Chapter Thirty-Four: The Tamaranian Superpower
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..."
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."
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.
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
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
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 smiled again and dropped his hand, "You feel well enough?"
nodded and turned his head back to the ground. Adeline's mouth dropped
as Slade continued, "If you could get Ms. Kane another glass..."
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."
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."
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."
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
The last son of Krypton, Superman.
Fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.
The last son of Krypton.
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...
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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..."
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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...
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.
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.
"No!" Starfire yelled.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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
"Come on, come on..." Luthor said, "Where are those heat seekers..."
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.
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."
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."
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..."
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.
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
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!"
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.