Obviously, I don't own the rights to any of these characters and anything related to them.
I'd be the recipient of a lot of insults and name callings if I would.
Thanks to iDefyGravity for her help in making this understandable.
Chapter 1 - LOVE IS A (CRAZY) BITCH
JL Mission File #06943:
After two and a half Earth years of armed conflict, both sides sustaining heavy losses, the governments of Rann and Thanagar were ready to establish a cease fire and initiate peace talks. Since Almerac held trade agreements with both planetary systems, Queen Maxima offered her world for the Peace Negotiations to take place and her mediation services. Given her scarce experience in diplomatic affairs, Queen Maxima arrived at JL Headquarters on Wednesday the 3rd to request the assistance of the Justice League, in which she had a short tenure.
Queen Maxima specifically asked for the presence of
Member 0.03, Wonder Woman, whose ambassadorial experience made her specially fitted to handle any diplomatic dispute, shall it arise. Member 0.02, Batman, whose expertise in security matters will help assure the safety of the summit. Member 0.01, Superman, a well known and respected figure throughout the universe, to ensure fair play and trust between the parts involved.
After Weekly Meeting #256, held on Friday the 5th at 11:00 hs. GMT, it was approved unanimously to send a mission to Almerac to assist in any way possible the normal development of the Peace Negotiations. The requested members, 0.01, 0.02 and 0.03, had agree to lend their services.
All three members would make themselves present in Almerac four days prior to the Peace Negotiations beginning, and take charge of their assigned functions. Once on destination, they would be briefed on the specifics by the Organizational Board.
Upon arrival, they were to confirm with Watchtower. Afterwards the Away Team must establish comm-links regularly every twelve Earth hours to inform situation status and mission progress and to receive further instructions.
Member 0.08, Hawkgirl from Thanagar and reserve member 1.19 Adam Strange from Rann were already stationed in Almerac in representation of the Justice League before their respective governments.
As safety precaution, Javelin JL011 would stand ready to depart to Almerac at any time, with a backup Beta team, code name "Triad", formed by another 3 members, according to the roster.
Alpha team, code name "Trinity", was set to depart Thursday the 11th, at 09:00 hs. GMT, on Javelin JL003.
Javelin JL003 - Deep Space - In Route to Almerac
"Now exiting wormhole MVD-280364. Point of egress Blackhole DF789045 at the center of Semsute Galaxy, M15947852. ETA to Almerac, 6 earth hours, 16 minutes and 32 seconds" the computer voice notified.
"G.O.R.D.A. (General Operations Regulator and Data Administrator): Auto pilot engaged." Batman released the controls. "Continue in route to Blackhole DF845761 according to pre-established route to Almerac. ETA to next blackhole? Time estimation only."
"1 hour, 13 minutes, 24 seconds"
Batman asked for a black coffee to the beverage and food supplying machine at the back of Control Room and pulling his cowl back he sat at the science console. He'd noticed a delay in the computer's response. It was a small fraction of a second, but enough to pick his attention. He had to find out the motive.
"Hello, Bruce, time to relieve you" said Wonder Woman entering the room. seeing his worried frown she added, "Everything alright?"
"For some reason the computer is slowing down" said Batman in a serious tone "I've just noticed..."
In that moment Superman opened the sliding hatch at the back of the room "Guys, did you notice G.O.R.D.A. is kind of slow? Just when Diana came here, I was trying to access my book collection and I found a delay of 0.22 seconds"
"Bruce is trying to find out the reason why," said Diana.
"There is a subroutine running in the background, but it seems impossible to access. I fear it might be some kind of virus," informed The Dark Knight.
"Try to pause all automated functions. The one that's still running should be our mystery culprit" suggested the Man of Steel.
"Good Idea." After some key strokes, Bruce exclaimed, "There! It seems to be some kind of timer..."
"Don't touch it, Bruce. It may be a countdown, and you know they usually end in something unpleasant," pointed Diana. An alarm began to sound and red lights start blinking as she was still speaking.
"There was no need to touch it. The moment I paused all other routines it accelerated its pace." Batman had to raise his voice over the intermittent klaxon. "I can't stop it!"
"G.O.R.D.A.: stop sounding the alarm," ordered Superman. The klaxon and lights ceased at once.
When the timer stopped running, the red-headed visage of Maxima showed on every screen of the ship at the same time.
"Hello, Kal-El. Did you miss me? Because I've missed you a lot. Endless nights craving for your touch, eager to run my hands over your muscular torso, hoping I could drown myself in the bottomless pool of your eyes" A deep sadness transpired in her voice and her amber eyes. Clark turned instinctively, his eyes towards Diana. Her beautiful face was transfigured by a disgusted expression, her fists clenched like hammers. He looked back to the screen in front of him, where Maxima continued.
"Anyway, it occurred to me the only way to stop thinking about you is the certainty that you no longer exist, the satisfaction of knowing for sure that if you don't belong to me, you will be nobody else's. Yes, I mean you, you Amazonian whore. I've seen how you look at him, how you let your hands wander all over his chest every time you get together" Diana felt a burning sensation on her cheeks. She prayed to Athena not to be blushing. "Be glad, though, because you'll share his fate. If you look through the starboard windows, you will see a red giant just 3 of your AUs away. That's right, Kal-El, a red sun"
"Obviously this message was to be displayed further on in our route" stated Batman.
However, they were passing through the planets revolving around a binary system, composed by a white dwarf and a red giant, from which the former was absorbing matter. The situation was equally dangerous for the Man of Steel because they were facing the red giant side of the system.
"As soon as this message ends, a low power kervanite bomb will detonate inside your nuclear fuel tank, igniting it...don't bother trying to find it." said Maxima with a rather colloquial tone "Quite an innovative type of device, or so says my advisor in this matters, Apokoliptian liquid molecular electronics, now embedded deep inside the Javelin's systems, so it is all over the ship by now."
"She's telling the truth. All circuits are infected by it and it mixed with the nuclear fuel fluid," grunted Batman.
"Can you jettison the fuel storage compartment," asked Diana.
"The mechanism safety protocol has been overridden," said Bruce, frantically typing commands on the keyboard.
"I'm going out to remove it manually," declared Clark, disappearing in a blur before anyone could say a word.
"KAL! NO," shouted Diana.
"Don't worry, the red sun rays do not affect him immediately. His cells have stored enough yellow sun radiation to allow him to use his powers for a while," Batman reassured her.
"I know, but..." All color vanished from her face as she was looking through the windows trying to locate him.
Meanwhile, Maxima kept speaking. "As for you, Batman, I have no real quarrel with you, other than your being a pompous pain in the neck, with a lousy attitude and no sense of humor. You'll be collateral damage, because of your human weaknesses, but more importantly, your demise will add another nail to the coffin of my beloved Kal-El, when he realizes he couldn't do anything to save his friend. As for the Amazon, she will last a while and you, Superman, will have the privilege of seeing her die slowly in the vacuum of space, since there's no planet you can reach anywhere near your current position. Perhaps she'll see you die first, without your powers..., in any case, it's a win-win situation."
"Thanks for the idea, Maxima. Start to look for a planet to land the Javelin," said Diana with determination. "Bruce?"
Gotham's Champion was already on it. "Located: possible M class planet with surrounding magnetite debris ring. Detouring Javelin towards it now" Batman jumped in the command chair.
"I'm having difficulties detaching the fuel deposit. It has been strongly welded to the main hull. I won't be able to remove it without causing a breach," informed Superman via intercom.
"Kal, please get back inside! We're moving closer to a planet where, hopefully, we can land!"
"In a minute." Using his heat vision surgically, the last son of Krypton finally took the fuel tank out of the Javelin's hull and began to move away from her as soon as he could.
"...so this is farewell, my beloved" concluded Maxima, blowing a kiss as a tear rolled down her cheek. As her image faded a trepidation could be sensed coming from stern.
"KAL!" screamed Diana as the explosion, augmented by the nuclear fuel ignition, shook the ship from stern to bow, throwing Superman many miles into space before he could stop himself.
The titanium crystals of the control room windows shattered instantaneously and the air in the control room began to disperse into space, sucking Diana and Bruce. She managed to grab a leg of Batman as she struggled to remain inside the ship. Painfully she moved towards the hatch at the rear, dragging the unconscious Dark Knight. After entering the other compartment she shut the hatch and restored the air.
A quick examination told her Bruce's state was critical. The explosive decompression caused his lungs to collapse and his mouth was filled with blood as were most of his body orifices and eye sockets. She took him to the nearest stasis pod to preserve him in a hibernate condition until she was able to provide him with medical attention.
In the mean time, Superman was approaching the Javelin as soon as he could, feeling his strength diminishing as consequence of the red sun exposure. Thanks to Diana's quick thinking they were getting close to the planet she'd mentioned. In a final effort he augmented the momentum of the ship redirecting her straight to the planet at increased velocity.
Knowing he wouldn't be able to stand those conditions much longer, he got inside the Javelin.
"Kal! Thank Hera you're alive," shouted Diana with a voice strangled by emotion, holding him tight in an endless embrace.
"Are you alright," he asked, returning her gesture. "I was so worried"
"I'm fine" she said with her head resting on his shoulder "It's Bruce. He's been badly injured."
"Where is he?" Clark looked around him for his friend.
"I put him into a stasis pod until we can take care of him" said Wonder Woman, lifting her head from his shoulder and loosening the hug.
"Good call. Meanwhile, we are falling to the class M planet rather fast and my powers are fading, not allowing me to stop the Javelin in time before she reaches terminal velocity" was his response.
"We have very limited maneuverability, with only one motor on line and running on fumes, literally. We'll have to cut every non-essential system if we want to preserve energy to maintain the stasis pod functioning" She looked at the sarcophagus like device."Unfortunately, the explosion destroyed all of the space suits but one and a spare helmet."
"Let's try this: I can stand a little vacuum still, so, with the help of the spare helmet to breathe I can steer the Javelin from the command chair and you help from outside with the suit. When we reach the atmosphere you will be still at your full strength to stop our bird from crashing. How does it sound?" He moved his eyebrows up and down comically.
She couldn't help but smile. He always resorted to comedy when situations looked desperate "Are you sure you can stand those conditions?"
"Sure thing. I'll be fine" he reassured her.
"We must launch the positioning beacon for the League to locate our whereabouts. I'm on it" the Amazon Princess went to a panel on the bulkhead and ordered "G.O.R.D.A. launch homing beacon transmitting in all the usual frequencies, authorization member 0.03, Wonder Woman, papa-alpha-romeo-alpha-delta-india-sierra-echo-1."
"Unable to comply. Beacon launch bay obstructed," informed the metallic voice.
"I'll be damned in Hades!" she exploded "Have to do it manually from the outside" Superman helped her to get into the space suit and he put on the helmet and an oxygen tube on his back. After Wonder Woman move outside the Javelin, Superman entered the command room and took a seat at the central chair. Although he was confident he could stand the open space conditions when he told Diana so, now he wasn't so sure. Every movement was arduous and painful, as every blood vessel in his body was about to burst. He strapped himself and grabbed the steering lever and fired the retro-thrusters, slowing their fall.
Diana went straight to the beacon housing and tried to liberate it. The planet below was approaching very fast. She manage to release the beacon when they were passing the ring surrounding the planet. A blinking light indicated the device was working properly.
She headed towards the nose of the Javelin right when the ship was entering the atmosphere.
"Kal, everything okay?" she asked.
Clark had no energy left to answer, so he made the "thumbs up" gesture.
"Very well then, brace yourself! " and she started to push the nose of the Javelin back in order to break the fall "Athena, grant me strength, GGGGNNAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!"
Ultimately, she drew strength from the thought of all the things she would do to Maxima next time they meet.
As the friction was generating unbearable heat, the space suit burned away. Clark, strapped to the command seat, put his cape of indestructible kryptonian fabric over his head while his body was protected by his also kryptonian uniform. Still, the extreme heat made it almost impossible for him to breathe.
Diana broke the steep angle in which the Javelin was falling, getting her to describe an almost horizontal trajectory by the time they reached land. Seeing a forest nearby she aimed the ship in its direction, hoping the trees would help her slow the vessel. The Javelin lost her wings in the process, but after several hundred meters she finally stopped.
Loosening her grip from the nose, Diana let herself fall down onto the grass below. After a second she lifted her head
With no little effort she picked herself up and went to what was left of the command room.
Clark wasn't moving.
"NO! Athena, I beg to thee, don't let this be happening! Kal, please return to me!" She amorously lifted his cape and began to remove the helmet as copious tears ran down her cheeks. Part of his face was scorched as well as his hands. Suddenly he took a violent gulp for air and opened his eyes looking around.
"You did it! I knew it... Attagirl," he said in a weak voice "I told you... I'd be fine," he said half smiling, before passing out.
Smiling and sobbing she managed to say, "Yes, you did." After that she fell on her knees, bursting into tears unrestrained.
Qoheleth ( u/255561/ ) for pointing out a huge time mistake in this chapter.