League of Justice #3.1: “The Dogs of War”

Deep Space

On a dark rock spiraling through the blackness of space, two members of the Black Lantern Corps met.

“A son of Krypton has survived.”
“We told Jor-El he would endure unharmed.”
“Not the son of El. Another has lived. Our enemy.”
“Where is he?”
“He lives on the same planet as the son of El.”
“Then war will descend on them both.”

On an Unknown South Pacific Island

Green Lantern thought hard. Her ring manifested a bulletproof shield. Wading into battle, she fired her gun from behind it while bullets bounced off, ricocheting in various directions. To her left, Wonder Woman also shielded herself from bullets, but with her metallic bracers. The military scientists that Hal and Diana worked with only concluded that they were made of an as of yet unknown element, which they promptly nicknamed wonderflonium after their heroine, Wonder Woman.

Diana moved superhumanly fast as she deflected bullets with her forearms and beat the daylights out of the rebel soldiers. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman had been sent in to quell an uprising and take out a rebel leader. This they were doing handily. Hal’s gun ran out of bullets. Without stopping her assault, she concentrated and her ring manifested another magazine full of ammunition. She kept firing. She didn’t know how her ring worked, but she was glad it did. The items she manifested only persisted for about thirty minutes. After that, the bullets she created would vanish, wherever they were, whether buried in a concrete wall or someone’s brain matter. Where they vanished to was as big a mystery as where they manifested from, but her scientist friends muttered something about the conservation of matter and energy. She hadn’t really been paying attention.

Wonder Woman fought her way to the main building on the rebel compound. She kicked down the door and waited. It was a good move as bullets flew out. She waited for magazines to empty, then cleared the room with her bare hands. None survived. Green Lantern set down her shield. Manifesting a shotgun, she entered the room. There she saw bodies strewn all over, most resting at impossible angles that told her Diana had been taking no prisoners. Diana nodded towards a closed door and mouthed There! indicating that the rebel leader had taken refuge inside the closet.

Green Lantern spoke: “Come out and surrender and face justice or be killed like the coward you are. You have about five seconds.”

Her answer was gunfire. She shrugged and emptied her shotgun into the closet. Not bothering to check, she manifested a cube of C4 explosive and stuck it to the door. Setting a timer, she and Wonder Woman started to leave the building.

Seconds later, the building exploded. Another victory for Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern.

Gotham City

Batman’s fists both connected with the chest of a thug, shooting him backwards into a brick wall. A quick roundhouse kick to the jaw put him out of action. Batman turned to the other would-be robber.

“This is your one chance to surrender.”

The crook foolishly thought he could shoot faster than Batman could pummel him into a bloody mess. He thought wrong. Batman broke the shotgun in half with his reinforced Bat-Armor. This new suit was working out better than his defensive Kevlar-Titatium suit. Made from Carbon fiber and metal alloys, as well as Kevlar, the suit was reinforced with actuators and a mechanical exoskeleton. This gave Batman a much faster, and stronger, physical presence than mere muscle and human reaction time. Nodding to the store owner, Batman grabbed both criminals and dragged them outside. By that time Detective Gordon had arrived with two squad cars. Gordon had just enough time to shout.

“You’re under arrest,” in a somewhat uncaring tone of voice before Batman’s grappling hook took hold of the building roof and hoisted him out of reach. “Oh well, another time.” Gordon shrugged and handcuffed the men who were now coming around from their Bat-beating.

“You have the right to remain silent…”

Cleveland, Ohio

The Flash flashed into the middle of a busy intersection.

“Whoah!” fortunately, he was becoming as well known as Batman and Superman. Cars swerved to avoid him with only a minimum of swearing and honking of horns.

“Gotta get better at re-entry timing.” Barry Allen muttered to himself. He was hot on the trail of an illusionist thief calling himself Mirror Man. Barry’s information led him to believe that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was next on the list of high priority targets. Barry hoped to get here before Mirror Man and set up an ambush.

Once he reached the safety of the sidewalk he looked around and saw Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians. Smoothing out his red leather jacket, and mask, he swore.

“Dammit. Not only did I flash into traffic, I’m off the mark.” Barry shook his head. Teleporting still wasn’t as easy as he first thought it would be. Rather than risk another incident, he hailed a taxi.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, please.”

“Hey, you’re that Flash guy! Hey buddy, ride’s on me!”

A week or so ago the Flash had stopped a ring of corrupt cab drivers from stealing from their partners and passengers. Now, no matter what city he flashed into, he was the recipient of free rides. Fighting crime did pay. Occasionally. Now to get to the Rock and Roll and set up his trap for a Mirror Man.

Metropolis

Superman flew as fast he could. The mission was desperate and the need dire. Only a superhero could save the day and the hour. Faster than a speeding bullet, over tall buildings, up in the sky Clark Kent raced for class. If he was late again he would be failed for having too many absences. Sometimes superheroes needed to save themselves from themselves. Clark had been so busy hopping the planet rescuing ships in distress, planes with engine failure, cats from trees, and even helping with the occasional high speed pursuit, that he tended to lose track of time and miss class. If he was going to graduate from Metropolis University with the degree in journalism he was also pursuing, he needed to find a way to balance saving the world and studying. Dropping from high in the atmosphere to a dark alley a block from his building, Clark Kent emerged running for class. He made it with just seconds to spare. Another superhero victory!

Smallville

Canary found she quite liked living in small town America. Ma Kent had taken her in and given her what she hadn’t had in a very long time: a family. As a result, Dinah hadn’t killed anyone in almost a year. She was looking forward to celebrating the anniversary. She didn’t regret any of the scum she had put under the ground, but she didn’t like the darkness in herself. Besides, this was what her small town exile was all about. With Clark’s help and Ma and Pa’s guidance, she was emerging from her shell of hate and fear and becoming a full woman again. She volunteered with the Smallville Police Force as a crossing guard and truant officer, helping to guide kids into school and off the streets. She sang in the church choir, for once using her voice to build rather than destroy. Dinah, for the first time since her mother was murdered, had found some measure of peace. A victory for a super heroine if there ever was one.

Bermuda

AquaMan surveyed the heavens with growing unease. He couldn’t put his finger on it yet, but something wasn’t right. His satellites and sensors that he had placed in orbit were more sensitive than NASA’s or those of other countries, so it would be some time before the governments of the world were aware of what he was tracking, but even AquaMan didn’t know what that was yet. He floated in his tank and checked his readings again.

“This can’t be good.” He whispered to himself.

League of Justice #3.0: “Their Currents Turn Awry”

There they found an emaciated looking man floating in a pool on water, kept afloat by two wolphins.

“Welcome. My name is AquaMan. I believe some of you know each other, but I am pleased to introduce you all to each other: Batman meet Superman meet Green Lantern meet Canary meet the Flash meet Wonder Woman and as I said, I am AquaMan. Pleased to meet you all.”

Earlier:

Batman was working on his supercomputer at his secret underground bunker at a Wayne Enterprises Applied Sciences satellite facility, a place he had come to call the Batcave. He got an anonymous instant message, that try as he could, he could not trace.

YOU’LL FIND OTHERS LIKE YOURSELF HERE. There was a set of coordinates.

Bruce Wayne later chartered a jet to Bermuda, wanting to take a holiday; perfectly normal for the billionaire college student.

***
***

Green Lantern and Wonder Woman were sent on a covert operation. Their orders were to infiltrate a hidden terrorist base on Bermuda and apprehend a fugitive who had just been added to the most wanted list. They left immediately.

***
***

Superman was asked to help a family in desperate need in Bermuda, their house was flooding and all their possessions would be lost if it could not be moved. A place was named. He flew off to help.

***
***

Canary won an all expense paid trip to Bermuda. What the hell, she thought. She’d never been on a vacation in her life. Sounded like a good time.

***
***

The Flash flashed into a dark cave. Standing there was a most unusual group of people. There was a man dressed as a bat, a woman in a green combat suit, another woman wearing tight robes who had bracers on her forearms and a lasso at her side. Another black woman wore motorcycle leathers and looked ready to rumble, and finally there was a man floating in the water. Allen himself was dressed in a red leather jacket with a lightning bolt patch on the left shoulder and a face mask.

“Hello.” he said. The rest nodded. The man in the pool of water spoke…

***

“I want to talk to you all about joining together for common purpose. For over 100 years I have watched the world, and wished for extraordinary people who would step up to lead, to protect, to serve the world when the world needed them. Quite without my planning, here you emerged. You are all superheroes, of one sort or another, each with a unique set of abilities, what some call powers. One by one, you are all formidable, and all have walked dark and sometimes lonely paths to get where you are today. I ask you not to abandon your current duties or tasks, indeed, you are all needed where you are, but I do ask that you make a pact to here come together again when I call, when there is a global need that cannot be met by just one or two of you, but a need that requires you all. I ask you to join my League of Justice, to stand and fight when the world is in peril. Will you join with me against that day?”

For a day they talked, sometimes argued, sometimes agreed, and at the end, all joined with AquaMan. All pledged their allegiance, for the good of the planet.

And thus, a superhero team was born: the League of Justice.

That terrorist was found to be a friend and ally. The family’s home was saved. Flash went home. Canary had a great vacation. AquaMan smiled, content that earth was safe.

Which it is. For now. But in space, sectors away, an old menace is awaking. A blackness is descending towards earth. It won’t arrive soon, but it will come, and maybe even the League of Justice will not be enough to stop it from destroying the entire planet…

League of Justice #2.9 “By Any Other Name”

Central City

Barry was exhausted. Phil helped him to arrange a flight home from Tunisia, and Iris was there to meet him at the airport, but it took several weeks to heal from the physical, and what was more, the emotional trauma of being a prisoner and a lab rat at the mercy of Lex Luthor’s scientists.

He pressed charges against Lex Luthor, but without hard evidence, the allegations and legal proceedings halted before they started. To further exacerbate his wounds, when Lex heard about the charges, while denying them all, he made the grand humanitarian gesture and paid for all of Barry’s treatments and medical bills. Barry hated him for it, but poor graduate students can’t be choosy about how expenses get paid.

Barry spent much of his time thinking. He had discovered that he had the ability to teleport over long distances. This ability was triggered by stress and focused thinking. Once home, he practiced , at first with a frustrating lack of results, but then with repeatable frequency until he could flash at will. He could even choose the direction and location of his flashes. He decided then that something must be done with this power.

With great power comes…something, and that something should be for the good of all humanity, Barry thought to himself. But what he planned to do couldn’t be in the name of Barry Allen. For one thing, his experiences with Luthor proved that there were people who would always seek to abuse his power for their own gain. Second, he couldn’t be certain that Luthor still wouldn’t come after him. So, he needed an alter ego, a persona that could be seen by the general public and the media and that would protect Barry from their scrutiny.

Given that it was a flash of lightning that created who Barry was now, and that his teleportation events felt like flashes, it seemed only natural that he would call himself The Flash.

And with that, a new superhero was born.

***
***

Smallville

Clark Kent awoke in his parent’s hay loft and for a moment was confused how he got there. Then he remembered: the hurricane, the Abby Gale, the flight round the world. But it seemed like all of that happened to someone else, a different person. He snuck out of the barn, being careful not to be seen by his folks, after all, he was supposed to be at college and didn’t want to have to explain how he was all of sudden home. It was still dark in the predawn, so he took advantage of his abilities. He flew to the edge of town, then walked over to his favorite diner. He pulled his hood up, and ordered a coffee. Drinking it, he sat in peace, but only for a few minutes.

Another patron walked over to him, a woman, dark skinned, and dressed in biker leather. She sat down next to him and peered at him intently. Without preamble she said:

“It’s you, isn’t it? You’re him!”

Clark wanted to ignore her, but couldn’t.

“Him who?”

“I saw you flying into town last night.”

Clark looked around in panic, but no one had heard.

“Don’t worry, your secret is safe for me. But how do you do it?”

“Who are you?”

“Dinah Drake, but they call me the Canary.”

“Canary. I don’t know how I do it. My name’s Clark Kent, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you Clark. You know, if you don’t want people to know you can fly, you should be a bit more careful.”

“Wait…it was you on the motorcycle wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, just got in from Gotham.”

“Gotham? That’s a long drive.”

Canary smiled. “Not all of us can fly. Besides, I like my cycle. It gives me freedom.”

“I bet.”

“So where were you flying from?”

Clark hesitated, but it felt good to tell someone. Over a breakfast of scrabbled eggs, bacon, and toast for him, pancakes and fruit for her, he told her the story about the hurricane. In return, she told him about Gotham. About growing up. About always being on the run. Humbled by her experiences, Clark revealed his heart. He told her he was an alien from a dead world, that that was the source of his powers. They bonded over being misfits and outcasts from human society.

“You know,” Clark said, “My mom is a wonderful woman. My earth mother. She would love to meet you, and she would give you a place to live. You don’t have to always be on the streets, alone. And I don’t know. If you tell her about what you’ve been through, maybe she can help. She does that very well, helping people. What do you say?”

Dinah strangely found herself trusting this man from another world but also from her world.

“I’d say that sounds wonderful.”

Clark took Dinah home to meet his parents. Within minutes, Ma Kent had her set up in Clark’s room and was shooing Clark back to Metropolis and college. He told his parents what he had done, and rather than be upset at the blatant use of his power, Pa Kent had tears in his eyes. “I always knew you were destined for greatness,” he said.

On the bus ride back to college, Clark did some thinking about what he had done, and how much he wanted to keep doing it. There were always people in trouble and always people who needed help who up until now had to take their chances. Clark wanted to help the people no one else could. But, he needed a way to do that without drawing attention. He needed a way to keep his ear to the ground. So he got online, Clark plugged into social media, and landed a job writing for the Daily Planet, a world wide online, grassroots newspaper. It was run and contributed to by people all over the world, normal people with an internet connection sharing stories about what happened around them. It was a global news source by the people the news happened to. But, Clark couldn’t tell his stories about himself. They had to be about someone else, someone larger than life. No one would believe that a simple guy from Smallville, Kansas could life a fishing boat or fly around the world anyway, so Clark told the stories about someone else. In a flash of hubris, but also good storytelling, Clark made up a character called the Superman. It was the Superman that saved the Abby Gale. It was the Superman who was on the lookout for more people who were in need of rescuing. The fishermen and sailors he saved were already spinning their own tales, so the internet took the Superman in stride. In fact, it wasn’t long before stories began pouring into Clark’s inbox, telling of other people in need of help, if only he could get a message to the Superman. And so Clark had plenty of things to write about as a globe trotting reporter, and the Superman had plenty of people to save. Based on his clothes, Clark even concocted a costume. He donned lightweight, form fitting blue exercise clothes and a red hood to hide his identity. In flight, the hood trailed behind him like a cape.

And with that, a new superhero was born.

***
***

Gotham City

Vicki Vale was a reporter for the Gotham Times. She was given the assignment to write about the takedown of the Scarecrow Killer by this vigilante called the Batman. After interviewing Lt. Gordon, lead detective on the case, she had her story and a front page article on Gotham’s newest criminal at large.

And with that, a new superhero was born.

***
***

U.S.S. Enterprise, Atlantic Ocean

Hal Jordan presented her report on the alien encounter the night before and got yelled at by Admiral Russo, but there was little she could do. She was transferred from his research division, along with Diana whom she refused to leave without, and was transferred to a top secret operations unit. They were tasked with the impossible missions that even Seal Team 6 or other elite military units couldn’t complete. Hal already had a codename, the Green Lantern, and after Diana demonstrated her superior fighting skills and superhuman physical condition, she was codenamed Wonder Woman. They started completing missions immediately and with great skill.

And thus, two new superheroines were born.

***
***

Bermuda

Aquaman floated in his tank, and watched it all unfold. It was time to initiate the dream he had dreamed since he was a child: assembling a team of unique people to watch over the earth with a purpose. That purpose? To protect and serve and to provide justice for the down and out, the downtrodden, those in need and those with problems the authorities and local agencies could not solve. This would be a league of people united in that purpose. This would be a League of Justice.

League of Justice #2.8 “Men My Garments Wear Part 2”

Gotham City

Batman tracked Jon Crane to Arkham Asylum. It seemed that Crane volunteered there for college credits. Arkham Asylum was an old psych ward, left over from less sophisticated days. Most psychological patients these days were in the psych wing of Gotham General, but some of the more violent psychopaths wound up at A.A., now a maximum security psych ward.

It was dark, late, no longer Hallowe’en. It was now morning on All Saints Day. Batman was clad in his brand new suit of Bat armor. Made from titanium and kevlar it was light, but strong. It was all black, and covered from head to toe. On top of his mask and cowl, he had two sharp ridges, like ears. His silhouette strongly suggested that of a bat. He wore combat boots, and built into his mask were night vision goggles and infrared sensors. He scanned the Asylum from a distance.

Everything seemed normal until he got to the basement. There he saw two figures, heat red against the blackness. One was spread eagle against a wall. Another was moving against it, repeatedly and violently. A rape! Batman growled, deep and low in his throat. It was a predator’s growl.

He grabbed a grapple gun from his tool belt. Crouching low, he shot a grappling hook to the top of the old brick wall that surrounded the Asylum. It latched on. Engaging the powerful winch, Batman rode it up the wall. Once there, he ran along the top of the wall until he found what he was looking for on the ground on the other side: a sewer access. Leaping down from the wall, his cape flared out, acting as parachute, slowing his fall and setting him gently on the grass.

Batman removed a small explosive charge from his utility belt, and threw it at the sewer access. It landed and detonated, blowing a hole, which Batman promptly smashed to bits with a nearby rock. Grabbing the ladder, rather than climb, Batman slid down it. Engaging his heat vision, he saw the Scarecrow now beating his victim. This must stop.

Batman made his way through dank and disgusting tunnels of filth, but then he heard screams. He was close! There, a glimmer of light!

Batman emerged from the shadows a great black battering ram. The Scarecrow, dressed as such, with smeared makeup and bits of straw sticking out everywhere, was a skinny young man. His victim, a young sixteen year old girl, was crying, bleeding, and beaten. The Scarecrow was completely bowled over by Batman, who stopped once he hit the Scarecrow to cut the girl loose with a bat-shaped knife from his utility belt.

“Run!” He growled. “There’s an access tunnel 40 feet back to the left. I will follow!”

He turned back to Scarecrow who had risen and grabbed a jagged knife, more like a broken saw blade.

“Come at me, Bats!!” He crowed.

Batman obliged with a spinning kick that sent a steel toed combat boot into Scarecrow’s stomach. Then two gauntlet covered fists smashed into his face, his gut, his temple, his nose. Scarecrow fell against a slimy wall. Batman lunged, Scarecrow dodged, and kicked Batman in the back. Batman whirled, then launched himself and tackled Scarecrow to the ground. In one move, Batman continued his motion and flipped upright. Whirling, he aimed a kick at the fallen Scarecrow. Again and again those boots crunched Scarecrow’s ribs. Batman grabbed his shirt and held him aloft. He drew back a fist and smashed Scarecrow in the face. He went limp, unconscious, barely alive. Batman grunted with pleasure, and draped the prostrate form over his shoulder. Turning, he went back up the sewers. Tying a rope from his utility belt around Scarecrow, he first climbed out of the sewer. There, huddled against the wall, was the girl. She was crying and shivering. Batman pulled off his cape and wound it tight around her.

“You’re safe now. Give me a moment.” He turned and pulled Jon Crane from the sewer. He was beginning to rouse, but the girl, when she saw him, punched him in the face and spat on him. Batman smiled.

“Nice right hook. But leave that to me.”

Another heavy punch and Crane was again unconscious. Batman tied him to a drainpipe, and left him.

“Now for you.”

Batman pulled his grappling hook from his belt, and again scaled the wall, this time slower and carrying a precious cargo.

On the other side, he pulled what looked like a small remote from his utility belt. Clicking a button, he waited. A few seconds later a jet black sports car rolled up. Opening the passenger door, he slid the girl inside. Going to his side, he got in and revved the engine.

About ten minutes later, the girl was receiving emergency care at Gotham General and Lt. Gordon was receiving a phone call. Twenty minutes after that, Crane was recovering in the prison infirmary.

All Saints Day dawned bright and clear.

Bruce Wayne was fast asleep in his bedroom at Wayne Manor, having exhausted himself at Gotham’s House of Horrors the night before.

Alfred politely declined all visitors.

League of Justice #2.8 “Men My Garments Wear”

Gotham City

It was All Hallows Eve in Gotham City, always a perilous time in a perilous city. For the past few weeks Batman had been hard on the track of a villain known only as the Scarecrow Killer. At each crime scene, always gruesome, there was found bits of straw and a crude drawing of a scarecrow. The press had got wind of the macabre setting, and thus another infamous serial killer was born.

The official police task force was led by Lieutenant Gordon. He was a good detective, but under funded and under appreciated. Most of the Gotham Police Department was owned by the Falcone Crime Family and the rest was too scared to do anything about it. Gordon was owned by no one, and as well as he could in a city as corrupt as Gotham, he served the law. Mostly the Falcones let him alone. One good cop could hardly spoil a city of bad ones. Besides, even in the most lawless of towns there had to be some law and order, otherwise everyone would move out and without people to harass and rob and govern corruptly, there was no money to be made. So Gordon dealt out what law and kept what order he could.

Thus, when the vigilante known as the Batman made his presence known, and the official order came down from corrupt Mayor to corrupt Police Commissioner to corrupt Police Captain, incorruptible Lt. Gordon ignored the order. Well, officially he obeyed it, but he didn’t try very hard.

On top of Gotham Police Headquarters, Lt. Gordon stood talking to the Batman.

“Oh, you’re under arrest, by the way. Remind me to take you into custody sometime, will you?”

“Sure thing, Gordon. Now, what about this latest murder by the Scarecrow. Any new leads?”

“Just one. We found a smear of makeup on the victim, but it wasn’t hers. The victim’s makeup was special order from a Paris shop. This stuff was more amateur hour, like what you find at a school theater or carnival or something.”

“I’ll look into it. Anything else?”

“Not yet, but the lab is going as slow as possible, so I brought you samples of all the samples we took. Maybe you’ll have better luck analyzing it. I’ve also got all the info from previous murder scenes here, if you want to compare.”

“Thanks, Gordon. I’ll get back to you. Oh, do you want to take me in now?”

“Yeah, but hang on, I’ve got to call my wife first, let her know I’ll be late for dinner. One last criminal to process, you see. Wait here.”

Gordon left the rooftop and went down to his office. He placed a call to his wife.

“Hello. Yeah, honey, its me. Look, I’ll be home in fifteen minutes. Meat loaf? Sounds delicious. Need anything? A gallon of milk. Ok. Consider it done. See you in a bit. Love you. Bye.”

And what with the gallon of milk and all, Gordon plain forgot to go back up to the roof to nab the Batman. It wouldn’t have mattered. Batman got bored waiting and left.

Bruce Wayne took off his Bat costume, just a simple black jumpsuit with the silhouette of a Bat printed on the front and a mask. A more complex, and battle ready, costume was on order, but for now, this would have to do. When he went prowling he wore hockey pads underneath. He hated being low rent, but even Bruce Wayne had to wait a few days for titanium reinforced kevlar biweave battle suits to be hand manufactured and secretly shipped, along with cowls and masks and boots and grappling hooks and, well, Amazon two day shipping didn’t cover super hero suits.

At any rate, he had the evidence that Gordon gave him and that would take time to sift through. So far the Scarecrow was killing at a rate of a victim a week, so he figured he had a little time. Serial killers sometimes escalated their time tables, but this one seemed to be building up to something, so he would keep to the schedule for now.

In reading through the back stories, Bruce came across something interesting: a link between victims. It seemed that all of them had visited the Gotham City Haunted House of Horror this month. It was a city run haunted house that had opened just at the beginning of October. This being Hallowe’en, it was the last performance and night it would be open. Batman strongly suspected that this was where the killer was finding his victims. Given the cheap makeup, he further concluded that the Scarecrow was possibly one of the performers at the haunted house. So, Batman decided that Bruce Wayne needed to take in the Gotham House of Horror that evening. Which he did. While there, a girl went missing, one that fit Scarecrow’s profile. Coincidentally, one of the members of the haunted house was missing as well: Jon Crane, a Gotham University drama student. He played a scarecrow at the haunted house. Batman had his man, and Bruce Wayne had a good time.

Now the hunt was on. Each victim had been tortured for eight hours before being killed. As tomorrow was All Saint’s Day, Batman knew that Scarecrow was probably planning a more elaborate killing and that meant a more elaborate torture. But where was the Scarecrow doing his torture? And when would he kill?

Batman had work to do.

League of Justice #2.7: “He That Outlives This Day”

Metropolis

Clark Kent sat in a student lounge on the campus of Metropolis University watching the Weather Channel. He should have been studying for his economics midterm, but something had caught his eye. The anchor was speaking:

“Hurricane Chris is brewing in the North Atlantic. Chris was a tropical storm just yesterday and today it is a category three hurricane. It is off the Grand Banks, and doesn’t look to make landfall, it should spin itself out without harming anyone, except we now have news of a fishing vessel that hasn’t reported in yet. We go now to our reporter on the scene, Dave. Dave?”

“Thanks, Bill. I am here in Gloucester, Massachusetts, home base of the Abby Gale. The Abby Gale left port nearly two weeks ago. She has been last reported some 200 miles off of Sable Island. Her crew of six has not been heard from since. It is possible that their trajectory has taken them into the heart of Hurricane Chris. If that is the case, we fear they may be lost at sea.”

It suddenly hit Clark: I can save those people. I could fly there and I could rescue them!

It was a scary thought. Who was he to rescue people lost at sea over a thousand miles away? Well, who was he to not try? As a matter of fact, he was the only man on the planet that could do anything about it. With that, his mind was set.

Clark had no idea how far or how fast he could fly. He had been practicing in short bouts all his life, but feared to go too far or too fast in case something went wrong and he couldn’t fly back home. His father, Jonathan Kent, had forbid him from using his powers in order to keep his extraterrestrial origin a secret. But this time, Clark just couldn’t sit by and do nothing. He, for the first time in a long time, new exactly what the right thing to do was, and knew that he could do it. He would be damned if he wasn’t at least going to try.

Gathering his books, Clark stowed them in a locker. He slipped out the door and into the dark alley behind the student lounge. Zipping up his scarlet “MU” hoodie, he launched himself into the air. Rising fast, he soon was above the cloud bank that hung low over Metropolis. He was thankful for the overcast night, as it gave him cover from eyes that might see from the ground. He pointed himself east and was off. He kept his arms by his side, his legs straight out behind. He had never quite understood the mechanics of how he was able to fly, he just had always known he could. As a kid he had floated around his room, rather than walking, until his mother caught him floating and hanging from the ceiling fan, spinning in a lazy circle. From then on it was walk or be swatted on the butt.

But lately he had been experimenting a bit more, and found that the general mechanics of flight applied to him despite the specific mechanics of his flight. Clark knew that he could fly at least sixty miles per hour as he had once raced a semi (unbeknown to the semi) and had kept pace above it on the highway. But, at that speed, it would take way too long to reach the north Atlantic Ocean and the Abby Gale. So he pushed. It was more of a mental effort than a physical one, a quickening of the mind than body. It was mentally like kicking your legs in a pool to swim faster, though to do so physically would actually slow him down. Despite his defying of gravity, the physics of drag still applied. Clark mentally shook his head. This was why he was studying economics, not physics. Physics was confusing as hell.

Clark could feel himself going faster. For one thing, the skin on face was being pushed back. He had no idea how fast, but faster. He pushed even harder and flew even faster. He kept this up for an hour or more, but now he was flying into the dawn. Huh, that’s a problem, he thought. The only way to continue to keep out of sight was to go higher, which solved another problem: distance. He knew that planes often traveled in a parabolic arc over the earth to cut down on time while lengthening distance. The longer path is sometimes the quicker path over the surface of a sphere. So Clark banked.

A few hours later, in early morning, he had reached the eastern seaboard of the United States. He crossed over the ocean and was flying north. Off in the distance his super human sight could make out the clouds of the storm wall. This was it. Banking downwards, he entered the storm. He was pelted by rain and wind, which made it hard to see. He wished he had thought to wear something warmer than a hoodie. The hood had swept off his head some time ago and was fluttering behind him like a tiny red cape. Clark thought he probably looked a bit dorkish, but there was no one around to see him, fortunately.

His blue jeans were soaked by the swirling rain, but he flew on. He had no choice now. He couldn’t very well stop with nothing but stormy ocean beneath him.

There!

Clark spotted the ship. It was being tossed on seventy foot tall waves, the out riggings groaning and whipping in the weaving, bobbing motion. Now what? Do I grab them one by one and fly them somewhere? Hello, my name is Clark and I can fly you out of here. How do you think I got here in the first place? Clark shook his head. Too much explaining and too much recognition. His anonymity would be blown to hell. Well, there is another way… Clark knew he could lift heavy objects, but again, how heavy was unknown to him. Once, as a kid, he had lifted his mother’s car off the ground to stop it from rolling over a little kitten. His mom nearly had a heart attack, but the kitten lived, oblivious to its near demise.

Clark dove into the churning ocean beneath the boat, instantly soaking what parts of his clothes weren’t already. This is gonna suck flying home, he thought. Swimming up to the bottom of the boat, he placed each hand flat on the hull and pushed harder than he had ever pushed before. The boat began to rise slowly. It was hard to concentrate with the wind and waves and everything twisting and seething and all the noise and thunder crash and lightning flash and rain pelt and…Clark centered himself. His mother, long ago, had taught him to drown out all noise and confusion and to concentrate on a single thought, a single mantra. Higher…higher…higher, he thought and everything else faded away.

Being careful to keep the ship level, Clark steadily flew out of the ocean, and then up above the swirling clouds. He was sure the fisherman were startled and probably scared witless, but they couldn’t exactly see him. He changed his angle of flight ever so slightly so that not only was he flying up, but also out of the storm. It took some time, as he flew slower under such a heavy load, but he managed to fly boat and all souls out of the path of the hurricane. He took them south west, towards safe harbor, and lowered himself and boat back down onto a calmer ocean. He held his breath as he once again slipped beneath the sea. From under the ocean, he saw the ship’s propellor start turning, and the boat motored off towards shore. Clark waited until it was gone from sight before launching himself from the ocean into the upper atmosphere. Actually, the faster he flew the faster his clothes dried in the wind of flight. Soon he was only damp, not soggy. He turned west, and flew back towards Kansas.

Actually in mid flight he fell asleep, but his subconscious mind kept him on course, but not on course for MU, but home. Something in his subconscious wanted to be safe, and safe was home. Also, as he flew closer he flew lower, and just as he was out over cornfields and farms he flew over a lonely section of nearly deserted county highway. There was only a single motorcyclist on the road. The sound of the engine woke him up and he swooped up above the clouds. He hoped desperately he hadn’t been seen. Clark looked around in confusion. Where am I? but then he saw the familiar green silo of the Kent farm and figured out what had happened. Drifting in the direction of the barn, he flew into the open second story window and let himself crash into the baled hay in the barn loft.

He instantly fell back asleep.

In Boston harbor, a group of eight fisherman aboard a ship called the Abby Gale were having a hard time explaining how they escaped a hurricane.

League of Justice #2.6: “We Few”

U.S.S. Enterprise, Atlantic Ocean

Admiral Russo was speaking.

“The foreign object made splashdown at oh four hundred this morning. NORAD tracked it coming down, and it slowed before impact. As of now we are classifying it as an extraterrestrial object. Our mission is to go in, assess the wreckage, and recover what we can.”

An actual UFO? Hot damn. I never thought I would see the day when we made contact with an alien species. And my mother said that joining the NAVY was going to be a dead end job that would take me nowhere. Hal thought.

“I’d also like to introduce Ms. Diana Prince. She is a new addition to our team that I know you have been getting to know.”

Heh. Getting to know. If only the Admiral knew… Hal thought.

“She is a civilian contractor with special skills that will be assisting with special operations.”

After defining some mission parameters, the meeting broke. A few minutes later, the team was gearing up. They would be taking a helicopter to the location of the underwater craft, then diving to check it out. Also on the team was Dr. Maria Kyle, team scientist, Dr. Alan Craig, team engineer (who designed the crashed jet), and Lt. Steven Markus, the only other soldier on the Admiral’s roster.

They geared up. As usual, Diana wore her metal bracers, but left her lasso off her gear list, for obvious reasons. Wearing wetsuits and scuba gear, they boarded the helicopter. It rose off the deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The entire team had transmitters in their ears, under their gear, so they could hear each other. Talking was done by subvocalization, so that while they were breathing through the breath mask they could still communicate.

It was a twenty minute ride from the aircraft carrier to the drop zone. They said little, but were excited for what might be.

Once there, the helicopter hovered, the rotors whipping up the ocean into a spray, and making the sea just below more than a little choppy. One by one they dropped from the chopper into the ocean and began swimming. This part of the ocean covered an undersea mesa, and thus wasn’t very deep. The object was embedded on the edge, hanging over the deep blue.

Hal kicked her fins and looked over to Diana, who seemed to be swimming like she was born a fish.

“How’s it going, D?”

Diana flashed a thumb’s up.

Not far under the sunlight dissipated and the team engaged their powerful search lights. The few fish that were around scattered from the intruding divers. Slowly the ocean floor came into view. It was craggy and rocky; here and there crabs and other crustaceans scuttled out of the light to hide behind plants or rocks.

“Does anyone see it?” that was Dr. Kyle.

“Negative.” Lt. Markus.

“The Admiral gave a bearing of oh point four. It must be just ahead.” Hal.

“I think it see it. Look one o’ clock.” Diana.

“I’ve got it. About four meters, oblong, silvery.” Hal.

“Wow. Look at the size of it.” Dr. Craig.

The divers converged, and examined the outside. The craft was shaped like a cigar, but fat in the middle. There was a bubble of a cockpit emerging from bulge, but other than that the craft was smooth. There was no visible means of propulsion.

There was a gasp over the comm.

“There’s a body!” Dr. Kyle.

“Is it alive?” Lt. Markus.

“Negative, unless this species lives with dents in their skulls.” Dr. Kyle.

Her search light illuminated a humanoid, purple skin, and bright blue blood, slumped against the canopy.

“He must have smashed his skull against the cockpit on entry. I’m guessing earth’s gravity is heavier than he is used to. Of course I’m using the male gender speculatively. This species could have none or multiple genders. But the cockpit looks intact. I don’t see water. We should lift this entire ship out of the ocean before opening it.” Dr. Kyle.

“I concur. If there are working electronics or onboard systems, we don’t want to damage them with water.” Dr. Craig.

“Let’s get to work.” Hal.

Digging with short spades, Hal and the rest worked to move rubble away from the craft. Other than the fact that it had crashed into the ocean floor, and was crumpled in a few places, it seemed relatively undamaged. Overhead a search and rescue craft had been moving into position. Lt. Markus swam to the surface to coordinate with the above team. Shortly a bunch of self-inflatable bags were lowered and secured to the alien craft by large, sturdy straps. Either end of the craft was accessible, so it was merely a matter of looping the straps around and cinching them tight. The bags were activated, and they inflated against the water, and with a gentle push from Diana, the craft began to rise to the surface. The divers swam with it, guiding it and making sure it didn’t rock or tip. Soon it was floating on the surface of the ocean and was secured to the side of the rescue craft.

The team hauled themselves out of the water and removed their masks. Hal was grinning broadly, and she threw a wink to Diana.

“A real live alien craft!”

“And a real dead alien.” That was Dr. Kyle. She was examining the creature in the daylight and muttering to herself. She moved all around trying to get a good look. Dr. Craig was measuring the craft, eager to get started analyzing it.

The rescue craft turned slowly and headed back to rendezvous with the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Half an hour later, they met up with the larger vessel. Under cover of a tarp, the alien craft was taken on board and stowed in a large lab that had been specially designed and added to the aircraft carrier for just this purpose. A few hours after that, the team got to work. The alien was carefully removed from the cockpit and laid on a stainless steel table. His purple skin gave off a slight shimmer under the artificial lights. He was wearing a close fitting uniform of dull green, and he was vaguely humanoid, though his proportions were all wrong and he had a third eye in the centre of his forehead. Each hand had four fingers, and on the left hand, there was a metallic green ring.

“What’s this?” Hal reached out to touch the ring.

“Don’t!” that was Dr. Craig, and that was too late. The ring, somehow under its own power, shot off the alien’s hand and zoomed onto one of Hal’s fingers. Try as she might, she couldn’t remove it. And then it glowed green. With a shimmer of green, Hal vanished.

I was taken to an alien world, or what looked like one. It was nowhere I’d ever seen on Earth. There before me stood the alien from our table, or one like him.

“I am Abin Sur. I was the Green Lantern for this sector of space. My craft was damaged and I tried to make an emergency landing on Earth. Unfortunately, I did not survive. What you are seeing and hearing is my last thoughts and feelings. I am from another world. You may be shocked to know this, but Humans are not alone in the universe. You have been chosen to replace me as the Green Lantern. You will be visited by another shortly after receiving this ring. They will explain to you what your responsibilities are to be. If you choose to become a Lantern, you will then swear the oath, and take up after me. If you decline the honor, another will be chosen. Until then, the ring will protect you. Defend Earth. Defend the Galaxy. Shine Green Lantern’s light. Farewell.”

There was a shimmer of green light and then I was back in the lab.

Hal returned to the lab and promptly collapsed. Seconds later, she awoke.

“Well, that was an experience. I think this guy was some kind of cop.”

She related what she had seen and heard. Obviously she wanted to accept the role of a Green Lantern, whatever that was. After all, how could she refuse the first alien invitation Earth had ever received. Besides, she still couldn’t get the ring off. All Admiral Russo said was, “We’ll see. And be ready for the next visitors.”

It wasn’t long before they arrived. Later that night, in Hal and Diana’s quarters, two beings like unto Abin Sur suddenly appeared.

“Hallie Jordan, greetings.” They spoke in unison. “We welcome you to the Green Lantern Corps. The Green Lanterns are charged with protecting their home planet’s and the surrounding sectors of space. We come from the planet Ungara, which is not far from Earth. Abin Sur has been protecting Earth for the last hundred years. Since his death, a new protector is needed. The ring chose you. Should you choose to accept, the duty will be yours.”

“Um. What will I have to do?”

“For now, as Earth is young and you are inexperienced, you will only protect your planet. The ring will guide you as you go. It is now connected to your brain, and will respond to thought and will. The task of defending the sector of space will be handled by other Lanterns. Will you accept the honor?”

Without a second thought, Hal said yes. After all, if the deed was done, she doubted Admiral Russo could do anything about it.

“Then repeat after us the oath:

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who twist Lantern’s light,
Beware my power… Great Lantern’s Might!”

Hal did so.

The beings spoke again.

“The ring is a ring of power. It will create what you think. It will form what you summon. Any object, any device, any substance. These you use in the performance of your duty. Should you need help, we can be summoned by tapping the ring and uttering the oath. Do you require further assistance?”

“Uh. I don’t think so. Thanks.”

“Then farewell, Green Lantern.”

With that, they vanished.

And Hal Jordan became Earth’s next protector, Earth’s new Green Lantern. She stared down at the ring in awe. A few seconds later she turned to Diana, who through it all had been silent.

“So now what do I do?”

League of Justice #2.5 “Thoughts That Deck Our Kings”

Lt. Hallie Jordan and Diana, woman of nowhere, only spent a few hours at sea. It didn’t take long for the NAVY rescue choppers to find them. When they did, they were puzzled as to where Diana had come from, but they didn’t ask questions. That would be for Admiral Russo.

Admiral Russo was the commanding officer for this particular test aircraft program, and he was Hallie’s direct superior officer.

“So, Lt. Jordan. Care to explain where she came from?”

“Sir. Yes, Sir. She rescued me, sir. I crashed on an uncharted island, and she and her tribe pulled me from the water. Unfortunately, the aircraft did not survive. It broke up on impact. All I managed to recover was myself and my life raft. Being that her people were unknowns, I incinerated the aircraft, thus preserving the secrets it contained.”

“Horseshit. I don’t suppose I’m going to get a straight answer. Should I court martial you here or wait until after breakfast?”

“At your earliest convenience, please sir.”

“Fine. You are charged with insubordination and willful destruction of NAVY property. I hereby sentence you to drift aimlessly at sea for 36 hours.” He smacked a closed fist on his desk. “Now, considering time already served, I hereby release you from custody. You are dismissed, Lieutenant.”

“Yes, sir.” Hallie saluted and left the office. Diana remained.

“Now, miss, what are you and where did you come from?”

“In actual fact, Admiral, much of Lt. Jordan’s story is true. However, my people wish for total anonymity and seclusion. Lt. Jordan does not know where our island lies and I will not tell you. It is highly unlikely the United States NAVY or any other force on the planet will find it unless we wish them to.”

Admiral Russo cocked an eyebrow.

“That so?”

“It is.”

“Very well. So what do I do with you?”

“I request asylum in the United States of America as a foreign refugee.”

“Request granted. Look, I don’t know who you are or where you came from. I can’t formally do anything about you except either throw you in the brig or put you off at the nearest port. But, I do have a rather large jurisdiction when it comes to this program and its personnel. I will hire you as an outside survival consultant. How’s that? You won’t be a citizen, but you can apply for citizenship later. For now, you’ll work with Hal and under me. That work for you?”

“It does. Thank you, sir.”

“Welcome to the American NAVY, miss…?”

“Diana.”

“Diana. What, you don’t have a last name?”

“Diana Prince.”

“Welcome to the American NAVY, Miss Prince.”

With that, Diana was part of the team. As she was to find out, Admiral Russo’s unit was an oddball mix and one extra person suddenly part of the team raised few official eyebrows. Admiral Russo managed to concoct and present some of the best special equipment the US Armed Forces had ever seen, so he did indeed have much freedom to do whatever he damn well pleased. His superiors didn’t want to accidentally disrupt whatever good things he had going.

***

Well, that went well. I figured the Admiral would go for Diana. Besides, she’s pretty hot. I can’t imagine anyone turning her down. And, I’ve now got the hottest bunkmate on the ship. All those poor sailors are going to be so disappointed. Well, now to find that weasel who designed my jet and give him shit. After all, encounter an invisible force field and immediately go nuts a crash? What kind of jet is that?

***

Diana and Hal returned to Hal’s quarters. First order of business was to shower and get stowed. After that, they went to the mess for a hot meal. After a few hours of R&R, Hal and Diana felt almost human again. Nothing makes a body weary like being lost at sea. There were a few curious glances at Diana, but a few “Classified”s later and people started to ignore her. Anyway, she was with Hal and everyone knew about Hal so most people assumed that not only was Diana part of a top secret something, she was also playing for the other team. Whether she was or not was actually to be determined, something Hal wanted desperately to know, but wasn’t sure how to bring up.

***

So, do you want to have sex with another girl? Do you girls do that sort of thing where you’re from? Doesn’t really seem appropriate ice breaker territory. No, I’ll just have to play the long game on this one and see where it leads. Patience, Hal. Patience. All good, hot sultry things come to those that wait.

***

General Russo, given Hal’s ordeal, was kind enough to give her a few days leave. Besides, the plane was gone and there wasn’t much to do at the moment anyway. A test pilot is usually good only for flying things. With nothing to fly, no need for a pilot. So, Hal made use of the time well. She taught Diana all about American culture. Together they watched Star Wars, played ping pong and poker, had a hilarious night getting drunk and teaching Diana to swear, and no small amount of flirting. Diana, as it turned out, was a switch hitter. Nothing made Hal more happy. They hit it off well, and in no time were getting in plenty of batting practice. All in all, it was the best few days of Hal Jordan’s life.

Then, for the first time in known human history, humanity made contact with an alien race. That the alien died soon after contact was unfortunate, but also not the fault of humans. As first contacts go, it wasn’t too bad. But the nature of that contact changed the course of humanity’s future and Hal Jordan’s life forever.

League of Justice: #2.4: “The Hideous God of War”

Gotham City

“Alfred, do you know what I remember about that night?”

Bruce Wayne and his butler, surrogate father, and friend Alfred Pennyworth sat by Bruce’s father’s bedside at Gotham General Hospital. As always, the medical monitors beat out a steady rhythm, indicating that while Thomas Wayne yet lived, he was far from alive.

“What do you remember, Master Wayne?”

Bruce and Alfred were sitting in large chairs, as they often did these days, visiting Thomas. Since Bruce’s abduction by the terrorist Ra’s al Ghul, he had taken to visiting his father more often. Throughout most of his childhood and young adulthood he had avoided the hospital room, preferring not to be reminded of the night his parent’s died.

“I remember bats.”

“Why bats, Master Bruce?”

“There must have been some nesting underneath the rusted fire escapes in that alley. After the gunshots, I heard them squeaking and growing restless. Since then, I’ve often heard bats in my dreams, around the edges, squeaking.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me, Master Bruce. You know, we have bats nesting on the grounds of Wayne Manor, now that I think of it.”

“Do we? That seems appropriate, then.”

“Appropriate for what, Master Bruce.”

“For what I am about to do, Alfred.”

“And what is that, sir?”

“I’m going to become the world’s first superhero.”

“You’re what, sir?”

“The world’s first superhero. I’ve been planning it my whole life. When my parent’s died, I vowed that such a horrible thing would never happen to anyone ever again. After a while I learned that such a vow was impossible, but I’ve also learned much about how the world works. One thing I know for sure: Gotham City is corrupt and full of evil. If I cannot rid the world of such evil, I will work to rid Gotham of as much of it as I can.”

“A lofty goal, sir, but you’ll hardly need to be a superhero to do so.”

“No. I could become a cop or a lawyer or politician, but all of those people have to work inside the law, inside the system. Our system is broken. It needs to be destroyed before it can be good and whole. Besides, I cannot be hampered by laws which I would have to obey. I need to be more than just another cop. I need to be a symbol, something for good people to rally behind, to support, to take hope from.”

“What symbol, sir?”

“I was thinking bats, Alfred. I was thinking of becoming the Bat Man.”

“Evocative. I assume this persona will also be a way to hide your true identity as Bruce Wayne, then, sir? To protect your ordinary self from the crimes of your super hero?”

“Actually, its the other way around. I am Batman. I am that hideous god of war. Bruce Wayne will be the persona that protects Batman from the crimes of the ordinary world.”

For the first time, Alfred looked sad.

“It’s nothing I haven’t already been doing, Alfred.”

“Oh? I haven’t heard anything about a Batman.”

“No, but there have been rumors growing of a Phantom Stranger…”

It took only a second.

“So that’s what you’ve been doing with your time. I wondered.”

Bruce smirked.

“But it is time for the Phantom Stranger to be replaced by an even darker and more powerful knight of justice.”

“How will you achieve this Batman, sir? Have you suddenly sprouted wings or fangs or some other extraordinary powers?”

“I am rich, Alfred. Anything I need I will either design or buy for myself. The rest of Batman is already provided for. I wasn’t lying when I said I was already Batman. Batman does not need super powers. He only needs resolve and the will to fight injustice. That resolve I have. Besides, during my time with Ra’s al Ghul, I learned much.”

“I thought you were being held for ransom, sir.”

“I was. But Ra’s said even a prisoner needs to learn. So he taught me the ways of his Underground. He taught me combat, tactics, deception, and even a little theatricality. He was not content for me to sit in a cell for all those months. After a few months, I learned what he taught to escape. I then traveled the world, learning what I could from other organizations. I spent time with the Israeli army. I worked with the Russian navy. I was even a smuggler for the Taiwanese for a month. There is a reason I didn’t return until November that year. I was in training. Now I am ready. I am going to attend Gotham City College, and start working at the Applied Sciences division of Wayne Enterprises. That way I can further my education, cement a reputation as Bruce Wayne, and develop the tools Batman may need.”

“A worthy plan, Master Bruce. May I say: I will assist you however you need. You see, I made a vow of my own, to your father and his father before him to always protect and assist the members of his family. As you are taking on the role of the protector of a city, you’ll need someone to help protect you. I am, as always, your humble butler, sir.”

“Thank you, Alfred. That means more than you’ll know. Now, if you don’t mind, I want a few minutes with my father alone.”

“Of course, Master Bruce. I’ll be warming up the car.”

With that, Alfred left.

So, the boy has become a man. Alfred thought. My instincts were correct and I am indebted to Ra’s. An angry, unguided youth left and a determined, purposeful man has returned. A batman. No, THE Batman. If I were Gotham’s criminals, I would tremble this night. An avenger is coming, and their time is now limited. I must now ensure that Bruce does not become lost inside this monster he seeks to create. I must not loose him as I lost his mother and father. I must work to protect the boy they entrusted to me.

League of Justice #2.3: “The Name of Action”

Unknown LexCorp Research Facility

Barry Allen lay on his cot, completely exhausted. For two weeks he had been systematically tortured by Lex Luthor’s barbarians of pain. He didn’t know where Luthor found people of such heinous, devious natures, but he was sure they were cryogenically preserved and reanimated ministers of the Spanish Inquisition.

“I’m so glad I didn’t go into the organic sciences.” Barry muttered to himself. “BIOLOGISTS ARE BASTARDS!” he shouted at the ceiling. “Human biologists must remove their heart during the first semester.” Barry was back to muttering. “WHAT, DIDJA RUN OUT OF STUFF TO POKE? YOU GREMLINS!” and back to shouting. All of this was for the benefit of whatever poor bastard drew the night shift. Barry found out early on that he was constantly being recorded, both sound and video. As his own little revenge plot he had begun taunting and verbally abusing the scientists who were watching.

“Oh! Pain!! My leg feels fuzzy. Now it smells green! It has the color of six!! Better check it out!!” After two weeks, he was beginning to crack. One thing was for sure, whatever psychologist they had evaluating him must be collecting data for the paper of his or her career.

In the objective, outside-Barry reality, he was being treated fairly well. He was given three nutritionally, and tastefully it must be admitted, prepared meals every day. He was made to exercise and perform a variety of physical and mental tasks. Most of that Barry would probably have performed anyway as to study himself in the wake of his accident. What he grew to hate were the constant blood draws and medical tests. MRI, PET, CAT, EEG, EKG, etc – he’d had all the acronyms and letters more times than he could count now. But even then, he was treated humanely and suffered very little physical discomfort.

Still, imprisonment is imprisonment. Tests without consent is abuse. Torture is torture.

He had tried pleading to speak with Lex Luthor, with anyone in charge, with anyone at all, but outside of his tests and questions about his feelings (mental and physical) he had talked with no one. Most of his responses were collected electronically by a computer that seemed to only run the medical testing software.

For two weeks this had lasted. In that time, the scientist part of Barry Allen continued to function. He knew that his physical responses had passed human athlete some time ago and were approaching the level of human extraordinary. His mind and his mental faculties now operated on a level somewhere beyond genius and at a speed never before seen. He could calculate large numbers in an instant, he had nearly perfect recall of everything back to his accident. His mind before the accident seemed flash frozen, he could remember no more or less about events and things before then than he could before. Knowledge gained before his accident was just as accessible now as then. But anything he had learned since, anything experience since, was recalled or remembered with perfect clarity and as quickly as if it had just been learned or experienced.

Emotionally, Barry was reacting just as one would expect. He was enduring, but with less and less patience as the imprisonment lasted.

It was in the beginning of his third week that Barry discovered just how much he had changed, just what exactly his accident had done to him, and just what the testing of the LexCorp scientists had unleashed.

He was running on a treadmill, breathing heavily, as he had been running for nearly twenty minutes. He had not slept well, and was more irritable and annoyed than usual. Every second that he ran his frustration mounted. Suddenly, he had more than he could handle. Out of sheer frustration, he yelled and ran as fast as he possibly could. It wasn’t very fast, but what happened next happened in a fraction of a fraction of an instant. There was a bright flash and Barry vanished. The wires that had been connected to his head and body simply fell to the floor, or dragged along the still moving conveyor belt of the treadmill.

From Barry’s perspective, he was running, and was very, very irritated. He was screaming to himself, mostly incoherently, and the only constant thought was “I must get free, I must get free, I must get free” he was repeating it like a mantra, one word for each footfall, pound-pound-pound-pound-I-must-get-free- when all of sudden everything flashed brightly and the lab vanished to be replaced by sandy hills and scrub brush and he was stumbling to a halt in the middle of a desert. There were no buildings in sight, no people, only bright, burning sun.

What the hell? he thought, as he started running up a small, sandy hill. What. The. He..flash. The desert vanished and he was in a dusty, dirty plywood city. More a film set, really. Wait…Barry recognized one of the buildings: Mos Espa? He was on….Tatooine?

Exactly four seconds later, Barry realized exactly where he was: the abandoned Star Wars sets in Tunisia, Africa. His frustration and irritation melted into total bewilderment.

“Dude, where did you come from?”

“Huh?” Barry turned around to see a group of overweight Americans. (They could only be from one country by their dress and accents.)

“Dude, you just appeared out of nowhere.”

“I, uh, I don’t know. Say, do you have any water?”

“Yeah, man, here.”

Barry drank the entire bottle that he was offered.

“Thanks. Uh, I need a ride to the nearest city. Any chance you could help? And anyone have a cell phone?”

Silence. Then: “Sure, dude, no problem. Back at the hotel. We were just about done for the day anyway. Come with me. Name’s Phil, by the way.”

“Allen. Barry Allen. Thanks, Phil.”

Phil helped him over the dusty white van that was waiting for them, a bored guide was sitting in the driver’s seat reading a newspaper. After Phil Opened the van door, Barry collapsed on one of the seats, totally exhausted, and immediately went to sleep.

He was shaken awake by Phil a few hours later. “Dude, we’re here.” Again Phil helped him out of the van and into the lobby of the hotel. It was a little rundown and threadbare, but it was serviceable. Thankfully Phil’s room was on the ground floor. Once inside, Barry collapsed on a bed, and again fell fast asleep.