Worst Case Scenario

Tabula Rasa

"Rocket? Rocket, wake up. Wake up!"

A bright light blinded her as she opened her eyes.

The walls were white. Everything was white. The familiar beep of a heartbeat monitor told her she was in a hospital.

Squinting, she could make out three figures standing over her: Icon, Batman and the Martian Manhunter.

"Wha... what happened?" Rocket muttered before an urgent thought struck her.

"Artemis! She's a traitor! She..."

"We know" said Batman, cutting her off. "We recovered security footage from the base. We saw everything." He leaned in towards her. "Absolutely everything."

"Then you know that I..."

"Yes" said the Martian Manhunter. "You have been under Psimon's control, whether directly or indirectly for the past several weeks. Though I have scanned your mind, I cannot determine if there is any permanent long-term damage or... residual programming."

"Residual...?"

"Even if your mind was permanently shielded from his influence, it is quite possible that your mind may already have been programmed to react to certain triggers and cause a... repeat of what happened to Red Arrow."

Oh God, it hadn't been a crazy dream! She'd actually done that to him!

"How is he?" she asked. Icon and the Manhunter exchanged solemn looks.

Batman didn't blink.

"He's dead. The electrocution stopped his heart."

NO! DAMMIT NO!

How could she ever forgive herself for this? Her teammate had trusted her and she'd killed him with her bare hands!

"And Robin?"

Batman's eyes narrowed in anger, as if he was blaming her for the entire mission's failures.

"Psimon killed him" said the Dark Knight. "Ripped his psyche in half and gave him internal hemorrhaging. The sick bastard enjoyed every minute of it."

This struck Rocket like a blow. She was the newbie on the Team, of course, but she knew how the others felt about Robin. He was everyone's little brother. She couldn't even imagine how they'd...

"What about everyone else?" she blurted out. She had to know who else they'd lost.

"They are gone," said a new voice. Rocket hadn't realized it, but sitting in a chair in the corner of the room was Aqualad. His left arm was in a sling and there were bandages wrapped around half of his torso. Bruises covered most of his face and he groaned as he rose to his feet.

"We are the only ones left. Miss Martian died in the crash," said the Atlantean, walking over towards her bed. "Artemis was seen leaving with both Kid Flash and Superboy frozen solid, but we have no idea where they went."

"And Zatanna?" asked Rocket. Zatanna had been her best friend on the team. The one she had been assigned to protect after the crash, and she'd failed.

Somehow, Batman managed to narrow his eyes even more than they already were to form the world-famous Batglare.

"They drained her of her magic," said Aqualad. "Completely."

"Zatanna is alive," said the Manhunter, "but she is in a coma, and we fear braindead."

"They used the magical energy," continued Batman "to power a suit of ancient magical armor they called the Annihilator. It went on a rampage and killed five League members before it was taken down." The Dark Knight slammed his fist on the desk beside her. "Five Justice League members!" he shouted. "Dead! Including Superman! One of the last things Green Arrow saw was his protege's dead body! And all of this because you allowed a wounded teammate to fall into enemy hands!"

Rocket tried to say something to defend herself, but she found her mouth wouldn't work. All that came out was a quiet whimper.

Batman's fury turned cold. "Robin wouldn't have made that mistake" he said, turning away. "None of them would have." Icon put his hand to Batman's shoulder, but the Caped Crusader brushed him off and stormed out of the room.

"Raquel" said Icon, speaking for the first time."I know that none of this was your fault, and you are the greatest assistant I could have asked for. But unfortunately, these events have shown that you are far too vulnerable to psychic control. I would never doubt which side your heart is on, but if we are forced to keep an eye on you at all times, you become a liability. I feel that it would be best, if... you ceased to be Rocket."

Rocket looked into each of their eyes. Icon's were full of sorrow. Martian Manhunter remained completely expressionless, as he so often did. Aqualad seemed to be concealing something, though what she couldn't be sure.

But it was time to face the facts. She'd felt herself losing control of her body. She'd felt her hands grabbed Red Arrow and throw him into the security barrier. She'd heard his scream as he cried out with his last breath.

And if never feeling that way ever again meant giving up her superhero career... she could live with that.

Rocket – no, just Raquel now – nodded. "Alright."

Icon bowed his head slightly. "We can talk more about this later."

"What's there to talk about?" asked Raquel. "It seems pretty simple to me."

Icon said nothing as the three remaining heroes walked to the door.

Aqualad turned at the door and gave her a little smile. But as he turned away, she saw his expression turn to one of shame.

He turned out the light and closed the door.

And then, and only then, did Raquel let herself cry.


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