Chapter One: Arrival at Battleworld
"Uh, Skeets, where are we?"
Booster Gold was stunned. He had been in the middle of a press conference promoting his latest movie when suddenly a bright anomaly appeared. For some indiscernible reason he had flown right into it using his Legion flight ring. Fortunately for him Skeets, trying to stop him, was also sucked in. Now they were in a large ship of some kind which aside from one central pad was constructed entirely of windows. Outside he could see outer space, starts against blackness. There were two other ships like them, one the same size and the other smaller between the two bigger structures.
"It appears that we have been teleported to another section of outer space. Whoever did this might want the help of earth's unusually large amount of super-powered or highly skilled heroes, since besides ourselves I count twenty-four others."
The other superheroes were just as surprised. Most of the big ones were here. There was Batman, who Booster Gold rarely ever saw with shock in his face, and Nightwing, who was formerly Robin. Superman was there as well, flying around and trying to get a better view of things. Captain Marvel was doing the same. Hawkman and Hawkgirl stood together. Huddled together was the current line-up of the Justice League sans a couple members: the Atom, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Red Tornado, and the New Gods Big Barda and Mister Miracle. There was also about half of the Titans: Beast Boy, Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire. Aquaman and Wonder Woman too were there, discussing the situation. Additionally there was Black Lightning, Dr. Fate, Elasti-Girl, the Jon Stewart Green Lantern, and the Flash, who were all trying to see what was in the other ships. Everyone was in confusion.
"Who did this?" asked the Atom. "Sinestro? Darkseid?"
"This is not of Apokoliptan design," answered Big Barda.
"I was in the middle of a battle!" said Wonder Woman angrily.
"Me too," said Captain Marvel. "Mary Marvel and I were trying to stop Mister Atom and Mister Mind from demolishing a small town! Now without me, she might lose!"
"We need to get there and compare what happened to each of us," said Batman. "Then we might have an idea of what's going on."
"Agreed. Huddle together everybody," said Superman.
All of the heroes formed a rough circle.
"I'll do the asking around here," said Batman. "I was in the middle of a battle, as were Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. Is that true of everybody else?"
"No," said Booster Gold. "I was in Metropolis promoting the third movie in my series. It's called…"
"Then this was not an attempt to help the villains," Batman cut him off. "I also found an insane need to get into the anomaly. Did everyone else experience this?"
Everybody nodded or muttered in agreement.
"I also noticed that we are all from Earth except for Mr. Miracle and Big Barda."
"Yes, but our presence on Earth has been heavy over the past several years," pointed out Mr. Miracle.
"What can I say, earth's got all the heroes," said Beast Boy. Even the alien ones end up being U.S. citizens."
"We've also got most if not all of the A-listers here," said the Flash. "Me, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, no offense to everyone else."
"None taken," said Elasti-Girl.
"So who nabbed us?" asked Booster.
"I detect no involvement of magic," said Dr. Fate.
"Then I'm guessing a highly advanced alien race," said Batman, "or a being of unimaginable power."
"I hope it's not the latter," said Beast Boy. "I hate those types of guys."
"I wonder who's in those other ships," said Green Lantern, gesturing to the other objects.
"I think this is some gladiatorial contest," theorized Wonder Woman. "The other big ship could be housing our opponents and the smaller one can be our abductors, here to watch us fight for their amusement."
"But fight on where?" asked Lantern. "There's no planet around for light years that we can fight on."
"Wait, I detect two users of magic on the other ships," said Dr. Fate.
"Anyone we know?" asked Hawkgirl.
"Yes. Mordru and Etrigan."
Lex Luthor felt stupid. When a light anomaly appeared in Metropolis he had ordered the pilot of his LexCorp Jet to go into it. When he had refused he knocked him out and did it himself. He emerged on the other side without the jet. Now he found himself surrounded by over twenty individuals labeled as "super-villains". He also found himself in his anti-Superman battle suit, which he was sure was not on his jet.
Luthor recognized all of them save one, a long-haired man in garb similar to that of Dr. Fate. From his own city of Metropolis he spotted Metallo and the Parasite. From Wonder Woman's gallery of foes was the Cheetah and Giganta. From Green Lantern's Sinestro and Star Sapphire. He was pleased to see Terminator Deathstroke, always an efficient and trustworthy ally, among the group. He was less pleased to see no less than five inmates of Arkham Asylum: Clayface, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, and worst of all the Joker.
There was also a good chunk of the Flash's rogue's gallery: Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Professor Zoom, and the Trickster. The core of the Brotherhood of Evil was presents, with talking ape Monsieur Mallah, Madame Rogue, and the Brain. Rounding out the group was Black Manta, Doctor Light, Prometheus, and Solomon Grundy.
Much to Luthor's disgust, many of the villains were already engaged in petty squabbling, exasperated by their sudden transport to the middle of nowhere.
"Quit blocking my view, you large klutz!" sneered Doctor Light to Solomon Grundy.
"Don't yell at Grundy, puny man, or Grundy will kill you."
"Fool! Even with your incredible strength, I still defeat you with my mastery of light and this little ship has plenty of light!"
"Pipe down," sneered Captain Cold. "The Rogues are trying to think here!"
"Think about this!" Doctor Light solidified some light and bowled over the Flash Rogues.
Solomon Grundy roared and pitched in, grabbing Doctor Light and tossing him into the far transparent wall. The impact stunned the super-villain. Giganta grabbed him, trying to contain the super-zombie's rampage. Grundy was too strong, however, and broke free of her hands to deliver a hard blow to her head.
"Less than five minutes and everybody's already forgetting that we're in space," commented the Joker. "This is too much fun!"
Luthor and those villains not interested in brawling gathered in their own little group.
"Does anybody know what is going on here?" asked Luthor.
"We must be in an uncharted region of the universe," answered Sinestro. "I do not recognize any of the star patterns."
"No magic involved," said the long-haired man.
"Excuse me, but I don't know your name," said Lex Luthor.
"I am Mordru, master of magic and sorcery."
"I'm surprised we haven't met. I thought I met every notable super-villain on earth."
"I like to operate through manipulation and spells and I do not often like to work with others."
"It appears you might have to now," said Sinestro.
"Excuse me," said Prometheus. "Solomon Grundy's rampage is really getting on my nerves."
The cloaked and helmeted foe of the Justice League rushed towards Grundy and activated one of the functions of his power rod. "Grundy, look here!" he shouted.
The zombie turned away from a beat-down of Clayface and started chasing this newcomer.
"Doctor Light, put on a swirling, psychedelic light show, pronto!"
"Are you ordering me?"
"Do you want to slow down this ape?" he asked as he ducked a dangerous swing of Grundy's arm. "I'm leading him straight to you so you'd better be ready."
Doctor Light manipulated the light into a swirling, hypnotic pattern or whites and blacks. Solomon Grundy slowed down at the sight of this mesmerized by the light show. Prometheus took advantage of the now-motionless super-zombie, hitting him hard in the head with a blast from his rod.
"That should keep him down and out for a few minutes."
"An effective take-down," commented the Brain, who was being held by Monsieur Mallah. "Now perhaps we can all calm down and assess the situation."
"Oui, this squabbling is not conductive at all," agreed Madame Rogue.
"You French people never could take a fight," grinned the Joker.
"Your ignorance of French history is typical of you Americans," sneered Mallah.
"That would sound better if it didn't come from an over-trained monkey."
"We are it again!" groaned Madame Rogue.
"Let me cut his throat now," snarled the Cheetah.
"Just ignore him," suggested Lex Luthor.
"Oh come on, you're making me feel alienated and unwanted," said the Joker insincerely.
"Everybody shut up!" yelled Mirror Master. "Something is happening!"
A bright light shone above the three ships. All of the individuals in those ships felt overwhelmed and overpowered. This being was incredibly powerful.
"Greetings, Heroes and Villains of Earth! I am one from Beyond!"
"Anybody detect a large ego here?" said the Joker.
"For years I have watched the dramatic battle between good and evil. Now I wish to give these two forces an even fighting chance on a world of my creation."
To the shock of everybody watching, a planet immediately appeared before them, surrounded by crackling energy as bits and pieces fused together. The planet had a patchwork appearance.
"Incredible," commented Luthor. "It appears that as with us he has transported bits and pieces of other planets to create one whole battleground!"
Once done with his display of power, the Beyonder continued.
"I have chosen twenty-five of your planet's greatest heroes…"
"Twenty-six," said Skeets.
"…and twenty-five of those called super-villains. Now I must explain to you your rules. First, this planet is comprised of pieces of one hundred and twenty planets. Acquiring control or influence over ninety of these sections will result in victory. There is, however, another victory condition. If you manage to kill and/or incarcerate all of your opponents at the same time, victory will be assigned to you. To clarify, if one of your team's enemies is still free, you will not win. Secondly, you may try to gain the support of any of the transported peoples, but not all of them will be friendly to outsiders. Thirdly, in the smaller ship are three of those individuals said to be in a gray area. These are Catwoman, Etrigan, and Black Adam. To draw at least two of these individuals to your side will tip the balance in your favor for sure. I will set each one in a different random location after all of you have been transported down. Finally there is the reward. Each surviving member of the winning team will gain a personal desire fulfilled. This desire can only be on a very personal level and cannot radically change conditions on your world. Earth's history must not suffer too much interference."
"Wait!" yelled Superman. "What makes you think we're just going to fight each other for your amusement!"
The Beyonder ignored him. "Now I shall send you to the planet, which I have fittingly named Battleworld."
In an instant both heroes and villains found themselves on the planet in their groups.
The heroes now had to take in their sudden transport to earth. For a couple minutes they mulled over what they had just witnessed.
"Now we're planet side," said Beast Boy. "Now what?"
"We find the bad guys and beat them," said Booster Gold.
"Wow, what a great strategy," Black Canary sarcastically.
"Why was I not counted as a hero?" asked Skeets.
"Because you're an accessory," half-joked Beast Boy.
"But I have much more historical and technological knowledge than most of us here."
"What I want to know," complained Booster Gold, "is why with twenty-five heroes selected this Beyonder guy couldn't afford to bring in Blue Beetle."
"Or the other Green Lanterns or Zatanna," added the Flash.
"Enough of this," barked Green Lantern. "We need to find a way off of this planet."
"Or we could just beat up the bad guys and win this quick," suggested Big Barda.
"It won't be easy," said Batman. "Most of the villains we're up against are highly notorious and among the 'best'. Prometheus can take on half a dozen heroes at once and Lex Luthor's mind cannot be underestimated."
"Not to mention that Mordru has been able to face off the entire Justice Society," added Dr. Fate.
Batman continued. "The best hope for a quick victory is that the villains will turn on each other and self-destruct. That is a high possibility with the Joker involved."
"We need to establish some form of leadership for this group," said Black Lightning.
"Are you kidding me?" said Green Arrow. "Since when were we guided by some military hierarchy?"
"There are simply too many of us to engage in a long scale war with a full-on democracy," stated Superman. "We need to agree to have a small group to plan strategy with at least a rotating chairman position."
"We'll fall apart if we all try to follow different plans," agreed Wonder Woman. "We can all give our input, but strategies will be screened before a leadership council.
"Then let us take a vote," said Black Lightning. "Fortunately I was carrying extra paper for a class I was going to teach, before I was zapped off earth. Let's see if it's still here. Yes! Let's vote!"
Everyone agreed to join in.
"Now we write down two names each. Skeets will count them up. The five with the most votes will form the main strategy council."
The voting took some time, as several heroes spent a lot of time trying to think who they wanted in charge. Once it was finished Skeets tallied up the votes.
"Our strategy council consists of Aquaman, Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman. If any of these people does not wish to be involved, the runner-ups are tied at two with Black Lightning and Captain Marvel."
"Then let's find somewhere to make our base," said Wonder Woman. "We need flyers to scout the surrounding territory."
"I'm right on it," said Captain Marvel.
"I'll go scout as well," said Booster Gold.
"I'll go with him so he doesn't get lost," said Skeets.
The super-villains' assignment of leadership was not going so smoothly. Many of the top dogs were arguing over who should be put in charge while a few of the more psychotic individuals like the Joker and Solomon Grundy were adding to the mess.
"I have commanded legions of mystical demons! I have the experience!" boasted Mordru.
"You have only fought through magic. I have actually led so called villain teams before. You should check out my resume. It includes the Injustice Gang."
"That team never lasted really long, though," pointed out Sinestro. "Of course, you asked for it by putting the Joker on your team. What were you thinking?"
"What can I say, nobody can resist my irresistible charm!" cackled the Joker. "You can't have an all-star villain team without me!"
"Grundy is bored with all this debate. Grundy just wants to kill the heroes and get his reward!"
"Can we please resolve this in a civilized manner?" asked the Brain. "The Beyonder trusts us to do so. Why do you think he neglected to bring in so many leaders, for example Gorilla Grodd?"
"Perhaps," suggested Mordru, "we can pool our best minds together to form a leadership council."
"That actually sounds like a good idea," said Sinestro. "We can use Luthor's knowledge of science, Mordru's knowledge of magic, and the natural leader-like qualities of the Brain and myself, and the strategic mind of Prometheus, who I believe nearly destroyed the Justice League all on his own."
"It sounds good," said Black Manta. "though I would like to be involved as well."
"You've never led a team," said Lex Luthor.
"What if we come to a large ocean of lake with strategic importance?"
"Then you can join our little council. And Poison Ivy, don't you dare think about using your pheromones to influence us. I see that look in your eye."
"You're just too suspicious."
"Alright, I'll be alright with not being on the council," said Black Manta. "But if you need my specific area of knowledge you had better let me in."
"We will," said Luthor.
"See?" pointed out the Brain. "Is a civilized form of discussion not conductive, oui?"
"Grundy is tired to discussion! Grundy wants to kill!"
"Don't worry, we'll need to take over that citadel on the horizon as our first base," said Luthor, pointing to what appeared to be a technologically advanced structure with a large spire.
"I detect none of our rivals nearby, so a full-on assault on the citadel should work," said Mordru.
"Let's get to it, then. This will be our first strike and hopefully the first territory we conquer."
Next: The Heroes and Villains further formulate their strategies while two scouting parties get into the first battle of the war