Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Chapter Thirty-Four: The Tamaranian Superpower

Chapter Thirty-Four: The Tamaranian Superpower

It was an odd sensation. His head felt very light, though the rest of him felt like nothing. He just couldn't feel the rest of himself. When he opened his eyes, everything was blurred. He saw a tall figure writing something down and tried to make a sound. Slade looked at him and walked over, putting a hand on his forehead. It felt cold. Slade sighed.

"How are you feeling?"

He tried to talk, but his speech was slurred, "haaat... ow..."

"You're alright. You're just feeling the remnants of the anesthesia. You've been out of it for a day," Slade told him, "You should be feeling much better. though, when the anesthesia wears off."

Robin shut his eyes as he focused on breathing, though he did well to pay attention to Slade, "It's early now, but in an hour, if you feel up to it, I'd like you to come to breakfast."

Though Robin couldn't see himself feeling better in an hour, his mouth twitched, telling Slade that he would. The man brushed Robin's bangs out of his face and watched him for a moment before turning to go.

"Don't worry about the IVs," He told him, "You don't need them anymore."

The door shut and he was alone. To his surprise, he began to feel the anesthesia already wearing off. There were still places that didn't seem to be losing the numb sensation, but he was beginning to feel his nerves picking up signals from where he hadn't been injured. He opened his eyes and looked around. There was an IV in his left arm and diagnostic sensor on the side of his chest. Whatever had happened to him... He couldn't really think straight, so he decided not to, since he didn't have to.

At least Slade had decided to make sure his injuries healed properly. He turned his head to the side. Slade... and... bits and pieces of his mind felt shattered. Like a glass picture his by a baseball. The edges and rims of other people in images were all he could retain at the moment, as his stomach dropped and he felt sick. There was one image that refused to be recalled, as every time he tried to do so, his head felt it would tear open. As much as he wanted to recall the image, a twisted premonition of fear overcame him.

When he finally could feel most of himself again, he looked over at the clock and realized that he had fifteen minutes to join Slade at the breakfast table. Moving his hand over, he carefully pulled out the IV and the diagnostic device before scooting himself up and off of the bed. His foot was extremely stiff and tingled as he walked. He noticed both his foot and his dislocated shoulder had been bandaged up, as well as right hand. He pulled his shirt off and went to the dresser, pulling out what came...

He noticed other injuries marring himself as he changed and actually spiked his hair up for the first time in about a month. The side of his stomach had a large line of stitches in it as did a small part of his lower left arm. In other places, inches of gauze were taped over him, wounds he assumed came from the glass. As for his back... a thick, cool compress held itself over several fading bruises. They must have been much worse before now. Three minutes to go and he was ready. Except...

In the main room, Adeline attempted to focus on the paper in front of her and drink her water. She hadn't seen Dick in a day and it worried her. Actually she had been worried since she had been kicked out of the dining room two days ago. And of course Slade wouldn't tell her anything. At least the room had gone back to normal. The morning after the fight, Adeline didn't think she could stand to look at it. What had Slade done? The question begged to be asked, but at the same time, Adeline didn't feel that she would get an answer for that, either.

To her right, Slade stood by the window, the air muggy from the past week. The fact that Robin had at least woken up was a good sign. That meant that his early suspicions had been correct. Though if Robin were to get up and join them, that would be... The door opened and both of them looked over. Adeline dropped her glass and water spilled over the table and paper.

Robin stood fully dressed in an outfit that resembled Slade's. Orange on one side, black on the other, the armor extremely similar, and a silver "S" over the left side of his chest... It had been a long time since Slade had seen Robin in that. He smiled under his own mask. Adeline was stunned, but what made her feel sick was the touch at the top. Slade walked over to Robin, hands behind his back as always and stared at Robin. The Boy Wonder held himself there, posture fixed, despite the fact that underneath the protective armor, his wounds were still smarting.

Slade brought a hand under the boy's chin and tilted it up so that Robin looked up at him. The mask. That is what was different. The entire time that he had been there, Robin had either not worn a mask, or had kept the one remaining from the Bat. Not now. Instead, the mask had two spikes, one on each end at the corners of his eyes, that tilted up, resembling Slade's.

Slade smiled again and dropped his hand, "You feel well enough?"

Robin nodded and turned his head back to the ground. Adeline's mouth dropped as Slade continued, "If you could get Ms. Kane another glass..."

Robin nodded and immediately left for the kitchen, only to return seconds later with a full glass and a towel for the mess. Shocked, Adeline took the glass, and moved aside as Robin quickly cleaned up the spill. He placed the towel on the kitchen window and stood to the side, waiting. Like a soldier. Adeline felt sick.

Slade chuckled, walking over to his apprentice, "You impress me, Robin."

Robin didn't move and Slade continued, tilting Robin's chin up to see him, "Perhaps we'll up the level of your training this week."

It really wasn't a 'perhaps' or a 'we'll'. Slade would increase the training level - that was certain. Robin nodded once. The result of the other night, Robin's behavior, it was beyond anything that Slade could have asked for. Adeline couldn't even talk. Wintergreen came in the room and brought in two dishes for Slade and Robin. Slade thanked him and the old friend left. Robin stood there, not making a sound and after a moment, Slade looked back at him.

He shook his head, "You can eat."

Robin's eyes opened slightly and nodded as Slade finished, "Very impressive, Robin."

Robin nodded again before sliding into the seat. The absolute obedience... The etiquette... How... Adeline slowly got up from her seat.

"Ex.. excuse me..." She said before turning and exiting the room.

She needed to lie down. Robin watched her before turning back to his food. He took a bite and the rest of breakfast was quiet. It was neither awkward nor unwanted on either Slade's or Robin's part. It was just simply silent.


Something that Starfire had never experienced on her homeland was the massive infrastructure that made up Earth's many cities. Over time, she became used to the tall skyscrapers within Jump and Gotham and she marveled at the creative urban layouts a city could be built upon. But Metropolis. Metropolis was an entirely different story.

Unlike contemporary Jump or classic Gotham, Metropolis' rich identity arose from its variety, history, and above all else, its vibrancy. Every form of building, from every decade, was represented in every area of Metropolis. Their defining features were how they were maintained. It was clean, fresh to the eye. Every window shone in the sunlight, making the city sparkle with a golden glow.

For Earth's resident Tamaranian, it was both beautiful and overwhelming at the same time as she walked down the sidewalks, taking a break from her long flights in favor of walking. For the past three days, she had flown from city to city, originally planning on returning to Gotham and giving herself a few days to travel to organize her thoughts.

She couldn't understand how she could possibly get anything done with the attitude and present customs that Earth presented. But if she could sort out what she knew instead of ignoring it or simply letting Robin deal with it, then maybe a solution would come to her. During her travels, though, she came to a point where the road that she had been following forked. She could either go to Gotham or Metropolis.

Throughout the past two days of travel, she had come to only two conclusions: One was that there was no way that anyone could understand Earth's laws. The second was that Robin probably would not be pleased to see her, as he had avoided talking to the Titans for the past month. And more than anything, she hated confronting her friends...

The Tamaranian had heard of Metropolis, though. Who hadn't? It was the very definition of an American city. With all of the hopes and dreams of New York, Metropolis prided itself in its significance within the United States as a symbol of inspiration. And of course, there was their resident superhero.

The last son of Krypton, Superman.

Fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.

The last son of Krypton.

If anyone knew why Earth operated the way it did, anyone outside of the immediate culture, it would have to be Superman. Though Starfire had only met him in passing, she felt that taking a detour to speak with him was worth a shot. So here she was, walking through the bewildering city, entirely lost. Maybe it would be better if she flew...

As she crossed the street, Starfire came across a large building. Tall and separated from the rest, above it read the sign "LexCorp". It sounded familiar... She shivered, despite the weather being warmer than most places, and readjusted her backpack. She kept walking, passing a delivery man walking towards the large corporate office. He opened the door and walked to the front desk to hand a package off. It was exchanged and put on the automatic delivery service to the top floor.

From there, the package entered the hands of a very slim secretary, chewing her gum like always. She knocked on her boss' door. As she entered, she could hear the clear displeasure in the occupant's voice.

"If you're bothering me, you had better be here to tell me that Westfield's..."

"Relax, baby," Marcie said, "I've got your package. Dr. Westfield, Cadmus Labs and all in the return address."

Luthor spun to the side of his desk and got up. He was over in front of her in a second and took the package, ripping open the thick manila envelope to find a small disk inside. He tossed the envelope to the side and sat down at his desk. He scanned the disk in a small virus detector by the side of his computer before inserting it and waiting for its contents to load. The connection was almost instant. Almost. And the instant seemed to drag on.

Westfield appeared on the screen, "Mr. Luthor. Your contract with us is now complete."

"I can see that," Luthor said, "Now tell me, the Xeno-cannon is entirely up and operational, right?"

"Of, of course," Westfield stuttered, "It could be moved right out of here right now if you wanted it to."

Lex smirked at the sad excuse for a scientist, "Really? Well..."

He looked out to the side of the window, "I'm glad that I have direct control of it now."

Westfield nodded slowly, a bit confused, when Lex pulled up another screen and hit enter. On the other side of the screen, Westfield turned around to see the Xeno-cannon activating. The connection terminated. The miracle of telecommunication and remote control became a curse as Cadmus failed to override Luthor's control. Of course it was no use.

Outside Cadmus Labs, Lane marched out of the front doors. The nerve, turning her away. Then again, she should probably be used to it by now. Her reason for being here? Her search into Luthor's finances had led her into some of the current president's father's records and dealings when LexCorp had been LuthorCorp. One was one of them was a government lab that had broken off in recent years to become Cadmus. The reporter then began to realize that many of Luthor's bills, made out without reason, had appeared to be going to government agencies, matched old codes that identified Cadmus. In fact, all of them did.

She had smirked at the revelation. She had been right. Luthor was up to something. So it would figure that she would get kicked out of Cadmus almost as soon as she had walked in. Lois scowled at the ground as she pulled out her phone to call Clark. Maybe bragging would make her feel better if only for a moment. She turned around to look back at the Labs' front glass doors, to see the two security men leaving their posts.

"Huh?" She forgot her phone was ringing.

"Hello? Lois?" Silence, "Lois? Are you there?"

"Huh?" Lois was pulled out of her trance, "Um, sorry, Clark, never mind..."

"Lois? Lois? Where are you?" The star reporter began to tune him out.

"I'm at Cadmus Labs... following a lead..." She peered inside and walked back towards the front to get a better view without the glare...

"A lead, what lead?" Clark asked over the phone.

"Luthor's..." Lois looked to the side after she noticed that she couldn't get in without it being unlocked from the inside, "Finances... look, Clark, I'll call you back. I think I might have something."

She ran around to the back to see if she could sneak in another way (trespassing never came to her mind anymore), "Well, okay, well, listen, Lois..."

Lane pressed her head to a window, hearing something... like screaming as Clark continued, "If you need anything..."


Lois fell to the side as she screamed, dropping her phone. Her mouth dropped as she looked up to see a massive, six story tall, armor covered machine making its way out of the building into the streets of Metropolis. Lois stood up and ran to the side to look into the building to see several people lying on the ground unconscious. Turning back to the six-story machine, she strapped her bag to her side and ran off, grateful to be wearing sneakers today instead of just her office heels. Her phone however, was completely forgotten.

At least, by its owner.

On the other end, Clark had canceled his order in the Deli near the Daily Planet in favor of running outside to get a better view. Upon hearing Lois' scream, his worry had shot up dramatically. He scanned Metropolis with his X-Ray vision to the area of town containing Cadmus. While he couldn't find Lois, he did find a six-story machine coming towards the center of the city. If that wasn't what Lois was screaming about, he didn't know what was. First though... the wreckage...

He scanned the fallen debris for anyone trapped. No one, no sign of Lois, just her cell phone. That meant that she was alright. He knew her well enough to know that. So he flew off towards the machine when he came into the vision field of its cameras. Luthor smiled.

"Come on, Superman, I dare you," He smirked.

Looking for the weakest point, Superman flew like a bullet towards a section of two armored pieces. But upon impact, he found himself rocketing off into a building. The shock echoed throughout the city and people everywhere turned around to see what was going on, including their visiting Tamaranian and two men working in the Daily Planet. As Perry ordered the young freelancer, Olsen, off to get pictures of whatever was going on, Superman groaned.

"What was that?" He asked to himself.

He moved to bring his hands back into fists when he felt them sting. They were bleeding. Great, he guessed the thing was covered with some form of Kryptonite. He flew up again, deciding to switch to using long range tactics. He blew against the machine before hitting it with a blast of laser vision. It looked weaker, but it kept moving as Luthor directed it towards the center of the city. He tried again. Still nothing. Maybe the coating was gone. He aimed at the front, blew his icy breath against it and quickly hit it with the intensity of his laser vision before flying in to ram it backwards off balance.

Again, he felt himself propelled backwards into the concrete streets. He shook his head again, noting that his knuckles had been ripped open further. The Kryptonite coating was resisting all force and weathering deterrents. As he looked up at the machine, he saw that the machine was tilting off balance, ready to topple... But as Luthor had designed it, its massive center of gravity pulled it upright. Superman's jaw dropped. It should have... But before he could finish his thought, Luthor decided that they were far enough into town to unleash the massive super weapon. Even so, the two simultaneous bangs were enough to move Starfire into action.

"That can not be good..." She said to herself, flying up into the air.

Superman heard the machine squirm inside and suddenly shoot up several poles which spread open a screen almost in a dome shape, colored with a tinge of green. Finally catching up, Lois watched as the dome rose much higher than the rest of the city, a massive amount of concentration of energy appearing to hold up its center. The lime-green tinge didn't make her feel any more comfortable about it, either.

"Ms. Lane! Ms. Lane!"

"Jimmy!" She called, turning to see him running over to her.

"What is that thing?" He asked.

"Don't know," She answered looking up at it, "It came from Cadmus Labs and I'm certain that Luthor's behind it."

"How do you know..." Jimmy started when he shook his head to begin taking photos, "Never mind, but how's Superman fairing up...?"

Lois glanced over at the hero slowly getting up from the ground, "I... I don't know..."

"Do you think we should stay here or..." Jimmy began as the sound of his camera's shutter clicked away.

"We're staying here," Lois said, "That's gotta be Kryptonite and if it is..."

Jimmy shook his head, "Can't Luthor be at least a little more original..."

"When is anyone?" Lois countered sarcastically.

Across the way, Starfire flew up, discarding her bag to a nearby rooftop when she caught sight of Superman, who still hadn't seen her. But the machine in front of her worried her more than her impeding social dilemma. Superman flew up, determined to find a weak point. Even if the screen was coated in Kryptonite, he could most likely still rip through it...

Luthor laughed as he initiated the weapon's power. Starfire heard an all too familiar sound as the dome, already casting a shadow, began to be infused with the tower's energy. Superman halted momentarily, at which point, the sound blasted. Starfire covered her ears as the machine echoed Cyborg's sonic blast over Metropolis. Most only covered their heads, as the two reporters did below. But some... Starfire watched as Superman cried out, the sound burning his ears and skin, causing him to sink to the ground faster than he had before.

"Superman!" She called, but he couldn't move, save to open his eyes to see who was calling him, and he saw rockets now emerging from their stations inside the machine aiming directly at him.

They fired.

"No!" Starfire yelled.

She flew forward and blasted several of them, as starbolts came to her hands and from her eyes. Luthor stood up. What was... Starfire headed straight for the rocket launchers, punching them off into heaps of wreckage. Lois watched as she began to tolerate the constant whine coming from the above. Jimmy began to take photos again.

"Who is that?" He yelled over the sound.

"Well, it's not Supergirl," Lois yelled back, "She looks familiar, though. Can you get a close shot?"

"Already did," Jimmy said, showing her a quick photo from the digital preview.

"She's with the Teen Titans," Lois recalled and suddenly it occurred to her, "Stay here, I'm going to LexCorp!"

"What?" Jimmy called, not noticing the writer heading off into the opposite direction as he continued to take pictures.

If their visiting superhero continued to take out the machine, and from what she had already seen Lois was sure she could, a bit of evidence linking this to Luthor would be extremely useful for tomorrow's front page. Meanwhile, Starfire finished dismantling the rocket launchers and went to rescue her fallen comrade. She lifted Superman's arm over her shoulders and flew him to safety, and unhooked her Titans Communicator.

"Cyborg!" She called into it and instantly, Beast Boy was on the other line.

"Starfire! Where have you been? I mean, thanks for up and leav--"

"Where is friend Cyborg?" She interrupted.

"Of course, you'd want to talk to him because... Hey!"

Cyborg pushed the green kid out of the way, "What's up? Star?"

"How do you shut off your sonic cannon?" She asked or rather almost demanded.

"Huh?" Cyborg asked, surprised, "Why?"

"I found who stole your designs of technology," Starfire explained.

"What? Who?" Cyborg asked.

"Well it is mainly a where..." Starfire started, "But how do you shut the sonic cannon down?"

Cyborg shook his head, "You have to disconnect the wires on the inside. If you can, look for clues as to who is controlling the remake."

"I will do," Starfire said, terminating the connection and setting Superman aside.

In a streak of light, she readied a starbolt and increased its power before letting it loose on the sonic-cannon remake. It hit its target and exploded a piece of the exterior, allowing for Starfire to fly inside. The mass of connecting technology inside it was smoking, making it difficult to see, but with her eyes lit, she was able to see the many wires she had to pull.

Outside LexCorp, Lois easily found her way inside as more people were worried about their possible impending doom to care about trespassers. Riding up to the top floor, Lois readied her voice recorder. Luthor had to be behind this! At a certain point however, the elevator stopped and Lois was forced out to a floor about ten floors below the top. No matter, the stairs would do from here. She continued her way up.

On the top floor, Luthor stood outraged. There was no way he was going to let some teenage girl stop him now, considering all of the time and money he had put into this. The worse luck he could have was that this was a Titan. It couldn't be Supergirl today, oh no, it had to be someone unaffected by Kryptonite.

"Marcie, leave!" He ordered, knowing that he needed another offensive and all of his focus.

Marcie rolled her eyes and stormed out at the sudden order. As she left the room, Luthor pulled up another computer program. As soon as she shut the door, Lois found her pressure point and she slid unconscious to the floor. Carefully, she passed the small mike underneath the door just before it would be visible on the other side. Then she stood up and listened in.

"Come on, come on..." Luthor said, "Where are those heat seekers..."

She smiled; she had been right all along. Inside the Xeno-Cannon though, Luthor's luck was fading. He could no longer move the machine because if he did he would have to switch off the cannon, which he could now no longer power back up if he did so. Outside the Xeno-Cannon, Jimmy continued to click away when in a burst of green light, Starfire, emerged from the Xeno-Cannon.

"That was... distasteful..." Starfire muttered to herself, still coughing, when she looked up.

She had followed Cyborg's instructions, but the sound was still permeating the area. She pulled the communicator out and began to text Cyborg back, 'cannon still functioning'. As she continued to pelt the machine and dome with starbolts, she heard the communicator ring again. Pulling it to eye level she read, 'Destroy the power source then - idk where that would be, though'.

Starfire bit her lip when the center five poles emerging from the cannon caught her eye as they swarmed with the green glow. The power source... She began to fly straight at it when she heard a voice coming from the giant machine, sounding much like a classic over-the-phone male instructor.

"I'm giving you fair warning, girl," the voice said as Luthor spoke into the microphone in his office, still unaware of Lois' voice recorder at the bottom of his door, "Surrender now. You have no chance of beating me."

Starfire stopped and her glowing eyes looked at the machine directly before announcing, "I never surrender and if you believe that I have no chance of defeating you, then you have certainly underestimated me."

Luthor repressed the urge to growl. Behind her, several rockets seemed to come out of nowhere and she flew back into action. Moving out of their line of fire, they changed course and began to follow her. She narrowed her eyes and let loose a few starblazers. They exploded in a fiery fury and she set course again for the five poles.

"No!" Luthor yelled and thankfully for him, the microphone was switched off at this point. He continued, muttering to himself, "Wayne's Xeno-mineral converter..."

Inside, Lois scrunched up her forehead in thought... Xeno-mineral... Kryptonite... So that's how it was radiating its energy in the form of sound! In the open, Starfire finally got close enough to the five poles and aimed. Her starbolts were deflected. She flew in and instantly felt the electric energy pulsing threw her body as she positioned herself between all five poles. The Tamaranian groaned...

'Do not give up now,' She told herself.

Starfire thought of the nerve that a person would have to steal her friend's technology. She thought of their terrible desire to harm others, especially someone who has done nothing but help others. She thought of her friends helping her on the other side of the country. She thought of Robin and her intense desire to bring him home... Her body began to glow, not from the electricity, but from her own raw power as she gained the Star energy... Jimmy watched as the teen began to rise to the middle of the five poles and the outward glow of green covered her entirely.


The starblast rocketed outward, crippling the five poles and destroying the Xeno-Mineral converter. Above her, the pieces of the dome began to crumple like aluminum as they deteriorated and fell while the powerful surge of the Kryptonite coating of the cannon dissolved. People cheered, even Jimmy, who had stopped taking photos for just a minute to do so. But inside his office, Lex banged his fists on his desk, infuriated.

"NO!" He yelled, "NO!"

Lois smiled and pulled the mike away and ran to the stairs. Her work here was done and Perry would love the next day's lead article. At the scene of the fight, Starfire looked around, dazed, the entire scene a blur as her energy had left her. The cannon was dismantled. Metropolis was safe... But that's when the backfire hit and she screamed. The electric blast hit her like an atomic blast and she fell into the heap of twisted wires and metal that was once a great menace. Starfire moaned and squinted. Above her, she saw a figure outlined in radiating light of the sun before she succumbed to the pain and finally passed out.

No comments:

Post a Comment