We showered. I had my fur blown dry. Small favors. I was going to need an industrial sized blow dryer for my apartment.
We met Diana and Supergirl up in the Kitchen's control room. We watched what we did. We were complemented by not fighting the first guard, who probably hadn't known any better.
"Is he really like that?" I asked eventually, watching myself on screen. "Dr. Psycho, I mean?"
"Worse," Diana told me. "Misogynistic and completely insecure. We didn't have you do the hide and seek he made the actual investigator play to try to catch him."
I stared at her in amazement. I could hear Sheri choke on her laughter. "Hide and seek?" I spluttered.
"She's not kidding," Supergirl put in, grinning. "I read the report."
I exchanged a bemused glance with Sheri.
When we witnessed the fight against the images, Diana paused the playback for a moment. "Hadron?" she asked me. Supergirl giggled. She apparently got the joke.
"It's a supercolider," Sheri said. She listed off a few other code words we'd established ahead of time. Diana looked vaguely impressed. Maybe. For about a moment.
When we got to the end, Diana nodded. "Hardly perfect, but good form."
"And you know the rest," Supergirl said. "Whatever Dr. Psycho gave to me didn't simply pass through the system. That's where you came in."
We sat back for a bit, not saying anything. I broke the silence after a few seconds. "I would like to thank you for letting us do that." I paused, and sneaked a glance at Sheri. She was still staring ath the screen."What about that other question I asked you in the mail?" I asked.
Supergirl glanced at Diana in confusion, "What other question was that?"
"It's why I wanted you up here, Kara," Diana told me. She placed a small bag on the table. Inside the bag was a small metal object, of the same type I'd retrieved from Dr. Sinava's lab.
"What is it?" Sheri asked.
"It's an exobyte, Sheri," Diana responded. "This is what Luthor prime seeded in the atmosphere above our world."
Sheri figured out the implication almost instantaneously. Her eyes went straight past saucer sized and on to moon sized. I think I could even see stars in them. I poked her. She glared at me for a few moments before realizing that the other two women were watching her, and only one of them was smiling.
She looked terribly guilty for a moment before regaining her composure. "I'm sorry," she mumbled, blushing.
There was another minute or two of silence. "Why bring it here, though?" she asked. I could hear the gears in her head turning. "Not to tease..." she broke the thought off, flushing further.
I went to her rescue. "Because you want it. I didn't, I didn't really get a choice. The call knew where I live, but you've jumped at it." I thought about that a moment. "It's not that you want it, you need it. I'm not sure what happened, but you feel like you're required to do something."
Wonder Woman nodded, "Rachel has told us that you've pushed her, trying to be a hero – sidekick – with her. You were pushing her forward, clearly wanting to be part of it. That part is not in doubt. What I need to know is why. Excitement? Glory?"
"A jedi craves not these things," Supergirl quipped.
Sheri looked at Diana meeting her straight in the eye. "He works not just for glory, and he does it not for gain; but because he knows that others will be spared a greater pain."
We blinked for a second.
"That sounds like a quote," Wonder Woman told her.
Sheri nodded. "It came from a computer game. I don't remember where I found it. It's stuck with me since then." She paused and took a deep breath.
"And they ask, 'What is a Hero?' though the answer's very clear. He's the one who faces danger when the darkness hovers near."
"He will face the fiercest foe when another needs his aid. He will dare to defy Death even though he is afraid. He works not just for glory and he does it not for gain, But because he knows that others will be spared a greater pain."
"He won't always follow orders, for he dares to answer, 'Why?' And unless he likes the reason,
he refuses to comply. He will brave the battle boldly even though he may not win. He will face his fate unflinching, for he is a Paladin."
"And they ask 'What is a Hero?' though the answer's evident, He's the one who faces death
knowing that his life's well spent."
This time, Diana looked really impressed. Even Supergirl looked thoughtful for a moment. "I should tell Kal that one," she mused. "He'd love it."
I watched Diana detach the golden lasso from her belt. "It is a nice poem," she admitted. "But I need to know if its the truth. I'm not going to compel you," she noted, "But if you want to be the one to use the exobyte, this is the cost."
Sheri looked at Diana, looked the lasso, and closed her eyes for a moment. Then, with her mind made up, she took the lasso, holding a loop of in her hands."
Diana smiled, a warm encouraging thing, and spoke. "Your friend has shown great respect for you. It is good to see that the trust isn't misplaced."
"What do you want to know?" asked Sheri.
"Why do you want to be a hero?" Diana asked.
"I saw what happened when the exobytes fell," Sheri told her. "The world is changing, and I need to help people. I know. We can't all be heroes, someone has to clap as they walk by. Superman told Rachel that they wanted as many people as possible to help fight Brainiac. I need to be one of them."
"Need?" Diana asked. "Why do you need to be one of them?"
"My uncle, Steven, works for the Daily Planet. He covers the Metropolis Metros. Nobody's seen him since the day Brainiac bottled the Daily Planet. My aunt has gone almost suicidal." She glanced at me, apologetic. "They need symbols of hope. As many as there can be."
I had no idea she'd lost family in the Brainiac attack. I mean, I knew both Chicago and Gotham had suffered some, but that had happened even before the rain of exobytes. I'd almost forgotten. It had been so far away. I felt guilty, now.
Diana nodded. "Do you have any questions for me?"
Apparently, there was something about the lasso that made Sheri answer that question. I'd like to think that she'd have the tact to not say something like this.
"Why me?" she asked. "What would make me special? What makes Rachel special that you're willing to give her... and me... this kind of attention?"
Supergirl shook her head. "There are hundreds, if not thousands of newly empowered people," she told us. "It isn't just you. Oracle, Diana, Kal... Superman, even Batman are trying to get them all organized, away from breaking each other. It's not that you're special," she wrinkled her nose and tried again. "You are special, I mean, but not unique." She grimaced. "You know what I mean! We are doing this for a lot of people. You, Sheri, have shown more initiative than most. We don't have forever. Batman believes the exobytes are unstable, and will eventually break down."
"You say that you need it. We're ready to have you, if you are sure," Diana added.
"I am," Sheri said.
Wonder Woman held the bag containing the exobyte open in front of her. I could hear my friend swallow, see her tense up. Sheri reached in, taking it between her fingers.
Her eyes grew wide, and she fell to her knees. Her skin began to cover itself with a purple crystal, it looked almost like an impure diamond. She fell over, unconscious. After another moment, the crystal receded.
I'll concede. I was envious. But here we'd go again. She'd have to find out what she was capable of.
I've taken the code name Nidalee. Yes, it's from League of Legends – I'm not very original when it comes to names. I don't really take a hands on approach. I do work for the Justice League, but mainly as public relations. I've finished my associates, and am working toward my Bachelors.
I make showings in both Chicago and Gotham from time to time, and if the Justice League needs me, I'm there to help. I may not be the one standing in the gap, that's more likely to be Sh- Garnet. I'll support who ever does to the best of my abilities, so that everyone can come home to help more.
Sheri's code name is Garnet. She's much more visible, and we work together as much as we can.
Drafted by an exobyte.
Recruited by the Justice League.
I am Nidalee.
I am still Rachel.
Hope begins with me.
Other adventures? Well, there was the time Batman asked me to track Selena Kyle for a mission only I was suited for. Another time, maybe.