Worst Case Scenario

Desperate Times...

Black Adam charged, shrugging off a pair of explosive batarangs as if they were nothing.

This will not end well Batman thought, tapping a few buttons on his holocomputer. "Computer, begin download of biometric file 'Black Adam.'"

"Acknowledged" said the computer. "Download in progress."

"Is that all you can do?" Adam shouted as Batman threw flash powder. The bright light gave him a chance to vanish into the darkness.

"Coward!" Adam bellowed, eyes searching for his foe.

"If you say so" said Batman, emerging from the shadows to hurl some more explosive disks. They briefly knocked Adam off balance, but he soon recovered, picked up a tree and swung it like a club.

Batman flipped over the tree and threw his only polyurethane foam grenade. The foam only held Adam for a few seconds, but it was enough that Batman could close the distance and flip over him, leaving behind a thermite bomb stuck to Adam's chest.

The explosion was quite spectacular, sending Adam flying. This would have been even more awesome except Adam simply turned around in mid-air and flew under his own power, straight at Batman.

An instant check of his supplies lead to Batman throwing a pair of smoke pellets before leaping to the side.

Adam's hand grasped his cape.

Not good.

M'gann gasped. Somehow she'd been able to grab enough dirt via telekinesis to form a shield against Mr. Freeze's ice blast. That said, she was still trapped inside a ball of frozen dirt without a lot of air, but she could still move and think.

And when one was a Martian, the ability to think was all you needed.

The ball of ice shattered under the force of her telekinesis. Mr. Freeze spun to fire again, but M'gann lifted him up into the air and slammed him into the ground, knocking him out. Then she picked him up again and dropped him on Sportsmaster, pinning the merc.

Superboy, Red Arrow, can you two hear me? she asked over her telepathy.

They can't, actually replied Psimon. It's an unfortunate side effect of unconsciousness. But since I am not currently in a position to have a full out psychic battle with you, I'll leave you with this choice: In ten seconds, I will fry one of their brains. The other one I will spare. The choice is yours.

I don't think so she thought. I can beat you any day of the week.

I don't know about that Psimon taunted. You're weakened and exhausted, and I'd only have to hold you off for a few seconds to succeed. Make your choice.

M'gann didn't know what to do. Obviously she wanted Conner to be safe, but if she choose him at the expense of Red Arrow, would he still want to be with her? On the other hand, to be objective, Superboy was a greater asset to the Team than Red Arrow, simply by being a super-strong invulnerable Kryptonian. Though Red Arrow had more experience...

Which one? Which one to save?

Time's up thought Psimon. And your final answer is...?

M'gann replied with some rather rude Martian words and dug in with her psychic power, preparing to protect both of the boys at once or go down trying.

The attack didn't come.

Wait a second... M'gann realized. You were just trying to distract me, aren't you?

Did it work? Psimon asked. His question was answered by a bolt of orange light, knocking M'gann off her feet. Sportsmaster walked towards her, Manta's ray gun back in his hand.

M'gann tried to move, but her muscles refused to budge. She probably wasn't going to be able to stay conscious through another shot. In desperation, she reached out with her mind.

And realized that Psimon had moved on to something else, leaving Conner and Red Arrow's minds inactive but unharmed. Just a little psychic nudge and...

Sportsmaster reached her, aimed the laser rifle and pulled the trigger. Superboy's hand shot out and grabbed his ankle, causing the shot to go wide.

"What the-" the mercenary began, only to be interrupted by Superboy flipping him head over heels into the wall of the base. Sportsmaster slammed into it face-first and slumped to the ground, not moving.

"Are you okay?" Superboy asked, hand outstretched. She nodded as he helped her to her feet.

"Is everything alright, guys?" asked Rocket over the radio. "Your vitals dropped off for a minute there."

"Yeah, everything's fine. I hate psychics" Red Arrow muttered, rubbing his head. Conner and M'gann looked at him.

"The evil ones, primarily" the archer quickly added on.

An explosion rocked the area.

"Fate is down!" came Black Canary's voice over their radios. "I repeat, Fate is down!"

"Say again?" Red Arrow said into the radio. "I repeat, Black Canary, can you repeat that?"


"Guys, Canary's vitals just dropped along with Dr. Fate's and several other Leaguers" said Rocket. "Get over there, pronto!"

"Give us a minute!" said Red Arrow as they ran in the direction of the fire, smoke and explosions.

Unfortunately, they didn't have a minute.

Black Adam yanked the cape in his hands, sending Batman stumbling towards him. The Dark Knight hit the quick-release, detaching the cape, but his momentum sent him plowing into Adam. The stronger man grabbed Batman by the neck and lifted him into the air. Batman responded with a set of acid pellets.

Adam stumbled, spouting ancient Egyptian curses as Batman dropped to the ground. Adam's skin might be near invulnerable, bur the acid was graded for burning through steel, and that stung.

"In range" beeped the computer in Batman's ear. He leaped towards Adam, kicking off the villain's chest and flipping over him. A mid-air shot from his grappling gun snagged a tree, pulling Batman away at high speed.

Black Adam straightened his stance and looked at the small disk attached to his chest.

"It would seem your explosive did not work" he said, peeling the disk off and examining it.

"It's not a bomb" Batman said. "It's an infrared targeting beacon."

"Target acquired" said the computer. Batman brought his holocomputer back into existence and pressed the button marked 'Fire.'

Then he hit the deck.

Two blazing meteors shot out of the sky, hurtling at Adam. He tried to move, but it was too late. The missiles were homing in on the invisible light emitted by the beacon, and they weren't going to miss.

The explosion was quite spectacular, sending Adam flying into the air, too stunned to fly until he slammed into the ground. The Batplane roared as it zoomed by, the autopilot still sending updates to Batman's wrist computer every few seconds.

"Biometric download subject 'Black Adam' complete" said the computer. Batman smiled a bit and began to walk towards where Adam had landed. A piece of black cloth blew by, thrown into the air by the explosion. Batman grabbed the cape and reattached it before pulling a metallic band with three dull red lights out of his belt.

Adam stumbled to his feet. "You fight well" he said. "But my endurance is limitless, if not my patience."

"We'll see" Batman replied. Adam slammed his hands into the ground, sending a shockwave that was unexpected enough to knock Batman off balance. In a second, Adam had grabbed him and lifted him into the air.

"Die" said Adam.

"No thanks" Batman remarked, snapping the band around Adam's neck. The red lights flickered on.

The inhibitor collar was active.

Batman smacked Adam's head between his palms and planted a solid kick on the stunned Egyptian's chest.

Adam stumbled, trying to pull the collar off with ordinary human strength. Electricity surged into him.

"It's over, Adam" said Batman, finger hovering over a button on his wrist. Adam tried to tackle Batman, causing another button press and another shock. "Say the word."

Adam continued to move forwards until the pain drove him to his knees.

"Say it..." Batman growled.

"SHAZAM!" Black Adam cried out. Lightning dropped from the sky, striking him. Where there had once been a massive herculean demigod, there was now a lankier, tanned human in a Belle Reve jumpsuit.

"Thank you" said Batman.

Then he kicked him in the face.

Some of the Leaguers who had been fighting Teekl were still standing. Captain Atom was exchanging potshots with Klarion, while Captain Marvel was using himself as a (super)human shield to protect some of his downed compatriots from Tala.

Despite this, it was pretty clear that the momentum had shifted towards the enemy. Klarion and Tala were each powerful enough to take on anyone in the League in a one-on-one fight, and combined with Black Adam, the League was down Superman, Dr. Fate, Icon, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, and Aquaman.

And things were about to get even worse.

Tala flicked her fingers, sending a wave of fire heading towards the unconscious Zatara, only for him to disappear in a red blur.

"I gotcha, Z" said Flash, carrying the magician out of range of the fight before rushing back.

"Klarion!" Tala shouted. "Stop playing around! The speedster is here! We must destroy the Helmet before he recovers it!" She raised her hands, chanted a bit and sent a large beam of energy at the Helmet of Fate, lying abandoned in the dirt.

"Too slow!" Flash teased, rushing past the sorceress, knocking her off balance and snatching the helmet before disappearing again.

Meanwhile, Miss Martian and her uncle had nearly succeeded in pulling all of the unconscious Leaguers away from the battle. Aqualad dragged his mentor away from the fray, covering him with a hard-water shield.

"Ooh! Fried fish!" shouted Klarion as sent a blast towards the Atlanteans. Aqualad's shield barely held up, and it threatened any second to collapse into a puddle.

Klarion laughed. "Bye b-"

Flash slammed into him, knocking the Lord of Chaos down and getting mud all over his suit. Ducking under an attack from Tala Flash dashed towards Aqualad and Aquaman, grabbing Kaldur and pulling him away from the scene before returning a moment later for Aquaman.

"No fair, no fair, no fair!" Klarion screeched, getting back up and stomping his feet like a three-year-old.

"I fail to see what is intended to be 'fair' about this situation" said Red Tornado as he sent a twister ripping through the ground around Klarion and Tala. It didn't do much more than distract them, but it gave the League enough time to drag their remaining causalities away from the fighting. The two Martians raised up another dirt wall with their telekinesis, giving the League some cover.

"You know what, tin man, you're right" said Klarion, fire building up in his hands. "Fairness is for chumps."

"Says a chump!" Flash taunted, appearing without warning and slamming a high-velocity fist into Klarion's face. Klarion hit the dirt. Again.

"Okay, that's enough, enough, ENOUGH!" Klarion screamed. "Try speeding through this!" With a wave of his hand, the Lord of Chaos formed reddish bubble of energy that spread outwards, covering an area the size of a football field.

Flash stumbled as he was reduced to normal human speed, but his momentum was enough to carry him over the dirt wall into relatively friendly territory. Nearby, Captain Marvel was knocked over by a blast from Tala, knocking him out. Icon tossed an angry Teekl to the other side, almost hitting Klarion.

"We need a plan and fast!" shouted Red Arrow.

Green Arrow, Captain Atom and Green Lantern were attempting to suppress the enemy by blindfiring over the wall, but it wasn't doing much more than buying them some time. Red Tornado continued to summon vortexes and the Martian Manhunter was hurling rocks, but neither of them were likely to turn the tide. The two Lords of Chaos advanced, sensing the weakness in their prey. Teekl, still giant, was licking its fangs in anticipation of something undoubtedly unpleasant.

"What's the situation?" Batman asked, appearing out of nowhere, as he often did.

"The two of them were too strong for Fate" said Green Arrow. "They blew the Helmet off of Zatara, then started ripping us apart. At this rate, we're not going to last another minute!"

"Giovanni is-" Batman started to ask.

"He's alive, but unconscious" Flash said. "I got him to what's hopefully a safe distance."

"Do we still have the Helmet of Fate?" Aqualad asked.

"Right here" said Flash, holding up the artifact. Its glow seemed duller than normal, probably due to the amount of magic Nabu had used that day.

Aqualad reached for it, but Superboy stopped him. "No way" he said. "You put the thing on once before. Do you really think it'll let you go again?"

"I am the only magic user available" Aqualad said. "I am the strongest host. I am the only chance we've got."

"Is that a good idea?" Miss Martian asked. "Dr. Fate couldn't win when he had Zatara as a host. Together, Klarion and Zatanna are just too strong."

"Yeah, I don't get that" said Rocket over the radio. "Isn't good magic supposed to be super-effective against evil magic or something?"

"Order and chaos are not as simple as good and evil" Aqualad corrected. "They are more like acids and bases. Equal but opposite, either one dangerous in excess."

"We need a game-changer right now or we're going to have to retreat and abandon Robin and Kid Flash" said Batman. "We have to neutralize one of the two in order for Fate to have a chance."

"A psychic attack?" Red Arrow suggested. Martian Manhunter shook his head.

"I have already attempted to access their mind. Tala's is well-protected, while Klarion's is... difficult to interact with."

"If we could just free Zatanna..." Flash muttered.

"Hold on a second, guys" said Rocket.

"Yes?" asked everyone at once. All the way back in Paris, Rocket smiled.

"I've got a crazy idea..."

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