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This story actually picks up in the future and in an alternate universe after Bruce Wayne dies, and Terry continues to fight crime in the batman uniform. The storyline has elements of Batman Beyond and Justice League in it, but I added a new superhero named Jimmy (clone of superman) who has to learn how to cope with his superpowers. The Justice League is called the Justice Corp in this universe. I've read through this first chapter several times, and I think I've done a pretty good job at correcting the mistakes, but I'm only human. Enjoy!

Prologue

1982…

Clark sat at the coffee table, drinking coffee, and reading the local newspaper, and Lois sat on the other end with her head placed firmly in her hands. She winced in pain several times before Clark noticed the ugly scowl on her face. Their wedding picture was placed neatly above Clark's head with a smiling Lois and a clean shaven Clark in a black tuxedo. He grew out his beard after the marriage because it looked more dignified in his opinion, and Lois loved to play with it. His nicely trimmed beard gave him the appearance of a harder man, a man who didn't take any nonsense off of anybody, and Lois loved the stubble.

The smell of fresh coffee caught his attention and the glare from the television was visible in the background, but the sound was turned down to minimal levels, but Clark heard every word, every news report. The television had an image of Superman in a black uniform, black cape, and a white "S" on his chest, and the reporter said, "Cadmus wants a word with Superman."

Lois's eyes looked sleepy and weary because she tossed and turned in her sleep, but Clark slept without any problems. Small beads of sweat fell from Lois's forehead, and bounced off the coffee table, and Clark looked over at her as he read the newspaper, but didn't notice how sickly she looked. He knew Lois had her good days and her bad days, since she escaped the nuclear explosion that happened over Southern California, but the doctors said that it would take years for the repercussions of the exposure to radiation to take effect. She sighed, and then as soon as she tried to speak, Clark muttered. "I swept the house for bugs."

"Find any," she said as she lit up a cigarette, and took a deep drag as if it gave her some relief from the agonizing pain that shot down her back and leg. She looked at the end of the lit cigarette, and took another long drag, and then squinted in pain. Her coffee tasted bitter in spite of all the sugar she added, and she added a few more table spoons in a fail attempt to make it sweeter.

"Um, seven," he said, "Cadmus grade." He looked over at her as she continued to pour sugar into her coffee. "Got enough sugar, Lois?" Lois fell forward onto the table, and Clark ran to her side with a look of concern, felt her head, and then the back of her neck. "What's wrong?" Clark asked as he continued to rub her neck, and then gently tapped his right index finger of his left hand against his knee. "Your color's off slightly, and you're running a fever." It was obvious that Lois was going through some agonizing pain because of her scrunched face and the way she clinched her side. "You're in pain," Clark said as he grabbed the lit cigarette from her sickly fingers, and placed it in the ashtray.

"It's my side," she said, "Something's not right." Lois tried to stand to her feet, but stumbled into Clark's arms, and he used his x-ray vision to take a quick scan of her hurting side. He knew she hadn't been herself since the exposure to the radiation from the bomb, but he thought she was getting better. Her six month sabbatical from the Daily Planet seemed to be working at first, but then she started drinking wine all day and every day until she would pass out on the couch. Clark spent the majority of his time away on missions with the Justice Corp, and didn't notice how much wine she had consumed over the last few months. He had his world and she had hers, and the two hardly intersected.

"A tumor," he whispered to himself as he finished scanning her body. He flew her to the local hospital in a matter of seconds. It was nineteen eighty-two, and they had only been married seven months, but not without incidents or problems. After a few hours in the hospital, his stress levels were at its maximum level, and his hands shook with a nervous tick. He knew her tumor was cancerous because of the radiation exposure from the nuclear blast, but he didn't know if it was terminal. Deep down, inside his soul, he felt he should have done more to help his wife in her time of need, but the world needed him too. Thousands of people in the Southern California area had the same tumors form in their bodies as Lois, but they had more exposure than she had. She was only in the area for a split second before Superman used his super speed to move her away from the brunt of the contamination.

Amanda Waller walked through the double doors to the waiting area, and Clark had a look of surprise on his face to see a high level intelligence officer in the local hospital. Clark was standing next to a large potted plant and near a television that hung above his head. Two older woman that had sick relatives in the hospital were sitting on the other side of the waiting area smoking cigarettes. Amanda Waller had two armed soldiers on either side of her, and she directed them to stay behind, and then she walked over to Clark.

"Walk with me, Clark," Amanda ordered as she stood in front of him in her military uniform with all the decorations. He didn't trust her or anything that she had to offer. Everything about her came with a price, a hefty price, and that price was the soul. She was a young, African American woman with a chest full of medals, a black beret, and a weapon on her right side. She looked serious. Her face was almost expressionless when she spoke. She had a feminine appearance about her, although she looked like she worked out in the gym daily. She didn't have much hair on her head. It was cut as short as possible, but she kept a soft look about her face, a sort of Grace Jones look. "We need to discuss Superman."

"Superman?" Clark asked in a jovial manner. He half laughed, and said, "Why are you asking me about that guy?"

"Don't look baffled," she said in a firm voice. Walking in front of him, she placed her hand on his chest, and whispered, "We know he's you."

"What?" He asked with a geeky smile on his face.

"It's not easy escaping the cameras of Cadmus, especially since we've perfected the ability to travel between dimensions," she said, "There are other Earths, Clark. I met a Superman that wears a red and blue suit instead of a black and white suit like yours."'

"What do you…?"

She placed her right hand over Clark's mouth. "I even met a Superman that didn't fly or wear tights," she said, "He never really accepted his abilities the way you do."

"What do you want from me?" He asked in a strong and deep voice.

"Your DNA," she said, "Just a small sample."

"For what?" He asked.

"She's dying, Clark. Kidney cancer," she said, "Thousands are dying just like her. This form of cancer is relentless, and current medicine doesn't have the tech to fight it off."

His face became colorless, and he fell against the wall hard enough to make a loud thumping sound, and then he slid to the ground. With a slight tremble in his voice, he asked, "How long does she have?"

"That depends on you," she said, "The same radioactive fallout happened on three other Earths. They cured their people with their Superman's DNA."

"Me?"

"Yes. Your DNA is the key to unlocking the lock to the door of cancer…"

"No. Not now, not ever," he said with an angry tone. "No, no, no, NO!"

"She'll die unless we use your DNA to develop a cure," she said, "All other avenues for these types of illnesses have been exhausted. Think of humanity. You'll save a cat out of a tree, but you won't do the one thing to save mankind from this horrible disease."

"What about a transplant?" He asked.

"It's cancer, Clark. Besides, you don't want that. The tons of medications, the cost, it's enough to make you throw your hands in the air and give up. She wouldn't qualify anyways because the cancer is eating her like maggots attacking rotting flesh. Time is of the essences. She has days not weeks."

"What can you guarantee?"

"You have my word that we'll do whatever it takes to cure this illness," she said, "My word as a Colonel in the United States Military."

The next day Colonel Walker sat in front of the President in the Oval Office, and handed a brief over to him. On his desk, a picture of him shaking Superman's hand set proudly. The President had a shiny bald head with a small beard, mustache, and he wore a suit that gave him superpowers.

"So, you got Superman's okay?" President Luthor asked as he looked over the documents. "With his blood we can stop this cancer dead in its tracks."

"Yes, sir," she said, "His DNA will help us not only fight cancer, but create a weapon that we can use in case he turns against us."

"How many Earths had a bad superman?" He asked.

"Seventeen out of thirty we discovered," she said, "This is just a precaution in case our..."

"So, your solution is to build a clone of Superman?" He asked as he put the documents in his end box. "What happens when the clone turns on us?"

"We'd control the clone," she said, "Teach it to love humanity from birth."

"And the cancer?" He asked.

"That's the easy part," she said, "We stole the formulas from Doctor James on one of the other Earths. I gave it to our Doctor James, and he's ready to start working on the solution. But..."

"But what?"

"It won't be ready in time to save his Lois."

1999…

Project Cadmus was a large government institution located in Gotham City and a collaborative partner with Wayne's Weapon Institution. Activity happened in the laboratory, all day and all night long, and security trucks ran around the compound constantly monitoring people. The Bioweapons Division was on the bottom floor almost fifty miles under the surface of the planet, and Mr. Wayne was opposed to this portion of his father's company.

Bruce Wayne knew a part of his company dabbled in genetic material, but he didn't find out until the early nineties that his company was involved in a project to build a clone of Superman. He hated the thought of man playing God, especially if it had anything to do with Wayne Industries. Every time he voted to close the Bioengineering portion of his company, the other board members teamed against him to keep it open.

In his black suit with a deep scar over his left eye, he lunged to his feet, and screamed, "We're not gods."

"Bruce, sit down," Mr. Gray, an older man sitting at the head of the table screamed. "This puts your father's company at the head of the cloning game."

"Cloning? We're playing with Pandora's box by cloning Superman. Once it's opened..."

"Cadmus will make one clone," Mr. Gray said as he held up his right index finger. "One."

"Then we should move Cadmus from the center of Gotham."

"Having them in plain sight takes away the mystery," Mr. Gray said as he closed his brief case. "That's where they'll stay."

The beauty of Project Cadmus was its location. It was seated in the downtown area with over two hundred thousand residents in a one mile radius. The surface portion of Cadmus looked like an ordinary warehouse with forklifts, big trucks and workers rolling in and out of it all day. None of the military personnel on the compound wore any uniforms associated with the government. People appeared to be factory workers on the outside of the company, and changed to their lab coats once they entered the main building.

Amanda Waller and Doctor Jason James walked through the double doors near project five, and they had a large man strapped to a table, injected him with a green chemical compound, and the man grimaced. A monitor hung from the ceiling directly over the patient's head that kept track of his vital signs, and all readings were normal at first. The young man appeared to be content on the table, but his hands and feet were bound with heavy chains. He wasn't struggling or trying to fight.

On the other aside of the room, a young woman lay on a table with her legs propped in the air, and a pile of blood was on the ground around the table. Her body was lifeless, and she had died immediately upon giving birth to something that wasn't quite human.

Doctor Jason James was an older man approximately fifty-three years old with a short buzz cut. He held a device similar to a tablet computer that scanned the man's chest.

"We've synthesized Superman's DNA," Doctor James said as he looked at the readout on the computer. "Things aren't looking good with the test subjects. Once the chemical compound kicks in, they all explode."

"What's the cause?" Amanda asked as she took a quick glance at the computer screen. "It reads unstable."

The man started screaming at the top of his lungs, and then Doctor James said, "You'll want to back up behind the protective shield."

They quickly ran behind the protective shield, and the man blew up on the table. Blood flew all over the walls and ceiling.

"How many test subjects have we lost?" She asked.

"Seventeen since nineteen-eighty-three. We're overlooking something, but..."

"Seventeen?" She asked with a dismayed look on her face. Walking over to the table, she studied the gigantic hole in the middle of the man's chest. "It's only a matter of time before somebody notices these men are missing."

"It's costly, but…"

"What happened to the eggs?" She asked as she studied the man's face.

"We've run out," he said, "We only had a few. All the babies died as soon as they were born; the mothers too."

She walked over to the window outside the laboratory, and gazed at the young lifeless woman strapped to the table with a pool of blood at the end of the table that dripped onto the floor, and said, "Setup health clinics in the Gotham slums. Offer free healthcare to the poor, and then harvest all the eggs you need. Free always works."

"Do we give them help?" He asked as he walked up behind her.

"Of course. Cure their illnesses, take the genetic materials you need, and then send them home. This is the perfect setup."

2039…

A young pregnant African American woman lay on an operating table with her legs propped in the air, and a doctor stood over her delivering her baby. The woman kept losing conscious, and one of the nurses kept reviving her. Her hair was soaking wet from the tons of sweat, and then the baby began to crown.

An old black woman stood in the background as the young woman gave birth, and it was Amanda Waller, the leader of Cadmus. She was now a chubby old woman with a cane, gray hair, and thick bifocals.

"I've waited nearly forty years for this day," she said as she wiped the corners of her mouth. "All my energy went into cloning Superman's powers and creating the perfect killing machine."

Vera Reese, the doctor that delivered the baby held the infant in her scrawny arms, and placed him in a small basket. Sweat poured from the doctor's head as she quickly placed the child in the basket because she wore a thick, insulated suit that protected her from the baby's life force. She had on some thick, insulated gloves and a heavy padded coat that kept her from having direct contact with the newborn. Walking back over to the mother, she noticed one of the nurses reach for the child.

"Don't...," she screeched as she watched the young nurse reaching for the child wearing only the thin, little surgical gloves. She fell to the ground, dead. Amanda wiped her mouth as she looked at the nurse that lay dead on the cold ground, and a look of fear took over her face.

"What happen to her?" She screamed.

"She's dead," Doctor Reese said as she checked her pulse.

Another nurse tried to give some assistant to the nurse that lay dead on the ground, and she stumbled into the child's basket. The baby nearly fell to the ground, but the nurse caught him, and she fell face first on top of the child. She was dead.

"What the hell?" Doctor Waller screamed.

"Nobody touches the baby," Doctor Reese screamed as she pulled the dead nurse off the top of the infant. She tried to resuscitate the two women, but it was hopeless. They were dead.

When the doctor walked over to the mother, she checked for a pulse, and she was dead too. Anybody that came in direct contact with the child died almost immediately.

"Did she have family?" Doctor Waller asked as she watched the horror unfold in front of her.

"No, ma'am," Doctor Reese said, "She was a homeless teenager. Just some homeless girl."

"Then it's better this way. She would have had to disappear anyway."

Doctor Reese looked down at the infant, and said, "He'd never know love."

"He's a super soldier," Doctor Waller said as she smiled at the baby, "We'll mold him into the perfect killing machine."

2042…

Doctor Reese stood over a hot cup of coffee at her desk, and studied a chart of the child's vital signs. She was a young doctor, a doctor that graduated at the top of her class in Bio Engineering, and the young clone was her pet project. Her desk contained the basics: computer, calculator, tablet PC, and an old fashion type writer. On the other side of her office was a play area for the child with all kinds of little toys. She observed his every move, and entered a journal of his activities into the computer.

She hit record on the computer screen, and said, "I've been calling test subject Alpha Jimmy for two years now, and that's the name he answers to." She walked around the room flicking a pen, and then said, "For only two years old and some days, he's extremely powerful. We're unable to draw blood from the child because his skin's like steel. In addition, if anybody touches his skin with or without gloves, they usually die within seconds. A person wearing insulated gloves usually can pick the child up for thirty-three seconds before his powers soak through the materials, and kills them. Eighteen scientists have come in physical contact with him, and they're all dead. Even though I cannot hold Jimmy like a mother holds her child, I cannot help that I've developed feelings for the child. It pains me that I have to expose Jimmy to danger just to test the limits of his abilities, but whatever Superman can do, he can do. I've gotten too close to the subject. Tomorrow we'll expose him to extreme heat."

An older woman, Doctor April Gray, with a skinny face, long hair, and a white lab coat placed Jimmy into a furnace as he played with a little doll soldier. It was obvious that Doctor Gray was the kind of woman who spent most of her free time in the gym trying to hang on to her youthful figure. She forcefully grabbed the soldier out of his hands, threw it onto the ground, and slapped the child in the face with her thick padded gloves. She hated the child, and the fact that so many good men and women died brining him into the world. She followed the exploits of Doctor Waller nearly all her adult life, and helped developed the method to bring the clone into the world. When she first started her experiments with young girls from the inner city and impregnating them with Clark's seed, she never had a clue that the sole survivor would survive, and be so powerful and dangerous; and when she did find out that he'd have the abilities to kill with a simple touch, it was too late. Nothing on the planet could penetrate the child's skin, and she knew that, but tried to find ways to hurt the child every day.

"Pay attention," she muttered. Her mouth curved downward, eyes squinted, and then she spat in the little boy's face. "You're the biggest scientific mistake in the history of man."

He gave her an awkward grimace, as though he understood what she said, and then started to cry for the doll. When he reached his hands for the discarded toy it flew into the air, and into his little hands. She pushed him back into the furnace, tore the toy from his fingers, and closed the door. After grabbing the tape recorder out of her pocket, she said, "Starting temperature will be three hundred degrees Fahrenheit." She threw the toy into the trash can under her desk, and little Jimmy frowned until she went behind the screen where he couldn't see her.

A flame of fire flew across the child's face as his clothes incinerated off his body, and he laughed loudly, clapped his hands, and then the thermometer shot up to three hundred degrees. He looked over at the flame, and shot freezing air out of his mouth that clogged up the nozzle, and the good doctor hopped to her feet. "Dammit!"

"It appears that three hundred degrees has no adverse effect on the child," she said with a stern look on her face, "He's enjoying it. We'll take the temperature up to nine hundred degrees Fahrenheit."

Another nozzle, a bigger nozzle lowered into the chamber, and shot a stronger flame in the boy's face. After fifteen minutes of shooting fire directly into the child's face, she pushed a button that caused a laser rifle to descend from the ceiling attached to a robotic arm. She opened the door to the furnace, and the child walked out of it, and sat in the middle of the room naked. She adjusted the ray to point directly at the child's head, and then smiled after she turned on the laser switch, and the computer said "Kryptonite enhanced weapon will be on-line in five minutes." She wanted the boy to die. She knew he was a child, but he wasn't only a child. If he grew up without knowing the touch of another human being, he'd grow into mankind's worse enemy, the destroyer. And regardless of what Doctor Waller had to say, she wasn't going to let this child grow into an adult, ever.

"Not even Superman can withstand a blast of concentrated, green kryptonite," she said as she turned the power knob to the maximum setting.

"The weapon is ready," the computer said, "Fire at will."

"I will," she said as she shot a full blast of kryptonite at the child's head. He started screaming, and then he shot red lasers out of his eyes destroying the weapon.

"Subject Alpha will protect himself when threatened," Doctor Gray said as she sat behind her desk. "Special note … We should terminate Subject Alpha before he grows into a threat."

2044…

Amanda Waller sat in her quaint little home on the edge of Washington DC, and Doctor April Gray and Doctor Reese sat across from her in business suits holding on to tablet computers. Amanda took out her tablet PC, pulled up an email, and said, "I read your assessment of the child."

"He's stronger with every passing day," she said, "His existence threatens humanity."

"I disagree," Doctor Reese said as she pulled up the email. "We've come too far to terminate the project."

"But does he threaten mankind?" Doctor Waller asked with a dead calmness about her.

Doctor Reese placed her table PC on her lap, and kept quiet, but Doctor Gray immediately said, "Yes. He's a five-year-old monster."

"He's not a monster…," Doctor Reese snapped.

"Then what is he?" Doctor Gray asked, "Have we not lost eighteen good men and women at his hands?"

"Yes, but…"

"But what? "

Doctor Waller placed her hands on her forehead, and said, "If we terminate him, we lose forty years of work and countless taxpayer dollars."

"But when he decides mankind no longer suits him, he'll wipe us out with only a mere wave of his hands."

"Doctor Gray, Amanda, we can't forsake the project," Doctor Reese said, "It benefits no one to give up."

"We designed him to take on the Justice Corp if they ever became a threat," Doctor Waller said with a soft voice. "But they have been a faithful ally to mankind since the beginning."

"What are you saying?" Doctor Reese asked.

"Terminate the project," Doctor Waller said, "Use whatever means necessary."

Later on that week, Doctor Gray stood in the control room with a block of black kryptonite, and stuck it onto the robotic arm. Jimmy sat in the middle of the control room playing with a stack of building blocks when the robotic arm slid from the ceiling and pointed directly at the child's head.

"Black kryptonite will end this child's life," she said as she configured the robotic arm. "He'll never have time to adapt to the black kryptonite."

When she hit the fire button, the ray hit the child in the head, and the boy's powers caused a nuclear explosion that leveled ten city blocks, killing thousands, including everybody within the plant.

Doctor Reese rode a hover disc over to the enormous crater in the middle of Gotham, and saw Jimmy sitting in the middle of it. The crater was over a mile wide with bodies thrown all over the place.

Gamma

(Chapter One)

A young child, a child no more than seven-years-old stood in the hallway of East Metropolis Elementary afraid to go inside the front door because he wasn't used to being outside of his room. It was a huge building, an intimidating building because of the Victorian steeple on top of the main hall, and the lion shaped statues in front of the building that looked threatening to any kid. It was the kind of building that stood inside a large security fence, and had armed guards with chiseled jaws patrolling the outside wall. The razor-sharp wire around the compound stood fifty-feet in the air, and only individuals with super abilities could leap it. It was like a prison, but was the only school for the gifted in Metro City.

With his green backpack hanging off his back, tears falling off his face, his mother, Vera Reese, pushed him through the front door of the building wearing some thick, insulated gloves. The little boy wore a silver insulated body suit, and it covered every portion of his body except his face; his face was the only flesh the world could see wherever he went; and at the young age of seven, he grew tired of telling everybody he had a rare skin condition that forced him to wear the suit, even in the hot sun. Usually, once he told them about his skin, the majority of people backed off at that point. He knew that if he touched another human being, they would die a horrible death within seconds of contact, but Vera had to make sure he understood, so she reminded him often about being responsible.

"What's the first rule, Jimmy?" She asked as she made sure not to directly touch the boy. His skin would draw the life force out of any person, human or otherwise, if they touched him. Her gloved hands pushed up against his body suit, and she drew her hands back because she could feel his molecular field draining her energy every second that her gloved hand stayed on his shoulder. She knew her gloves only gave her fifteen seconds of protection once she touched him through his body suit. Without the body suit, he would drain the energy from everything around him.

"Never touch or let anybody touch me," he said with a whisper.

"That's right," she said, "Never touch anybody because your curse will kill them. What else?"

"Never remove my body suit unless in a controlled environment," he said.

Jimmy arrived early to school on the first day every day, since he started kindergarten two years earlier, but he didn't have any friends, not one. He didn't interact with any of the other children, unless it was under the direct supervision of one of his teachers, and she placed him in the very front of the classroom, but away from the other students. His desk sat off to the left front side, and all the other students were at least six feet from him at all times. It was for safety. Every year, since he started school, he only lasted a few months before the other kids tortured him into staying home; and once he made up his mind to stay home his mother had to quit whatever meaningless job she was working, and ensure he received the proper home education. It frustrated her, but she realized life would be painful as she did everything within her powers to protect him.

A tall man, a man with dark black hair and a few silver streaks on the side walked into the classroom. Mr. Kent pushed his daughter, Mia, into the class, and she seemed a little shy too. Jimmy looked at the man, and immediately noticed something about him that clicked in his mind, and Mr. Kent glared over at him, but didn't give him a second thought. Mr. Kent had some of the thickest rimmed glasses, a rarity in a time when most eye problems were curable. He looked down at his shiny black shoes, and wondered what his father looked like. He knew that scientists grew him in a lab; but at the same time, he knew that some man provided the genetic material.

Mia was a tall seven-years-old girl with dark black hair, blue eyes, and red lips. Her lips were redder than the color red, and she had freckles on her nose. She sat in the front of the classroom, and Mr. Kent tipped his hat to the instructor, and then walked away.

Recess came pretty quickly on the first day of school, and Jimmy sat by the south fence where he ate his meal. A dense fog covered the city, and it was hard to see the top of the hill that stood behind him. Some of the kids were playing together when they looked over at Jimmy, and said, "Look at the freak."

One of the students, Aaron Checks, pointed to him, and screamed, "You're a freak." Aaron continued to mock Jimmy, and then kicked dirt in his face.

Jimmy hopped to his feet, ran off towards the school, and left his lunch on the ground. He didn't want any problems because he knew if he retaliated that it would hurt his Momma. Aaron was a popular kid, and arrived to school every day in a black limo. He had a funny looking hair cut that resembled an old fashion bowl cut, but Jimmy never made fun of him. Every time the young bully tried to attack him, he just walked away from the confrontation. It was better for him if everybody thought he had a skin condition that endangered his life if exposed; but if everybody knew the truth, they would ban him from the school.

After a few weeks of torture, Jimmy started leaping the huge fence, and eating his lunch at the top of the hill that over looked Metro City. He came across several meteor rocks that had settled into the hill, but he didn't bother them until Mia followed him up the hill one day. He had noticed her staring at him, but he tried to ignore her because he didn't want anybody getting close to him.

"What do you want?" Jimmy asked as he sat on top of the hill. He had a little frown on his face because he wanted her to leave.

"You're not suppose to be here," she said as she slowly climbed to the top of the hill behind him. He could hear her every foot step, and she stomped her feet as she marched up the hill.

"Neither are you," he replied. She fell to one knee as blood fell out of her nose, and then passed out in front of his feet. "What's wrong with you?" He noticed some of the green rocks glowing and buzzing loudly beneath her body, and he felt a feeling of panic. He waved his right hand in front of his face, and she hovered nearly twenty feet above his head. With the other hand, he pointed at the rocks and they flew to the other side of the hill. Placing her on the ground, she slowly sat up, and said, "I feel a little sick."

"You shouldn't be around me," he said, "My skin condition."

"What's wrong with your skin?"

"A rare disease," he said, "I'm allergic to everything."

"That sucks," she said with a grimace. "How many powers do you have?"

Jimmy walked away from her with his arms folded, and looked at the downtown area of Metro City. "We shouldn't discuss our powers."

"But you saved me," she said, "My powers come and go."

"Not mine. They're my curse," he lamented, "Just wish they'd go away."

Later that evening, Jimmy sat at the dinner table eating a plate full of food, watching television, and talking to his mother. She sat on the other end of the table, and asked, "How was school?" She picked up her coffee mug, took a sip, and sat it back down on the table.

"Okay," he replied, "Met a girl."

She gave him an awkward grimace as her right index finger traced the rim of the cup, and said, "You know the rules, Jimmy?"

"Yes, ma'am," he said, "I didn't try to be friends with her, Momma. She came to me."

"The slightest touch."

"I know, Momma. It'll kill her," he said, "But..."

"As soon as you finish your meal, head for bed," she said, "Gotta get up early tomorrow because I have a job interview."

"Yes, ma'am," he said without hesitation. He grabbed his plate of food, walked it into the kitchen, and dropped the contents down the garbage disposal.

On the outside of his room was a green light; but as soon as he walked into the room, the light turned red to tell his Momma that he was no longer in his protective uniform. The walls of his room were made out of lead, and it shielded his Momma from his exposed skin. She never came into his room or came in contact with him as long as he was out of his suit. He hated that suit, but it gave him some normalcy as long as he didn't directly touch another human being. A day hadn't passed since he was a little kid that he hadn't dreamed of holding some girl's hand or getting a hug from his Momma. He knew that Vera wasn't his real Momma, but she was his Momma all the same. She was part of the team that made him.

Every night he went to sleep with the Gotham Explosion on his mind. The official death toll of the explosion was seventy-five thousand dead, and nearly three hundred thousand injured. Thousands of people went missing, and the government counted those people among the dead. They were incinerated by the extreme heat. His Momma told him a thousand times that it wasn't his fault; but if he hadn't been born, all those people would still be alive, and that thought raced through his mind every day. The news media said that terrorist attacked Gotham City, and many people blamed Batman because his antics always grabbed the polices' attention away from the real terrorist. The people of Gotham called Batman the devil; and every time he tried to help ordinary citizens with their problems, they attacked him and tried to tear off his mask. So, after months of trying to win favor with the people of Gotham City, he gave up on them, and moved to Metro City. And when Batman came to Metro City, a group of thugs called the Jokers followed behind him, and they battled on the Metro City streets daily.

The next day Vera placed him in the front seat of her hover-vehicle, and they drove to a scientific laboratory on Fifth Street, and he sat in the passenger seat fiddling with his gloves. With all the stresses of keeping Jimmy out of trouble and buying the expensive materials to make his protective suit, Vera needed a job badly. The laboratory assistant job paid very well, and it was an opportunity for her to get her foot in the door at a huge government facility.

Jimmy looked through the front wall of the building, and saw a room full of people filling out applications. It seemed so crowded to him that people were nearly sitting on top of each other. With his abilities to see through walls, he kept his Momma informed of the little things.

"It's crowded, Momma. Real crowded."

"It's by appointment," she said with the corners of mouth curved upwards, "Will you be alright sitting in the car by yourself?"

"Yes, ma'am," he said, "Can we get ice cream later?"

"Maybe," she said with a look of concern, "Let's take one thing at a time, okay?" She hopped out of the car, walked into the building, and he saw her walk up to the desk.

After that, he pulled off his thick, insulated gloves, popped his fingers, and placed his bare hands on his lap. A loud swoosh flew over the top of the vehicle that startled him, and he saw two dudes in white uniforms chasing a black streak. When he looked up, he saw a man bat fly threw the air with two men in joker uniforms chasing him. The Batman flew over his head, and then Jimmy stuck out his hands, shot a red ray at the Jokers, and caused the criminals to fall to the ground.

"What the hell?" The larger joker said as he pointed to Jimmy. "Did you do that, boy?"

The Batman flew in front of the kid, and said, "Pick on somebody your own size, Jokers."

"Get him," the smaller Joker said as he dove towards Batman. The wing bat flew into the air, and the smaller Joker grabbed Jimmy's left hand, and died on the cold concrete. Jimmy looked over the man, and stumbled back into the car.

"Jinx, get the hell up," the bigger Joker said, "Get up, man."

"He's dead," Jimmy said with a deep concern on his face.

"Dead. What do you mean?" The Joker asked as he grabbed his friend's hand.

"You better go," Jimmy said, "Just leave or you'll die too." He reached into the car, grabbed his gloves, and quickly and haphazardly placed them back on his hands.

The larger Joker lunged towards the little kid, and he shot the Joker in the chest with two lasers that flew from his eyes. Batman blocked the glare of the blast with his forearm, and said, "Holy crap."

His mother walked out of the office, saw the dead body and the other Joker holding his chest, and screamed, "Get in the car, Jimmy." She flew down the street, and the shadow of the bat flew over head, then disappeared behind a tall building. "What did you do?"

"He grabbed my hands," he said as he looked down at his gloves. "I just took them off for just a second, Momma."

She looked over at him, and said, "We can't stay in Metro City. We're exposed."

When the car pulled up to the breeze way of their home, everything appeared normal, and the porch light lit up the entire front yard. A cool breeze raced through the trees, and Jimmy paused because he thought he heard something fly over his head. In the distance, he heard the neighbor's dog barking loudly, and a hint of a man's cologne let him know that Batman was near.

"What's wrong with you?" Vera asked as she paused behind him. "We gotta get our things."

"Listen! I smell the Batman," he said as he put his right hand in the air. Batman slowly walked out of the shadows wearing his sleek uniform, and Jimmy nearly backed up into Vera.

"Watch it, Jimmy," Vera said.

"You killed that joker," he said as he stood in front of Jimmy and Vera.

"He grabbed..."

"Be quiet, Jimmy," Vera said as she walked in front of him. "You're a wanted man, Batman."

"Don't change the subject, lady. I saw what the boy did."

"I didn't mean to kill him," Jimmy said, "It's my curse."

"Cursed?" Batman asked with a smirk on his face. "What kind of curse?"

"If he comes in contact with anything living, it dies immediately," Vera said, "Not even your suit can protect you from his touch."

"Is that a threat?" Batman asked.

"I don't want to hurt anybody," Jimmy said as he placed his hands in his pockets.

Batman walked up to Vera, and said, "I know you."

"What do you mean?" She asked.

"That night. The night of the explosion in Gotham," he said, "I crossed your path."

"You didn't see anything," she said.

"I told Mr. Wayne that I saw a woman and a kid in the middle of the big crater, and he just blew it off," he said, "Six months later and the old man was dead."

"Okay. Okay," Vera said, "Cadmus tried to kill the boy, and it set off an explosion equivalent to a nuclear bomb."

"And it didn't kill the boy?" Batman asked.

"Would it have killed Superman?" She asked.

"He's a clone," Batman said, "That makes perfect sense."

A knife flew over Batman's head, hit Vera in the stomach, and she fell to the ground in a pool of blood. The little boy stood over her, and watched her as she spit up blood. Angered, three Jokers appeared out of the shadows swinging swords, and one of the Jokers sliced Batman across the stomach, and then struck Jimmy in the head causing the entire blade to shatter.

"Run, kid," Batman screamed as he fell to his knees.

Another Joker came up behind the bat swinging a sword, and then Jimmy sliced him in half with the heat ray coming from his eyes. The other two Jokers grabbed Jimmy by the hands, and they fell to the ground dead in front of a crying and bleeding Vera.

"You did good, Jimmy," she whispered as she looked at the blood dripping from her hands. "Momma's going home."

"No, Momma. Don't leave me," Jimmy begged as he watched her dying.

"We gotta get her to the hospital," Batman said as he held his side with both hands.

"It's too late for me," she said, "You have to take care of Jimmy. Train him."

"Me?" Batman asked.

"Show him what it's like to be human," she said, "Don't let him grow into The Monster."