Danny slung off his backpack as he walked into his house. Greeting him was chaos. In fact, more than normal. His father was carrying up stuff from the lab while his mother seemed to check them off a list as she went through testing the stuff Jack brought up.
She gave Danny a dazzling smile when she saw him, "Hi sweetie! I hope you had a good day at school today."
"It was the same as always," he said. He looked at the surprisingly small pile (by his family's standards) of equipment on the floor. "What's all the stuff for, Mom?"
"Your father and I have got a special job we are going off to in a bit." She looked at him thoughtfully for a moment. "I asked Jasmine if she wanted to come help install the equipment but she said no." Maddie gave her son the dazzling smile again, "Why don't you come help?"
Danny looked uncomfortable, "Uhhh, I don't know, Mom."
She turned her attention back to the pile of ghost equipment and motioned for Jack to replace some of it, "I think you'll want to help us with this one. It's out of this world." After a pause, she added, "And all we're doing is installing some ghost detecting equipment and some training. It'll take about four hours. No ghost hunting, I promise," she said raising a hand as a pledge to her reluctant son.
"Uhhh, I'm still not sure," he said uncomfortably.
"I can promise you that this job will be out of this world. It's probably going to be a once in a lifetime thing," Maddie added, dropping the line into the water.
"I guess so. If you think it is that unusual," he said taking the bait.
"Hey, Maddie, is this the right one?" Jack asked from the entrance of the stairs.
"Yes," she said after walking over to look at it. "You do realize we are going to have to acquire more ectoplasm, circuit boards, and metal after this job, right, dear?"
"Yes, I do know. But it's going to be so much fun!" exclaimed Jack as he added the Fenton Gloves to the pile.
Danny shook his head and went up to his room to finish what little homework he had that day. Boy am I glad its getting near a break, he thought, even the teachers don't feel like giving out at much homework because they are tired, too.
From the bottom of the stairs his mother called up, "Be ready to go in an hour. And don't worry about supper. They said they are going to feed us dinner."
"Okay, mom," he yelled back down. Well, I guess I should call Tucker and Sam and tell them that tonight's patrol is off.
He dialed Tucker first. "Hey, Tuck? Yeah, it's me. Listen, I won't be going on patrol tonight because my mom wants me to help out with some sort of job or another." He opened up his notebook to the day's notes. "Yeah, I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. Probably will be boring despite what she says. But mom promised no ghost hunting so it should be fine."
Danny almost hung up when he remembered something, "Hey, Tucker? Thanks for figuring out how to calibrate the ghost equipment so it doesn't register me. My parents haven't noticed any changes." He paused a moment, "Yeah, you are the best, buddy. Tell you about it tomorrow."
Next, he called Sam and told her the same thing except for the part about ghost equipment. "Yeah, Sam, I know it'll probably be boring but I gotta give my parents the benefit of the doubt sometimes. Embarrassed? I kind of don't care about them embarrassing me anymore. I mean, how much more can I be embarrassed by them?" He listened to Sam a moment longer. "Sorry, gotta go. Need to do my homework before we go. Apparently we will be leaving in, uh," he looked at his watch, "about half an hour. You know how punctual my parents can be when there is anything to do with ghosts and the supernatural. Call you later. Bye."
Doing the homework only took Danny about fifteen minutes. He put it away feeling good because, despite his after school activities, he felt that he understood it and did well. He thought ruefully, I probably could be a B student if I really wanted to. An A would be next to impossible to do with ghost hunting.
He flopped on his bed and killed five minutes staring into nothingness, an activity that he rarely had time for these days. Then one of those thoughts popped into his head that would not leave him alone. Aww, drat. Now I have to get up and take care of this.
Danny sighed and got off his bed. He went to the top of the stairs and yelled down, "Hey, mom. Should I bring anything? Maybe the thermos?"
He could hear the award-winning smile in her voice, "What an excellent idea! You never know when it is going to be useful. But make sure you don't leave it behind when we come back. It'll probably be the only one we have left."
Danny went to his backpack and emptied out his school related stuff but left the thermos in it. He took his bag and headed downstairs.
"Ah, good, Danny," Maddie said, "I think we may need to put some of the smaller stuff in your backpack."
Jack trotted over to his wife; he was carrying something that looked suspiciously like the Jack-o-nine-tails. "I think this is the last of it," he said, handing it to Danny to put in his backpack along with the other equipment Maddie handed him.
Danny was puzzled. Why don't they just all load it up into the RV? Can't we just drive over and unload the stuff when we get there instead of putting it in bags? he wondered as he watched his parents load up the rest of the equipment into other bags. His parents had already made a trip to the RV and were preparing for the second and final trip.
Jack was wearing his usual goofy grin, the one that usually lead to extreme embarrassment for his children. "Let's get rollin'! Time waits for no one!" he said excitedly. Maddie followed her husband out the door and into the RV.
"Hey, Danny!" Jack yelled, honking the horn, "Get a move on. We don't want to be late."
Danny sighed as he ran out to the RV and buckled up. Strangely enough, he had no sense of foreboding. And that was scarier than having that gut feeling.
Jack drove the RV fifteen minutes out of town to a secluded area. Danny looked around and wondered who would be living out there that would want to hire his parents.
They parked the RV and hopped out, bringing the bags of ghost equipment with them. "Um, mom? Dad?" Danny said looking around, "Are we in the right place?"
"Yes, dear. We may have to wait a few minutes for our ride, though," she said, completely unfazed by having to wait.
Jack crouched in an excited fashion, "Oh boy! I can't wait. This is going to be awesome."
"What's going to be awesome? What are we waiting for?" asked Danny peevishly. He looked around the area feeling frustrated and wondering if he was wasting his time.
Suddenly, his mom yelled and pointed up in the sky, "Ah! Look there. See that, Danny? That's our ride."
Danny watched with growing awe as the craft grew closer and closer. He pinched himself to see if he was dreaming. Ouch! No, I'm not dreaming, he thought with growing excitement. It is real!
Coming towards them was a shuttle, a Justice League shuttle, one of the famous (or infamous depending on who was asked) Javelins.
"Mom?" he whispered following through to a wishful conclusion, "Are we really going up to the Justice League station?"
She smile beatifically at her only son, "Told you this job was going to be out of this world."
Danny continued to stare at the incoming spacecraft. "Wow. Oh, wow. ….Mom?"
"You and dad rock," he said with newfound respect. "I didn't know you guys went to places like that."
Jack put a companionable arm around his son's shoulders, "We can be goofy, well, that's me mostly, but remember that everyone can have their 'cool' moments."
"I'll remember that," Danny replied, not even feeling too uncomfortable about his dad basically giving him a hug in front of the landing shuttle.
His mother said, "Well, this job looks like it might be a one time thing. And you have been doing better in school lately, so that's why we asked you to come."
The shuttle landed twenty feet from where the Fenton's stood. Danny thought, Boy, Jazz will be so jealous when she finds out what she missed! Forget Jazz, Tucker will go insane!
Out of the shuttle came a red blur that stopped right in front of Maddie. It was Flash. "Hi! I'm here to pick you guys up." He looked Maddie over quickly and turned towards Jack, "You have a lovely wife, you lucky dog," he said with a cheeky smile.
"Ya got that right!" Jack said happily, "And she's an absolute genius to boot!"
Flash gave Maddie a smile, "Beauty and brains, what a combo." He turned towards the slack-mouthed Danny. "Who's the kid?"
Still smiling, Jack put a hand on Danny's shoulder, "This is our son Danny. He's going to be helping, too. Unfortunately, our daughter Jazz couldn't make it out."
"Well, time's a wasting," Flash said. He took the bags from each of the Fenton's before they realized he had put them on the ship. "The stuff's loaded, let's go!"
Inside the Javelin, was another member of the League. It was someone Danny was not familiar with. She waved to the Fenton's, "Hi! Don't mind me, I'm fairly new to the League." Her voice carried a strong accent. "I'm from Italy. I'm Valenta."
Danny tried not to stare at her. Why is it that all the women who do the hero thing have to wear skintight clothing? I thought that it's been proven that it doesn't distract the truly motivated villains.
Despite Valenta's choice in uniform and Flash's not so subtle flirting with her, Danny still enjoyed the flight. He was happy that he could see out the windows. It was amazing to watch the ascent into space. The stars are even more spectacular than I thought! Briefly, he noticed that his parents also were enjoying themselves.
Danny felt like the trip had been too short as they quickly approached the station and docked with it.
Before he knew it, he was following his parents and a technician down a hall to meet with technicians to figure out the best place to install equipment. He was ashamed to admit to himself that he was disappointed in not seeing many other members of the League. I never realized that they have a staff up here to run things. Never really thought about what it takes to run a station before. Didn't they originally run it themselves? Danny mentally shrugged, Guess I shouldn't be surprised. This station is bigger than the old one.
Danny stood behind his parents as they talked with the technicians. He looked around curiously. After all, who knows if he might get a second chance? Besides, I want to torture Tucker. He will be so jealous.
Quickly, he switched his attention back to his parents. They were explaining what each thing did to three technicians that stood around them. He hoped he was not going to be showing anyone what to do alone without his parents.
"Okay then," said Jack, "Let's go and get this stuff installed. Danny, you're with me and Frank here," he said, naming the technician standing next to him. "Maddie can take the other two techs."
Danny looked at his mom, "Are you sure you don't want to be with dad?"
"I think that it would be better if I showed these two what to do," she said. Maddie leaned over to her son and whispered, "Besides, you know how all the equipment works and I trust you to help your father not get carried away."
He smiled happily at the trust his mother gave him. "I'll try to keep him out of trouble."
Danny followed the technicians down a corridor absentmindedly as he looked around at his surroundings. Shortly, the small group arrived in a room that was full of equipment. I bet Tucker would have a guess to what all this stuff is, Danny thought as he took it all in.
"So, where did you want to install this stuff?" asked Jack as he also looked around. Oooo, that would really boost the ability of the ghost shield to project and that one would let the Fenton Bazooka take down even the strongest ghost.
One of the technicians lead Jack and Danny to an area that looked like it recently had been cleared of some equipment. She told them, "This is where we think that it would work best."
Jack began to inspect the spot while Danny waited he said, "I hope you didn't take anything else out that you needed."
She told him, "It was old equipment that we were due to take out soon anyway. All the rest of the stuff around the area has been upgraded or replaced recently."
Jack hopped up from his inspection, "This spot will work great! Danny, hand me the base board."
Danny handed his dad each piece as needed, occasionally handing his dad the correct piece as his father would skip a step sometimes. His dad only grunted at being corrected as he installed everything.
After half an hour, Jack stood up and brushed his hands together, "Well, that part's done. Time to call Maddie and tell her that we're ready to test it with the software."
The technicians lead the duo to a terminal so they could contact the control room.
"Hey, Maddie, we're ready down here. How about you?"
Maddie, who was the control room uploading software to run the equipment, responded, "I'm just running the final check to ensure everything is properly installed. And…I'm done!" One could almost hear her rub her hands together. "Let's test this thing!"
Gages and sensors that were part of the equipment that Jack installed began to move and Maddie began to receive data. "Hmm," she said, "I'm getting some funny readings. The equipment seems to be working fine, though. Looks like the system needs to be adjusted some so it isn't reading the little bit of radiation that is coming through the shields. It'll only take a few minutes."
"That's good to hear," said a familiar voice. Danny felt someone lean on his shoulder. He looked up and discovered it was Flash. "Now that you're almost done, you want to go eat?" he asked.
"Uhhhhh, sure," Danny stuttered.
"Yes! Food!" Jack cheered. "Lead the way."
"I'll be taking these guys off your hands," Flash said cheerily to the technicians.
Flash lead them slowly (by his opinion) through various corridors to a door that required a password. They barely saw his fingers fly over the pad as that door opened immediately.
He rubbed his hands together in anticipation, "We're almost there."
A few minutes later, Danny and Jack entered the cafeteria. Maddie waved at them from a table. Flash ran off to get food for himself while Jack and Danny went to the table. Or, at least, Danny was going to go to the table, when he witnessed the view from the window.
A minute passed before Jack and Maddie discovered their son was not with them. They found him plastered to the window, looking out at the spectacular view oblivious to his surroundings.
It took the combined forces of Jack, Maddie, and Flash to peel Danny away from the window that looked down on Earth so he could eat.
"Ya know, kid? You're a growing teenager and I'm a Speed Force user with a hyperactive metabolism, we both need to eat," he said, partly teasing Danny. "We have to keep up our strength."
"Uh, yeah, sure," Danny said uncomfortably. He still was in awe that one of the original Justice League members was hanging around him. He was not sure how to address such an important person.
Danny quickly went and procured some food for himself. In no time, he finished his meal, even though he kept glancing at the window.
"Kid, you're going to develop a crick in your neck if you keep doing that." Flash let out a burp, "Well, I'm full. Mind if I show your kid around?"
"It he's done. We're going to go back to the control room to fine tune the instruments some more," said Maddie. "We'll see you in the training room."
For the next half hour, Flash showed Danny some of the less sensitive rooms and pointed out where the training rooms were. "That's where your parents are going to be showing us how to use the equipment they brought."
Danny told him absentmindedly, "Oh, the stuff isn't that hard to use."
"What'da you mean?"
"Um, my parents show my sister and me everything once it's done and half the time they use us as a kind of test pilots to make sure that they are easy to use."
"That's good. I know a couple of guys here who cringe at the sight of a computer or anything new. Easy will be good for them."
Danny observed, "I haven't noticed many other superheroes around."
"Yeah, there's some sort of convention or other happening. I went to the same one last year. It was boring, so I volunteered to pick you up and show you around."
That explains why such a well-known hero is showing us around.
He developed a mischievous smile, "You want to go look in some places we probably shouldn't go?"
Before Danny could reply, Flash put a hand up to one ear as he was told something through the earpiece. "Sorry, about this kid. I've got to go down for a mission."
"I can figure out my way back," Danny told Flash, "I just go down that hallway and follow it to intersection with the main hallway and take a right and the training rooms are in that area."
"Wow, you sure learn your way around quickly."
"Heh, this place is so interesting, that I want to remember it all," Danny said.
"Okay, then, have fun showing some of those fumble finger people how to use your equipment," Flash said and zipped off. Danny started down the hallway at a normal pace. He passed the occasional window and each time it took all his willpower not to linger. Eventually, the hall became bare even of the windows, though, the occasional door still appeared around the gentle curve of the station.
Looking around, still taking in his surroundings, Danny noticed that the ever present cameras were not in the hall. In fact, he could see where two were taken out, possibly for repairs. Even better, no one was in the hall and he could not hear anyone coming.
Danny smiled when he remembered the basic layout for the station that Flash had shown him. If my guess is right, this should still be an outer hall despite the fact that there are no windows. On the other side is the vacuum of space.
He checked again to make sure no one was coming and turned into Danny Phantom. Quickly, he slipped through the wall out into the vacuum. He nearly shifted back to normal when saw the view.
Breathtaking only began to describe what he was seeing. The view from the cafeteria was good but this! This is beyond anything! Danny floated out there, it felt like no time had passed and yet all the time in the world. Laid out before him was the Earth. The planet was so blue. He could make out the eastern edge of Asia through the white clouds. Thunderheads on the eastern United States cast long shadows in the approaching twilight. Danny felt he truly understood the meaning of the word breathtaking now.
The enormity of the view nearly overwhelmed him. He felt like a part of something big and great but he also felt dwarfed at the same time.
Finally, he tore himself away from the magnificent sight and phased back into the station. All he had wanted to do was test to see if he could exist in the vacuum of space. At least, that as the excuse he gave himself.
Seeing no one else was around, he changed back to human. He discovered when he looked at his watch to make sure he was not gone for a long time that only three minutes had passed.
Quickly he made his way down the hall, in order to make it in time to the appointed training room. I hope I can find it. Shortly, he found himself in the wing that housed the training rooms. There are so many of them. He noticed his dad standing by one of the doors. He was waving in some League members.
Training the League members was both boring and exciting. Danny found the actual teaching rather dull but things became more interesting when they were given actual equipment to train on.
Danny felt torn between being amused and scared. He was amused because of all the silly things they were doing. How did he manage to shot himself there He was afraid because he did not want to be hit by any stray beam or whatever a particular piece of equipment did project. Why did my parents have to bring the Fenton Peeler?
Fortunately, an hour into the session, most people were getting the hang of using the ghost equipment. This learning curve was fortuitous because the alarm that detected ghostly activity went off in the control room.
Jack and Maddie gathered their 'students' together and took them to go looking for what triggered the alarm saying, "Great! Now we can see how you do in a real situation." The 'students' followed the excited couple quickly.
Danny stayed behind. "Well, it's not like they really need my help," he muttered to himself. Then his ghost sense went off. Moments later, he heard yelling down the hall. Curious, he looked out of the room and saw a ghost taunting three members of the League.
He sighed and pulled the thermos out of his backpack. He walked quietly towards the ghost until he was standing behind it. He doesn't look any worse than the Box Ghost. Danny grinned, Which means that he will be easily captured.
"Hey, ghost!" he yelled, getting his attention. "Do you know what this is?" he asked, while wearing a devious grin, holding up the Fenton Thermos.
The ghost gave the impression of turning even whiter than he already was as he went through the floor. At least, he tried to phase through the floor. Danny already had the lid off the thermos and was sucking the ghost in before he had reached the floor.
He was screwing on the lid before he realized that he was wearing a rather predatory grin. It feels good to catch a ghost without having to fight him first. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Leaguers approach him and tell him thanks.
It feels even better to actually be thanked for doing it, he thought, his good mood vanishing some. Unbidden, the memory of how he was welcomed as Danny Phantom at home, came to the surface of his mind. But for the moment, he pushed the negative thoughts out of his head and took in the thanks. After all, how many people can claim they were thanked by members of the Justice League for helping them. I don't think Tucker is going to believe this. It's too incredible to be believed.
A few minutes later, Jack and Maddie appeared, leading a few members with ghost equipment. "Ah, good, Danny, you're okay. We thought there was a ghost here," said Jack.
"There was. I got him in the thermos," he said shrugging his shoulder to indicate that the thermos was in his backpack.
"That's my boy!" Jack cheered. Danny began to blush from embarrassment at his dad's behavior. And I told Sam I couldn't be embarrassed anymore by my parents. At least mom hasn't done anything.
Maddie gave the nearest League member a look. "We weren't told that you were suffering from a ghost problem."
"Um, well, you see, it's kind of an embarrassment to admit we have a problem that we can't take care of. We were hoping to handle it ourselves," he shifted uncomfortably under the glare.
"Hmph! The least you could do was let us know there was a problem." Maddie looked puzzled, "I think the answer I want to know is how ghosts got up here." She looked at them and motioned to the different containers that held ghosts, "Are there anymore than these two?"
"You'll have to talk to J'onn about that. I know I haven't seen that one your son captured before."
"Oh we will," Maddie promised, crossing her arms. "Someone needs to take us to him." They all gave the impression of edging away. But before Maddie could voice her request again, there was a red blur that stopped in front of the small group. It was Flash.
"What'd I miss?" he asked.
"A ghost attack."
"Whah? Another one!" Flash exclaimed
Maddie redirected her glare to Flash, "You mean you knew too and neglected to tell us?"
"Umm, well, I thought you'd been told. Umm, I'll take you to J'onn so he can explain," Flash offered.
"Danny, please watch them while they practice. We are going to have a little talk with someone," Maddie said. "We shouldn't be too long."
Maddie and Jack followed Flash. Danny looked at the people he had been left with. "Well, I guess I we should go back in."
They followed him in and showed that they had learned how to use the equipment better than when they went after the ghost. Danny noticed that some more members had come into the room. An idea came to mind. "How about you guys show the newcomers how to use the stuff? You aren't going to be the only ones using it." Danny suppressed a smile at the varied reactions to his suggestion.
Fortunately, everyone was fine and doing well when Jack and Maddie returned. They were all taking turns on different pieces of equipment and doing quite well. "Hmm, looks like everything is under control here," said Jack. "Good job, son."
"Yeah, thanks, dad," he said.
Jack and Maddie rotated out people as they finished and put in new people to train for the next hour and a half. Before Danny knew it, it was time for them to go home.
Danny climbed into the Javelin reluctantly. He had had a good time and did no want to leave. If the trip up seemed short, the trip back down seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. Danny sighed as he left the Javelin. He said goodbye to Flash and thanked the copilot, who was not Valenta, for the trip down.
"Well, that was an interesting job," said Maddie as they climbed into the RV.
"I think I'm glad I came," Danny said.
Jack turned quickly around in his seat with a hopeful grin, "Does that mean you'll come along on future jobs? You were a great help."
"Umm," Danny said, "I don't know. Guess it depends on where you are going."
"Oh," was Jack's disappointed response. He shifted the vehicle into gear and drove them home.
Maddie glanced at her husband and looked back at Danny, "Well, we may have to go back up some time. We still don't know how the ghosts are getting on the station. Your father and I are thinking of going back up with some more sensitive equipment to see if there is a portal the ghosts are coming through."
"Can I come?" Danny asked hopefully.
"Only if you keep your grades up," she threatened.
Danny slumped in his seat, "Okay." He sat there for a minute and then asked, "Is this you guys make enough money to make all that ghost equipment."
Maddie told him, "We have some grants from various places and we do the odd job of installing equipment and training."
"I didn't know that."
"You never asked before." The remaining part of the drive was spent by Danny asking questions about what his parents did and how some ghost equipment worked. By the time they got home, Danny had learned more about his parents than he had learned in the past couple of years. Amazing at what you can learn if you ask! Danny realized.
When they got home, Danny took the thermos and the vacuum thing he had been captured in by his mom (boy was that cramped in there) down to the basement where he released the ghosts back into the Ghost Zone.
Then, Danny went up to his room and flopped down on his bed. He laid there with his eyes closed for a few minutes while he thought about where he returned from. A wide grin grew on his face.
"Tucker's going to be so jealous," he said as he hopped online and logged on to chat with his friends about what he had done that afternoon and evening. Then he decided against telling them at that moment. "I think I'll tell exactly what happened tomorrow morning before class, so I can see their faces." Danny logged on and told his friends, "You know, the trip wasn't as bad as I thought. I'll tell you guys about it tomorrow. But I bet you won't believe me."
(Looks shifty-eyed) This fic is strictly the product of the question 'How can I get Danny into space?' Answer, crossover! Turned out a lot longer than I thought. I still am getting used to writing for this category (characterizations, plot), so any constructive criticism is appreciated.
I made Valenta up. I derived her name from the Latin. Feel free to guess what word I used and what it means.