Once Upon A Time In the Future -- A Justice League - R'Verse Story by BillA1
Copyright September 2007
Once Upon A Time In the Future (1/3)
A Justice League Unlimited - R 'Verse Story
Copyright September 2007
Disclaimer: The characters Batman, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Cinnamon, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Superman & Flash and their respective secret identities are all owned by DC Comics. This story is intended for my own pleasure and is not for profit. It has been posted to this site for others to read. Places and characters not own by DC are my own creation. This story is based on characters from the animated Justice League series episode: Epilogue written Bruce Timm and Dwayne McDuffie and Ancient History by Dwayne McDuffie. Note: Spoilers up through Destroyer. Set after Destroyer and before the Batman Beyond time period. This R 'Verse tale is a sequel to AFTERMATH: The Beads on the String. The R 'Verse" is copyright 2006. My sincere thanks to Merlin Missy for her very helpful comments on the first draft on this story.
A/N: This story was inspired by an email exchange with Merlin Missy during May 2006.
Synopsis: After Egypt, but before the Imperium, there may have been Adella, Texas. A John /Shayera/ R 'Verse futurefic.
Just suppose eight thousand years ago, two souls were violently separated and have spent millenniums searching through time and space to find each other again.
Sometimes the souls never met in their respective reincarnated lifetimes. Other times they did meet, but the circumstances wouldn't allow them to be together - or to stay together. Often, they might see one another and recognize the other at the subconscious level, but were like ships passing in the night; doing nothing more than acknowledging each other's presence and continuing to move on to wherever that life might take them.
But throughout time, as the souls sought to find each other and stay together long enough to complete the unfinished business they started eight thousand years ago, they would remember each previous encounter. They would remember each other.
Just suppose Cicero was right when he said, "The soul in sleep gives proof of its divine nature."
"Journey... I think. And the mark on the side means conclusion. The end of a long journey?" - (Shayera Hol explaining ancient Thanagarian markings to Carter Hall - Shadow of the Hawk)
(34 years after Toyman kills Rex Mason )
The morning sunlight leaked through the drawn curtains of their Metrotower quarters and insisted on getting the sleeping woman's attention. She lay on her stomach and flexed her shoulders, grunting with each slight movement, before extending her wings in an effort to fully awake.
Shayera Hol took a deep breath before slowly turning over to sit up. She was surprised to find John already awake and sitting up, in a curled up position in the bed. Even in the dim light, she could see he looked worried.
"Are you okay?" she asked. "Anything wrong?"
It had been a little more than a year since she and John Stewart had been thrown forward in time more than thirty years by the Toyman's tachyon energy beam. It was only because Metamorpho had fatally absorbed so much of the weapon's energy, they hadn't been thrown thirty thousand years forward as Superman had once been.
At first, there had been problems adjusting to their new environment. People and friends they'd known earlier were suddenly gone, dead or retired. They'd unexpectedly found themselves to be strangers in a strange land.
But they had adapted. Shayera had created a new identity as Warhawk enabling her to wear a mask again. John also wore a mask now and had been temporarily assigned as the Green Lantern for this sector. This allowed them to maintain the appearance that the Thanagarian, Shayera Hol, and the Green Lantern, John Stewart, had died fighting the remnants of the Legion of Doom years earlier.
It had been just under a year since they'd become lovers again; just over nine months since they moved in together and just five days since Shayera told John she was pregnant.
"Yeah," he cleared his throat. "I'm okay." She could tell he wasn't.
She brought her knees to her chest, mimicking his sitting position and then leaned forward and extended her wing so that it gently caressed John's back. He smiled. "I had the strangest dream last night," he said as he turned to look at her.
She gave him a devilishly grin. "So, was I in it and did we have fun?"
She had thought he would smile at her question, but he didn't and instead was silent for a moment. "Well, yes and no," he finally said. "Actually, I'm not really sure."
"You're not sure that a woman with wings was in your dreams?" she smirked. "That must have been some dream, mister. Care to share?"
"I mean I think you were in it," he said somewhat defensively, "but you didn't have wings. It was such a weird dream, too." He flashed a smile that rapidly faded as he added, "But then, I've been having a lot of weird dreams lately since you told me I'm going to be a father." He paused. "It's just that this dream seemed so real."
"Oh," she said not really sure how she should feel about not having wings in John's dream. For a brief moment, she wondered if John subconsciously wanted to be with an Earth woman again. She knew Mari was no longer a threat to their relationship, having married and raised a family of her own after John was thought dead more than thirty years ago. But maybe John's dream meant he wanted to be with a woman without wings or -- maybe one who wasn't pregnant. She'd talk to him about this later.
"So I was a human woman, huh?" She paused. Her eyes widened as she had a thought. "I was a woman, wasn't I?"
"Yes, smart butt! You were a woman. You want to hear my dream or not?" He arched an eyebrow and half-smiled.
"Go ahead," she said as she leaned forward again and hit him gently with her wing. "I'm listening."
He sighed and frowned. "As I seem to recall, it occurred in the old American west; in a town I think was named Adella ..."
(Adella, Texas - September 1884)
There was something to be said about sitting on the sidewalk watching people go by. After a while you learn to read people and what you see tells you volumes more than what they say.
Warren McAdams was an old civil war veteran, as were most of the men in the town of Adella. And as most had, he'd fought for the Confederacy and was proud of it. It had been a warm day and he thought a beer would taste good about now. Warren leaned back in his chair outside the entrance to the Harley House, a boarding house with a restaurant on the lower floor. It was across the street from the Moonglow Saloon, the only saloon in the town.
Yeah, a beer would taste good right now. But it was too early for a drink. Maybe he could find a poker game he could get into. As he stood to cross the street, he noticed a colored man riding into town on a beautiful big red chestnut horse with a white blaze on its head. The man was leading a faded grey horse carrying a white man with his hands tied to the saddle horn. Warren ran down the street to get the sheriff.
It took Warren about ten seconds to tell the sheriff what he saw and two seconds before the sheriff ran out of his office and up the middle of the street to block the colored man's horse.
"What's the meaning of this, boy?" the sheriff snarled.
The colored rider silently dismounted. He was wearing a fine black slouch hat with its wide brim turned up slightly in the front, white shirt and a black leather jacket with a badge on it. He wore two guns with the handles pointing out and had on a pair of shiny tan calfskin boots. To Warren, the hat and boots were sure signs of money and he decided he didn't like this uppity colored man at all.
A crowd gathered in the street circling the two horses, riders and the sheriff. The rider said, "The name is Amos Blackshear. I'm a deputy marshal working for Judge Isaac Parker out of Fort Smith." He pointed to the silver six-pointed star on his jacket. Then he pointed to the man on the faded gray. "Sheriff, this man is Tom Redding, wanted for bank robbery in Tulsa and he's my prisoner. I need you to lock him up for the night. I'm prepared to pay you for your help."
The sheriff was tight lipped as he frowned. "Well, 'Deputy Marshal' Amos Blackshear, we'll talk about locking up this man and payment after I see a warrant."
The colored man reached into his left shirt pocket and pulled out a piece of paper and gave it to the sheriff. Warren looked at the white man tied to the horse and thought he'd seen him somewhere before. Suddenly he was able to put the name with the face and his jaw dropped.
The sheriff studied the paper and looked at the white man on the horse. "Is this you?" the sheriff asked.
The man on the horse didn't say anything as he looked down at the ground and nodded. The sheriff gave the warrant back to the colored marshal. "My office is down the street. I'll meet you there after I disperse this crowd." The marshal nodded, silently mounted his horse and led his prisoner down the street.
The sheriff made a motion with his arms. "It's all legal, folks. Everyone go about your business. There's nothing to see here."
As the crowd started to thin, Warren approached the sheriff. "Did he say his name was Tom Redding?"
"That's what the warrant said. Now go home."
"Then that's him. You know it is," Warren protested.
"I know nothing of the sort," the sheriff snarled, "and listen to me, nether do you. I want to you to keep this to yourself. You hear me?"
"I hear you, Sheriff," Warren said quietly. But as he watched the sheriff walk back to his office, Warren turned to go find Mister Lomax.
Amos Blackshear climbed down off his horse, tied both horses to the hitching post in front of the building and then helped his prisoner climb down.
As he approached Amos, the sheriff said before opening his office, "You couldn't have picked a worst town to come to, son." Amos removed his rifle from his saddle scabbard.
"It's Deputy or Marshal, Sheriff," Amos said as he guided his prisoner up the steps.
The sheriff looked at him hard. It was a stare that Amos had seen throughout his lawman career and this old sheriff's gawk wasn't any different. After a moment, the stare eased ever so slightly as the sheriff said somewhat grudgingly, "Come inside ... Marshal."
Once inside, the sheriff took a large key ring off a wooden peg near his desk, walked to the back of the office and opened a large wooden door using one of the keys on the ring. Behind the door were two empty jail cells. The sheriff opened the first cell and as Redding entered, the sheriff said, "Bet you never thought you'd end up back here, did you, boy?"
Redding said nothing as he was locked in. "Stick your hands through the bars," Amos said. Redding did so and Amos removed his handcuffs, then followed the sheriff out to the main office.
Once the sheriff sat down at his desk, Amos gave him two silver dollars. "This ought to be enough to get him fed tonight and tomorrow morning and pay for his boarding." As the sheriff took the coins, Amos said, "Of course, you'll need to sign a receipt for me."
Amos took out his small ledger and a pencil and gave them to the sheriff. "Find the first blank page. Write down that I gave you two dollars to provide two meals and board to my prisoner and then sign it."
Amos watched as the sheriff made marks in his book, closed it and then gave it back to him. Amos put the book inside his shirt without looking at the sheriff's entry.
"Aren't you going to look at it?"
"Why should I have to do that?" Amos smiled broadly. "You're a lawman. Lawmen don't lie to each other, do they?"
The sheriff was silent for a moment before saying, "You can't read or write, can you?"
Amos ignored the question because they both knew the answer was that he couldn't.
But Amos had a good memory. When he first became a marshal, he would study the warrants and paperwork he'd been given until he could associate the symbols of a written name with the sounds of the name as spoken. When he located a suspect or a witness, Amos would select the correct documents by matching the symbols. He would then have the person read the paper aloud themselves. This worked well unless his suspect couldn't read either, then he'd be forced to find someone that could.
"Is there a colored boarding house in town?" Amos asked instead.
"No, but you can stay in the empty cell if you want." The sheriff paused before adding, "At no charge. Or you might try the Harley House up the street."
Amos nodded. "Thanks. What did you mean when you told Redding he never thought he'd end up back here?"
The sheriff snorted. "You're some kinda lawman, aren't you? Didn't he tell you? Tom Redding's wanted for murder here."
The waiter at the Harley House set a plate of pot roast down in front of Kate Manser. She'd removed her black felt planter's hat and her buckskin coat and put them on the seat next to her. Then she opened the bottom two buttons on her vest and stretched her long legs under the table, listening to the sound her leather chaps made as they rubbed against each other. After she loosened the thigh ties of her holster, so she would have easy access to her sidearm if she needed it, she took a deep breath and tried to relax.
She told herself that she was accustomed to the stares, but she really wasn't. Occasionally, since she'd been seated, she'd sensed that the two ladies seated two tables over were talking about her. The women wore frilly white dresses with white broad brim hats and sipped tea from their cups making a point to show each other their delicately manicured hands. Kate had no use for women like that. They were probably Army officer wives waiting for the next stagecoach to take them to the nearest army outpost.
Kate shook her head in disgust. They'd probably never done a bit of hard work in their entire lives; never lifted a hammer to build anything, never tilled the soil behind a plow horse. They'd been given everything they had. They were the vultures who fed on the labor of others.
And yet, deep down in her heart, Kate envied them. It was a life she wished she'd had.
She'd been raised in an orphanage in Wyoming after her father, a sheriff, had been murdered by a bank robbing gang. She'd taught herself how to use a gun and a knife. And when she turned eighteen she began a hunt for those who'd killed her dad.
She was faster than most men with either weapon and she knew it and so did the men she'd killed in her pursuit of vengeance. She'd tracked down one of the men who'd been part of the gang of murderers to this town. After she ate, she'd make sure her father got the justice he deserved, the justice she'd given him in other towns she'd passed through.
She'd just picked up her fork and knife when she looked up and saw the sheriff of the town come in accompanied by a tall, well-built colored man. She watched them walk by her and sit down three tables over. In hindsight she probably looked at them, particularly the colored man, longer than she should have and that would certainly give those two old bitties something else to gossip about. Both men took off their hats when they sat down. The sheriff sat with his back to her and the colored man sat down so he faced her and for a second or two she and the man locked eyes. They both broke the gaze almost instantly.
The colored man was bald with a big, bushy mustache that came down around the edge of his lips and stopped at his chin, forming the beginnings of a beard. He wasn't a bad looking man, she thought, except he'd probably look better without the facial hair. Then she frowned and wondered why she should even care what this man looked like at all. She shrugged slightly, snatched another quick glance at him before then turning her attention back to her dinner. Indeed, why should she care?
Amos had noticed the red-haired, green-eyed woman dressed like a man almost immediately when he walked in with the sheriff. But doing anything other than noticing and quickly looking away could get a fellow like him hanged before he could take another breath -- lawman or not. Still, he had the feeling he'd seen her somewhere before, but he couldn't remember where. Maybe she'd been on a wanted poster he thought. Maybe that's why she looked ... so familiar. He quickly decided that she wasn't on a poster, but he wasn't going to spend any more time trying to figure out where he'd seen her.
He'd been a deputy marshal for ten years and he'd brought back every man he been assigned. Sometimes he killed when the bad guy left him no choice, but he tried to bring them back alive when he could. He was about four days' ride from Fort Smith when he decided he'd stop in this town to get enough supplies to complete his trip.
His prisoner hadn't said much since he captured him a week ago, but that was the norm whenever he captured a white man, something he wasn't assigned to do often. His boss, Marshal James Fagan, preferred to send the Negro deputies after other Negroes and Indians. But Amos was better than most other deputies, colored or white, and he had no qualms about bringing in fugitive whites as well as the others.
When he was assigned to pick up Tom Redding, it took him two weeks to find the man in the Indian Territory and he used up more of his supplies than anticipated. But if he'd known his prisoner was wanted in Adella, they would have never stopped here.
Still, despite this sheriff's initial but not unexpected hostility, things were going relatively well. The sheriff had said he'd tell him the story of the Redding murder while he was waiting for dinner. Amos was hungry and looked forward to a meal that he didn't have to cook himself.
They'd been sitting a couple of minutes when the waiter came to the table and looking at the sheriff said, "Sheriff, what can I get you?"
The sheriff looked at Amos before looking back to the waiter. "Two Delmonico steaks and coffee."
The waiter frowned and looked at Amos. "I ain't serving him."
The sheriff frowned. "Don't be stupid, man. It's not for him," he said pointing to Amos. "It's for me and my prisoner. Make them medium rare and bring it on a tray. We're not staying."
The waiter nodded and left. Amos sighed. It looked like if Amos was to eat tonight; he'd have to cook it himself after all. He looked at the sheriff. "And this is where you suggested I stay, huh?"
The sheriff shrugged. "Oh, you can't eat here, but they have rooms in the back that they'll let you stay in."
Amos frowned. He could just imagine what those rooms would be like. "Your jail is beginning to look pretty good to me about now." He paused. "So who did Redding kill in this town?"
The sheriff leaned forward. "A school teacher named Amy Lou Smith," he said. "About two years ago. Strangled her. She was engaged to Bob Lomax, the editor of the town weekly newspaper. Lomax was the one who found the body. He said she'd been teaching Redding to read for a couple of months. She went to the school that night to give Redding a lesson. When she didn't meet Lomax at the Harley House for dinner, he went to the school to look for her and found her dead. We went to Redding's place and he was already gone."
"You got a warrant for his arrest?"
The sheriff nodded. "Yeah, and the circuit judge will be here in ten days. I can hold him and we can have a trial here."
Amos shook his head. "Can't do that, but I can take your warrant and he will stand trial in front of Judge Parker at Fort Smith for the charge."
The sheriff frowned. "That ain't gonna work. All the witnesses are here. Why should they travel to Fort Smith when we can do it here?"
Amos raised an eyebrow. "Sounds to me like there was only one witness, that being Mister Lomax."
The sheriff smiled. "There were two witnesses, Marshal. When she didn't show up, Lomax asked me to go with him to the school. That's when we both found her."
"I'm taking my prisoner to Fort Smith in the morning," Amos said firmly. "Redding can stand trial there for this charge."
"You know something, Marshal? You don't listen real good, do you?" the sheriff said.
"I've been told that," Amos said as the waiter came back to table with a tray holding two covered plates. The sheriff stood, took one of the silver dollars out of his pocket that Amos had given him and put it on the table.
"Send a boy over to pick these up in an hour," he said to the waiter. "Have him bring over a couple of sandwiches and coffee for the marshal here when he comes by. Take it out of this." He pointed to the coin, then turned to the still seated Amos. "You coming?"
To be continued