Beyond the 52 Issue 4

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Beyond the 52 Issue 4
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 fan entertainment only. This original story is ©2008 by Christopher W. Blaine.

New Kids on the Block Part 3

Davenport, Washington
Dark Flash could not run at top speed through the forest out of fear of hitting a three hundred year old tree and knocking himself out. He wished he could move as fast as the rumors stated he could, or vibrate his molecules so that he could pass through them; that would make his search easier. The truth was that he, and all of the speedsters that came before him, could only move around two hundred miles per hour at top speed. That was still fast, sure, but it was not the stiff of science fiction or comic books and he often felt cheated when he thought about it. Then he would consider how his life had turned out and he felt even more cheated. The loss of Linda had been the final straw. He had loved his uncle Barry, the second Flash, but his nice guy way of dealing with criminals just didn’t wash. Criminals wanted to hurt people and the only thing they truly understand was the language of pain. He came to a stop and decided to take a break. He was hungry and he started to wonder why he didn’t use a utility belt as it would have been perfect for carrying energy bars. All of his running used up a lot of energy, but he also didn’t eat as much as he really should have. There was a theory being floated around by the super-hero scientists that the effects of the accident that gave him his powers had turned the Dark Flash into something more than human. That did very little to improve his mood. He pulled out his Strawberry and connected to Batwoman. “I can’t find any evidence in a five mile radius of intelligent life. No cabins, no campsites…not even a stray beer can.” There was a pause. “Deputy Johnson says that is strange because the local high school kids like to go into the forest to get drunk and have sex.” “That’s great,” Dark Flash replied, pulling back his cowl so his forehead could breath. “Then maybe our killer is part of the Adopt-a –Forest crowd and they clean up after themselves?”

Batwoman thanked Deputy Johnson for his help and finished telling Dark Flash to make his way back. She looked up into the sky; the sun was starting to go down and she could just make out the figure of Hawkgirl circling above like a giant vulture.

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Beyond the 52 Issue 4

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The forest was so different from the jungle of Gotham City. The air was damp, but somehow refreshing. “You like it here?” Titan asked. He had an apple in his hand. “It’s pretty, but it isn’t home,” she replied. He nodded. “That’s basically how I feel here in the land of my father. The United States is fascinating, but it is not Greece. It is far too mundane here.” “Alright, Plato, have you got anything useful to tell me?” she asked. He took a bite of the apple and began to detail the report that Hawkman had sent. Batwoman had been too busy giving directions to Hawkgirl and Dark Flash to deal with it, so Titan had been assigned the task. “Tomorrow Woman used the Guild computers often; the logs indicate she was very interested in all forms of biological life, from human to fish.” “Seeing that she was an artificial construct, maybe she was trying to understand what sentience was?” Batwoman speculated. “If so, would she have differentiated between human and animal life?” “I cannot answer that question, Aunt Helena, as I did not know this…person. I did take the liberty of reading up on the personal comments made by the members of the Guild and all of them agreed she was personable, helpful individual,” Titan told her. “My impression is that she wanted to know if she was alive.” “Or it was an elaborate ruse to throw everyone off,” Batwoman countered. “If she was created by T.O. Morrow, then we cannot take anything for granted. My father was quite clear about the danger that man posed to humanity.” Dark Flash appeared at their side, a gust of wind following him. He reached out and took the apple away from Titan. “Thanks, kid,” he remarked as he downed the fruit. “I’m glad I wasn’t urinating,” Titan told him sarcastically, looking at his empty hand. “Give it up, kid, you aren’t my type,” Dark Flash told him. He turned his attention to Batwoman. “All right, what now?” “Hip?” Titan handed his Strawberry over. “We know that Tomorrow Woman was very interested in a series of crimes against zoo animals that occurred at the Portland Zoo.” Dark Flash nodded. “I’ll check this lead out. What are your plans?” “Hawkgirl is checking from the air to see if there are any areas that look like more mass graves. After that, we are heading back to the sheriff’s office to get a couple of deputies and rangers to go with us deeper into the forest.” Batwoman put a hand on Dark Flash’s shoulder. “The sooner you can get us any more leads, the better. She came out here for a reason and it got her killed.” “Technically, it is deactivated, since she was never truly alive,” Titan pointed out. “That remains to be seen,” Dark Flash told him grimly.

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Beyond the 52 Issue 4

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Gotham City, New Jersey
“I guess the two of you think you’re special now,” Batgirl grumbled. Nightwing looked over at Huntress, who merely shrugged. Batgirl had continued to gripe about not being selected for the Guild since the night Batwoman had announced the results of the elections. The time for feeling bad for her was long since past and now the two of them, along with Black Robin, were trying to decide the best way to let her know it was time to shut up. Black Robin said shoving her off a building would send a clear message, while Huntress wanted to counsel her. Nightwing felt that telling her to shut her mouth would be sufficient. “Kathy, we need to concentrate on the mission at hand,” Nightwing reminded her. That seemed to put an end to the current drama and Batgirl slowly moved away to go back to her observation post. It was important they maintain their surveillance because they did not know when the threat would strike. An informant had let Nightwing know that police commissioner Barbara Gordon had a contract out on her, but there was no known reason why. Certainly as a law enforcement officer she was a target, but she had done nothing in the recent past to warrant such attention. Nightwing was very familiar with the commissioner; he had known her when she was the original Batgirl. Her secret identity was not known to the other members of the team and he was taking extra care to ensure that he did not accidentally reveal it. That was one of the core rules of the Justice Guild: secret identities were secret. At one time, he thought she would have become his sister-in-law because she had been completely in love with Dick Grayson. Grayson ended up breaking her heart, marrying Wonder Woman’s younger sister, Donna. Very soon afterwards, Barbara Gordon gave up being Batgirl and dropped out of sight. She emerged a decade later, assuming a position in the GCPD upper echelons. In the time she had been back, he had very little contact with her. His brother’s rejection of her had obviously wounded her deeply. “I still don’t understand how your informant came across this information, Jason,” Huntress said in a low tone. “The murder of a political figure seems a little out of our league.” “I’m not sure I would call Babs a political figure, but then again, you might be right,” he responded. Inwardly, he cursed himself for not asking the same question. If this were a mob hit, then it would make sense, but there was no longer any organized crime in Gotham City. His brother had taken down the Penguin a few years back, ending the last so-called mafia dynasty. “You think this is a trap?” he asked. “Does it matter?” she asked in return. “If her life is in danger, are we not obligated to due our utmost to see to her safety?” “Sure…” “Then you will understand that what I’m trying to get across is that perhaps your informant has it out for you and not the commissioner,” she said. To her, everything was part of a larger conspiracy because that was what she had been raised to believe in. She knew for a fact there was a secret war going on between good and evil that most super-heroes only dreamt about in their worst nightmares.
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Beyond the 52 Issue 4

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For the Huntress, nothing was ever what it seemed. “I am merely expressing concern for a friend,” she confided. He blushed. Huntress was becoming more of a sister to him than Helena and for that he was glad. “Can I ask you a question…a morality type of question?” She nodded. “By all means; I would be very glad to answer your question with what the Church teaches.” “I’m not Catholic…” “Yes, but I am confident the Lord will forgive you of that in time,” she said with a smile. “Go ahead,” she goaded. “If you aren’t actually related by blood, can you be in love?” She knew immediately what he was talking about because if she was anything, she was observant. Also, she could feel emotions around her and she had noted the nervousness in Nightwing whenever he got around Batwoman. “The two of you were not raised together, were you?” “No, but I was introduced to her as her ‘new little brother’ by Bruce,” he whispered. “I remember I was thirteen at the time and she was twenty and I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.” His eyes took on a faraway look as he brought the memories forth. “Dick saw it and used to give me the worst hell about it because he said Helena used to look at him the same way. He said I would grow out of it.” She started to reply when she noted movement below and through the front door of the city municipal building appeared a female figure. Barbara Gordon was a pretty woman on the good side of forty. Her red hair, which had been a trademark of the Batgirl (a tradition still being held onto by the current one), was down loose and straight, giving her the appearance of youth. Huntress noted that she seemed to be in good physical shape as well. “I believe that is your friend,” Huntress whispered before making hand signals to the rest of the team. They had, of course, warned the commissioner of the threat, for all of the good that it did. Nightwing had noted a tone of hostility towards him, but he supposed it was because of his brother. Then again, he told himself as he reached down to ensure his shuriken were in place, maybe Commissioner Gordon simply did not like costumed heroes anymore. He had checked before they had returned to Gotham City and noted that Batgirl had given up her Guild membership shortly after his brother’s wedding. The bad part was he really did not blame her. He understood what it was to be in love with someone and to feel rejected. For years he had been ashamed of his feelings for Helena, but at the same time he also rationalized that she was only his sister legally and that was all. There was nothing incestuous about his feelings, except when he voiced them aloud to someone who didn’t know the situation. He gritted his teeth and told himself to focus. He gestured to Black Robin, letting her know it was her time to move. The black clad adventurer gave him a thumbs-up and blew him a kiss before rolling over the side of the building. He did not need to look; he knew she was even now silently moving along the fire escape to keep watch in the alleyway directly across from the municipal

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Beyond the 52 Issue 4

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building. Batgirl also knew her role and she went to the back of the building they were on to see if any type of strange vehicles were sitting on the street, waiting to rocket ahead and perform a drive-by shooting of the commissioner. “Target,” Huntress said, punching him in the arm. Across the road they saw the glint of a sniper scope in the window. Nightwing was very impressed; the angle of the shot would allow for no mistake whatsoever. Whoever the assassin was, they were very confident of their abilities. There was no need for talk. Huntress jumped from the rooftop, her enhanced reflexes and strength carrying her through the air and down to the ground without any issue. It was only a four-story drop after all! She landed just as the shot rang out. Moving faster than a normal human could, she pulled out her sword, a weapon she had forged herself as part of her Titan training, and smacked the projectile away just as several GCPD SWAT team members burst out of the surrounding buildings. The deflected bullet ricocheted from building to building, but the Huntress was already moving. Her senses reached out and she felt nothing but rage coming from the approaching cops. They were somehow convinced that she was attacking the commissioner and they meant to take her down. Barbara Gordon pulled out her service revolver and put it to the head of Huntress. “Drop it, toots,” she said. Huntress felt the killer’s presence even as Nightwing swung across the street towards the building. She closed her eyes and reached for the vampyric abilities that she had, but did not have complete control of. As a former Titan, she had been trained to understand how the vampire’s abilities worked, but it had never covered what would happen if the mental transfer of some of those traits activated dormant metagenes. When she opened her eyes, the world was made up of various shades of red and waves of emotion emanated off of anything that was alive. She did not have to see that Barbara Gordon was radiating anger, it burned on her like a small sun. Further away she felt the fear and anxiety of the police officers as they moved in to position. Nightwing and the rest of the heroes were a jumble of emotions as each went about their part of the plan. The killer, however, was cool. No, not cool…cold. Huntress sensed nothing human in her emotions, she was a void, almost supernatural. A pull on the trigger and Huntress moved. She spun, bringing her leg up and kicking the pistol away. Gordon was not taken completely by surprise as she managed to throw out her own front kick towards her knee. Huntress punched down hard and Gordon felt pain race from her shin to her eyeballs even as a bullet zipped past her ears. “What the hell?” she called out even as she fell back. SWAT team members started firing at a window in the building, the bullets turning several windows into showers of glass that rained on the street below. Nightwing, who was on the ledge and ready to make his entrance, took a slug in the shoulder. The police were not identifying friend

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Beyond the 52 Issue 4

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or foe; everyone who was not a cop was a target. His costume protected him from being penetrated by the bullet, but it knocked him off balance and he fell off the ledge. As he started to drop, he wondered of Huntress had been correct and he had been set-up.

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