First crossover for Danny Phantom!
So, things to take into consideration:
First: This happens sometime after season 3 of DP (not including Phantom Planet) and the end of season 1 of Young justice.
Second: The pairings are canon and I won't place any slash in this so don't suggest it. But the focus of the story is not romance so if you don't like a pairing, just don't pay it much attention.
Third: I'll make my best to try to update at least a chapter a week, but if I take too long, I sincerely apologize in advance.
Fourth: I'm not a native English speaker so you may find some mistakes in vocabulary usage and grammar. My friend has helped me correct some of them, so I really hope they don't bother you much.
Also, I don't own Danny Phantom or Young justice.
And now, let's get into the story, and hope you enjoy it!
It sounded like quite the simple mission, and he was —later on— willing to accept he was a fool for believing it would be, but to his credit, it did seemed easy. So… the premise: A truck was seen falling down the side of a cliff to the lower woods in an old road by some traveling witnesses. It wouldn't have been very important if it wasn't for two reasons: one, that till now the rescue party hadn't come back with any clues of its whereabouts; and two, and perhaps the most important reason, nobody could actually identify that truck. No transport company could answer for it, no scheduled movements in that particular road; some even mentioned it hadn't been used since the new road was built, you know: shorter stretch, faster delivery. So what was a cargo truck doing in the middle of nowhere with no identification. Batman reached the conclusion that it could only be bad. With the memory of the things the 'Light' had done last New Year still fresh on the heroes minds, they acted even more carefully than they usually did. And so, the mission "Find the Truck" came to be. Localize it, search for survivors and identify its source if possible.
Easy enough, wasn't it?
And for the fourteenth time that day, Wally face-palmed at his naivety for offering himself to be part of the squad that would do the searching. Not that he had plans beforehand, but he couldn't help but wonder, what was Artemis doing at that moment. Since the mission was just for a search party, there was no need for the whole team to go on it. A four man cell was deemed enough. And because of it, the girls took the opportunity to stay behind and enjoy some 'girl time' —or so they called it. Wally wondered if they were having fun, or if they were talking about the guys of the team in secret… maybe Artemis was talking about him?
Wally shook his head attempting to calm his burning cheeks, those thoughts were better saved for later, especially because they always brought a bout of confusion with them; the poor speedster was reluctant to admit it, but he was not entirely sure where he stood with the beautiful archer. Yes they had kissed in New Year… yes, he had wanted to do that for a while… but does that mean that she was his girlfriend now? Did she think of him as a boyfriend material? Did she even consider him worth-?
"KF! For the last time, are you even listening?!" he heard the screaming voice of his best friend in his ear.
"Dude! Not so loud!" Answered the speedster. "You're going to make me go deaf here!"
He heard a mischievous laughter at the other end and could not help but think that his friend was sometimes creepier than he'd like to admit.
"Well, you were day dreaming about someone, and weren't paying attention to anything I said for the past five minutes, what else could I have done?" he said innocently as if he wasn't rubbing those facts on his friend's face.
Kid Flash sighed in defeat.
"Ok, so why did you call?"
"I've just finished with this area and there's nothing. No tracks, no pieces, not a single clue that a truck was ever here. How is it going on your side?"
"Mmm… sticks, trees and rocks, nothing that can testify of an accident…" a static noise coming from their ear piece told them of an incoming signal.
"Aqualad to Robin and Kid Flash, how is the search coming up?"
"Empty handed," said Robin.
"Same here," Wally admitted while scratching his visible hair.
A groan on the other side of the line told them that their leader was currently in the same predicament.
"How could a truck suddenly fall and leave no trace of its whereabouts?" Kaldur asked to no one in particular.
"Oh, what if it was a ghost truck!" laughed Robin making KF frown.
"Dude! Come on! There's no such thing as ghosts!"
"Hey, you said the same about magic!"
"That's different!" he exclaimed crossing his arms.
"Yeah, so very different," taunted the boy wonder.
Before they could continue their bantering for long, they heard a heavy —and slightly exasperated— sigh coming from their team leader.
"Listen, we need to focus here, we have to find that truck, whether it's a 'ghost truck' or a normal truck, we must find it as so—"
Suddenly another static sound came from their ear pieces.
"Superboy here… I, believe I've found our target," the confusion in the kryptonian's voice was clear even through the communicator making them wonder if Conner had really found the lost vehicle.
"Alright," answered Kaldur after a few seconds. "Superboy, stay where you are, do not approach the target till we get there."
"Ok." Came Superboy's answer.
"Robin, Kid Flash, head for Superboy's location."
"Roger that!" answered the two friends before ending the communication.
The three heroes found their friend standing at the top of a hill looking towards something in the forest.
"Superboy, what's the situation?" asked the leader as he came to stand besides his comrade.
"See for yourself," answered the young clone indicating to the bizarre scene all the way down the hill.
"What the…" mumbled KF pulling back his goggles.
Robin stood by his side, the eyes of his mask widening as he took in the scenario.
"Well, perhaps there is something ghostly about this…" he said with slight awe in his voice.
There, with the driver's side almost completely smashed into pieces against a huge tree, laid the lost white truck. The state of the front of the vehicle seemed to differ with the rest of it, since the cargo side was completely undamaged, situation that made the boy wonder marvel on its incoherence. With the speed needed to cause that kind of destruction, the cargo should have at least toppled to the side, yet it came out unharmed.
But what really confused the young team of heroes, was not the truck itself, but the surrounding area it rested upon. There was not a single tire track, not damage in the foliage, no trace of a wildly speeding truck arriving there from the old road miles away. It was so carefully placed, as if it had been there for years and the trees had grown around the destruction. But it was not the case; the truck was far too clean to be old enough for it to be the case.
"It's almost as if someone had placed it there on purpose," muttered Kid Flash walking slowly down the hill.
"Or the truck phased through the forest till it finally crashed against one tree," added Robin as he followed his friend.
"Superboy," said Aqualad turning to his companion with a serious expression. "Any survivors?"
Superboy shook his head.
"No heartbeats, no heat… nothing at all," he said with slight disappointment.
Kaldur placed a hand on his friend's shoulder, offering a small smile to let him know he did a good job. Returning the smile, the two began following their younger friends towards the accident.
-(a few minutes later…)
"Really, it's not a surprising no one survived," commented the boy wonder as he moved around the smashed cabin. He had taken his wrist watch off as he began to take on the scene with detective precision, even getting his hands dirty with the corpse that laid somewhere within the mess of glass and metal that —quite frankly— Wally didn't want anything to do with. "At the speed this thing must have been going, it's a miracle the cargo is still intact."
KF turned his head to the side watching the cargo, more out of being grossed out by his friend's antics than actual interest on its miraculous survival. Unfortunately, his ears couldn't avoid receipting the sounds of dead meat against metal (or at least he thought that was what it was, but in truth, he just was being paranoid).
"DUDE!" he said finally turning to search his best friend with his eyes. "How can you do THAT and not feel totally grossed out?!" demanded the speedster, too used to allowing the police hand those things… you know? Rotting corpses?
"Nah, it's not really that bad, I've seen worse," he added as he moved a piece of something sticky aside. "The trick is to treat the situation with a forensic eye. You've got —for one second— to remember that regardless that the corpse used to be a living person, now it's just a valuable piece of evidence that you must analyze with care."
"Eww…" mumbled the speedster to himself as he saw his friend's back moving around.
"Yeah, I know," Robin said with a small chuckle. Then with acrobatic grace, he jumped backwards towards his awaiting companions, two of whom had just listened to the two friends exchange with amusement. The boy wonder offered a cheeky grin as he showed a few things in his dirty gloved hands. "But someone has to do it, right?"
"What did you find?" asked the leader, fast enough to stop KF from saying something else.
"Our driver's ID and License," he said as his comrades surrounded him. "His name was John Matthews, 42 years old…" there was a pause before Robin frowned slightly at the cards in his hands. "Weird…"
"Well, both the date of expiration and the name of the company he worked for are empty, not erased but completely blank. Aside from that, this company ID seems to be real, even got the digital print of the guy and his photo on it." Robin showed the license to his friends letting them see for themselves.
"Ok… so the Driver's license doesn't give us any leads as to whom this thing belonged to, the truck itself has no marks at all… umm… does anyone else get the feeling that this was too carefully laid?"
Everybody nodded at Wally's statement.
"It seems Batman was right to suspect this incident in particular," the young Atlantean turned to look at the cargo with a deep frown. "I guess our best option would be to find out what is inside of that box, but we must be cautious," he turned to his kryptonian teammate. "Superboy, have you—?"
"I've already tried to see inside," the clone said shaking his head in frustration. "But it seems that the cargo container was made of some special kind of material that doesn't allow my x-ray vision to get through."
"Ok… I say that brings the 'suspicion' level up a notch," KF said and the others couldn't agree more, this thing was becoming quite a conundrum.
"Then we enter," declared the leader.
"Oh yeah, let's do this!" said Wally as he ran towards the cargo door, ready to open it at Kaldur's sign only to notice that there was a computerized security lock, he was expecting just a common lock, not top notch tec. "Um, Rob? Could you come here and do your 'hacker' stuff?"
"Just a sec!" exclaimed the boy wonder as he put the evidence in a plastic bag and proceeded to take off his gloves. To the other's amusement, under his dirty pair of gloves Robin had (you guessed it) a new clean pair of gloves. The youngest member of the team took the dirty pair with another plastic bag and folded it carefully to fit his utility belt. Finally, he placed his watch back on his wrist.
"Dude! How many spares do you have there?" asked the speedster.
"Professional secret," declared Robin, laughing softly at the incredulous look in KF's face. "Hey, just cause somebody has to do the dirty jobs, doesn't mean that I like walking around with a souvenir of it on me, you know?" the boy shrugged giving a cheeky grin.
Moving swiftly, Robin arrived to the control panel of the lock and removed the cover lid of the small box. Then, he plugged in his portable computer which soon produced a holographic screen giving him the data he needed to begin his work. With practiced agility, the young teen began typing code after code to try to break the security and open this 'magic' box. Yet, minutes later, the four teens, Robin included, were surprised to find the security system still standing strong.
"Rob, you're losing your touch pal," teased Kid Flash earning a soft glare from his older companions who didn't want anything to distract the youngest as he worked at furious speeds.
"It's not that," commented the boy wonder, never once taking his eyes from the now red screen. "This security is insanely good. It's almost… almost as if they were scared of an expert hacker trying to break it."
The three older friends shared a worried glance; the content of this vehicle must be really valuable for someone if the security system was strong enough to make Robin struggle.
Four minutes later a glorious sound of machinery moving resounded through the place as Robin's screen turned green. The safety lock was defeated! With a satisfied smirk, Robin moved aside to allow Superboy to pull the heavy door, only to see how it went up by itself. The young heroes looked towards the complete darkness of the opened box and turned to each other, silently asking 'What now?'Aqualad soon took a decision and cautiously gave the first steps into the cargo box.
Once the teens were inside, Robin took a small light from his belt but never got to turn it on for weird sound made them all turn around just in time to see the door fall closed. It was so fast and sudden, that Wally barely had time to reach the exit when the door was already closed, slamming his face against the metal. And to make it worse, the sound of the lock turning on once more made them even more nervous.
Knowing that his friend's were going to get tense, Aqualad tried to take control of the situation.
"Robin, light!" he said, waking the young teen from his confusion, yet before he could do something, an electronic female voice resounded through hidden speakers.
"Door closed and secured. Activating: Lights."
Suddenly, strange green lights lit up the interior of the cargo box, allowing the team to see it's contents for the first time.
"Dude…" mumbled KF as his eyes widened. The inside of the cargo box was completely immaculate like a hospital ward. Had the eerily green lights been stronger he was almost sure everything would have been white, except from the few computer like devices surrounding the place. But the most impressive thing was a weird containment unit on the back.
It was in the middle of two metal pillars, and was the only black thing in the whole place. The metal that made it shone a beautiful onyx reflecting the green lights with weird, and almost ethereal, elegance. Immediately, the team felt compelled to get closer.
It was with each step they took that they noticed something change in the environment: the cold.
It was strangely cold, but not just any cold, the kind of cold that no matter how protective your clothes may be, or how many you wear, it still filtrates all the way to your bones. Small puffs of frozen breath came out from the four teens' mouths, it wasn't clear to them whether the unit was emitting the cold or whatever was inside was.
Finally when they were close enough, Robin got to read something carved into the metal that could only be seen when the light hit it the right way.
"Project DP," he said with widening eyes.
"What?" asked Superboy in confusion.
"Here, it says, Project DP," They looked and, surely enough, that was what was written in the metal. "Sounds familiar?" he added with suspicion.
"Project Kr," said the young clone nodding. "Could it be...?"
"Doubtfully," said Aqualad catching on what his friend was thinking of. "Cadmus wouldn't take the risk of moving something so important out of their station. And if they did, doubtfully it would have ended in here."
The others agreed. It couldn't be Cadmus... it wouldn't make sense... but if not Cadmus, then who?
"Robin, do you think you can hack into the computer and find what's inside this?" he said pointing to a control panel close to the unit. Robin agreed and soon he plugged his computer. "I have a bad feeling about this..." Kaldur added to himself.
"Man... who were these people expecting to hack this thing? Me?" Robin said as he fought the firewalls on the system to access the data base.
"Perhaps... after all, you did hack Cadmus," said Kid Flash while looking at the box with apprehension. Last time they found a containment unit in a mysterious lab with weird letters on, they found Superboy. This containment unit wasn't as big... and didn't have the classic tube shape, what could be inside of it?
Superboy felt anxious to say the least. It couldn't be another clone... right? The last one was too unstable; they wouldn't have made another one before him, right? No, his friends were right, it didn't make sense, Cadmus didn't work like this and Dubilex would have told him if there were any more clones. Then who did this belong to?
"Got it!" exclaimed the boy wonder. "Project DP, containment unit... influx of solutions... mmm... weird, there doesn't seem to be any real description of the content, there is only a few warnings to care for the box till they reach their destination. No pictures, no connections, it's as if they didn't want anyone to link the content to anything." He looked up to Aqualad and the others, silently asking what he should do next.
Aqualad closed his eyes and thought their possibilities thoroughly. They could very well leave and call the League so they decide what to do with this, but experience told him that some situations required a closer approach... taking risks was just as important as avoiding them. Last time, they had freed Superboy from a possible terrible fate, who is to say that inside that box wasn't something that would benefit more of their help now than the League's later assistance?
Taking his decision, he looked towards his youngest teammate silently nodding to the boy. Robin nodded right back and typed a few things before the electronic voice spoke again.
"Warning: Opening containment unit."
The sound of an opening hatch filled the silence and everyone hold their breath as the unit's walls slowly lowered themselves to reveal the insides of the box marked as project DP.
The team didn't gasp... they were beyond that.
And Aqualad didn't know it, but his decision was about to change their lives forever.
I want to give my thanks to my dear friend Sazdx who helped me with my writing.
And I guess this is till next week!