AN: Sorry for the wait everyone. As my penance I'm promising you all TWO CHAPTERS THIS MONTH!
Laura's vision was blurred as she first awoke, like slipping out of a deeps haze. New sounds and smells assaulted her senses as she tried to orient herself. Her memory failed hr, unable to recall events of the past few days- she knew she was supposed to be babysitting the Richards' children, but beyond that, there was nothing.
She tried to sit up, but found herself unable to. She tried again, finding tangible resistance on her arms and legs. Groggily, she looked down to examine them. Her eyes widened when she saw them, bound in some sort of blue energy. Realization struck her like a lightning bolt- the battle with Annihilus, the meeting with the Penguin's goons, and the humiliating defeat at the hands of the woman in black. Now she awoke in a cold, sterile lab, bound and helpless in a white hospital gown. The walls and everything in the room was white. The room was filled with a variety of medical equipment and technology only matched by what she had seen in the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building. She floated above a cushioned w platform, suspended in the air by some sort of energy field.
Laura surged to life, ignoring her training, doing her best to free herself from her bonds. Terror and determination fueled her- she would never be held in a lab and treated like an animal- never again.
She twisted her right wrist, small bones in her hand breaking as she pulled with all her might. Slowly but surely, her hand began to slip through the hole in the energy field. She grit her teeth, nearly gasping as she pulled her crushed hand free of the first bond. Blood pounded in her ears but she did her best to ignore it. She needed to act quickly- she was undoubtedly being monitored. It was only a time before her captors realized she was escaping.
JLA Conference Room, The Watchtower
Cassandra Cain, Batgirl, felt very out of place in the Watchtower. She had never been invited in before, but her experience with the interdimensional arrival had made her the girl's resident expert. She was, after all, the person who defeated her.
She flanked Batman's seat in the conference room, standing behind him and to the side, like an attendant. Superman had offered her a seat, but she declined. In a way, she didn't feel worthy to be in the room, let alone share a table with people Bruce considered his equals. It was obvious that the room (besides Bruce) was unsettled by her actions, but Bruce had told her to not be intimidated. So she would not sit.
Superman leaned forward in his seat, elbows on the table, "So what do you think that the girl was doing with the Penguin's enforcers? It doesn't make sense."
Bruce looked over his shoulder to her, "Batgirl, you fought with her- saw her move. What do you think?"
Cassandra hesitated before answering, "When I look at her, I am sad."
Wonder Woman raised an eyebrow.
The other members of the League in the room, besides Batman, had similar reactions.
The Martian Manhunter was the first to speak up, "Are you saying she caused an emphatic response in you?"
Cassandra continued, "No. I see her for what she is and it makes me sad. She is afraid."
Superman spoke up again, "Afraid of what?"
She shook her head, "Her past. She is a doll that is trying to be a person. I can see it in the way she moves."
More eyebrows raised, but Bruce took a moment to step in, "Batgirl has a unique ability to 'read' people when she sees them. In some ways, it's superior to telepathy."
Superman nodded in understanding, "Then why do you think she was at the Penguin's hidden warehouse?"
Cassandra's response was flat, "Because her past told her to."
Wonder Woman grit her teeth, growing tired of the cryptic responses, "And what in Hera's name is that supposed to mean?"
She glared at Bruce, "You can decipher this for us, can't you?"
Superman put his hand on her shoulder, "Wonder Woman, please…."
Bruce looked up to Cassandra, "So you're saying her choices were caused by training?"
The Flash picked up where the girl's logic left off, "Well if you're new in town, have no money, and no idea where you are, I guess you need to find out what's going on somehow."
Superman shook his head, "Then why not just go to a library or something? That has to be easier."
Bruce shook his head, "Not if you're black ops trained. I know a few programs that train their agents to join up with local criminal activity if caught in unknown territory. It's easy to stay out off the grid that way."
John Stewart, one of Earth's Green Lanterns, stood up at the comment, "Then we need to-!"
The Martian Manhunter rose to his feet, cutting John off, "Gentlemen, ladies, I'm sorry to interrupt, but we have a problem."
The Martian rose to his feet and activated the conference room's monitor. After a few button presses Laura appeared on the screen, halfway through her escape from her restraints. She had apparently just finished resetting the dislocated bones in her fingers with her mouth and was raising her claws, aimed right at her ankle below the restraint.
"Good God, what's she doing?!", exclaimed the Green Lantern, "She'll die if she cuts her foot off! She doesn't have anything to stop the bleeding!"
"Her training", Cassandra coolly responded, "It is all she knows."
Superman was off like a shot from a cannon, the air sucked out of the conference room in the wake of his flight.
He reappeared a split second later on the monitor, the door to the medical wing exploding inward as he slipped his hand under the falling blade, blocking the slash.
Medical Bay, The Watchtower
Laura reeled as the door to the medical bay exploded, barely registering the giant figure that had blocked her slash. She recovered quickly though, leaning forward and slashing at the man's neck. With inhuman speed the man caught her blades in mid swing, the edges not even digging into his flesh. She hesitated a moment, caught off guard by the fact that her blades were being so blocked. She tried to pull back again but the man gripped one blade on each hand, refusing to relinquish them.
He tried to placate her as she struggled, "Calm down! Nobody here wants to hurt you! You're safe here!"
Laura slowly calmed, seeing that it was pointless to resist the man's grip on her adamantium claws. She still fought for breath though, adrenaline blasting through her veins.
The man seemed to understand that she had calmed down, "My name is Superman. I'm a member of the Justice League. You're safe here."
She nodded and he slowly released her claws, "I'm sorry about the restraints, but we weren't sure what to make of you when you arrived. Can you tell me what your name is? Where you're from?"
Laura hesitated- training dictated she didn't answer his questions. She couldn't trust a thing about him- his name, what he said this organization was- she'd seen far more elaborate ruses than this in her time with the X-Men.
She stared at him, unwilling to reveal anything about herself, "I cannot trust you."
The large man in blue and red sighed, "I suppose you can't. But you understand that we can't exactly trust you either. You maimed a man before joining up with a known gangster. That… and we know that you're new in town."
Laura didn't let her face betray her apprehension at how well informed the man before her appeared to be. She also didn't let it betray that she heard and smelt his companions gathering outside of the door, including two very musky and familiar scents.
He continued, "We don't have to keep you restrained, but I hope you can see why we want to keep you under watch. If we don't restrain you, can you agree to not try to hurt yourself again?"
He smiled, standing up to his full, imposing height, "Good."
She looked up at him, "I would like a different room. Not a lab."
He nodded, smilingly warmly "I'm sure something can be arranged."
Watchtower Corridor, Outside the Medbay
Princess Diana, also known as Wonder Woman, smirked, "He always did have a way with kids."
Bruce frowned, "We don't even have a name."
Jonn, the Manhunter, glanced at him from the corner of his eye. He reached out with his mind, connecting it with Batman's, "Her name is Laura Kinney. She was born and raised in a place called the Facility."
Bruce looked over, "Is she dangerous?"
Jonn, glanced back, "Very, but not to us, I think. Her mental barriers were difficult to bypass without detection. Normally I would not be so invasive, but I think that given her willingness to gravely injure herself to escape…"
Bruce mentally cut him off, "I know she's dangerous. I have forty four stitches across my chest."
Jonn continued, "She is what she was created to be. However, she tries to funnel her skills towards… constructive ends. She kills the people she's told deserve it. Arguably, everyone she kills does. Terrorists, militant religious extremists, organizations who kidnap and experiment on children… Her father figure may have not been the best influence on her."
Bruce eyed him, "An assassin?"
"Unwilling genetic donor. He made a halfhearted attempt to raise her after he found out she existed- but by then she had already spent the first fifteen years of her life being tortured into becoming the pet killer of an organization called 'The Facility'. What she is doing now is all that she knows."
Bruce looked over at Jonn, "I'm surprised you were able to learn all of this so quickly."
Jonn met his gaze, "Time has little meaning inside a person's mind, Batman."
Bruce was about to reply when Clark Kent, better known to the world as Superman, walked out of the ruined medical ward, "She's calmed down, now. I don't think we have anything to worry about."
Aquaman, King of Atlantis, who had remained quiet, turned away, "Then my business here is concluded. I have duties to attend to elsewhere."
Barry Allen, The Flash, put his thumb in the air and gestured over his shoulder, "Yeah, I should head back to Central City then. The Rogues are acting up."
Bruce looked over to Cassandra, "Lets go."
She turned away, looking past Superman into the room where Laura sat, "I would like to stay."
Bruce raised an eyebrow.
She looked back to him, "I feel a… connection to her. I wish to speak to her."
Bruce hesitated. Normally, she wouldn't even be on the Watchtower. Still, it was rare that she expressed desires of her own. After all, would it be so wrong to reward her for how she handled the night before? He glanced down at the spot where Laura had slashed him- he could still feel the burn across his chest despite the painkillers. Had it not been for the Watchtower's medical technology he'd be bed bound for weeks, if not longer.
He nodded and turned, walking to the Watchtower's teleportation pad, "Fine. I want you watching her. Let me know what you find out."
Cassandra smiled underneath her mask, noticeable only to Bruce, who could hear it in her voice, "Thank you."
He paused, turning back for a moment, "Don't stay too long. Something big is brewing in Gotham and I'm not sure what yet. I'll stay in touch."
She watched his retreating form until he turned the corner. Feeling a hand on her shoulder, she turned to face the Martian Manhunter, "I shall provide a room for you during your stay. Superman will be escorting our other guest to a more comfortable holding cell. Follow me, please."
She fell in step behind him, taking a moment to glance back into the room.
The Medbay, The Watchtower
Laura looked out past the door, listening intently to the conversation outside. All indications pointed towards this being a legitimate crime fighting organization, like the Avengers or the Thunderbolts. That being said, she'd much rather be in the company of the Avengers than a group of supposedly reformed criminals.
She held back a sigh.
Gambit would know what to do in this situation.
Her training hadn't prepared her for something like this.