The Greatest Story…Finally ToldAct 6
He was a fool.
A stupid, stupid fool.
Batman sat at his computer, palms pressed into his eyes, trying to ward off the headache that was rapidly forming. It was times like this that he was glad he had chosen a cave as his sanctuary…the darkness would comfort him and keep the light away.
He was a fool.
Booster Gold, aka Michael Carter, was currently in the Watchtower's medical wing, being fretted over by doctors, Ted Kord, and Tracy Simmons. The bullet had strung him in the lung, puncturing it. A few more inches, and he would have died. But he had been lucky, and only received a long, exhaustive surgery for his trouble. He was expected to recover in a few days… in fact he was recovering faster then he should have.
Which was why Batman was currently at his computer, Skeets hovering around him.
He had finally accepted that he would need to find out some facts about the future, if only to come to turns with how Booster could be already healing from a punctured lung. Skeets had pulled up some files, the fact not that surprising. In 200 years, a drug would be found that increased the rate of cell regrowth. A medical break through, it allows people to heal from injuries faster, as well as reduced the number of disease related deaths to zero.
Skeets had calmly told Batman about how the drug had saved Booster's sister, Michelle. She had come down with a very, very nasty disease, a new age plague that had swept through Booster's time. When all had seemed lost, a mysterious donation have been given to Booster's family, which was more then enough to pay for the advanced second gen version of the drug, which had cured her and then been given to Booster to protect him.
Batman had put the story aside, and begun other tasks, when something had occurred to him. The mysterious donation, along with the knowledge that Booster basically slept on Ted Kord's couch instead of buying an apartment, had driven the Great Detective into looking into Booster's finances.
What he had found had shocked him.
Some of the money Booster had made as Michael Carter had been placed in a time sealed bank, set to open in the 25th century…and be delivered to Michelle Carter.
The rest had gone to a research clinic in Star City, just starting out, filled with young doctors that were working on manipulating systems within the human body. Millions to fund their research, to buy the needed machinery, even college scholarships to give out to needy kids.
Skeets had confirmed what he believed: The Star City Research Clinic would, in 200 years, create the drug. The drug that saved Michelle's life, along with millions…maybe billions of lives.
'All this time…I thought he was doing it for himself…' Batman closed his eyes. 'How could I have not seen it? The cocky attitude, the over the top greed…make his hair dark, and he's me when I go out as Bruce Wayne, playboy billionaire.' He didn't doubt that some of that was the real Booster…he had been a cocky Pro Football player, according to Skeets. But still, his endorsements, his product pushing…all of it had been done so he could fund that research center. So that the drug that would save him and his sister's lives could be made.
And no one would ever know. Booster had seen to that.
He had beaten up a man…no, a hero…that without powers, without even fighting a single villain, may have saved just as many lives as he had. All because he had underestimated him. It made sense now, why he disliked Booster. Why he felt such disappointment in him.
Booster Gold was a young Bruce Wayne, trying to find his way in the world as a caped hero. He was like a baby, trying to learn to walk, and then the big bad bat had to come and smack him around. Booster was the ultimate fish out of water…and none of them had extended a hand.
He was a fool.
A stupid, stupid fool.
"You sure you don't want to stick around a little longer, Ted? We could steal Flash's PlayStation."
Ted Kord shook his head. "Some of us have a company to run and a city to protect. The Blue Beetle has been missing a bit too long…have to make sure everything is ok at the ol' homestead."
Booster shrugged. "Whatever you say. Listen, thanks for fixing my suit." Booster ghosted his fingers along the front of the costume. "Can't even find where the bullet hole was."
Ted shook his head. "The miracle of nanofibers. Took a few days to figure out how they make stuff like that in your time, but Skeets was able to help me out." Ted looked around. "Where is your little friend, anyway?"
"Batman has him. Said he wanted to check up on some stuff…Skeets told me he is just loving commuting with that big computer Batman has in his cave. Thinks he's in love."
"Robots can love?" Ted asked.
"Nah, most likely just lust." Booster joked, walking his friend to the transporter. Ted groaned at the bad joke, giving his friend a sour look. "Lighten up, Ted."
"One of us needs to be serious, Booster." Ted replied. "Or else the world is doomed." Booster waved his hand dismissively, walking up and imputing the coordinates into the computer. "Hey Booster, I got a question…something been bugging me."
"Pun not intended?" Booster asked.
Ted ignored the comment. "How did you shut down Ace's gauntlets? I heard you give that Command 52, and they just powered down."
Booster Gold grinned at that stroke of luck. "You know how I got all this gear, right?"
"You stole it from the hero museum you worked at."
"exactly." Booster said, pulling off a yellow glove. Beneath it was Ace's gauntlet, a little stripped down, but still recognizable. "Those gauntlets are going to sit in the watchtower for a few hundred years, before they are put in a museum. Then, many years later, a young Michael Carter will have his robot friend Skeets hack them and change the shutdown and powerup codes."
Ted shook his head. "Booster Gold, master of the Time paradox."
"Everyone, report to the main deck immediately."
"Time to go save some ant farms." Booster said with a grin, giving Ted a salute. "Tell Tracy I'll be late."
Ted rolled his eyes. "Great, you get to play hero, I have to deal with your girlfriend." Before he could make a quip, Booster activated the transporter.
"…Vixen, and Ice will be with Wonder Woman on the ground forces." J'onn said. "Head to the Javelin Bay. The rest of you…" The Martian Manhunter paused as he saw a few stragglers, including Booster Gold, run up and join the crowd. "We have received reporters of an alien craft crash landing. The military are fighting with the machines, but are being pushed back. Several small towns are in the direct path, and are being evacuated. We are to report at once and assist. Fire, you are with Green Lantern. Elongating Man, you are with Wonder Woman. Booster Gold…"
Booster nodded. "I'll head down to the towns and make sure everyone gets out fine."
"Not necessary. The military is handling that."
"Oh." Booster said. "Then I'll stay here. Help you out J'onn."
"You misunderstand, Booster." Superman said. "You are coming with us."
Booster nodded his head. "Ah, of course. So, whose team am I on?"
"Your own." Green Lantern replied. Booster gave him a blank look. "Superman is leading the main air assault, and my team will be taking the right flank. The leaves your left flank…"
"Wait." Booster said, holding up a hand. "My flank?"
Superman nodded. "Your energy blasts will be able to do a lot of damage…and you've shown that you can handle dangerous situations. I guess the question is…will you help us?"
Booster stared at Superman in shock, then over at John Stewart, as if to confirm what he was hearing. John nodded, and motioned Booster to turn around. Doing so, he found Fire, Captain Atom and several other heroes waiting for him.
"Will you lead us, Booster?" Fire asked. Behind her, Kara smiled.
Booster lowered his head for just a moment, then looked back up, his face hard. "Enough standing around. We can talk later. Come on, we have a world to save."
The assembled crowd let out a cry, storming out of the main area and towards the hanger. Superman, Green Lantern and J'onn watched as Booster gave his team commands, getting ready to storm the alien craft.
"Booster Gold…" Superman said to himself.
"Saving his past…" Green Lantern continued.
"To insure our future." J'onn finished. The three nodded, then hurried to take their spots.
Booster was right: They had a world to save.
Author's Note: 6 weeks. Amazing to think about, really. But there it is, the true story of how Booster went from Crowd Control to a big time player in Dark Heart.
Now then, what will be my next story? I debated about whether I wanted to write another Justice League story, and I was ready to say no, when I began thinking about all the Justice Lord stories. You know…the ones where they return and are evil.
That seems totally wrong.
The Lords weren't evil. They just saw the world differently. And their stories should reflect then.
Coming next week:What do you do, when all you have worked for is lost?
What do you do, when the world hates you, despite all you did?
What do you do, when new heroes arise and you are left in the dust?
What do you do, when your purpose has been taken?
What do you do, when those you once leaned on are gone?
The Son becomes the Father, the Father becomes the Son
A collection of 6 short stories, detailing the aftermath of "A Better World", and how there is more then one way to be a hero, and more then one way to reach redemption.
The Stories will Be:
-A Punk with a Gun
-A Different Point of View
-Art of Peace, Art of War
-Under the Kansas Sun
Second Author's Note: Depending on the Success of the Series, I could include several other short stories to it. 6, right now, is the amount, but there is room for more.