It had been a long time since Connor had been here, but he knew the streets of Metropolis as if it were only yesterday. In a way, it was very surreal because being in the city felt in a way a lot like looking at an old photograph. That feeling you get when you see the picture, and start reminiscing the good old days, but you know those so called good old days are in the past, and will never return. The thing was he had returned though, and it made him feel very uneasy. He had a job to do though.
Connor stepped into the main hall, of the Themysciran embassy. A long time ago the embassy had been used to spread the Themysciran culture to the rest of the world, but it had long since been converted into an operations center for the league. It stayed busy with people coming in and out of it. Most of them government employees, and leaders of the Hawkmen Corps. He looked around for a familiar face, or hopeful some sort of notification of where to go. Then he spotted a young woman walking up to him. She looked familiar too him, but he couldn’t quite place her. She had very exotic tastes in style and attire. Her outfit looked almost alien in nature, and her violet hair draped down past her shoulders. She held a tablet in her hand and was looking through it, seemingly not paying attention to her surroundings, but somehow she managed to move through the crowd with ease.
“Nice of you to join us Mr. Kent.” The woman said, “If you would please come with me, we have been waiting for you.”
“Uh, sure. No problem.” Connor replied, falling in behind the woman. She took him upstairs away from the main hall and through some double doors at the top. As he followed behind her, he couldn’t help, but shake the strange feeling of Déjà vu. He knew he had seen this woman before, but he just couldn’t place her name. He opened his mouth to speak, when suddenly they stopped at a set of large double doors, with a lock next to it.
“We’re here.” She said while pulling her badge from around her neck and swiping it through the card slot. There was a loud click and the door swung open. Inside there was a large computer monitor, with what appeared to be dossiers all across them. There were a few Hawkmen, and some other people moving about in the room, but standing right in front of the monitor was none other than Wonder Woman herself.
Diana turned around at the sound of the doors swinging open, and her face broke out into a smile.
“Ah, Connor, I’m glad you could make it. I hope the trip wasn’t too hard.” She said.
“The trip was fine, but your guards at the front door caused me a little trouble.” He laughed,
“I see. I’ll see that they are properly taken care of when this is done.” She said, shocking Connor slightly.
“They were just doing their job. No trouble really.”
“I hold my guard to a higher standard than any others under my command. Even you. They should know when an arrival is official or not. Now I will hear no more of it.”
“Alright fine, Anyway, I do have a couple things I want let known before I do this job.”
“And those are?”
“No press and no costumes. You said you needed an agent, not a Superhero, and I believe if we take that approach then things should go a lot smoother.”
“Very well, I see no problem with that. Now perhaps we can get down to business?” She asked, and Connor nodded. Diana started typing into the console, and brought up a gallery of pictures. It appeared to be an underground bunker of some kind, but it had tables all around, some turned over. The place was littered with all kinds of lab equipment. In the center of the room were three large tubes. Two of them had bodies floating in them, which were shriveled up and deformed. The other tube had been broken, but one of the pictures showed the former occupant on a stretcher. The body was so warped that it didn’t even look human.
“These are from the assault on the terrorist cloning facility that we made a few weeks back. As you can see they haven’t been successful, but their progress here suggests that they don’t have much standing in their way. DNA testing on the husks has shown to have Kryptonian DNA, but we don’t really know how the rebels managed to get ahold of it. We have assumed that they are using your old genetic structure.” Diana explained to Connor, who remained silent starring at the images.
“We have obtained documents from the facility that lead us to believe there are other labs like this one.” Diana continued, “Your job is to find them and destroy them.”
“Any idea where to start?” Connor asked,
“That will be up to you and Doctor Veritas here.” Diana said motioning toward the woman who had come in with Connor, and suddenly Connor remembered who the woman was.
Doctor Shay Veritas was at one point in time Clark’s personal doctor. Since he had been Kryptonian, he couldn’t exactly have gone down to the local clinic for a checkup. Luckily, Dr. Veritas was an expert in Xenobiology, and she had helped Clark many times. Connor had met her once, many years ago when a battle with a villain had messed up his genetic structure, and it had been thanks to Dr. Veritas that he had been cured. Had it not been for her, he probably would not have been alive today. One thing surprised him though, about the Doctor. She had seemingly not aged a day, but as far as Connor knew the doctor was human. It would be something he would have to ask her about later.
“There is one other thing Connor.” Diana said, causing Connor to shift his attention back to Diana. “You’re secondary objective will be to find the leader of this operation an eliminate him. On most of the terrorist we have a decent amount of information, but this one has avoided us.” Diana brought up a data file. Normally these dossiers were accompanied by a picture, but this time there was only a grey box.
“They call him the Outsider.” Diana informed him, “It’s very rare that anyone sees him. Rumor has it, most that have don’t live to tell the tale. The only real evidence we have of his involvement is this recording.” Diana clicked a button on the console and an audio file opened up. The voice that spoke belonged to a male, but something was wrong, because he sounded half crazed.
“You think you can stop him? Haha, no one can stop him. You can’t lock him in a cell, or crush him like everyone else. You can’t derange him. Haha! You all have no hope! He’s an ideal. A symbol to us all. He…He’s the wrath of mankind and he will bring in the new age of the world. Long live the Outsider!”
Suddenly the tape stopped, and Connor looked at Diana who had a look of concern on his face.
“That was taken inside the lab. One of the technicians working on the clones was left behind. We found him half crazed, and he shot himself before we could take him into custody.” Diana explained. Connor started to feel like he was already in too deep. This was war he was dealing with, and though he knew he was coming into that scenario, the grim reality of it was enough to shake any sane man to the core. It wasn’t the death or pain caused by this Outsider fellow, and it wasn’t that the labs were an abomination. What mattered were the people still alive. The people that needed saving and Connor knew that in order to save those people, the war must end, and for the war to end, people like the Outsider needed to be stopped.
Suddenly, the room went dark and red flood lights came on, and alarms began blaring throughout the building. Diana was the first to move in the room. Pressing the comlink on the console.
"Status report!" She demanded.
"There have been multiple attacks across the country ma'am. At least twelve confirmed right here in Metropolis." There was a pause for a moment, "Dear god, the terrorists are attacking medical facilities."
"Raise the forces, get the Hawkmen mobilized. If the terrorists, want war this badly then we'll bring the fight to them."
"Ma'am, reports just in. The white house is under attack as well!"
"What!?" Diana's shrieked, "Bring me up a visual!" As soon as she commanded it a live feed was brought up on the view screen. The white house was on fire, Connor could make out what looked like several others moving at speeds he had only seen Wally and Bart accomplish. The skies were filled with Hawkmen, all concentrating attacks on two men. Connor recognized one as Black Adam, but the other looked like Captain Marvel.
"What the hell? Why is Billy fighting against us?" He wondered. Connor looked over at Diana who had a slightly panicked look on her face. She had a son in the midst of all that, and he knew full well what if felt like to have a child in the midst of battle. Not knowing the well-being of your kid was worse than most tortures. He also knew that she didn't need to be here. So much for not making a public appearance.
"Diana, Go!" Connor said, putting a hand on Diana's shoulder, "I'll take care of things here. When I'm finished I'll join you in Washington."
"Alright, just make sure you come back alive. I didn't go through all the trouble of bringing you back just so you could die before you even start to make a difference." Diana said, and then turned to Dr. Vertias, and started to speak to her. Connor didn't stand around to listen to their conversation. Instead he stormed out of the room, down to and out the main hall onto the streets. To the people, looking on it would have seemed that he only stood out in the open for only a brief second, but for Connor it was an eternity.
As he closed his eyes and focused on his other senses, the world seemed to slow down so much that the movement of the polar ice caps would have seemed like a blink in time. He felt the sun's rays wash over him, and the Kryptonian part of him awaken. He clenched his hand into a fist, and flexed his muscles feeling them tense like never before. He could hear everything, people's screams, the sounds of ripping metal, and the clatter of boots on the ground as they moved at speeds that no normal man or woman should. He opened his eyes.
"I see them." He said under his breath, and in what seemed like only a blink of an eye Connor set himself free. He took off flying through the air at speeds that were faster than he had ever gone. He had little time though. Clinics were being destroyed every few seconds. People running and hiding from the chaos would have only seen a flash suddenly followed by a great thunderous sound and a gush of powerful wind that broke windows and blew over cars. People would stumble, some would fall, women would scream at the sudden change in the air. They had no way of knowing what was now soaring through their skies.
Connor was approaching the first clinic, and could see the first of the rebels. A young man, wearing a suit. Frictionless. Designed to increase speed and reduce wind resistance. He never saw Connor coming.
Connor drew back and slammed his fist into the speedsters jaw, stopping his motion and sending him tumbling down the street in front of the clinic. He heard every bone crack as the sudden change in momentum, and unforgiving force of gravity slammed him repeatedly into the pavement like a stone being skipped across the surface of water. Connor paused long enough to make sure that he had misjudged the hit. People were fragile, like cardboard. They were so easily broken, but Connor was not here to break them, but repair them. He listened, and could hear the man's heart beat, and slow wheezing breaths. He would need medical help soon.
"Oh my god!" Connor heard, and looked up to see himself surround by three other men similarly dressed as the rebel he had just defeated. "He just took out Harv, but how man! We're moving too fast. Can't no one hit us!"
"Holy shit, man!" Another one said, "It's him! It has to be. Look at his face!"
"Shut your pie hole!" The one Connor assumed was the leader said, "Ain't no way he's the big S. Probably just some new hyped up recruit. We can take him. No way he can stop the three of us."
"I suggest you cease what you are doing," Connor barked, "Leave this place, you're hurting innocent people. On my word your friend will receive medical treatment, but stop any further action now. Take your forces and leave, or so help me I will crush every single one of you."
"Good luck with that, you tyrannt! Come on boys let's get him!" The three speedsters took off toward him, but the moved so slow. Too slow. They took up a circular formation moving around Connor at speeds matching hurricane force winds. Fools.
Focusing on the heels of one of them, he sped up the molecules on the suit and just on the edge of his skin. Heating them up, and causing one of the speedsters to scream out and crash to the ground and curl up cradling his burning limb. Connor reached up and grabbed the leader by the neck and slammed face first into the ground. He was out within seconds. One left
Connor was almost too late. The last one saw what happened to his teammates, and fear had run through him faster than he was moving. He was brave though, and had taken off through the clinic doors as fast as he could. He was about to slam his first through the main operation console for the purple ray machine, when he suddenly stopped.
Connor grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him around. The boy's eyes were wide in shock. Connor smirked, and held up a finger wagging it back in forth in a disapproving gesture. He then rose up his fist, preparing to strike,
"OH GOD PLEASE NO! DON'T KILL ME!" The boy screamed, as Connor's fist raced towards him, but only stopped just in front of his face. Then Connor thumped him. Thumped him hard enough that it cracked his helmet, and caused his eyes to roll in the back of his head, and pass out. Connor dropped him to the floor, and heard people start to come out of hiding. Connor stood there, and raised his hands up looking at them. He felt strong, and thrilled like he hadn't in years. He had forgotten, just how good it felt, and just why he became a hero in the first place. Then he picked up the sounds across the city. There were fifty seven medical clinics in Metropolis. Twenty had already been hit, twenty four were in the process of being attacked, and the remainder hadn't been attacked yet, but Connor could hear the boots fast approaching.
He couldn't waist time any longer. The rebels weren't going to stop. Drawing on his strength he soared out the front door of the clinic. Moving as fast has he could push himself. All he could see were faces, and the boots of the rebels as he tripped, punched, burned, and froze in place one rebel member after another. It finally ended in city square, where Connor stood holding the last member of the rebel attack force on Metropolis. The rebel fainted, and Connor finally slowed himself down long enough to get a grasp of his surroundings.
"Oh-no." he muttered as he looked around. There were crowds of people. Hawkmen stood still either hovering in mid-air or looking up at him. The jumbo screens all had his face, there were so many cameras, all looking up at him.
Suddenly the crowd erupted into cheers and applause. Connor stood there, froze in the moment, unsure of what to do, until one of the Hawkmen approached him.
"Sir," He said gestured toward the fainted rebel Connor was holding. Connor hesitated for a moment. A little unsure of what to do, but he took a breath and looked at the Hawkmen with a glare of authority.
"Round them up," Connor said tossing the rebel to the Hawkman, "Have your men search the city, and arrest any stragglers. I have to get to Washington. There's a lot of work to do still."
"Yes, sir" He replied and took the rebel away, and began briefing the other Hawkmen on what to do. Connor looked at the cheering crowd one last time, before looking to the sky and taking off. He wasn't sure how he heard the voice of one little girl over that entire crowd, but nevertheless her words rang clear in his ears.
"Mommy, Mommy, look! It's Superman!" the little girl piped. Connor didn't really know how to take that statement, but for some reason, he couldn't stop from smiling.