by Creedog VanDrey
Genre: Humor, Action/Adventure
Summery: The League of Justice tries to uncover a 33.1 project in Florida.
A/N: This is just a brief, humorous diversion from Archangel Investigations. It's a "Justice" spin-off, taking place a few years in the future.
"This is Watchtower. Come in, Impulse."
Chloe Sullivan, codename "Watchtower," studied the displays of the half a dozen monitors in front of her, a few showing maps, others live infrared satellite feeds, and another biometric data windows. Wearing just a Met U sweatshirt and shorts, and sitting in a swivel chair inside Oliver Queen's expansive Q-Jet. Illuminated by the glow of her computer console, which she'd nicknamed "Tiffany", she listened for a response. It came quickly.
"This is Impulse, and I am always ready to come in for you, oh most stunning Watchtower."
"What's your status?" she replied professionally.
"A little more chipper now that I got you on the line."
"Impulse," she replied sternly.
"My status is 'bored.' I've unplugged every camera in this joint. And I've photographed every square inch. I've stolen and made copies of every important-looking document I could get my hands on. There weren't enough unoccupied copy rooms, so I made a side trip to Kinko's… in Milwaukee. I also mixed up all the documents in all the file cabinets, painted smiley faces over all the warning labels, set all the thermostats to 62.5 degrees, then reset the pass codes on all the security consoles... to 6942, and, yeah, I stole all the pens from that snooty receptionist and replaced them with green and dried-up red ones. Then, in the next thirty seconds…"
"Point taken. And you're checking for guards?"
"Eight times since we started talking. You pause forever between sentences. How many times do I have to tell you? I'm the fastest hombre alive."
Her response was almost melodic. "One day, Bart, when you're a little older," she said in a motherly tone, "you'll understand why you should never say that to a girl. Watchtower out."
Chloe grinned, imagining the protests Bart would have given her had she kept the feed alive. She reached up and tapped a few buttons on one of the monitors, disabling a button with a lightning bolt and enabling button with a fish icon. She again stated, "This is Watchtower. Come in, Aquaman. What's your status?"
"I'm in the locker room," A.C.'s voice replied, in a rather bragging tone, even for him.
Sighing, she replied, "I can see that. Dare I ask why?"
"Just hydrating myself. Ask me what I'm wearing."
"No thanks. You know your job?"
"Looking damn good in a Speedo?"
"I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that."
A.C. listed off, "Knock out guards as I see fit. Grab anything incriminating but waterproof and make off with it into the beautiful Atlantic Ocean located a convenient five hundred yards away from the east exit."
"Good. Anything else?"
"Sorry about the joke. I totally don't need the Speedo."
"Watchtower out," Chloe replied, rolling her eyes. She enabled the arrow button. "Green Arrow, come in. What's your status?"
"I'm feeling kind of pumped. Thanks for asking."
"Map says you with—surprise, surprise—Black Canary." Chloe tapped the screen again, enabling a button with a black bird. "Watchtower to Black Canary."
A feminine voice answered in a highly casual tone, "Hey, Sweetie, Ollie and I just met the cutest guy with the shiniest gun. We were gonna ask him out to drinks until Ollie hit him with a blunt arrow."
Oliver jumped in. "We agreed to only ask out couples of enemy guards. But, I must admit, you have impeccable taste. When he comes to, perhaps we'll ask him if he has a lady friend."
Chloe's head fell to the desk in aggravation, "It's like managing a league of unusually aware toddlers. What're you doing?"
"You know Dinah and I don't kiss and tell," Oliver replied.
"I'm gonna count to three," Chloe said dryly.
"Check on Cyborg," Dinah answered seriously, "once he's disabled the door locks, we think we've found some holding chambers."
"Beautiful. Watchtower out." She tapped the screen, enabling a silver gear. "Watchtower to Cyborg. What's your status?"
"This is Cyborg. I am having a very vigorous interface with the central server."
"You know, I really tired of the double entendres."
Victor paused before chuckling. "I didn't intend for that to be ambiguous. You got something in particular on your mind? I think it might be time for Watchtower to get a boyfriend."
"Funny, Vic. How's the insertion going?"
"Oh, she'll open her legs eventually."
"You're telling me that wasn't intentional?"
"Well, now you've got my mind on something." His tone quickly changed, "Hey, I'm in. Thirty seconds or less."
Chloe teased over the com, "You and Bart. All about speed."
"Now that was just uncalled for."
"My apologies. Watchtower out." She disabled Vic's button and turned on the last remaining button, emblazoned with an eagle, "Watchtower to Boy Scout. What's your status?"
"Waiting for the alarms to go offline. Then I'm one flick of the finger from being inside." He paused and coyly commented, "That probably came out wrong."
Chloe sat dumbfounded. " Clark, did you just…?"
"What, I can't be the only Leaguer who can't talk dirty?"
"Well, you do show a deficiency in that area… And, Clark, these are mutable lines. How did you… Clark"
"I'm bored, Chloe. By the way, I thought my new code name was 'Eagle Scout' now that I learned to fly."
"Sorry, Cub Scout. My mistake."
EXPOSITION: After collecting all the Zoners, Clark began studying at the Fortress. He would be gone for days, sometimes weeks at a time, depending on the intensity of the lesson. Chloe kept investigating 33.1. If she needed superhuman assistance and Clark was indisposed, Oliver gladly loaned out his men (Bart was especially eager to help, as well as convenient to send off) in exchange for her research. After two years of study, Jor-El was sufficiently satisfied with Clark's progress. Chloe finished college a few months afterwards, and Oliver extended the invitation to work for him with constantly-renamed League of Justice. So, Chloe took a sabbatical from work to "explore the world." Perry White extended her a standing job offer. She tried, with every place she visited, to send a story about the locale, or sometimes, even what was discovered at the plant, under a penname, of course.
Her computers beeped as she saw that the formerly red lines running around the maps of the facility were now green. She pressed a shield button and all the buttons enabled. "This is Watchtower to League of Justice. Cyborg has compromised all barriers."
Bart cut in with a chuckle, "Hope no one gets pregnant."
"Enough," Chloe snapped, "Eagle Scout, Green Arrow, Black Canary, you're all outside possible test subject rooms." She watched her digital map, showing the blue, green, and ebony-colored dots entering rooms with stationary heat signatures. Victor's silver dot moved swiftly toward one of the rooms.
Victor's voice came over the com, "I'm with Green Arrow and Black Canary. As soon as I jack in, I'll pull up medical data."
Dinah exclaimed, "My God. It's a five-year-old boy."
Victor responded, "Well, then we've got the wrong file. This is for a fifty-two-year-old man."
Chloe's brow furrowed, "Impulse?"
"Not my fault, iseñorita/i. I only mess with hard copy. Don't got the time or patience to deal with computer files."
Victor spoke, "I'm linking. You getting this, Watchtower?"
"Every one and zero." After tapping a bit on the keyboard, Chloe commented, "He has a condition that they've labeled 'antisenescence.' The rest is all medical jargon. Stuff about 'telomeres… cellular apoptosis…' something called 'PCD'… I think it's Google time."
"Eagle Scout to Watchtower. I've got another subject in here."
Chloe quickly hacked the file, no doubt aided by Victor. "Yeah, I got it. 'Resistance to MODS and MOF.' Something about 'sustained infantile stem cell production…' Organ regeneration," she concluded.
Bart came on the line. "Hey, doesn't Lex already have meta health powers?"
"Yeah," Chloe answered, "healing factor." She listed off, "Near-complete immunity to disease. Toxin resistance at least three times that of a normal human. Constant high white blood cell count…"
Oliver jumped in, "Huh, you think Lex's is trying to turn that guy into an unkillable soldier?"
Chloe replied, "The guy's five-eight and forty pound overweight. According to this medical file, he's not aging well." Chloe let that sink in before conjecturing, "Guys, this is all conjecture, but I don't think Lex care about the man. With organ regeneration powers, Lex could be trying to make him immortal."
"That does sound like Lex," Oliver commented venomously.
Chloe asked, "Hey, Green Arrow, how's your captive?"
Dinah answered for him, "The child? He's unconscious and not responding. He's got a dozen needles in him that I can't get out. I think they're barbed."
Chloe's face pursed, "That doesn't make sense. Lex may be nefarious and immoral when it comes to getting what he wants, but he's not go-out-of-his-way sadistic."
"Unless the guy pissed him off," Oliver commented. Chloe didn't argue.
Victor chimed in, "Hey, I got something here. About your kid, Green Bean, he's part of what Lex is calling the… ponz dee lee-on project. Watchtower, what language is this?"
"One sec." Chloe tapped away on an internet browser screen. "Ponce de León. He was a Spanish explorer. Visited Cuba and Florida in the early 1500s."
Oliver prompted, "This area?"
"Quite possibly. They didn't exactly have accurate maps back then."
Suddenly, alarm bells echoed over the mics and red outlines blinked across Chloe's facility map. Victor answered the unasked question, "Damn! There was a hidden failsafe. It's gonna shut down the whole place!"
"Eagle Scout, can you bust everyone out?"
"I can bust the team out, but I can't get our subjects out. This guy's wired in pretty tight."
"That's unacceptable!" Oliver cried, "We can't leave them!"
Victor responded, "I can redirect the signal. The doors'll stay open, but it'll short out the electric system like a faulty circuit breaker."
"This kid may be on life support!" Dinah declared.
"Well, then, for those of us who aren't unbreakable, I'd get the hell out of the way. I'll reroute excess to the lighting. Prepare for glass shards."
From Chloe's point of view, the event was anticlimactic. Red splotches temporarily stained the infrared map. She realized that from inside, there would have been loud explosions, the crackling of glass, and a blinding flash in every room as the lighting blew. After checking the biometric data, which showed hightened heart rates, but no critical damage, she called into the headset. "This is Watchtower to League of Justice. Roll call."
At first there was no answer, then a childish voice, "Where's my mommy?" As much of a relief it was to know that the kid was awake, there was still no answer from the team.
Another childish voice, this one female, stated, "Hey, this old guy's sleeping."
Chloe's brow furrowed when her computer beeped. She clicked a blinking icon on her task bar which brought up a search page which matched several of the keywords from her query on the young victim's file. It was an article about the genetics of aging. Her heart dropped.
"Victor, are you there?"
"There's a cord stickin' outta my arm," came a small boy's voice.
"That's normal. Do you happen to know what you did to the electricity?"
He replied mechanically, "Sure, I rerouted all energy to the lighting wire, minus the average energy that was being routed to all non-lighting. It kept the medical devices in working order, but delayed the security system."
"I know. I'm smart like that. I thunked it up all by myself," Victor's childish voice responded insincerely.
"Do me a favor, guys, nobody move."
"You can't make me," came another childish voice. Bart was Chloe's only thought.
The blond woman jumped out of her seat and removed her headset. She pressed a few buttons to lock her computer and proceeded to race to her room, where she peeled off her casual clothing. After a deliberate search through the closet, she slipped on a white button-up blouse and a modest charcoal grey skirt. She searched her drawers with one hand and she arranged her shoulder-length blond hair into a bun with the other. Grabbing a pair of dress flats, she moved to the next door. Finding it locked, she held down on the pound and 4 keys of the keypad, causing the door to unlock. Her secret emergency override was a good foresight. She grabbed a pair of pantyhose from Dinah's drawer, glad that her friend's usual lack of organization wasn't a hinder today.
As she passed her work station again, she overheard a child's voice saying, "Yay! I'm naked!" She was not surprised to find the feed was coming from A.C.'s mic.
Chloe froze, wondering how she expected to smuggle six possibly naked, super-powered children out of a top-secret facility.
- - -
Chloe had no problems getting into the facility. Between her natural lock-picking talents and Oliver's cadre of gadgets, there was no door that didn't open to her skillful hands. Locating her teammates was no chore either. Oliver had insisted on shoulder implants for everyone on the team, so all it took was a small handheld console for Chloe to locate the rooms where her teammates were. Despite the power failure, a search had not been issued. Rather, a cadre of technicians were studying readouts in the electrical room, which Chloe easily slipped past.
In one room, she found a blond, short-haired boy; a blond, long-haired girl: and an African-American boy. Since her teammates were not approximately five years old, the majority of their costumes had fallen off them. They were clad in nothing but their respective, too-large sleeveless tops and socks in the boys' cases. From her duffel bag, she exchanged the costume pieces littering the floor for three sweatshirts.
"Hi, Chloe," the young Dinah exclaimed as Chloe peeled off her black tank top and replaced it with a black Gotham Knights sweatshirt. "Wha'cha doing?"
"It's part of the plan, Honey."
"Hey!" the young Ollie exclaimed, "I make up the plans." Youth didn't change some things.
"Well," Chloe said, removing Ollie's emerald vest, "I've got an escape plan and I need your cooperation."
"Hey, you're a girl! You're not allowed to see me naked!"
As she stuffed him into a green University of Star City sweatshirt, she replied, "Well, luckily I'm a grownup and you're not anymore."
"But Dinah is in the room."
"Trust me, under normal circumstances, she wouldn't care."
As Chloe turned around, Dinah clung to her. Chloe hugged back, "Hey, hey, I know you're scared. I'll get us out of here."
Dinah just pointed to the table, where in place of what should have been a young boy was a middle-aged man, who was either comatose or dead. Chloe took note of the fright apparent on Dinah's face. Though it tugged on her heartstrings, Chloe forced herself to sit Dinah on the ground. She covered her ears and demanded that the boys do the same, just in time for Dinah to release an ear-piercing scream that destroyed a mechanical panel. Luckily, the outburst was short-lived.
Victor gladly traded his silver vest for a grey Seattle Seahawks sweatshirt.
With Dinah in her arms and Victor's tight (but not too tight) grip around her other hand, Chloe found Clark in the adjacent room, climbing the walls. Literally. There were a dozen indentions in the concrete where he'd dug his fingers in. He'd reached the ceiling.
"Clark Jerome Kent, I'm going to count to three and I want you to come down," Chloe declared, in a voice strangely reminiscent of her father's.
Clark didn't need numbers; he gaily leapt from the ceiling, landing bottom-first on a large electronic console, which promptly crumpled around him like a soda can.
When he didn't emerge after a few moments, Chloe with mild concern, called to him, " Clark, you okay?"
Clark finally emerged from a vent after the cover went flying into the far wall. Clark's blue jacket, which was already in tatters, fell completely off as the hood became tangled with a mangled piece of metal. Chloe nonchalantly covered Dinah's eyes, and twisted her arm to reach into her duffel to throw Clark his azure Metropolis University football jersey.
" Clark, have you seen Bart?"
"Yeah, he's runned by the door like a bazillion times."
Chloe turned around and beckoned, "Bart!"
A small blond-haired boy stopped in the doorway, wearing Bart's distinctive jacket. While Oliver has specially designed the fabric to survive air resistance, the fabric was no match for being dragged across the floor; the cuffs of the sleeves and several inches up from the hem had worn away. As she set Dinah down facing away from the door, she peeled of Bart's ruined jacket and stuffed him into a scarlet and grey Ohio State track sweatshirt.
"Okay, guys, let's get to the locker room." Bart immediately zipped off, leaving a trail of singed red threads. Chloe immediately turned to Clark and declared, "Don't you even think about it, young man." Clark just looked at the ground guiltily, so Chloe ruffled his hair and apologized.
A young A.C. was found in the locker room, buck naked, and standing underneath a blasting showerhead, reaching up toward the handle that was too high for him to reach. Bart was already inside, superspeeding across the ledges of the benches and leaping from one to another, the sleeves and hem of his sweatshirt already tattered. Chloe, sympathetic to A.C.'s plight, removed her heels and stepped into the shower area to turn off the shower. Upon reaching under the water, she screeched, "Geez Louise, that water is frigid." Upon toweling off and convincing the reluctant A.C. to put on an orange-and-green University of Miami sweatshirt, she called to Bart, who appeared, instantaneous at her feet.
"Okay, guys, let's head out. And for the record, I did not scream 'Geez Louise.'"
Though Oliver and Dinah had been teaching Chloe basic martial arts, she silently prayed that she wouldn't run into any guards. After all, she was heavy-laden with six young children with special abilities. Unfortunately, by avoiding the guarded doors, she was forced to go out through the public lobby. Taking a breath, she confidently and hurriedly shoved open the door to the front lobby. While the guard at the front entrance didn't see her exit the doorway labeled "Restricted Access," she must have appeared to come out of nowhere, or possibly where she shouldn't have been.
Upon being questioned, she sashayed her hair and stated casually, "Hi, I'm Karen Lance, with Queen Elementary. Thank you so much for letting us use your restroom facilities. Seems like a few of our more rambunctious students thought it'd be a fun idea to use your fountain as a pool."
The guard, looking unconvinced, turned his head to the window, as if to check and see if there really was a fountain. There was. Chloe noted it on her way in. He responded, "The wall on that fountain is four feet tall. How did they manage to get in?"
"Oh, these six can get into anything," she replied, not dishonestly.
The guard surveyed her brood. "Six?"
Chloe looked down. There were three kids at her feet: the messy black hair of Clark was unmistakable; Victor's head, too, was stood out; and Ollie's spiky blond hair, too, was notable. With Dinah in her arms, that only left two runaways: Bart and A.C. Luckily, she quickly spotted A.C. in the waiting area, standing on a chair, talking to a fish tank. She hoped no one noted that all the fish had gathered round where A.C. was talking, as if with rapt attention.
Chloe looked down, "Guys, where's Bart?"
"He goed to the Jet," Clark answered.
"The jet?" the guard replied, his suspicion not waned.
"My minivan. It's vaguely shaped like a jet. Without wings and a tail. Kids and their imaginations."
The guard didn't stop her as she moved toward the door, corralling A.C. on her way, apparently in pursuit of one of her charges.
She passed by a receptionist, who gave her a displease sneer with a glance toward her legs. It was then that Chloe realized that she'd swiped a pair of Dinah's fishnet stockings. She quickly replied to the woman, "They were a gag gift. It's laundry day. They're five-year-olds. It's not like they're gonna notice."
The receptionist just turned to her pen holder, searching through it with displeasure.
- - -
From the cargo door of the Q-Jet, Chloe watched the descending red streak in the sky and smiled to herself. She was soon approached by a dark-skinned, thirty-ish man in a rather unusual ensemble: indigo-blue slacks, a navy blue Middleton PD tee-shirt, bright red suspenders, a powder blue rain jacket, and stark white Keds.
"J'onn," she said amicably, "I'm so glad you're here." She didn't mention that his sense of fashion.
"It was my pleasure. What have you done with our rejuvenated paladins?"
They walked through the plane together. "Well, A.C. hopped into the blue Atlantic. I put him in GPS-enhanced swimsuit, but he ditched that about a hundred yards out to sea. Luckily we've still got his shoulder implant. Tiffany'll tell us if anything goes wrong with his biometrics."
"And the others?"
Chloe pointed at a door with a window. "Bart's track room. I told him it was a merry-go-round. Turns out all it takes to keep him happy is apple juice. He's gone through about two gallons so far. I bet him a cookie he could slap himself in the butt. He didn't seem to realize that I'd already given him a family-size bag of animal crackers."
"Speaking of which…" J'onn hinted.
"Check the cupboard," Chloe smirked.
J'onn was there and back in a flash of red, holding a bag of Chocos, chocolate wafer cookies with creamy white centers.
"Did that really require you to jet?"
"You speak so plainly about what is very possibly Earth's greatest invention."
"I'm not disagreeing with you. I love the things myself." She reached for one and J'onn flinched away, but apologized and offered her a cookie.
"It was my payment."
"I know, I know. But I've got to envy your Martian biology. I could never eat these things like you do and stay a size 4." She rubbed her hips self-consciously.
"Chloe, I assure you that you're very beautiful," J'onn said uncomfortably.
"I appreciate the compliment, but seeing that your ideal woman is green-skinned, heavy-browed, and with a head shaped like a pickaxe, I'm afraid I can't take that at face value." Before J'onn could respond, she pulled open a heavy metal door to what Oliver liked to call the "Tandrum Room." Clark rarely actually had tantrums which would require the room, but it was useful for him to practice using his powers. The cubicle-sized room was made of a foot of pure titanium, which could in no way contain Clark, but was useful when he was testing his control over his strength or heat vision.
Now it was being used as Clark's playpen. He sat on the floor with a large pile of metal piping at his feet. "I got the idea from Martha Kent," explained. "Turns out the stuff is his own personal brand of Play-Doh."
"I'm making Miss Chloe a zoo!" Clark exclaimed, and even J'onn had to smile.
"I know," Chloe told Clark, leaning down and ruffling his hair, "and I really like it so far." Turning back to J'onn, she commented, "I figured a zoo would keep him occupied for the longest amount of time."
"I'm making an elephant!" He showed off what definitely resembled something like a metal elephant.
"It's great! I'll be back soon," Chloe answered brightly. As they exited, Chloe noted, "I feel kind of like a day care worker."
"It's kind of what you are for the time being."
They moved to Oliver's archery range, where they found Ollie standing on the platform, shooting a toy bow and arrow set. The target before him had three suction-cup arrow landing dead center of the face, the chest, and the groin of a man's silhouette. Chloe and J'onn merely exchanged amused glances.
In the residential area of the jet, they peeked into Dinah's room, where the young girl was playing with a number of brand-new dolls, courtesy of Oliver's rather large credit limit. For her room, Ollie had installed special vibration-resistant walls that allowed Dinah to blow off steam—verbally—every once in a while, without causing considerable damage. They were also completely sound-proof up to 200 decibels, capable of muting a jet plane engine. Chloe had the suspicion it was good for dampening more than Dinah's Canary Cry.
Finally, they moved to Victor's room, where he was acting out martial arts on the floor in front on a television set, his arm cord jacked into a video game console. Completely immersed in the game, he didn't even see Chloe and J'onn, who was still munching on Chocos, as they walked by. "You know," Chloe commented, "they say letting your kid play too many violent video games might cause aggressive behavior. They might even become vigilantes."
J'onn's thick brow just furrowed with confusion.
"Never mind." J'onn was still learning the finer points of Earth humor.
The pair moved to Chloe's workstation. She pressed several buttons at the console. After a few moments of a dial tone, a man appeared on screen. He was tall and handsome, with thick black hair and dressed in a three-piece suit, sitting in an executive-looking office in front of a large window overlooking a cityscape.
"Chloe, always a vision, what can I do for you?" the man asked charismatically.
"Hello, Bruce, how goes business?"
"Good as usual. But surely you didn't call me to trade stock tips."
"Not unless you got some. But you're right. We have a situation that could you your assistance."
Bruce grinned, "What have your boys gotten themselves into?"
"Well, for one, another 33.1 facility. It looks like Lex might be in the business of eternal life."
He whistled. "And you're calling me from St. Augustine, Florida. There's no way that's a coincidence."
"What do you mean?"
"Official hometown of the fabled Fountain of Youth. Ever hear of the explorer Ponce de León?"
Chloe's jaw dropped in realization. "It was the name of the project. So this Ponce de León guy was the one that went after the Fountain of Youth? Apparently none of us are history buffs. Lex always was the poetic one."
Bruce chuckled, "You're not wrong. Though, I get the impression his dad's worse." Chloe just nodded in agreement. "So, what's the situation?" he prompted.
"Let me show you something." She called out, though not nearly loud enough to be heard outside the room, "Clark, Sweetie, I'd like you to talk to somebody."
"You call Clark 'Sweetie' now? Didn't realize you two were…"
Clark zipped into the room and jumped into Chloe lap, using his flight to soften the fall.
Bruce finished his sentence with, "…parents. Guess that answers the questions about Kryptonian fertility and gestation period we've all been wondering about. And ability to seduce Earth women," he tacked on.
"Funny, Bruce, just 'cause you can't do it."
"I'll have you know—"
"I was talking about to me."
Bruce could only shrug in admittance.
Chloe, displaying Clark, declared, "Bruce, I'll like you to meet Clark Kent, age 5."
Bruce stared for a moment. "Yeah, I'll get Lucius on the phone."
The Wayne Enterprises CEO appeared on the line and was happy to work on a solution, especially after Chloe told him he'd be getting a large medical file and blood samples, hand-delivered by a Martian. "It's more than I usually have to work with," he quipped.
"Hey, don't forget who pays your paycheck."
"Yeah, the board of directors. You don't have that much power, Mr. Wayne."
Bruce turned to Chloe, "We'll be down as soon as we can. Try not to adopt any more while we're gone. Speaking of which, how many tykes do you have?"
"This one alone's a handful. I've got half a dozen just like him."
- - -
Chloe suspected from the growing crankiness of her teammates that it was nap time. Bart was adamant against it. Of course, after Chloe feigned a grab and Bart made a few hundred circles around his room, he collapsed onto his bed. They'd run out of apple juice and animal crackers, and Bart eventually succumbed to a sugar low. He was snoring within seconds.
Oliver's superiority complex, too, prevented him from taking orders. But Chloe, simply by being older, easily outsmarted him. "You're right. I forbid you to sleep. Everyone knows people shoot arrows when they're well-rested, and could use a little weakness from you when I stage my takeover."
Oliver was napping within five minutes.
Dinah was asleep on her bed when J'onn and Chloe found her. Chloe threw a blanket over her.
Victor agreed to nap when told it was the most efficient way to "recharge."
A.C. had worn himself out swimming to Australia, and was picked up off the ocean floor by J'onn somewhere off the coast of Indonesia. He slept soundly in his water bed.
Clark put up a short fit, but compared to some of his more hard-headed friends, was an easy win. Chloe figured that Martha had knocked enough discipline in him.
Thirty minutes into nap time, Bruce and Lucius appeared at their doorstep, six syringes ready.
"Sorry for the delay. Your friend Clark has most unusual DNA," Lucius explained.
Chloe didn't mention she rather impressed with their turnaround time.
They injected Dinah first. She screamed. Luckily, the three of them wore special Queen Industries-designed earplugs. Chloe never asked why it was so necessarily that Oliver need be in the direct path of Dinah's call. She went straight back to sleep.
"The drugs will make them drowsy," Lucius explained.
Victor put up no fight, simply showed them a port to inject the fluid which would best circulate through his artificial circulatory system.
Oliver proclaimed he hated shots, but accepted it when it told him it'd make him taller than Chloe again.
A.C. commented the shot was no worse than the time he was unable to talk his way out of a jellyfish ambush.
Clark presented a unique problem. Bruce causally pulled out a green-gemmed ring and told Chloe was the plan was. She entered the room and roused her dark-haired friend. When she told him he needed a shot, he promptly reminded her that needles got "smushed" against his skin. Her voice caught in the back of her throat, she rubbed his back and told him that they needed to use kryptonite. He tensed up and his eyes widened in fear, bringing tears to Chloe's. Gathering her strength, she told him that it would be a short procedure and that she'd told him tight, but that he couldn't grab back. As Bruce entered the room, Clark writhed in pain. Chloe clutched him desperately tight as he was given the injection. Bruce quickly stuffed his ring into a lead-lined sack, but Clark had already passed out. Chloe checked his heartbeat and breathing before leaving him on the bed, the grimace still apparently on her face. She wiped away the tears that had formed in her eyes.
"That's it. I'm not having kids," she declared.
"That's too bad," Bruce commented, patting her back, "you'd be awesome at it." As they moved to Bart's room, Bruce inquired about the best plan of action.
Chloe merely replied, "Eh, stick 'im before he wakes up." It was good advice. Within an instant of being poked, he had leapt from his bed. He slapped the syringe away, but Lucius had pressed the plunger immediately. Bart's hypersonic circulatory system worked to their advantage. He bounced off a wall and landed on the ground, dead asleep.
- - -
J'onn returned from his reconnaissance mission with bad news. Lex was careful to a fault and had completely cleared out the St. Augustine 33.1 location.
Bruce, using Tiffany under Chloe's anxious eyes, determined that Lex had either destroyed or completely encrypted all files from the site as well.
"Damn," Chloe cursed, "might as well send what we got to Chase." Bruce forwarded their evidence to the investigator in New York.
- - -
Clark, again twenty-three, walked into the kitchen, where he found Chloe, Bruce, Lucius, and J'onn sitting around the table, drinking coffee. He noted that J'onn's coffee was usually white, and he was not so much drinking it so much as using it to dip the last of his Chocos in.
Chloe smiled. "Morning. Somebody's looking their age again. For a minute there, we were afraid your serum wasn't going to work, as long as you slept. Have some coffee. It's hot."
He gave her a look, "Where is everyone? I don't hear them rustling around."
"A.C. swam down to Miami to visit friends," Bruce explained.
Chloe added, "Bart wanted to go to the beach with me. Even offered to pick me up a suit. I declined, so he went to check out the beach scene. All of the beaches, I believe."
Bruce grinned. "He even seemed happier."
"Ollie and Dinah… well, they're…" Chloe trailed off as Clark blushed profusely.
"Perhaps I should recreate the scene," J'onn volunteered. "I was told it was very amusing."
In a streak of red, a man looking exactly like Oliver appeared behind J'onn's now vacant chair. "Listen, Dinah," 'Ollie' said awkwardly, "I just want to apologize for…"
Another streak of red brought Dinah's form to the scene, "…acting like I had cooties? Hey, Tiger, we're exactly ourselves. Well, at least I wasn't. You acted surprisingly similar to yourself."
Red streak. 'Ollie' replied, "Hey, watch it, Missy." He sent a flirty grin to open air. Another red streak, 'Dinah' sent the space beside her an uninterested smirk. Another red streak, 'Ollie' moved forward. Then, a constant red blur highlighted 'Ollie' and 'Dinah' flickering back and forth into existence, seemingly kissing.
Then, all at once, J'onn appeared in his chair again in his human form. He dipped his last Choco cookie in his 'coffee' and bit into it seemingly without a care in the world. Around him, his friends laughed uncontrollably.
Wiping tears from her eyes, Chloe commented, "I doubt we could get Bart to do that self-kissing thing. Or Clark." Her tall ally just stared down at her. "Enough said," she commented. "Oh, do Bart's little 'proportion' spiel."
A red steak produced a Bart look-alike. Leaning on the back of Chloe's chair, he coyly stated, "Hey, Chloelicious, since you saw me naked back there, just wanted to remind you that things stay in proportion."
"Things," Chloe acted back.
"Things," 'Bart' replied before J'onn reappeared in his chair, looking disheartened at the empty Choco bag while his friends struggled for breath.
Clark exhaled hard enough that he messed up his friends' hair and rattled the mugs. "J'onn, we're sorry. You're just a hoot. Remember your last birthday?" They had chosen August 27 for J'onn's birthday, on account that Mars was most visible in the night sky on that date. Last year, Chloe had brilliantly elected to get him a Chocos-and-cream ice cream cake. Still unfamiliar with Earth customs at the time, he lunged face-first into the cake after patiently waiting for the League to finish singing him "Happy Birthday." The pictures were priceless.
- - -
"This is Green Arrow to Watchtower. I need a favor."
"This is Watchtower. What can I do for you, Green Arrow?"
"Set me up with a private line to Black Canary."
"You're all set up," Chloe replied.
Oliver was surprised by Chloe's compliance. Usually, a transparent request like that would warrant Chloe's sarcasm, if not criticism. And it wasn't like she was in the best of moods. The League of Justice was working on the island of Lesbos, Greece. Her witty cohorts had been exchanging wisecracks all day concerning the name alone. And Dinah seemed to be putting no stop to it.
"So…" Oliver said, "now that we have a little privacy…"
"I thought we were on a mission."
"Who's boss around here?"
"Hmm, I'm gonna have to go with Chloe."
Oliver scoffed. "You're hitting me where it hurts, Girl."
"Kinda like last night?"
"That's it. I'm tracking you down."
"You'll have to catch me first."
"Ooh, this is my favorite game."
"Mine, too, Bro," A.C.'s voice interrupted.
"Chloe!" Oliver screamed, "I thought you gave a private line."
"Well, sorry," Chloe replied, mock-apologetically, "but there all these buttons. Who knows what they all do?"
Oliver sighed. "You know, Watchtower, I give you state-of-the-art computers and this is how you thank me?"
"Look, not that I don't love Tiffany…" Chloe replied.
"Remind me again why you gave your computer a stripper name?" Victor asked.
Chloe grinned superiorly. "For Tiffany lamps. You know, Cyborg, considering what you call your computer, I wouldn't talk."
Victor didn't say another word.
"I'm telling ya, Chloe," Clark commented, "you should've named her 'Nellie.'"
"Hey, guys, not to interrupt the party," A.C. said with uncharacteristic gravitas, "but I've been doing my rounds in the gorgeous Aegean Sea here. There was this plane. Army, I think. So, I tried to race it."
"This sounded urgent, Aquaman," Oliver said into his mic, "what's the emergency?"
"It's smoking. I think it's gonna crash into this…" He paused for a long time before adding, awestruck, "…island."
Chloe tapped away on her computer. "Aquaman, this is Watchtower. Both your GPS's have shorted out."
"So we lost Flounder?" Bart quipped.
"I heard that."
Chloe jumped in, "No need to worry. I've got your last known location, as well as direction and velocity. I've got your probable location, and… it looks like you're not within thirty miles of an island."
"Well, I wouldn't be surprised if it weren't on any map. It's kind of floating."
"In the water?"
"In the air. It's barely skimming the surface of the sea. And our bogey just landed pretty hard on it. Want me to check it out?"
Oliver replied, "Hold back, Aquaman. If this thing's really an unrecorded, inhabited floating island, I want more than one man on it. Anyone find anything in this facility worth staying for?" He was answered with a chorus of negative responses. "Then that decides it. League of Justice, fall out. Impulse, Eagle Scout, I want you to water-skimming to Aquaman's location. Everyone else, meet up at the Q-Jet. Watchtower, after you relay Aquaman's position, I want you to ready the jet to get us there ASAP. Let's be heroes."
In the middle of the Aegean Sea, there was a red streak over the surface, creating the most imperceptible of wakes. It was followed by a blue streak a few feet above the sea, causing a significantly larger but still minor wake. An enormous wake was created behind it by an oversized silver-and-green jet, approaching a tiny island, floating just above the water's surface. It was covered in a mixture of dense, green foliage, and crystalline white structures, several of them in the style of Greco-Roman landmarks.
A/N: Anyway, as you can see, I've set myself up for a possible sequel. Any comic-minded fan can probably guess part of the plot. But I'm really debating between that sequel and another light-hearted fic also taking place in the LoJ universe. Also, bear in mind, I'm tirelessly trying to produce my Archangel Investigation episodes.
(Sonriso) - Wait a second. Where was the Chlark? You always do Chlark, Creedog! How can I lust over Chloe if I can't put myself in Clark's place?
Created Friday, March 23, 2007. Finished Wednesday, March 28, 2007.