I do not own any DC Characters used herein, and am only employing them in a story meant for entertainment purposes only.
Man Of Steel
Original Story by LJ58 (Inspired by Twisted-Wun)
Edited and Reposted (With Permission) by LJ58
Kal-El faced the monstrosity that stood before him.
"It is time we had a talk, alien," Darkseid declared as he stood in the snow before him, untouched by the frigid temperatures as the craggy visage glowered at him.
"Alien, am I," Kal-El remarked sardonically as he eyed the craggy entity in grim, dark armor that was molded to a body that was pure muscle.
"I am not here to argue semantics with you, Kryptonian. I am here to give you a warning."
"Is that right," Kal-El remarked.
"I know about the negotiations with that meddling old man. I know you have enlisted the Oans to your side. I know you are assembling an army of metas."
Kal-El said nothing.
Apparently, from a conqueror's perspective, his actions might appear just that way. In fact, he was just trying to ensure his new home didn't perish.
"I am giving you notice."
Kal-El remained silent.
"While I, nor Apolips may….directly intervene. For now. You will soon find I have many allies of my own. Agents that can, and will, forward my cause here. Know, too, that when the time comes, I will crush your skull in my own hands."
"Big words," Kal-El couldn't help spitting out.
The impassive visage twitched, and while neither of them had moved, just nine feet between them, Kal-El knew he had just landed a blow. Darkseid, he realized, had an ego. A powerful one, he judged, if such careless words caused that kind of reaction.
"You, Kryptonian, are witless. You do not even understand you are as beneath me, as those pathetic humans are beneath you."
"I don't view them that way."
Darkseid only glared anew.
"I see I need to…..impress my warning upon you a little more firmly," he growled, and faster than even he could react, Darkseid was in front of him, and a powerful fist drove Kal-El's head back, making him stagger a few inches.
He quickly recovered, rubbed his jaw, and remarked, "I almost felt that."
He then dropped his hand, curling it into a fist in the same instant, and Darkseid ended up staggering back several inches as he drove his own fist into his gut.
The godlike conqueror roared in fury, and drove another fist into his jaw.
This time, Kal-El found himself slammed back into the side of his own Fortress, sliding down into the ice before he could recover.
"Know your place, Kryptonian," he spat as he turned away in disdain.
Even as he looked up, Darkseid was turning away, a glowing gate much like the portal the Highfather's Mother Box had conjured for them opening as he stepped into it. His powerful vision swept the gray-skinned giant, and he detected the device that was much like the same Box the New Gods use, and focused on it.
"Darkseid," Kal-El called out.
The giant didn't even look back at him.
"Enjoy the trip," he called even as his heat vision targeted the transport device.
The words were cut off even as the portal imploded, and Darkseid vanished with it as Kal-El stood up, brushing himself off as he felt his sore jaw.
"He certainly packs a punch," he admitted as he worked his jaw.
He also knew that wherever he had gone, Darkseid was going to be furious over his last stab. Not that it mattered. Kal-El knew at first glance that Darkseid would never negotiate. Never compromise. Never do anything but exactly what he said. It was time, he realized, to consolidate their defenses.
Pete's howl of fear and indignation followed him high into the sky as Connor swept down, grabbed him, and went straight up fast enough that no one saw him as he intercepted the stocky teen who had just pulled into his drive, and climbed out of his truck.
"Hello, Pete. I hear you want some of my attention."
The jock's green eyes rounded as he looked into Connor's grim face, and then looked down.
"Y-You won't hurt me. You're a hero."
"You're right. I won't. You, however, have been a bad boy. Taking pictures of things that can get you, and your family, killed."
"K-K-Killed," he choked.
"Use your head, smart guy. I know you filmed me. Only I was in a hurry the other day, and couldn't be bothered with a moron at the time. Now I've got time. Time to explain a few things. Want to know what happens if you try blackmailing me?"
"Hush," Connor advised him, tossing him from one hand to the other, making the boy yelp. "Teacher's talking," he drawled, using one of his instructor's tones.
Pete swallowed hard, looked down again, and then nodded at him.
"One, you can't blackmail me. This is….a temporary identity. It means nothing. It is nothing. But…. And this part is very important….to you. And your family. Suppose the wrong people decide you know more about me than you actually do? Suppose they think we're best buds, and they can use you against me? Think about that."
Pete said nothing as he looked down again, his house looking very tiny at their current height.
Pete nodded vehemently.
"Good. Now imagine I'm off….doing whatever, and these wrong people come calling? Imagine what happens to you, and maybe your family, or friends, if I'm busy. These people won't care. They'll hurt you. They might even kill you. All because you think you're clever. You think about that before you ever pick up another camera, hot shot," he said, and seemed to drop like a stone before stopping just a few feet from the ground, and dropping him in the back of his own truck.
Pete landed sprawling, and just stared up at him as Connor hovered overhead.
"Stick to what you're good at Pete," he advised him. "By the way, that play against Gotham High? That was great," he said, flashing him a thumb's up. "Just leave the tricks on the field. You're not ready to play with the big boys. Got it?"
Pete nodded mechanically.
"Great. Then I'll let you get back to your life, while I handle my own," he said, and turned and flew off without looking back.
Trying not to smirk at the pale-faced jock with the very damp jeans.
"Captain, you're not authorized to visit this weeeeeeeeek!"
The man howled as Captain Atom backhanded the sentry, and the sentry went flying down the corridor of the underground installation. The hero tore open the vault door when it wouldn't open, and walked into the medical facility where his wife was only one of nine special 'patients' who were in cryo.
He bitterly wondered how many of them were truly alive, or if they had family being played the way they had played him.
He walked over to the frosted tube with his wife, his dead wife, and stared down at her frozen face.
"I'm sorry," he told the woman, and tore open the lid of the stasis tube as alarms wailed around him.
"Captain, stand down," Wade's voice barked as he turned from lifting the limp body out of the tube.
"You lied to me," he told him so blandly that General Eiling knew he was in trouble.
"I don't know what you are thinking, Nathaniel….."
"Haven't you heard, General Eiling," he said, walking past him. "Nathaniel Adams is dead. As dead as his wife. By the way," he added, turning to glare at him. "I quit."
The general swore, and shouted at his back, "You cannot just quit. You owe us! You….."
"You lied to me, General Eiling. I owe you nothing. Say, or do anything, and I will return. We both know you can't stop me. No one can," he added in an ominous tone.
Wade cursed as Captain Atom just looked up, and went straight up through the elevator shaft without stopping.
"Get me Amanda Waller," he barked at the sentry who was only then recovering.
"We meet again, Detective," a gravelly voice drawled as Batman entered the second floor of the looming, virtually palatial mansion.
"Ras," Batman murmured as he stood tensed, and ready. "Once again, you've gone too far."
"On the contrary, my worthy foe, I've not yet gone far enough. Surely even you can see the need for….."
"Save the speeches. I know you're working with Darkseid."
"I take it you are displeased," the master of assassins drawled as he simply stood there, hands clasped behind his back, and eyed Batman with supreme indifference.
"Displeased? You would willingly ally yourself with a creature that wants the complete destruction of our race."
"Actually, I understand he's very interested in our genetic potential. As slaves."
"All the more contemptible," Batman growled, his fists clenching.
"Are you only here to bandy insults," the older man remarked indifferently.
"No. I'm just here to stall you."
"Got it," a female voice said from the door where Selina Kyle sauntered in holding a solid, jade image of a golden-eyed feline.
"Ah, Ms. Kyle. It seems I underestimated you," the assassin drawled in pure menace.
"Most men do," she drawled as she walked past him, sliding the statue into her pouch, before pausing to eye Batman. "Clean up for me, will you, lover," she cooed, and leapt out the nearby balcony window without hesitation.
That both men knew the sheer drop was outside didn't even draw their eyes.
"We can do this easy, or hard. But the alien alliance stops here."
"I'm afraid I can't promise that," Ra's retorted. "I will cleanse this planet one way, or another. It is my destiny."
"We shall see. You should know, my….associates are already disarming your pawns as we speak. We have targeted every stockpile, every ally, and every meeting point. Your planned dissidence is doomed to failure."
"You think too small, Detective. No great surprise. You always did."
Batman's thin lips actually quirked.
"You think so? This is more than a warning, Ra's. It's a….courtesy call. You have…."
Batman's eyes shifted to a nearby clock.
"Two minutes to evacuate."
"Two minutes," Ra's snorted in disbelief. "Or what?"
"Or the five Air Force drone jets targeting a known terrorist stronghold might just finally get lucky, and bury you in your little castle," he said, raising his arm, and simultaneously firing a grapple that shot out, catching the passing shadow that flew up and out of the canyons below the mountain palace.
Batman vanished in the same instant.
Ra's swore, his calm lost now, and raced for the door.
"Ubu," he shouted. "To me!"
Less than two minutes later, the first bombs fell.
"Thank you for coming," Kal-El told the primary members of the League as they joined on the Watchtower later that day.
He was not just talking to them, though. He was talking to Kara, who had spent the past few days flying over the planet herself, and seeing just what kind of world they had inherited.
"So, what's up this time," Flash asked.
"Indeed. You sounded quite….earnest," J'onn remarked.
"It is time the League starting stepping forward to live up to its potential," Kal-El said without preamble.
"What do you mean," Diana asked a little haughtily.
"I have met Darkseid."
Not one of the six powerful metas said a word.
"Where," Batman finally demanded.
"He came to my fortress."
"Our sensors didn't detect the transport," Captain Atom said, his manner more reserved than ever since burying his wife beside 'his' grave. He had returned to the League, but said nothing to anyone.
"No, but mine did. I suspect Darkseid only allowed that to get my attention."
"He put us on notice. Apparently, the truce with the Highfather still holds, and will keep him off the planet. For now. However, he openly stated he has agents and allies working with him who will open this world to his dominance if we are not wary."
"So, he just popped in, gave you a warning, and popped out," Flash asked.
"Not quite," Kal-El grimaced, recalling the encounter, and only then explaining what had transpired.
"That explains that bruise you had earlier," Kara blurted out.
"Bruise? You," Flash sputtered.
"He….packs a punch. He's not an armchair conqueror. I suspect he has enough power to take on any of us, or all of us. That made me realize that we had to accelerate the power and potential of the League. It made me realize even I couldn't face him alone. So, as of now, if you will accept me, I ask to join you as a regular member, and help defend our world from all threats. Wherever they may originate."
The six heroes stood there studying him, and then Batman nodded.
"I accept your application. We need all the help we can get. Ra's is….distracted for the moment, but he'll be back."
"You don't think he was….?"
"He'll be back," he cut Diana off.
"Of course," the Amazon sighed. "I agree. Strength aside, you are quite clever. For a man."
Kal-El said nothing to that.
"I also suggest we step up the draft," he did say as he absorbed the nods from the members around them. "We are going to need a lot more help if Darkseid's threat was credible, which I believe to be more than accurate considering the recent activities from Intergang."
"I've been trying to find this Steel," Batman admitted. "Perhaps you can help," he asked Kal-El.
"I'll look around," he nodded.
"What about you," Captain Atom asked, looking toward Kara.
Kara sighed as all eyes went to her.
"I'm still not sure if I'm cut out for this…..hero business," she admitted.
"That's not what I've been hearing," Batman said blandly.
"But….until I decide either way, I'll help where I can. Okay?"
"That's more than enough," Kal-El told her. "No one is going to run your life, Kara. You are free to find your own way here."
"Thanks, Kal," she smiled, then looked around. "If….that's all. I guess I'll…..head down. I want to check on some things."
"Of course. Good luck."
"Say, what about that Superboy clone," Flash asked. "We could ask him….?"
"Youth aside, he's not mentally, or emotionally ready," Kal-El cut him off. "When he is, I'll suggest it myself. For now, we need people that know what they're going to face, and can handle it."
"That's why you let your….cousin go?"
"She's finding her own way. In her own way, she's already helping. I expect she will end up coming back to us, though. Just give her a chance to assimilate. She has been through a lot since waking up to find her world gone."
"Agreed," Captain Atom murmured.
"One last item," Batman stated when the meeting seemed ready to break up. "I believe our new public League needs a face. A leader the world can recognize, and respect."
"Say, that is a good idea. It would save a lot of confusion about who's giving orders….."
"I nominate Superman," Batman cut him off.
"Me," Kal-El frowned.
"You're more than powerful enough. More importantly, you are both intelligent, and objective. You know when to use your head as much as your fists. I believe you're the best fit for the new…public face you have grafted onto the team."
"I agree," J'onn nodded.
"As do I," Flash nodded quickly.
"Arrow," they all turned to Oliver, who had been silent through it all.
"I am still waiting for us to decide what to do about him," he said, nodding at Captain Atom.
Only then did Kal-El learn that Captain Atom had not just returned to the League, he had confessed his role as a mole for General Eiling.
"We accept him, as we did you, Queen," Batman growled. "Warts and all. It's no stretch that all of us here have made mistakes in the past. Likely, we'll make more in the future. We're not perfect. That said, Captain Atom is too valuable an asset to leave on the sidelines. So far as I am concerned, whatever his past, he has continually proven himself to us when it mattered."
"Thanks," Nathaniel nodded.
"That said, I'll still be watching you," Batman added somberly.
"Who don't you watch," Wally said, rolling his eyes.
"I suggest we ask Shayera to join us, too," Diana decided. "She's got an understanding of alien cultures, and is obviously experienced with battle tactics that could prove invaluable."
"Agreed," J'onn said simply again.
"I was going to suggest the ring guy. You can't beat a guy that can fly through space on his own. I'm just saying," Flash shrugged, eyeing them.
"As Superman said, we do need to step up our recruiting. Diana, talk to Hawkgirl. Sound her out. I've got another meta of my own to deal with. If there is nothing else, this meeting is adjourned."
No one spoke.
Even as they headed for the teleporters, Batman glanced back at Kal-El.
"I'll leave the press release concerning our new members to you. You seem to handle those well enough."
Kal-El gave him a faint smile, and nodded.
"I know the perfect reporter."
'Justice League Diffuses Gang War! Superman Now Leading the League!'
Batman's eyes rolled slightly as he glanced at the headlines on the paper left laying in Selina's apartment when he swung into the suite once again.
"Don't you ever use the door," a low, husky voice complained.
"Catwoman," he growled. "You still have crimes to answer for."
"What, my helping you out didn't balance the books?"
"I believe you were helping yourself more than anything else. You were carrying more than just that statue you mentioned when you left Ra's al Ghul's castle. You should be grateful he was likely too distracted to notice, or he'd be after you next."
"I just rescued a few trinkets that needed saving," the brunette grinned as she sauntered over to him from the hall, wearing a long, dark dress of sheer silk.
"And what did you do with them."
"Didn't you hear," she smirked. "A certain woman's shelter recently got a large, but anonymous donation."
"Altruism doesn't seem to suit you."
"Face it, Batman," she purred. "You actually know nothing about me, so you wouldn't know what suits me, or not. Although," she said, eyeing him speculatively.
"Blackmail won't work, if that is what you're thinking. I'll still bring you in."
"How about a truce. I'm about to attend the mayor's snob-fest for the upcoming Gala, and I need to mingle if I'm going to keep up my….charitable contributions. My….legitimate ones, that is," she smiled.
Batman's eyes narrowed.
"And the fact they're auctioning off a rare, golden panther stature from China doesn't have anything to do with your interest?"
Selina only smiled.
"It's fake. Some fat dwarf in a penguin suit stole it last week, and replaced it. Hadn't you heard?"
"Penguin suit," Batman murmured.
"Well, tah, I really do need to….."
Batman moved to stand in front of her.
"The truce stands. For now. But if you step out of line…. I will be there."
"I'm counting on it, Bruce," he purred, and scooped up a purse and keys before walking out, and leaving him in the shadows of her now dark apartment.
Batman didn't bother to linger. He turned and leapt out into the night.
Thinking about flightless birds.
Amanda Waller walked into the room that was devoid of furniture, and was in fact, more bunker than anything else. The heavy steel door could only be opened by a key code that just three people in the world knew. Her, Eiling, and General Lane.
Only MRD had been recently shut down by the pressure the public was forcing on the current administration, and Cadmus was in danger of being gutted, too.
She only had one failsafe.
She walked into the room, eyed the six men and women standing there looking less than happy, and glanced at the files in her hands.
"Victor Frieze. Dr. Doris Zuel. George Harkness. Floyd Lawton. Ben Turner. And, of course, John Corbin," she addressed them all. "Otherwise known as Mr. Freeze. Giganta. Captain Boomerang," she said with a wry smirk. "Deadshot. Bronze Tiger. And, of course, Metallo."
"We know who we are, you batty broad," John growled, his new body repaired, and reinforced by the best minds available. "Why don't you just get to it?"
"Indeed. People. We have a situation. The Justice League is growing more and more powerful. Aliens of unexpected power levels are appearing, and there is obviously a great deal of interference with our local government going on thanks to their kind."
"Where have I heard this speech before," Ben growled.
"My point, Mr. Turner, is we don't have anything to stop them if they decide to stop chasing alleged villains, and turn on us. The Justice League possesses powers and abilities that could literally shatter this globe, if they wished. Or simply shatter governments."
"You want us to take on the League," Victor asked, his cold visage masked behind the domed helmet he was forced to wear to keep him alive.
"You are but the first to join the Suicide Squad."
"Suicide," Doris sputtered. "Hey, I didn't sign up for…."
"You signed up to get out of jail. Each of you face multiple life sentences. Or death penalties," she added, eyeing Lawton. "You help us, we commute those sentences. You get caught, we, naturally, disavow you."
"Not much of an incentive," Corbin huffed in his mechanical tone. Unlike Luthor, they couldn't make him sound human, even if they had made him look that way again.
"No? How about the fact that if you run away, fail, or are caught, you not only face prison, you face death. The appellation, I felt, was more than appropriate. To encourage each of you to….behave, we implanted special tracking beacons in your skulls. Even yours, Corbin. You cross us, or try to do anything we do not directly sanction, and that beacon can become a bomb. Need I say more?"
Not one of them spoke.
"As I said. You are only the first. You will all listen to Ben Turner, who will be team leader, operating directly under the authority of General Rick Flagg, who you be meeting soon for your first team briefing. Just know, I'll always be watching you," she said, and turned on her heel, and walked out.
"Suddenly, life in prison doesn't seem so bad," George sighed.
"We'll see," Dr. Zuel murmured as she rubbed the back of her skull. "We'll just see."