6 Justice League Darkness
Note: This is the 7th part of an ongoing series. The preceding installments are Justice League New Beginnings: DCAU Series Part 1; Justice League Second Strike: DCAU Series part 2; Justice League Past Imperfect: DCAU Series Part 3; Justice League Nuptials: DCAU Series Part 4; Justice League Cardinal Sin: DCAU Series Part 5; and Justice League Twice Shy: DCAU series Part 6. Events and personal developments from these installments will be referenced with little warning or back story given. If Part 7 raises any questions, I suggest you read the previous stories or private message me and I'll do my best to explain.
Additional Note: Reviewers will join the Justice League Auxiliary. Such members will assist the League as support personnel. They will also be privy to background information.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Justice League concepts, actualization, characters, or depictions thereof (such as the DCAU). All such intellectual and actual rights are properties of DC Comics and Warner Bros Animation which are both owned by Time Warner. I'm not making any money off of this. Hopefully I'm entertaining a few folks, but that's it. Do not sue me!
Shayera Hol and John Stewart returned to the upscale 5th Avenue penthouse that served as the Justice League's Women's Dormitory. There they found Mary and Billy Batson along with Courtney Whitmore. Of course, every person in the room had another identity.
By saying the magic word "Shazam" Billy became Captain Marvel. Like her twin brother, Mary transformed into Mary Marvel upon uttering the same name. Courtney's not-so-guarded other life was as Stargirl. John was the primary Green Lantern for this sector. Shayera was a winged Thanagarian code named Hawkgirl.
Shayera was piqued by the presence of the teenagers. She'd known that the other residents were going to be out this afternoon. Ice was out on her first date with the Flash. Shayera had already warned Wally, on pain of his life, to be extra kind to Tora. Wally West, in both identities, was quick to comment and make a pun. Tora Olafsdotter was of different stock. She was slow to speak, insufferably kind, and possessed of a child-like innocence. Shayera and Fire had both made vows to kill any man, woman, or child that dared harm Ice.
Fire, or Beatriz da Costa, was down in Rio enjoying company of old friends. She'd already posted pictures of her adventures and Mary had been asked to leave the room while they were viewed. The seventeen year old was as naïve as Ice and no one wanted to see her sullied.
Mary and Courtney attended the same parochial academy. It was one of the most prestigious schools in New York. For Courtney, who lived in Nebraska with her folks, this meant getting up before dawn in order to be picked up for school. Mary did the chore using an Orb-14.
Mary had had her choice of schools. Courtney's options had been more limited. Mary had earned Courtney's undying gratitude when she opted to go to the same school that Courtney chose. The nuns knew of their secret identities and had agreed to tutor the pair on any class material that they missed.
The twins had recently celebrated their birthday. In response to it, they'd gathered their friends and flown to Bermuda. There, Billy had received the most unexpected present of all. Courtney had essentially asked him out seconds before declaring herself to be his girlfriend. Having never had a girlfriend, Billy was somewhat at a loss as to what to do next. Courtney seemed to have an agenda all her own so Billy usually went along with it. Usually.
That had all occurred two months ago. During that period, Dr. Fate had arrived with a cryptic message about a coming apocalypse, or Apokolips, as the case may be since the warning was of Darkseid's latest plans. Nothing had happened. Even the New Gods on New Genesis said the Dark Lord was being unusually quiet.
By the time Clark Kent and Diana Prince returned from their two week vacation, the matter had been swept under the rug. J'onn had given the matter the briefest of mentions. It seemed the only ones still delving into the matter were the Question and Dr. Fate.
As it was, the only thing on Shayera's mind was the presence of three unwanted nuisances, "Shouldn't you be in school?"
"Nah." Courtney grinned, "It's Spring Break."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Shayera wanted to know.
"It means we get a week off from school to get butt wild and party." Courtney retorted.
"Not here you don't." Shayera growled, "Beat it. All of you."
Courtney smirked, "I guess someone else wants to get butt wild."
John looked distinctly uncomfortable but Shayera grew very still, "Out."
"Oh, c'mon." Courtney bounced off the couch, "Let's go so they can get naked."
"Courtney!" Shayera snarled
Billy was smirking but Mary looked confused. Grabbing their jackets on the way out, Mary asked Courtney, "How do you get 'butt wild'?"
Courtney grinned, "Just follow my lead and I'll show you."
The door closed behind them and John was skeptical, "Do you think that was wise? They're just kids and they're alone on the streets of New York."
"I just feel sorry for the unsuspecting public we just unleashed them upon." Shayera retorted.
"C'mon, they're not that bad." John cajoled her.
Shayera took a deep breath before admitting, "All right. Mary and Billy are fine. Mary's probably the best roommate that I have. But Courtney… She knows exactly how to get me to want to bash her head in with my mace."
"At least she and Billy are getting on all right." John tried to change the subject.
"Hah! She's railroading him right now." Shayera declared, "But even though he's uncertain of how to handle her he's already put his foot down. Our dear, Miss Courtney Whitmore is finally being contained. And for once, she doesn't care."
"Relationships do strange things to people." John decided, "After all, look at us."
"What's wrong with 'us'?" Shayera snapped.
"Nothing much." John chuckled, "We just hold the "On Again/Off Again" record at the League. The Flash is taking bets on when we'll be "Off Again."
"I'll "Off Again" him." Shayera growled, "Especially if he messes with Ice!"
"Calm down." John laughed, "You invited me to lunch. What's on the menu?"
"I'm planning on tossing you a 7 layer salad." She announced.
"Bird food?" John whined.
"Watch the 'bird' cracks buster." Shayera playfully warned him, "Don't worry, I also have steaks to prepare."
"Ah, meat!" John said approvingly, "Now we're talkin'."
"Braised asparagus spears in a honey sauce polished off by a Cabernet Sauvignon to enhance the meat flavors." Shayera said proudly.
"Someone's been watching the "Barefoot Contessa" again." John said knowingly.
"Well one of us needs to know how to make a refined meal." Shayera insisted.
"I cook." John protested.
"John, a grilled prime rib and beer doesn't a make a fine meal." Shayera scolded him.
John sulked so Shayera put him to work, "You cook the bacon and boil the eggs. After that grate the cheese. I'll prep the veggies and together we can shred everything and layer the salad."
"This might not be bad bird food after all." John conceded.
Shayera grinned triumphantly, "Trust me."
His eyes met hers and they were filled with warmth, "I do."
She blushed and then started the process of preparing the meal.
Dick Grayson went to Ulla Paske's apartment. She'd called him earlier to let him know she was in town. The Global Guardians' Gulfstream had dropped her off in Chicago and Jack O'Lantern and Owlwoman in Oklahoma so they could spend time with her family.
It had been a grueling 3 month training period. They'd also solved some regional crises and made a name for themselves in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea. Now they were rotating vacation time. Vapor was left in command of the Guardians while Jack was away.
The Guardians had inherited the Dome, the former HQ of the Legion of Doom. The Question had examined the computer and found no trace of Brainiac's code in the software. The Question doubted that the AI had been eliminated when his avatar was destroyed but he couldn't prove anything. Therefore the Global Guardians moved in.
Ulla opened the door to see Dick holding roses and a grocery bag. She smirked, "Come in silly man."
"It seems we've done this before." She said as she accepted the roses, "Except this time the roses are red."
"And hopefully this time I won't be kidnapped by the Legion of Doom." Dick quipped. He regretted it instantly as a shadow fell over Ulla's face. He kicked himself.
He'd stressed, over and over, that he didn't blame her for what had happened. How could he? She'd been brainwashed, a prisoner of the Crimson Queen's whims. Ulla still insisted on blaming herself however. He wondered how ingrained that attitude was amongst the Global Guardians.
Using the Legion's confiscated financial records, she'd tabulated where her illicit funds had come from and given them back. She kept the millions earned as the Queen's bodyguard. Some good had to come of the hell she'd endured.
Of course, she and her Atlantean mother had earned millions in underwater salvage. Although born the daughter of a Danish lighthouse keeper and an Atlantean handmaiden, she'd lived a very comfortable life growing up. Her mixed heritage allowed her to breathe underwater but only for a maximum of 30 hours at one time. Included was the standard Atlantean super strength and a mutation that allowed her to fly.
Ulla wasn't a beauty but she was very cute. In Denmark she was considered very average. But in America with her blonde locks, blue eyes, ready smile, high cheekbones, and dimples she was classified as highly cute.
She'd been the target of date getters since her arrival in the States but she had focused on one man: Dick Grayson. At first it had been an assignment from Luthor to use Dick to leverage Bruce Wayne. Fortunately for Dick, Ulla's feelings were quite genuine. She adored him and prevented harm from the Legion coming to him at every turn.
She and Dick had concocted the plan to leave Gotham and move to Chicago before her liberation from the Queen. A kink in the plan had developed in the shape of the revival of the Global Guardians…in Bailya. The desert country was literally half a world away.
To be honest, Dick considered it a good thing. He'd never had a steady relationship that lasted for more than a few months. Weeks usually. He liked Ulla. He truly did. He honestly thought that they stood a good chance of going somewhere.
But they each had "professional" responsibilities. As multimillionaire rich kids who donned costumes and fought with criminals full time, they each understood the other's responsibilities. A deep level of trust had developed between them. That understanding cemented them further and faster than any other thing on the planet would have.
Ulla opened the grocery bag and examined its contents. She giggled. "Anchovies and sardines." She held up a can, "Why thank you, sir."
"I know how much you love them and I didn't think you'd get many of them from the Caspian Sea." Dick shared her grin.
"And the fish market wrapper?" she was intrigued.
"Swordfish." He proudly explained, "I can't vouch for its freshness but it was the 'catch of the day.'"
She gave him a strange look but her eyes twinkled, "I suppose you want this cooked?"
"Are you on a raw fish diet?" Dick asked.
"I'm half Atlantean. I'm good either way." She said.
"Atlanteans eat raw fish?" Dick had to ask.
"They live underwater." Ulla laughed, "It's kinda hard to light a fire when you're underwater."
Dick was embarrassed, "I never thought about it."
Ulla laughed again, "I wouldn't expect you to. Now, I think we'll cook this…in your honor."
"I'm touched." Dick admitted, "Need help?"
"I've never turned down help in the kitchen in my life." Ulla proclaimed, "While we're busy you can tell me about Nightwing's impressions of Chicago."
"The Mob's as entrenched here as in Gotham. Peel back the polite veneer and you have the Capone era all over again." Dick replied.
"Any costumes?" she wondered.
"No villains but there is competition on the hero front." Dick wore a wry expression, "Batwoman is in town."
"Who?" Ulla was confused. She'd never heard of Batwoman.
"Her name's Sonia Alcana. She and three other women took turns playing Batwoman two years ago in Gotham. Alcana was a cop. When her other identity became known to Commissioner Gordon, he ran her off the force." Dick described, "She ended up here and set up shop as a private investigator. She changed her costume but she still moonlights as Batwoman."
"Is she a threat?" Ulla wanted to know.
"No." Dick assured, "I'm just wondering on whether or not I should turn her over to the Police."
"That's a stupid idea." Ulla declared, "You'd have to turn in yourself…and me."
"Yeah. That's pretty much what I came to as well." Dick sighed.
"Enough shop talk." Ulla decided, "Get cracking on those chives. I'll take care of the shallots."
Dick smirked, "Yes, ma'am."
"And don't you forget it." She chuckled.
A boom tube opened outside of Area 51. Supreme, Lashina, and Mantis stepped through. They were followed by six misshapen creatures. They looked like walking cadavers made from debris. Their eyes were dark but very much alive. They were equally divided between male and female.
One rode atop a nega-harness like Orion's. He had a glowing diadem embedded in his forehead. Another possessed an oblong head and a shrunken body. His diadem was in his chest. It was lantern shaped. The other male was tall and muscular. He wore a cape and had a super symbol on his chest. Like the other diadems, it glowed.
One of the females bore the super shield reminiscent of Superman and Supergirl. All of the woman possessed hair while the males were bald. Another bore the W wings of Wonder Woman. The last, with the shortest hair, bore a simple oval between her breasts.
Supreme pointed at the base lights encircling the massive warehouses that comprised Area 51, "There it is. Within those flimsy walls are the objects that the Master wants."
"We live to serve the Master!" the replicas chorused.
"Hmm. Don't we just." Lashina purred into Supreme's ear.
Supreme lifted her chin and then he turned to the replicas, "Deal with the guards and begin your searches. We will ascertain if you've found what the Master desires and reward you accordingly."
"As the Master wills." They intoned all together.
"Go! Now!" Supreme commanded. The replicants all flew away.
"Should we go down there?" Lashina wondered.
"Let's give them a moment." Supreme whispered into her ear as he drew her into his arms.
Luthor wiled away in his cell in Stryker's Island. As one of the more "dangerous" prisoners he was granted a single cell with no cellmate. Down the way he could hear the Ultra Humanite's television. Luthor grated. The Humanite always got better treatment than him.
A thunderous boom behind him made him turn around. Standing before him, in an open boom tube, was Darkseid. Luthor gaped, "But the spatial disruptors…?"
"No device can block a creation of mine." Darkseid boasted, "Now come Luthor there is work to be done."
Luthor hesitated, "What kind of work?"
"Nothing less than the reshaping of the cosmos." Darkseid promised.
Luthor's evil smile rivaled the Dark Lord's, "I'm your man."