8 Justice League Family Ties
Note: This is the 12th part of an ongoing series. The preceding installments are Justice League New Beginnings: DCAU Series Part 1; Justice League Second Strike: DCAU Series part 2; Justice League Past Imperfect: DCAU Series Part 3; Justice League Nuptials: DCAU Series Part 4; Justice League Cardinal Sin: DCAU Series Part 5; Justice League Twice Shy: DCAU series Part 6; Justice League Darkness: DCAU Series Part 7; Justice League Family Affairs: DCAU Series Part 8; Justice League Conflict: DCAU Series Part 9; Justice League Crossroads: DCAU Series Part 10, and Justice League the Corps; DCAU Series Part 11. Events and personal developments from these installments will be referenced with little warning or back story given. If Part 12 raises any questions, I suggest you read the previous stories.
Additional Note: Reviewers are highly appreciated. I need to know what I'm doing right and/or wrong so I can either do it again or not do it at all the next time `round.
Additional Note #2: This is my sixth outing with animeluverqueen as my Beta Reader. I owe her a lot for her efforts and insights. She's there for the story time and again, ever faithfully.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Justice League concepts, actualization, characters, or depictions thereof (such as the DCAU). All such intellectual and actual rights are properties of DC Comics and Warner Bros Animation which are both owned by Time Warner. I'm not making any money off of this. Hopefully I'm entertaining a few folks, but that's it. Do not sue me!
Maxima quickly locked the door. Her guards were stationed just outside and would hold her off for as long as they could. Maxima gave them thirty seconds tops. She excelled at armed and unarmed combat. The only question was whether or not she would leave them alive. Their only crime was allegiance to Maxima but that was a crime worthy of death in her estimation.
Maxima's foe had butchered her guard unit. All that remained were the House Guards. The Palace Corps, which supplemented Maxima's traveling guard unit, had also been decimated. At first, it had been because they all hesitated when facing her. They'd quickly learned that no quarter would be given so none was offered.
A few weaklings had surrendered but they'd been dispatched to the afterlife just as swiftly as those that actively resisted, albeit painlessly in sharp contrast to the joy she took in killing the others. The military was called in but they'd treacherously sided with her. Maxima's reforms had been seen as the folly of a weak and ineffectual leader. The generals wisely stayed out of the way and let her work.
Maxima hefted a sword. It was a special blade, truly one of a kind. It was forged of inertron. That atomically stable and chemically neutral element was immune to her telekinesis. It was a trait that she shared with her mother.
Maxima had a few scant seconds to reflect, and she wondered, could she kill her own daughter? Kalea-El was born of a union between Maxima and Kal-El of Krypton and Earth. Almeracians were strong, as strong as the fabled Amazons on Earth. But Kalea shared in her father's nearly unmatchable strength. She possessed Maxima's mental powers and her father's physical gifts. Coupled with this were the wretched cybernetic enhancements the Techno-Organic Union has afflicted her with.
Kalea had sought death after discovering she was a cyborg but time had changed that. She now reveled in the revulsion her people had for her. Her last upgrades had matched her limbs with her newly achieved stature as she'd reached maturity. She'd forgone the customary synth flesh and wore her prosthetics openly.
They appeared to be constructed out of banded steel and had no obvious joints. Her eye had been upgrade as well. Maxima had ignored the TOU tech as he'd droned on about it. All Maxima could see was that the pupil no longer matched the blue of her remaining, natural eye. It was now red and an obvious replacement for the eye that had been taken from her in her early adolescence.
Maxima had felt great unease leading up to Kalea reaching her majority. The ceremony declaring her ready to assume the throne when the time came should have been a joyous one but instead was marred by death. Deaths brought about by Kalea's own hand. And now she was after Maxima herself.
Maxima had taught her daughter everything she knew about fighting. She'd always assumed that they would fight side by side. Her worst nightmares were coming true in that the battle would, in actuality, be between them. Kalea had long ago become her equal and with her strength and speed may truly be her master at this point. All she knew for certain was that she wasn't going down without a fight.
But could she kill Kalea? That question nagged at her. She'd rebeled and such rebellion would fester in her daughter's heart until one of them was dead. Wasn't it better to put her down rather than imprison her or exile her? Death would be the merciful release Kalea had craved for the last two years. But could she do it? Could she kill the flesh of her flesh?
The doors ripped off the hinges and Kalea strode into the chamber. She wielded two swords, both of whose blades dripped blood. Maxima was heart sick at this. Inwardly she chided herself. She was fighting for her life! She didn't have time to feel bad over other people's deaths. She had to prevent her own demise.
"You didn't need to kill them, Kalea," she chastised her errant daughter.
"You really have grown weak," Kalea laughed derisively, "Once upon a time you would sit me on your knee and tell me why a servant needed to be executed for incompetence."
Kalea saw the wounded look on Maxima's face and snorted, "This is all your fault, you know. If you'd granted me death when I asked for it, I wouldn't the avenging angel bringing about your downfall."
"You may try and get rid of me, Kalea but I shall always rise again to strike you down," Maxima promised.
"We'll see if I leave you the ability to walk much less rise," Kalea hefted the sword in her left hand, "But I think two is one too many."
She threw the sword and it embedded itself into the stone masonry. It was a move designed to intimidate. Maxima had to admit that it did. She herself was incapable of such a feat. Kalea was letting her know, right at the outset, that she was outmatched.
"If you care to beg I'll grant you all the considerations you've shown me," Kalea said coldly.
Maxima lunged into the attack. Every stroke was masterful. She fought at the top of her game. After all, she was in her prime and she faced the grandmasters of the blade every day.
Unfortunately, Kalea's superhuman reflexes and reaction time kept her ahead of Maxima's moves. When Maxima did break through her defenses, Kalea just suddenly wasn't there anymore. She'd have shifted to Maxima's side or even gone behind her. It obvious to anyone who cared to watch that Kalea clearly had the upper hand and could kill Maxima without trying. Yet she didn't. Perhaps that could prove useful.
"Ready to surrender?" Kalea laughed.
"I'll die as I've lived. Fighting!" Maxima hotly declared.
"You? Fight? When?" Kalea asked scornfully.
Kalea had one major weakness compared to Maxima. Her telekinesis was limited to metallurgy. Her flight abilities came from her father. Whereas Maxima could use it to lift herself and propel herself across the heavens. She could also use this ability on other objects or people.
Maxima sent Kalea hurtling across the room and pinned her against the wall. Her sword had been dropped upon impact and she couldn't move to retrieve it. Maxima moved closer, within a sword's stroke, and heaved back her blade.
Kalea seemed oddly at peace. As though this was the outcome she'd truly desired. Her heart broke for her daughter and Kalea saw this in her eyes.
"Do it!" Kalea urged, "Do it if you can."
Maxima's arm trembled and finally she lowered her blade, "You're right. I can't."
"You just made your second and last mistake," Kalea declared, "But do you know what your first was? Remember, you're not the only one that touches someone with their mind."
Kalea gloated as Maxima began to realize the impact of her words. Kalea was no telekinetic but she was a psycho blaster. She could disrupt the mind of any living creature as long as they were in range. Which she had walked right into.
Kalea's smile was born of pure cruelty and Maxima desperately tried to backpedal but it was far too late. Her mind was torn apart as Kalea reached in and ripped it to shreds. Maxima screamed and kept on screaming until she passed out. She hit the floor like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
Kalea toggled the wrist comm above her left hand, "It's over."
A phalanx of soldiers entered the Empress' chambers. Two generals followed in their wake. One of them, the Commander in Chief of the military asked, "Is she dead?"
Kalea's laugh was harsh, "Nothing so easy or pleasant for her, I'm afraid. She once escaped the dungeons with the help of my father. Let's see how she does in the isolation wing without him."
"And you still intend to annex this…Earth?" she asked.
"People need slaves, General. Our recent pacifism has created lean years for the market. Record prices, but lean years when it comes to product," Kalea stated.
"Are they hardy?" she wondered.
"They're highly adaptable. The Meta-genome is found there in abundance. They're so-called 'heroes' will prove to be fitting sport while the rest of the herd can be properly bred," Kalea declared.
"And your father…?" the general was afraid to ask.
Kalea's smile was glacial, "I have special plans for him."
On earth, in Virginia, Vic Sage and Helena Bertinelli drove through Copeland in Helena's Porsche. Vic consulted a map they'd obtained at the Visitor's Center.
"It's over here, on the right," he informed her.
She found a public car park and slid into an available slot, "Tell me again why we are doing this, Q?"
"Well, observing Anna Fortune in Salem was proving useless and we don't have access to Fate's Tower where she currently resides. Speaking to Atom Smasher, I learned that she was born in 1849. She had an encounter with Fate after the Civil War and travelled into our time. She had also been engaged to be married at the time," Vic answered, "Assuming Fortune is her real name, I ran it through the Library of Congress and came across an odd quote made by a local historian regarding the fate of the Fortune family in Copeland, Virginia. I want to go through the local historical societies records and see what I can find out about the family's, erm…, fortunes."
"It's a good thing I know that was unintentional or I'd have to hurt you," Helena chuckled.
They got out of the sports car and went into the unassuming building. It was built along the lines of a library. The local library had been unable to contend with the archiving and storage of so many fragile documents so the historical society had been founded and was largely privately funded. Vic's NPR credentials got them in and he happily went to work.
Vic carefully rifled through documents, catalogue cards, and newspaper clippings. Helena used her smart phone to text back and forth with Selina and Dinah. Every so often she'd shake the phone and curse.
"Cruddy Wi-Fi," she muttered and went back to Dinah's reply.
"I've found it!" Vic yelled.
The attendant came in and shushed him, "Other patrons are working."
Helena sent out an email that she'd be back and check on Vic, "What's up, Q?"
"Anna Fortune was engaged to one Stephen Friarbush in 1875. The happy groom was quite unhappy to discover her dalliances with the lead foreman on the plantation," Vic reported.
"Well, she did play Al and Courtney off of one another until she landed him," Helena observed.
"Yes, but there's more to it. The foreman's name was Uriah Keep. He also happened to be a Negro," Vic elucidated her.
"A black man? She hooked up with a black man in post-Civil War Virginia? Wasn't Virginia the capitol of the Confederacy?" Helena was stunned. She knew Anna had a pair but that took some brass ones.
"It seems Stephen was so outraged that he took Uriah's life," Vic said.
"Pretty one sided justice in those days," Helena commented.
"And it also seems Anna avenged her lover's fate," Vic dropped the bombshell.
"What happened then?" Helena was literally on the edge of her seat.
"The town's good citizens formed a lynch mob and came to the Fortune estate. They sought Anna's life," Vic explained.
"Did she get away? I mean, we know she got away, but how?" Helena was riveted.
"Anna's father Joss ran interference while she fled. Her horse was found missing and the family was wealthy. They probably sent her off with some cash and hoped never to see her again," Vic described it.
"There's something you're not saying," Helena accused.
"The townsfolk hung Anna's father instead and then castigated her surviving family. Destitute, they fled Virginia. The Fortune family name ends there. I can only assume that the widow remarried and Anna's sisters married off. Her brother is a loose end though, I don't know what happened to him," Vic admitted.
"But Fate?" Helena queried him.
"Anna must have encountered him while she was on the run. You have to admit that the opportunity to leave trouble behind you and relocate somewhere where no one would know your name or your past has to be appealing," Vic surmised.
"Congratulations, you're every bit as good as they warned me you'd be," Anna applauded from behind them.
"You followed us?" Helena demanded.
"You're a fine one to talk," Anna snorted, "I haven't been anywhere in the last two weeks where you haven't been as well."
"And how would you know this?" Vic was wondering what had given them away.
"Ah ah," Anna wagged her finger, "Trade secrets I'm afraid."
"You're busted, lady. There's no statutes of limitations on murder," Helena got to her feet.
"And just what do you intend to do about it?" Anna wondered.
"I'll take you down in few seconds flat, honey. Just come quietly and everything will be okay. Q will drive your car back for you," Helena decided.
"Oh really? That I'd like to see," Anna said dryly.
Helena looked to Vic. He shrugged, "She doesn't know how to drive."
"Then why hasn't she gone 'poof'?" Helena asked.
"She obviously wants something," Vic informed her.
"What do you want?" Helena demanded to know.
"Are you familiar with those delightful Harry Potter books?" Anna asked.
"Of course," Helena said. Vic looked clueless and Helena rolled her eyes. Anna smiled.
"They're complete rubbish but they did have an intriguing character who'd mastered memory charms," Anna revealed. She began waving her hands above each other, as though she were washing them.
"I don't think I like the sound of this," Helena grated.
Anna threw her hands towards them and a silver sparkle enveloped them. She placed her fists on her hands and spoke very deliberately.
"You will not remember anything about the name "Fortune". You couldn't find any research materials. The family died of tuberculosis and the name died out. There is no trace of Anna Fortune to be found," she instructed them, "Now hand me all of those papers."
Vic handed her his carefully compiled treasure trove. She slipped it into her satchel and told them, "I was never here."
She started for the door. On the other side the attendant asked to see her bag. Anna waved her fingers at the woman and a gossamer light stretched forth from them and stupefied the other woman. Anna exited the building and strolled off to a nearby park.
The plantation house was only a few miles down the road. It had been sold to the county and now served as a tourist attraction. Not desiring to see her home defiled that way, Anna cast her teleportation spell and returned to Fate's Tower.
Back at the historical society, Vic gave up in frustration; "There's nothing here."
Helena wasn't as certain, "Are you sure? I could swear…"
"You did. At the Wi-Fi, several times," Vic grumped.
"You know what I mean," she could barely contain her eye roll.
"I'm sorry to have dragged you down here for nothing," Vic sighed.
"Oh, it won't be that bad. I spotted a cute bed and breakfast on our way into town. Let's check to see if they have rooms available," she suggested.
"Anything would be better than this futility," he grumped.
"That's almost the spirit," she urged him on; "We'll soon be basking in…well, whatever the hell they do in rural Virginia."
"All right," he started feeling better. He just had this nagging feeling he'd forgotten something. He didn't like that feeling. Not one bit.