Disclaimers and Useless/Useful Stuff to Know:
I don't own DC comics or any of its characters. Which is really a shame.

What Comes of the Subconscious Mind

by Alba Aulbath

It had begun all cheerful and fulls of colors and the trees were made of chocolate and the leaves were like shavings of it and the grass was kind of blue for some reason. It was sunny and warm and when he stared up there was an obnoxiously huge moon with a spiraling tower coming out of it for reasons he could not begin to comprehend.

There was a path that thankfully was NOT yellow or made of brick, but it was a simple little dirt path leading up to what looked sort of like a university only fancier and carved more elegantly than the Greeks or Romans could even begin to imagine.

Ted followed the path, purely out of curiosity.

"In the future, no one remembers you."

Ted blinked and turned around to eye suspiciously at a blonde. "What?"

"I said, do you want bacon?" It was Booster and he looked slightly miffed.

"No, I'm pretty sure that's NOT what you said. Why do you have bacon?"

"I dunno, that yellow-skinned wacky guy gave me some." Booster shrugged.

Ted peered at him.

"In the future, we still don't know anything."

"What?" Ted was sure Booster just said that this time.

"I said I like Chinese food. Jeez, you need a hearing aid to go with that plastic valve." Booster rolled his eyes.

Then, suddenly, a giant Skeets landed on top of Booster.

"ACK!" Ted jumped back. "Booster?"

"OW!" the blonde complained.

"I am enlightened," the giant Skeets announced. Then, with an echoing pop, both Skeets and Booster disappeared.

"Okayyyyy..." Ted scratched the back of his head, frowning.

Hopefully the interior of the building -- whatever it was -- would be saner. Turning, the inventor quickly slipped inside.

There were a variety of things going on. Fencing in the field, people doing paperwork, a bunch of monitors were set up in a corner -- funny thing was, Ted was sure he recognized all of these people.

Then, Beatriz -- who was encased in her own green flames -- and Guy leapt in front of him.

"WE REPRESENT THE LOLLYPOP GUILD," they both announced.

"Lollypops are sissy," Guy decided.

"Shut yo' mouf!" Beatriz pointed at him.

"That good?"

"Yeah sure."

They, too, popped out of existence.

"Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, did I have icecream before I went to bed?" Ted grumbled. "Yeah, that's it. This is a crazy dream. It's a..."

He paused, noticing a set of stairs that wasn't supported by anything that led up into the clouds.

Curiosity, he concluded, controlled and willed him to explore those stairs. As he walked up, he tried very hard to ignore Maxwell Lord riding by on a bike, cackling with glee.

At the top, Ted noted that it looked completely like a flat platform, only for some reason there were weeds growing out from it, half of them even frosted by some kind of cold that he wasn't feeling.

In the middle, a red-haired man he was sure he should have recognized was watering the weeds.

"Uhhhh," Ted expressed his constant confusion.

"You really shouldn't be here," the man told him. Out of thin air, he grabbed a mask that impersonated a Muse face and held it to hide his own face.

"Why not?"

There was hesitation, and he grabbed another mask from no where and it looked just plain white. "Because you're not supposed to be."

"Well, if I wasn't supposed to be, then I wouldn't be here," Ted pointed out. "But I am here."

Somehow, the white mask had shifting black in it, split in half and symmetrical. "Your world isn't so colorful."

"You know, this is one weird dream."

"Hate to tell you this, Ted." Another mask; it was fleshtone, with no features. "It's not so much a dream as much as it's a hallucination. Dreams are conjured, by common belief, from when you're sleeping."

Ted frowned. "Then what the heck am I doing?"

"Good question. It's something enigmatic. A puzzle, a mystery. Too bad neither of us are Sherlock Holmes or MacGyver." Somehow, the man had developed black hair and had stopped holding up the featureless mask. It was just... there. "But you should do yourself a favor."

"Like what? Lose a few more pounds?"

"There you go, making jokes in a black and white world..." The man shook his head. "You should wake up."

"You said I wasn't dreaming."

"I never claimed you weren't unconscious, either," the man told him. "You really should wake up now." He dropped his hose and turned, leaping out of a window that had appeared out from no where.

Falling from the sky was, making his second appearance, Booster. He landed loudly and caused plenty of weeds to go flying everywhere. "OW. Jeezum!" the blonde grumbled.

"At least you're consistent," Ted grumbled.

"Actually, I go between phases of being stupid, brilliant, suave, and/or tempermental," Booster told him, standing up and dusting off his shiny power suit. "In the future, things don't really change, so why are there heroes trying now?"

"Um..." Ted frowned, not sure how to answer that.

With no explanation, much like everything else, it began to rain jello.

"Lollypop?" Booster offered.

"You should wake up now," the featureless man hissed behind Ted.

Things stopped.

The definition of this line was that everything that Ted had been watching and experiencing had just ended abruptly. There was no fade out, no snapping out of bed quickly and gasping all dramatically. Suddenly, it was gone, and his eyes were open and he stared up at a blinding white light on the ceiling.

He noted his arms were pinned down by cuffs and his head was being held similarly.

His eyes glanced around, and he spotted Maxwell Lord mumbling to a doctor. He wasn't riding a bicycle and impersonating a wicked witch from an old film. He wasn't even wearing his suit -- it was a black tee and gloves and there was that Checkmate symbol.

And it came back to Ted, and he realized the last thing he remembered was

"Go to hell, Max." with a BANG.

Max turned his head to stare at Ted, and the inventor cringed.

"Now, you didn't think I'd just let you go to waste, did you?" Max mused.

Ted suspected nothing good could come out of this.