Worst Case Scenario

Unfortunate Implications

Batman watched as Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Superboy and Miss Martian exited the Cave's main room before turning to face the remaining four Leaguers present.

"Flash," he began "I need you to go to Belle Reve ASAP and secure an interview with Mr. Freeze. Do not take no for an answer."

"Freeze? What for?" asked the speedster, cocking his head.

"According to Superboy and Miss Martian, the good doctor was at Cape Chidley last night."

"That's impossible" said Superman. "He's supposed to be in extreme isolation."

"Exactly" replied the Dark Knight. "You've all read the reports of my suspicions about Warden Strange. If he is allowing inmates to escape, now's our chance to catch him."

"You want to force Strange to admit Freeze isn't there" said Wonder Woman.

"But it's been a few hours" said Batman, facing Flash again. "You'll have to be quick."

"Well, you know me" said the red-suited man. "I'll be back in a flash!"

The other four managed to suppress groans as the speedster disappeared down the hall leading to the main exit.

"But if the warden of the government's primary supervillain prison really is letting prisoners escape..." began Superman.

"The scandal would be enormous" said Wonder Woman.

"It gets worse" said Batman.

"Strange only got his position because the previous warden resigned after that riot in September" said Aquaman. "That's too much of a coincidence."

"Even if Strange did arrange for the riot to take place, why would he risk his position by allowing prisoners to escape?" asked Superman.

"Dr. Ivo, both Icicles, Killer Frost, Captain Cold and Mr. Freeze two times now" said Batman, bringing up the data on the holoscreen. "These are all the prisoners we have reason to believe may have been released. That would give Strange connections to the Brain, Klarion the Witch Boy, Sportsmaster, Count Vertigo, Vandal Savage and our unknown enemies at Cape Chidley. Military grade weapons, multiple aircraft, a former Cadmus facility, Martian camouflage, a kryptonite arrow and the same alien tech that Intergang obtained in October."

Batman paused, letting it all sink in.

Finally Wonder Woman said what was on all their minds.

"This is big"

M'gann winced as her uncle carefully inserted his intangible hand into her shoulder. Moving his fingers briefly, the elder Martian then removed them, bringing along with it his prize.

They were in the Cave's medical bay. M'gann was sitting on an examination table, surrounded by the others.

"What's that?" asked Conner, examining the tiny piece of silicon in the Manhunter's hand.

"Mr. Freeze said when we were fighting him that they put a chip in my shoulder to track me down" said M'gann.

"And we just brought that into the Cave?" asked Conner.

"The device has been inert since my first examination of M'gann" said Manhunter. "The Cave's internal security measures should prevent a transmission."

"Sorry, but 'should' prevent just isn't good enough for me" said Black Canary, snatching the chip and crushing it between her fingers.

Martian Manhunter looked like he was considering the Martian equivalent of rolling his eyes as he quickly collected all the pieces with his telekinesis and dropped them into a lead-lined container, identical to the one containing the last of the kryptonite he'd plucked from Superboy's wound. Both were sealed for later analysis. Placing the containers on the table, he returned his focus to his niece.

"On Mars there are several known chemicals which can inhibit one's ability to shapeshift" said Manhunter. "However, most should wear off within a few hours. M'gann, if you are able, could you try something simple, such as a pigment...?"

Before he could finish his sentence, M'gann had already begun, willing her flesh to change shape. Slowly, her limbs began to contract and her elongated head began to shrink.

"Patience, M'gann. Take it slowly. Too much strain could..."

"I... don't... care..." grunted M'gann, clearly in pain. It was possible to restructure one's internal skeleton without causing significant discomfort, but it required much more... patience than she was willing to invest. Her features continued to change. She could, she would force her body to obey her!

"M'gann! Stop!" shouted Conner and Black Canary at the same time. Somehow, their voices got through to her and her concentration broke. Her uncle grabbed her as she started to fall over, panting and gasping for breath.

"That is more than enough" he said. "You are not well enough to attempt any more. Doing so would risk permanent damage."

M'gann swallowed and nodded before burying her head in her uncle's chest."Uncle J'onn..."

"Everything is under control, now, M'gann" he said, patting her back.

She'd shrunk back down to the size of her human-form and her face was the same shape it had always been, or, at least the shape of Marie Logan, the actress she'd based it off of. But her skin was still chalky white, and her hair had yet to return. Conner thought that (save the hair), she looked a lot like her Halloween zombie bride costume.

"It's alright, M'gann" said Canary, putting her hand on the Martian girl's shoulder. "All that matters is that you're safe."

"No, no..." sobbed M'gann.

"M'gann" said Conner softly. She choked down another sob and looked up at him.

"M'gann, it doesn't matter to me or any of the others what you look like. It never did. We all love you because of who you are inside." He looked down uncomfortably, rubbing the back of his head. Man, did this feel like one of her sitcoms. "I love you because of who you are."

The girl looked down at the floor and curled up in a ball, tucking her newly shortened legs by her chest.

"Could we... could we have a minute?" she asked softly. "Just Conner and I?"

Black Canary and the Martian Manhunter looked at each other. Canary shrugged.

"We will be back momentarily" said J'onn, picking up the container holding the remains of the tracker. Black Canary nodded and followed him out the door, which automatically sealed a second later.

"M'gann" said Conner, picking up her hand. "We will find the others. You and I and the rest of the League. And they will understand. You trust me, right?"

M'gann nodded.

"Then you should know that no matter what happens, I'll always love you."

"Conner... I..."

Conner's voice went cold. Romantic part over. Serious business time. "Queen Bee was blackmailing you. About... this." He gave a general wave.

M'gann started to try to say something, anything to deny it, but... she couldn't. It was the truth.

"Sportsmaster told me. Last night, she had you steal something from my room, right?"

M'gann nodded. Of everything she'd had to do, it was that that she hoped would stay a secret forever. How could he trust her now?

"I was told to take four red... stickers," she admitted, "but to leave the box."

Conner wasn't sure if he should be angry or relieved or what. Sportsmaster had been telling the truth. M'gann had taken the shields. Who knew what else she'd done?

"We need to tell Batman about this, okay? All of it. Everything Bee had you do. It could be the key to finding the others."

M'gann looked like she was going to break down into tears again, but she nodded.

"What did you do with the... er, stickers?" he asked, almost as an afterthought. Those things really had been useful...

"I... I still have them. In my room. What are they?"

Conner sighed and sat down next to her. "They're called shields. They enhance my Kryptonian powers, give me flight, heat vision, all that. But I think they also make me angry...er. And it gets worse the more I use them."

"Wh-where did you get something like that?" blurted M'gann. "Why didn't you tell anyone?"

Conner signed. This could get awkward. "Well, let's just say you're not the only one with a few secrets that they need to come clean on. But first..."

He kissed her, and though it was an obvious attempt to put off telling his secret a few more seconds, she was totally okay with it.

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