Disclaimer – I don't profit and they don't sue.
Author's Note – I've removed the first several chapters of the Darkseid story. Some of that material is reworked here along with some new material as well to tie up loose ends from Betrayal of Trust and Redemption of Trust and properly set the stage for the Darkseid story.
Chapter One "Face the Music"
In a Metropolis manufacturing district, the first predawn grays reached past the downtown spires and across the Delaware River to an anonymous warehouse. Onto it's loading docks, cops and super heroes emerged with questions and confusion rather than arrests and confiscations.
They'd had evidence, surveillance probable cause, and a warrant. But all the police and the heroes had found in the interior expanse of the warehouse was a lone janitor with a mop and a bucket cleaning the floors. Forensics technicians had located not a single hair, fiber or fingerprint. No equipment or interior walls or surfaces of any kind remained in the warehouse: just the steel outer walls and some interior lights. The heavy-duty electrical connections and massive cooling units outside could have been bought anywhere and used for many legitimate purposes as well as criminal purposes. This warehouse was supposed to have been where the Bizarros, imperfect clones of Superman that had been plaguing Metropolis and the rest of America, had been created. But all they found was the hollow steel shell.
Where had the equipment gone? How had it been moved so quickly? Who had moved it? Did someone leak the plans for the raid? Was their evidence in error? Had the Bizarro cloning operation ever really been in this warehouse to begin with? Who was behind the Bizarros? Maybe the bad guys had been tipped off. Maybe they'd just been the lucky ones this time. But the lack of dust indicated that the clean up operation had been completed within minutes before the SCU task force had arrived with the heroes.
The armed and armored officers of the Metropolis PD's Special Crimes Unit, crime scene techs, and heroes stepped out onto the docks expecting silence and shadows. Instead they heard the whup of rotor blades from hovering news helicopters and saw the halogen glare of camera lights from a crowd of reporters assembled beyond the police cordon and the yellow "Do Not Cross" tape. Following the police, came Kal-El in in black trench coat and boots, the Amazing Amazon in gold and red chest plate with black leather jacket and leggings, the Bat in midnight cape and cowl, the Space Cop in green and black flight suit with stylized lantern logo, Martian Manhunter in dark blue cloak and boots, Steel in his own armored commando suit and finally Lady Flash. These heroes followed the SCU, but stayed in the relative gloom where the warehouse's corrugated metal overhang blocked the sweeping search lights of the news choppers.
As the heroes emerged, SCU Captain Maggie Sawyer strode up to the uniformed MPD sergeant who held the crowd of reporters at bay rather like a scuba diver surrounded by sharks. The rest of the SCU officers and techs made their way into their step vans. The reporters, including Gil from the Daily Planet, began shouting questions at them.
None of the cops wanted to face the music regarding what they didn't find in the warehouse any more than the heroes did. Captain Maggie Sawyer stepped forward to speak to the reporters anyway. She removed note cards from an inner pocket of her own tan trench coat and began to give her statement to the press in very loud voice.
Batman fired a grappling hook into the sky to be whisked away by his jet. The Martian Manhunter became insubstantial and sank below the street. Steel's magnetic levitation boots boosted him into the sky. The glow of Green Lantern's Ring expanded to surround him and he leaped into the sky to fly back to Los Angeles. With her back to the crowd of reporters, the Amazon removed a small device from an inner pocket of her jacket and typed her jet's recall code.
Flash, in her black leather jacket with red trim over yellow and red speedsuit, turned toward the Amazon. "I'd love to stay and chat girl to girl but I've got an exam in a few hours at Keystone University in Ohio." Carrie Minh West had filled in for her father, Wally West, on this mission. The senior Flash had a pressing mission along with fellow Titans including Cyborg, Aquaman, Starfire, and Raven. The five Titans were assisting a combined maritime task force of the US Coast Guard and the Atlantean navy with the clean up of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"It's okay Carrie," replied Chloe Sullivan, dressed in her minimalist version of the Amazon regalia: black leather jacket over the gold and red bustier and black leather pants, armed only with the golden lasso and the sliver Amazonium bracelets. The Amazon smiled, holding back tears. Something more than just the criminals having already made their escape weighed heavily on her mind. "I understand. I went to college, too." Of course she was only an occasional partner in Kal's heroics back then.
Flash touched the Amazon's arm in a gesture of feminine solidarity and then sped off toward Ohio.
Kal-El, his long black coat flowing in the rotor wash of the hovering news helicopters, adjusted his black Oakley sunglasses and extended an arm to the Amazon. She glared at him darkly and refused. Kal squatted briefly for the cameras placing his black-suited left knee and his left fist on the street. Then, as he poised to leap into the sky in a manner reminiscent of the hero of a Wachowski Brothers sci-fi trilogy, he heard Gil from the Daily Planet shout a question.
Gil called out, "Superman! Why aren't back in the crimson, gold and cerulean blue we've grown accustomed to since your return?"
Kal raised a black-sleeved arm and cupped a hand at his ear as though he were having trouble hearing the reporter's question.
Gil and Cat Grant from GBS News exchanged quizzical looks and then a light went on in Gil's eyes, "Neo, with your recent desert battle with the Bizarro clone of Superman broadcast to the world, do you have any idea when the skys of Metropolis will again be graced by Superman's crimson cape?"
"Heard you that time, Gil." The Son of Krypton winked. "Superman is still wanted on charges by City of Metropolis. You won't see his crimson cape in your skies again until he's cleared of all charges by the Metropolis District Attorney and on the front page of the Daily Planet."
"Would you care to shed any light on what just happened in the warehouse?" Cat Grant asked.
"As Captain Sawyer just told you, the SCU made no arrests and seized no property." Resuming his crouch with knee and fist to the ground, Kal squinted in the direction of the River and gave the reporters a parting remark, "There's about to be a wreck on the Delaware River Bridge." And then soared into the skies.
Good luck to whoever was about to run off the bridge, thought the Amazon. Still facing toward the warehouse, she glanced back over her shoulder to see the crowd of reporters begin to disperse like a school of sharks finding no more scent in the waters. But one of them saw Chloe's tanned cheek as she glanced over her shoulder. And so a new feeding frenzy began. "Trinity! What happened in the warehouse just now?" "How does Neo feel about you being seen with a newspaper reporter at social engagements?" "Trinity, will you and Neo continue to operate with your Super Friends as a team?"
Memories of her life before the shipwreck that had washed her ashore on the Island of the Amazons, Themyscaria, began to flood the Amazon's mind. She remembered that before she'd been called Cassiopeia by the Amazons, she had stood with similar crowds of reporters shouting questions as journalist Chloe Sullivan since... her high school days at the Smallville Torch. Never before had she been the only one on the receiving end of the questions. The Amazon reflected that sometimes the universe seemed to run on irony.
Since she was the only one left, the Amazon knew the reporters had to be asking the questions of her, despite the fact she'd never operated under the moniker Trinity. She hadn't really had a hero callsign since her occasional mission with Green Arrow's first Titans team as "Watchtower" along with Cyborg, Aquaman, Flash and Clark, whom the team had dubbed "Boy Scout."
For the second time in these predawn hours, the Amazon calmed the stormy sea of emotions in her heart, mentally wrapped herself in the regal bearing of an Amazon warrior and turned to face the reporters. She made sure that she turned her golden lasso and a sliver Amazonium bracelets into the camera lights.
The gold Amazon symbol at the top of her chest plate caught the light of the camera nicely, as did her bracelets and golden lasso. Now the tone of the reporters changed. Cries of "Wonder Woman" and "Your Majesty" and "Your Royal Highness" accompanied apologies for disrespect.
Smiling broadly while also squinting into the bright lights of the cameras, Chloe reminded herself of all her Amazon training in both diplomacy and the ways of the warrior before she responded. Now she'd have them eating out of her hand.
Chloe spoke in a clear resonant tone that Donna Troy had called a command voice, "First, I would like to remind you all that in the last century, only two Amazons have carried the title Wonder Woman." The shouting began again. She held up one hand to call for quiet and with other slipped a pair of Oakley for Women out of her jacket and onto her face. That cut the glare to a bearable level. "I am neither." She paused hold her hand up for quite. "Second, my professional life allows me to work with many of the fine reporters and staff at the Daily Planet including Gil back there. And finally, this group of heroes hasn't adopted a team name." We've got to have something better than Super Friends..
"Yes, I'm the one who first called you Trinity!" Gil called back. "When facing away from us, with your lasso in the shadows, and only your black jacket and black pants visible in the cameras' lights, you looked like the heroine of the Matrix movies."
"Thank you, Gil. That's a compliment."
The wine of turbine engines sounded from over head. Everyone except the Amazon looked up but saw nothing. Warm downdrafts blew food wrappers and empty coffee cups around in the street. "I believe that's my ride." The Amazon reached into her jacket to the device. Looking up, she saw her jet become a visible gunmetal gray and leaped up onto the starboard wing. Climbing into the cockpit, she thought to herself, Trinity...I could live with that callsign. As she set her course for the Amazon Consulate in Metropolis, Trinity saw the first morning rays of the sunrise.