartment building facing the entrance of the city's museum. I will be there shortly."
Batman was the first to break from his bewildered state and check his computerized coordinates of the city. The location wasn't too far away. A good position to see the arrest from. "Fair enough," he said. "Let's go." It took a moment for everyone else to break from their state. Everyone exception Shayera.
Lantern noticed this while the others made for the meeting spot. He placed a hand on her shoulder, capturing her attention. Her eyes... it was a mixture of so many emotions... so many of them were of fear. "Come on," he said. Slowly, Shayera followed as the two made their way to rejoin the others. Even when they landed, Shayera was still in her state of shock.
"Who is he?" Diana said straight out at Shayera. Her state changed from shocked to anger.
It took a moment for Shayera to move at all before shaking her head. "He seems familiar..." she whispered. "... but... but I don't know him..."
"I'm not buying it!" Diana snapped. The others watched as she marched up to Shayera and looked her straight in the eye. "Tell us now who he is and what he is doing here. Is he an agent like you? A spy? Making these people believe that he is some sort of hero before unleashing some sort of armada upon us!"
"Diana!" Batman yelled.
"I don't know..." Shayera said as a tear began to run down her cheek. "You can choose to believe me or not, but I don't know this man!"
"Your distrust in me is completely understandable." Everyone turned to see Hawkman upon the rooftop. No doubt he heard a good deal of what happened. "I would be too if an alien appeared sometime after the passing of an attempted invasion by the very race. If you can, I'd like the chance for us to discuss this without having another soul harmed any further. Whatever questions you have, I will answer."
"Why are you here, then?" Batman quickly asked. He didn't want Diana to explode again and to cause an even bigger scene.
"I heard about the Thanagarian invasion upon this planet and tried to get here as quickly as I could in aiding you," Hawkman replied. "Space travel, as you know, is not quite that simple nor is it fast. I came here just as the invasion was successfully thwarted and the armada left. I laid low for a while before arriving over here as my appearance so soon after the invasion from my race would not result in a more sensible welcome like he just had."
"If you call that sensible," Vixen muttered. Lantern gave her the 'be quiet' look.
"You said you were coming to aid us," Diana said. "Why aid Earth when the invasion is by Thanagarians?"
"I've been exiled from Thanagar," Hawkman replied with a smile, as though he was proud of it. "Despite being an officer of the peace, I broke their laws to the point that my existence was erased from their memory."
Before asking the next question, Batman took note of Hawkman's body language. What he read was that Hawkman kept his attention on Shayera. "You seem to be very keen on our comrade," he said. "What's you relationship to her?" The question caused Shayera is shake some more.
Hawkman's smile dimmed a little, but not by much. "Straight to point, I see," he said, nodding his head. He slowly reached up and removed his helmet. The League looked upon a rather middle-aged man with white streaks upon his brown hair. And a tear running down his cheek... from his green eyes. "Down here, I am known as Hawkman," he said. "But my true name is Katar Hol. And I am Shayera's father."
to be continued...