Chapter 13

by Scriviner

All rights belong to owners, I make no claim to any of these chars.

Dinner was comprised of the leftovers from lunch, augmented by a snack pocket or two and some terrifyingly strong black coffee. Eve had begged off, claiming that she'd never be able to sleep if she took any. Mercy had hers with a shot of Bailey's.

Lex had sent the ladies off after he'd asked Eve to read a short polysyllabic phrase in some sort of foreign language.

Storytime Teddy, who the two women had started to think of as Robo Teddy, because of Lex's description, had responded back in that same strange language. Lex rattled off something else in that language and suddenly it was talking non-stop for several minutes.

"Alright, I'm going to need some private time with the bear." Lex said finally after the Robo-Teddy had stopped.

Mercy smirked slightly, "Second childhood or heretofore unidentified doll fetish?"

Lex narrowed his eyes at her slightly then made shooing motions to both women. "You want me to stay in bed and I'd rather not have to lock myself in the bathroom or your room. I will need some privacy for this, because otherwise the unfiltered knowledge delivered to your unprepared minds from the bear could render you comatose or worse."

Eve looked stricken. "Seriously?"

Lex laughed at her expression, but not unkindly. "No, of course not. But you're both very distracting, so off with you."

Mercy gave an professional, albeit offended sniff. She turned on her heel, took Eve by the arm and with a great deal more distracting hip swaying than absolutely necessary, stalked off.

He then had done something... Mercy wasn't entirely sure what... to the sound baffles surrounding his bedroom area in the open plan space and the force field had turned slightly opaque. Like frosted glass, only this was more like frosted air.

Hours had passed, and although Eve had gotten back to her work, Mercy felt restless and had retired to her room to work out or take a nap, she told Eve she hadn't decided which when she'd left.

Now it was late and all the hammering Mercy had done to the hardened air surrounding Lex's bed had availed them nothing, except for some bruised fists. She'd changed out of her uniform and was only wearing an oversized T-shirt. Eve had changed into pajama pants and a tank top. The two of them sat chatting idly.

Mercy held out her cup of coffee for a refill before she continued their conversation.

"That's the problem with Lex. He is a genius. When he bothers to pay attention, he can turn all that brilliance into pure charisma. He anticipates what people will do, how they'll react and can do a pretty good job of tailoring what he's going to say or do to make people do exactly what he wants." Mercy popped the last bite of a ham and cheese snack pocket into her mouth. "He does it when he wants something. At home, around people he's comfortable with, or if he's thinking about something else, or if he doesn't think someone's worth dealing with, it's an entirely different story. We barely register for him, other than as an audience, or maybe mobile pieces of furniture. Unless you can keep up with him, or be able to fake keeping up with him, he's going to end up leaving you behind."

She nodded seriously at her companion. "He doesn't mean to, most of the time. He just gets very self-involved. Self-absorbed. One of those. His brain works so fast that it takes conscious effort for him to dumb himself down to talk to us mere mortals." She laughed. "Ironically, he loves playing to an audience, so he has to keep mentally editing what he's about to say so that it comes out as something we can understand... or in my case, pretend to understand. The whole thing is just part of his process."

Eve waved vaguely at the closed in bed. "So all of this?"

"This is nothing," Mercy said dismissively. "Back in the bad old days when he was still jonesing for big blue, Lex would go on these manic benders... days long plotting out his next moves in intricate detail. Tons of little hand written sticky notes over every free surface and doodles all over the whiteboards. Right now, It's only been a couple of hours so far, so I'm not too worried yet." She pulled out a key fob from her pocket. "If he's in there too long though, I use this to short out the power in the lab, which should hopefully also lower his force field."

"Isn't that for the garage door?" Eve asked doubtfully.

Mercy grinned. "Yes it is. It can also start any of the cars and arm the laser turrets pointing out of the second floor windows. I'll get Lex to set you up with one as soon as he gets his head out of his backside."

The blonde woman shook her head ruefully, "I honestly did not expect him to be like that, though."

Mercy shrugged, "Well, I guess you build up romantic daydream of how you expect the guy to be in your head, except he never turns out like that in real life."

Eve's eyes narrowed, "Why am I getting the feeling that you know exactly what I'm going through?"

Mercy laughed sharply, then muttered evasively, "He is awfully charming when he wants to be, isn't he?"

Whatever Eve would've said in response was lost to the static crackle as the frosted air of the force field dissipated and Lex stepped towards the kitchenette table they were at. He looked weary and grim. He nodded curtly to both. He tossed Robo-Teddy carelessly towards Eve, who caught it in surprise. The stuffed toy was voicing small complaints of rough treatment in its storytelling voice.

Lex stepped past them to root through the fridge.

The women could sense his mood, though he'd said nothing. They could sense his mood in the very silence he'd brought out of the enclosure with him. Mercy didn't even try to chide him for leaving bed. He had a slice of cold pizza from days past in one shaky hand and a large cup of coffee in the other before he sat at the table with them, his expression still drawn and quietly furious.

He chewed through the pizza mechanically, clearly taking no joy from it. Only accepting that his body needed sustenance. Sensing the need, Eve put a hand on the one he'd held the coffee cup with. It was as cold as ice, she noted. He took her hand in his and squeezed, hard and she could see the harsh lines of his features begin to soften ever so slightly at that.

Finally he was down to the crust of the slice when his expression changed suddenly to a comic grimace and he took several deep pulls of his coffee. "What the hell was I just eating?" He asked, sticking his tongue out and trying to scrape it across his upper teeth as though that would remove the foreign taste.

Mercy answered brightly, "Curry Pizza. Eve knew a place that had it and could deliver."

"Am I tasting sultanas?" Lex asked before taking another mouthful of his black, sweet coffee and swishing it in his mouth.

Eve flashed a smile. "It's the mild version."

"It's disgusting!" Lex shook his head.

Eve pouted at him and Mercy rolled her eyes. "Are you ready to tell us what you found out that's got you ready to pop a blood vessel again? Is it as bad as the brain conspiracy?"

"It's the same thing. I just found out who's really behind it." Lex sighed. Eve gave his hand another squeeze and some more of the tension seemed to leave his body, leaving it deflated.

"So it isn't the alien robots?" Mercy asked, doing her best to prod Lex into lecture mode. Getting him to explain how clever he was being was always a sure fire way to cheer him up. She noted with approval that Eve was also doing her part to get him to relax. That one was a keeper.

"It is the alien robots. More precisely, the ones they're serving." He nodded to the silent teddy bear sitting in the crook of Eve's other arm. "Go on. I just spent four hours finessing my way verbally, in Oan no less and with no translator, I might add, around your security blocks. Query and response, Manhunter: Who do the Manhunters serve?"

The little bear replied in its singsong voice, "The Manhunters serve the Guardians."

"Who or what are the Guardians?" Eve asked timidly.

Mercy was far less deferential. "I think we're going to need the Cliffnotes version here, Lex."

He nodded and pulled a PDA out of his pajama pocket. He fiddled with it for a few moments and the lights suddenly dimmed. Some of the huge open space above their heads turned blue and spelled out in white letters, "No Input."

Lex clicked his tongue, then tapped on the PDA a few more times. "I got a little bored while Teddy was telling me everything he knew and built a holographic display projector. It's slaved to his memory so I'm actually pulling the pictures from him."

Mercy sniffed. "You never share any of the good toys, I swear."

Lex raised an eyebrow and asked her. "I can rig this up to show daytime TV on a display about the size of a small theater screen. We could even move the easy chair from your room down to a nice spot right in front of it."

"I'll be good." Mercy said sarcastically. Eve laughed.

"And in case either of you were wondering," Lex said, "I anticipated needing a presentation."

Eve glanced over to Mercy, "Wow, he really does think of everything ahead of time."

Lex gave a tight smile. "I'm going to need it to convince Ross, Waller and likely Bones to give me some cooperation. I may as well test it out on you two first."

Eve frowned, "You mean President Ross?"

Lex nodded. "Yes, Pete is actually a reasonable man for the most part. It's Waller who's going to give me trouble."

He tapped the PDA once more and the image on the screen resolved into one of a short, blue-skinned, white-haired old man with an enormous head. Half his mass seemed to be comprised of head. The rest of it's body was covered in a shapeless red robe. The being's skin didn't seem excessively wrinkled, but there was something about the eyes that hinted at tremendous age and something like wisdom. For comparison a human was shown next to the first figure, almost twice its height.

"This is a Guardian of Oa. Or at least that's what they look like to us. Teddy over there keeps hinting that's not what they really look like, but just how we're able to perceive it."

"Looks like an overgrown baby." Mercy smirked.

"Precisely. If they control how they're perceived, that's probably intentional. Big head, stumpy body... it resembles popular conceptions of creatures that are more evolutionarily advanced than we are and at the same time looks kind of like a baby, making us subconsciously find it less threatening, while simultaneously reinforcing the subtle idea that it is superior to us."

Eve nodded, "What's so important about them?"

The image on the screen pulled back, showing a red planet. The whole kept zooming out further and further until all that could be seen were white specks that had been galaxies before the zooming image had rendered them completely indistinct. White letters floated over the whole with the words: "The Universe."

"Several things. They claim to be the oldest sentient race. It's easy to believe that claim. They've been around long enough that factions and political groups within their society who had splintered off have been separated from the main mass long enough to speciate into entirely new races."

The screen flashed back to the image of the blue dwarf. Arrows lead away from it to a diagram of humanoids in a multitude of colors, with various labels: "The Controllers", "Zamarons", "Thunderers." and more besides.

"There's even some rumors that humans are another such offshoot, but that's not important to the rest of our tale... or maybe it might matter, in any case," Lex tapped a few more controls and the image focused back on the Oan, with the universe in the background.

"They pushed the absolute limits of science and knowledge. They had in their hands the power to impose their desires upon an unsuspecting cosmos. Believing themselves superior to the rest of creation they set out to stamp their own personal touches upon the universe at large." The image of universe behind the Oan began to be literred with explosions.

"The Oans waged war on all that they believed to be inimical to the order they sought to impose. They captured as much of the wild magic in the universe as they could and contained it within a vessel. They bottled up powerful multi-dimensional beings because they could not be controlled. They manipulated, altered, cheated and made war for their ideals of order against any other race that stood up to them."

Lex gestured and next to the Oan, the image of a Manhunter appeared. A humanoid form in a skin-tight red outfit with blue hands and faces. If one looked closely, they seemed like a human-sized and proportioned parody of a Guardian. "These were their soldiers. The Manhunters."

He glanced at his audience, who had been listening intently. Mercy said, "Those were the things you were fighting, weren't they?"

Lex nodded. "The Manhunters, their obedient robot slaves... except supposedly the Guardians of Oa built them to be a little too clever. I'll get back to that in a moment, but suffice to say that they kept trying to impose their own racial version of OCD on everyone else until something critical happened."

The images of the explosions suddenly faded out from the universal image and suddenly a single ripple distorted the whole, expanding out from the center, warping and distorting the image behind the Oan who looked comically worried and fretful all of a sudden.

Lex inclined his head towards the small mechanical bear. "Teddy's database didn't include what exactly the fatal act was, but whatever it was the end result was that the Oans, as a race experienced the equivalent of a psychotic break. My guess? They finally figured out that in trying to keep control over everything, it all began spiraling out of control."

"Their colonies were emancipating themselves from their central government, the slave populations of their conquered areas were in open revolt, They were still locked in wars with the Reach and the Spider Guild. It was at that critical moment that the worst happened."

A wedge-shaped sliver of the universal diagram suddenly reversed colors, becoming white with black specks. "The Manhunters decided to follow their programming to its logical extreme. They had been programmed to bring order to the universe. Life was not orderly by any means."

Eve understood what Lex meant before Mercy did. "They wanted to kill everyone."

Lex nodded. "Genocide on a universal scale. They'd managed to completely eradicate all life in an entire sector of space before the Guardians had realized what was happening and moved to stop them."

He saw the blank expressions on their faces and he paused thoughtfully. "I know that's a bit abstract. The Guardians divided space into 3600 sectors. The Manhunters had managed to kill 1/3600 of the population of the entire universe."

Lex shook his head, "No still too abstract. In Earth terms, out of our population of six billion, 1/3600 of that is about 1.7 million people. That's about the entire population of Kansas city and outlying areas. Except there are quadrillions of beings throughout the universe. Suffice to say the number of sentient beings that died at the Manhunter's hands in that brief period when they had complete control of sector 666 far exceeds the number of humans who have ever lived on Earth."

Once they had begun to look sufficiently horrified, Lex continued. "This was the story they fed to the rest of the universe. The genuine horror and terror of the rest of the universe at this grim and implacable threat pulled almost everyone together to fight it. Rebellious slave populations signed up to help, happy to be given leave to destroy what had up to that point been their oppressors. Colonies calmed down and accepted Oa's authority even as they were stripped of men and material, all to confront the Manhunter threat." Lex paused significantly, as the image of space on the screen began to fill with a tremendous fleet of warships. Superimposed above the ships were noble profiles of beings of dozens of races, all racing to confront a mass of humanoid figures in red with expressionless blue faces.

The image of impending war pulled back to show a Guardian over all of it, holding strings as though the whole were an elaborate puppet show. "All under Guardian command." Lex sighed and the image resolved back to Oa once more, the image zooming in until the central power Battery was revealed. A tremendous lantern-shaped construction aglow with green energy. "That was the turning point for the Guardians. Although they were still considered a bunch of overzealous, controlling little bastards, the general impression the rest of the universe had of them had become less harsh. With the Manhunters disarmed and broken, the Guardians used sentient beings from all over the universe instead for their soldiers."

Around the central power battery, creatures of all sorts, all wearing the Green Lantern uniforms appeared. "The GLC served as a peacekeeping force doing its best to handle the high-handed dictates of their masters. Heroes who bring law and order to a restless universe. It's a pretty picture."

Eve asked, "So all the Green Lantern guys on Earth work for these guys?"

Mercy interrupted, "Aren't we just down to one? That guy in New York with the nice butt and the crab mask? Although I think the old guy was still around, but he changed his name or something."

Eve shook her head. "Two weeks back Hal Jordan showed up again and said that the Green Lantern Corps was being reestablished. Even that angry red-headed guy who used to be in the JLI and the black guy were back."

"What about crab mask Lantern?" Mercy asked with a pout.

"Still in New York, I think. Although he ditched the crab mask and changed his outfit." Eve replied.

Lex looked both impressed and surprised. "I didn't realize you kept up with this sort of thing."

Eve smiled at him and said. "I know you've got an interest in superhero types, so I keep an eye on that kind of news."

Mercy shrugged, "So I'm still waiting to find out what the blue bobble-head people have to do with the great brain conspiracy, boss."

Lex nodded. "Yes, yes... well, now I know something that none of the Guardian's soldiers know about." He smiled grimly.

Mercy rolled her eyes. "Just tell us already or I'm going to break some more of your ribs."

Eve gave a startled gasp, but Mercy winked at her.

Lex replied. "The Manhunters never rebelled."

Eve looked puzzled for a moment, before horror dawned in her eyes. Mercy didn't even bother to hide her disdain as she rolled her eyes. "Yes, yes... very dramatic, but spell it out for us. Why is this important?"

"The Guardians told them to kill everyone in that sector?" Eve asked slowly.

Lex beamed at her. "Miss Teschmacher goes to the head of the class." He rose to his feet and began to pace. "It all proceeds from that one fact. The Manhunters could not rebel. They were not given enough freedom to do so. Their intelligence had too many limits built into it to force them to obey the Guardians. The slaughter was a test case. The Guardians had found themselves in a bad position politically. They'd expanded hard and fast. Made too many enemies. They hadn't bothered making any allies. A stiff wind would've toppled everything they'd put together, so they manufactured a scenario that allowed them to kill many birds with a single stone."

He waved idly to the display. "A great deal of resistance to the Guardian conquest of the time was centered in Sector 666. By eliminating their rivals there, they also created a more favorable position for themselves in universal politics. The slaughter was expected to trigger one of two reactions. A panic which would have left those individual races ripe for the picking... or having the rest of the warring factions unite under a single banner against the rampaging Manhunters, with the Guardians 'reluctantly' taking the lead against their wayward creations. Both cases would again have generated favorable positions for them. Their success at 'dealing with' the Manhunter threat opened up the door for them to create a more more polished public image for themselves, leaving their former robotic lackeys as the scapegoats for their previous poor diplomacy."

Mercy looked thoughtful, but snapped her fingers suddenly as something occurred to her. "So now they come out of the whole deal smelling of roses and they still have a bunch of homicidal robots who will still obey their every command. She gave a low, appreciative whistle. "Anything dirty, despicable or just plain deplorable they need done, they can send their robot flunkies to do it and no one would be the wiser."

"Most of the Manhunters think they are free of Guardian control and are following their own agenda. Except for a rare few, they don't even realize they still serve Oa." Lex nodded. "They do the Guardian's dirty work, like they did here. Like they did in a thousand other places scattered throughout the stars, but most especially here."

Eve still looked horrified but asked, "What else have they done? What did they use these Manhunters for?"

"I only had time to ask about a handful." Lex said and his eyes hardened.

The display changed to a charred and blasted landscape with stunted, twisted growths on the ground. A figure in a cowled robe with some sort of antennae protruding from the darkness of the hood. "Durlans," Lex said, "They were part of the invasion force that attacked us several years ago. Master shape-shifters who possess a unique sense that allows them to perfectly comprehend and memorize the structure of any material or being that they encounter. Their very existence posed a threat to the Oan monopoly on the Green Power. Durlan technology would have eventually been able to duplicate it even without completely understanding it. The Guardians sent Manhunters to infiltrate their society and heighten tensions. A society of peaceful philosophers turned over the course of centuries into a factionalized mess of religious fanatics who ended up nuking themselves back to the stone age. They've been reduced to paranoid, xenophobic shadows of what they could have been."

Lex gestured and the scene changed to an empty city scene. Completely abandoned save for a humanoid figure with a bulky, muscular build and chalk white skin. The hair on it's head was black and greasy, but stood up in random spikes. "Czarnians. A species that was for the most part peaceful, orderly and law-abiding. Physically they were imposing. Tremendously strong, tough and able to heal fatal injuries with little difficulty, they would have made a terrible warrior race, but they were too busy being kind to one another. Unfortunately for them, they possessed a dangerous gift. Every drop of blood that a Czarnian spilled would create a complete duplicate of the injured Czarnian. Their planet was bursting at the seams from such duplicates. They were poised to launch themselves into space because they needed the room. The would not have come as conquerors, but as tenants and traders, but eventually, not even the entire universe would have been room enough to sustain the potential Czarnian population. The Manhunters were sent with their advanced knowledge of genetics and they created a plague of flying scorpion-like creatures that wiped out almost the entire race. The single survivor was driven mad by the disease and by loneliness and is now little more than an unkillable animal, rampaging throughout the cosmos. To add insult to injury, they convinced the survivor that he was the one responsible for the destruction of his species."

Mercy squinted. "You mean Lobo, right? That guy who'd fought big blue a few times?"

Lex nodded.

Eve made an inquiring noise. "He's an alien named 'wolf'?"

Lex replied. "It doesn't mean wolf. It's in a Khund dialect and means 'He who devours your entrails and enjoys it thoroughly'. Thoroughly repugnant fellow, but occasionally useful. Honest too."

The display changed to a blurry video of the Czarnian in question ripping into a dozen soldiers wielding a hook on the end of a chain, splattering gore and blood everywhere.

"This is the last survivor of the Czarnian race. We can lay this at the feet of the Oans and their Manhunters."

Lex tapped the control once more to reveal a lush wilderness. There was a humanoid figure in the scene, but there was something not entirely human about it, despite the superficial similarities. There was a defeated and listless air to the figure. "Rannians," Lex spoke. "Tremendously advanced technologically and scientifically. Very human. Once they were a vigorous people. Looking outward, seeking out the next horizon... and powerful enough scientifically that they could have cut themselves a massive stellar empire with little difficulty. The Manhunters infiltrated them and used subtlety, since their prey this time would've seen through a simple attempt to kill them. The robots turned their pride and their technology in on itself."

"How does that work?" Mercy asked, fascinated despite herself.

"While a handful of their population continued to be attentive and active, the rest of their society turned in on itself. They became indolent and apathetic. Their science made them as gods... what need did they have to strive? Technologies the Manhunters directed to make the Rannians completely dependent on them, had other side effects as well."

Eve frowned. "What kind?"

"Chromosomal damage. The entire race was rendered sterile and at this very moment is one generation away from extinction." Lex shook his head sadly. "If they could be convinced to take action, their knowledge and technology could easily conquer this challenge... if they could be bothered."

Lex tapped the control a third time. Now revealing on the display a barren dessert with a green sky. There was a figure, startlingly human dressed in a skin-tight black outfit that only left part of his face exposed. Over the outfit was a white mantle with broken gold trim in elaborate patterns down the side. "Kryptonians."

Mercy's jaw dropped. "You're kidding."

Eve looked surprised. "You mean even Superman's people were-"

Lex nodded once, sharply cutting Eve off. "His race were ancient and could have kept up with the Oans technologies. Beneath yellow suns, individually they could have shattered planets. Had they been allowed to flourish, they would have created an empire that would've stretched across the entire universe. Implacable. Unbeatable. Terrible in their power." Lex's eyes were distant. "But it was not to be. Obviously something so terrible couldn't be unleashed upon an Oan controlled universe. Again the Manhunters were dispatched-"

"They're why the planet blew up?" Eve asked softly.

Lex shook his head, "No. Not directly. This was much earlier than that. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, when the Kryptonian culture was in its fullest flower and ready to burst upon an unsuspecting universe... Kryptonians were mildly xenophobic to begin with. This would have made them conquerors of the worst sort. The subtle hand of the Oans and their Manhunter servants exacerbated their xenophobia to an absolute mortal terror of the rest of the universe at large. Their pride in their science turned into pure blind arrogance. The Manhunters worked their genetic magic on the Kryptonians, tying them biologically to their home planet, but even if they hadn't, the Kryptonians had already cut themselves off from the universe. They turned inward, trapping themselves on their own planet until their society decayed and fell into decadent stagnation. A dead, static culture. The very image of the Oan ideal and no threat whatsoever to them. In the end, fall out from their older wars killed the planet, but as a species, the Kryptonians had already been dead for millenia."

"How many planets did they meddle with?" Mercy asked in a low, disbelieving tone.

"Thousands. Tens of thousands. Hundreds of thousands." Lex said slowly. "They have had billions of years to work at this." He tapped at the control once more and the display changed to a barren red landscape dotted with rocks beneath a rust colored sky. The humanoid figure that appeared was like a living creature of flame. "The Burning were tampered with most extensively. They were a race that could reproduce asexually and were completely hostile to all other life. Worse, they were terrifyingly powerful. They had complete mental control over every cell in their body, able to shape shift with as much skill as the Durlans, but on top of that, they were also telekinetic, telepathic and superhumanly strong, fast and resillient besides."

Eve shifted uncomfortably. "They sound dangerous."

"They were dangerous," Lex agreed. "They were terrifying. The Oans rebuilt the entire race. They were primitives who weren't likely to be able to pass on any information to anyone who mattered. The Guardians and their Manhunters tore the race apart and rebuilt it. From a single form, to two separate species and two distinct genders." He made another adjustment on the display and the single burning form split into one green and one white humanoid figure. "On top of that, they induced a racial terror of fire within their creations to keep them from ever reaching their full potential ever again. The Green and White Martian races. The split not only completely destroyed the Burning as a race, but the subsequent civil wars between the two factions eventually brought them to the edge of extinction. It wasn't until later that the race was wiped out by a telepathic plague derived from Manhunter work. Only a single survivor of the Green Martian race survived."

Eve looked thoughtful, "Lex... did you pick your examples out at random or were you looking for a pattern?"

Lex grinned and reached out to playfully ruffle Eve's hair. "I think someone's catching on."

Mercy looked mildly irritated. "What pattern? Didn't you pick your examples out because they all had something to do with Earth?"

Lex shook his head. "These were just the most obvious ones, but every single example Teddy Manhunter there gave me ties back to us in some way. Vuldarian, Tamarranian, Bolivax Vikian, Coluan... species wiped out save for a few survivors all of whom find their way here."

The image dissolved to Earth. "I know what we are now." Lex spoke. "I know what the Earth is. Our planet is a Guardian weapons depot. Didn't you ever find it odd how many last of their species find their way to our world? Or how many invasions and alien conquerors we have to fight off on a regular basis? Our world is a rich world, made even more so by having beings of supreme power guarding it. Do you realize how often most other planets gets invaded? Once a century, if then. We keep getting attacked and we keep fighting them off, yet they still keep coming. Doesn't that strike you as curious?"

Mercy frowned deeper. "That's stupid. If they're putting all this powerful crap here, then why aren't we usin-" She stopped short as she finally made the connection. "Oh, damn." She breathed.

"What?" Eve asked.

"A light dawns." Lex said lightly.

Mercy turned to Eve and replied. "That's why the Manhunters are keeping the human race stupid. Keep us from asking questions or upsetting the status quo... Their status quo."

Lex nodded and playfully ruffled Mercy's hair, which earned him a heated glare from the redhead. "Keep us stupid and complacent. Keep us fat and happy and we don't realize the wonders they keep placing into our hands."

Eve put a hand on his arm. "What are you going to do now, Lex?"

"Do? Why my dear Eve... I'm going to fight back," Lex replied, eyes glittering, "I'm going to storm heaven and steal fire from the Gods. Green fire. I swore that I would see them broken at my feet and so they shall be."

Lex finally shook himself to focus back on the women. He tapped his PDA a few more times and the holo display shut itself off. "I've got some ideas I need to work on, order me some more pizza. I'm going to pull an al-"

Eve's light touch on his arm suddenly turned into a grip. "You are still sporting broken ribs, Lex. You're going back into bed and you're going to get some rest. They've been holding things over us for a very long time, one more day won't make a difference."

Mercy smirked, but did not say anything. Lex looked like he was about to say something, but found himself silenced by Eve's glare.

"Now, I'm taking you to bed." Eve said as she led Lex back. She caught sight of Lex's smirk then colored prettily. "Not even remotely what I meant!"

Mercy sidled up to Lex's other side and grabbed his other arm. "He's still feeling that coffee and isn't going to sleep for a while. We're going to have to hold him down in bed to make sure he stays in there.

Eve quirked an eyebrow at the redhead, who kept a delightfully straight expression.