The Kryptonian smiled. "How do you feel?"
Lightning Lad sighed and felt another jolt of pain. "Like hell. What century is this, anyway?"
Garth grunted. "Where's Brainy?"
Superman's face fell a bit and Garth's eyes widened in alarm. "Don't tell me he-"
"No, no," Superman quickly assured him. "He's here too and still alive. He's in a separate room."
Garth frowned a bit. "Why's that? He worse off than us?"
"That's part of it, I suppose," said Superman a bit hesitantly.
"Don't lie to me, rookie."
Superman looked down at the other superhero with a sad smile. "This is Justice League Headquarters. The others don't know Brainy like we do so they're not ready to trust him just yet. I guess he kind of caught onto that, too."
"He woke up long enough to tell me what happened, but he's out cold again. Don't know when he might wake up again. He was pretty seriously hurt."
"It was that suit, wasn't it?" Garth asked, already knowing the answer.
Superman didn't reply and Lightning Lad looked away, face darkening.
"What about 6.0?"
Garth sighed, wincing in pain again. "I can't believe we were so unprepared. I never thought..."
He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked back at Superman who gave him an understanding look.
"I know. I never would have thought it possible either." He turned away. "You should get some rest. Your condition still isn't good. Besides, I have to explain to the rest of the the League just how I know you four."
"Go get 'em, rookie," Garth said with a grin.
The beeping on the monitor suddenly spiked and the consoles went wild.
Vi bolted up in her hospital bed with a cry of alarm and immediately there were three attendants by her bed. One gently pushed her back down, the second began running her vitals, and the third spoke calmingly to the panicked girl while sticking a needle in her arm. Slowly, Vi felt her panic ebbing away with the drugs and the soft words of reassurance.
She let herself be laid back down and began breathing slowly and deeply as she attempted to erase the images burned into her mind's eye from the nightmares. There weren't any other Legionnaires in the room. All of them had been put in separate rooms and were being carefully monitored. She had no idea what the conditions of the others might be, but it couldn't be anything good. She kept her eyes open, staring at the blank ceiling and focusing on her breathing.
She hoped the others were doing alright, but she couldn't be sure. Every time she tried to ask about any of the Legionnaires, the doctors and attendants would always dance around the question or pretend like she hadn't asked. It was obvious they were avoiding the subject, probably in an attempt to keep her as calm as possible, but it only worried her more that they wouldn't tell her.
"How are the others?" she asked for the thousandth, catching the sleeve of the attendant who had drugged her.
The attendant gave her a neutral smile and removed Vi's hand from her sleeve. The woman was going to move away, but Vi bolted up and grabbed her by the shoulders. She was going to get her answers this time!
"Tell me! What about the others? Are they alright?"
The attendant looked at the other two, who both looked at Vi. Finally, one of them said, "I'll get the Doctor," and hurried out. A few minutes later she came back, with a Doctor and... the Chancellor of the United Planets?
"What's going on? How are the others?" demanded Vi.
"You're the only one awake," said the Doctor quietly.
Vi stared at him, wide-eyed in disbelief.
"There's no telling if or when they will wake up," said the Chancellor. "Most of them are catatonic and because of this, I'm afraid the United Planets will have to suspend the Legion until further notice. There is no possible way the Legion can function in it's current state."
She nodded. That made sense.
"Also," added the Chancellor. "We were hoping you might be able to tell us what happened to Lightning Lad, Chameleon Boy, Timber Wolf, and Brainiac 5."
A stab of fear cut straight to Vi's heart and the monitor spiked in response. Her voice was slightly higher than it should have been.
"What? What do you mean 'what happened to them'?"
The Chancellor glanced at the Doctor, who nodded, before looking back at Vi. "They were not found among those recovered from Legion Headquarters and we have been unable to contact them. Currently, we have notices out and are attempting to locate them, but we have had no luck so far. It's as though they simply vanished."
Vi sat back in the bed, the word ringing in her ears. Gone?
"No," she said, her quiet voice barely reaching them. "I don't know what happened."
21st Century, League Headquarters...
"That's a pretty tall tale. Kinda hard to swallow, ya know?" said Flash.
Superman nodded, watching each of the faces around the table, all holding some form of disbelief. It wasn't as though time travel was new to the them, but anyone faced with a story like the one Superman had just told to the rest of the League was admittedly hard to take at face value. After all, they had thought they knew about all of Superman's adventures already and this new one involved being friends with a Brainiac.
"I know it's hard to believe. I doubt I'd believe it myself if I hadn't lived it," he said.
A long silence descended on the Justice League as each member thought over what the man of steel had told them. Finally, it was Batman who broke the silence, as ever playing the devil's advocate.
"But still, all we have is your word."
"And since when has the big man's word not been enough?" shot back Flash.
"When he's been possessed by one thing or another," was Batman's even reply.
Flash took a breath, lifted a finger, paused to think, and then dropped his hand.
"The Bat's got a point," he admitted with an apologetic shrug.
Superman nodded. "True enough."
"And just what are you suggesting we do then?" demanded Wonder Woman. "Run a full scan on him to make sure he doesn't have a Brainiac chip implanted in his brain or an alien creature attached to him somewhere?"
"And what would you suggest?" replied Batman unfazed.
"I'd suggest taking his word, that's what!"
"I have to admit," put in Hawkgirl. "Batman makes a valid point. After all, Brainiac is one of Superman's sworn enemies and this complete turn around is strange no matter what kind of back story you may give it."
"You too?" Wonder Woman said, looking at Hawkgirl in disbelief.
Hawkgirl shrugged. "Hey, Batman may be a suspicious, anti-social night owl-"
"Thanks for the endorsement," muttered the man himself.
"But he is right and I don't think we should simply take Superman's word for it." Hawkgirl looked across the table at the man of steel. "After all, we are dealing with a Brainiac."
There were nods around the table.
"I agree," put in Green Lantern.
"I understand," said Superman. "I will take whatever tests I need in order to prove the truth of my story to put your minds at ease about Brainiac 5."
J'onn spoke for the first time. "If I may be allowed to read your mind, Superman, that will be sufficient evidence for me."
"Of course, J'onn."
The two stood and moved so that they were facing each other. J'onn reached out and closed his eyes, reading the Kryptonian's mind, paging through his memories. After a few moments J'onn pulled away.
"He speaks the truth and I can find no indication that the memories he holds were artificially implanted in any way."
"Hey, that's good enough for me, big man," grinned Flash.
"All the same, I still think those tests are in order," said Batman.
Superman nodded in ascent.
"Lead the way."
Chameleon Boy's eyes blinked open and he groaned as the bright light in the room reached them. He rolled to his side slightly.
"Somebody hit the lights! You're killing me here."
With another groan, he rolled just a bit more.
"Seriously, guys, what the heck? Who leaves an unconscious person in a brightly lit room? That's just mean!"
He squinted and caught sight of Lightning Lad, laying peacefully a few feet from him. He tried to roll a bit closer.
"Dude, can you hit the lights? I'm not feeling so-"
Nausea hit him as he clapped a hand over his mouth and rolled off the hospital bed and onto the floor. His vision went an unhealthy shade of green around the edges as pain lanced through him from hitting the floor, reminding him most vividly just where each and every hurt was. That was followed swiftly by the reminder of what had caused those pains.
He closed his eyes and tried to focus, trying to decide where he might be. Things were fuzzy toward the end of what he remembered. There had been Brainiac 6.0. And pain. Lots of pain. A wormhole? Maybe. Lots of black and white swirling around him. And a long drop.
Slowly, he opened his eyes again and... another pair of large green eyes was starring back at him.
He chocked on his breath and tried to bolt upright, only to have his head collide with the underside of the hospital bed. His eyes went wide with pain and he slowly sank back to the floor as the other pair of eyes pulled back.
"Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Holy. Freaking. OW. Pain. Pain. Pain. Oh. Nausea. That again. Bad. Not good. Mmg!"
He clapped a hand over his mouth again and a hand brought a bowl of some sort up in front of him to catch the vomit as it came up with a vengeance. A hand patted his back gently, being careful of where he was hurt, until he was done. Only then did he look up and get a chance to examine the other being more closely.
And he yelped in surprise.
"You... You!... You're... You're a... a..."
His finger waved wildly at the alien squatting in front of him, who looked at him calmly and replied,
Cam nodded violently and was forced to immediately stop as yet another wave of nausea and pain hit him. He held his head in both hands.
"Perhaps we should get you back into your bed so you can lay down. Your injuries extensive and will take time to heal properly."
The Martian gently lifted him up, careful to avoid letting him hit his head again, and laid him back down. Cam sighed in relief and then looked back at the other alien once more.
"Who are you?"
"I am J'onn. You are in Justice League Headquarters."
Chameleon Boy stared at him for a moment.
"What time is it? Or, I mean, what century?"
"The twenty first."
"Oh," Cam said weakly. "Is that all?"
The Red Alert was blaring through the building. Everyone was running. All different directions.
No. No, they weren't running anymore. They were laying on the ground. Crumpled. Still.
So many of them. Everywhere. He could barely walk forward without stepping on someone.
The Red Alert was blaring though the building. No one was running. No one going no where.
They were all so still.
He heard someone laughing.
No, not someone. Something.
Slowly, slowly, slowly he turned.
"Foolish little children, all. You cannot stop me. You of all people should know that..."
He chuckled coldly.
A/N: Thanks to Sealana for making/encouraging me to finish this chapter and story. ^_^ Love you guys. Review!