Disclaimer: I do not own either Young Justice or its related characters. Such are the property of DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Cartoon Network. I'm just borrowing them for some non-profit entertainment.
(A/N: Written for Yume no Anime's fan fiction challenge: "…write a one shot on (Dubbilex)'s thoughts with having the sidekicks break into Cadmus." Further details can be found here: http: /forum. fanfiction. net/ topic/ 86355/ 38331685/ 1/)
Dubbilex studied the subject Desmond was rapidly developing in the new pod –Project Kr, the Superboy. It had been only one week but the kryptonian-based genomorph already resembled a humanoid toddler. He would now be crowning the fourth stage of cognitive development (as defined by the human psychologist Jean Piaget). Assuming that kryptonians developed similarly to humans, Project Kr would right now be developing basic logic skills and drawing coordinations between means and ends. It was a stage that many psychologists (once again, human ones) dubbed the 'first proper intelligence' (implying that any sign of intelligence prior to this stage was somehow 'improper'?), it was the time when the developing young one learned goal orientation and deliberate planning to achieve objectives.
Desmond ordered a second G-gnome be added to the kryptonian's pod to keep-up with his rapid development.
As the G-goblin type genomorph oversaw the addition of the extra G-gnome, Dubbilex had to wonder, 'Why?'
The intension of the Kr Project was to create a replacement or 'back-up' for Superman. If the Man of Steel were ever to die in battle, the Earth would be left without one of its most powerful protectors. In that event, the Superboy was meant to fill the void. Also, in the case that the Superman became drunk with his power or corrupted in some other way, Project Kr would then be called-up to defend the world from the man it (he?) had been created to replace. From what had been explained to him and what the goblin had gleaned from the minds of the geneticists and other specialists that had contributed to Kr's creation, that was his intended purpose. To be a champion for the Light. But if that were the case, why keep the young genomorph hidden away down here in the dark?
Dubbilex tried reading Desmond's mind once, to try and figure out the answer to that (among other questions), but all he got was static. Of course, as the one whom had developed the G-gnomes for the very purpose of mind control he would make sure his own mind was shielded from both control and invasion first. Both human history and literary fiction were littered with examples of men falling victim to their own creations, Desmond would make damn sure he did not make that mistake. Dr. Frankenstein had been killed by his monster, Asimov had shown that his Three Laws were not infallible. The standard view seemed to be that no artificially created being could be wholly trusted by its creators and after another moment's thought the goblin-type genomorph had to agree. He did not entirely trust Desmond, what reason did Desmond have to trust him? But that raised another, more interesting question:
'What would make an intelligent, self-aware organism loyal to its creators or its purpose?'
It was approaching the sixth week now and Kr had already completed the 'Preoperational stage' of cognitive development a little less than two weeks earlier than projected. Either Desmond's calculation of one week to a year had been wrong (and the good doctor refused to admit the possibility) or kryptonian cognitive development occurred much more rapidly than did humans. Either way, a third gnome was ordered added to his pod to keep pace with the clone's development.
Dubbilex was once again called to oversee the addition and make sure the new G-gnome's integration went smoothly. He watched the tech's fit the small creature into a tiny oval shaped chamber of its own above Kr's pod, 'the kid' as Guardian had started calling him. The goblin supposed it was an accurate nickname, at this stage of his physical development he did resemble a human child around the age of six and a common slang term for such a youngster was 'kid' (but the term actually referred to the offspring of a goat, humans were weird). But he liked that at least one of the humans of Cadmus saw his fellow genomorph, not as another 'Frankenstein's monster' but another creature worthy of being given an affectionate nickname. Dubbilex viewed all the genomorphs as his 'siblings' in one way or another and Kr was his youngest brother among them.
"We should let him walk around some time." Guardian muttered as he stood beside the goblin, likewise watching the new gnome being fitted to the pod. "Give the kid a chance to stretch his legs."
Dubbilex had cast a sidelong glance at the man before saying, "Desmond would not approve."
'Kindness', he would later muse, 'that was what Guardian was expressing. Could that be the missing element that prompts artificial constructs to rebel against their creators? Guardian is kind to me and my brethren and I bear him no ill will. Desmond is disrespectful and occasionally cruel, I would happily stand back and watch him be trampled by a G-troll or another of my brothers.'
It was a solid and clear thought, an opinion that the G-goblin had confidence in and was sure of. He would not lift a finger to help Desmond and would rejoice in the man's death. Dubbilex held no loyalty to his creator, just as humanity's science fiction writers had foretold. How, then, did Desmond expect to control Kr? How did he expect to keep a being with Superman's abilities under his thumb?
The G-gnomes were the obvious answer. The good doctor used them to control everyone in the complex, from the lowliest G-sprite to even Guardian and Dr. Spence, two humans with whom Desmond worked closely. But the gnomes were not infallible. They had no effect on him, Dubbilex, and when he so chose, he could shake their influence off of others with minimal effort. No, there was no reliable way Desmond would be able to control Kr, just as there was no way for Desmond to control him. His dear younger brother would turn on their creator one day; the human authors of fiction novels had foreseen it and the goblin had to once again ask himself, 'What makes these humans think they can control us?'
Kr was supposed to be a replacement for Superman and Superman was not human, yet he displayed a great loyalty and love for humanity as a whole. What factors and variables had given rise to that loyalty and love? Would it be possible to program such ethical commitment into an artificial being? There was no way to place ethics into a fetus, 'right' and 'wrong' were not instinctual concepts developed during gestation, 'morality' was a social construct. The differing states laws on the death penalty was evidence enough of that. He supposed one could supplement an education in ethics and morality with training, but how would one test for such a thing? And in the end, just because one was 'morally right' by one standard did not make him 'morally right' by another's standard.
Turning on one's creator could be viewed as a heinous crime committed by an artificially created being or could be seen as an artificially created being 'liberating himself from oppression'. The only difference lay in who was narrating the tale.
But there was another difference in there as well and that was method. Acts of violence were, by general consensus of western culture, viewed as 'wrong behavior' or 'wrong action'. For him and his genomorph brethren to be free from their creator and still avoid the brand of 'monster' or 'abomination' from the rest of human society they would need to follow a path more similar to that of the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. For that they would need a champion.
Dubbilex turned his thoughts back to his kryptonian brother and gave way to an epiphany.
He had spent the following ten weeks meditating on the plan that had occurred to him. With crystal clarity he understood that humans could not accept genomorphs outright, it was not in human nature to be trusting and accepting of things which they did not understand. Left to themselves, society as a whole would never see his brethren as anything more than artificially created monstrosities. That was why the genomorph cause needed a representative whom people would not fear out right, a champion people could look upon and feel reassured. Kr, the Superboy, was that champion.
His form and appearance was nearly indistinguishable from that of a human's and Dubbilex had long since noted the human tendency to assume that everything that appeared human on the surface must also be human beneath the shell. But beyond that, Kr looked like Superman –the Man of Steel, the All-American Alien, the Man of Tomorrow. If a being with the visage of Superman championed the genomorph cause then the G-goblin was confident that success was assured. He just had to get the kid away from Desmond and the rest of Cadmus. For that he would need help, Justice League help.
A small explosion was all it took to start a small fire. A fire which was sure to draw the attention of the Leauge. Dubbilex waited on the second floor of the ground facility, ready to lead the team of Leaguers that responded down to the bowls of the complex, down into the real Cadmus labs. He was disappointed to see no senior Justice League members arrive. Instead, three sidekicks showed up with all the attitude, entitlement and discoordination of inexperienced teenagers whom had bitten off more than they could chew. Damn it! He'd called for Titans and gotten Teens! That was comparable to summoning Cthulhu and getting the octopus from Yellow Submarine, or calling upon a Chayot Ha Kodesh and being answered by a lowly Ishim, asking for Holms and Watson but having the gang from Scooby-Doo show up instead!
Dubbilex was not pleased.
Still, he also understood that his mysterious fire would rouse Desmond's suspicion and so he'd never have a second chance at this. He would never find another opportunity to free his brother from the lab and set in motion what he hoped would turn into a movement for genomorph liberation. The goblin-type genomorph would have to take what he was given and work with it to his best advantage. Perhaps after seeing the real Cadmus, the boy would realize that they were in over their heads and call in their mentors, the real Justice Leauge. Dubbilex could only hope.
So, he led them down…
It did not work out as well as he had hoped. The boys should have called the rest of the League the moment they stepped off the elevator and saw the G-troll patrol, as soon as they realized that the building on the surface was just a front for the real facility below. But they didn't. Instead they took it upon themselves to investigate, disrupting Dubbilex's plan and putting themselves in more danger than was necessary. Stupid kids! He hoped all humans were not this stupid.
Kr helped Guardian carry and place them in pods almost identical to his own only in a separate lab. While Desmond held his meeting with the mysterious 'Cadmus Board' that referred to itself as 'the Light', Dubbilex indulged himself in a moment's study of the three would-be heroes. He extended his telepathic senses to the three, entering their minds through narrow channels in their psyches, all the while keeping a part of his mind carefully alert for Desmond and whatever his mysterious 'Board' commanded him to do.
Upon entering the trio's collective minds, Dubbilex was struck by a most unusual impression. These three individuals together formed one complete person, or rather could form one complete person if they were given to developing better cooperative skills. Each one of the three greatly reminded the goblin-type genomorph of one of the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche –the id, ego and super-ego. A most curious case.
Robin reminded him most of the Ego, though he was youngest of the three, the Boy Wonder's mind was organized but defensive, perceptual, and intellectually cognitive. Were he awake, there was no doubt in Dubbilex's mind that the boy would be fully aware of his surroundings, from sights, to sounds, to things unseen. Of the three, he seemed to be the most skilled at accurate judgment, tolerance, reality testing, control, planning, defense, information processing, and memory. Of course, the boy was trained by the World's Greatest Detective, what else would one expect?
Kid Flash appeared to be the Id of the trio. The id was the instinctive or impulsive part of the mind. It acted and reacted quickly based on the individual's perceptions, wants and needs, much like the Kid Flash. The young speedster was quick and impulsive and given to acting before thinking. Of course, from what the goblin had heard, so too was his mentor the Flash. Again, another case that should be intuitive.
Aqualad was the Super-Ego. The super-ego aimed for perfection. It works in contradiction to the id. The super-ego strives to act in a socially appropriate manner, whereas the id just wants instant self-gratification. The super-ego controls the perceptions of right and wrong as well as guilt. Aqualad was mentored by Aquaman whom was also his king, as such, the boy felt a great pressure and weight of responsibility to prove himself 'worthy' of the honor his king does by him. It was a level of maturity the goblin had not expected to find in one so young.
Perhaps these three were not quite as undesirable as he had originally thought. They may not have preformed quite so well earlier, but when they did work together, really cooperated for real, Dubbilex was sure that the three would be a true force to be reckoned with. He dubbed them acceptable liberators and companions for his brother. Kr would do well with them.
But time was running short now; Desmond had finished his audience with the Light. They were in danger. He had to wake them.
/'You must awaken now!'/
Their escape went as well as could be expected, he supposed.
Of course, Kr had never been out of his pod before and none of his three liberators really knew their way around the complex, so he did have to guide them a little. But Dubbilex couldn't begrudge the boys that. All the trouble would be worth it so long as his brother made it to the surface, made it out and away from Cadmus –that was all that mattered. Kr would be the genomorph hero and blaze a trail for all other genomorphs to be free.
…And then, Guardian managed to box-in and surround them. There would be no other way for the boys to escape if he didn't step in. Desmond was still yet to learn of his telepathic ability and Dubbilex was loath to reveal his most secret and most powerful ability, but if it was for Kr…
Dubbilex watched as all those crowded in the corridors intersection wilted, falling to the floor subdued.
/'Perhaps for the sake of all genomorphs, our brother Superboy should make up his own mind.'/ It hadn't occurred to the goblin before, but he did sort of place this destiny on the kid without asking him first. An action that was rather similar to what Desmond does with everyone else. Perhaps he'd been spending far to much time around the good doctor.
/'It was you.'/ There was no real shock in the kid's psychic wave, just a sort of vague recognition.
/'Yes, brother.'/ Dubbilex admitted. /'I set the fire and lured your new friends down into Cadmus...'/ It wasn't to early to call them his brother's 'friends' was it? /'…woke them when they were in danger-'/
/'And guided me. …Why?'/
/'Because you are our hope.'/ The goblin-type genomorph hoped that all his feelings and hoped were conveyed through their psychic thread along with his words. He hoped his brother understood all that he wanted and that he, Kr, was the only one that could achieve it. /'The genomorph hero. You will blaze a trail for all our brothers, showing us the way to freedom.'/
Out the corner of his eye, Dubbilex saw that Guardian was recovering. Shaking off the last vestiges of his G-gnome's control. That was good. He liked the guy when he was actually himself, he could be trusted and depended on. Around them the others began to stir as well, the other genomorphs coming back to themselves and Kr's new friends picking themselves up off the floor. It seems his psychic grip on them was slipping, still Dubbilex kept his attention focused on his youngest brother.
/'What is your choice, brother?'/
And then, Kr spoke aloud the three words he'd been hoping to hear: "I. Choose. Freedom."
A breakout in review.
All and all, things had worked out far better than Dubbilex had hoped. True, he had not been at all pleased with violent destruction of the ground facility above the complex. Violence and destruction were widely viewed as 'wrong actions' by the greater part of human society and he would have preferred his younger brother not make his debut emerging from the wreckage of a building he'd helped to bring down. But, he was also Superman's clone, really what else could one expect from a genomorph copy of the Man of Steel. (And besides, it had been Robin's idea, originally. Blame it on the Ego.)
Mayhem aside, though, the end results were indeed better than Dubbilex had ever hoped. He had simply wanted to get Kr out of Cadmus and into the world. He had gotten for more than that. Kr was out and about and had acquired companions to aid him in his surface life, he was under the careful care of the Justice League of America and, thought it might take some time, the goblin-type genomorph was sure that his brother might start training under his genetic-donor –Superman. Kr did seem to hold a certain fondness for him.
But the best part of this, the best part of all, was that Desmond was gone and out of the picture. Oh! Pardon, not 'Desmond' anymore, ahem… Blockbuster had been defeated by his little bother and the trio and was now in Justice League custody. He's probably ultimately be sent to one of the maximum security prisons for meta-humans, maybe Stryker's Island or Belle Reve, but the main point was that he was gone and with him, his influence. He didn't have to worry about the G-gnomes suppressing the wills or controlling the thoughts of the people around him (both human and genomorph alike), neither did he have to put up with the entitled, self-important disrespect that Desmond showed everyone else around him.
As Guardian had said, "A kinder, gentler Cadmus."
Dubbilex smiled inwardly. He had summoned Titans and gotten Teens, but those Teens had also been 'Titians' in their own right. They had been an invaluable help in getting Kr to freedom. He wouldn't have gotten away with it if wasn't for those meddling kids.