Beyond the 52 Issue 3

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Beyond the 52 Issue 3
By Christopher W. Blaine (cwblaine@gmail.com)
DISCLAIMER: This work of fiction contains characters and situations that are ©2008 by DC Comics Inc. and Christopher W. Blaine. DC Comics has not given permission for the use of their characters or situations. This work is done for entertainment only. This original story is ©2008 by Christopher W. Blaine.

New Kids on the Block Part 2
Davenport, Washington The small town, with a population that was about half of what was found on the typical aircraft carrier, was th seat of Lincoln County. Like most cities that were part of the upper western part of the country, the people were very familiar with the legend of Bigfoot. The primordial man-creature had been part of the local legend lon before the town had been incorporated in 1890. For the Lincoln County sheriff’s office, investigating Bigfoot sightings were simply a diversion; nobody wh wore a badge ever considered the stories about giant, furry beasts credible. Most likely it was a case of mistaken identity and what people actually saw was a bear. Still, it was their civic duty to look into all reports o disappearing into the woods, and it did not matter that someone wanted to add Bigfoot to the mix as a punctuation mark. Deputy Carl Johnson had three years on the force. Once he had been a punk kid in Seattle until a stint in t marines had taught him the value of standing up for an ideal. Once he had received his discharge, and afte actually entertaining the idea of becoming a super-hero in the fashion of Batman, he instead went into enforcement. The report was that a hiker had gotten lost in the woods two days before in between Davenport and Reardan, so he got on Highway 3 heading east. It took him roughly 15 minutes to get to where the report had come in. On the side of the road he saw two expensive SUV’s with Washington state plates. He rolled his eyes; too man people thought that because they came from the state they were automatically outdoorsmen! Probably a bunch of college kids from the “U of Dub” who had gotten drunk and taunted a grizzly! Johnson pulled in behind the other vehicles and turned on his blue lights to warn oncoming traffic. He stepped out to be greeted by a light drizzle. A young woman approached him, a worried look on her face. “Offic Officer!” she called. Straightening his hat and holster, he put on his most professional face and listened as the woman described what had happened. Two days before, her boyfriend, an “experienced” outdoorsman from Tacoma, had come here to do some hiking. She was to join him the next day with the plan being they would camp out in the wood overnight. “I started through the woods, entering over there,” she told him, pointing to a spot where the trees just par enough to reveal a woodland path. I was about a quarter mile in…we had just talked to each other on our phones,” she explained, her eyes welling up with tears. "I couldn’t find him and then I heard this awful, yelling…” He didn’t need to hear the rest of the story, though he found it a little difficult to believe that a bear had come so close to the highway. Normally they avoided this area, but it wasn’t unheard of for them to be this close to traffic. He quickly put in a call to dispatch on what he had learned and requested that some rangers come out give him some back-up.

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Beyond the 52 Issue 3

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It would be a few minutes and so he strolled over to the opening; he had no intention of marching through woods if he did not have to. Let the rangers get muddy, he told himself. Besides, he did not relish the idea o seeing what was left of the hiker. He had seen what a bear could do before. The path led deeper into the woods and he stepped in, his hand on his holster. A couple of yards in and he nothing out of the ordinary, but of course it was raining so a lot of evidence was already being washed away. He continued up the path until he was at the spot where the woman had stopped. He called out the man’s n several times, identifying himself as a deputy sheriff. There was no answer except for the rain hitting the ground. Checking his watch, he estimated that it would be another minute or so before the rangers got there so he ke going up the path. As he stepped over a rise, he spotted something in the woods and moved closer. HE dre weapon and released the safety, taking courage from the cold steel. Then he saw what it was and started to immediately throw up. Hall of Justice, Happy Harbor, Rhode Island TROUBLE ALERT! Batwoman looked up from the mess of paperwork that she was filling out in order to gaze at the 100” flat screen video monitor just above the main computer bank. The letters were blinking in red, indicating that she needed to get up and answer the summons. She pressed a large green button and the words disappeared to be replaced by someone in a police uniform. The Trouble Alert system had been developed in the 1970’s as a way for police agencies to contact the Justice Guild without delay. Over the years it had been upgraded with satellite links so that agencies and governments around the world had the same access. “This is Batwoman, what’s the situation?” The man spoke with authority and urgency. “Batwoman, I’m Sheriff Duncan of Lincoln County, Washington One of my deputies was investigating the disappearance of a hiker today when he came across something strange.” “With all due respect, sheriff, wouldn’t this be better investigated by the state police?” she asked. Behin Hawkman walked in, but said nothing. “Normally I would be inclined to agree with you; I’m not exactly thrilled about asking you guys for help if know what I mean,” the sheriff admitted. It was common to find among law enforcement, especially in sm towns, to feel a little embarrassed in asking for help from the Guild. Hawkman moved forward. “Sheriff, I am Katar Hol, deputy sheriff in St. Roch County, Louisiana,” he began “you can rest assured that all of us are professionals here.” The sheriff seemed to relax a little and Batwoman was glad for it. Being the leader of the Guild w nerve-wracking because of all of the politics involved. No wonder her father had always refused the job! “ deputy found the hiker’s mutilated body tossed inside a mass grave that held about ten others. Men, wome children and…and a robot.” “I’m sorry, did you say robot?” Batwoman asked.

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Beyond the 52 Issue 3

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“Yes, a naked one that looks like a very pretty woman, except where her arms and legs had been torn out.” Outside Davenport, Washington It was refreshing not to have television camera crews surrounding them as they tried to get the full story from the police Batwoman noted. Hawkgirl was already chatting it up with the forensics team while the Dark Fla stood off to the side, scowling as he always did. The sheriff was a no-nonsense type of person when it came to his crime scenes and when a reporter tried to get too close, he was “persuaded” to move back by two very deputies. The other member of the team that was with them was her nephew, Titan. After getting the story again from locals, Batwoman made her way over to a poorly constructed mass grave. The bodies in it were just piled on top of each other and she had to wonder if they were buried, or simply tossed in. She estimated there was more bodies than what the sheriff had stated and it made her stomach crawl. The Dark Flash was next to her in the blink of an eye. His red and silver costume looking as out of place as h own red and yellow one. Neither was dressed for the woods that was for sure. “You saw who the android was?” he asked. It was a rhetorical question. When she did not immediately answer he did. “That was Tomorrow Woman. She was a friend of ours.” Two years before Tomorrow Woman had disappeared, but nobody had been sure if it was because of foul play or simply a choice. She had assisted the Justice Guild and several other heroes and was very popular. Everyon had liked her. Nobody had known she was an android. “We’ve taken custody of the body,” she reminded him. “We will find out what this is all about.” “You and I both know that only Dr. Morrow and Will Magnus have the intellect to create such a life-like thing,” he said and then caught himself. Walter West was a hard man, hardened by the loss of so many friends and loved ones in the pursuit of justice. He still had some feelings, despite the fact he tried to bury them beneath his tough-guy exterior. “Do you think any more of our friends are in there?” he asked. She had not even thought about that. “I don’t know.” Titan walked over to join in the discussion. He was a large man for his eighteen years, his hair in a large mohawk. His skin was olive colored and he spoke with a definite Mediterranean accent. The son of Dick Grayson and Donna Troy, he was half Amazon and all trouble to those who angered him. “Well, I think it is safe to say that Hawkgirl knows absolutely nothing about forensics,” he told them. “She’s learning, Hip,” Batwoman remarked. Hawkman had suggested that his partner take his place on th mission to get some experience. He had even offered to take the rest of Batwoman’s monitor duty, which w music to her ears. He had mentioned something about doing some research with the computer. “What’s you take?” His father was now the Batman and Titan had been raised by his aunt, the legendary Wonder Woman, whi parents traveled the world, righting wrongs and such. The training he had received in crime fighting was second to none. Despite his obvious physical strength, he considered the power of his intellect to be his greatest a “These people were eaten by Bigfoot,” he said, then he smiled despite the situation. That was one of his endearing qualities: he could always be counted on to try and improve morale with a smile and a chuck “Actually, I’m wondering how long some of them have been here.”

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Beyond the 52 Issue 3

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Batwoman nodded. “Body dump?” Dark Flash had to admit it was a plausible explanation. “We do know that some of the more vicious members of Intergang were set up in Seattle for awhile.” He was referring to an intergalactic organized crime syndicate th had been known to use Earth as a base of operations. “But you know as well as I do the Guild planet…what…twelve years ago?” “And Tomorrow Woman has only been missing for two…” Titan looked at his aunt. “Maybe they came back. The last place you would look for them would be the place you last saw them. Super-Hero Murphy’s Law.” Hawkgirl joined them and they moved away from the crime scene investigators so they could speak private There was no need for any of their theories to become front page news. “Let’s review what we have, includin any knowledge of the past,” Batwoman announced. “Washington state has very few instances of super-villain activity,” Dark Flash began. He was the team his expert as he had been a fan of the Flash as a child and had amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of the activities of the “Golden Age” and “Silver Age” Guild. “It does have a long line of serial killer activity, though.” “And, as you just mentioned, it was a hub of Intergang activity just over a decade ago,” Titan added. “ assumption is that Intergang was removed from the planet by the Guild, but we have no way of verifying that.” “Actually we do,” Hawkgirl piped in. Everyone turned to regard her. “Remember, Hawkman is a galactic cop. He would probably be able to get us the latest information on Intergang.” “That would be helpful,” Dark Flash told them. “If they are back, we need to kick their asses.” “Your eloquence is making this conversation so enlightening,” Titan joked. Everyone smiled, except for Da Flash. He saw nothing funny about kicking ass. “Does anyone know why Tomorrow Woman would have been out here, or for that matter, any other h Batwoman asked them. Was there any there anything going on here?” There was a lot of silence. Finally, Titan broke it as he usually did. “I was sixteen two years ago and living Greece with my aunt.” “I wasn’t much older and I wasn’t paying attention to super-hero news, unless it was about my uncle,” Hawgi told them. Dark Flash sighed. “Two years ago…two years ago….I was finishing off the Rogues in Central City.” That was an understatement Batwoman thought. The foes of the second Flash had decided to make an example of the Dark Flash by making his life hell. Captain Cold had murdered Linda Park, Dark Flash’s girlfriend. That changed him from being the third Flash into what he was now. Captain Cold was now in a wheelchair. Heatwave was blind. The Weather Wizard was catonic. The Top had spent over a year in the hospital as his bones knitted back together. Batwoman pulled out her Strawberry and used the direct-connect feature. “Hawkman here,” a voice said. Hawkgirl smiled slightly at the sound of her partner’s voice. She was obviously enthused her suggestion wa being used. “Hawkman, this is Batwoman; can you use the computer to look up any files that Tomorrow Woman accessed between 24 and 26 months ago and cross-check them to this area?”

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Beyond the 52 Issue 3

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“Working on it; I’ll send the information through to you when I have it.” Batwoman acknowledged and put the communication device away in her utility belt. Tomorrow Woman had not been an official member of the Justice Guild, but she had worked with it. She had appeared out of n something of a cross between Superman and Wonder Woman. She was what a lot of people thought was the secret love child of the two heroes. It bothered her that now, with the truth of Tomorrow Woman’s true nature apparent, that she might have b nothing more than a spy for one of the Guild’s enemies. Then it hit her. Could there be another robot in their midst?

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