"Recognize: Batman 02. Martian Manhunter 07. Black Canary 13. Superboy B04. Miss Martian B05."
Conner closed his eyes and felt his hand squeeze M'gann's as the world disappeared in a bright orange flash. He'd never really gotten used to zeta tube travel. Somehow it reminded him of being trapped in his pod at Cadmus. Maybe it was the somewhat claustrophobic cylinder, or his molecules being broken up and squeezed into a stream of zeta particles barely thicker than a flashlight beam.
Probably the latter.
December 28, 08:31 EST
The light receded and Conner blinked, his advanced Kryptonian senses adjusting to their new surroundings. M'gann's hand suddenly tightened in his, almost like she was startled by something.
It was then that the super senses
finally got around to doing what he paid them for and he noticed Superman,
Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman standing in the middle of the lobby.They didn't look happy.
"We need to talk" said Superman.
M'gann had forced Conner to watch enough sitcoms for him to know that those were never good words.
"Later, Superman" said Batman, starting to walk past the 'reception committee'. The Man of Steel raised one of his arms, blocking Batman's path.
Conner didn't believe it, but Batman
looked almost… startled at the force of Superman's reply. He supposed that even
the Dark Knight had to get intimidated sometime. Eventually. Probably.
"Why were we not informed about your deployment to Quebec?" demanded Wonder Woman. She had an 'angry mother with stubborn teenager' tone about her, which was odd, because Conner was pretty sure she'd never been a mother.
"It wasn't necessary" said Batman.
"It wasn't necessary?" responded Superman. "Do you know how arrogant that sounds? Like you always know what's best for everyone?"
"I had plans in place in the event of complete failure," replied the Dark Knight "and I saw no reason to risk a security leak."
"Are you honestly saying you thought a member of the League would blow your cover?" Flash asked, annoyed.
"All communications have a risk for interception. I would have informed the League as soon as the operation concluded."
"Fine" said the speedster, shrugging. "But why didn't I get to come?"
There was a moment of silence as everyone in the room glared at him. The Martian Manhunter raised an eyebrow, the first facial movement he had made the entire time.
"Batman" said Aquaman, stepping forwards. "We have placed the responsibility of leader upon you. I understand that it requires you to keep secrets, but-"
"No. You don't." Batman's voice had completely drained of emotion, replaced with frozen steel. It was a side of the Dark Knight that very few people saw, and absolutely no one liked.
"I, too, have faced these challenges as well" replied Aquaman, somehow keeping his voice steady. "And I know that even the most well-meaning course of action can have unintended consequences."
"At the moment, I have seven people missing in action, presumably captured by a hostile force or worse."
"The entire Team," finished Black Canary "except for these two." She gestured towards Conner and M'gann, who looked like she wanted to hide her pale skeletal body behind her boyfriend in hopes that no one would see her. Probably because she did. Oddly enough, though, all the Leaguers she'd encountered so far had pretty much all shrugged her true form off like it was no big deal, if not outright ignored it. One saw a lot of strange things in their line of work.
Superman and Wonder Woman seemed stunned by the news. Flash and Aquaman seemed more subdued, as if they had already guessed why their protégés were not among the group. The Man of Steel opened his mouth as if to say something, then thought better of it.
"Who...?" whispered Flash.
"We don't know" said Batman. "What we do know is that they possess military-grade and alien weaponry, vast resources, multiple aircraft and Martian camouflage. It is entirely possible that they were behind Parasite's activities in Geneva, and they may even have a source inside Belle Reve. I will allow a full analysis of my actions as soon as the Team is recovered and this threat neutralized, and not a moment before. Is that clear?"
Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Flash all looked at each other before nodding.
"What can we do to help?" asked Superman.
There might still be some reservations about the Team's existence and its usage, but there was one thing all League members could put aside their differences to agree on, and that was saving lives.
"J'onn, Canary, take Miss Martian and Superboy to the Cave's medical bay. Get them checked out."
"Hey!" protested Conner. "It's our team, so we're going to help get them back, no matter what you say."
Batman actually smiled. There was just something so... normal about Superboy and his complete and utter disregard for authority.
"Of course. Which is why we'll need you in top shape."
Conner shrugged and conceded the point as he, M'gann, her uncle and Canary left the room. That kryptonite really had taken a lot out of him, not to mention the repeated beatings...
Besides, there was something he needed to talk to M'gann about.