Don't own Justice League. Never will. WB and DC got dibs that I don't. Post-The Return.
It'd be a good idea to read "Onions and Cakes" before this. Or else, you know, confusion abound. Woowoo.
Running a Marathon on Jupiter
by Alba Aulbath
Eventually, the Question had returned to the Watchtower. He wasn't particularly happy; first, he had attempted to make contact with the Flash, considering the speedster was out and about and would be capable of keeping an eye out for Parasite. Apparently, the Fastest Man Alive decided to turn off his comlink at some point after he departed Metropolis.
This made him a bit unhappy, and regretfully return to the League in a bit of a dark mood. If the Flash was taking time off for personal issues again...
The Question couldn't exactly make his own opinion of that. Flash wouldn't want to hear it.
Either way, the detective returned, making his way quickly to the bridge; through all of the other Leaguers and staff, he managed his way to where J'onn J'onzz typically was at: the main console.
"Martian, talk. Now." The paranoid detective's tone was completely unwavering, not at all suggesting that his concern should be put aside.
But as he suspected, it was going to be.
"It will have to wait, Question."
Fortunately, the Martian was psychic, so he wouldn't have to guess at physical expressions of whether or not the Question was irritated by this response.
"Parasite. He's escaped from Stryker's."
J'onn did not once glance away from the screen, his attention constantly diverted. "I sent Flash to attend to Stryker's breakout."
"He has Volcana's powers."
The psychic hesitated at this, having grown a bit of a fear for fire since his last time having left the Watchtower. He was already aware of Volcana's cell having been opened, but hadn't imagined Parasite gaining her powers. "I will address this matter as soon as I can, Question."
"Make it sooner. I don't think it was a coincidence." The Question never believed in such a thing.
J'onn lifted his head to finally look to the detective. "I will make contact to Supergirl. For now, I need you here." There was a pause from him, as his eyes glowed to make mental contact - possibly to a few teammates. Question could only guess. Nodding to himself afterwards, the Martian turned back to the screen. "I will explain shortly."
While he understood that J'onn had a very timeconsuming duty to every part of the world, to every League member in distress, it was still irritating the Question that their attention couldn't be focused on Parasite. He was positive that there was a reason that the Parasite had escaped the same time as Volcana did.
It was no fluke.
Eventually, he heard a cry of, "CONSPIRACY MAN!" before he felt about 182 pounds of a person leaping onto his back and shoulders, clinging on and practically cackling.
The Question was even unhappier.
Politely, J'onn said, "Creeper, you know very well to behave better than that."
The yellow-skinned maniac leapt off of the Question - who was quite close to grumbling in annoyance - and stood up, grinning madly at the detective.
It was someone who was literally insane, due to biological reasons, and no one really knew why or how the Creeper had managed his way into the Justice League. It was something the Question had been concerned with during the beginning of his League career, but had eventually decided that, occasionally, the Creeper did have his uses.
It didn't change the fact that, even though the Question himself was often considered a little crazy, he and the Creeper were generally opposites in term of personality.
Brushing himself off, the Question stood upright and glanced at the Creeper briefly before looking over his shoulder. Green Arrow stepped through the doorway, then stopped, looking at both the faceless man and the other who was grinning insanely.
"Oh damn it," Arrow muttered under his breath.
"We're not deaf," the detective told him.
"I'll pretend you are." Green Arrow turned to the Martian. "What is it?"
J'onn motioned the trio closer. While two out of three weren't wild about mingling together, the threesome complied and approached. "Central City has had a series of destruction sites. Nothing seems to be stringing together - which is why I need all three of you to go down there. The Flash is in Metropolis, so he is unable to join you. The moment he is free, I will contact him."
The Question was sure that the speedster was no longer in Metropolis, but there was no way to suggest that he was in Central City either. Because of personal connections about, he could be in Blue Valley or Keystone for all he knew. Still, he said nothing.
"So we're supposed to go down, without a clue as to the cause, and find out what's going on?" Green Arrow asked, narrowing his eyes.
"And put a stop to it."
"Why am I stuck with two nutjobs on this case?"
"I like nuts," the Creeper announced, which really didn't add much to the conversation.
J'onn eyed at the archer. "These two are perfectly acceptable teammates for your mission. The Creeper may understand the unpredictability of the line of destruction, and you know that the Question is familiar with Central City and may also make a connection. Your abilities will also be beneficial to them. I will send you to the estimated point in which the destruction began.
Green Arrow audiably grumbled, turning around sharply to head for the teleporting pod. The Question hesitated, glancing at J'onn; he wanted to argue, but was also aware of the need to do this mission. Hopefully, he'd run into Flash in Central City.
"Need to talk to you later, Martian." Turning, the detective started after Green Arrow.
"Can I have a ride?" the Creeper asked the faceless man, grinning of course.
"What if I give you bacon?"
The Question hesitated, clearly not having expected that. "...No."
"Do you HAVE bacon?" Green Arrow eyed at the grinning madman. "You don't have pockets- okay, you will NOT answer that."
There was only a five-second pause as Creeper hopped onto the teleporting pod before he turned to the Question again and asked, "What if I gave you a Scooby Snack?"
Green Arrow placed his palm over his face and the Question just stayed quiet as they were teleported away.
When the Flash opened his eyes, he found himself in a bathroom stall that probably hadn't been cleaned in about five years and the smell of it was something indescribable with lack of wanting to try other than 'holy crap it stinks in here'. He frowned, quite confused, grabbing at the wall to push himself to his feet. Honestly, he couldn't quite say as to why he was in such a gritty bathroom, nor really remember much.
Last thing he could immediately recall was going to his apartment to see Iris.
Then he woke up in a smelly old bathroom stall.
Totally not making sense.
"Ugh, jeez..." His stomach lurched and he felt incredibly sick, not sure why. He wasn't hungry, which was something rare, and had an incredible pounding headache.
Starting towards the sink, he winced, then eyed at the mirror.
Somehow, along the way, his costume had turned completely pitch black with the lightning insignia on his chest having turned red, as well as the lightning shaped prongs on his mask.
"Uh," he stated weakly, pretty sure this wasn't normal.
Of course, he dealt with the abnormal everyday, but that was besides the point.
"This wasn't from the stupid black stain, was it?" That was just too weird. Flash leaned against the sink, taking in a deep breath. "What the hell happened...?"
Reaching up, he pressed the tips of his now black gloves against his face.
It was like a long, drawn out headrush that came next.
"How the fuck did you get a hold of her?"
"Does it matter? I sure as hell got lucky, Wally."
He got closer. "Get the hell out of here before I..." Before he what? What was he capable of?
"Or what? Eh, Wally?" Laughter. He was laughing at him. Flames ignited around his hands. "Got this for a few more hours, but I think it'd be fucking fantastic if I had a taste of you. You were like a feast, just those few seconds, last time."
"Sounds more like a brunch to me. Step the hell away from Iris."
Parasite had knelt down, eerily close to her. "What're you gonna do? One inch, I'll fry her. What I want is you, Wally. I could have heat-rays coming out of my eyes or somethin', but I think superspeed works pretty well for me. Don't you?"
His eyes darkened. "Get away from her."
"I will if you give me something nice to eat." Wally hated his grin. "C'mon over here, Wally. I'm pretty damned hungry, and you're just fucking delicious." Wally also loathed the sound of his tongue rolling over his lips, almost looking at him like a complete sleeze.
But, it was her life, and it wasn't one he was ever willing to risk. Wally approached, reluctantly. Laughing, Parasite put out the flames in one hand; he grabbed Wally by the face, immediately beginning to drain him. While the redhead screamed, he could remember clearly the Parasite hissed into his ear,
"You like 'em medium-rare or well done?"
The flames began to grow in his hand.
Laughter in his ear made him shudder as he cried out in pain from getting his energy drained.
"I'll fry 'er nice an' slow. I can make you watch, too. Really sucks for you, Wally, after all that you've been through. Your daddy and mommy neglectin' you, droppin' you off at the orphanage an' all, then Aunt Iris couldn't have anything to do with you? Awww, you break my freakin' heart, sweetheart."
"Say bye-bye to Auntie Iris, Wally."
And he collapsed to the floor, the Flash was shaking his head and his stomach twisted. What... had that been? His heart sank. Was Iris safe?
...Something told him yes, but he couldn't quite remember why.
Was Parasite alive?
He was pretty sure he was, but he didn't care quite as much at the moment. The Flash struggled to his feet, grabbing onto the sink.
He had to figure out where he was.
So, the Flash started out the door.
There were things that the Question had decided was best not to announce to his companions. For starters, the path they were beginning at was an apartment settlement and there was a good part of it practically torn apart, especially room number 142, East wing, that had the great view out towards the coast of Central City.
It was Wally West's apartment, and he was sure that it was something best not mentioned.
Also, the detective was a bit distracted by the Creeper attempting to leap onto his shoulders. He ducked another attempt by the crazy man, who whined, "But I wanna whale watch!"
Whatever that meant.
While the authorities were doing their best to keep the public back from looking over at the destruction, they recognized the trio (more accurately, they recognized Green Arrow; the Creeper was just someone to get rid of as soon as possible, and the Question's faceless features didn't make them feel anymore comfortable) and allowed them through to investigate.
The detective and archer stepped through the demolished part of the apartments, while the Creeper hooted in overdone excitement as he leapt from beam to beam to meet where they stopped. Or at least, where the Question had paused, observing the area. Green Arrow went on his way to look through the remains of the apartment.
Question knelt down, glancing over the destruction. It hadn't exploded, but it looked like it might have been - save for the fact that there were no scorch marks anywhere, nor charcoal. Just senseless damage.
"When you're a kid and you wanna go WHEEEE!" the Creeper crooned as he followed Arrow.
Senseless indeed. If the Question was considered crazy already, then his sanity level was going to drop being around Creeper.
The faceless detective stood up and continued to explore on his own. Wally's things were strewn about. Photos, belongings - some broken, some salvagable. Good enough, he supposed.
Question hesitated, glancing at a broken part of the wall, then peered closer. What looked like black gunk was dangling off of it.
And it wriggled for a second before stopping.
One might have said "gross" to such a thing.
The detective went into his pockets before pulling out a ziplock bag. It was about the best he had, considering he hadn't expected evidence like this. He picked at the twitching black slime before scraping it off into the bag best he could. There was still some on his gloves, but he shrugged and wiped it off on his trenchcoat. He was used to staining it.
Closing the plastic bag, he placed it into his coat, then turned to continue exploring.
It was when he heard Green Arrow let out a surprised yelp that Question hesitated. Furthermore, it was when he felt the archer get thrown against him to the floor that he could no longer investigate the area.
"What the HELL?" Arrow growled, getting to his feet.
The Question quickly followed his example, then looked in the direction where the archer had been thrown. Standing was what pretty much looked like Parasite towering over the Creeper - who, in turn, was laughing hysterically - only instead of the usual pink covering his body, it was black with the same white markings as usual on him. The way he stood was all wrong, hunched in a way, and his face was distorted; it looked like a monstrosity, with crooked and pointed teeth jutting out from his mouth - last they recalled, Parasite's teeth hadn't been visible, if he had any after he became the Parasite - and a twisted organ Question supposed might have been a tongue hung out the side of his mouth.
"Did I just step into a Tim Burton film?" Green Arrow muttered, taking out his bow and preparing an arrow.
Parasite snarled, sounding like a terrible mix between Etrigan "having the Mondays" and his normal voice - which was not something particularly normal. He attempted to tackle the Creeper, but the yellow-skinned man leapt into the air acrobatically, yelling out, "Five more minutes, Ma!"
Green Arrow pulled back an arrow that was sparking at the end of it; aftering aiming, he released the arrow, and it struck the darkened Parasite in the chest. The arrow had a taser-like effect, sending ripples of electricity over his body; the Parasite let out a scream, sounding much more like his normal self, only a bit gurgled.
And he was choking on something. Question noted that.
Strangely, the black that covered the Parasite's suit began to peel away in dark, dripping tendrils, revealing the villain's usual pink outfit underneath. The tendrils acted as separate limbs, curling around the arrow that was shocking Parasite, and pulled it off before flinging it at back at its owner.
"So much for that," the archer grumbled, ducking out of the way of his own arrow.
"By my grandmother's creme pie, I say NAY!" Creeper leapt at the Parasite, flinging his arms around the villain's head. "I WANT A PONY! YEEHAW!" he declared as he knocked Parasite to the ground. Which hadn't lasted long; the black tendrils oozed away from Parasite and flung the Creeper away.
"'TIS ONLY A FLESH WOUND!" Creeper cried out as he went flying across the broken down apartment.
The Question glanced at Arrow. "Get an arrow that DOES work." Just one statement, and the detective went on his way to deal with the Parasite.
"You make it sound simple!" Green Arrow snapped at him, shuffling through his arrows.
The faceless man continued on his way, dodging and ducking away from the dark, dripping tendrils that were attempting to throw him aside. Question eventually managed his way close enough so he could deliver a few sharp blows to Parasite before backing away to continue his dodging. Parasite snarled at him, leaping out wildly to attack him; Question rolled out of the way of his strikes, but felt a tendril slither and grip around his throat.
Question was lifted into the air, and half-expected what came next; his energy was being trained by Parasite, but at the same time, something happened to him other being strangled.
Green Arrow could only tell that the faceless man was in pain, but it was somehow also effecting Parasite.
And that the Question screamed, "MYRA!"
Parasite fell to his knees, shrieking and choking as the black matter peeled away from his face and pulled out of his throat; whatever this gunk was, it had been giving him a different appearance.
The tendrils were still holding Question in the air.
"Damn it!" Green Arrow aimed for the pooling black ooze on the floor, setting off another electric arrow. It struck the puddle, and effected the entire thing, including the substance that was holding up the Question.
It quickly dropped the detective, and completely tore itself away from Parasite, who fell over with a groan.
"Question!" The archer strapped his bow to his abdomen before running to the fallen detective, making sure he was still alive. "You dead, you lunatic?"
"Nngh," was the response given; the Question appeared to choose not to move much.
The Creeper sauntered back over, limping a bit. Might have sprained, broken, or twisted something. Either way, he seemed to deal with it well, and spotted the black puddle that was twitching with electricity. His eyes lit up and he shouted, "PUDDING!"
"It's not pudding, you moron," Green Arrow grumbled at him. "Go and tie up Parasite or something."
Creeper stuck out his lower lip. "Eating pudding with a spoon is more fun," he muttered, disappointed. "Is the Conspiracy Man alive?"
The Question assured him with a grunt, which was good enough for the yellow-skinned wacky man; Creeper went off to deal with Parasite.
Green Arrow braced his arm behind the faceless man's shoulders, helping him sit up. "What the hell happened?"
"Dunno. ...Don't want to describe it right now." The detective took in a long breath before pushing himself to his feet. "Go to the kitchen. Find a jar."
Arrow stared at him.
"Find a jar," Question repeated himself, then pointed at the black ooze. "Need that. Need to analyze it."
Initially, Green Arrow wanted to reply with 'why would you WANT to, you lunatic', but it was evidence he was incapable of denying. He shrugged and went to fetch a container from the kitchen.
Question found a wall that didn't seem prepared to fall over on him, then leaned against it. The energy drain had worn him out; he had been drained too quickly, too strong that was normal for Parasite. He had studied him, and knew that it should have taken him thirty seconds more than that to effectively make him feel even remotely this weak.
Yet, he could barely stand.
His head pounded, and he felt as though his mind had been invaded somehow.
"Got it." Green Arrow glanced to Question - who had immediately stood up, refusing any inclination of weakness. "If the Parasite drained your energy, you should sit down. If he can suck Superman's energy right out-"
"Don't need rest. Need the evidence. Get every last bit."
Green Arrow shrugged. He knew, from many arguments with Question before, that there was no point in trying to change his mind. The archer approached the twitching pool of black gunk, scraping it with his arrow into the jar. After it was filled, he shut the jar tight before putting his arrow back into his quiver. Turning back to the faceless detective, he shrugged. "What'd you want with this?"
Question took the container. "Going to go research." He hesitated, glancing around. "...Take Parasite to the cops. ... Pick up all of the personal things here. In just this apartment."
Arrow peered at him. "I love snooping as the next guy, but I'm not that much of a jerk as to go picking up junk from some random guy's apartment. Why?"
"Pick up the stuff. Pack it away. Just personal things. Photos. Things like that. Take them to the Martian. Ask him why." Question shrugged. "He'll know. Do it." There was hesitation, as he tilted his head. "...Please."
That was a word that hardly ever came out of the paranoid detective's mouth.
It was convincing enough for Green Arrow, who nodded to the Question.
The detective turned around, startling to hobble off.
He stopped when Green Arrow asked, "Who's Myra?"
Question froze in place, considering the archer's question. After the brief pause, he muttered, "Good question." The way he said it sounded more like a compliment to Green Arrow's choice of questioning rather than confusion on his part. He pressed his fingers to his comlink. "Martian. Take me to Gotham."
Green Arrow chose to say nothing more as he watched the detective be teleported away.
The Flash had eventually found himself at about the north end of Central City. It'd taken him awhile to recognize the area - most likely do to the fact that he felt incredibly ill. Disorientated and aching, Flash had wandered until he stopped at a street corner. He had glanced up and recognized the street name.
Not so lost anymore.
Taking in a deep breath, he leaned against a wall of a corner shop, closing his eyes. The sick feeling he had was going away, but not fast enough. He still felt ill.
"Flash!" he comlink hissed at him, and the speedster winced.
"Ow," the Fastest Man couldn't help but whine, feeling very justified at this point. Pressing his fingers against his comlink, he responded, "G.L.?"
Green Lantern on the other end let out an annoyed-yet-relieved sigh. "About time you responded. I've been calling for you over an hour, Hotshot."
"You have?" Flash was puzzled. But it made sense; he had to have been wandering for only about twenty minutes, anyway. He might have been unconscious when Lantern called.
Not that he was sure how he passed out.
"Yes." Lantern sounded, to put blatantly, pissed. "Stay there. I'm heading your way, Flash."
"'Kay." The Flash couldn't complain; company would have been nice, after all. Onece he was sure there was no reply, the speedster closed his eyes and remained where he was, simply waiting.
It was about five minutes he had to hang around his spot, which wasn't long at all for a normal person. For the Fastest Man Alive, it was a bit agonizing; it allowed him to be annoyed at his sickly feeling in his stomach, the headache pounding away, and to reluctantly think.
Flash thought about his doubts in Green Lantern before. Sure, the poor guy was still dealing with his issues with Hawkgirl - none of them had seen her since the Thanagarians left, but regardless - and had his own problems, but unfortunately, the young speedster had been considering what the Question had to say to him before. That there was no such thing as a coincidence, so Lantern's involvement with him was no mere fluke.
Maybe it wasn't. Flash was never one to doubt a friendship - until lately. Was Lantern just his friend, because he had to be? Because it was his job?
"Flash!" Green Lantern lowered himself in an emerald glow towards the waiting speedster. He paused once he landed, peering at him. "Did you change suits?"
"I don't think so?" Flash wasn't sure what happened to his suit. It'd just been stained with something ebony before, but since he woke up in the bathroom of somewhere random in the city, it'd been pitch black. "I have no idea, honestly." He shrugged, tired.
Lantern folded his arms. "What the hell happened, Flash? Why weren't you responding earlier?"
"I think I was unconscious."
"You think." Lantern eyed at him.
Flash shrugged once again. "I don't remember passing out. I just kinda woke up somewhere. A bathroom. Some crappy gas station. I have no idea what happened."
"I heard your aunt was in the hospital."
The speedster hesitated. Did he know that? He didn't feel very surprised. Concerned, yes, but he felt he was already aware of that. "What happened?"
Green Lantern's eyes kept inspecting him, maybe suspicious; that irritated Flash. "She's unconscious; completely drained of all energy. Also got a call in from Green Arrow. Looks like they found Parasite - at your apartment. Which is, by the way, demolished."
Again, there was hesitation on Flash's part. Most of it sounded familiar, like how he had somehow just known Iris was safe.
"What the hell happened, Flash?" was repeated on Green Lantern's part, sounding more and more irritated.
Flash frowned, placing a hand to his head as he tried to recall. "I dunno. I can't remember." He was given a stern look, which the speedster did not appreciate. "Jeez, I mean it, G.L. I just remember Iris giving me a call on my comlink." But considering he came home to find Parasite with Iris, it might have been just a set-up.
How did Parasite get a hold of Iris?
The tone of voice Lantern used somehow made Flash feel very small, and then very agitated. "Not much. She asked me to come by the apartment. ...I remember coming home, and Parasite was there. He was begging for his butt to be kicked. I don't remember anything else."
"What would Iris have been calling you for?"
Flash felt offended. "I dunno. Does it matter? She's family, G.L."
"It matters. What's wrong with you?"
"What's wrong with ME?"
Green Lantern scowled at him. "You don't even remember what happened, Flash. And you're acting strangely."
"Hey, don't call on me about actin' weird, Mr. Shayera-Gives-Me-Problems." Flash felt a bit of meager triumph at seeing Lantern's expression at his words. He wasn't sure why - yet he didn't want to question it - but the Flash was feeling quickly more and more bitter towards Lantern. It wasn't normal, but he didn't argue with how he felt.
"That was uncalled for."
The speedster waved his hand. "No it wasn't."
Aggravated, Green Lantern grabbed hold of Flash's wrist as he waved his hand at him. "You don't have any idea-"
"HEY! Let go!" Anger, duplicating inside of him, boiled. The Flash raised his hand to shove him away; his hand instead came in contact with Lantern's face. Skin contact.
The Flash felt something happen; he felt thoughts running through his mind that weren't his own, not at all. Thoughts and memories-
"You must keep an eye on him."
"For the Corps."
"The Spectre needs to be tracked, and because of Barry Allen-"
"Don't tell Wallace."
The Flash pulled sharply away from Green Lantern, staring at him with wide eyes. While John stumbled away with mere confusion on his face, the speedster felt dread in curling in his stomach.
It wasn't just a coincidence.
"You knew what happened." The Flash's words came out, trembling, but determined. He felt sick with anger, felt betrayed. He had only considered the doubt, and tried to pass it on as the Question being crazy, but the detective had been right.
With only a guess to work on.
"I can't BELIEVE you. Oh, hell - I shouldn't have believed you! Here you are, acting so damned mopey, and you do this to me!" The Flash trembled, his fists clenching. He didn't at all acknowledge the ripple of something dark over the inky black that covered his clothes.
Green Lantern was either shocked by the Flash's words, or the ebony colored gunk that started to twitch and peel away from the speedster's suit, revealing the original red spandex underneath. "Flash..."
"NO!" Flash had only meant to hold up his hands, originally.
Tendrils from the black substance whipped out, curling around Lantern's arms and neck. By his ear, the Flash heard something hiss at him, creeping down his spine. "John Stewarrrrt..."
For a moment, the speedster wondered what that had been. The next, it somehow hadn't mattered, because... because, fuck, he was so furious. He felt the black substance crawl up his face open up Wally West and into his mouth, down his throat, and somehow felt several different minds in him.
It stopped mattering. He was just enraged.
The tendrils constricted, and he could feel thoughts that weren't his. Dark ones.
He could hear John scream,
The black substance was finished, somehow, and flung him away.
Who started this mess.
Wally hesitated. (Spectre. But he's not here.)
Who started this. Who hurt Iris. Who made Barry decide to forget you.
He narrowed his eyes. Malcom Thawne.
Who will end it.
Wally West would.
They left behind Green Lantern, off to finish what should have ended years ago.
The cave was dark, as always. Dimly lit, but dark. It was symbollic in the way that Batman didn't really think of as often anymore; he'd probably been once poetic.
He was quite sure he'd also been very bad at it.
Either way, it'd been the same as it'd ever been. The Dark Knight was working on another case. Gotham and Poison Ivy were having their disagreements.
He'd paused, but not because of Alfred's arrival.
"Hungry yet, Master Bruce?" he asked kindly. He had hardly changed over the years, and it was his consistancy that Batman encouraged the most.
"No. But tea would be nice. For two."
Alfred was briefly puzzled. "Expecting company, sir?"
"He's already here." Batman lifted his head to glance in the direction of the long tunnel that was meant for the Batmobile. Instead, a lone figure huddled in a trenchcoat and under a fedora approached rather than a vehicle.
If it had been someone inexperienced, they would have been shocked; instead, Alfred glanced the man's way before nodding. "I see. Sugar, sir?"
"None, thank you. Milk's nice." The Question continued advancing towards Batman; he chose not to speak until Alfred had left up the stairs. "Need help."
"Everyone in the League thinks so."
"Ha ha." The faceless man placed his jar full of gunk atop Batman's table. "Need it analyzed. I think I know what it is, but need your opinion. Don't have the skills much myself."
Batman narrowed his eyes behind his cowl. "Then tell me what you think it is, Vic."
"Chemicals of the worst kind." The Question shuffled through his pockets before taking out crumpled notes, placing them on the table. "When Flash and I were getting the Martian, we found the lab with Tanner first. Found some notes. Called 'noir' chemicals. The entire thing's a chemical - a living one. Made up of ganglia. Similar thing in insects; ganglia's a nervous system, instead of a brain. Made of pure instinct. S'why when you cut off the head of a bug, the body keeps moving. Doesn't need a head. This ganglia's supposedly advanced. Acts on celluar memory. Too smart to be used by Tanner."
Question shrugged. "All I know."
Batman eyed at him. "Really."
The Dark Knight narrowed his gaze. "Now you're being a child. What is it?"
"...This stuff. It does something, when it comes in contact with your skin. Like I said - celluar memory. 'Cept it brings out some of the worst inside." On the Question's mask, the brow area creased to suggest a frown. "Absolute worst."
That was satisfactory for Batman. "I'll take a look."
"Mm-hmm." Question turned and glanced through the Dark Knight's collection of cases. "Staying. Need answers soon. Real soon."
Batman began to prepare for the investigation of the black substance that had been brought to his attention. "In a rush?"
"Found it at what remained of Wally's apartment. Might be after him. Or worse." The Question peered through a case with the Riddler's mask. "Worse, it wants him. As a weapon."
"What makes you think so?"
Question lifted his head from glancing through the display case. "Like I said, found it at Wally's apartment. Only, some of it... possessed Parasite. In a manner of speaking. Dunno how, much. Only took a few spare notes from Tanner's lab before it blew up. Not enough time for anything else. Can't ask Tanner much; still in the hospital."
There was a pause between both detectives as the computer beeped in irritation at both of them. "Get that, Vic. I'm analyzing your chemicals," Batman muttered to him.
The Question glanced at him briefly before approaching the computer, pressing a button; it'd been only a few times he visited the Batcave, but he had already been aware of the controls and all.
"What is it?" Batman called out.
"Where's Question?" a very aggravated Green Arrow demanded on the line.
Batman tilted his head to the computer. "All yours."
"Thanks," Question grumbled. "Arrow," he called back.
"What the hell was the point of us gathering up all that crap!"
"Didn't you ask the Martian?" the paranoid detective inquired, folding his arms.
"Yeah, and he just stared at me."
Question tilted his head. "I told you if the Martian told you, then you'd know. I don't have any obligation to tell you what it's about."
"Well, guess who has an obligation to help us with this mission, Question?"
"Is it Conspiracy Man?" the Creeper called out cheerily. "CONSPIRACY MAN!"
The faceless man rubbed his temples. Batman glanced at the computer, peering, then smirked at the Question. "Quite a team you're with."
"Leave it alone, Batman, or the League gets to view your sleeping habits," the Question muttered in the Dark Knight's direction.
"Threaten me, and the League watches you sing in the shower. With the rubber ducky."
"Quit threatening each other! Question, get your ass back to the Watchtower!" Green Arrow shouted. The call was then ended.
The faceless detective turned his head towards Batman. "Call me, when you get a full analysis."
"If I can't reach you, J'onn will." Batman lifted his hand in silent dismissal.
Nodding, the Question pressed his fingers into his comlink. "Ready, Martian."
At once, the detective had been teleported away from the Batcave to the Watchtower. Standing on the teleporting pod, he immediately felt himself tackled to the floor, with the Creeper sitting on top of him, panting comedically as a dog certainly would be when greeting their master's return.
The Question was not very amused.
"Conspiracy Man's back! WOO! GROUP HUG!" Creeper held out his arms in preparation. Fortunately for Question's sake, Green Arrow yanked the yellow-skinned wacky man off of the detective. "Awww! I wanted to be the twinkie!"
"We're going back to Central City," Green Arrow informed the faceless man. "Some more destruction tearing up down there, J'onn said."
Question nodded, standing back up and brushing himself off. The Creeper and Green Arrow stepped back onto the pod behind him, but J'onn approached quietly.
"I would like to have a moment, Question," the Martian called out.
The detective glanced at Arrow briefly before stepping towards the psychic. "Martian?"
(You brought Wally's things here. Why?)
"It was his apartment," Question muttered. "Not much left over. Wanted his things safe. Figured you'd know that."
(Yes.) A pause. (...Lantern left shortly, minutes ago to contact Wally. He was in Central City. Only, I cannot seem to be able to contact either of them with their comlinks. While you're looking down there, look for them.)
(One other thing.) Hesitation. (Iris West had been admitted to the hospital, before your arrival to Wally's apartment. It seems she had been dropped off there, with no one taking responsibility for it. You may wish to investigate the matter.)
(That is all I had to speak with you about. I will see you again later.)
The detective turned and returned to his spot on the teleporting pod, remaining silent.
"What was that about?" Green Arrow asked.
"BEANS! LOTSA BEANS!"
"Creeper, shut up!" Arrow grumbled.
Question merely shrugged at the archer. "...Good question," he admitted.
They were teleported away.
Predictably to be continued
Next: Question begins to draw connections. Green Arrow predicts something about the Question. The Creeper sings about Radioshack. The Flash tears the hell out of Central City, Metropolis, and Keystone... for one man.
The best way I can describe the gunk that was on Parasite and is on the Flash now is to compare it, similarly, to Venom from Spider-man. I hoped to avoid 'ripping off' his shtick, since I have something else in mind to go with the chemical that's on Flash. It'll be explained at the conclusion of this storyarch.
I'm a bit surprised at the lack of reviews this round. WHERE IS DA LOVE, Y'ALL? Wahwah. I weep. :D
To the loving audience:
Red Tigress: There will be better details on the Flash-Parasite fight next chapter - since right now, it's only a faded memory. And I enjoy Volcana a lot. She'll be making another appearance soon enough, rest assured. :D
Dacker Spaniel: Blue Beetle rocks! I'm happily writing him into a bigger roll in the third installment, since it's not looking like he'll get any action in JLU. And yes, there's a third installment. Not giving away details right now, of course.
Ben: Well, considering our AIMing together, you already know the answer to that question!
Keep those reviews rollin'!