Warehouse Ninja Ambush!

Warehouse Ninja Ambush!

Ronin: Ronin has extended her protection of the city. The way she saw things, she made a promise to herself and the deal she made with the Prince of the League of Shadows was only secondary. It was, in a sense, permission to extend beyond the neighborhood she had been guardian of. She wasn’t sure if that meant there would be no interference. There was always the possibility the clan of Bat would become territorial and attempt to chase her off. That would be a poor decision on their part but Cass also didn’t want to burn any bridges. A few broken noses was always on the menu but how she learned her lessons was much different than how others learned their lessons.

It was funny that her usual quarry was also found beyond the borders of China Town. Perhaps they had been flooded out by her stomping their activities and they had to spread further out. It also put them in risk of crossing over into other territories claimed by other organized crime families.

Just such a situation had just occurred, one of the Italian families crossing paths with a small branch of the Triad and a fight broke out. Ronin took it as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. In the chaos of blades, bullets and chains, she struck with her fists and her kicks. They should have thanked her, at least it stopped them from killing each other. Instead they needed medical attention as they lay strewn across the street groaning and crying as the police began to swarm across, some stopping to scratch their heads to figure out what had even happened.

From above, Ronin watched from the safety of the shadows. She wanted to see how many would get arrested, apparently some had some records of previous crime. Others were carted into ambulances, their careers of crime may be over or at least they will be out of the game for a while to recover.

Otherwise, the night had been quiet, even in the absence of some of the guardians. The weather was beginning to warm, the days grew longer. Maybe everyone was appreciating the welcome change of brighter and warmer days for just a bit. The little ninja knew there were bigger things brewing, bigger than the threat of this city, bigger than what she could handle. She couldn’t get many answers from the Son of the Bat though.

Steph: There’s no end to the number of things that could be done when you’re an aspiring vigilante in one Gotham City. We have more than our share of problems per capita, and while most of them aren’t of the violent and strictly illegal variety (y’know, those old tales like poverty, polution, I’m sure I could come up with another P if I really tried) there’s still a lot that most definitely are. I’m sure at some point, somewhere right now even, there’s someone railing about how if they fixed the Ps, the other stuff would resolve itself but it’s Gotham. Where you’ve either got Stockholm Syndrome, or are profiting off the people that do, so it’s a great swirling toilet bowl of gross. Why haven’t I gotten out? Unlike a lot of my classmates I do want to do exactly that. I’m only sixteen, and my parents wouldn’t be down with it.

One of them I’m actually trying to rebuild some semblance of a healthy relationship with. While lying and sneaking out every night behind her back. The other I’m trying to bust in a spectacular, go to jail forever and ever sort of fashion. Even though if I were to be pragmatic, I’d know that’s only a revolving door until someone worse than Arthur Brown needs the cell. This? Isn’t something I’m pragmatic about though, so much as consumed. He’s so D-List that it’s really unlikely for him to be up to anything really dangerous, but that’s not the point.

The violence that’s exploded on this particular block tonight? I don’t think I can actually blame on him, and that’s one of the reasons I’m definitely not interfering. The first being that I don’t want to get dead. I’m getting better, I know I am, and the suit that Tim Drake made for me makes up for a lot of the skills that I lack. But not enough to go wading into that particular foray with no real reason to do so. Especially once a… ninja (?? Oh great. More of those.. ) has gotten involved. The Batcrew liked to lecture me on doing things that were going to get me killed because I’m too inexperienced, but the truth of the matter is before I met them I rarely actually engaged in any fighting. I laid traps. I tipped plans to people who could mess them up if I couldn’t. I’m the Spoiler, not Lady McAssKicker.

And tonight? I don’t even have to do the hard work, because something’s got these guys riled, someone else is handling them, and in the chaos of the cops showing up with a crime scene like that to process? No one’s paying attention to the caped figure that’s gone in the back of the adjacent warehouse. Breaking in windows was my jam long before I had sophisticated lockpicks built into the fingertips of my gloves, and if anything now I’m even more cocky about the long drop to the concrete floor. Shock absorbers. Who knew, right? The Italians should have been in here. Probably playing Mother Hen and sitting on a shipment, that was bound for… who knows where. Which is why I’m here at the moment.

“Well, maybe if you’d invented better long range scanners sheesh…”

Talking to oneself is a sign of the crazies. At least, if that’s what you’re doing and you don’t have a little bird in your ear. It’s actually weird being out without him. But resources are spread a little thin this week, apparently.

Ronin: A noise caught her attention. Despite the chaos going on down below, the situation was under control and she began crawling like a spider along the edge of the warehouse roof. The more contact she had, the less likely she was to press enough weight on the metal to make too much noise. Then again, she was small, petite, quite capable of making it across without her lightweight frame making too much of a disturbance.

The signs of what happened to the window below here were quite evident. All it took was gripping the edge of the roofing material and pushing herself over, a slight twist as she made it past the broken barrier and then the drop to the floor below. She landed in a crouch, the blackened mask looking to the other figure with her head cocked to the side. Friend or foe? Costumed types could have been either. Anyone ballsy enough to wear a costume was also potentially dangerous.

She seemed to be yammering to herself. Words that the Ronin did not understand but she knew there wasn’t anyone else in the building to be holding a conversation with.

She wasn’t trying terribly hard to be stealthy but perhaps the sound of the young woman’s words masked the sound of the small ninja landing nearby. Either way, the purple-costumed girl just gained a shadow. Ronin just wanted to see what she was after, why she was here, if she would need to stop her too.

Spoiler: There’s a few rules when it comes to illegal activity, I assume that goes for anywhere in the world, but I definitely know it’s true here in Gotham. Any kind of activity that you should most definitely not have proof of happening? Has proof of it happening somewhere on both sides of a transaction, even if one, or both, agreed and/or insisted that it shouldn’t. Leverage. Bribery. Proof that no, you didn’t back out of your end of the deal. That’s what I’m after now. I already pegged the shipment I’m interested in, but I also already knew that it arrived in the first place. As I move past one unremarkable crate, in a row of other equally unexciting wooden boxes, I pause to run a finger under the lip and reclaim the tracer that I’d placed on it last night.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I didn’t forget…”

I’d totes forgotten. He knows it,too. I’d like to claim it’s more that he’s got a bajillion more tracers, so what does it matter if I don’t reclaim this one, but if I’m being honest? I’m just a little too jazzed about chasing down this particular lead. Red Robin and I have been working this case, my case, for what is starting to feel like forever. And its branched, and spider-webbed, and doubled and tripled back on itself until I’m not sure if we’re inept, my Dad is, or if it’s actually that good. More than once I’d been tempted to just confront him, try to provoke the patriarchal jerk into doing some villain monologue-ing and then be done with it. Only slightly tempted though. Because I don’t want him to know that the person that ruined everything he was working for was me until it’s already way too late to do anything about it.

When I start moving again, there’s a strange sort of pattern to my gait. It makes a lot more sense if you could hear the beat of the music that I’ve got going into one ear, and realize I’m dancing as I move deeper into the place, towards the cubicle that serves as an office. Canary would tell me I’m being careless, and punch me in the back of the something painful. Head maybe. Kidney possibly. All about the physical demonstrations, that one. But I counted how many were in here before. I counted how many were sprawled out there, and I’ve got an eye on the entrances.

Just. Not on the one that I used, and the music and the sporadic conversation has basically eliminated any chance I might have heard someone drop in that soon after me. Ducking under the desk, I push the hood back off my head which exposes blonde hair though the lower face mask is still in place, so that I can look up at the underside of it. Classic place to hide things. These guys aren’t exactly brilliant, or original.

Ronin: Another head tilt. All that the small ninja could assume was that the other costumed one was talking to themselves or somebody else through one of those strange ear things. She had paid attention to those details but didn’t really care much about it after that point. There was no sense or reason behind those conversations, behind those words. What was more interesting was the young woman’s steps.

Being the shadow she was, following behind a distance enough to be prepared for an attack, she couldn’t help but follow in the same movement. It was rythmic, light on the toes, following an unheard beat that wasn’t the own beating of her pulse. It wasn’t the beat of the steps of death and war that Cassandra was so much more familiar and intimate with.

They weren’t calculated movements either, instinctual, reactive. It was terribly foolish because there were points where the body’s center of balance and gravity was thrown off. All the tiny details of those movements that the ninja could read like a book. Details that told her this young woman wasn’t very professional or well-trained. There was a lack of discipline in her movements that allowed the Ronin to get too close.

The Thump on the top of the desk as Spoiler was under it, the gloved fingers peeking over the edge soon followed by the black mask, upside down and peering at Spoiler. The only expression that could be read was the narrowing of her eyebrows. What was she doing?

Spoiler: Thump. A noise, and vibration of the surface that is immediately followed by an answering thunk! This one caused by the back of my head meeting the side of the piece of furniture as I jerk back in surprise and alarm. A small flurry of action as I yank the single earbud I’d allowed myself out of my ear, and trip myself up on the edge of my cloak as I go in a direction other than the one I’d been intending to. Sloppy, stupid and soooooo embarrassing. Thank God Red Robin isn’t here to have seen that or… well, actually no. Maybe not. Because if I did actually allow myself to get cornered just now, worse than cornered since I can’t even go up, without backup? I could be in super-serious trouble.


Bracing myself on my elbows in some attempt to look a whole lot more laid back about this than I’m feeling probably doesn’t really work all that well. I don’t know who this is. I’m assuming semi-hostile to not because I could have been yanked out from under here. Or attacked. If that’s what she wanted. Cocking my head slighting to one side, my fingers keep on feeling under the edge of the drawers as I fail at nonchalant.

“Been here long? Dumb question, right? I mean. You weren’t in here when I got in here. Unless you’re really good at hiding which is totes possible. I guess.”

Please don’t be working with these jerks…

Ronin: Ronin could tell she was obviously caught by surprise. That was good, it meant she had been quiet enough, stealthy enough to not have been noticed. It was that or the young woman was simply too distracted by whatever she was after that she wasn’t paying much attention to her surroundings.

There was no response, nothing verbal to the greeting or the question. Again, it was coming off as rambling and the only thing she could really read from her body language was that she was embarrassed and rushed to get at whatever she was looking for.

The black-clad figure let out a soft sigh and merely gave her a little wave and watched. Was she doing something that was going to get her a quick palm upside her skull? Not yet.

Spoiler: “I’m good. I think. I mean. You’ll probably hear the gurgling and shrieking if I’m not…”

The lilt of my voice says I’m trying to make a joke, or light of the situation as I speak to the someone else in my ear, but the nervous giggle at the end of it says I’m really not fooling myself. Christ. Hopefully he’s not already on his way. I don’t need bailed out (yet) and I’m not exactly reading ‘hostile encounter’ right now. If anything, it’s a little like my first meeting with Red Robin. Only he’d actually been more aggressive. She’s just. Watching. Why is she just watching… it’s a little weird. And it makes me feel like this is some kind of trigger trap where I just have to make a singular wrong move and…

“Oh. Um. Carry. On? Was that you out there, then? With the ass kicking? I thought all the ninjas had cleared out of town.”

My fingers have actually found what I was looking for. A little catch, on the underside of the drawer portion of the desk. My dad has one juuuuust like this. Then it’s a matter of hooking my fingers under it, tongue poking out the side of my mouth though that’s covered by my mask, the brows knitting in concentration probably isn’t, and giving it a good yank. This thump is a lot softer, because it’s just a stack of paper hitting the floor to be gathered up in my arms.

“I’m gonna come on out if… that’s cool? Yes? Maybe?”

Ronin: She backed up, stretching one leg out to meet the floor with her toes before pushing herself off of the surface of the desk. It was better to be on the same level, and she was already moving to the side of the desk to avoid having the desk become an obstacle. More words. These costumed types were too talkative it seemed.

she brought her fingers to her forehead, bringing the hand down while pulling her two middle fingers in. She had been lucky in finding that the Son of Bat had known the language she had learned in her time away from the League. She didn’t know if the blonde would understand the ‘Why?’ she just signed.

The smell of blood would confirm who exactly did the ass kicking out there, at least it wasn’t her blood.

SPoiler: This is not me at my most graceful, even if I am moving slow in my glorified crab walk out from under the desk. It’s no small feat that I don’t tangle myself on my cloak yet again. Once I’ve got my feet under me so that I can rise somewhat warily, one arm’s got a manilla folder and the other is tugging the hood of my cloak back up over blonde hair. Mostly so that I can allow the heads up display to properly come up from the face mask. I don’t like having it on all the time, even if it does have helpful Stephanie, you noob, that’ll kill you! warnings from time to time. The hooded head cocks to the side at the signals she’s making, before I shrug my shoulders.

“Is that… sign language? Hrr. Sorry, I don’t understand. I mean, I feel like I barely understand English some days. American Education System. Whatchagonnado.”

My chatter is accompanied by my quickly spreading out the papers from the folder across the desk’s surface. Cargo manifests, with no rhyme or reason that I can tell as to where and when they originated. Almost none for this actual building, and there’s a momentary pause over one before I double tap the corner of it with one finger. This one isn’t what I thought I was looking for, but I don’t buy coincidence at this point either. Also… ninja girl still kinda creeping me out here even if she’s not attacking me yet.

Squinting down at another paper, I find what I was actually looking for. Record of the boxes I’d followed here in the first place, and I narrow my eyes with a grumble.

“Oh I’m going to kill him…”

Ronin: The masked figure stood silent, watching the young woman. There was certainly some barriers to communication. Ronin watched the girl’s hands flail about but it meant nothing. The only thing she could convey from her body language was some confusion quickly followed by some nervous babbling. Cassandra certainly didn’t expect everyone to understand. The fact she at least had one tiny outlet to communicate was a small miracle. It was how she got by after she had left her mother and the clutches of the League. It was how she connected with someone else besides the isolated few that had any interactions with her. Few spoke the language that was native to Cassandra. The subtleties of how the body communicated, a raised brow, a lip twitch, the way someone held their hands together or crossed their arms to self-soothe.

Something else caught her attention. Someone not quite as stealthy as the trained warrior. The sound of metal sliding against metal could be heard as a weapon was loaded, a round chambered.

Ronin brought a finger up to the mask around where her mouth is and then pointed to the ground. If the purple caped bandit was smart she would be quiet, she would stay.

The silence was broken again when Ronin swiftly gripped the edge of the desk to topple it over, sounds of gunfire followed along with the flashes of gunpowder being ignited in the darkness.

Darkness was the ally to the Ronin in this case. It allowed her to get out of harm’s way quickly, to maneuver around the obstacles of the warehouse to get closer to the gunman. Where there was one brave man with a gun, there were sure to be others to follow. To Ronin, it was just another target to leave in a broken and painful heap for someone else to clean up.

Spoiler: “Anyone know ASL?”

If my face weren’t covered, it’d probably be a lot more clear that I’m not talking to the dark clad girl (I’m assuming girl…) that’s here with me, because I’m talking out of the side of my mouth in a low mutter that’s mostly meant to only be picked up by those on my communications frequency, but if this girl can’t speak, or hear me, then I guess it wouldn’t much matter if I shouted or whispered. I’m only really side-eyeing her because while I’ve assessed ‘threat’ she’s also got a little smiley face mental note of ‘not to me atm :)? ‘ Plus I’m a whole lot more focused, now that I’m not feeling in immediate danger, on the paperwork in front of me. I found what I was originally looking for. Only then as I briefly glanced at the rest so that no one (coughTimcough) can accuse me of not being thorough, I started to notice other things. Familiar names. The export corporation we’d followed an unrelated van to. An importer who had a break-in that they didn’t ever actually report to the police. Now I’m shifting papers around on the desk’s grubby surface. Making invisible connector lines like I might on a wall with string or pen (or that the RedRobinPuter would do automatically but hey. Old school!), in my head.


There’s a nose of dismay as she flips over the desk and sends the papers I’d just started to order flying, but I’d imagine it’s probably lost to the immediate sounds of gunfire, which leaves me tugging my hood back up over blonde hair as I drop to the concrete floor of the warehouse, taking cover behind the toppled surface and scrabbling to recollect the manifests and logs. Ugh. I’m never going to be able to get all this back the way it was before I got here, now. And it’s not even my fault! Maybe if I wreck the furniture, I can make it look like the paper’s discovery was just happenstance, but for the moment? I’m a little more worried about the action going on around me. Or in front of me. One hand comes up to find the tiny switch which sends the heads up display into my vision, easily showing me what’s going on, even in this lighting.

The way this ninja girl moves, and fights, and it takes me all of half a second to know that I better hope she stays in the smiley face threat listing because I am pretty sure that I’d fare as well as I might hope against Dinah if she were actually trying to hurt me. There’s other problems anyway.

“On your left!”

Because I assume she sees the other one. She is facing that way, after all. Pulling up my knees, and with a soft grunt for Extra Power! I kick off one of the legs of the desk, flinging it end over end tomahawk style in the general direction of the figure to the left. General direction because it sails past to clatter against the crates behind him. I didn’t miss! That was on purpose.

Ronin: Everyone else, well, every other person that seemed to be in existence around Cassandra, seemed to talk a lot. It was the major mode of communication for everyone else that seemed to live outside of the world she grew up in. She grew up around silence. Few words were spoken to her and those few that were, she barely understood. She was raised to understand the non-verbal communication, the subtle movements. It was the only way she knew that the other young woman was just talking to talk and wasting oxygen in the moment of critical need of action.

It wasn’t the group of men that bothered Cassandra so much as the rounds of bullets that went flying through the air. The other woman was protected by the heavy old desk but Ronin was out in the open, dancing, using the shadow for cover inbetween t he muzzle flashes. Speed was her weapon, unpredictability her tool. Methodically she started to pick at them, one by one. She waited for those crucial seconds they were trying to get on a target or reload their rounds. It was those precious moments her fists and palm brought sickening blows to them. She was done playing nice. Blood was spit out, bones cracked. The groans of pain mixed with the gunfire until there was a crash to the side of her.

She knew there was a target to her left, she had already grabbed the man she was already on to pull him in front of her to shield him. It was the boxes that went tumbling. The contents strewn across the floor. Packing peanuts, bits of wood, stuffed animals. In the chaos, a few had ‘lost their heads’. The true contents resting within the guts of the stuffed friends. Bags of carefully wrapped drugs.

Ronin sneered beneath the mask, tossing the man to the side as she began circling the area, gathering the firearms and unloading them and disassembling them to the point where they were useless. An effortless dance of methodical destruction of the tools that could have killed them…and may have killed others.

She dropped the last bits of metal and plastic and pointed at Spoiler. The other motion was her bringing out her pinky and then holding it beside her face. She wanted her to call it in. To call the real authorities. The evidence was everywhere. It wouldn’t stop this particular group from importing the poison but it would at least shut down this location. It would get them moving and swarming like a hive of ants.

Steph: See. There’s not much action going on for me right now. It’s not that I’m not capable. I’m totally capable of a lot of things. I just also know that it’d be really, really stupid to get out from behind this solid desk, with the reinforced compartment in the middle used to hide the documents that are now scattered all around me. Not unless I want to get shot, because I’m more or less a sitting duck.

Also because this ninja’s totally got this, and far be it from me to like. Interfere. Spoiling is only my thing for the bad guys. Which, who knows. Maybe she is but she’s beating the living snot out of these guys that I know are bad guys. The sounds of the fight are a little strange to listen to when I’m removed from it though. I realize I’d started to get used to being right in the middle of it. I think I also know exactly how far I have to go. But that’s not new. Watching Dinah, or Tim or any of the reset and I know I’m better, but I’m also very aware I’m not best.

It’s over fast. Very fast. Like, I’m not exactly done using the built in digital scanner of my suit to scan the papers I want, fast. I could take them with me, but I don’t want anyone to know I was here. Know that I’m onto them though. That is probably out the window now. She’s pointing at me. And for a moment, my hooded, masked head swings one way, and then the other in a comical ‘who, me?!’ look around. Since now there’s no visible face to pick up any of my expressions from. Then my shoulders rise and fall in a resigned sigh.

“Uh, yup. Definitely Sure thing, Lady Ninja. Whatever you say. Don’t say. I… you know what I mean. I think. Soooo… I’m just gonna. Finish… with this… yup, yup okay. All done. Consider them called and … great job! You kicked ass! Took names! Maybe not that last part…”

Jabbering away, I’m nudging papers one way and then the other to finish the scan before I rise. I guess at this point I could take them with me. The police will probably scoop them up anyway. I just don’t think it’s wise to give this girl any reason to think that maybe I’m stealing…

Ronin: Ronin could easily tell the woman was distracted getting something else. Something to do with the papers that she had been gathering when the former League member had dropped in. For a moment she lingered, she wasn’t quite sure why but perhaps she hoped it would give the other a window of safety before the call was finally made.

It the loner an opportunity to survey the scene. No dead, the opponents were down but most were harmless in their currently pained and broken state.

The congratulatory gesture wasn’t missed. Her head tilted. This was hardly a large scale rescue or anything terribly heroic but it was a job done and a job she didn’t need a pat on the back for. She had been asked to expand her skills outside of her neighborhood and she was doing her best to keep up with the endless strings of crime and problems this city had to offer. With one of the guardians away, another had to take their place.

Ronin shrugged and turned her attention to the windows higher above. Not another moment passed before she was springing to climb the various surfaces and use the machinery like a pro parkour to get to the exit. Anything that was away from the main entrance, away from the sight of the authorities.

She was planning to take a different vantage point to observe. Perhaps someone was helping this group, someone within the ranks of the police. Or, with any luck, they’ll send someone long after the police had taken everything into custody.

Steph: Boy. Usually the only time I get an internal ‘shut up shut up shut up’ monologue going in my head is when I’m embarrassing myself in a conversation. Not having someone answering me verbally just makes it that much more clear exactly how much I’m babbling. Maybe because it feels like I’m just talking to myself, instead of to someone else. Except I am. And boy. I’m imagining so much silent judgement right now.

Or maybe I’m not imagining it! That’s also possible. So I’m not exactly going to stick around. GCPD has been notified. I don’t have to actually make a phone call for that, there’s a whole system and… yeah. Fancy suit, with dudes behind the curtain and all that.

“It’ll probably take them a few. This part of town is def not high priority so…”

I’m pleased to say there’s no fumbling for my grapple. Not that I’ve done that in a few weeks. Practice and all that. The paff of air is softer than it ought to be, were the gear not made by a supergenius with too much time on his hands, as the hook upwards, hooking on the edge of the window I’d dropped in from in the first place and hauling me up as I wave a free hand in the direction the ninjagirl and sprung off into.

I’d stay and chat buuuut… no chatting. Also police. Also a lot of likely to be grumpy criminals laying around on the ground down there. The fact that I have a pile of names I want to run down, now, also helps with my speed at getting to the roof and running my way back into the alleys and roofs of a deeper part of Gotham.

St. Roch: Home Invasion

St. Roch: Home Invasion

Damien: Being transported to St Roch was .. interesting. It was a sensation he’d never felt before and something he didn’t wish to experience again. The feeling of not having control was a big one. Adjusting his jacket, he looks around a moment. The city was small, but just as dark and gloomy as Gotham was. It’s architecture a mix of spanish gothic and early english gothic. Two very different cultures that once held. Pulling his phone out, he finds the address that he was looking for. Where one Kendra lived. A part of a duo named Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The tricky part is to wait when Hawkman was away as he could be a bit … temperamental when anyone but him talked to Kendra.

Though, she’s been working on him.

Damien didn’t know what to expect. But if anything he gained from his conversation with Superboy, er, man, was that Nth metal was being used. If that was the case, then Damien needed information right from one the sources. Kendra and Carter. Though, once again, it was easier to approach Kendra about this, rather than Carter. What he didn’t expect was to find another lurking figure as he approached the Hall Residence where the pair lived. The house wasn’t big, but with it being just a couple blocks from the Stonechant museum, it was perfect for the pair.

Right now, Damien was tracking a figure that was using the shadows of the night to skulk around the dwelling. This couldn’t be a coincidence. Nothing that the Son of the Bat couldn’t take care of. Using his training, Damien followed the other figure, waiting for the perfect time to strike. Then suddenly, the young man sprung into action, going to tackle the figure from behind. Except, this person wasn’t just anybody. The figure twisted his body while in the air, to then flip Damien off of him. The figure hits the ground in a roll as Damien also turns, landing on his feet about ten yards away. Now facing the other man.

Pausing, Damien scrunches his face slightly in confusion and thought.


Dick : You wouldn’t think that tracking down two people with enormous wings on their back would be a problem for just about anyone. Much less two people with the deductive tracking ability and resources of the Wayne Family. Apparently no one gave these Hawk-People the memo. Because Dick Grayson has been all over the globe in search of them. From San Luca, to Cairo, to Athens… one jet ride to the next has taken him around the globe and away from Gotham at a time when it was most inconvenient. As it turns out though, the pair seem to be able to completely hide their wings. Otherwise they’d found some other manner of travel, because they weren’t showing up on any sort of Airport Security. It might be a bit on the nose to jump to the conclusion that the pair would use those same fancy wings for travel, but by all accounts and scientific extrapolation those wings didn’t provide them with the speed needed to manage some of the Museum Robberies they’d pulled. At least not in the time they had managed it.

Finding out that one of those Dick had needed to be on the ground in Gotham, keeping the city safe in his absence, was actually following much the same trail? Surprising, but not nearly as much as you might think. Damien has always had a habit of showing up where he’s least expected. Or wanted. Depending on your view point. Being attacked by your kid-brother, from out of nowhere? That’s where the surprise levels kick up.

It might be one of the rare times in Damien’s life that he too gets surprised, because Dick doesn’t just get tackled. No sooner has he rolled through the attack from behind, but he comes up ready to attack. The last few months wearing Bruce Wayne’s costume, being the Batman in a City that has been teeming with a new level of violence, had left Grayson more than a little on edge. Damien is sure to notice that his ‘Brother’ wasn’t just ready to try to disarm, but was clearly about to go on the offense with razor-bats in each knuckle.

The coat doesn’t conceal much of the Nightwing costume and it surely doesn’t prevent movement. Dick was ready for a fight, but didn’t come dressed as the Bat. “…Jesus! What the hell are you doing here…? You have the worst timing… get down.”

Even as Dick is barking instructions he’s moving. It happens so fast you might liken it to a professional quarterback’s throw, the way his arm cocks and unleashes those razor bats. Not at Damien, but above him. Three of them thrown, but the sound of only one of them making metallic contact is the reward. Until the next sound is a razor-sharp Boomerang implanting itself in the solid stone near Damien tells the guy what Dick was doing.

All of this, just seconds before “Kendra’s” front door explodes and the squad of armored insurgents start to pile in through every entrance.

Shiera: There could be some argument of semantics when it comes to categorizing what’s been going on lately as ‘robberies.’ My own solo ‘expedition’ had been more along the lines of grave robbing, or as Carter would maybe call it ‘liberating the past and bringing it to light.’ I don’t know that I entirely see the difference, because the only line seems to be whether or not the grave in question is clearly marked, and perhaps different layers of dirt over the top of it. My trip to London, cracking the mausoleum, and walking out with what I’d thought was an amulet could maybe have been dubbed either. I don’t consider it stealing, if only because what I took from those damp stone walls was mine.

Or it had been mine, in 1943. The end date stamped on that life, and that crypt. It wasn’t a point I was going to argue with anyone when it came to going in ‘legally’ though. Which brings us back to robbery. Something that we’ve been planning to do again, more liberation, more reclamation of things rightfully ours. Not because of greed, or pride, or heritage. But because somehow, everything gets less crazy the more of our pasts we find.

Actually. It gets more crazy by the same measure. This is Carter’s home. Since we found each other again, I stay here. Most of the time. The truth is, I hadn’t had much to leave behind. This time I had been born as Kendra Saunders. This time, there wasn’t anything especially heroic, or daring about me. Cello isn’t exactly an exciting pastime to devote oneself to, and it was the way I’d set up to spend what I’d hoped was a relaxing, quiet part of my day to, since Carter’s out of the house. He probably would have noticed something coming. I’m not exactly the hair trigger that he is however, and so the detonation of the downstairs entry, along with what sounds to be the back door as well certainly takes me by surprise.

The instrument is rather unceremoniously dumped over as I jerk to my feet, I have no idea who or what is coming, but it sounds like a lot more people than I would have thought I’d made angry. Probably can blame Carter for that. The closest thing I can lay claim to as a weapon is the baseball bat in the bedroom, and that’s two doors down the hallway. An easy enough sprint to make, as well as the closest one with an ‘exit’ in the form of a window if I have to take it.

Damien: Damien was about to counter Dick’s comment about him being here. But decided to drop it. Instead, pulling out a domino mask and applying it after the explosions rocked the front and back doors of this home. Looking over his shoulder, he lifts a brow at his brother. “We have much to discuss. But, clearly it looks like our friend inside may need assistance first.” It seemed NOWHERE was here first, at least it’s who he could only assume whom it was. Moving around to the front of the house. Damien didn’t have any of his normal things on him. That didn’t make him any less dangerous though.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

Once all the men are in the house that were at the front door, Damien goes in behind one of them, keeping his stance low. The art of surprise doesn’t last long as one of the men coming from the otherside of the house and spot Damien about to bring down one of the men. Usually Damien is equipped for whatever the situation is, but this time he was completely unequipped. No armor, no sensors. Just him.

Honestly, he liked it this way. Made the pain feel real.

“Nightwing. I count fourteen. Apparently they have the same idea we did.” commenting as the man Damien was about to take out turned around, swinging his weapon to clock Damien. But, the young heir was better than that. Leaning back enough for the weapon to miss him. Damien’s able to bounce back easily enough to push him back into his compatriots. Then, they decide to open fire.

Carter was not going to be happy.

Dick: The response that Damien gets? Is in the form of a baton going past him through the door. He was following Damien, although keeping his distance in order to not cause exactly what was happening with Damien’s friends. They’ve made the mistake of coming in from two sides and that puts them at cross-fire to one another. They can’t shoot or they’ll take out their own people. That’s the good news, because neither Damien or Dick have to worry about friendly fire from their particular arsenals.

“That Boomrang came from the roof of the building. That makes fifteen accounted for. There was also a suspicious looking van circling the block.” Which, as Dick’s tone says, he only knows about because he was casing the place. Instead of being quite so abrupt as Damien in his approach. “Too late for subtle.”

Even as Dick speaks he’s in motion. Entering the home through the ruined door behind Damien, but where the little brother goes low Dick Grayson goes high. Using his brother’s back to run right up and spring over him, in to the throng of armed men. Nightwing makes a very brilliant target. An armed and armored target, as opposed to Damien who’s running a little light today.

Boomerang: As the Bats are working on the men in the front, Shiera is getting an eye-full of the men from the back. Despite moving like trained professionals they’re not quite so organized as to be S.W.A.T. for the Police. They’re not clearing rooms, which is why she’s able to dart for that baseball bat. Albeit with a trail of ‘Paft-paft-paft’ that follows her along. Those are not bullet holes in the wall behind her as she moves. They’re darts and those men aren’t bothering to clear the rest of the home, she’s presented herself as a target and they’re swarming towards her.

“Wot have we got ‘ere then? Buncha wankas breakin up me barbeque? Listen mates, e’re not takin interviews t’day.”

There’s number fifteen. His voice is booming all around them, even if he’s not yet in sight. It almost sounds like he’s speaking the lot of them through the comm-units of the men breaching the House.

Shiera: I hadn’t really needed encouragement to run quickly in the first place, but the sound of air that doesn’t usually accompany a bullet so much as something else goads me along even more quickly. As well as making me instantly rethink the plan of going out the bedroom window.
It’s no less clear, and much lacking in cover out back. Shouldering open the ajar doorway, and fumbling inside for the aluminum baseball bat. No, it’s not nearly as effective as my other half’s choice of weaponry, but it’s also a great deal more subtle and less questionable to have out in the open. The stairwell makes a decent enough cover for me to lean my head around and confirm what I suspected. There’s far too much noise for this to be one potentially random sort of break in. There’s also a lot more than I might have expected, and to add another element? They appear to be fighting each other. Or at least part of them are. Two groups at the same time? Argument among the same that’s devolved to violence? Either way, I guess it’s as good a time as any.

There’s really nothing about me that screams superhuman of any sort at first glance, other than the fact that all redheads are technically superhumans. No wings, no costume, just a tank top and a pair of yoga pants as I come barreling down the stairs barefooted and improvised weapon raised in hand, in a posture that isn’t exactly batting stance so much as someone who’s ready to attack or defend as necessary.

I wasn’t prepared for this. Or really for the way this is making my pulse surge and blood roar. ‘Kendra Saunders’ might not have been born for this sort of thing, but that hardly seems to matter much anymore. The real me, under this form, takes great offense at the intrusion into my home, and doesn’t hesitate for even a second before cracking the closest head I can reach as I vault over the last bit of bannister.

Damien: Damien feels Dick vault over him and into the other men. It’s funny how well the two men operate together with effortless efficiency. No matter the circumstances. The way Damien takes on the men is more with fast and fluid movements. A different style than what he usually uses. It was meant to be mobile, attack while moving. Disarm and disable. Then he sees Shiera vault over the staircase and join them on the ground floor. A metal bat in her hand. A smirk crosses his lips.

“For as long as you have known me, would you have ever considered me subtle?” asking as one of the men attempts to take him on in a one on one match. Damien is too quick for the man. Instead of clocking him, Damien uses the man’s armor against him. Unbuckling and unstrapping him, then rebuckling so that he couldn’t move. Once he was done with that man, Damien moved in tandem with Nightwing. Then that voice goes over the comms and Damien exhales through his nostrils.

“I like her style.” gesturing to the man who was rolling down unconscious on the stairwell. His helmet nearly cracked in half from the impact of Shiera’s bat. These men didn’t have a chance between the three of them. But, someone like Digger Harkness. He could tip the scale. “This was far too easy.” while the men had the numbers advantage at the moment, their numbers were quickly thinning.

“I apologize about the intrusion, Shiera. Once this encounter is over. We need to have a discussion.” after all, Damien was on a time crunch.

Dick: Subtle? No. But Dick also never imagined Damien as the type of traipse half-way around the world following him either. If that is, as it seems. Saying that to Damien only seems to court even further discussion when they really need to work on getting this situation under control. While they’re on the topic of ‘Having known Damien’ for something, the idea spawns that perhaps the real question is… ‘Since when are you apologetic about anything?’ But that too is going to have to wait for another time.

The herd of men may be thinning in the front, but that’s only half of the man-power they knew for a fact was here. Just as Shiera’s man rolls to a thug at the bottom of the stairs, Dick is evading a series of darts flying all around him by once more vaulting over one man. Turning that same man in to a living shield and a weapon all at once. The captive thug takes the blast of darts in his armor from behind Dick, then becomes a projectile as he is hurled down the hallway in to the path of the men coming from the back of the house.

“What my miniature, unintended, companion means, is that these men are part of a larger group. They’re here for you and/or the items you and your cohort have been procuring. You have a bounty on your head that is large than the gross national product of most small countries right now.”

“You can come with us or…”

Really, Dick Grayson of all people should know better than to ape Arnold in times like this. Nothing good has ever come from it. This is just one more example of it, because as Dick, Damien and Shiera look around at the fallen seven men from the front of the house? A second boomerang of the night makes it’s appearance. This one sails in through the front window, curves through Carter Hall’s living room, before strategically impaling itself with precision on the staircase right next to where Shiera descended.

Unlike the first, that Dick had deflected away from Damien’s back, this one is beeping. Beep. Beep. Beepbeep beepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeep. Beeeeeeee….


Shiera: Intrusion? That seems to be putting it very, very mildly. Comically so. Also, words that come loaded with so many additional questions. Does that mean that they’re on my side? Are they trying to play this good cop, bad cop? Is it just a swerve to get me to stop fighting them, and then allow for an easier fight? All in all, I’m not entirely inclined to discuss much of anything. Unintended companion. More words, that paint more contextual blanks for me to fill in. It makes me grateful for the things that my body seems to know how to do on its own now, without requiring a whole lot of thought from me. While the motions I make may be those of someone who seems accustomed to a level of violence that nothing in my own personal ‘biography’ might suggest, it’s more savage accuracy than practiced finesse.

“That sounds like the beginning of an ulti-…”

The crash of breaking glass is much softer than the other explosions that have rocked the house in the last minutes, but still present. Maybe if only because of the momentary lull in the room, like the eye of a storm, and my head whips around to where the boomerang has sunk into the wall. I’d moved some small distance from it naturally, but not nearly far enough. Especially once it starts beeping. Faster, and faster, and there’s really only one thing that can ever mean. Most people would probably run. I don’t think I’ve got enough time to get far enough for it to be any better than my alternative.

“Get down!”

Dropping to a knee, in the shattered remnants of my front door and entryway, I turn a shoulder into the direction that explosion is surely about to come from and press a hand to my chest. Metal exploding, with more grace than violence, out of my back. Up and out, curving around me in a pair of enormous wings that change color, fading from silver to glossy hues of brown until they look for all the world like ordinary feathers. They’re a great deal sturdier than what they appear, though.

Damien: Damien doesn’t have the luck of having armor to absorb most of the blast. Instead, Damien attempts to clear distance between himself and the bomb. While, he escapes the initial blast, the shockwave does enough to propel him through the house and into a wooden bookshelf. With the shelf then creaking over and falling onto him. His ears are ringing, pain is shooting through his body as he attempts to crawl out from under. It’s hard at first, Damien can feel blood trickling from his nose.

Is this why they couldn’t have nice things?

He was having trouble thinking clearly. When this is all over, he’s going to have strong words with Conner and his Suicide Squad. Right now, he had to ignore the pain and get up. Thankfully the blast, while strong, wasn’t enough to break any bones. “Ri….Night…Nightwing. Are you well?” asking as he finally gets out from under the bookcase. This needs to end now. Before the house before the supports of the house. Captain Boomerang. The man might be a laugh because he throws Boomerangs, but just like Green Arrow and his arrows. Digger has a boomerang for every occasion.

The one occasion he can’t rely on is Damien needing to take things into his own hands and end this now. Instead of relying on mental preparation, he fights through the pain and switches to instincts as he swoops up a large shard of glass, wielding it like a dagger as he charges towards the window… or rather what’s left of it. Leaping through it, he lands with a roll. If Digger is out there, Damien is intending on charging him and stabbing him with the shard of glass. No matter the cost.

Dick: Much like Damien, there is nothing to really protect you from a bomb in the old Nightwing kit. The one damned time that he would have truly used that damn cape and he left it on the plane. Leaving him with a terrible choice of standing his ground or doing something stupid. Since standing his ground is only helpful if he’s taking the brunt of the blast to protect one of the other people in the room? It’s really just a series of stupid choices, leaving you to pick between the worst ones. As Damien is being thrown one way, Shiera is covering herself with… ah… there are those wings. Leaving Dick to be propelled, because he’s turned to hurdle down the hallway as the bomb goes off.

Stupid choices? Damien is going for the band leader. Dick is smashing through Carter Hall’s surprisingly solid dining room table. At least the maneuver has a touch of grace to it, because of throwing himself in that direction it was much more of a controlled fall than what Damien took. The landing was still bone-jarring and leaves him momentarily propping himself up to look at the pool of blood escaping his lips.

Hey! But he doesn’t have Damien’s ringing ears and the Nightwing armor mostly took the lethality of that fall. It’s the little things that lift you up, especially when the Backdoor Thugs opt to press their advantage. Right then. Pumping the Boy Wonder full of darts right then and there.

Shiera is the least bothered of the three and she’s the target. Funny how life works, huh? She’s in far better shape than Damien who’s charging out on the the lawn to confront…. The man who Dick told him was on the roof. Don’t worry though. The next Boomerang doesn’t hit Damien as soon as he’s in sight. It hits the grass in front of him. This time he can’t hear the beeping as it winds up to shoot electrical taser wire at the other Boy Wonder’s chest. Zzaaaap!

“…Multiplex. Get cher arse up and finish this Mate. We need the bird alive.”

Oh. Right. Those thugs? No one really took the time to notice they’re all identical copies of each other did they? The not so useless thugs are showing exactly none of the effects of the bomb. Unless you count the fact that the concussive force of the explosion just created about a whole new set of 14 more of them.

Shiera: Maybe later I’ll marvel about how well that actually worked. I’d spent so much of the last few years overthinking it all of this, convinced that I was crazy. When I managed to embrace what I was thinking, and feeling, those foreign things that I hadn’t thought were mine floating around my mind, it had all gotten better. Maybe that’s something a crazy person would say. Or maybe I can simply chalk it up to following Carter’s… impetuous is the kind way to put it… example. Either way, there’d been danger, and I’d let myself react. Everyone else runs from the blast, and the only real damage I suffer is the way my ears are ringing in the aftermath. Maybe worse than the others would have been, had they stayed so close, proving the only real downside of having hearing as sharp as I do. One hand rubbing at the side of my head, while the other discards the bat that I was only half holding anyway. End over end like a blunted tomahawk at one of the men in the room with me, who.. I hadn’t heard come in and I’m fairly sure were not there a moment ago.

I don’t need it anymore, because it’s unlikely I’m going to be fighting off the whole pack of them with just a bat. The wings serve as weapon enough for my needs. Part of me thinks the best move here is out that destroyed front entryway and up into the sky. The garbled words of ‘arse’ and ‘alive’ are enough to put more pieces together. I’d been hearing darts, which means they’re not just here to take what I have. We have, I suppose. Maybe that also means that they know it won’t be so simple to take it from me. If I’d realized what a target that Amulet would have made me, perhaps I would simply have hidden it again. Left it stashed in what protection the walls of the Museum had seemed to offer the rest of the pieces for so long.

Moving once more, I bolt through the front door. Wings curved around front both to make it through the opening and to protect me from any more darts. Then it’s up into the air, a leap to send me skyward as I look for the source of that booming voice. My eyes still function, even if my ears are a little iffy. And if I can spot the one that seems to be giving the orders here, I’m intent on taking him for a little ride.

Damien: Normally, Damien would be more than prepared for something like this. But, when he was abducted by Conner. He couldn’t be prepared. So, he was currently fighting a concussion and now the ringing in his ears had stopped…. Just in time to feel the electricity from the taser coarse through his body. Falling to the ground again, he’s not quite down. Smoke rising off his body as he struggles for control over his body. “..Sh..On..Roof.” he could barely speak, but he hoped the girl with wings could hear him.

This just wasn’t Damien’s day, or even Dick’s as he watches him get pumped full of darts. The Son of the Bat collapses to the ground in a feint attempt to draw attention off himself. The guy said Multiplex. Usually a Flash villain, it was clear, that Flash wasn’t here to assist with this. From what Damien knew was that there’s one guy that controls all his dupes. Find him, and you find the source.

Damien focuses on his breath. Pushing air out, pulling air in. Concentrating on pushing out all the pain. Techniques used by the monks he was trained and raised by. Control your heart, control your blood. He could still feel the metal prongs connected to his shirt. The heir of the demon would look into the house. Letting his eyes study his targets, look for that one. That one that stood out from the rest in a sea of identical twins. While twins looked like each other, they were near carbon copies of themselves.

Except for little things here and there. One could be just a inch taller, so on and so forth. Damien needed to find that one to help Dick. but running in and taking care of fourteen dups didn’t sound all that delightful.

Boomerang: It isn’t difficult to see Digger Harkness once you’re above him. The trouble Shiera has with that is getting out that front door. While those original insurgents are still down, the ones born of the kinetic energy of that bomb are all looking to be in pretty tip-top physical health. The way she wields the wings though, is enough to keep her from any true harm. They’re all between her and the door, so none of them get a real chance to shoot her in the back. Not when they’re too busy being bowled over so effectively.

That doesn’t stop them from trying though and take-off is going to prove difficult when all seven of the newly made duploids pile on to her. Seven fully armed, fully capable, men who take to any means of stopping her. Close quarters darts meant specifically to pierce thick skin. Electric batons meant to stun people just like her. Hands that seek to choke. Feet that last out with kicks. No, Multiplex is not in himself stronger than your top-level Olympian, but when you start dealing with the strength, speed and effectiveness of seven men the numbers game does have some advantages.

Oh and let’s not forget that the man she was looking for? Is standing up there on the adjacent roof taking his time to line up every throw. As if it couldn’t get any worse for Damien and Shiera. Another set of boomerangs is raining down on them. As the rangs near both targets they spring open, propelling large nets at the two of them, clearly not caring if he catches the duploids in the process.

Shiera: There’s been an awful lot of upsides to this Amulet and what it had done to my body. The notable and large downside being this particular situation that I’ve found myself in just now, but I’m stronger, tougher, with keen senses. The whole flying thing is my obvious favorite, and the wings that go with it as well. All usually packaged into a neat, glittering adornment that I have to keep hidden because it’s fused itself to my body. Not hidden well enough, clearly, but all it takes is a thought to call it up. Like I had to shield myself. The metal is mine to command, and when it becomes clear that no matter how strong I might be compared to these men individually, their pack methodology is proving to be a bit too much for me.

Hands clawing at my throat, glances with those stun batons that don’t hit home well enough to put me down, but do offer up more than a comfortable level of electric jolt. It’s become very clear, very fast, that a little more forceful defense of my life might be necessary. Even if they do, seemingly, want me alive. As my fighting and wriggling becomes more desperate, and flying elbows, fists and gouging fingers aren’t enough anymore, the edges of my feathered wings grow sharper and sharper. No longer buffeting and blocking alone so much as slicing and shredding, a whirling dervish splattered with blood that’s not mine, and that I don’t spare an instant to feel badly over. The rising feeling of a victory cut short with a high pitched, angry shriek as the net tangles me. Leaving me frantically trying to cut with more purpose and shred the material so that I can get free.

Damien: Damien’s feeling a little better. But the net is a problem. Then he sees Sheira plummet to the ground as she thrashes, working on cutting the net. Meanwhile, Damien stays calm. Batman put all the boys through various kinds of net training. This one was a poly-mesh kind. So, his glass shard wasn’t going to cut through it. Grabbing the boomerang wasn’t going to help, it was the only thing not killing Damien. Slowly, he uses the glass shard to cut the taser lines to the boomerang. Once those were cut, he’d work on finding the edge of the net and tug it off. Doing this was going to expose him to the tranq darts.

The bat that Sheira used was laying on the front steps. If he could just reach it, there might be a chance of him using it to find the one Mutliplex. From what Damien could tell, he didn’t see a unique figure amongst the fourteen dupes that were in the house. So, that must mean either he was somewhere else. Or he was ontop of the roof. Where Digger was. Damien would run towards the bat to pick it up mid stride as he kept close to the house. Wanting to use it for cover. To keep himself from being potentially shot at by the tranq darts. It’d also buy him time for the dupes to get out of the house. If Damien’s ever out of sight, he’d use this opportunity to “vanish” in plain sight. Much like how Batman would do.

Neither of the men had any kind of jumping ability, and if you were going to get ontop of a house. You needed a ladder. Assuming the van was too far for them to use to jump from one to the other. So, this is what Damien is doing. Searching for a way to get onto the roof as quietly as he could. Learning the ways of stealth was beat into him shortly after he learned to walk.

Boomerang: “This lil’ bugger just won’ quit, will ‘e mate?”

Digger’s a little boggled by the manner in which Damien struggles. But there’s a very key aspect to this that Damien isn’t accounting for, for once he isn’t the target. Hell, as far as Digger is concerned he’s worth exactly nothing. Dead or Alive. So once Shiera is actually netted, Damien’s where abouts are only a cursory problem for Boomerang. For once it has absolutely nothing to do with under-estimating his opponents and everything to do with getting out while the getting is good.

“Bird’s down. Wrap ‘er up boys. Let’s get a move on.”

While Damien has been through more than his fair share of training in how to escape all manner of traps? Shiera’s multi-lifetimes are not preparing her for a group that are hunting her very specifically. Slashing at the net is accomplishing nothing. The blood (and gore) from the duploids she slices and dices only makes it that much more slippery. Even if the netting wasn’t specifically designed to bring her down, it’d lose a lot of traction with the lack of friction it can generate to slice anything.

That doesn’t mean she makes it easy for anyone. Duploids are having a terrible time getting to her, even from outside of the net. Forcing them to wait for backup, in the form of the Squad that was coming in the rear of the House. Just as they’re rounding to the front, toting a near unconscious Nightwing, the Van that Dick pointed out before rolls up to the curb. As Damien is working his way around the building? Digger and the previously unseen Multiplex are starting to leave their perch. It’s all done but the wrap-up.

“…put cher backs in ta it, lads. Hawk-One is putting up an even better fight downtown.”

Dick’s one and only contribution to the fight at this point? That shifting his finger to the small, hidden, little link-up on his gauntlet. “Z, pleh rouy deen eW.

Zatanna: Dick had an ace up his sleeve, a little trick to pull him out of a really awful situation. She always said she was a whisper away and she only gave such a favor to good friends that she could trust. There was no hesitation in the flurry of speech and movements it took to get into ‘work clothes’ and transport herself right into the scene in a plume of white smoke that radiated out. She arrived right beside Dick, expecting to see him standing there but was immediately concerned when she looked over her shoulder and then had to look downwards to find him face down on the ground.

Yekaw yekaw, Yob Rednow. Tell me where the bad men are.”

He said ‘we’. Her pale eyes were already searching through the cloud that gave them a slight amount of cover and a distraction. Who were the others? She’d rather have a good idea of where her allies were before she began waving the wand without a thought to any bystanders.

Shiera: Boomerang isn’t the only one not paying much attention to what Damien Wayne is up to. In my defense, however, I’m a lot more preoccupied with my immediate plight. The more I struggle, the more clear it becomes that the razor sharp edges of my feathers are a lot more likely to shred me than they are the net that’s pinning me down. A fact that is both boggling and infuriating, and leads to no small amount of my continuing to try regardless because… why on earth would it not cut? Because they’re prepared for you, or I suppose for anyone who might have a bladed weapon on them.

At this point, the incidental carnage I’m causing with my thrashing? Becomes a lot more intentional. I hadn’t been trying to kill anyone. I may not have the rage fueled tendencies of Carter, but I’m also not a pacifist by any stretch of the imagination. They started this, not me, and if I inflict a lot of damage in the process of defending myself, that’s just simply my right. So I switch tactics. I may not be able to fly, but I can still jump. Flexing the wings, I send them out against the confines of the netting. Forcing the razor sharp pinions out, jabbing no differently than someone would with a spear as I gather my legs beneath me and try to launch myself upwards. Worst case, I give them hell when it comes to actually getting a handle on me, and taking me anywhere.

Damien: Damien is quiet as he finds a way onto the roof via a ladder on the backside. Once he’s on the roof, he pushes the ladder away. No need for them to get down. Using whatever stealth advantage he can get, he finally sees his targets. Digger and Multiplex. When he crests over the middle of roof, where it peaks together, Damien smirks as he starts down the roof, and towards this. Now he wasn’t being completely stealthy, because by the time he reaches Multiplex, Damien’s going to use that bat and strike it as hard as he can against his back. Not caring what damage he’s inflicting to the man.

“Give up, Digger.” Damien says, twirling the aluminum bat with one hand as if it was an extension of his hand. His ears are still ringing, but nowhere near what they were before. If Digger tries anything, he’s going to get met with a bat on forearms followed up with a hard job to his stomach with the top of the bat. They had their fun, and it seemed Sheira was having a hell of a time. Hopefully with his attack on Mutliplex and Digger, it’ll sever the connection to his dupes and make them vanish.

This was the only thing Damien really could do. If he’s too late, then he’ll have to figure something else out. Maybe hurl the bat like a spear at one of them. Right now, he was looking to end this fight before any of them can get away. And maybe help Carter wherever he is. They mentioned Hawk-One, he could only assume that Carter was putting up a hell of a fight against a couple other members of the Suicide Squad. There were a lot of questions, but it’s not like they could just throw them all into jail and let courts settle it.

Dick: With those words a gasp sounds from Nightwing, who was until that incantation barely lucid. Knowing only what was going on, but being out of his ability to do anything to influence it. Such was the state of a normal person being pumped full of narcotics meant to bring down one of the Hawks. As quickly as the words spill from beautiful lips though, Zatanna cleanses the body. Magic, who would have thought that would be saving the Boy Wonder’s butt?

She did not, however, heal him of all that ailed him, leaving him to recover the physical injuries that come with the pummeling of seven duploids. That may mean he’s not ready to charge off, to save the world on his own, but he can put his eyes, ears and mouth to use. “Suicide Squad. Captain Boomerang is the house across the street. Robin,…. the other Robin… is working his way to them.”

“Those soldiers aren’t real people. They’re digitized copies of one another and they seem to be able to replicate at will, I’m not sure how their power works.” Lastly he points at the Hawk-Girl, who’s struggling with the net but seems to be making quite the mess of Digger’s efforts to have the duplicants put her in a Van. “They’re here for her. Well. Her wings. They’re made of the metal we talked about before, Z.”

Boomerang : “Aww y’ got me Mate. No tricks now.. I’ ain’ gonn’ move a muscle…”

Any time a man like Digger says that, you know something is wrong. For once though, it’s not because -he- is the one pulling a fast one. Captain Boomerang kinda gestures with his chin for Damien to look at Multiplex. Oh, sure. He did a number on the one that was controlling the rest. Took him out like a right proper ninja, he did. And sure enough, all the duploids that Multiplex was controlling disperse.

Except that Damien hit Multiplex with so much force that kinetic energy sends more duplicants in every direction. It’s like Damien was playing whack-a-mole and when he hit the first Mole, it splintered in to five more. The difference now? Is that -these- duplicants were created without someone controlling them. And boy are the mad at Damien.

Harkness simply backs away, until he can leap off the roof.

Zatanna: She nods quickly. Injuries she could work with later but she knew even injured, he was capable of taking care of himself as long as he wasn’t in the drugged state he was in before. She was already taking little notes as she strode to exit the building in the direction that Nightwing had directed. More mental notes quickly taken with every step. Ultimately, the mission was very clear. They were not to get the woman or her wings.

The quickest way to the where all the action was up. Not up the stairs and through whatever bodies may be waiting along the way. Up, bending the laws of reality around mystic energy and sheer force of will. The words were whispered and she floated right to the top. Perhaps it was poor luck, or great luck that she would come to that edge right where Boomerang was attempting to make his exit.

She reached to the brim of her hat, tilting it downwards as she scowled. She was not happy with this situation. The fact Dick was in such a state that he needed to call her was more than enough to piss her off. And anger sometimes led to unpleasant thoughts on how to twist his spell, how to render him incapable of causing any harm ever again. All things that she sought to work against but there was always that taste of darkness at the tip of her tongue.

“S’hes ton eht tegart. llac meht ffo

She knew the consequences of getting involved in this. There would be ripples. They would come back. It didn’t appear like anyone was up for a longer fight and she wasn’t about to hold them all off on her own. As easy as it would have been to tell him to just fall, it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.

Shiera: This time, when I come down, I find myself without any suitable targets to try and land on. As abruptly as they’d appeared in the house in the first place, in the wake of the explosion, they have now disappeared. I’d question the way they went about it, but I have giant wings, which look like feathers but are really made out of mind-controlled metal. There’s a great degree of just accepting the weird and inexplicable, rolling with, and then coping with it to my life right now. I may not be able to take off truly, but my wings slow my descent at least a degree. Allowing me to land with slightly more grace than a sack of wet towels.

Apparently whatever, or whomever, had been driving that van was now no longer there either. I’d scarcely hit blood splattered lawn, and begun to try to find the bottom edge of this net, before I realize the exact trajectory of the now rogue vehicle. Battlefields are treacherous and require sure footing on the best of days, and this? Is not me at my best. I’ve managed to foul myself even more and a foot slipping out from beneath me stops another skyward jump from going quite as smoothly. Instead, I end up doing my best bird into a car windshield impression, wings destroying the glass more than the impact. It wasn’t going nearly fast enough to really do any threatening amount of harm to me. It’s more insulting, scratches from shattered glass the worst injury. Except maybe my pride as I roll over the top of the windshield, a terrible screech of metal on metal.

Damien: Damien had his own host of problems. Watching Digger get away, he muttered to himself. Falling from a two story house wasn’t an issue. It was the five dupes that were now glaring at him. Taking a couple steps back. They were too spread apart for him to take them off all at once. But, Damien didn’t mind these odds. Nothing new, really. Only problem was that he couldn’t hit them with any kind of force. So, improvisation was the only thing he had. Dodging and weaving their attacks, Damien would then unbuckle his belt capture one dupes hands between then, cinched it closed.

One down. Four to go. Using the bad to deflect punches, he needed to maneuver himself so he could backflip off the roof. That meant dodging, jumping over and sliding out of the way. It was hard, but once he got to the roof, Damien would do a perfect launch. Arms out, feet straight as his back arched slightly as he then tucked into a roll once he hit the ground. If he had his sword, he wouldn’t feel so bad taking these things down.

Hopefully they won’t follow him, Damien landed a little weird on his feet. But, nothing a day or so could fix. Moving over to Sheira, he starts helping her with the netting as fast he could. Maybe later he’ll train her how to successfully get out of a net. Though, more on Damien’s death wish, later. “Are you okay, Sheira?” asking, wanting and hoping she was.

Boomerang: You just know the level of person you’re dealing with when they’re faced with a levitating woman, speaking magical words and the only thing their eyes meet are the breasts that costume puts on display. Hell, that trumps just about any amount of fear you might otherwise merit from one Digger Harkness when he’s spun around in the midst of making his escape. Zatanna’s actually getting a smirk from the old Australian. He never does actually make eye-contact though. Sizing her up and down, then up and down again.

“…blimey, look at ‘t’e norks on this’un…”

His face screws up for a moment as he finally realizes that she’s speaking to him. Or is she? The expression on his face says that he is registering that Zatanna has spoken to him, but hasn’t a bloody clue what she’s said. Whatever magic it is that weaves itself all around the brain waves of one Digger Harkness, they just don’t manage to take root anywhere. Other than that look of momentary confusion, which followed that look of appreciation, Digger just simply continues on his merry way. Dropping off the side of the building.

The difference is that he knows Zatanna said something. She was clearly waiting for those words to mean something to him, even if he hasn’t a clue what foreign language she was speaking at the time. Doesn’t matter, she wasn’t helping with the procurement of the package. That’s why the moment his feet touch the ground and he’s done rolling through the two-story drop, those hands of his are each tossing a boomerang. One in each direction.

Each boomerang has a different target. The first goes in through the open window of Carter Hall’s home. The second goes through the front window of the house Damien and the duploids are fighting. Remember the beeping? Those who can actually hear the noise probably remember what the hell that sound is for sure. With that Captain Boomerang makes off in the direction that Carter Hall had gone earlier in the morning. Not even bothering to call of Multiplex.

Beep beep beep. Beepbeep beepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep…

Shiera: Among all the possibilities for ways my day could have gone? This was not really one I could have picked out. Sprawled on a van, having to stop the gut reaction to skewer someone who’s trying to untangle me from a giant net. It’s only the obvious fact that he’s not trying to hurt me, and is clearly trying to get me out that stops more blood from being added to what’s made a rather horrific splatter painting of my face and arms and… well. All of me.

“I’m fine.”

It’s a rather terse response, and one I might feel badly about in any other situation. But I don’t know these two. No, three now from the view I had during my first jump. They turned up just as unexpectedly, and uninvited as the other group, with words like ‘come with us or…’ Anything else I might have wanted to say is cut off by the escalating sound of beeping coming from far, far too close. The van had glided/crashed to a halt into what remained of the front entry to Carter’s house, and that put us once again all too near to the exploding boomerang. This time I don’t just cover myself, though. Wings losing their razor edges as I come up out of the loosened netting, bowling Damien over and shielding him at the same time.

Only there’s no explosion. I’m braced for the detonation, for the way the boom will surely disorient my senses for a few moments and instead there’s… the smell of cotton candy overwhelming even the metallic tang of blood in my nose. I don’t even question it. Not out loud anyway, in my head there’s a litany of confused curse words, as I unfurl my wings from around the prone man, gather my legs under me and launch skyward. A different kind of adrenaline mixing with the other that was already fueling me, and this time I actually manage to get up into the sky. Downtown, the Australian had said…

Maybe I should have offered a thank you. I wasn’t going to stick around for the ‘or else’ I heard in the opening conversation, even if it wasn’t said out loud. Not when Carter might need help.

Black Gold:  The Demon and the Mystic

Black Gold: The Demon and the Mystic

Synopsis:  Since running into the girl that fell ill there have been two other individuals have fallen ill with similar symptoms.  This prompts Khalid to attempt to contact a family member to get a better idea of what could be happening in Gotham.  While in the middle of getting prepared to cast his spell he encounters Rebecca Langstrom.  The two begin discussing what’s happened recently in Gotham.  This begins to give Khalid a better idea the current state of affairs.  Deciding to trust Rebecca, Khalid casts his spell to speak with his deceased mother, Farrah, who learns he’s in Gotham.   After a brief conversation Farrah advises that she will check into his inquiry while making Khalid promise to deliver a message to an old family friend.

Khalid advises Rebecca to be careful as she continues to embrace magic and her own origins as it is a dangerous time and that the current state of magic may be the reason why the cultists who attempted to place her under their will are making a move.



Concern. It was the feeling that had crept into my mind upon hearing the words that the girl had spoken. I wasn’t clear on what to do from there. I know it wasn’t a trick of the mind. To many other things happened prior to her collapse. Emergency services had arrived and whisked her off taking her to the local hospital and nothing more was thought about it.

I thought about talking to my father about it, but I rather not worry him. I didn’t want him to become distracted. I thought nothing of it until there was another student that collapsed this time it was a guy, he collapsed on his way to class. I didn’t see him, but I heard about it. Couldn’t help hearing about it. It was similar to the girl though not as many people had seen her collapse. However, the description was the same he fell to the ground and grew weak, frail even. There was nothing natural about what was described, but some believed it was the flu. Others were worried that it could be something worse.

Two different cases of an unknown ailment. Both the woman and the man were running fevers. They complained of feeling weak and that’s when they were able to speak. It was sudden and came upon them quickly and the two of them had no interactions. That puzzled the doctors, but for Gotham University the only thing that was communicated was that there may be a strong strain of the flu going through the school and that people should take precaution.

Wash your hands. Cough into the pit of your elbow. Get a flu shot if you haven’t. If you start to feel ill go to the on campus health clinic. A completely normal response, because the hospital had not stated that there was anything to be concerned about. Students weren’t coming in droves. Two cases and they seemed to be isolated from one another beyond the fact that they attended the same university. There was nothing that linked them. That was the puzzling part.

Still I had seen what I saw in the puddle of water when I knocked the girl’s water bottle out of her hand. I remember the water spreading across the ground and the images that revealed themselves to me. The night that the boy grew ill I saw the moon darken, but I don’t have visions.

However, it does not mean that visions can not been given. I remember that.

I told myself that I should go, but I didn’t. I told my father that I would speak to him soon. If I went I would have only gone to see him off. Instead I stayed and good thing, because there was another incident and this time I saw the crowd had gathered and there was a picture. It was another guy, he was in the band. He collapsed during practice as he was taking a picture.

A mark was on his face that looked reminiscent of a spider web of some kind, it looked like bruising of came. It came and went, because by the time emergency services arrived it was gone, but it did stir a bit of a panic. It was more the mark that concerned people. The administration was getting in front of this along with staff at the hospital. Tests were sent off, but there were still questions. Questions that had no answer, not yet at least.

I had a picture, but nothing more. It had started to circulate among some of the students. II needed to know that I wasn’t seeing something where there was nothing. This could be an illness. There was another concern, but nothing I could out right say to most people. They wouldn’t understand so I waited. I waited and asked one of the professors in the archaeology department that was friends with my father if I could use one of the labs. I was doing a little work while I was visiting the school.
Nothing was out of the ordinary about the request. I needed to wait until not had fell, because I had not realized it until I came across the date. Something had happened and there was only one person I trust to consult on the matter.

Night fell upon the campus. I told Ronnie that I would give him call tomorrow. He was worried, because he knew I was worried about my dad and I am, but I’m more worried about what’s happened. I was so focused that I didn’t check to see if anyone was nearby or might have seem me striding down the hall with a satchel as I looked in to make sure I had everything I needed. Nothing out of the ordinary, candles, athame.

What’s the worst that worst that I could do?

Opening the door to the room I shut it behind me. This isn’t something that you want to do in the hotel room.




Magic left a trail, a feeling, something that tickled her senses and made the tiny little hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. It was a purse instinctual feeling that Rebecca was trying to understand. She could reason that maybe she could feel it because hunting it down may lead to something she could gain. She was trying to think from the angle of a predator, a trail left to be followed, to stalk. Following these feelings led to some mixed results, not all of them pleasant. She took a much more cautious approach this time when it was so close ‘home’, on her campus, students falling ill from a bad flu. The warnings were out there, posters put up to ‘dab’ your cough and your sneeze. The truly paranoid brandishing some fashionable face masks to avoid breathing contaminated air.

It had taken Becky a while to catch on to what was going on but she didn’t have any answers either. It all surfaced as symptoms of an illness but it had the tinge of something else involved. That was all she had to go by, that feeling that pricked at her neck and not a lot of information. She merely didn’t have the time to perform an investigation into it. After classes she was studying and training. Weekends? Training. What stolen moments of freetime she had, had been filled with terrifying news and working every angle she could think of to center herself and fight a battle between her nature and her heart.

Sometimes she hoped for just having the normal struggles she was familiar with. Then again, she had never had any real exposure of what ‘normal’ was. Despite the facade her family tried very hard to keep up within her home, it was far from normal. Her brother was forever marked by the family’s legacy of bio-engineering. Her father was still gone, not missing but perhaps doing the very same soul-searching that Becky found herself doing over the last week. She had a small hope that maybe during the trip with her mentor she might be able to track down a lead. Despite knowing the truth of her creation, of her true origins, the man that raised her and took care of her was still an important priority in her life.

The halls were quiet, though, not quiet enough. The echoes of footsteps were easily caught by her ears in the Science building. That prickly feeling at her neck again with every soft and cautious step she took. She made a peek around the corner, pulling the straps of her bag around her shoulders a little tighter. A young man working his way into one of the chem labs. It wasn’t a familiar face, or maybe she had seen it before and didn’t think anything of it. There were few other students she talked to regularly, then again, she was fairly anti-social and had her nose in a book most of the time.

It was a split-second decision. Follow and come off as creepy and suspicious? Keep walking and wait for the next horrible thing to happen?

Her jaw went tight and she strolled forward towards the classroom.

She made a polite knock on the door, hopefully quickly enough before the other student got too settled.

“Hey. Potions Lab is in the basement by the Slytherin Dorm.”



I could have gone back home and did what I needed to do there, but it would probably defeat the purpose if I had. It was more than a feeling that I had. There was something happening here saying that I could not put my finger on it was an understatement. I required assistance. Consultation.

In some ways I was seeking out a second opinion. I was also looking for a diagnosis.

Slipping the satchel from my shoulder I set it upon the counter and began to remove one of the items when I heard the knock and the voice behind me. Slipping the candle back into the bag I turned towards the visitor with an arch of a brow.

That was a very specific reference. Running the tip of my tongue across the back of my teeth I leaned back against the counter taking a moment to decide if this was a good, bad, or benign situation.

“Pardon?” Why a Harry Potter reference? I did have a chemistry book in and notebook in my bag, so I could play it off, but are people this curious naturally or was there something that stood out?

“I have the lab scheduled for the next two hours.” Not a lie. She could check. “Were you scheduled to use the room?” That would be unfortunate, because I would need to find another spot. Also, poor communication, but something told me neither of those were the reason. She did not look lost, so let’s see where this goes.



She shrugged as she allowed the door to close behind her. She wasn’t even sure what she was chasing down but so far it didn’t seem like a threat.

“Just a feeling,” it was an honest response but she didn’t make any sudden movements and moved slowly as she moved to the nearest table and took a seat on the stool.

Rebecca studied him for a moment before shifting the weight of her bag to slide it onto the table and rummage through the contents to pull out a jar of some kind of black substance.

“Thought you might need some help studying. Black salt. Stronger kick than Morton’s.”



My eyes followed her movements watching as the door was shut. Looking back towards the stranger my brow arched for a moment wondering exactly what this feeling was. Just a feeling. Not something unfamiliar, but what type of feeling. My eyes continues to follow her waiting for her to come to a stop again. My lips twist a bit while I give her words and actions some thought.

“Studying. Okay. I’m going to go with I think I got this, but something tells me that’s not going to elicit the response I’m hoping for.” It rarely does.

“So, how about we focus on the “Just a feeling.” Time better spent yes?” I think it is, but hard to say what she thinks.



“The feeling? Okay.”

She pressed her lips together unsure of how to go forward with that. There was a pretty firm line that was dangerous to cross. It was different than the usual crazy stuff this city usually saw. This was about forces that didn’t see the light of day and rarely made it into public view. She also didn’t want to out herself too much, the less someone with that kind of knowledge knew about her, the better.

“Like when….something bad happens and the room feels cold and the air is full of electricity. When you walk by a place where people have suffered and you can just feel the weight and the doom of it. Felt a little more like static this time. But, this coming from the crazy witch girl that no one really talks to.”

She had overheard the rumors, she can hear whispers across the room, it wasn’t a big secret that others talked about her. There were a few that didn’t, or didn’t care. She was still wearing her classmate’s jacket that he had leant to her and she hadn’t quite gotten around to giving it back to him. He was nice, but he was one of the quiet ones too.

“Just bothered me to see my fellow students sick, real sick. There’s been weird stuff going around and I’m really worried about it spreading.”



There was a lot to unpack there and I could dig into all of that, but instead of tipping hands and giving away more than I needed I focused on a few things to respond to.

“Weird stuff? More so than people taking ill?” That was troubling, but there were always weird things going on. Not that everyone noticed. When people noticed you had to wonder why they noticed. It’s not that I’m paranoid or feel that you can’t trust anyone, but I don’t even know her name and she knock on the door of the room that I was in.
“Students getting sick is unfortunate. I’ve seen one of them up close and it doesn’t look good at all.” Throw something out and see what happens.

“But now you have me worried. Am I one of the weird things or weird feelings because you decided to dropped in on me. Do you think something is going to happen to me or do you think I’ve done something nefarious?”

I thought it was a fair question. Still why would I of all people be involved in doing something to people? Is it because I stand out by being a stranger or am I giving off a vibe?



“Something in town at the garden under the Hunter’s Moon.”

She wasn’t sure if he had caught onto that or maybe it slipped under the radar. Becky really hoped it just slipped under the radar. This was a word game of chess just trying to come to some understanding. Her anxiousness acted out in the form of sliding the jar from one hand to the other over the black surface of the table.

“I don’t know. I don’t think it’s nefarious or I would have reacted differently. I can go, if you want. Use the salt though. Doorways, windows, mirrors. Circle around yourself. Make sure your intentions are clear.”

With the last shove of the jar she didn’t catch it, merely allowed it to nearly reach the edge of the table.

“Keeps those nefarious things out, or it will trap them in.”



I consider what she says next along with the witch girl comment. I don’t know. It was more about a bit of trust than anything. Sure he could go about protecting himself, in the various manners and methods that he was accustomed to, but int his case it was something that he could not do.

“I’m afraid that I cannot use that.” Looking towards jar I consider what could happen, but it’s also why I make a tweak.

“I need the way to be open. The circle only calls, but it is not a conduit. If ways in are blocked then I defeats what I’m trying to do. Ordinarily this would be done within a space of my own, or preparations would be made. ” That would take a little longer that I would like. “If you like you can stay and spread the salt afterwards, but it will need to be removed afterwards. It would be a waste of salt.” That much was true.

“I need to speak with a family member.”



“Take it anyways. Might come in handy another time,” it wasn’t much use to her.

The fact was, it could easily be used against her but she felt better arming someone else with the ability to protect themselves with the right tools. Her chin lifted in interest when he went on about what he was trying to do. She hadn’t had much luck with some of the spells she had attempted, a sad admission to herself that she probably just wasn’t gifted in that area.

“You sure? I’ll stay right here if that’s okay…be your Buffy to your Willow.”

There was some hesitation to her words, an uncomfortable squirm. Spirits could see things that may be more easily overlooked by the mortals that dwelled in this realm. At best, she could at least make sure something else didn’t come along with the relative. Dropping the protective veils was a risk and not using anything to shield himself made him quite vulnerable.

Either way, she was on her feet and leaning against the table instead. It was quicker to respond while standing whether it was to protect or leave at his request.



“Well, this interesting. You’re just giving this away? I mean what if you might need it? Perhaps a friend could use it?” I look at the contained, inspecting it carefully before sitting it down on one of the tables. “What about you? It’s something that you could use?” My brows arched for a moment. “I guess what I’m saying is that you had it for a reason. Are you sure you want to part with it?”

Pulling my satchel towards me while considering the question I wonder how best to respond. “Well, I could leave. You could leave, but I think curiosity might get the better of you. If I leave you’ll probably think I’m up to no good and follow me just to make sure that I’m keeping my nose clean. If you leave you might get the wrong idea if something goes horribly wrong suspecting that I might be the cause because I either didn’t take the proper precautions dabbling in things I shouldn’t or I decided to just play fast and loose and do what I want.” Equally valid points.

“Is there something that I should be concerned about? ” I have neither confirmed or deny what I was going to do. Contacting a family member is as easy as phoning them.

“Perhaps we should go about this a different way. I’m Khalid.” I turn to give her my full attention. “What name do you prefer to go by. Why name do you feel most comfortable with. True or false it doesn’t matter. However, a name would be nice. It could be a start.”



“It’s a gift. I can always get more or make more. It’s not a big deal.”

Her lips twisted in frustration. This was dancing around the bush and the whole situation was a lot more complicated than she’d like it to be. It wasn’t easy to be straightforward about these kinds of things. She couldn’t just come out and say what she actually was and what she was doing here, though for the most part she had been fairly truthful. She was following a feeling.

“I’m not the unofficial campus security. If you want to leave and go do your own thing, that’s fine. You could also ask me to leave since you were here first and I would respect that and hold nothing against you, Khalid.”

She appeared confused by his request for a name, her lips parted to say one thing but she was a bit lost in the word play.


It wasn’t the name she felt the most comfortable with. Every day, every bit of information she learned, she felt that much more separated from it. Names have power. She wasn’t even sure what was going on at this point and if it was one big mistake she would just make a damned fool of herself to some stranger. A stranger with a name.



Looking the jar over once more when she said she could get some more or make some more I considered that for a second. There’s always a need for the substance, but at the moment I was more focused on who she was. What she was. She was drawn here, but there was also an unease about her that was quite evident.

She spoke of the Hunter’s Moon. Not something that you start with in casual conversation, but there was very little that was casual about the conversation. Not real.

“I don’t know. Perhaps you are the unofficial security.” He shrugged. “I’m just a visitor really.” It was the truth, but I was curious. If there was uncertainty on my end it was because I was not sure if I was meant to stay or go. If I left it would be of my own accord not, because something spoke through the girl that I bumped into pressing me to go. That alone gave me pause, but what I realized last night gave me even greater pause.

“Pleasure to meet you, Becky.” Walking over towards my satchel I one of the items that was stashed inside. It was a calendar nothing special about that. However, what came next was a series of candles five to be exact.

“You’re right to be wary about thing slipping in and out. When you cast a line into the aether hoping hook something you invite good and bad. I’ve seen it happen. Things go bad usually because the structure of the entire ritual. People skirt rules, sometimes they don’t know them. Others don’t respect them.”

I arrange the circles into a loose circle. “It’s like talking over unsecured line. Anyone can hack in if their strong enough, skilled enough, and sometimes through random dumb luck. They look through unfinished tombs. Or finished ones and say a few words and hope to hell it works. This says nothing of those who fall into the psychic or sensitive area. They get it the worse. They’re beacons beaming into the darkness. They flicker at first then they light up when they start flexing their muscles and sometimes all hell break loose.”

Setting the final candle down I look over at them. “It’s not as difficult as one thinks. Not when the spark is there. Dialing random numbers gets you in trouble. Sometimes it can be necessary, but this, well you either get an answer from the person you want or you don’t. Usually if you don’t it’s because the times not right. You’re stilling living in the moment. That’s if you’re reaching out for someone near.”

Walking back over towards the satchel I reach in to retrieve three things.

A book of matches.

A strip of paper that very much like a strip of papyrus.

And a pen.

Striking the match I walk over towards the candles lighting one then proceeding to light the others with the flame of the proceeding one. There are other ways to do what I want, but this way is the least evasive. At least I consider it the least evasive while I write down what I need folding the strip of papyrus right down the middle.

“I see confirmation to suspicions I have, Becky. Either I can see out or someone can’t see in. It troubles me and I what I need to know a Magic 8 ball can’t answer.”



“It’s nice to meet you too, even if I’m not even sure what you’re doing. I’m aware that it could be easy to invite something completely uninvited without a good anchor, a clear intent, the right items to guide those intentions like a compass to the right being. Some want to skimp over the details and skip right to the juicy stuff, that’s when mistakes are made. Doors are opened that can’t be closed.”

It was all she could really follow up with. Theory she knew well, there were so many ways to do what she thought he was trying to do. There were a lot of right ways to do it and a lot of wrong ones too. She at least knew even if she had no practice of it. There was a reason she was staying well away and not edging any closer, she didn’t want to taint this and it was quite possible she could.

The was he talked wasn’t too different to what she was used to hearing from Jason’s ramblings. Not that she discounted those words or stopped paying attention, sometimes it was hard to follow when it felt like a riddle. She didn’t seem too concerned with what he might bring into the room. There wasn’t anything much worse than what she was to really spook her. Not that she considered herself to be horrible but that was a matter of perspective and the universe had its own balance of things.



“Simple. Reliable spell. Slight modification definitely sampled.”

I grinned while I walked over towards the satchel and retrieved the last item, the double edged blade.

“Oh if they look annoyed. It’s my fault. They kind of hate the spell, but like my grandmother says, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Just don’t tell her I said ain’t. She hates that even if she says it all the time.”

All that aside I lean forward to set the payrus on fire letting it better before tossing it towards the center. I let it burn to release the smoke and burn what was written inside.

One moment everything is fine. Everything is just as it should be, but it changed. It was enough to make the hairs stand on the back of uninitiated’s neck. There was a bit of a power magic, a wisp of it.

“Hear these words, hear my cry, spirit from the other side. Come to me, I summon thee, cross now the great divide.”

I take the point of the blade piercing the tip of left middle finger releasing three drops of blood into the flame of the candle that I lit first.

“Blood to blood, I summon thee. Blood to blood, return to me.”

The magic in the room rose for a moment before there was a swirl of lights inside the circle of candles followed by a rush of flames, but none went beyond the candles which did not melt away.

“You used that spell again.”  The disembodied voice chastised.

“It’s easy to remember and it works. It solid.” I reply as the flames down revealing a woman of mixed birth dressed in a white linen gown. Her hair was dark, her eyes lighter brown than mine, but the shape her eyes matched my own as did her lips.

“I won’t answer next time.”

“You know the world could be facing a horrible fate right now. Raining fire. Toads falling from the air. Hell on earth and everything. Or mad gods.” I didn’t even want to get into what I heard about what happened in Metropolis and then in Coast City. “Creeping death released from the bowels of the underworld..”

“Creeping death.”

“Creepy crawly death everywhere. It’s possible and it could be stopped, but I’m being mommed on my choice of spell.”

“As it should be.”

My head falls back.

“Exaggerated Homer Simpson groans are not allowed.”

I settle for a small one.

“Becky my mom. Mom this is Becky. Change that station before you even ask. It is not that type of event.”


“Focus mom. Focus.”

I should’ve rung up granddad.



It was a little bit of a challenge not to watch too intensely. Controlling the movements of her head tilting and trying not to be too obvious when she sniffed the air when the blood was spilled. It was a delicious scent, even when it was burning, alluring like a fine perfume. She caught herself from leaning in by gripping the table.

It was almost as enchanting as the figure that didn’t quite materialize of the woman. Beautiful in an ethereal and otherworldly way, maybe the beauty was in that she was such a strong spirit, able to find her form and her voice so clearly. Where did Khalid pull her from? Questions that picked at her while she remained silent until there was an introduction.

Her eyes were so sharply focused on watching, they went a bit wide when the focus shifted to her.

“Uh…hi, Mom. Pleasure.”

She caught herself in her response, it wasn’t helping Khalid’s case but she was just used to calling her friend’s moms by the same name. Well, with what few friends she had growing up.



This is usually how things went. It would pass eventually. There was little that I could do about that. Life had not stopped when she left this world. I grieved and I continued on as I know she would have wanted it. My father is moving on, but his grief still holds him in a place where he cannot do what I do. If he did he would never move forward. He would never continue on with his life as she wants him to. It is the one thing I have not shared with my father and I do not seek my mother all the time.

“Mom..” I try to get her to focus on the fact that I did summon her. She’s looking Becky over carefully, not exactly scrutinizing but something has caught her eye.


She says with a nod.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Becky.”

Her attention drifts from Becky back towards me. She has questions, but she’s processing. Better not to bog her down with the details. Obviously, Becky is some connection to the world beyond the veil other wise I wouldn’t have done the spell.

“Consider Becky more of a spectator, mom. I have a concern. I had a vision. I don’t’ have visions.”

It’s as simple as that.

We say at the same time.

“Someone gave me a vision and I think I know who that some is.”

My mother starts to speak causing me to shake my head. Switching to Arabic would be impolite.

“Hunter’s Moon recently past, but my vision had nothing to do with the Hunter’s Moon at least not that
I could tell.”

”Khalid if you were given a vision that you must interpret what it. I cannot divine or share the information. It’s forbidden. If you were given a vision then you must decide what it means and act accordingly. I cannot influence your decision. I’m afraid that you’ve summoned me for no reason.”

Where there had been a joy, motherly joy, things changed as she spoke to me. I knew the rules when it came to visions. Our family did not have naturally occurring visions. Having the gift of visions is different from being gifted with a vision. Sometimes being gifted with a vision was the exact opposite.

“Mom. I know. I know, but that’s not why I summoned you. I’m pretty sure what the vision was trying to tell me. This is more about Khonsu. I cannot see him. I search the sky and he is no where to be seen. That is my concern.”

I glance towards Becky. “That weird feeling you had. The concern about your fellow classmates. The Night Traveler’s eye is no longer upon us. It’s more than a feeling for me. More of a concern. It is one thing for the Traveler to step away so to speak to hide his face from us, but for his face to be hidden that is something entirely different. There is something that someone does not want him to see. Something that is being hidden from him and perhaps others.“

I think the vision I had was incomplete.



“Kama turid. ‘Ana ‘afahum.”

Becky shrugged as she spoke softly. It didn’t matter to her what was spoken, she would understand it. The infernal gift of her blood that she cared not to explain and really couldn’t explain. She didn’t want to be the rude one when she was simply a spectator and she felt more like a spectator that forced her involvement. She certainly felt like she didn’t belong but listening was important, if there were parallels to be drawn, she wanted to be sure to hear this story.

“His face shines bright during this moon, allowing hunters to see their prey and farmers to work into the evening to harvest the last of the crops. It is a symbol of change, gripping onto the last bits of life before the coming winter when the prey hides and the crops wither.”

Becky seemed concerned but she didn’t know what any of that meant, if it was not seen in the sky for some time. It was the conflict of beliefs and science that was troubling her. She was trying to reason it out but it was beyond her grasp and beyond her knowledge. Khalid seemed better in touch with it. What she knew was beliefs that ruled the northern hemisphere, that was gleaned from other cultures of a more European origin.

“I’m still figuring things out, Khalid. I’m the only one with an interest in this, my parents are scientists,” it was a partial lie. The truth didn’t really have an impact on her knowledge and experience at the moment.

Also in truth, Becky didn’t know who was pushing the pawns around. This could be too separate events or part of the whole to culminate towards some end. This world wasn’t an easy one to figure out, the mysteries ran deep and tracks were covered with illusions and riddles.



I have my reasons for proceeding the way that I did. I know my mom. She has questions, but she doesn’t always ask her questions. She lets things play out. I should have seen that coming. I don’t apologize for my actions. I move forward. Now that certain questions have been asked and answered I know I will be receiving her thoughts about this entire matter soon enough. She’s translucent, but not completely transparent, but the slight ‘mmm’ sound is enough to let me know that she has concerns, but not concerns enough hat I cannot move forward.

While others might narrow their eyes, my mother on the other hand turns to study her surroundings. She had not asked the all-important question.

Rather than head her off at the pass I chose to respond to Becky’s statement. I have no idea what’s happening with her or if things are intrinsically connected or tangentially. It could be that they are starting with the latter and may eventually become the former, but it’s difficult to say. However, I think it’s ok to be uncertain. It preserves a healthy amount of caution something many people lack. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

“I think of it less than science versus magic..” I went and said it first. Darn I was hoping to say second. “… and more like seekers of knowledge. We just employ different methods. Some even blend the two when they need.” She may be the only one that has interest in this but it doesn’t mean that their paths don’t run parallel or cross. I’m sure she’s seen it.

“Better to consider all possibilities rather than just one. Consider the possibilities and then decide upon the best course of action. One of my teachers said something like that.” Directing my attention back towards my mom I offer her a smile and try to diffuse the coming situation, because suspicions had been raised somewhat on several fronts.

Family drama aside it was not the time. I need her to depart and consult with others. She would get a message to me.
“Decide how you wish to spend our time together, Mom.” I had to reminder. Yes the spell I used is reliable, but there are rules. As time goes on I will be able to speak with her more often, but right now there are limited.

“Where are you?” 

Oh, straight for the jugular. No happy times. There should be happy time shouldn’t there be?

Is it important.

“Campus. In a lab.”

I regretted the moment I said it.

“Khalid, where are you?”

“In a room talking to you trying to get additional information.”


“Does it matter? I need you to do this for me. Confirm his Khonsu’s sight has been blocked.”

There gaze she levels at me says it all.


”Becky, where is my son? What city is this?”



Rebecca nodded. Her parents were seekers of the mysteries of science and had unlocked some amazing truths in their search. They could have only done it together by combining their expertise and together they created the chain of events that led to the birth of the Bat. No one else could unlock that and what’s to say there wasn’t a little bit of the mystic tied into that as well?

‘The price’ was something she was starting to understand. Using magic, using science, it all had a price and it took things and sacrifices that weren’t monetary. It picked at your humanity, it picked at the bonds of love and family.

Becky knew that tone of voice, it struck panic into the hearts of children, it was enough to make her wince and tense. It seemed fine until the question and gaze was directed at her. Crap.

“Gotham., Madam”

She wasn’t sure if it mattered. The city had a reputation of having a lot of problems, it wasn’t exactly the best place to live and grow up. It was the kind of place that tore you apart and brought you down. Somehow Becky thrived in it, but she was surrounded by the suffering, by the darkness. There was history and mysteries locked away in the past and lost to the changing landscape. Dark things.



It could have been Hub City. That’s all I can think right now. With the answer acquired my mom turns towards me and I have my arms open wide with a smile on my face like this could make the situation better.


She did not flame out which is a plus foe me and a minus.

“Your uncle.”

”Kind of sort of. Dad said I should try to visit with him. I don’t know if there’s time. He gave me an address to go to.”

This can go either way really. I don’t know. Everything felt a little different.

I let her take it in. I know it’s been a long time since she and my uncle saw one another. I know the memories it stirs. I let her have the moment, because there is little that I can do about that.

”I told your grandfather that your path is yours to make as it should be. I know the choice you have made. I knew the choice you would make before you could even speak. It is in your eyes. His eyes.”

Tipping my head down I draw in a deep breath attempting not to talk about this subject. It would lead into a longer, deeper conversation that I don’t know if we’re ready to have.
“Granddad won’t like it. He may not…”

”He is your grandfather. That will never change. You will be you. I have no doubt in that.”

She was holding back. There was more she wanted to say. I could sense it. You know when your parents are holding back. I could attempt to draw it out, but I won’t.

”If you do happen upon Uncle Alan. Tell him hello. Tell him your grandfather does not regret his choices and tell him he is missed.”

It’s as simple as that. Not really, because now I have a message deliver.

“Such a cheater.”

”World class.” She smirked.  ”You should’ve seen it coming.”

There’s some muttering and a motion of my hand.

“Alright. Can’t say it’s going to be a timely delivery, but I’ll deliver the message.” Simple as that.

“That said. Gotham. The Bats,”  she asked.

Right to business eh?

“No. What you think I’m going to step out and start sending out flares. This hit me not the other way around.”

There’s a look exchanged between the two of us, but she moves on.

”Gotham. Blood or Etrigan?”

I shake my head.

“I have not crossed either of their paths.” Not that they would know me. I’ve never been to Gotham. Never traveled in their circles.


Again I shake my head. “No reason for anyone to get involved with anything that I’ve done.” Reason to consult. Maybe.

“I thought it better to get confirmation before running down the streets sound the alarm when there may be nothing to sound the alarm about. I’m not getting anyone’s hair mucking up anyone’s city. I’m not doing anything to be perceived as a threat, dabbler or a fool.” I dig in my pocket and hold up the tarot card of the fool. “Constant reminder.” Not that the Fool was a bad card it meant different things depending on how it landed, but it again it reminded me to use caution when possible. The barbarians aren’t at the gate so better to ask questions.

“I’ve taken on your request. All I ask is that you do the same.” There is a cost this just happens to be a minor one compared when viewed in the grand scheme of things. I just have to deliver a message.

”Very well.” She turned from me to Becky.

”Thank you for being forthcoming when my son would not, Becky.”  My mother’s eyes lingered upon Becky for a moment longer before turning back towards me.

”Use a different spell.”

She gets the last word, because she disappears just like that in the same swirl of flickering lights that she appeared.

“Cheater.” Snorting I walk over towards the candle blowing out the flame followed by each one.

“So, if your family are more into science. How did you lean towards magic?” Look at me keeping up.



Becky was bristling but saying nothing else. The mention of the bats made her tense, paths she didn’t want to see cross anytime soon. She wasn’t even sure how she would react, there was a lot of resentment and bad blood that resided with the Langstroms and that bat family. There wasn’t a point on saying much, she did enough damage by mentioning where Khalid was.

It just seemed easier to just shift uncomfortably and listen. More names taken in, two she was quite familiar with but again she remained silent. His mother seemed familiar with the landscape, he had ties in the city yet he said he was just visiting. He didn’t appear to be a student but he was young and deft enough to blend in and make use of the grounds. Hell, it was probably the safest place in the city to be sneaking about. Aside from the few random attacks and incidents that have occurred, it was better than being out on the streets.

“I’ve always been drawn to it. I’m not any good, mind you. A few things that feel like second nature but in practice? I’m lousy. I’m plenty book smart but I don’t have that spark someone like you might have.”

She gave a glance around to the candles, the blade. He certainly had a gift for the craft even if he made it sound like it was very simple and easy.

“If you’re familiar with the city’s history at all, I’m from the other bat family. The dark business of the Langstroms isn’t a secret or anything.”

She took a deep breath, turning to zip up her bag. She was planning to leave that jar there, it was probably best it wasn’t left behind to cause a small panic with the faculty.

“I’m still trying to figure things out…but there’s some interesting infernal circumstances in my birth and my creation. Probably part of a bigger plot and I’m feeling a lot like a pawn in the middle of it right now. The ritual that happened on the Hunter’s Moon dropped some serious barriers. I’ve had some talents that I thought were just because of some of that bat DNA leaking into my own code. Whatever was holding everything else back was ripped off like a band-aid that night.”

It felt good to let the truth out, even if it wasn’t every last little detail.

“Your mother mentioned Blood and The Demon? They’re here. For now. If you need to consult with my mentor it’s as easy as dropping in on his class. I really don’t plan on telling them anything about this, or you. I’ll keep an ear out though, just like I have been. I don’t know how to interpret the signs too well but if anything foul steps foot on the Quad they’re probably going to regret it.”



“Sometimes it’s better to be competent than to be good. There are people who are amazing at it, but there well idiots. They lack sense, but you’re cautious and I’ll take someone that shows a bit of caution and restraint over someone that can do the amazing. Sometimes they just blow past the, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” common sense.”

Things like that caused major problems for anyone involved whether they wanted to be or not.

I needed to wait for the candles to cool before putting them away. “Being drawn means that you notice that most dismiss. Why…” Well, she just dropped nuggets right into my lap.

“I was going to say that there could be multiple reason why you notice them, but now I know.” Ritual. Did I want to know. That was the question. She was being very measured with her responses.

“I don’t know if it’s all connected in the sense that what I saw is directly related. However if there was a ritual and blood, lots of it was involved that might speak to why I saw a blood moon, however that’s the problem with visions they don’t always have to be literal. It’s why I hate them. I’m not blessed with them, but like I said earlier they can be given if someone wants you to have them. I think it was Khonsu. On occasion my mother was passed information that way.”

Which brings me to the all important fact. “One can ask for a vision, but there’s a cost. A bargain, but to be given one usually there’s an equal reaction to that action. Based on what you’ve said this may be check on the balance. Mostly speculation and conjecture, but it makes a bit of sense, but there’s a lot that I don’t know. It’s not my city. I don’t know what’s been going on. Khonsu’s vision may be for me to leave immediately or it may be something more.” As my mother said it’s for me to interpret.

“However, I’m more concerned with Khonsu’s concealment. If you’ve been getting weird feelings and things have been happening there is probably something going on, but my mother would tell me that sometimes there is the obvious and then the not so obvious and you have to decide which is more important. ”

“I’m not sure yet. I’m not sure how long it will take for my mother to send back confirmation. I’ve been told to leave.” That I did not share with my mother.

“Something is here and it does not want me hear. What I cannot say, but it is connected to the illness. That alone should compel me to act, but it’s goading me. It wants me to tip my hand. They want to see who I will call, who I will ally with or attempt recruit. Marshal the forces so to speak. Lead them into the unknown, but against who. It against what. It’s frustrating as hell.” It was not demons and rituals that drew me here something different something more.

“I think this ritual that involved you. Is one thing and this is another, but this ritual sent a flare and attracted something more or perhaps stirred something that was already here. Wouldn’t be the first time.” I wish I could be more certain, but I’m stepping into this in the middle of things.

“Perhaps I will speak with Blood, but I rather avoid the Demon if possible. I’ve heard stories My grandfather likened dealing with Etrigan to ice skating uphill.” But if I must I will, but only if I must.

“Sorry. Talking aloud about a lot of things.” There was a switch it was flipped and I gathered up the candles and set them on the table beside my satchel along with the other items. The athame was cleaned while I looked at Becky.

“The ritual affected you personally. Unlocking the power of your blood?” There was a seriousness that crept into my tone. Gone was the college student that seemed to be easy going and laid back. It wasn’t severe, but it was very much like my mother.

“If you don’t mind me asking what was life before the ritual? Did you always feel different?” It was so easy for me in a way.

“My father is an archaeologist with specialization Egyptology. My mother was many things at least that’s how I saw it, archaeology, medicine, then she trained to be a doctor and then she became a shop keeper. Magic and science both married together in an easy way.” It’s been in my life as long as I can remember.



“A lot of blood. It wasn’t just a blood ritual, it was a sacrificial ritual. I’ve a lot of guesses to the chain of events. I’ve tried to make a timeline with the facts I know and it seems to make sense but there’s a lot of questions. My conception is due to one being, but they would need help to even get to this realm. A sorceress was at the hospital during my birth, perhaps summoning a distraction while shielding my true nature or something. This ritual brought that shielding down. Blood was there for my birth…and my rebirth. If more had died during that ritual, I may have been in the thrall of them. A vicious little weapon to use as they please.”

She wasn’t planning on elaborating much further than that, she already explained there was some infernal involvement. All the same, she was keeping her distance and appearing to be relaxed and non-threatening. There was no reason to be on guard at the moment unless the young man turned on her. She didn’t give him reason to.

She snorted when he brought up the demon, it was in pure agreement.

“He’s not one for talking. He’s someone you want fighting beside you, not sharing a cup of tea with. I don’t know him that well, or Blood for that matter. He’s nice enough though, a good mentor, a good host.”

Life before the ritual? She tilted her head back to pull on what that felt like, it seemed out of reach now, like some distant dream she couldn’t quite put her fingers around.

“Wasn’t very social, always odd and incredibly stubborn. I mean, life was as normal as it could get living with a father that could turn into a bat. Kidnapped a few times, held for ransom, foster care for a stint or two when both parents got into the serum. My brother and I tried to stick together the best we could. Our parents will always love us, they’ve never hurt us. Their demons are just a little bit more pronounced. I always knew I was different. I didn’t ever believe it would be this different.”

It sounded all far from normal when she put it to words, anyone else might be dropping their jaw and might think it was horrible. For Becky it was just a matter of perspective and her perspective was pretty dark.

“Heh, I’ve been dabbling in Archaeology and Anthropology. I guess I was just hoping to travel the world and unlock the ancient secrets and raid some tombs. Maybe understanding how the world was before can help us understand our world now. I love the occult studies. Magic has touched so many civilizations and held more importance. It’s shoved to the shadows and obscure places now.”

She shrugged before speaking again, “I’ve had to adapt. At least now maybe I can help and maintain the balance and keep the normal folks from being messed with. Protect this realm and its people. This sickness that is happening? It’s got my interest. If you’re being watched then you just have to be a bit more deceptive about what you’re actually doing. Not that it matters, unless you’re in a completely warded off space you’re going to be watched by someone that’s damned determined enough.”

Her head tilted as a sudden thought hit her, “I use an old crypt. It was used by a gang as a hideout but it’s since been abandoned since The Bat took them down. Not exactly hallowed ground but if you need someplace safe and easy to ward off…”



I consider the things that I knew and the things that I didn’t. There were many levels to what was happening. I may need to speak with Zatara to determine how far it went, but then again perhaps it was best to step away from the tapestry. Champions were chosen from what I could tell.

It was best to focus on what was on in front of me rather than the larger picture. One thing that was certain opportunity existed for any that realized something had shifted.

“Your powers…your true nature was bound? Your parents, your brother, no one in your family is aware of what you’ve gone through?” Support in this matters help. Distance can also, but too much distance can be dangerous.

The things Becky described sounded quite mundane for her. That it was nothing more than another day in her life, but it sounds like this particular situation. The infernal one she has chosen to deal with on her own away from her family. Was it by choice or necessity?

“Not to sound uncaring or clinical, but if your creation is the result of infernal circumstances does this means that one of your parents is not your biological parents? Or…” There are means. There are always means, but usually the easiest and most direct approach is the natural approach.

As for a place to work. There was no need to be concerned about that.

“If necessary there is a place I can go. Thank you for the offer though.” There is always a place to go. It will be a little weird, but it is there.

“Has your teacher said anything about your family’s safety?” Everything else was on pause for the moment.



From what she could gather, Khalid was a sharp one and pretty much had it figured out. The questions didn’t really need to be answered but clarification is always nice. He made it sound like she was dealing with this alone and she really wasn’t. Blood had taken her in, Nightmare Nurse had been a supportive ally in digging for the truth and supporting her wishes to be better than what nature gave her. Those influences were very important to her and while she wasn’t always happy about the situation, she was thankful to have good people around her to support her.

“Bingo,” a finger gun was blasted at him.

“That being the truth, I don’t think it’s necessary to draw my parents into it. It’s pretty disgraceful and dishonorable and considering I have two parents with short fuses and transformable natures in the literal way, it’s not a good time. Considering the donor in this case, it fits right in with his M.O.”

She pressed her lips together, it was hard to seperate herself from this and not take it too personally. She worked out her anger already, many times over. She allowed herself some time to process and mope but now it was time to focus on the facts and the things she could change.

“So it’s just a matter of trying to understand why. My family could have just been a convenient target, not chosen for anything in particular. It was an opportunity. Beyond this, they’re safe. It’s safer I’m not too close to them right now and Blood is doing his best to support me. My mother and brother aren’t without means to protect themselves. Aaron is…forever going to be a Man Bat. My mother can shift. Hi, I’m Becky from the house of monsters, I used to be the normal one.”

Maybe those circumstances made it easier for her to deal with this, she seemed highly adaptable to those changes, she also fought every day to not be swallowed whole and not lose herself amid those changes. At her core, she was still still part human, she still cared, she wanted to do the right thing.

“I have a small but mighty support network. Two demons and a skilled and very knowledgeable occultist and demonologist. A lot of training physically and mentally, a code of honor to follow. Two names on my list to hunt down. I get the feeling that list may grow if things keep going the way they are. This is still my home, I don’t take kindly to others working their foul rituals here.”



I shake my head, because this was important. Perhaps I should put it a different way.

“If they are not required for support then they require you and your allies protection. If I understand you correctly. Someone unbound your abilities, removed the protection that was in place to release what was contained within your blood. In some ways you have been made whole.” If that made any sense. A part of who she was had been locked away.

“If they have not been handled then they still represent a problem for you and by association for your family. The cultists I’m less concerned about given the things that you’ve said about your family, but the infernal presence in your life? The one that wants to cross through. If this presence cannot get you to cooperate it will go through your family. You can ask your allies, but you said it yourself you were kidnapped.”

That alone should be enough. “It was one thing when everything was held in check, but now that it isn’t and you’re aware of who and what you are. If there is someone seeking you for whatever reason they will not stop until they get what they want and they will use whatever means they can to get it. Unlike the masked vigilantes you have no mask. Your life does not exist in separate buckets. Your life has been laid bare and given that this involves individuals of an infernal nature the question becomes is your strong enough to resist temptation?”



“Right. I’m trying the best I can to understand the why. That’s where I’m stuck and that’s what I’m trying to figure out among all of the other problems that have been unlocked in trying to understand myself.”

It was true, it felt a lot like being made whole but the other part was still very alien to her. She wanted to embrace it but there were the challenges of embracing a creature that was essentially meant to bring suffering and agony to the damned. She’d never admit outloud that she was scared of herself but it was scary.

“So I can’t disconnect myself from them. I could go at it alone but I will not be prepared. I could gain more allies and that will just be more allies put at risk. I’m aware of how this could domino. I’m aware of the danger it presents to everyone around me. Puts a lot of pressure to get better, get stronger and do it fast and get on finding my enemies and stopping them.”

It sounded easy when it was just put into words but it was a very steep and dangerous mountain she had to ascend. Any normal woman her age would be worried about the normal things like finals and socializing. This was the kind of stuff that could crush someone or make them stronger. By all appearances she looked to be pretty confident and set about it.

“There’s always going to be temptation. I’m not always going to succeed at resisting it. I haven’t. I’ll be facing the consequences of those bad choices. All I can do is do better and be responsible.”

It wasn’t the type of thing she could put on a mask and a costume for. He was right about that. This was too real and tied into her blood and bones. It would be something to take into consideration with every decision she made.

“Time will tell if I’m strong enough. Right now? All I can do is cling onto believing I am.”

It seemed pretty settled that all of her cards were now on the table. Names were left out, details left out but too much information and then Khalid may find himself pulled into this problem as well.

“What about you? You’ve got some interesting family.”



“Pace yourself. It can get a bit overwhelming if you take on too much too soon.” I say honestly.

“I think if you do that then you will be okay. The world will always feel like it’s coming apart. There will always be someone on in trouble, but that’s what support systems are for. Don’t take it on especially when you have some much to find out about yourself. Decide how much you want to take on and try to focus on that.” Sometimes you have to make the sacrifice.

“It’s not your temptations that concerns me. It sounds like you have people to support you.” It was the temptation of her family to get to her. That’s what one had to be worried about.

“Me? Well, let’s see. What more is there to tell?” Offering her a smirk I tip my head from side to side. “I was raised in the craft. My mother was strict by caring. She hates that I cribbed a spell from television.” Shrugs.

“I’m following int he family foot steps. I have to decide if I’m going to go to medical school or not. I haven’t decided. It requires a huge commitment, but I also inherited my mom’s shop. She did good work and I want to continue that, but I have figure out how I’m going to marry that with other goals. Can’t say that I’m too out of step with the family business. Archaeology. Medicine. Travel. Honing my craft. Expanding my mind.”



“Working on that. Small bites. Like I said, trying to get down a good foundation first. I don’t know how much you know about Blood. He used to be a knight. I started a crash course that’s a little more angled for modern times. So that and my studies plus my actual school studies. I’d like to get through the semester but I’m beginning to understand that there might be things more valuable to add to the knowledge bank through actual experience. All this kind of makes a traditional learning environment look pretty boring.”

It was at this point. The truth she’s been uncovering doesn’t quite match up with some of the junk that’s written in overpriced text books. It started to make traditional education feel like it was for the masses and not for those in-between worlds.

“Well, Homeopathic and New Age is catching on like wildfire. If you’re looking towards any kind of success in that realm I don’t think it would be too hard. Strictly speaking on the business end. How do you want to help? How can you help? Maybe those are the important questions. Don’t ask me for answers. I’ve written those questions down so many times the words start to look funny.”

Things tended to circle back around to the main problem at hand, what drew them here. Her challenge was one thing and it may be connected or just riding the crazy train along with this other event.

“If you need a blade or some muscle, you’ll reach out to me? Use your hack skills to ask for Vesper.”

He asked about her name before, she was hesitant to give it out but she felt he would use it responsibly. It was only a little play on a latin name of a species of bat, a nickname that stuck and that she’s adopted. If she had taken on a mask and a cape it would have been a pretty cool one.



“Foundation is good. Practical application sometimes is trial by fire. More often than not. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real until then. Not until you find yourself in the middle of it and you have to make a choice. Good or bad the choice has to be made and you have to live with it even if it haunts you for the rest of your days.” Nothing like that happening.

“Boring? That’s because you’re getting the trial by fire version. It can be pretty boring. It can be pretty amazing just like any craft. It’s all about what excites you, but..if I had to put my finger on it. Even though you have more questions and concerns there’s a certain relief about finding your tribe..so to speak. You’re no longer the outsider. The things that were oddities they’re normal, but not in that boring normal way. More in that amazing normal way.”

You’re no longer alone even if what you are comes with a lot of baggage.

“All big questions. Questions that I have to answer. I told my friend that I was keeping the shop. How I use it, that’s the next question, because there may be times I could be called away and if that’s the case then I may not be able it to run in the same capacity that my mom did. I have to find what works for me. No matter what anyone says we have to do what works best for us even if it’s not how we were taught. I’m my parents’ child, but I’m not my parent. I’m my teacher’s student, but I’m not my teacher.” Difficult lessons for everyone to learn, but it helps us carve our fate.

“If things keep me here and I require help trust me I’ll be calling.” Smirking he arched his brow when she said mentioned that her name. Her other name.

“If there is one thing that I can ask for you to pass to your allies. Tell them to be careful. I’m sure they are aware, but it is a dangerous time for all of us. Whether they care to believe it or not. Tell them to be wary of their darker natures. Change is in the air, the good, bad and uncertain. I can’t be certain, but this change this flux may be the reason why the cult chose to make its move upon you. To unsealed what had been sealed away. It may also explain the increased activity in the area. I’m sure Gotham is not the only area that’s experienced increased activity, but we’ve stepped into whether by design or by happenstance we have stepped into the web that Fate has woven around it even as the strands are done and undone all at once.”

I sigh a bit. “I’m sorry. I know this will only spark more questions. What I’m saying is there is a reason why all of this is happening right now. Your personal battle to chose your destiny is your part in it. In this moment you would be at your most powerful and your weakest depending on how you respond to the challenges that present themselves to you. I see that now. ” I cluck my tongue a bit.

“I needed to take a step back. The bigger problem is not ours to fight, but it ripples that have been set in in motion, those are our problems to deal with. A ripple set the cultist in motion. A ripple is drew out what has ever afflicted the students. Opportunities have emerged and people are taking advantage of them.”

So that with that said.

“Be careful. Lines are crossing, but I can’t see how yet. That’s what confounds me at the moment.” Not enough has happened.

“I guess all we can do is take one step at a time right? Besides Gotham’s in good hands with it’s own Evening Star looking out for it right?” Her name like many has multiple meanings and connections both of each work.



“I’m trying to approach this with a cautious step, trying to learn all I can before taking action. I’m learning that diving in head first is pretty dangerous business if I don’t have all the information pulled together.”

She wasn’t used to being this verbal, talking this much and digging really deep into the issues of things. Not that she wanted to avoid it but she thought her energy was better spent on other stuff. It was good though, hearing those words from Khalid. It wasn’t the first time that someone’s words planted a little hope in a pretty dismal and dark situation.

She hadn’t thought of the name in that way but in a way it seemed a little fitting, a bit of a bright spot. It got a rare smile from her.

“Take care of yourself, okay?”

Black Gold:  Meeting at Shadowcrest

Black Gold: Meeting at Shadowcrest

Synopsis:  Faust arrives in Gotham and goes to visit Zatanna Zatara at her home, Shadowcrest, to relay a request from the Deputy Director in charge of Mystic Affairs at Nowhere.



Gotham City.  People either loved it or hated it.  There was no in between.   You either stood on one side or the other.  At least that’s how I saw it.  Of course, most of the individuals that I came in contact with also thought of it in one of two ways. This is also dependent upon your worshipping habits, but usually what came to mind was Gotham City was either God’s left arm pit or Satan’s anus.  Take your pick and deities, demons and other celestial beings were quite interchangeable.

Either way I found myself sitting in an Uber, because it was the only way to travel these days.

Not really, but I thought I would do my level best to fit in.  I was not alone, because there was always someone that was curious about what was happening in other parts of the country.  Not that they lacked for entertainment and in way shape or form, but given all that was shared during my meeting with the Deputy Director I knew that interests would be piqued.

We had arrived at my destination thirty minutes ago, but I wanted to give it a moment before I ventured out.  Gotham was Gotham.  Not the first time I had traveled here, it won’t be the last.  I just wanted a moment to think through everything that happened before I arrived.   What it all meant and how it all would play out.

Tests.  There were always tests, but if there were tests what was being set in motion.  I don’t know if I can answer that.  I don’t know if I care to.  Assumptions are things I care little for. I prefer facts when I can acquire them.  Either way it didn’t matter.  This was just the beginning, or the middle.  Or the middle of the beginning.  Ha!

Opening the door, I stand up tall looking the building over adjusting my shades before stepping forward towards the entrance.  It would serve me right if she wasn’t in.  I didn’t call ahead, but there are reasons for that.   When you call ahead you give someone an opportunity to duck out and say they missed your call or that they were out of town.   No, no.  Can’t have that happen.

I checked into a posh hotel and everything.  That’s no indication that I would be here for several days just a nice place to wait if I have to.  Can’t spend my days in an uber and I can only drink so much before it’s no longer appealing.  Granted I have not reached that limit yet, but I rather experience that somewhere other than Gotham.

Locating the name in question I reach out with a finger and press the call button.



The door opened. There wasn’t a return buzz, there was no voice calling over the speaker in the box. It was just a small burst of the air moving and the door opening entirely on its own. Things were not always as they appeared and that is something Mr. Faust would figure out as he moved through the posh apartment building and to the matching numbers placed on the door in lovely brass findings.

Like many mystics, Zatanna kept her true location a mystery but if people wanted to find her, they could. So long as their intent was not to bring harm, they would be welcome. The Magician was a collector of odd friends and allies that she had crossed paths with over her life and her adventures.

Faust would find the door would open again, before his finger made contact with the heavy brass knocker. No bells, no buttons, just a single knocker that opened into a darkened foyer, a large staircase leading up to the upper levels. By interior design alone it didn’t seem to make much sense for its placement within the apartment building.

“Welcome to Shadowcrest,” her voice was warm and welcoming as she came into view. Those elegant but confident steps down the stairs made it seem like even in her relaxed home life, she always tended to put on a show.

“Pardon the dust and the cobwebs, won’t you come inside?”



When the door opened I look across the threshold knowing that this is when it would be lights out for my “shadow”  there would be no crossing the threshold for my companion.  Private audience which would lead to many questions that I may or may not answer.  Rather than linger I stepped across giving no concern to the door that was left open as it would close soon enough.

Taking a moment to take everything in I direct my eyes to the second door that opens.   Stepping inside my eye focus on stairs that will take me towards my destination. My thoughts focused on the stairs themselves, rather than thinking about the elevator if their had been one.  I probably would have passed regardless.  Each step drew me higher, and as I counted them I focused on that rather than my relative position to the ground at the moment.

The design of the building mattered not, because it is what it is.  There was not a doubt in my mind that if confusion is what was desired confusion would be what was drawn forth.  Twist and turn and you would lose yourself within the well constructed labyrinth.  Luckily for me I had no desire to cause harm or level threats.  Threats were irrelevant and unnecessary not my forte unless truly necessary.  It’s best just to say that other messengers could be dispensed and leave it at that.  For most it meant that they were willing to take that risk. For me, a nice dinner and perhaps a movie before returning to the roost.

When the woman came into view Sebastian stopped for a moment allowing her her due before she apologized for the dust and cobwebs.

“Eh?  Hadn’t noticed.” Stairs.  Those were the only things that had come into focus until I lifted my head and the raven haired woman found herself stair into her own reflection.

“Of course. Didn’t come all this way to do this own the stairs.”   There was a hint of a smirk as I resumed my movements until I was off the stairs and inside her home.  Of course it was a bit of a misnomer as the moment I stepped through the door of the building I was inside her home so to speak.

“I trust I haven’t interrupted anything.”   Would it matter?  I don’t know. It’s possible.  I never really know.  It really doesn’t matter for way I rather not think about, because thoughts can be distracting.    So pleasantries or right down to business which should it be?  Which would be more believable?

Small talk. I’m capable, but really?  Who does small talk these days?



Shadowcrest had been in the Zatara family for many generations. It operated on its own laws that didn’t really adhere to the laws of what most would consider reality. It was exactly where it needed to be at the right moment or it was nowhere at all. Faust may even feel a bit off equilibrium stepping inside. The interior wasn’t in the building, who was to really say where the actual home was anyhow?

The door didn’t stay open long enough to allow a someone passing by a peek, unfortunately it also meant that if Faust tried to open the door again it may lead somewhere else entirely.

“I try to make myself available if someone needs to see me. Unless I’m doing a show, I’m usually around. How can I help you?”

She stopped briefly at the foot of the stairs, looking him over before taking another cautious foot step forward and getting into a more comfortable distance for a conversation. She took a moment to take in a breath before he spoke. Usually when people came to speak to her, it wasn’t good news.



I tethered myself as best as I could.  There was always going to be a bit of disorientation.  Awareness was a blessing and a curse.  Being unaware would be a blessing for my mind at the moment, but no such case for me.  It took less than a moment to right myself, but better this than other things I could be dealing with.  Turning my attention towards Zatanna I offered a smile.

“Well, it seems to be my looking night then.” Throw in a chuckle and I would find myself a seat to drop into.

I don’t bite. Promise.  I’m a messenger nothing more nothing less.  Lies, but tonight right now I’m a messenger.   Surprise you’ve been activated or whatever we want to call it.   I bring tidings of good things.  Lies, but what a wonderful lie it would be.  My lips settle back into a tin line, but at least it’s not a frown.

“It seems that events in Gotham has been picked up by our scryers.   Enough was revealed to warrant a visit.”  Visit not investigation.  I’m not investigating anything.

Yay for me.




“Events like that always create ripples. I’m not surprised.”

She did pause a moment with a brow raised. She had an idea of what scryers he was speaking about. It was impossible to mask the energies of that particular event when she wasn’t even there. Perhaps she should have been, it likely would not have been such a disaster.

“It was also in Gotham which is a bit outside jurisdiction when the city has its own in place. It’s best to tread lightly on this one. I’ve come nose to nose with the Bat over similar situations, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it.”

There was more than this man just coming to mention the event, he likely knew she was knowledgeable in how the events came to be, who was involved, how it ended. Information was more valuable than money and information could be used like an arrow from a bow.

“So, what’s the nature of the visit?”

She made a gesture over in the direction of the parlor, a dim light from the fireplace illuminating a comfortable seating area. She was a good hostess, even if certain turns of phrase put her on alert.



“No one’s surprised.”  I could care less, but here I am talking about it, because the even itself is not what lead me to be here talking with Ms. Zatara.

“Bollocks on the Bats and his sycophants.  The Demon’s Head and his assassins arrived en masse to fetch something that was taken.  Same assassins was led by what I can only assume was an demented infant in a red mask that from what I understand is part of the House of Bat.   As far as I’m concerned their house is out of order, but it’s the last thing on my mind.”  My mind, but I’m not exactly the person they need to be concerned with when it comes to all things Bat.

“They sent me not some caped or masked wonder.”  Simple as that.   “I’m not here to tsk, shame or wonder what the hell happened.  It didn’t happen.  As far as I’m concerned that business is closed, but my visit is not unwarranted and it is connected to the event I suspect you’re referring to.”   I move in towards the parlor and find myself the nearest chair so I can glance back towards Zatanna.

“I’m here to solicit your assistance and in a way a lack there of, for something that’s coming.”  Did that sound right.  “It’s not so much I want to put you in the penalty box, more like I want you to sit on the bench. Well, not me.”  I clarify. “My superior would like you to sit this out, but they would like you to observe.  Before you ask no we have set nothing in motion.  This is something that’s occurred all on its own independent of our actions.”



Zee kept her lips quite shut on the subject of the Bats. They’ve been out of order since the Batman was presumed dead. He held that order, he kept everything in line. He had a very calculated and careful way of doing it and he poured all of himself into that very mission. Zatanna’s connections now were rather loose and she hadn’t reached out to the eldest, nor had he reached out to her.

She had no problems following the accent, the words used, the tone used. She was used to that rabble from John.

“In what way is it connected? I became involved, you know. I ran clean up. I spoke with the individuals involved, more of a warning to them than anything.”

Her eyes narrowed a touch, maybe it was a trick of the light from the fire that made them flash blue, or it was the complete lack of information that was being floated to her.

“What am I sitting out on? Do you even know what you’re dealing with? This runs a little deeper and older than what it seems like on the surface.”



“Serendipitous convergence.”  It really is.  It’s a wonder how it happened, but one I did not have the pull to find out through official channels.  Simply put the Deputy Director wasn’t talking.  I’m sure he has people looking into it, but either way, it can be problematic.

“My superiors would like to know how capable certain individuals are. Should it be something they should be concerned about or is it something they should no longer be concerned with.  I mean buildings are still standing.  The populace is alive for the most part. The alternative is troubling, yet they still walk the streets, lead their happy little lives.  So, no there’s no concerned about that.”  For the moment. “It seems that they have it well under hand. Hopefully it continues to remain that way.  Death has a way of bringing a clarity that few ever desires. ”  He waved his hand a bit.

“However..”  He reached into his jacket producing the sheet of vellum.   “As for your involvement.  Oh we’re quite aware of that.   It was made abundantly clear that you were involved.”  Unrolling the parchment he let Zatanna have a good look.  It wasn’t the first sheet with the words that had been written upon it. Instead it was the sheet of Loops.  Lines of loops that formed a bit fat ‘Z’.

“Personally, I have no qualms about your involvement.  someone needs to clean up magic gone wrong.  Why not someone of your caliber.”  My shoulders rose and fell.

“However,  this is the second sheet.   The first sheet revealed demons.  Then, The Demon.”  I shake my head.  “I rather not discuss him if possible.  The less said the better.  I don’t know how many demented infants Gotham can handle honestly, but you know perhaps it’s a magnet.” I couldn’t help the smirk.

“Think of this as an assessment to see if the status quo should remain or if things should change. Whatever has the House of Bat out of sorts is …”  How could I put this?

“…has drawn concern from various individuals.  What if that spread into the area that falls under our purview.  Gotham is your home.  It falls under you eyes.  You aid when you can if you can. You intercede when events demand it, but what if you are unable to?  What if you are drawn somewhere else?  Are you confident that your associates would be able to meet the problem head on.  Handle the fall out?  Make the tough choices if they have to?”  Faust rolled up the vellum spoke a few words then rolled it out revealing what he had seen on the first sheet.

The lines of loops that formed  words.  <I>Demons.   THE DEMON.</i>   “That is the least of our concerns.”

“This….”  He motioned to the words that came after the second lines of lips.  “…does.”

“Born on a Monday.  Christened on a Tuesday.”  That’s where it ended followed by one last line.

“Black Gold.”  Which had nothing to do with oil.

“I find that troubling, but as troubling as I find it.  Do you think your cohorts are ready and are you prepared to sit on the sidelines and watch?”



“I’m concerned about the gathering that occurred. I feel it was a very small play in a larger scheme. A scheme now in the hands of Jason Blood and his apprentice to figure out, assuming they can manage to not make a bigger mess than they have already. You’re right, he’s not a concern. As long as the demon has something to hunt and something to fight, he usually stays out of trouble. He may be following a branch of the tree that is the many problems of the mystical nature that affect this realm.”

The awful part was having to pick and choose which battles were worth fighting and which were worth ignoring until they became a bigger problem. Then again, with those words spoken, there was the bigger problem.

“Who do you need?” her tone was clipped.

She could trust in her friends and her allies but she didn’t like the thought of losing one of them to such a threat. With the right people, it shouldn’t be that bad. With the right people it could also go way off track and into a chaotic mess.



“That is none of my business. It could be, but I’m not one of the “cool kids.” I’m my very own Rudolph.  Except my nose doesn’t glow.” I pouted, before smirking. “There are always larger forces at work.”  It’s true.  “My life is the result of larger forces at work. Well, they both have massive egos.” Can’t help that.

“However, what should we be concerned about?  What you’re concerned about which will probably some kind of hands off deal, because someone will get their tights in a twist.  I’m confident that you will be able to handle that bit of business, but Black Gold it can go one way or another.  From better to worse.  It is possible that these items could intersect or are intersecting”  Potentially.

“Sadly I’m just a messenger.  I could check around, see if there’s anything to be concerned about regarding the Black portion of this, but, given what you said you may have to consider the fact that you may find yourself entangled in this as things become larger.  So, entangled that you may have to delegate and trust.”

When most people that are aware of Nowhere engage with Nowhere it’s not all threats and intimidation.  It was about preparing.  Preparing for the hard choices.  Good or bad.  Like I said.   Depending on who you prayed to Gotham City was either God’s left armpit or Satan’s anus.  Take your pick, but there was always something funky going on.



“Aren’t we all a result of larger forces?”

Everything seemed to happen for a reason and Zatanna had her own complicated web of a past that tied her intricately to this world.

“I’m going to take this with the approach of being the woman behind the curtain. I’ll delegate what I can. Makes it easier for me to keep these eyes on a certain pair of demons until I can find someone else suitable for the role. I am in full understanding of the role they want me to keep in this.”

It was the ‘why’ she was trying to puzzle out. Did they want to see how things turned out? Test the best of those that would gather against the threat? What were they even going to do with those findings? Nowhere was not omnipotent, all-powerful, and impenetrable. All they had to do was twist the knife in the wrong direction and they’d have a host of problems to deal with. Monitoring metahumans and aliens was one thing, monitoring mystics was a whole other realm entirely.

“Scotch before you hit the road, Mr. Faust?”



“Some yes.  Some…”  He considered it for a moment.  “More of a happy or tragic accident.”  Much of that depended upon the person’s point of view, but we all cling to what we want.  In truth my life as it is was the result of someone being craftier than my father.  Still there were things that I was privy to, not because information had been shared by the deputy director or his predecessor, but because of observation and knowledge of certain events.

Someone was testing the edges, wanting to see how much they could fray them.  I won’t pretend to know how far it goes, but I know no good can come of the Black.  There are some things I can look into that has nothing to do with Gotham, but I find myself wondering  is this the beginning or a happy accident. Perhaps that’s been overplayed?

I know what the Deputy Director has done by sending me here.  Damn it.  It’s not that I care for a soul in this city, but my interest has been piqued. Perhaps my shadow can deliver my report for me. Perhaps.

“A drink would be nice, but I’m afraid that I should get back, report in and see where to be I’m sent next.  I may be in Gotham for the foreseeable future or I may be recalled.”  Difficult to say.  “I may be directed elsewhere.” Perhaps find out what the paths that Gold and Black have taken. Perhaps look and see if this portends something more.  It is conceivable.   Anything is conceivable.  Many eyes have been drawn away from Gotham and towards happenings in the Middle East.

What creatures play when the cats are away?

“Perhaps next time?”

Princess Protection: Danger, Lantern Rayner, Danger!

Princess Protection: Danger, Lantern Rayner, Danger!

ARTHUR: It was a relatively quiet trip. Arthur contacted Kori to let her know that they were going to be going a trip. He didn’t say where they were going only that they would be out of pocket for a bit.  She was to dress comfortably for the car ride, because there would be no flying.  He would be driving them to their destination.

He advised that they would arrive bright and early for their road trip. Not that it would take long, but he wanted to get an early start.  There were things to do, and people to see.  His request had been granted and he was about to waist anyone’s time.  Of course, earlier meant that he would arrive after rush hour.  No reason for them to have to deal with that. Not one to honk for someone to come out he stepped out and rang the doorbell.

Once Kori was ready he escorted her to the car opened the door and let her get in.  He was back in the driver’s seat and they would be on their way to destinations unknown…actually Gotham. Outside of Gotham actually, but Kori didn’t know that not until they were well on their way. Arthur said nothing he kept a stoic face as he drove. Perhaps he had something or some things on his mind difficult to say as they drove.  Either way outside of NPR coming from the speakers not much else was offered beyond pleasantries.

KORIAND’R:  There had been an ominous mention of something during their last meeting. Something about an examination, a thought that troubled her and made her anxious. That anxiety was almost palpable on the ride there but she remained quiet, looking out the window and watching the world whiz by at an almost painfully slow pace. Flying would have been faster. These vehicles were not good for this planet’s environment and the reliance these humans had on them was startling. Then again, they couldn’t fly. A journey more than a couple of miles on foot was probably troublesome and tiring for most of the citizens here. At least they were not employing animals to pull them around or ride on them to carry them about from one place to another. She still didn’t understand why cars had ‘horsepower’ when there were no horses inside at all. She looked. She was disappointed to find that there were no tiny horses under the hood.

The road signs were the only indication of where they were going. She wasn’t familiar with where the roads went and she knew general destinations and landmarks to go by from up in the air. The first sign that said ‘Gotham’ made her draw in a sharp breath.

“Really? After what happened? They don’t want me there, they don’t even like super powered people there.”

Perhaps because the more criminal and heroic elements of the city seemed to have some psychological issues they needed to work through. Some more than others. They seemed to embrace this though, embraced those oddities and weaknesses. She hadn’t really gotten a chance to learn more. She was just so careful and made her choices carefully so she didn’t disrupt the careful balance of things and upset people like…Dr Light.

“Are we going to see Red Hood? He was probably concerned about me.”

ARTHUR:  There was a lot on Arthur’s mind.  The things that had been shared. The things that were not shared.  To say he had a lot on his mind was an understatement, but it did not show.  If anything it seemed like any other day when he encounter others.   He engaged them in conversation and went about his business.  Arthur was not known to be a ball of energy.  He was rather subdued. When it became obvious what their destination was he opted not to answer the question.   Really?   Did it matter that Gotham was their intended destination?  Yes, there had been a great deal of damage that had occurred here, but it had been handled.

Arthur would not go as far to say that he was puzzled, but he was curious.  Curious about a great many things, but he kept his eyes on the road while traveling.  Opting not to pull into the city he continued along the highway, past the city proper heading towards the outskirts.  One might thing he was heading to Wayne Manor instead their destination was another Manor one where the grounds weren’t as well as maintained, but it seemed to have an order all its known, order out of chaos.  Out of the city there was a tangle of green that seemed to be teaming with life.

Through the gates they went as Arthur pulled the vehicle up  towards the entrance he stopped the glancing over towards Koriand’r.

“No, we’re not going to see the Red Hood.”   However, they had arrived at their destination. “I thought it best to consult another regarding our situation.”   He fastened his seat belt after shutting off the car.  “They’ve agreed to the meeting. ” Opening the door, he slipped out of the car waiting for Kori to join him.  “I’m afraid I will not be allowed inside.  “However, you are expected.”   It is best that he did not join her inside.  Plausible deniability.

“I can escort you to the door.”   Which he did.  The manor was large, but not massive.  It had a very peculiar air about it.  If it felt like they were being watched perhaps they were, by who Arthur wouldn’t be able to tell her.  However, there was something wild and untamed about it much like the wild growth that surrounded the structure.

Upon reaching the door he reached out to ring the bell.

KORIAND’R:  “All of this secrecy is troubling me,” she said softly. Maybe it was better that she didn’t know exactly what she was walking into. If she had known, would she have gone? Only Dr. Light knew the answer to that question.

This house was not like the others she had seen. The grounds were not as well maintained, like things were allowed to grow wild and untamed. In a way it was appealing, she liked the idea of allowing things to grow unhindered. Some of it brought back memories of the gardens she had visited when she was a child and back on her home planet. Though the climate here was much cooler and the plants were less colorful and full of foliage.

She remained close to Dr. Light as they approached the manor. Despite being stronger, faster and capable of firing devastating rays of energy, she was still susceptible to her emotions. She did her best to keep a strong face on but her eyes kept wandering and darting about.

She thought about asking who they were seeing but more than likely it wouldn’t have been a name she would recognize. She could only get an idea from how the grounds were. Either someone didn’t care to tend to the grounds or they just simply preferred it this way.

ARTHUR: All of the secrecy was troubling her.  Interesting, but it was true.  He wasn’t being very forthcoming.   Unfortunately for Koriand’r that was anot about to change.  Instead he offered a nod acknowledging her discomfort. It is all that he could offer her at the moment.

He was about to say something more when the locks on the door undid themselves and the door slid open slowly creaking loudly as it did.

“Enter Koriand’r of Tamaran.  We have been expecting you.”  The voice was loud but not overbearing, but as the door continued t to open there was no one there.   Until there was there was a flickering bit of light which caught Arthur’s attention given that it wasn’t what he expected, but he didn’t let on too much.

The little flickering bit of light danced around in the air zipping around both Light and Kori before settling back into the door way.

“He will guide you to where you need to be,  Princess of Tamaran.”

KORIAND’R: A more serious look was cast at Dr. Light. The voices were ominous and the fact they knew her title and where she hailed from was a bit disturbing. Whoever ‘they’ was. She had never laid her green eyes harshly on him but at this moment she did for a very brief moment. It was an unspoken promise that there would be some problems in his future if harm came to her.

She took a deep breath and took a slow step forward to follow the little light creature. She was almost waiting for the doors to close behind her, just like those horror films.

There were just so many questions, how did they know about her? What were they? Why do they have a bouncing light doorman?

LIGHT/GREEN LANTERN:  Light was unfazed by the serious look that was leveled his way, though he was more than a bit curious.  He knew this was not one person’s style.   People believed his associate to be a tad eccentric, but dramatic.  He wasn’t sure if that’s the way he would describe his colleague.  Watching Koriand’r take those brave steps forward across the threshold Arthur waited and a few seconds later the door did just that it closed on its own.  Or at least it appeared that way to anyone that was looking.

The flickering light moved away from the door into the foyer. It danced around Kori before sliding through the air moving slow enough for her to keep up as it moved past the grand stair case it was heading elsewhere zipping down the hall before stopping to make sure that their guest was still with them. If she lingered too long there were a few pulses followed by a high pitch tone to get her attention.  It was his way of saying, “This way! This way! Follow me!”

When Kori caught up it moved down the hall towards the room of requirement…well in this case a very large room that was filled with books. It was a library.  There were other rooms that could have been selected, but perhaps it was the best place to start.   The room was filled with light and there were books that lined every wall and it even had a stair case that went to a second level where there were more shelves that lined the walls. It was something out of a classic movie, including the individual that stood at the railing dressed in a black cloak.

“Welcome, Koriand’r.  Welcome to the Mansion of the Emerald Grove.  I am one of its guardians.  I have been told you came to this world in search of sanctuary.  Now that sanctuary is threatened.  Your past has refused to stay where you placed it.  It has followed you here to your chosen  refuge.  Tell me. Why have you come? Is it protection that you need? What dangers have followed you from your homeworld?”

The voice was slightly distorted, but could be made out clearly, but it did not sound human in the least.

KORIAND’R:  “I came to seek refuge, away from a life of slavery. My right to freedom and control over my own destiny.”

She considered the questions very carefully, her eyes never leaving the figure. Did she need protection? That was a very good question. She had been able to fight off nearly every foe thrown her direction. It was only in numbers that they even had a chance of defeating her. Not even the bounty hunter concerned her too much. She was more concerned about the damage he would do in order to get to her though. It was the people around her that needed more protecting. It was a funny twist of fate in that way.

“I have nowhere else to go, Stranger. I may have…endangered my people by escaping my situation. A bounty hunter was employed to kill me. There was an arm of a dangerous race that had interest in me. Their resources would be poorly spent sending a ship here…not to devalue myself but I do not see it worth their investment.”

She took a deep breath before continuing, attempting to be as honest and and clear about her intentions as she could be.

“I did not wish to bring harm to those on this planet. I feel as if the consequences of my actions are causing the very thing I feared bringing upon these people. I made an oath when I arrived that I would protect them and I would do my best to embrace this planet as my own..for I have no other to call my home. If I continue as I am, more threats may come to me…more innocent people caught in the fire.”

She chewed on her bottom lip for a moment. Maybe she didn’t need a guardian to explain what she must do, she already had thoughts and there were pieces in play that could assist her. Should she return? Should she go back to the mess she left and clean it up before it haunted her once more?

GREEN LANTERN:  “Tell, me Princess of Tamaran.  Does Tamaran have no allies you could turn to?  No one that could help you liberate your people and planet?  Were you comfortable with leaving your former life behind? Surely it must have crossed your mind the danger your courted when you chose to escape?  Your actions would have consequences.  Your people.  Those that came in contact with.  Surely the specter of your past would haunt your footsteps no matter where you went.  Yet you selected a world that may be ill prepared for the consequences of these actions.” 

The figure pushed off the railing walking towards the stairs.

“There must have been someone that you could have reached out to to aid you against this tyrannical force of miscreants.”  The cloaked figured stopped.  “Does Tamaran stand alone in the dark against the villainy of the Daemonites? Do they run rampant unchecked by no one? I was told that there was a force dedicated to upholding order across the galaxy.  Did they not come to your aid?  Did you not think to seek them out?”

He began to walk down the steps stopping at the middle of them as he looked upon Koriand’r.   “I have heard your tale.  What brought you here.  Why you stand here before me.  Yet I find myself concerned that there are pieces missing.    I find myself perplexed as to why a bounty hunter a Czarnian origin would be dispatched to kill you.  Why would he want to kill you?  A failed experiment as you have described it.  As Mister Spock would say, that is…”

Removing the hood Green Lantern revealed his face, masked face.  “…quite illogical.”

KORIAND’R:  “There were not Lanterns there to stop what happened. No one heard the cries of my dying people when they invaded. No one came to aid my mother and father when they were slaughtered. No one came to aid when the tears of a child princess stained her dress as she was unwillingly taken away.”

She was getting angry with the questions. She answered them the best she could but with each passing word she found herself angrier and irritated with the entire situation. She brought her hand to her collarbone very quickly, turning the image off that disguised her as human so that this man could see the pure fury that was in her eyes and the fire that ignited among the strands of her red hair.

“I was a CHILD. I was innocent. I grew up with those creatures, my skills and my body were honed to their desires.

What else was I supposed to do? I didn’t find a Lantern until I came to this planet.”

She snorted dismissively as he mentioned the bounty hunter, “Well, he failed. I attempted to ask him but he would give no answers. I do not know what is going on with Tamaran, at all. I have not known a thing since I stepped foot off that planet. If I could find that pest I would blast the answers out of him myself.”

There was an abrupt silence when the figure removed the cloak. She wanted to scream at him but at least the shock had caused her to loosen her fists.


She was still angry, it was very difficult for her to shift her mood so suddenly. At least she went from a boil to a simmer but her eyes were narrowed at the Lantern.

“…was not funny at all.”

KORIAND’R:  “I have already considered those options. I am aware of how the organization handles ‘threats’. I was spending my time attempting to find another solution. I find sunbathing very useful for thinking.”

Though the only she had considered wouldn’t have been very nice but it certainly would have involved the bounty hunter, as he is the only one with something resembling space craft capable of travel.

Had it really come to this though? Even Dr Light was out of options for her? The only option seemed to point…wherever that fool was.

“He is capable of regenerating from devastating attacks. I’m not sure how strong he is but the chain and the bike seem to be his best tools. He was essentially grounded when the bike was blasted. However, it too seemed capable of repairing itself. I don’t know anything about Czarnians beyond the fact that they are essentially extinct. I suppose anything can be brought back with cloning.”

For a moment she thought she had misheard what he had said, neutralize sounded a lot like ‘neuter’ for a brief moment. Either way, the fact stood that he was a problem.

“More will come. I doubt he was boasting about the sizable bounty. I want to end this before it becomes worse. So…”

She feared the answer to this question, there were very few ideas jumbling in her head and there was nothing brute force was going to be able to do in this particular situation. She may have to use more subtle skills.

“…any ideas on neutralizing my bounty hunter problem? I was considering resorting to negotiations that may appeal to him.”

She didn’t really want to get into the details of what that particularly meant but she knew what the hunter had a fondness for, though it may only be a distraction at best.

GREEN LANTERN:  “Doesn’t that sound like a terrible waste of resources to keep sending someone after you time and time again?  Not to mention the amount of damage it will cause?” Perhaps it’s time to stop playing defense and go on the offense.  You were meeting the Czarnian head on.  Sounds like he was looking for a fight.  Also, from everything I’ve gathered he doesn’t sound like one that will keep his mouth shut.  Big bounty.  Alien warrior princess.”  Kyle shook his head.  “Also discretion doesn’t sound like his cup of tea.  You know not when there are buildings exploding and the sort. That could be a way in.”  That is if they talk with other individuals.

“What I’m getting at if there will be others that means a couple of things.  We have a total Han Solo – Bobba Fett situation going on.  Empire Strikes Back.  Recommended viewing.”  He had to throw that in.  “However, that means that despite the fact he wants the big score he may not be the only person on their way.  They could be arriving any time to do what needs to be done.  So we have decisions that we need to make.  Staying planet side while potentially full of allies puts innocent civilians at risk and even if you do a death match beat down and either end it for them or send them packing their going to keep coming.  That’s a total no win scenario for anyone. Total Kobyashi Maru.”   No one wants that.

“There for we need to find out who’s sending these bounty hunters after you and why and that’s going to involve information gathering. If this Czarnian bounty hunter won’t give up the information some one will.  Something be a secret not if there’s going to be a whole host of bounty hunters coming our way.   However, this does mean that our immediate problem needs to be handled.  We need a plan and we can’t come up with a proper plan if we have a Czarnian on our back.”

Which is problematic.  “I don’t know what we can offer him outside of a complementary kick in the ass.  I’m pretty sure asking or telling him to leave will be laughable at best.  If that was possible problem would already be solved.”  He pursed his lips.   “I can do a bit of research see what I can find out about Czarnian’s, but I also think it would best if you stay here at least for the time being.  You were tracked to Gotham and probably can be tracked no matter where you go, but I believe the manor can offer a bit of protection.”  Maybe.  He should really confirm that with Alan.   Kyle was 90% sure.

“Also, it will give us a chance to come up with a plan and just as important train together.”  Find out how they work as a team.  The thing that always goes down how fast is trying to work together and not knowing how to work as a team.  Kyle watched enough ani..read enough man….read enough to know that.   Additionally, it would give him a chance to figure a few things out.

KORIAND’R: The princess was left blinking several times. There were names and things mentioned that she had no clue what they meant. One sounded vaguely Japanese but it wasn’t a language she had yet absorbed into her vocabulary but she had heard it spoken enough to know of its origin. Half of what he said made sense but she was lacking the context of some of the situation.

She was safe where she was too. Raven had good shielding up, she was very skilled even if she was quiet and a bit dark. Kori didn’t have feelings for her one way or another but it felt safe there.

“I…wasn’t going to ask nicely. I was planning on seducing him. He has a weakness and a fondness for women. I could easily use that to my advantage and perhaps he’ll even speak more about this bounty. If I can isolate him somewhere there isn’t an immediate threat to the citizens nearby, this may be possible. Though if we keep waiting, he may grow impatient and start blasting away again. He may take the safety of this planet hostage until I am given up. This other plan would cut him off before it got to that point. Or…he kills me. Or…I am taken back to Tamaran. Either way, the threat is removed from this planet. I will fight until I cannot fight anymore. This is my way.”

She shrugged. It wasn’t an ideal situation but she didn’t have strong feelings about it either way. Sex was just sex, when it was more intimate that was when things tended to get mixed up and scary. It was easier with detachment. It was what she was familiar with.

GREEN LANTERN:  Sex and violence.  Apparently, that was the way the world heck the galaxy worked.  Who knew?  Probably everyone.  Kyle didn’t know if it was an epiphany or some type of cruel joke.  There were dozens of thoughts that ran through his mind as Kori laid out what she wanted to do.

It was a plan to which Kyle could offer one response.

“That’s the very definition of asking nicely.”

Kyle didn’t balk, but seriously how was that not asking nicely?  Anyone? Anyone?

“Ok let’s logic bomb this.  Game?”  She said it right?

“Let the logic bombing commence.  The bounty hunger is seduced.  You get the information that you’re looking for.  What then? I mean was sex on the list of things that he would take in exchange for your life?”  Fair question.

“If so.  Well, that solves that problem.  If not, is there a follow up to neutralize him after you get everything you need out of him? And to clarify neutralize him to the point that he is no longer a problem.”  He thought it was a fair question. Unless she’s like Zoe from American Horror Story Coven, and it’s death by “V” Kyle didn’t see that solving the problem completely.   All’s fair in logic bombing.

“Second question.  What are you going to do with the information after you’ve gotten it from him?  Does it change your predicament?”

KORIAND’R:  “I didn’t expect that to work so easily. So, no. It’s a tool, not an end game. He has a lust for destruction as well, he could be turned towards a more appropriate target. That would also be a win. Maybe they’re only paying him so handsomely so he won’t turn on the deal. Imagine how rich he could get off of destroying them and taking the loot?”

It was very much a pirate angle, if they were already promising him a good fat sum, they probably had more to offer if they were split open with his bare hands. Part of her was pleased with the thought of being able to orchestrate such a chain of events but things didn’t always work so simply.

“I’m not sure, it depends on the information. I have considered that I may have to leave, regardless. If it’s something only I must address and fix, it would be better done with at least one powerful ally beside me. I will report anything I find, of course. If that sector is assigned to someone, perhaps they will see fit to aide me as well.”

There was a problem in this though, she didn’t know who was behind the bounty. If the Daem were involved there was a lot of unknowns about them and how far spread their influence was. If it was from Tamaran? If it was from one of her own people? It was also a complicated situation. If her leaving negated the arrangement then they were probably already under attack.

“…I need information. There is only one man with the truth of what is going on. That is completely and utterly unavoidable.”

GREEN LANTERN:  The red flags were up all over the place, but, he did so Kyle listened as this was laid out. It gave him a moment to take it all in   “Okay, assuming that you are successful with this plan of action you want to then suggestion to the bounty hunter that an even bigger bounty awaits if he turns on the individual or individuals that hired him?”  He was restating to make sure that he heard that part correctly.  He needed to make sure he heard that.

“Negotiating to bribe him is one thing with something you have is one thing. Negotiating with him for something you don’t have just on a promise is another.  That can go wrong many different ways, no matter his proclivities. Sure he likes violence, but is that enough of a lure to turn him off his original bounty. I mean what happens when they make a better deal?” It happens.  “Someone flips once they’ll flip again.”  At least that’s a possibility that should be considered.

“I mean if he wants a challenge and he enjoys violence well, one thing to consider is that if there are more coming why not hire him to take out his competition.  Like all of his competition.  If the Daem hired him apparently they have resources that outstrip his competitors unless they have something of value he wants. I guess it does come back to if he was to take that type of deal what do you have or could you potentially have that would be of some value to him to take that job for you.  I guess I’m just a bit iffy on turning on the person that hired you. It’s bad for busisness though someone could just as easily say you get what you pay for.”

Also, it would be nice to have a backup plan.

“I can’t say what the other Lanterns will and won’t do, but my offer to help you stands, but I have to take it a step at a time. There are too many pieces on the board right now and equal amounts of unknown.”  He said honestly.

“The immediate problem needs to be handled.” Frankly without it coming back in the third act to bite them in the ass.

KORIAND’R:  Everything I had was confiscated…then later destroyed and burned when he attacked.”

The wreckage was in the custody of Nowhere though but she doubted there was much left to bribe with. They had probably already destroyed it to prevent it being taken or possibly reverse-engineered.

“X’hal, I only have hope and faith. It’s all I’ve had for many years. I know in the sense of logic that doesn’t really amount to much but when things are desperate…sometimes it’s the only things that count.”

There weren’t a lot of options left and there were fewer contingencies. If they removed the Hunter’s tools…he’d only be slightly more manageable. It was a matter of taking them and destroying them utterly and completely that was the very difficult and potentially disastrous part. That would leave them both stranded and without options though.

She winced as she pushed her hair from her face and rubbed at her temple with her fingertips.

“If that fails, he kills me. That will satisfy his bounty and possibly end the conflict. It is not the option I want but it is a very real possible outcome.”

GREEN LANTERN:  “Well, that’s very fatalist of you,” he said regarding the last statement.    “Hope and faith are good, but a good solid plan is even better.”  And that they were severely lacking in. They also should have a plan, B, C and D, but Kyle would start with A once he could get his thinking cap on.

“There are some things to consider, but there’s also some things that you need to think over, as well.    Specifically, how far you’re willing to trust people, because from where I’m standing there’s there’s a severe lack of trust.”  That was Kyle’s truth, and no one could tell him different as of right now.

“It may be the nature of your situation, and if it puts me out of line then it puts me out of line.  As my friend…closest person I have to a best friend told me once, I can only be me.  I can’t be the Green Lantern people want me to be. I have to be the Green Lantern I need to be me. The Green Lantern they need me to be and need and want don’t always go hand in hand.”

What does that mean? Hard truths.

“Fighting until you can’t fight any more isn’t a real option.  It’s nice way to get dead and frankly it’s a pretty shitty thing to do to your people.  You can’t help them if you’re dead.

“You are their Princess, aren’t you?  That means that they look up to you, that they have some affection for you unless they don’t care? That’s not the situation is it?”   Again, was it out of line?  Maybe?  However, there was just something about it that rubbed Kyle the wrong way.  Maybe he was a little naive ok a lot naive about things, but things weren’t adding up.

“As far as getting killed or being willing to be taken back to Tamaran I don’t know. If that were the case, you wouldn’t have come here.  You would’ve resigned yourself to that fate long ago.” It was frank, it was honest, it was the only way Kyle knew how to be at the moment, because…he had his reasons.

“You would’ve gone there instead of coming here or you would have attempted to figure out how to rectify the situation that you currently find yourself in.  So, before I find myself trying to solve the unlogic puzzle that’s sitting here in front of me how about you tell me what’s really going on Tamaran that you don’t want to talk about?”   Or whatever it is that she’s playing close to vest, because it’s obvious.

“Because A.  As stated before you’re a princess. That means you have some modicum of responsibility and/or authority.”  At least that’s the way Kyle saw it.  Unless she’s a princess in name only.

“So, you should give a damn about your people.  Which I think you do.   However, you didn’t come here and say, “my planet is under attack I need your help to save it, you came and sought sanctuary.  Maybe it was everything that happened I don’t know.  Still those were the choices that you made. Decisions that have and will follow you no matter where you go.”

“Which brings me to B.  You’re willing to get pissed off about some things, but not the right things as I see it.  It confuses the hell out of me, and probably frustrates the hell out of others, but I can’t speak for them.“ The entire getting upset about being questioned the way she was. Who wouldn’t question her like that?

“Last but not least there’s C. You put this planet in jeopardy knowing full well what could and would happen, and seemed a-ok about it, because you had a nice place to chill.  So, was earth a pit stop on your getaway tour?  Did you really think you could out run what you’re trying to run away from?  The Daem is just one part of it.”

“If we’re going to do something about this then we need to be focused and free of surprises and right now this isn’t as they say isn’t passing muster.”   And no one has time for that.

“If are you going to get angry, throw a fit, and toss in some tears to boot then do so.  I’ll sit and let that play out.

“I want to help you, but I feel like I’m operating partially in the dark. There’s pieces here and there that offered up, but there are other pieces that are missing at least that’s what it feels like.”

KORIAND’R:  She inhaled deeply. She was trying not to be grim and dark about the potential outcomes. It didn’t suit her and darkness wasn’t something she could wear very well. She’d rather be happy, or disguise as much as she can with some optimism and finding joy in the little things.

She finally felt calm enough to sit without breaking the furniture,  or setting it ablaze or any number of things she wanted to do when she was angry. It wouldn’t have been right, not when she was a guest in this man’s home and it had put Dr. Light out of his way to bring her here as well. She’d be letting two men down.

“My sister is their queen, she was put into that position during the invasion and not very long after my parents had died. The terms were quite simple, my sister Komand’r would serve as queen and I would be exiled, taken into the care of the invaders. Never to return to my home. Returning would put the safety of my people and my sister at risk, it may even negate any agreements my sister may have made to make sure our people were looked after. So, my family may be respected and I may be fondly remembered as the sweet young princess…but I fear any return may cause a great deal of problems.”

It wasn’t so simple when there were agreements that were signed. Oaths that were required to be honored.

“I didn’t have anywhere else to go, except as far away as I could. So, I don’t know if someone put the bounty to ensure I never return to my home planet. It could also be an effort to clean up any research that was performed on me. Perhaps someone doesn’t want me falling into the wrong hands. There seems to be a great deal of concern or fear on part of whomever created the bounty. They don’t want me around, they don’t want me alive and they don’t seem to like that I am here either. I do not know anymore without going straight to the Hunter, the Czarnian.”

There were other problems but at least the calmness had allowed her to think things through. What was it that frightened someone so much that they would pay many riches for her to be gone? Knowing what that is would be like possessing some intangible power.

GREEN LANTERN:  Kyle watched, but said nothing. Ordinarily he was game from plenty of things, but at the moment he had to play the “straight” man to all of this.  It was a lot and he could allow himself to be overwhelmed or delight in the fact that he was standing across from a rea- life alien, again, but he couldn’t. That had to be set aside by the fact that a great deal of harm came to people, a building was destroyed and there was an intergalactic bounty hunter on the loose looking for a princess.

This was the stuff comics were made from him.  Who was he kidding? This was the stuff that cool ass anime were made off, but again he couldn’t bask in that. No. No. No.  He had to be the Space Cop.  Yay!  At least that is what was passing through his mind at the moment while Koriand’r spoke about what amounted to very limited information.

Nothing about that sounded right in the least. Kyle had seen enough episodes of Game of Thrones to know how things like that worked out.

However, they would get back to that.

“Let’s do a little information sharing here.   What do you know about the Czarnians? Like do you know how they died out? Do you know what they were like? What we’re dealing with here?  I know.  I know.  I ask a lot of questions, but this is where we head into the realm of the unknown.  At the moment we control neither the vertical or the horizontal.  So, let’s find out what we do control.”

KORIAND’R:  “I don’t know much, admittedly. I had a lot of lessons and a lot of stories were told to me but sometimes stories are tales of caution and twisted somewhat.”

She was feeling a little frustrated, she was trying to be as honest as she could manage and be forthcoming with what information she knew. It was hard when her learning was halted by her own world’s changing events. Her education had become much more brutal and out of necessity for survival.

“Czarnia used to be a thriving planet, much like Krypton. A very proud species. Something went horribly wrong. I’m not sure if it was a virus that preyed on their genetic weakness or some other kind of weapon altogether, but they were all eradicated. The entire species was gone with the exception of one. The Last Czarnian, or so the stories have said. Some say he was responsible for what happened, others say he was just lucky and was the only one immune. If that is true…then what the Hunter said was very confusing. He said something about clones. Many other races have the technology to do such a thing. It’s possible if they had the source material, I guess. I didn’t get a chance to ask more questions. I was being electrocuted and it was very unpleasant.”

GREEN LANTERN:  Kyle thought about what he should share.  Would it help the situation or make the situation more confusing?  Clones.  Should it matter?  Did it matter? However, if it was possible that they were dealing with a clone it would be interesting.  Kyle find himself curious about this, but decided to set it aside.  Whether this individual was a clone or not it was after Koriand’r and given the fact that she was currently residing on Earth it placed the planet in jeopardy.   It could quickly become a battlefield, or a bargaining chip and Kyle rather avoid either of those possibilities.  He was determined to make sure that was not an option.

Koriand’r’s frustration was the least of his concerns at the moment, because she was currently was the epitome of frustration.  Whether it was intentional or not she was not being as forthcoming as Kyle believed she could, because he didn’t think for a moment she was naive, far from it.  Every so then he saw glimpses of the person that he wanted to get to know.  Not the bubbling individual that spun tales of woe that made as about much sense as a Klingon saying Kahless skipped in fields in flowers hand in hand with a Romulan.

This was definitely two plus two equals five situation and right now there was only one person that could correct the equation.

“So, it’s possible that we can be dealing with an actual Czarnian or a clone of one?”   Makes you wonder who’s churning out clones and what that could mean.

And she wants to use her powers of seduction to pump him for information.  Then what?  There was no real follow through there.   More like hopeful humpings and potential for a bad plan of action afterwards.

“What I know of the last Czarnian is that he doesn’t roll over on his contracts. It’s part of his code.  Maybe that’s a rumor.  If he’s a clone, then maybe that didn’t make it through the process.  Who knows, but we could be dealing with either or.”  That’s the way he saw it.

“That aside, when he decides to make his next move I would prefer it to be away from earth.  Alien battlefields don’t make for friendship bracelets and ice cream parties.  Usually they you strapped to table and cut open.  Additionally, there’s no telling if there isn’t another bounty hunter waiting in the wings.”  Home court advantage only goes so far and based what he knew the amount of destruction that the Czarnian could cause would devastate the planet and if he was a clone who’s to say there aren’t more waiting to take his place and finish the job. Though this is a bit of an odd situation giving his best bud was cloned and engineered himself.

“So, how do we want to handle this?  Step 1 is to remove Earth from the equation.  Step 2 is to acquire information and neutralize threats.   Step 3 is how do we stop this from becoming a common occurrence meaning that whatever business is going on at home will have to be handled or you’ll be running and fighting until the end of time and that’s no way to live.  If there are cards to lay out on the table then lay them out.  You no longer have the luxury to pick and choose, because I suspect you value life over death. If you wanted death you wouldn’t have fought back. You would have ended a long time ago.”

KORIAND’R:  “I am without a craft that could handle space travel. What I arrived with was confiscated and it was hardly in flying shape. Physically I couldn’t handle the lack of atmosphere very long. I am strong, but I am not that strong. You could…your ring grants you the ability to do so? I’m assuming. Forgive me if I’m wrong. Do I just…go to Tamaran? I risk breaking the treaty, this would put my people at risk. Doing nothing would put the people of Earth at risk.”

The Lantern was right about her not wanting death. It was the reason she fought, it was the reason she endured. That and she didn’t want what happened to her and her people to happen to anyone else. Enduring everything had made her a hardened warrior and she hid that behind an armor of positivity and aloofness. She didn’t like peeling that armor back, it felt vulnerable. These people didn’t want an alien that had murdered so many in an effort to survive. They didn’t want a warrior that had been trained and changed to be some kind of weapon. She had seen that in how they treated Damien and in a way she and him were so very similar in that shared darkness.

“The Czarnian could be used. He has the information but he’s choosing not to share it right now. Clone or not, he’s a formidable opponent that not many would want to cross. Without pulling you out of your jurisdiction, without pulling others from their other missions and responsibility…he’s the only tool we have if he can only be turned the right direction. Or he won’t and then we’ll need to figure out how to throw him at the star you call The Sun.”

If the Lantern was looking for a peek into her brutality, there it was. She wasn’t above absolutely burning every atom of his body. Still, more may come.

“I don’t know what else to do. In the end, I’m the problem, I’m the focus of this. Do I turn myself back over to the Daem? It’s not death, it would cease any hardships for either problem. They would have to deal with whoever made the contract themselves. Their problem. The odds are not great.”

GREEN LANTERN:  “You already broke the treaty when you escaped.” He said it before and he said it again. “Standing here right on this ground not in the “care” of the Daem mean that the treaty is null and void. The treaty that you refer to is predicated on the idea that you would remain in the care. Unless there is something that I misunderstanding? You have violated said treated by making your escape.” He arched his brow.

“Before we go any further. Before we say anything else tell me what is the difference between you escaping and you going home? The treaty went up into smoke when you escaped.” He generated a story book and sent a rocket ship through it. “You’re blowing holes through you’re own cover story. So shall we start again from beginning or shall we continue from the middle of this half-truth, half fiction word dance you want me to engage in?”

KORIAND’R:  The truth hurt. The truth she was attempting to deny all this time was thrown right in her face and it hurt worse than a slap. She needed to be told that, it took hearing it from someone else, someone who was angry and frustrated at her for it to really sink in. When it hit, she shrunk back into the couch and pulled her knees up to her chest. It was like feeling helpless again. She was a prisoner to her actions and the consequences that had rippled across the cosmos.

She broke the treaty. It didn’t matter what the reasons were or what she was trying to escape. It was a very simple chain of events, she escaped and this put Tamaran in a bad position. If the bounty had come from Tamaran like the Czarnian said, it was highly possible it came directly from royal decree. This more than likely meant that her beloved sister, Komand’r, issued the order herself. Another truth that was painful and it made her a little angry as well.

“Then I broke it. I brought this on myself and to my people. It is my responsibility to set things right but I will not surrender myself to such torment again. I feel…I feel like breaking things until it is fixed. I may even need to come against my own sister, the queen. This is not what heroes do. Does this make me a horrible person, Lantern? Does this make me as bad as they are?”

Those green eyes were wide when she looked to the man. She was out of tears to cry over her situation and it didn’t feel like it was appropriate. Still, she was nearly overwhelmed by everything she felt in this very moment. It didn’t feel like there was a ‘right’ solution.

GREEN LANTERN:  “I’m less concerned about whether or not this means you’re a hero. I’m more concerned about what you want to do about this.  Your actions have consequences and it’s time to deal with them.  I could sit, get you something to drink and we can commiserate about what a shitty deal you got. I could say that someone in a similar situation probably would make the same choice over and over again. I don’t know. I can’t deal in hypotheticals. I have to play the cards that have been dealt as do you.”  There was no way around that.

“That said if we’re working under the assumption that your sister has decided that you’re not worth the salt of your tears then we have a place to start from.  This is not about whether or not you’re a hero it’s about what your survival means to you?  I mean if I go big picture. I can say.  Well, if one person is the cost for my planets survival than by all means let’s do this, but at what cost?   Honestly, truthfully, hasn’t that struck you as odd that your planet came under attack. Your parents killed and it all stops because this deal is struck. The planet’s survival comes down to one single person being placed into the care into the aggressors. They get you and everything’s good now? Wars are usually fought over something for something.  Not just because some group wants one person unless there’s something you’re not sharing or something that you’re not aware of. Theft and plunder of resources I get.  Oppression I get.”  Those were things that people have fought over before. A single person out of an entire planet?

“This I don’t quite get, but let’s start.  What do you know about your sister?  What kind of leader is she?  She handed you over to the people who murdered her parents.  She gave you up to stop a war.  For the good of the planet.  It sells well, but no festering anger or hate for the Daem?  Now she or someone within her government have sent a bounty hunter after you?”  He paused for a second.

“To what?  Prove to the Daem that you are no friend of Tamaran?  I mean…let’s think about this for a second.  If this is coming from Tamaran a planet that lost a war it sounds like they’ve recovered quite well. Well enough to hire a bounty hunter and from the sounds of it he doesn’t come cheap.  They can set this in motion so quickly.  Doesn’t that strike you as odd?” It felt odd.

“What do you know if anything about the arrangement that was established after your were handed over.  Did the Daem pack up and head to parts for unknown or did they maintain contact with Tamaran?”  She may not know, but Kyle was trying to figure out what was what.  He was also trying to figure out motives.

“Let’s not forget that if the Czarnian fails there are going to be more bounty hunters.  As bounty hunters fail then the price will go up.  How many coffers does Tamaran have to offer up?  Is this the legacy you want for your homeworld?  Where does it end?  Say the bounty hunter kills you, succeeds in ending your life what happens then?  It’s not like this a clause in the treaty is it?  In the event you escape then you die.  All is forgiven and the Daem forgives Tamaran? Doubtful.  Do they get someone to take in your place and they become the tribute?  The fate of a world rests on one person’s forced sacrifice?”

KORIAND’R:   “Taking hostage is common practice to gain political leverage. Sometimes it’s not aggressive at all, some royals taken as wards instead and raised with different families to create bonds and ties. It’s not the strength of a marriage bond but it’s a show of good will between two families. Taking me may have had the effect of making my sister compliant to their demands, I don’t know what has happened since. They could have reshaped the entire political structure of the kingdom in my absence. I’m not just one person, I’m a symbol of my people, I’m a princess, I hold…held…power and influence.”

Talking this out sort of helped things make sense to her. She had to withdraw herself from her emotions about her sister to see it.

“I’m a threat, Lantern. If I am free, I am also free to disrupt whatever they have established. If my sister is out of the picture, I am next in line to rule. I don’t know if this is being done to get in the favor of the Daem again. I honestly don’t know what would make me so valuable otherwise. What they did to me made me much stronger, it unlocked power in me that was considered very dangerous. I could have easily struck a hole in the hull of their ship with a powerful blast.”

She lifts her head to give him a slight glare, “I’m not dying. It wouldn’t set things right, the next bully race would just come along and start the whole cycle all over again. Maybe not soon but perhaps the same thing would happen to my sister that happened to my parents.”

She didn’t have all the answers to these questions, the fact she didn’t was very frustrating.

“…Dr Light mentioned seeing a doctor, a medical one to see if there was something uniquely tied to me. I am not thrilled by the idea, I am absolutely nearly paralyzed with fright at the thought, but perhaps it would answer some questions.”

GREEN LANTERN:  “That I’m familiar with, but you weren’t taken hostage, you were handed over.  They didn’t come in and snatch you. Your sister passed you over and usually when something like that happens it occurs because the individual that was the aggressor needed to be put in check to ensure they wouldn’t be foolish to do that again. At least that’s would make more sense.”

He looked over at her.  “Which would suggest that the people of Tamaran put up some type of resistance at some point.  See, we keep going in circles about this and you keep telling me you were given to the Daem, but from what I understand the Daem were individuals that were causing great harm to Tamaran, so before I move forward again.  Did Tamaran get conquered or did they put up resistance and get dealt a decisive blow that caused you to be taken as their “ward”?  They didn’t need to stop anything if they were winning?  They wouldn’t need you to keep the planet in check. They already murdered the ruling class.  So, can you expand on the events with the Daem, beause otherwise I’m going to get stuck here and continue to wonder how this come to pass and have thoughts that maybe I shouldn’t have about motivations.”

He shrugged “There is always going to be someone that thinks that they can push people around. That they can do whatever they want, but see that’s the thing.  If the Daem are the bullies and they were winning was it some type of situation where they were like.  Alright we kicked you around enough we’re going to let you have your queen, but to remind you we’re in charge we’re going to take her sister and we’re going to what?  See that’s where you lose me.  They bully you for what? Resources?  Then decide to take you and go off and what bully another planet?  Beyond having you whatever checks do they have?  They have all the upper hands here.  Did they really need you to remind a defeated people who was in charge?”

KORIAND’R:  “There was a lot of destruction. Many people died. We were up against weaponry that destroyed what defenses we had. I did not witness much, my sister and I were protected by the guard for as long as they were able to. I do not know how to answer these questions as I am not sure and like I’ve said before, I was a child. It was some time ago. I also do not know the details of the arrangement. My life after those events was very different and a lot of information was kept from me. I spent a lot of time in cells and labs, drugged or in too much pain to really be completely coherent of what was going on around me.”

She wanted to know the answers to those questions too but she had no way of truly knowing at the moment. The only one with a small bit of information was the one hunting her.

“The Hunter may know what I do not.”

GREEN LANTERN:  Kyle took in the information that was provide and let it sit for a moment.  There were things that he could say and do that could help and hinder.  There were dozens of thoughts running through his mind, but he knew better than to get away from him.  He should be overwhelmed, but he wasn’t.  From the moment he started speaking he spoke with one thought on his mind.  There were innocent lives at stake here.  There were situations that he would never be able to control or assert some influence over, this was not one of them.  He was taking part in this and why he may not win ever little battle here he could to make sure that his points were made, understood, and not set aside.

Whether people wanted him to or not he had been entrusted with the office a Green Lantern, it wasn’t about trying be the best it was about doing what was best.   He could make it a numbers game, but the fact of the matter was this was not a problem that the people of earth needed to take on, nor should they.   This was something that needed to be handled away from Earth and probably as far away from the sector as possible.

There were far too many unknowns, but that would not prevent him from doing what he felt was necessary to try to bring this to resolution.  This could not and would not stop at Lobo.  While he was a threat, a major one, he was one of potentially many.  If he could be handled, then it would begin a never ending line of bounty hunters.  This had to be stopped at the source.

“Alright.  That’s fair, but as for Light’s Doctor that’s why you are here.  He came to speak to my mentor about another option.  This is us finding another option.  This is us trying to prevent it from being a situation where you would be subjected to any type of procedure that was similar to the ones you endured already.   This is us trying to figure out where to start.”

Sliding his hands to the arms of the chair that he sat in he pressed himself up to his feet so he could address one of their concerns.  “As far determining what was done to you I could give it a go.  There’s no guarantee that I would immediately find anything.” It all depended on what information his ring had access to.  He could do a scan similar to the one he did on Conner.  There should be away to detect changes that were made.

“A passive scan should be able to do the trick.”  Kyle didn’t need to speak he merely needed to think it.   He could keep chugging along, but Koriand’r might want a moment.  “Though, I would be  poor host if I didn’t give a chance to rest some and let you have a meal.”  Give them both a chance to take in what had been shared and discussed.

KORIAND’R:  “There is a chance it may reveal something, perhaps something I do not know. It may or may not help but it is all we can do this very moment. Confronting the Hunter is the next step. I do not have the ability to do that off the planet without the appropriate craft and appropriate permissions to leave. Something about the network they have orbiting the planet. That is completely in Nowhere’s hands. I do not expect them to grant me any favors, I am not in a good place with them.”

She wasn’t very hungry, she could eat until near bursting most days but her appetite was absent at the moment. She didn’t feel as if she had the luxury of time to eat and rest. The sooner this was dealt with, the better. If it meant going off planet, then that is what it meant.

“There are places on this planet that are barely inhabited by people, some barely habitable to most lifeforms. I could lure the Hunter there. Either way, this can not be avoided. At worst, I may be able to convince him to take me there alive. I will figure out how to deal with it from there. If I am not here, the threat to this planet is lessened. It’s not ideal but it’s all I have given the options.”

She shook her head at the offer of his hospitality, “Thank you. We have much work to do.”

GREEN LANTERN:  “Then I’ll do the scan, but I’m going to veto the meeting with the bounty hunter here on the planet.  Even if you go somewhere uninhabited it doesn’t mean that someone won’t be watching.  Like I said Earth needs to be removed from the equation.  If that means we leave the planet then we leave the planet.”   Fights happen yes but the moment this takes a turn for the worse and someone catches wind of it it will make things incredibly difficult going forward.

“Put yourself in my shoes in anyone on Earth’s shoes.  Would you want that going down on your planet?  If it could be avoided?  We have an individual that possibility caused the destruction of his entire species.  An entire species.  I’m not say one or two Czarnian’s and entire species.  They were once a peaceful race and then things took a turn for the worst and he is either directly responsible or indirectly responsible.  Whether it is true or not that is not a risk I’m willing to take.  It is an unacceptable risk.”

There were other reasons why Kyle wanted him off planet.   “His regenerative abilities are off the charts.  His mere presence…”  A chill ran through him as he considered.  The possibilities.  What if NOWHERE got their hands on a sample just enough to create some last resort type of weapon.  What if he was turned against Conner, Wonder Woman, any metahuman that got out of line.  What if they made dozens of them them that they could control.  What if they behaved as the original.  Was this a game of hypotheticals?  Yes.  However, given the rumors, what he gathered from Conner, and various bits of rhetoric if something wasn’t recovered from the Mariposa this Lantern in training would rather avoid gifting them with anything of that sort.

“The risk is too high.  As for not being permitted to leave.  Let me worry about that.”  Among other things.  They would have to figure out where this meeting and/or confrontation would take place. He didn’t care if he sounded or was behaving like an alarmist, but this wasn’t the time for him to go conservative when it came to risk.

“Let’s get the scan completed.”  With a thought visor glasses appeared over his eyes they were tinted green and appeared to be a single piece that spanned across his eyes.  They began as outlines that quickly were filled in as if they were bring drawn out of air.   To Kori they looked like nothing more than high tech specs, but Kyle there was a HUD that gave him various readouts that were projected in front of him.  They could be made visible to Kori, he was making sure everything is working order which it was.

“I’m going to need you to stand up so I scan you.”

ALAN:  … and then…

Everything around the two turns green, just seconds before the spirits all around them begin to take shape. Little ghostly elements of the green spawning to life. Small impish creatures. With blue-white eyes, white hair, and smurf-like skin tones. Kyle has seen the figments of his Mentor’s before. They don’t normally have any other coloration but that of the green, similar to his own constructs. This is different. One by one their eyes turn toward Kyle and Koriand’r. Each of the impish creatures seems to have the ability to look through you with those thousand yard stares.

Except that their shapes are suddenly dispersed by…

“…. times up, Lantern. If you’re going, you’re going now. They’re coming,” Alan Scott isn’t wearing his mussed up old three piece suit, his hair isn’t loosely kept and for perhaps the very first time he doesn’t seem even the slightest bit inebriated. “If you’re both here when they get here. She’s going in a Cage and you’re going back to your Mother, without the Ring.”

“Make a choice. Right now. What do you stand for, Kyle?”

GREEN LANTERN: Kyle was in the middle of completing his scan which provided him with useful information, but noting that seemed to speak of the Daemonites.  He was about to speak when the ring decided to convey some important information.

[Warning: This deals with a banished sector, please return to your central battery and await instructions.]  The scan stopped and the construct disappeared.

That was not good.  Definitely not good.   Just then the images began to appear, they seemed to be fading into reality out of nothingness the green images, but as they came into focus he saw the eyes, eyes he had seen before.   This had gone from bad to worse it seemed as Kyle took a deep breath and within in a flash they were gone and…Alan?

Was that really him?  He didn’t have time to can’t his head to the side because even when they were training Alan still did it with a smoking jacket on and a drink in his hand.   They’re coming.    He didn’t need to be told who they were given the eyes that had gazed upon him.   He had a choice to make.  Hadn’t he already made it?

Saying it is one thing doing something about it is another and right now he wasn’t going to surrender the ring.  Not because of something that needed to be done.  He knew that there would be consequences, but if they were going to come and reclaim the ring then it was going to have to be done for something more than a simple scan.

“I think both know answer to that.  I was given a ring to help keep the peace. To do what needs to be done to protect others.  To help restore order.  I chose to help those that need help. That’s never going to change.”  It was time for them to go.  They really can’t be the Guardians of the Universe less one Sector.  That’s really not what they call themselves right? They say Guardians of the Universe.  They are empowered to help keep order.  Things have gone wrong and now it’s on his doorstep. He has no time to argue that point doubtful that they would listen.

“Time to go Princess.   My superiors are coming to try repo my ring and put you in the clink.” And that’s not happening.  Time to stay a step ahead as long as they can.

KORIAND’R:  Kori shot up on the couch. She was on her feet, hands balled in fists and standing far taller than everyone in the room because she was actually standing on the couch itself. It was the quickest reaction she could have. The room went green and there were very strange figures and suddenly, two Lanterns. Were there two here?! How was that even possible and was this planet in that much of a threat that they needed both here?

She was shocked, looking between the two of them. She wasn’t sure what happened exactly but there was certainly something happening.

“That is not going to happen, I don’t even want to know what a clink is.”

She was trying to picture what that might be in her head but she had trouble figuring out something that made sense. It seemed such a silly word and it was conjuring similar silly imagery.

“Then we go…”

Her eyes were on the other Lantern, perhaps considering whether or not he was going to stop them or hinder their escape from this incoming threat. She wasn’t even sure where they were going, out of their reach? To Tamaran? To some far corner of space where nothing was?




GREEN LANTERN:  Kyle can feel his heart racing just a tad faster.  Adrenalin was kicking in.  He focused on what Alan was saying.  Six or seven recharges at the most then he would be cut off.  Then he would have to use Alan’s old Lantern to recharge his ring. Kyle closed his eyes for a moment and remembered what Ganthet told him in the prerecorded message. Kyle was the only one that could limit what he could do. If there was a enemy that stood before him it would be Kyle himself.  That’s what he focused on.  He understood the risks of charging up his ring with the Starheart Lantern, but if he didn’t try then Ganthet had every right to take the ring back.

“Got it.  Ration my power.  Last resort is your Lantern.”  He took the Lantern from Alan nodding.  “Lobo on the dark side of the moon.”  He looked at Kori then back to Alan.  “Thank you, Alan.  I promise I won’t let either of you down.  Thank you Starheart.”   He didn’t have time to go on about anything.   “I don’t know how long I’m going to be gone.  My friend the one I was going to seek out Ted Kord for.   Pass Ted’s name to him.  Tell him I think he can help with his situation. He’ll know what I’m talking about.”   His mom.   She’ll be okay. She’s always okay.

“We have to go.”  He held onto the Lantern his own was with him at all times.  He made sure of that.  It just wasn’t visible.  He wasn’t sure if he could do the same with Alan’s lantern. He considered what he could make part of him thought Falcon, but he needed conserve his power.

Walking towards the door Kyle nodded.  “I’ll make sure I keep my ears open for you.”  Was he ready?  Was he ever going to be ready?  His mother told him that sometimes there was nothing to it, but to do it.   This was one of those times.

The moment they stepped outside a construct began to appear before them.  It was a interesting design. It was a shaped like a ‘T” with the end coming to the point and the top making the wings.  The cockpit was spherical, but large enough for two.   There was a gun that was along the bottom of the ship tip and the back of it appeared to have a booster of some kind.   Anyone that was familiar with Cowboy Bepop would instantly recognize the Sword Fish II with some modifications.

Kyle got into the front when the cock pit opened.  “Strap yourself in.” He told Kori as he did the same once she was inside.  Once she was in the hatch closed.   The craft roared to life and they were already lifting off, rocketing towards the sky.  They needed a ship and now they had one.  They were comfortable, but there would be no walking around or auto pilot, they were basically going to be hot rodding it.

“Our first destination.  Darkside of the moon.  Best to meet this head on.  Agreed?”

KORIAND’R:  Kori was a little annoyed, but she only allowed it to show a moment. She didn’t understand what was going on between the Lanterns, only that the Lantern she was dealing with was on a ration with his power. It was noted. She may need to do quite a bit of the heavy hitting if they encountered problems to avoid him using his own power. Everything was going so quickly, moving at such a pace that it seemed difficult to keep with but she adapted, she was quick to catch on. Some things weren’t worth questioning.

Part of her annoyance was the fact he could craft a space-worthy ship so easily. He could have just mentioned that it wasn’t a problem as she had indicated multiple times. She said nothing though, instead following his orders and settling into the cockpit quickly, the harness straps quickly clicking into place. This wasn’t her first rodeo with a quick escape and she doubted this would be her last. She just didn’t like that she had very little control over the situation at the moment.

“No. No stopping. Swing close enough for him to see us. He’s been stalking after me, he’ll continue to do so if he sees I’ve left. The faster we pull him away, the sooner we can get to our destination.”

Tamaran. Home. She wondered if it was even the same anymore, she had such fond memories of her home planet. Those words were not forgotten though, advice to not trust her sister no matter what she says. Perhaps time and their experiences had changed them both. She hoped it didn’t change Kom for the worst but there was no telling what happened in the years since Kori had been away. She only hoped her sister didn’t endure the torment she did. She didn’t deserve that. No one did.

“If he is able to catch up, we can deal with him then. Let him work for the prize…or his demise.”

Something had certainly changed over time. Kori felt a little bit like her old self at the moment, the personality she had to adopt for her survival, the darker edge she needed to claw through each day and each victory. Those passions she often wore on her sleeve were tossed aside for the moment and the gaze she had towards the unfamiliar evening sky was full of determination. It was time to end this, to find some closure and discover the true reasoning for the events that changed the course of her life so violently.