DISCLAIMER: DC Comics is not owned by me. Any canon characters used in this story are the property of DC Comics. This story is mainly about original characters, though it occurs in the DC universe - specifically, within the universe established by DantesClover in Hidden Agenda (read it, y'all).
Author's Note: The characters Morana, Echo, Zero, Nano, Sta, Tic (pronounced "tech"), and StaTec (the fused form of Sta and Tic) are the propety of me, of course. As is their group, Covert Action Team Zeta (C.A.T.Z.). The characters Dr. Celia Williams and Carter Roulet are the property of DantesClover, and are used with his permission. If you want to know about those two characters, check out his stories Hidden Agenda and Against the World.
Chapter 1 - Hunting Death
"We've finished analyzing the data," a scientists says. He and his partner are standing outside of a glass-walled room, reporting to their superior.
"The results?" the woman asks, pushing her glasses back up on her nose.
"All green, Doctor," the other subordinate says. "Except for her mental state."
"That was expected, considering the inconsistancies within her gestation matrix."
"It has had some unexpected benefits with the combat training, though," the first subordinate says.
"True, but while it has provided us with invaluable data, such an imbalance is highly impractical for production. How much data has been gathered?"
"We have sufficient amount to go to Phase Two, Doctor."
"Good. Then terminate Project Morana. It's usefulness is at an end."
There was a crack, the kind of cracking sound that only glass can make - right before it shatters. All three of the scientists snap their heads to stare at the glass room. The glass room where Project Morana was currently residing. They stared in horror at the exponentially expanding crack in the wall of the glass room. Their horror grew as they watched Morana casually pick up the fork from her unretrieved meal tray.
"Run!" one of them shouted, right as she telekinetically slammed the fork through the glass - and into the forehead of the scientist that had ordered her 'termination.' The woman was dead before she hit the ground, her two subordinates fleeing the massive warehouse-like room Project Morana's glass room was sitting in. An alarm had begun sounding as soon as the glass wall - and shortly thereafter, the room - began breaking apart. Shielding herself from the glass with power, Morana casually stepped over to the corpse and nudged it. Her eyes flickered from a dark gray to a poisionous green several times before settling into the poison green shade. She looked around the massive room where she had always been forced to train and kill, her mind cataloging the details - including the multiple doors, some of which were opening to admit the facility's highly-trained, commando-like security force. Seeing what she was looking for, she unhurriedly walked to a section of the floor that seemed indistinguishable from the rest.
"You have ten seconds to get to the floor, or we open fire," one of the soldiers shouted, the sound of multiple rifle safeties clikcing off punctuating the order. Morana stopped, but only because she was where she wanted to be. Crouching into a kneeling position, she placed both of her hands on the floor before her as twenty of the commandos closed in. Pushing down, both physically and telekinetically, Morana felt the plate give - and slide away until it was underneath the floor plate to her left. The soldiers, of course, had heard the action and knew what it meant, but it was too late for anything but one of them to say, "Oh, shit."
Swords whirled into the air, controlled by Morana's natural (but artificially enhanced) telekinesis. The twenty commandos around her had fountains of blood explode from them as the extraordinarily sharp blades sliced through their bodies, severing limbs, arteries, and heads. The other commandos surrounding her, nearly a hundred now with more coming in, opened fire on her, but the swords moved blindingly fast, slicing into the bullets as they need her. Wha the swords missed her instinctive telekinetic shield stopped. Two of the swords - a katana and a talwar with a Wultz blade - floated gently into her hands while the others floated around her, a steel cage of deadly protection. The soldiers tried to concentrate their fire on one spot as a distraction for their comrades to take her down, but to no avail; those who tried to rush and kill her at close range had her katana and talwar erupt through their ribcages - in one case exploding the heart out of the blade's entry side.
Heavy 6-inch-thick steel doors slammed down across the room's entrances, sealing everyone inside.
"I will bathe in your blood," Morana spoke softly, her swords whirling ever faster.
After nearly half an hour, she stood alone in a room whose floor was awash with blood an corpses. Her five 'floating' blades orbited around her slowly and lazily, and the katana and talwar rested loosely in her hands. Her naked, hairless, and scarred body was drenched in blood as well. She walked over to a sealed door and cocked her head to the left slightly, staring at it.
"You can't get out of there," a voice echoed from loudspeakers built into the room's ceiling - forty feet above her head.
"I'm not going to die," Morana replied. "I am death. I am Morana."
"You are what we made you to be. And now we no longer need you."
"You will die," she stated. As far as she was concerned, it was a fact. The owner of that voice would die, so she would kill her. Turning around, her blades whirling ever faster around her, she rushed to the opposite wall. She used her telekinesis to boost her speed even more than it already was. Three feet from the wall, she jumped at it and continued running - only now the wall was a floor and the floor a wall. With a scream of rage, she pushed off from the wall, flinging a sword - this one a wakizashi - into a wall panel - which turned out to be a two-way mirror that shattered under the blade's assault. Telekinetically grabbing a person in the room, she yanked them out while yanking herself forward. Someone in the room shot at her; she was caught off guard, so the bullet went through her left bicep. Landing in the room, she felt the pain from the wound and looked at her arm. The sight of the blood running down the bare limb made her eyes widen, and their color begin flickering. But, rather than go from gray to poison green and back, this time they went from poison green - to blood-red. Her whole body began shaking as her eyes began staying blood-red. Looking up at the screaming people in the room, she loosed a scream of her own. A scream of pure rage, of fury unleashed. Then she leapt foward, blades flashing in a dance of death . . .
Residential Wing, C.A.T.Z. HQ,
Somewhere outside Gotham City
With a scream to echo the one from her dream, Morana sat bolt upright in her bed, her swords whirling into the air around her. Panting, her naked body and bedsheets drenched in a cold sweat, the scarred, now short-haired young woman slowly came out of the nightmare, her eyes flicking through poison green, blood red, and multiple shades of gray. Her eyes slowly settled into a pale gray as she calmed down, her swords slowly drifting back to their resting places around her room. Still breathing a little hard, she got out of bed and staggered to her in-suite bathroom. Going to the sink, she turned on the cold water and splashed her face with it, trying to wash away the remnants of the dream. Or, to be accurate, the memory.
"Damnit," she whispered, leaning her forehead against the mirror. "Motherfuckin' past." Then she heard a knock at her door. Turning off the water, she grabbed a towel from the rack behind her and wrapped it around herself. Walking out of the bathroom, she called out, "Come in, Nano."
The door opened, and a woman with metallic navy blue hair and metallic dark gray 'skin' poked her head in.
"Are you okay, Mora?" the cyber-sentient asked, coming in and shutting door. "I heard you scream."
"As did everyone else here, I'm sure," she muttered.
"Be that as it may," Nano said, "no one else would come in here to check on you, since they all know the source of your nightmares."
"We lived together for about a year before Mom brought us - and the others - here," Morana reminded her. "You know my past, too."
"And it's because of that time we spent before Covert Action Team Zeta that I come in here to be with you," she replied. "It's what I did then, it's what I am doing now, and it's what I shall continue to do."
"But why, Nan? Why waste your time on a monster like me?"
"Because you're no more a monster than I am," her friend said firmly. "I know what was done to you before, even though I don't know what you went through. I care for you, Morana, even if I am as yet uncertain as to what my feelings are."
"I know, Nano," Morana replied, grabbing the other woman's hand and squeezing it. "I'm not sure of my own feelings - about anything."
"All in good time," the androidic woman told her. She reached out and grasped her friend's other hand. "Would you like me stay with you while you sleep?"
"More than anything," she replied. "But I don't want to bother you."
"You are my friend, my battle-sister," Nano said. "You could never bother me."
And until the sun rose a few hours later, Morana slept without dreams, feeling safe in Nano's embrace.
Main Conference Room, C.A.T.Z. HQ
"Anybody know what's going on?" Zero asked as she sat down in a chair around the large table in the conference room of Covert Action Team Zeta's headquarters. Echo, the team's unofficial but unanimously chose leader, shook her head.
"Sorry, Zee," she said. "I got the same message the rest of you did, to report to the main briefing room around oh-eight-hundred."
"What about you, Lady Death?" the sniper assassin asked Morana, who was sitting across from her. The snow white and blood red-haired woman shook her head.
"Mom didn't tell me anything, either," she replied. Out of the six (five, if Sta and Tic fused together into StaTic) young women that made up C.A.T.Z., she was the only one who called Doctor Celia Williams 'mom;' the aging woman had been there for Morana almost from the instant she thawed out from a forty-year cryogenic hibernation.
"I doubt it's a party," the ever gloomy Tic replied from one side of Zero.
"A party would be great!" the ever bubbly Sta said from Zero's other side; after the incident in South Africa three months ago, the other girls had learned to keep the twins near each other but not close to each other.
"I'm sure it would, dear, but I'm afraid the situation is very dire," Dr. Williams said, walking into the room. "Sorry I'm late, girls. I had to make sure I got all of the information I needed."
"What's going on, Doctor?" Echo asked.
"It can't be good, if you called a meeting this early," Nano noted.
"That is an understatement, Nano," she said. "All of you will recall that, a little over a year ago when I first brought all of you together, I told you about an escaped criminal that was extremely dangerous."
"You did," Echo confirmed. "You also said that he vanished shortly after escaping whatever ultra-maxiumum security facility he was imprisioned in."
"That is true, Echo."
"That you bring it up now suggests the situation has changed, Mom," Morana replied.
"It has," Dr. Williams agreed. "One week ago, a Jump City mayoral candidate was found dead in his home. The cause of death was a single bullet wound just behind the temple."
"A perfect kill," Zero said approvingly. "Not an easy shot to make precisely."
"Correct, Zero. There are, at most, four assassins in the world capable of executing such a shot. You are one. Of the remaining three, one is in an injury-induced coma in a Moroccan hospital, and another is in a Swedish prision."
"So who's the fourth?" Echo asked.
Carter yawned as he walked into his apartment. Shutting the door behind him, he reached out to flick the light switch, only to have it spark and snap, with a thin wisp of smoke rising from it. "Damn," he muttered. "I thought Mark said he was going to fix this today." Grumbling under his breath, he tenderly made his way to the kitchen - where he found an overflowing trash can. "And I see Jack took out the trash, too." Flicking on the kitchen light for the small (and uninhabited except for him) apartment, he pulled out a mostly gone loaf of bread from a cabinet, a package of meat from the fridge, and a bottle of tabasco sauce from behind the microwave.
"Damn Janet," he growled. "Always hiding my sauce. That reminds me." Turning around, he reached under the kitchen sink and pulled an empty bottle of Scottish double-malt whiskey. "Fuck. I'm gonna kill Robert." He headed back to the living room. "I fuckin' am gonna kill 'im, Judith; just watch me." Sitting down on his rather worn and patched couch, he began eating his sandwich - although he did remember to take the meat out of the package this time. All around the apartment were enough guns, ammo boxes, and knives to outfit a small army - or one rather talented killer. Reaching down between the couch cushions, he pulled out a bottle of Russian vodka whose proof number was high enough to allow it to double as an anesthetic during major surgery. "At least Paul didn't get this one; no one touches my drink," he grumbled.
Nano sat down in the pilot's seat of the heavily modified private jet that was C.A.T.Z.'s method of travel, with Zero settling into the co-pilot's seat. The other four girls buckled themselves into the four seats just behind the cockpit; the rest of the jet's interior was filled with the advanced equipment that would allow the jet to disappear electronically - as well as allow the team to hack into any secure network in the world. The take-off was fast but routine, and the jet rose vertically into the sky until it was just one story above ground level. The engine nacelles rotated ninety degrees, and the forward-swept-wing jet rocketed into the night sky on a direct course to Jump City.
Meanwhile, a black-suited figure wearing a skull-like mask leaped from rooftop to rooftap, moving as though absolutely certain each step would land perfectly - which they did. Tonight, the figure had a mission to do, a job that would pay rather well. Which would be a big change from the last year. And a step forward, Red X thought grimly.
End Note: And there it is. The first chapter of the asked-for C.A.T.Z. story. I'll warn y'all now; this isn't going to be a long story. But I hope you like it. Please review.