Worst Case Scenario

By clcman

Action / Adventure

Fold

"I could get used to this" Zatanna said to herself, voice slightly distorted. Tala and Nabu were still inside of her. She could feel their presence, but they seemed submerged under her own consciousness. Perhaps this is what they felt like when possessing a mortal body. Occasionally, bits of their thoughts would bubble up. Nabu was indignant that his power was being hijacked like this, but relatively okay with Zatanna blasting Klarion, even if she used the wrong type of magic (i.e. chaos) in the process. Tala was harder to understand. She wasn't happy, obviously, but she seemed to be combining "you should attack the Justice League and join the Light and be evil and stuff" with "watch out, don't die, I can't afford to get another host, it'll take forever" and "if you have to be an Order stooge, at least make Klarion suffer, okay?" Really weird.

Even weirder was the feeling of the immense power flowing through her. It was exhilarating, but also kind of disturbing. The magic in her veins kept... rubbing up against itself, resisting itself, trying to separate out into distinct parts, like oil and water trapped inside the same pipe. She felt bloated, like she was going to explode, and knowing magic, that wasn't necessarily a metaphor. Best to get rid of some of the stuff, and what better way than by single-handedly saving the day?

Zatanna stuck her hands out in front of her and launched an ankh like a missile, chaos fire propelling it like a rocket. The combo hit Klarion in the stomach, sending him staggering.

"Order AND chaos?" Klarion asked. "T-that's totally unfair! You have to use one or the other! That's how it works!"

"What's the matter, Klarion?" Zatanna taunted, sending another pair of fireballs towards him. "Mad to have your own powers used against you?"

Klarion growled, obliterating Zatanna's fireballs with a wave of his hand. A third one, however, caught him off guard and smacked him in the face.

That did it.

"You... you... you think you can use chaos against ME?" Klarion shrieked, his voice gaining two octaves. "You think you know chaos? YOU KNOW NOTHING!"

Zatanna was preparing to toss another fireball his way when Klarion roared, a massive column of flame billowing from his mouth. Zatanna's instinctive ankh shield was able to block it, but the fire continued. Zatanna began to sweat, both from the heat and the strain. Cracks appeared in her shield, never a good sign.

"Ha, ha, HA HA HAAAA!" Klarion shrieked, his body twisting, becoming more and more demonic. "What's the matter, little girl? In over your head? Can't handle TRUE chaos? You know what they say: If you can't take the heat... DIE A HORRIBLE SCREAMING DEATH OF BURNING!"

Zatanna would have pointed out how stupid that last outburst sounded, but her shield continued to crack and buckle. She wasn't going to be able to hold this off much longer, and unlike Klarion, behind the magic she was very, very mortal. If one of his attacks connected she was toast. Literally.

Klarion ceased his fire-breath attack, twirled his hands and unleashed a wave of fire, shattering Zatanna's ankh. The strain of trying to hold it up sent Zatanna to her knees, breathing heavily.

The Witch-Boy seemed to have regained his composure. "Na, uh, uh" he said, confident as ever. "You can't beat me, Zatanna, even with both Tala and Nabu's magic. I'm a Lord of Chaos. I'm basically a god. And no matter how much power you think you have, at the end of the day, you're still just a stupid little mortal witch."

"Hey, Your Lordship" said Red Arrow, standing behind Klarion, bowstring drawn. "Why don't you try talking to some 'mortal' who gives a damn?"

The archer fired, sending a taser arrow straight into Klarion's back. The arrow's electricity was strong enough to knock out an elephant, which meant that even Klarion had to stumble. As soon as he let his guard down, Hawkman swooped down out of the night and landed a good hit with his own Nth metal mace. Klarion crumpled, landing face down in the mud.

Teekl let out a worried meow (more like a shriek) and tried to move to protect its master, knocking Hawkwoman aside.

"Hold it still!" came a new voice, one that had not been heard for the entire battle.

"Hold the cat still!" Giovanni Zatara shouted. The magician was not looking good. He had bruises on his face, holes in much of his clothing and scorch marks on his torso. His signature magician's hat was gone and his right sleeve was shredded. But he was on his feet, running towards the battle like a madman.

Aqualad was glad to see the magician relatively unhurt after his defeat as Dr. Fate, but had no time for relief. Assuming that Zatara had a plan, Aqualad jumped onto Teekl's back, wrapped his hands around its neck and threw all of his remaining strength into round after round of electric shocks. Teekl stumbled, but continued to advance towards Klarion. Wonder Woman dashed ahead of the massive feline and threw her lasso to Superboy, who grabbed the rope and planted his feet, the Amazon doing the same. Teekl's front legs struck the lasso's rope and the improvised Tripwire of Truth (TM) sent it barreling forwards onto its face. M'gann and her uncle joined forces, creating two giants hands of earth to hold it down. Klarion tried to get to his feet, but Red Tornado sent a twister into his face, ruining his concentration.

"Good work!" said Zatara, reaching the massive cat's face. It hissed and tried to snap at him, but Wonder Woman held it back. Without a moment's delay, Zatara put his hand over Teekl's forehead and began to speak.

Nearby, Mr. Freeze began to get to his feet, hefting his freeze ray. He was really going to have to hurt that Martian girl. For now, though, the battle seemed to be going against his side. Perhaps a sneak attack would...

A sonic blast struck him, sending Freeze stumbling to the ground, dropping his weapon, his glass helmet cracking, the black band on his arm sparking electricity. He tried to see where it had come from, only to find Black Canary's heel coming down on his head.

"Stay down, Icebox" growled Black Canary, giving the others a thumbs-up and moving to check the other downed villains. Didn't want any more surprises, after all.

Zatara ignored Canary and focused on his spell. He didn't have the strength for a second attempt; he'd have to get this right on the first try.

"Dehcterw tac! I tsac morf uoy eht ngierof ecneserp nihtiw, dna hsinab sih citoahc mrof morf siht enalp! Noiralk, Dorl fo Soahc, enogeb!"

"No!" Klarion shrieked. He jumped to his feet and tried to run at Zatara, flames billowing from his body, but Zatanna had recovered enough to nail him with a blue lightning bolt of what she guessed was Balance magic (if that was a thing). Klarion stumbled and fell. Cracks began to appear in his skin, revealing a red glow beneath. One by one, the pieces flaked off, floating away.

"What did you do?" Superboy asked. Teekl was also freaking out, slowly shrinking back to its original size.

"I have removed the bond between Klarion and his familiar" said Zatara. "He can no longer remain on this plane of existence."

"You-you can't!" Klarion moaned, clearly in pain. "It's not fair, it's not fair, IT'S NOT FAIR! What did I ever do to you?"

"You really don't want us to answer that" said Wonder Woman. Klarion howled as his body crumbled into ash. A reddish mass of energy rose from the dust, tentacles of light waving around. Klarion's true form, or at least as much as the human mind could comprehend.

Superboy picked up Hawkwoman's mace, tossed it from one hand to the other to get a feel for the weight and then threw it at Klarion. The magic-disrupting Nth metal sizzled as it struck. With a demonic roar, Klarion's spirit vanished in a flash of light.

Teekl, now just a normal-sized cat, growled and leaped at Zatara, but M'gann grabbed it with her telekinesis, leaving the hissing and spitting feline stranded in midair, its paws struggling to touch the ground.

Up above, Superman was heat-visioning the last of the Brain's weapons to cinders. Captain Marvel and Icon continued to add new holes to the robot's body, while Green Lantern finished slicing through one of the legs with a buzzsaw construct.

"No! No!" The Brain shouted. "You cannot possibly have overcome my genius so easily!"

"Fun fact, Brain" said Captain Atom, ripping the cybernetic Frenchman out of the mech's cockpit. "This isn't our first giant robot showdown."

The Brain grunted and attempted to fire a laser of some sort at Atom, but he evaded and tossed the cyborg away. Martian Manhunter grabbed the Brain with his telekinesis and began removing all of his visible weapons.

The giant robot teetered, leaning towards the various Leaguers on the ground, but a good kick from Superman sent it falling backwards onto the massive hill that concealed the enemy base, sending up a massive cloud of smoke.

Teekl continued to hiss and spit, so Green Lantern put it in a box construct, just to be safe.

The battle was over.

"You... you fools!" the Brain shouted, defiantly, still hovering pathetically in the air. "You think that you can just come here and destroy my equipment? Do you even know what this base is for?"

"No" said Batman. "We don't know. But you are going to tell us. Right after you tell me where Kid Flash and Robin are. Understand?"


Tigress stabbed downwards, only for Artemis's leg to shoot out and knock her off balance. Tigress turned to look at her counterpart. Artemis was still on the ground, and one of her ankles looked like it wouldn't support any weight. Too easy.

Kid Flash decided to screw over that assessment by leaping onto Tigress's back and wrapping his arms around her head. It was intended primarily to annoy, and it worked wonderfully. Tigress dropped her knife as she tried to get the stupid, lecherous, aggravating, idiotic speedster's bloodstained yellow arms off of her face.

Tigress stumbled back and tossed Kid Flash away, his hands ripping off her mask in the process.

"I've... had..." she panted "just... about... enough... of... YOU!"

Tigress looked around for her knife and saw something even better. Her rifle had ended up not too far away. The magazine was gone, but, scooping it up, she determined that here theory was correct: When Robin had ejected the magazine, he had first released the bolt, allowing a new round to slide into the chamber before the magazine ejected.

There was still one bullet left.

Out of the corner of her eye, Tigress saw Savage continuing to advance against Robin. The kid was good, she'd admit that, but it was only a matter of time now before Savage ended him. That left the other two.

I'll shoot the girl she thought. I wanna kill Kid Brat with my bare hands.

Artemis hadn't moved much since Tigress had left. Not that she could, being barely conscious and with a broken ankle and all. Pathetic. They really weren't all that much alike, were they?

Tigress walked over to Artemis, leveled the rifle at the archer's head and pulled... the... trigger...?

Tigress tried, she really did. But as she started to pull, her eyes locked with the ones of her counterpart. The same grey, occasionally bluish eyes she saw in the mirror every morning. No matter how differently they acted or dressed, Artemis was her, for the most part. Could she really shoot her?

Could she really kill herself?

Tigress hesitated, and that was when Artemis struck with astonishing speed, grabbing the rifle from Tigress's hands and pulling the duplicate towards her. The gun fired, but the shot went wide. The rifle was officially empty, an advanced modern weapon of war reduced to nothing but a glorified club.

That suited Artemis just fine as she slammed the weapon's butt into Tigress's temple, knocking her out.

"Stay down, kittycat" Artemis spat, getting to her knees and crawling over to Kid Flash. Her ankle was probably broken (sure felt that way), but the speedster was bleeding badly.

"Don't worry" he said as she tore the sleeves off of the white civvie shirt she'd ended up in and wrapped the cloth around his wound like a bandage. "Healing factor'll take care of it"—he winced—"...eventually."

"Yeah, 'cause your powers have been working soo great so far" Artemis replied.

"Not my fault! Brain injected me with nanites. I've been lucky I've lasted as long as I have."

"You sure it's all luck?" Artemis asked. "You saved my life there."

"You saved mine first" the speedster replied. He smiled, and she did, and then Robin slammed into the concrete floor with a yell.

Savage stabbed down at Robin, but the Boy Wonder was able to roll to the side and recover, backflipping to his feet. He was dazed and a little wobbly, but not done yet.

Savage slashed at Robin but he ducked to the side and landed a kick on Savage's arm, causing him to drop the blade. Savage lunged, but Robin rolled underneath him, picked up the blade and slashed at Savage's back. The caveman grunted but did not scream. His wounds closed and vanished almost instantly. Serious healing factor, alright.

Vandal Savage could feel himself becoming more and more feral. This often happened in battle, at least in the old days, but it had been many decades since he had been pushed so far. His sole desire was to rip his opponents to shreds. Robin was weakening, and the other two were too badly injured to resist. Even with Tigress down, victory was assured.

A massive crash shook the room, cracking the ceiling and snapping the immortal out of his train of thought. His radio beeped.

"Uh, Savage?" asked Kuttler.

"Yes!?" Savage roared in reply. To say that he was frustrated with the current situation was a severe understatement.

"Did you know that Brain had a giant robot?"

"Yes, Kuttler," Savage replied, calming himself but ensuring his tone made clear exactly what he would do to someone who interrupted with a pointless question. "I am aware of that fact. Why do you ask?"

"Well, when I say 'had,' I mean in the past tense, 'cause the League just smoked it. And captured him. And they took out Mallah. And Tala's either lost control of Zatanna or switched sides. And I think Klarion just died or something, I don't know, I'm not a magic expert. Long story short, we are down to literally you and me versus the entire Justice League. I'm calling it, Savage. We're finished."

Savage grunted, and glanced at the red jeweled ring upon his hand before swearing in a language that had been dead for eleven thousand years. "Very well. Lock down the Q.E.D. room. Overcharge the device, use the exfil bands and activate the self-destruct."

"On it" replied Kuttler. "About frickin' time" he muttered to himself.

Back in the core room, massive steel bulkheads closed over both exits, sealing the room. With a loud hum, the various power conduits around the central pit began to glow. Electricity sparked and the rings began to spin. As the three teenagers looked around in surprise, Savage lunged at Robin. The Boy Wonder recovered fast enough to throw himself away, but the caveman recovered his blade.

"Ordinarily," Savage said, slashing rapidly at a barely dodging Robin "this device is carefully calibrated in order to open a portal to another world. However, this time, it has not. The overload of electricity, combined with the shutdown of all safety protocols, will completely melt the circuitry, destroying the device."

"And why would you want to do that to your own portal?" Kid Flash asked, stumbling to his feet, hand pressed down on Artemis's makeshift bandage.

"I concede defeat to the Justice League on this day" said Savage, breaking off his attack on Robin and backing away. "But I will still deny them their prize. You will not be recovered safely. As the device overcharges, it will explode, completely obliterating this room and everything inside it."

"And you're willing to do that to yourself, too?" Robin asked.

"In all probability, I would survive such an explosion" said Savage. "But I don't have to." He raised his arm, showing the black band on his arm. It was covered in strange, possibly alien circuitry and the red light on it was blinking fast. Robin remembered that Artemis had had one too (before he'd ripped it off), and a glance at Tigress should that she had one as well.

"Farewell" said Savage as the light on the band turned green. Suddenly, a glowing sphere of light appeared with a bang, expanding outwards from the band to engulf Savage completely before shrinking down to nothing. Another sphere appeared around the unconscious Tigress, absorbing her as well.


In Sector E, Psimon, Tamsly and Entworth still lay unconscious on the ground. One by one, their bands activated, sucking them into the void.


Elsewhere in the base, Cheshire groaned as her band beeped and a portal opened.


Batman was about to begin some... persuasive measures on the Brain when the cyborg began laughing. Never a good sign.

"Au revoir" he said before vanishing into a boom tube.

Nearby, Teekl's collar beeped, and it gave one last hiss before a cat-sized portal removed it from Green Lantern's box.

One by one, the other unconscious villains, Sportsmaster, Black Manta, Mallah, the various goons, all disappeared.

Zatanna was still breathing heavy when she noticed a beeping sound coming from under her jacket sleeve. Lifting it up, she found a blinking band. "Kaerb!" she shouted, touching the device, which complied and fizzled out.

"What the hell was that?" asked Green Arrow.


Back in the control room, Noah Kuttler pressed on last button on his keyboard. A twenty-second countdown began on the screen, after which the wipe would be done and the self-destruction would begin. Somehow they'd done it. The exfil bands were working. They were going to get out of this.

He tucked his USB into his pocket, wiped his brow and vanished.


"Were those boom tubes?" Kid Flash asked, tucking his arm under Artemis's elbow and helping her up.

"Looks like it" said Robin, who was checking Artemis's ankle. Definitely broken. "Those bands must have localized the effect, to allow them to teleport whoever was wearing the band, no matter where they were."

"Guys, I think we've got bigger problems" said Artemis, pointing at the central rings, which were spinning faster and faster. Electricity began to arc across the room. A weird distortion appeared around the rings, making it hard to see past them.

"We have to get out of here!" shouted KF as the three ran to one of the bulkheads. Well, Robin ran and Artemis and Kid Flash kind of hobbled.

"It's sealed!" Robin shouted, giving the bulkhead a good tug. Five tons, at least, probably ten or more, with no visible unlocking mechanism. No way were they getting through there.

"Look for a vent or a conduit or something!" Robin instructed, running across the room to try the other exit. No good.

"I don't see anything!" Kid Flash replied. There were one or two conduits like what they'd crawled through before, but those were buzzing with tens of thousands of volts of electricity. If they touched that, they'd be fried instantly.

"What do we do?" Artemis asked.

Robin was honest.

"I don't know."

And then the ground shook.


High above Gemini Base, Green Lantern hovered, scanning the massive hill for signs of life. Well, it looked like a hill. According to his scans, it was very clearly a metal and concrete dome full of hallways covered in turf with a destroyed giant robot lying on it.

"Holy-" he shouted as a chain of explosions rocked the outermost part of the dome, followed by another further in, and then another. The explosions were clearly intentional, clearly planned and clearly heading for the middle of the base. A self-destruct if he's ever seen one.

"They're blowing the place!" he shouted, zooming back down to ground level.

"Any sign of Robin or Kid Flash?" Batman demanded.

"I've got nothing! The base is full of lead shielding! It's barely possible to scan anything in there!"

"If Robin and Kid Flash are alive" said Red Tornado "is it not logical to suggest that they teleported away along with their captors?"

"No" said Zatanna, getting back to her feet. She was utterly exhausted, but she could still feel usable magic within her. Her time under Tala's control was a bit fuzzy, but she remembered one spell that might be of use. "Wohs em erehw Nibor dna Dik Hsalf rea!"

A red image, much like a hologram made of magic, appeared before her. Flicking her finger, the red arrow of energy shot forwards, reaching the wall of the base and going straight through.

"They're still here" she panted. "Follow the arrow."

"Go" ordered Batman. Green Lantern, Superman, Captain Marvel and Icon responded instantly, flying forwards and smashing straight through the wall. A second later, Wonder Woman, Captain Atom and Martian Manhunter followed.

Wall after wall they crashed through, and still the arrow went on. The area they were traveling into had been ripped apart by various explosions, not doubt designed to prevent any normal person from entering or exiting the base without a lot of time and rubble-clearing.

The Justice League was not composed of normal people.

Finally, they reached a huge wall of metal that was strong enough to resist a blow.

"It's lead-lined" said Superman, scanning it with his x-ray vision. "If these guys are keeping something they don't want us to get, it's in here."

"Then let's knock" said Green Lantern, forming a drill construct and stabbing it into the wall. Superman nodded and fired heat vision into the same spot, matched a second later by one of Captain Atom's atomic blasts.

"On three" ordered Wonder Woman. "One, two, three!"

On three, Superman, Green Lantern and Captain Atom ceased their attacks and the assembled Leaguers slammed into the point of attack. The wall cracked slightly, but remained intact.

"Again" said Superman, resuming his heat vision.

"One, two, three!"

They struck again. More damage, but still not enough.

"Again!"

Once more, they slammed into the wall. Cracks went up to the top, and the shock of their blows had damaged the nearby floor and ceiling. Rubble crumbled down behind them. A high-pitched mechanical whining sound started to fill the air.

"We're almost through!" shouted Wonder Woman. "One last time! One, two, THREE!"

The wall shattered like ice, chunks of concrete flying, though Martian Manhunter grabbed the biggest pieces with his telekinesis. Superman and Green Lantern flew into the room, which was a massive sphere with a huge series of cables and metal rings in the center. Electricity sparked between them and the whining noise intensified. The air between the rings began to shimmer, twist and distort, which promised only bad things.

Three familiar figures stood in the middle of the room, leaning on each other for support. Robin stuck up a hand to try and wave the Leaguers over.

"This whole thing, it's gonna blow!" he shouted. "We need exfil, now!"

Lantern nodded and formed a sphere construct around the three teenagers. Artemis was there, but Robin and Kid Flash seemed to be assisting her, so Lantern put sorting out her alleged traitor status in the 'after we escape the exploding base' pile.

"Exit's blocked" reported Captain Atom as Superman, Green Lantern and the teens left the central room.

"Then we go up" said Superman, remembering his earlier experience with Black Adam. Captain Marvel and Icon nodded and flew into the ceiling, followed by the remaining Leaguers. One floor, two floors, three floors, four floors, five floors...

In the Q.E.D. room, the portal shuddered and glowed as way, way, WAY too much energy poured into it. Lightning sparked around it and the portal twisted, and twisted, and...

For a second, there was silence and calm.

And then there was light.


The Leaguers smashed through the final ceiling just as the explosion began to rip through the air behind them. They flew straight up, just trying to get altitude. Green Lantern saw the approaching storm of energy out of the corner of his eye and hurled the sphere containing Robin, Artemis and Kid Flash into the sky. Inside the sphere, Artemis and Kid Flash were leaning on each other in a strange embrace. Robin was nearby, just trying to keep steady as they all got a free slingshot ride into the sky.

The white light from the base filled what was left of the night before dissipating. The base remained stationary for a second before it collapsed in on itself, leaving a massive crater of rubble, concrete and steel.

High above, the sphere construct disintegrated, sending the three teenagers flying away from each other. Dick took a second to experience that old joy of pure flight he'd known since his youth. His fate was out of his hands now, and there was no point in being afraid if there was nothing you could do about it. The memories that Psimon had dredged up were still raw in his mind, and for a second he could just be alone with his thoughts.

His mom and dad had lived for this sort of life. The thrill of flying, and the joy of spreading that thrill to others. Would they be proud of him, for choosing a violent life in the shadows? He'd have to have a long talk with Bruce when this was all over. Not Batman, just Bruce.

A small tear appeared under his eye just before Icon caught him and began slowing his decent to the ground. He could see the others down below. Most of the League, definitely Superboy, probably the rest of the Team as well. He sure as hell hoped that after all of this that they hadn't lost someone else in the process.

By the time they reached the ground, he's composed himself and that single tear was long gone.

He was Robin, once again.


The various flight-capable members of the League swooped down out of the night. The rest were checking on the injured or making sure that no more surprises popped up. They'd all had more than enough supervillainy for one night.

Batman stepped forwards as Icon, Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman landed in the middle of the group, carrying Robin, Kid Flash and Artemis respectively.

Red Arrow raised his bow, an old-fashioned pointed arrow aimed straight at Artemis, who was leaning on Wonder Woman, still unable to put any weight on her ankle.

"Whoa, whoa, easy there, Roy" said Kid Flash, stepping between the two archers before wincing in pain, his hand still on the makeshift bandage on his shoulder. Flash and Black Canary rushed to his side.

"Robin, report" asked Batman, deciding to get straight to the point.

"Our initial recon of the Cape Chidley base went exceedingly poorly" the Boy Wonder understated. "After two escape attempts, Kid Flash and I pursued several villains including Sportsmaster, Cheshire and Mr. Freeze through a portal, which took us to this location, run by the Brain and Vandal Savage."

"Savage" Batman muttered. Certainly one of the most likely suspects to pull off something this big.

"After sending a message to you via a communications room, we were captured by Black Adam and restrained until Superman freed us. Further investigation revealed that the Artemis who appeared to have betrayed us was, in fact, an alternate-universe version of her brought to this dimension by Savage, using the device that just exploded behind us. We neutralized the alternate Artemis, but she escaped along with Savage via a boom tube."

Batman stared at him for a second.

"We are, without a doubt," Robin added on "certain that the Artemis present here is the original one."

"Clearly, this requires further investigation" said Batman, gesturing for Red Arrow to lower his weapon, which he did, reluctantly. "However, at the moment, all Team and League members appear to be accounted for."

"What about Zatanna?" Robin asked.

"Oh, I'm back, alright" the witch said, walking up to Artemis and bending down to examine her leg. "No thanks to all your kicks to the head."

"I do what works" said Robin.

"Now let's see here..." Zatanna muttered. "laeh siht elkna!" Her hands glowed as she touched Artemis's ankle. The archer winced as pain shot through her leg, but it dissipated after a few seconds. Tenderly, Artemis put a little weight on her leg, then a little more.

"Nice trick" she said. "Isn't healing magic really, really hard, though?"

"It is indeed" said Zatara (okay, when the hell did he get back?) "but Zatanna has had an... increase in her level of raw power. Until I have the opportunity to run some diagnostic spells, I would suggest that you refrain from using magic."

"Oh, dad, you're always such a worrywart" said Zatanna, giving Kid Flash's shoulder a good healing. "Speaking of which..." she turned around and hurled herself at Zatara, catching him in a massive hug. "I've missed you so much, Dad" she sobbed.

"I know, Zatanna" Zatara replied. "I know."

"Seriously" said Kid Flash. "When did Zatara stop being Dr. Fate?"

"I think we've all got a lot of catching up to do" said Flash.

"No kidding" said Superboy. "What's that?" He pointed to the brownish-orange mask in KF's hand.

"Oh, this?" the speedster asked, realizing he still had it. Tigress's mask, the one he'd ripped off in the fight. "Souvenir?"

M'gann smiled a massive smile and grabbed Artemis, KF and Robin in a big hug.

"On a related note" grunted Black Canary as she dragged an unconscious Mr. Freeze towards the group. "Anyone want to tell me why all the other baddies vanished and this hunk of junk didn't?"

"Black Adam's still here too" said Captain Marvel, carrying a scrawny, unconscious, un-Shazamed Black Adam in Belle Reve clothes and an inhibitor collar, mouth taped and hands cuffed behind his back.

"Look on Freeze's arm" said Robin, pointing to a sparking black band. "Vandal Savage and Tigress had bands like these. Artemis did too, until I took it off. It must coordinate the teleportation system. Freeze's is busted and Adam's can't work when he's in his mortal form."

"Well, we'll have to see what Warden Strange says to this evidence that prisoners have been escaping" Green Arrow said. "He sure can't counter this. We've got him."

Not too far away, a green-clad man on the ground stirred. He had no idea what had hit him. It had to have been something fast for a person of his intellect to have not noticed it. Maybe Superman?

The Riddler groaned as he rubbed his head and sat up. Whatever it had been had hurt, and had been poorly timed. Had he even finished his catchphrase?

Ridder looked up and noticed that ten members of the Justice League were staring at him. This suggested that the Light was not winning this particular battle. Best to slink off before they...

"Riddler's still here!" Hawkman shouted. Riddler leaped to his feet, checking his arms as he did. "Drat, drat, drat! Where's my exfil band? Did it fall off? Is it still here? Did I-"

He turned around and ran directly into Batman's fist.

"Where you just standing there waiting for that?" asked Black Canary.

"Possibly." Batman smiled a bit and turned to look at the slowly rising sun, focusing more on how the League would explain all of this to the German government. Dick was safe, the Team was whole again, their mole problem had been dealt with, and whoever their new foes were, their operations had been severely disrupted. All in all, a mission success, though an extremely unconventional one.

"For now," he said "it's time to go home."


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