"Boom goes the dynamite"
Gotham – East End
Clark's head was on a swivel, as Selina and Dinah fired questions at him. He had thought sitting between them would be a good idea to keep them from fighting. Once their focus shifted from kicking the crap out of each other to him, it didn't seem like such a good idea anymore.
"What did you mean this "Lashina' wants to train you?"
"What's a Kryptonian?"
"Why is Selina Kyle in your apartment?"
"Didn't you dump Blondie already? Why is she here?"
"Did you really sleep with her?"
"Yes he did, now what's the deal with this chick Lashina?"
"Yes, Clark, what's this 'Lashina's' deal?"
"And again, what's a Kryptonian?'
"Yeah, what the hell is a Kryptonian?
Okay, they weren't completely through with getting a few digs in at each other, but hostilities had stopped until they had answers from him. The problem, well, the immediate problem was neither was giving him time to answer before firing another question at him. Standing up, he quickly moved around the coffee table so he was facing both of them. At least this way he wouldn't wrench his neck out of joint going back and forth between them.
"Okay, I'd say sit down, but both of you already are,' he began.
Selina glanced over at Dinah, who glanced back at her. They both moved a little further away from each other and then turned back to Clark. Taking a deep breath he made the decision to tell them both everything.
"A Kryptonian is someone from the planet Krypton."
He waited, letting that sink in. Both women just continued to look at him.
"Come again?" Selina finally said.
"A Kryptonian is someone from the planet Krypton." He repeated.
"Are you talking about something like Planet Hollywood or Planet Fitness, that sort of thing?"
"You're talking about an actual planet? Another planet?" Dinah asked.
Dinah and Selina looked at each other again.
"And you're from there?" Dinah asked.
There was another long pause as this sunk in.
"Huh." Dinah commented.
"No, you're not,' Selina added skeptically.
"Yeah, I am, I was born there,' Clark replied.
"But I've seen you naked," Selina pointed out. This earned her a withering look from Dinah, but Selina paid her no mind. "You looked pretty human to me."
"Unless you're some sort of shape shifter,' Dinah mused and then added under her breath, "And desperate to get laid."
"That would have been if he slept with you," Selina fired back. "The shape shifter thing, I hadn't thought of that. Oh, God you're not like a troll or lizard man or something in your real form are you?"
"Are you a shape shifter?" Dinah asked.
Another long pause followed.
"No, you're not,' Selina said again, really having trouble believing any of this.
"As much as I hate admitting it, I'm sort of with her, Clark,' Dinah said. "You look pretty human to me too."
"I know this is a little hard to believe' he said, moving the brownies and magazines to the side of the coffee table and sitting down. He was about to continue, but the brownies did look good so he picked one up and took a bite. "Wow, those are good."
"See that's where your 'story' sort of falls apart, Clark,' Dinah observed. "You're too human to pull off the whole alien thing, so what's really going on?"
"I brought those,' Selina interjected, pointing to the brownies. "I thought we could share them, alone when you got back, but someone couldn't take a hint and leave."
Selina tilted her head and rolled her eyes to the side indicating Dinah. Dinah turned and once again glared at Selina.
"I saw that!"
"Good, I meant you too,' Selina replied with a smile.
Dinah balled up her fists and started to turn towards Selina, but Clark spoke up hoping to head off another fight.
"I arrived on Earth when I was a baby," he quickly said. "I was raised in Kansas just like I told you both, but I wasn't born on Earth, I was born on a planet called Krypton."
Competing emotions filled both women, they wanted to kick each other's ass, but they also wanted to hear what Clark was saying. Hearing him out barely won out.
"You didn't escape from a mental institution, did you Clark?" Dinah tentatively asked.
"That would be my luck, meet a nice guy and he's a nut,' Selina lamented.
"I didn't escape from a mental hospital, I swear,' Clark replied. "I'm from the planet Krypton."
"Krypton, is that really the name of the place?' Selina asked. "It sounds made up."
"That's how you pronounce it in English,' Clark replied. He then said Krypton in Kryptonian. "That's how it's said in our native language."
"I thought you said you came here as a baby?" Dinah asked. "How could you know the language if you did?"
"I learned it recently."
"What? Like from Berlitz or something?" Selina sarcastically asked. "They sell those down at the mall next to the Klingon section?"
"Funny,' Clark replied. "No, I came here in a ship and my birth parents filled it with knowledge of Krypton. I hadn't been able to access it until recently. I just found this all out myself."
"You learned you're an alien just recently?" Dinah asked. "You didn't know before?"
"No, I've always known,' Clark offered. "It's just the ship was damaged when I arrived and something must have delayed what's happened to me recently with these abilities. I grew up here, pretty much as normal as most people."
"In Kansas?" Selina asked. "Why Kansas of all places?"
"That's where the ship landed."
"So you're saying these powers you have aren't Meta, but alien?" Dinah asked.
"Yes,' Clark replied with a nod.
Selina had been running her fingers through her still wet hair trying to wrap her mind around what he was saying. She was skeptically by nature, so it was really hard buying his story.
"Are you sure?" She asked.
"I mean really, really sure you're from another planet?" She asked
The look in his eyes told her he was telling the truth, or at least what he believed was the truth. That meant one of two things, Selina realized, he was either telling the truth or insane.
"So I slept with an alien?" She wondered aloud.
Dinah glared first at Selina and then at Clark. He fidgeted just a bit under it.
"Um, well, yeah,' he admitted.
"Unbelievable,' Selina muttered, slumping back against the couch in stunned silence.
"Why would your birth parents send you here, Clark?" Dinah pointedly asked. "That is your name, isn't it? Clark?"
"Yeah, it is,' he replied. "Although they named me Kal-El, but I've been Clark Kent my whole life."
"Kal-El of Krypton.' Dinah repeated. For her part, Dinah was a bit suspicious of everything. It was a holdover from her time in the shadow world of spies and the reason things hadn't worked out with Clark the first time. The problem this time was she couldn't figure out any angle for why he would tell them this story if it weren't true. An alien from another world landed on Earth?
"As for why they sent me,' Clark continued. "It was because Krypton was doomed. There wasn't time to save the population, so my parents saved me before it blew up."
"You're planet blew up?"
"Yes." "Clark said with a nod. "I'm the last Kryptonian anywhere."
"They're all dead?" Selina asked, coming out of her inner thoughts. "The whole planet? Your parents? Everyone?"
Clark bowed his head and just looked at his hands for a moment.
Dinah and Selina looked at each other for a moment. While they disliked each other, they did like Clark and could see the pain plainly on his face. Both women reached to out to him.
"I'm sorry, Clark."
"Yeah, me too,' Selina said.
"Thank you both,' he replied.
"So you're not here to restart your dead alien race are you, Clark?" Dinah asked with a smile. It was a dig at Selina for continuing to mention they'd slept together. Clark looked up and saw the smile on her face and smiled. The thought hadn't occurred to Selina.
"You're not, are you?" Selina nervously asked. "You didn't impregnate me with an alien baby? I mean something's not going to start bursting through my stomach soon is it? You know like in the movie?"
"No,' Clark calmly replied. "I'm not even sure I can get a human pregnant. I doubt we're compatible on a basic genetic level."
Selina let out a sigh of relief and then noticed Dinah laughing quietly.
"Oh, ha-ha, if you'd have slept with him you'd be wondering the same thing, Blondie,' Selina snapped. "Oh, that's right, you didn't, did you?"
The Blondie crack removed the smile from Dinah's face.
"You really are asking for it, you know that don't you?" Dinah replied.
"You know you two are taking this much better than I thought you would,' Clark offered, hoping to head off another altercation. "I sort of expected people to be freaked out when I told them."
"Oh, I'm freaked out, I'm just still trying to wrap my head around it all,' Selina admitted.
"It is still pretty hard to believe,' Dinah offered. "I've heard of aliens visiting Earth before, but didn't really expect them to look, well, like you."
"This is how you really look, isn't it?" Selina ventured. "I mean you're not going to peel off your skin and reveal some scaly skin underneath are you?"
"No, this is it, I promise. That's just a movie,' Clark replied. "Humans and Kryptonians basically look the same. There are some differences, but they don't show on the outside."
"Under a yellow sun, we gain these abilities,' Clark explained. "I think that's why my birth parents sent me to Earth. They figured they'd help me survive in case things didn't work out here."
That made sense to both women.
"So does anyone else know?" Dinah asked.
"My parents, the Kents did,' Clark replied. "Lashina does too."
"The woman in black,' Selina said with distaste. "How does she know? Did you tell her?"
"No, she just seemed to know right away,' Clark said.
"She's not one, is she?" Selina asked. "A Kryptonian?"
"No but she's not from Earth either,' Clark replied. "I'm not sure where she's from, but she already seems to know a lot about me."
"Does she know you're Clark Kent?" Dinah asked.
"I don't think so."
"I wouldn't trust her,' Dinah offered.
"I agree for once with her,' Selina added.
"I don't, but it might be a chance to learn more about who I am and where I come from,' Clark said. "For most of my life I've been pretty much like everyone else. I might have been a little stronger and didn't get sick, but I was basically the same. These abilities are still rather new to me, so it would be a way to figure them out."
'By letting her train you, right?" Selina asked, the skepticism plain in her voice again.
"Yes, I probably could use some training,' Clark admitted.
"I could train you,' Dinah offered.
"At what?" Selina asked with a smirk.
"At kicking someone's ass,' Dinah grumbled.
"How'd that go with the woman in black at the docks or in the Bowery earlier?" Selina asked.
"I'm here, aren't I?' Dinah fired back.
"Only because it appears she's not really interested in you,' Selina offered. "Can't say I blame her there."
Selina definitely had a way of pissing Dinah off.
"I suppose you think you could train him better?' She said. "Please, I was just about to take you out when Clark arrived."
"Yeah, you keep telling yourself that,' Selina replied.
"Um, guys, what do you think I should do about Lashina?" Clark asked, again hoping to head off a brawl between the two in his apartment. He might be able to withstand it, but he knew his furniture wouldn't. They continued to look at each other, both wanting to give it another go, but Clark was asking for their help.
"Don't trust her,' Dinah finally offered.
"Don't trust her, but I'd say find out what she wants,' Selina suggested. "She'll probably tell you sooner or later."
"So do you think I should agree to train with her?" He asked them both.
"Yes,' Selina replied.
"I suppose it would be the best way to find out what she really wants,' Dinah admitted.
"I appreciate both your help with this,' Clark said with a smile. "It's all happening so fast, I feel a bit out of my depth."
"You're welcome,' Selina said with a smile of her own.
"Yes, no problem, happy to help, Clark." Dinah added.
There was another pause in the conversation.
"Although, if this whole alien thing is just some bullshit story, I'm really going to be pissed, Clark,' Selina informed him. "I mean really pissed."
"For once we agree on something,' Dinah added.
"It's not, I promise."
"I'm going to want to see this 'ship' of yours, too,' Selina said. "You know, just to make sure."
"I'll take your word for it, Clark,' Dinah said snidely, glancing at Selina. "Although, seeing the ship would kinda of help, a lot in believing your story."
Granny sat back in her chair looking over the latest reports. She took them all in, but was also thinking about Lashina. Granny Goodness hadn't risen to where she was or maintained her position by trusting people. She certainly didn't trust Lashina. While all of her Furies were ambitious, Lashina was the youngest, the most aggressive and the most ambitious. That made her a very good soldier, but Granny also believed it put ideas into Lashina's head, dangerous ideas. The young woman took what she wanted, and Granny was afraid what Lashina wanted was to move up in the order of things on Apokolips. That was something Granny wasn't about to let happen.
The Kryptonian was a worthy prize to bring to Darkseid, but who got the credit and the rewards was something Granny planned on winning. Removing Lashina from Gotham would be a mistake though, as she'd already made contact with the Kryptonian. Sending someone new would just delay matters. Granny would let Lashina continued, but decided she would keep a closer eye on the situation. Pressing a small button on her desk, the door opened and two women walked in.
"Gilotina and Bernadeth, your sweet Granny has an assignment for you,' Granny said with her cold smile. "Go to Gotham and keep an eye on your fellow Fury, Lashina."
"Do you want us to kill her, Granny?" Gilotina asked with a smile.
"I love your enthusiasm, my pet, but no, not yet,' Granny replied. "Lashina is involved in a prize I wish to give to our dark lord, but you must make sure she stays truth to my desires. I want you two to go and monitor her, without her knowing it and report everything to me."
"If we find out she isn't doing as you ask?" Bernadeth asked.
"Then you two will be moving up in the Furies,' Granny said with her sickeningly sweet smile.
Gotham – Downtown
The Joker's mad laugh echoed through the blimp's gondola, as his henchmen continued to toss out it's living and inanimate cargo. They were haphazardly floating down with their parachutes towards Gotham Memorial Stadium and the surrounding downtown. The Joker really didn't care where they exploded as long as they inspired the maximum shock and horror. Several police blimps and helicopters were approaching and he watched them with glee.
"Wait for it, wait for it,' he shouted. "Now boys! NOW!"
Several windows opened on the gondola and his henchmen opened fire with the plasma rifles. Several of the blimps burst into flames and the helicopters veered wildly out of the beams paths.
"Let's add a little chaos to the old town tonight!" Joker screamed and then laughed as the floating stuffed animals, puppies and kittens began to explode over the stadium. The first few were just streamers and fireworks, but this was only to draw everyone's attention. Once the crowd and the spotlights turned their attention to the skies the show would really begin.
Batman knew he would only have one shot at it. Gaining as much momentum as he could, he swung up and launched himself into the night sky towards the Joker's blimp. As it got closer and closer, he could feel his inertia slowing. Plasma beams cut through the dark night air all around him, but he concentrated on making it the last few yards. Extending his cape and using it as an airfoil, Batman willed himself higher and closer. Even the smallest gust of wind could throw him off course and lead to disaster. He didn't stop.
Twisting his body in midair, he plunged through one of the gondola's windows, shattering it. The Joker's henchmen turned and started to attack him with the plasma rifles and hand to hand.
"KILL HIM!" The Joker screamed.
Batman moved with the brutal efficiency honed from countless hours of grueling training. Sidestepping the blasts he took out henchman after henchman, using some as a shield against the plasma rifles until he could disable them as well. His eye was always on the Joker, yet everything in the cabin caught his notice. Effortlessly he made his way to the control panel and closed the trapdoor on the bottom of the gondola stopping the dropping of bomb strapped animals and objects.
The Joker moved towards the back of the gondola, a wild manic look in his eye. He throw open one of the hatches and began to climb out. Batman saw this and continued to fight his way forward. The Joker began to climb up the side of the blimp, sword in his belt and plasma rifle strapped over his shoulder. He fired randomly at the police helicopters and blimps and he continued towards the top of the dirigible.
Batman continued to follow.
Gotham – Midtown
Rupert Thorne watched the television as live coverage of the battle between the Joker and Batman was broadcast. He was still licking his wounds from the battle on the docks, but he'd lost far fewer men than the others. These public battles weren't good for business, but Rupert knew this was an opportunity. While the police and Batman were busy dealing with madmen like the Joker, they wouldn't be watching as he made his move to eliminate the competition. Mannheim had sent him some more soldiers to continue the fight and Rupert figured a carefully orchestrated hit on the other factions would tip the balance his way. They would do it quietly and fast before anyone knew what was hitting them. By morning he would be the head of Gotham's underworld.
Gotham – Downtown
Harley drove up on the curb and scattered the pedestrians as she made her way towards the stadium. The news reports were coming in over the radio and tears rolled down Harley's face as she listened. As she jerked the wheel and plunged back into traffic, the reports were too much for her to listen to. Slamming into cars before gunning it, Harley reached over to the passenger seat and picked up a CD. She jammed it in the car stereo and cranked it. Abba's Winner Takes It All blasted from the car. Wiping away her tears, Harley began to sing along as she drove like a maniac through the streets of Gotham.
I don't wanna talk
About things we've gone through
Though it's hurting me
Now it's history
I've played all my cards
And that's what you've done too
Nothing more to say
No more ace to play
The winner takes it all
The loser's standing small
Beside the victory
That's her destiny!
Gotham – East End
Selina and Dinah were still a little shocked and stunned by Clark's revelation. They wanted to believe him but it was really hard getting their heads around the idea that the nice guy standing in front of them from Kansas was actually from some other planet. They made him repeat the story again and again, asking every question they could think of and occasionally getting digs in with each other.
Clark was just starting to retell the story again, when a wave of sound reached his ears. It was as if every channel in Gotham had been turned to the same one at the same time. The news reports of the blimp and the bombing of the stadium came from every direction. He winced as it threatened to overwhelm him.
"What? Are you okay?" Selina asked.
"The Joker's attack the football stadium,' Clark gasped. "I've got to go."
"Wait, I'll go with you and help,' Dinah offered.
"Yeah, let me just get changed and I'll go too,' Selina offered.
"I'm sorry, no time,' he replied and then moved towards the window. In the next moment he was gone, flying off towards the stadium. Dinah moved over and watched him for a moment, but then the sound of the television made her turn. The live coverage was all over it.
"This is bad,' Selina whispered, as she watched what was unfolding. When the reports of what the Joker was dropping came over the TV, Selina looked upwards. "Oh, no, Harley."
"We should try and help,' Dinah stated.
"We'd never make it in time,' Selina replied. "I hate this, but all we can do is watch."
Gotham – Downtown
Batman dodged the plasma blasts from the Joker and continued to climb up the side of the blimp. It was heading straight for the stadium and searchlights flashed across the sky revealing the two men on top of the dirigible in flickering strobes. Batman heard the Joker laugh and it only spurred him on. The Joker had reached the top of the blimp and fired into the air before firing at the batman again.
"On top of the world, Ma! On top of the world!" He shouted and then continued to laugh. Batman swung out from the blimp holding onto one of the tether lines and then arched up and landed twenty feet away from the Joker.
"It's over, now." He rasped.
"For you,' the Joker replied. He started firing wildly at Batman, who dove to the side, grabbing one of the lines that circled the blimp and fired a Batarang at the Joker. It knocked the rifle from his hand and it fell over the side. This high up the winds were whipping around them, making footing precarious at best on the soft bouncy surface of the blimp. Batman climbed back up to the top. The Joker pulled his sword and made a mad rush towards the Batman, who opened his truncheon and countered the thrust. The Joker nearly went over the side, but grabbed on at the last minute. Batman was standing over him pointing the truncheon.
"It's over, Joker."
"Only when I saw it's over, Batman,' Joker laughed. "Boom goes the dynamite."
The Joker thrust his sword into the blimp and there was an explosion that knocked them both from their holds. Hydrogen, only the Joker would use hydrogen Batman thought as he plunged from the blimp towards the city far below. The Joker's mad laugh echoed through the night as he fell as well.
Then two arms caught the Batman. Superman.
"I got you,' Clark said.
"Thanks, but you need to stop that blimp, it's heading straight for the stadium,' Batman replied.
Clark glanced over and it was like something out of a newsreel of the Hindenburg, as the Joker's blimp spiraled down towards the crowded stadium being consumed by the flames.
"Drop me, I've go the Joker, you just take care of the blimp,' Batman said.
"All right,' Clark replied and let go. Batman dropped for a moment but then his cape open and he caught the wind. Clark watched him for just a second and then turned his attention back to the burning blimp. It was like wrestling in a parachute on fire, but as he felt it swirl around him, Clark wasn't concerned about being burned. Taking a deep breath he put out most of the fire, but hydrogen wasn't the easiest thing to contain. Grabbing the gondola he started to make his way towards the water, when some of the animals began to explode. He couldn't leave them and knew if he didn't do something they would all share the same fate. He'd never tried anything like it before, but there wasn't time for anything else. Holding the burning blimp aloft, he began to use his heat vision to slice all the wires on the bombs strapped to the animals. He hoped that would stop them from exploding and allow the animals to float down safely. Beams of red shot out in seemingly every direction at once. The searchlights far below seemed to be swarming over the sky lighting the struggle up for all to see.
Gotham – East End
Selina and Dinah stood in Clark's apartment watching him on television. Batman had dropped out of the picture and the focus was now on Superman dealing with the burning blimp and the bomb strapped animals.
"Got to say, that's a pretty good argument for him telling the truth," Dinah observed.
"Yeah." Selina replied. "Did you see what happened to Batman?"
"No but I'm sure he's all right,' Dinah offered. "He'll be all right, I hope."
Gotham – Downtown
Batman tried to slow his momentum as he neared the ground. He had never attempted a glide from that far up and he was coming in hot. As the pavement rushed towards him, he knew it was going to hurt. If he landed square on his feet he would most likely break his legs, so he did the best he could at tumbling and letting the suit take the brunt of the impact. He felt something give in his knee and pain shoot through his body as he rolled to a stop.
The street was empty, illuminated by just streetlights. From the shadows he heard clapping. As he struggled to get to his feet, the Joker stepped from the shadows holding a gun.
"Bravo, bravo, Batman,' the Joker said. "You somehow managed to ruin another spectacular display of chaos at it's best. Unfortunately, it won't be enough, for you."
"It's over, Joker, you lost,' Batman snarled.
"Yes, it is over, but you don't see it,' Joker replied. "You represent order while I represent chaos. Chaos always wins in the end, just look around you. You can try and use one of your wonderful toys, but not before I pull this trigger."
Batman was just about to fire a Batarang at the Joker when a shot rang out. The Joker's smile wavered as he stumbled forward. A bloodstain appeared on the front of his shirt and he looked down at it in disbelief. Another and another shot came and then he dropped to his knees. Batman saw Harley Quinn standing behind the Joker with a smoking gun in her hand. There were tears in her eyes, as she kept moving towards the Joker. She stood over him pointing the gun at his head.
"You broke me heart,' she sobbed.
"Harley! NO!" Batman shouted. He fired a volley of Batarangs, but somehow she managed to avoid them. She pulled back the hammer on the gun and then it was as if something short-circuited in her. Harley gave a jerk and then crumbled to the ground next to the Joker.
"I should have probably let her kill him,' a voice said from the shadows. "Save us all a lot of time and energy."
Amanda Waller walked out of the shadows. In her hand was a small device that had stopped Harley.
"Batman." She said.
"I'm taking her back, but you can have him,' Waller stated. "The police have been notified and will be here in a few minutes."
"What's the catch?" He asked.
"You owe me now."
"Yes,' she said. "I want you to share whatever Intel you have on him."
She pointed towards the water, where Superman was carrying the burning blimp.