Worst Case Scenario

Positive Returns

Raquel opened her eyes and screamed, which was rather surprising, given that she distinctly remembered dying.

"Girl's awake" said a rather bored male voice.

"I noticed" said another one, sarcastically. "One hell of a soprano, I'll give her that."

Raquel took a deep breath and started to calm down. She tried to wipe the sweat from her brow, only to discover that her wrists and ankles were handcuffed to a metal folding chair.


Raquel glanced around the room, trying to figure out what was going on. The place was small, with concrete walls and a single steel door. Two men in some kind of uniform were sitting in chairs by a folding table, blocking any route to the door. They both had large shotguns.

"W-where am I?" she asked. She was still hyperventilating, but at least her panic was beginning to recede.

"Welcome to Aguila Base, darling" said one of the men. Raquel decided he would be Goon #1. "We hope you enjoy your stay at our fine establishment as much as your friend is." He gestured to her right with his gun. Raquel turned her head to look at a figure hunched over on another chair in the corner.


The Atlantean was not looking good. The better part of his shirt had been blasted off and there were black scorch marks on his chest. He had a black eye and a little drip of dried blood around his mouth. He was unconscious.

His hands were secured behind him in heavy-duty bindings that covered everything up to his wrist, designed by police specifically for prisoners with super-strength.

"What did you do to him?" she demanded, feeling rather protective and sounding a whole lot braver than she felt.

"Oh, him? He kept trying to break free" said Goon #1. "Wouldn't take no for an answer. It took eight shocks before he finally passed out. His pain resistance is quite impressive."

"Shocks..." whispered Raquel. The guard pointed at a small black ring around Aqualad's neck. Raquel realized that one was around hers as well.

"Those," said the other man (whose name was from now on Goon #2) as he held up a small remote "are standard issue Belle Reve inhibitor collars. You do something we don't like..."

He pressed the button and pain exploded through Raquel.

"Understand?" #2 asked. Raquel nodded slightly, as her muscles now felt as responsive as jelly.

"Good. Now sit tight" Goon #1 ordered. "The tube should be online in an hour or two. Then you'll be get to have all sorts of fun at..." The other guard (#2) smacked him.

"Don't say anything else, man! Sports seemed pretty pissed."

"Oh please. Besides, it's not like she can do anything about it."

"Just shut up and watch them."

Raquel gritted her teeth and did her best to breathe slowly as the pain from the shock started to fade and her muscles began to return to normal. Somehow that shock had been even worse than when Artemis... when she...

Raquel realized she was shaking, blocking out the memory.

Get it together, Raquel. It wasn't real. It couldn't have been real...

Could it?

She was back in her Rocket uniform (minus the oh-so-helpful inertia belt), so that was a difference. Aqualad's injuries were different than those she'd seen in the hospital. And her chest was remarkably intact for someone who had been stabbed to death.

So she probably hadn't had that conversation in the hospital, probably hadn't agreed to give up being Rocket and she probably hadn't been murdered by Artemis. That was... progress.


At least it meant that some more of the Team might still be alive.

So those memories were... some kind of illusion?

Psimon. It was so obvious. He'd planted some kind of vision in her head to torture her. That should have been easy enough if he was able to control her body.

Which had been real. That she was sure of. She'd really been his puppet. She'd really poisoned Zatanna. She'd really thrown Red Arrow into a ten-thousand volt electric barrier. Had he survived? He had to. He had too!

And what about Robin? When she'd blacked out, he'd been alone against Psimon. What chance would he have had? What had he been forced to see?

And then, of course, there was still traitor Artemis, frozen Kid Flash and dead M'gann. Plus whatever had happened to Superboy. Trying to keep track of what was real or not was getting confusing.

But she was sure of a few things now.

She was alive.

Aqualad was alive.

They were tied up in a room with two armed men staring at them with shotguns and electric shock collars.

In a few hours they were going to be transferred to somewhere, and it probably wasn't going to be an ocean-side condo in Hawaii.

Everything else could wait. First, she needed to figure out a way out of this room. She'd been useless the first time they'd broken free. Not this time.

She was Rocket, and she was going to escape.

She hoped.

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