Worst Case Scenario

...Gets Worse

"How fast can you run?" Robin whispered to Kid Flash, tensing for a fight. Which, based on the twenty-to-two odds, seemed like it would end very painfully.

"Not nearly fast enough to take them all out" the speedster whispered back.

"We don't need to take them out" Robin replied with a smile, giving a nod towards the door a mere twenty feet of supervillains away. He turned to the crowd.

"We surrender" he said, putting up his hands.

Kid Flash stared at him in complete and utter shock for a second before he too put up his hands. Robin knew what he was doing, right?

Right?

"Forgive me if I don't believe that Batman's little pet would give up without a fight" said Sportsmaster, twirling his flail.

Robin smiled. "You're forgiven" he said, dropping to one knee and sweeping two gun-wielding goons' legs out from under them. Sportsmaster's flail lashed out, but merely struck where Robin had been as he shot forwards and slammed into another goon. Before the man's shotgun had hit the ground, Robin had grabbed it and struck the trigger with his finger, firing it straight up into the ceiling. The pellets struck a sprinkler which burst, sending water pouring onto the people below. That technically broke the famous Batman no-guns rule, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

"Move!" he shouted to Kid Flash, swinging the shotgun at Cheshire like a club and giving Tala her third Robin-special kick to the face that day. He really hoped Zatanna didn't come out of this with brain damage.

The speedster didn't argue, dashing (at regretfully human speeds) around Sportsmaster, who was distracted by Robin.

Cheshire knocked the shotgun out of the Boy Wonder's hand, but he backflipped over her and ran for the door. The sprinkler had left the villains confused and disorganized, for a few seconds, at least. They were actually going to-

Brain's gorilla blocked the door. His fur and beret were soaking wet, and he did not look happy.

Crap.

"You will not esca-" the criminal master'mind' began, only to be interrupted as Robin shoved him into Mullah. The ape instinctively reached to catch his master before he fell to the ground, allowing Robin to flip over him, kick open the door and go through. As Mullah turned to pursue, Kid Flash slid between his legs, using the water on the floor to increase his distance. As soon as they were both through, Robin slammed the door and kicked the lock, twisting and jamming it, at least for a few seconds.

"Now what?" asked the speedster.

"Now we run like crazy" Robin replied.

They did so.


Berlin

December 28, 21:04 CET

"Recognize: Artemis B07."

A flash of golden light filled the alley before an old telephone booth opened and Artemis Crock stepped out. She'd take off her mask and tossed on a trench coat to cover her uniform. The last thing she needed was the German media getting a bunch of pictures of her on the news.

Across the street was a white sedan, where a man with brown sideburns and a green suit was tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, impatient.

"Well, look who it is. Sportsy's little girl" said the Riddler as Artemis got in. "Bonjour madame."

"You know we're not in France, right?" said Artemis.

"I know" said the Riddler as he pulled out of his parking space. "I just love saying it. Ready to meet ol' pops again?"

Artemis sighed. "Might as well."


The door lasted six entire seconds before it crumpled, which was a credit to its builders, seeing as a pissed off gorilla in a hat was pounding on it.

The hallway was empty, though footfalls echoed down it.

"Find them!" Brain said as loudly as his synthesizer would allow. "They cannot be allowed to wreck this facility! Termination is approved!"

Mullah charged down the hallway in pursuit, followed by Black Manta, Sportsmaster and most of his men. Cheshire took a moment to shake the water out of her hair before she followed, leaving Tala, Kuttler and Mr. Freeze standing by the Brain.

"I have had quite enough of these pests" Tala said, muttering a spell to dry out her clothes. "Wohs em erehw Nibor dna Dik Hsalf era!"

She smiled as a red-colored arrow shot forth from her hand, darting down the hallway, leaving a glowing red trail. It was harmless, of course, but informative.

"They can't hide from me" she said.

"Good" replied the Brain. "Ensure that they are eliminated post-haste." Tala grumbled something about mortals ordering her around but started to run down the hallway regardless. She was looking forward to killing that brat Robin, after all.

"Mr. Kuttler, Dr. Fries, if you would come with me" the Brain continued, slowly moving down the hall using the wheels built into his capsule. "I wish to make certain that all systems are operating at 100% capacity. It would not do to delay our associates any further. And, doctor, it would be wise if you tended to our new...guest."

Freeze grunted but followed, wheeling a black cryo-coffin and muttering to himself. It was probably fortunate that the Bat-brat and his friend Flash Jr. had overlooked the box during their escape. Not that it would matter in a few minutes, after they died their much-deserved deaths. Perhaps he would send Batman flowers in consolation?

"Whatever you say" Kuttler said, letting out a small sigh as he, too, followed the Brain.

I am not going to get time off any time soon, am I?


"Nice escape" Wally said as he and Robin continued to sprint down the maze of hallways. Why did these people's bases have so many frickin' hallways?

"Thanks" Robin replied as they took a left into, guess what, another hallway. "Sorry I dragged you here."

"Literally, no less" Wally said. They chuckled, then were silent for a few seconds.

"You used a gun back there" Wally said.

"I know."

"Batman doesn't-"

"I know. I did what I had to do. He'll understand."

"If you say so" replied the speedster. "What are our objectives?"

"First objective is to contact the League for backup. This is a major base, and taking it is the only way we'll have any chance of figuring out who these guys are and what they're up to. After that, priorities are escaping and collecting as much intel as we can about whatever this place is. Rescuing Zatanna would be a nice bonus."

"Oh, yeah. Since when did she become evil?" Wally asked as they took a right. He really hoped they weren't going in circles.

"She's. Not. Evil." Robin retorted. "She's being possessed by a Lord of Chaos. We need to get her secured and to Doctor Fate as soon as possible."

"First thing's first" Wally said. "I love running away from bad guys more than you do, but don't you think we need a plan?"

"You're right" said Robin, skidding to a stop. "If we keep this up, they're going to catch us. They've got surveillance cameras all over this place and they have the numbers to surround and pummel us. We've got to be smart about this."

"Do you think we could do what we did at Cadmus?" Wally asked. "Hack the motion sensors and all that?"

"I wish" Robin replied. "They took my wrist computer, plus all my other gadgets. We're down to our hands, feet and heads."

"Wonderful" Wally muttered. It was at that moment that he realized that Artemis was totally going to kill him for following Robin, even if the angry mob of supervillains didn't.

"Although..." Robin said, trailing off as he bent down to examine a grate in the wall. "Maybe we could do something a bit similar..."

Robin grabbed the side of the grating and pulled. It budged a little bit, but he wasn't strong enough to rip it loose. Looking around, he took a small fire extinguisher off the wall (that's OSHA compliance, all right!) and struck the corner of the grate several times, bending it back. Together, both boys grabbed onto the edge and slowly peeled it away, revealing a long tube full of wiring.

"This looks like a power conduit of some sort" Wally said. "You think we can fit in there?"

Robin stuck his head inside. There was actually a fair amount of space, and the wiring looked insulated, so it wouldn't kill them on contact. Best of all, there was no way a grown man could follow them through there.

"Let's find out" he said, slipping inside. On a whim, he kept the fire extinguisher, in case he had to hit someone with something in the near future. Which seemed likely.

The boys were forced to bend over and crawl in the cramped space of the duct, but crawl they did. The grate was too damaged to convincingly replace, so they just decided to concentrate on getting as much distance in as possible between them and the bunch of angry footsteps approaching. Robin doubted anything they could have done would fool Sportsmaster for more than two seconds anyways.

As it happened, he was wrong.

It took Sportsmaster three seconds to put all the pieces together. It had been a really tiring day, and he'd gotten a mere three hours of sleep on their trans-Atlantic flight to Aguila Base. Plus, Tala's magic locating arrow was proving less helpful than anticipated, as it gave as-the-crow-flies directions without regard for normal humans' inability to travel through walls.

The mercenary swore and punched the floor as soon as he had determined that no, he was too bulky to fit through the vent.

"Tala?" he asked. "Can you flush them out?"

"It would be difficult to do so without a high risk of damage to the conduit, which as I understand it is of significant importance to your leaders."

Sportsmaster growled. That meant that someone was going to have to go in there.

"Tala, you are the smallest. Can you-"

"Certainly not" Tala interrupted, apparently offended that he had even considered it. "I refuse to lower myself to such menial, mortal tasks."

Sportsmaster briefly considered some sort of physical coercion, but dismissed the possibility. The Light would NOT be happy if he got into a fight with one of their own assets at such a time.

No, someone needed to get into the conduit. And he was not going to risk getting stuck in a vent in front of the Light, Manta or Jade.

Speaking of which...

"Jade, get in there" Sportsmaster said. "Follow them."

Cheshire started to protest to taking orders from her dad but she realized that a) He was correct in assuming that she was the only one there who could fit and b) He was technically in charge, and Ra's al Ghul would be none to pleased to learn that she had disobeyed a reasonable order from a client. She sighed and moving into the duct.

These two boys may have been Artemis's friends at one point, but that was no reason to go easy on them. They were targets now.

And she always got her targets.

Always.


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