Disclaimer: I do not own any DC characters or locations. All rights belong to DC Comics. I do, however, retain the rights to all characters and locations of my own creation, which include: Rebecca Chavez, Holly Sanders, Jeremiah Belmont, Michael Kubrick, Zaria (as well as her Celarian race), Shao Shen, Chief Gerald Palmer, Officer Stevens, Emilia Marconi, Francis Baldoni, Arnold Pavoni, Senator Thomas Greene, Agent Croft, as well as Silverstone City and all its interior locations of my own creation.
Rating: T+ (Maybe a few brief M moments, but that's about it)
Note: And so begins the eighth story arc, which is part 1 of the big crossover event. This arc sees the shady passing of a new law that forces superheroes to give up their identities and fall under government control. Those who resist are warranted for arrest and taken in by a new government agency created specifically to deal with them. What happens when a nation's government turns on its heroes? Read on to find out!
Side Note: Hoo boy, this one has been both frustrating and fun to write. Fun, because it's such a big story with so many characters. Frustrating because... well, there's so many characters and I don't quite know how to write them all perfectly. Hopefully things work well enough, and I was actually happier with the outcome so far than I thought I would be. Let me know how you, the readers, think it works!
Int. Rose's Martial Arts Studio – Day
The line of students shuffles towards the exit after a long hour of training and hard work. Though all dressed in white gis, some wear different colored belts, acknowledging their higher rank. Of course, with this being the intermediate class, they are all near the same level, with some just having advanced a little quicker than others. Rose wipes the sweat from her brow, heading behind the counter and loosening the belt of her own gi, watching as her students begin to leave.
Rose: Good job today, everyone. Remember, this was the last class for next two weeks, but we'll be open again after New Year's.
Her students turn back and give her a few waves and parting words, then head outside into the snowy streets. It's been nearly four months now since her martial arts studio has been open, and since then it's really taken off, becoming quite popular amongst the people in the neighborhood, mostly younger kids in high school. Of course, Becky and Holly both have been sure to make it to her evening classes for more training, in addition to the private lessons she already gives them.
Becky, in particular, has really come a long way in such a short amount of time, proving to be quite a natural at it. In spite of a somewhat slow start, she's been picking up Rose's teachings at an increasingly quick pace and can almost even land a hit during their spars. Then there's Holly, the little firecracker that she is, who has only further increased her skill. She reminds Rose of herself near that age, packing a lot of punch for one so small.
Removing the top of her gi to expose the plain white T-shirt beneath, Rose lets out a small sigh and drops into a chair behind the counter. Opening the mini-fridge next to her, she pulls out a bottle of water and takes a long sip, then turns her attention to the woman sitting at the counter and going through the computer.
Rose: So, how's everything look?
Circe: Just finished paying the bills for this place and sorting through the student payments. Everything is in order.
Rose: Good to hear. You seem to be adjusting just fine.
Circe: Please, I'm not that out of tune with things work in the world. I've lived a mortal life before, briefly, although the circumstances were much different. Acting as your bookkeeper is simple enough.
Rose: You know, I still haven't received a thank you for giving you this job. Or for getting you Becky's old apartment, after she moved in with me. Or for letting you have my old car.
Circe: Haven't you? Imagine that.
Releasing a small sigh, Rose takes another gulp of water. Circe can be pretty abrasive, but she does her job well enough. Also, true to her word, she's been raising her daughter well, even enrolling Lyta into Holly's school; the two girls are in the same class together now, and have grown quite close.
Rose: So, are you and Lyta coming by later?
Circe's fingers briefly stop typing at the computer, as she turns to look over her shoulder.
Circe: I suppose. I still have no idea what the purpose of this 'Christmas' is, but Lyta is looking forward to coming over. What time would be appropriate?
Rose: Well, I'm taking Becky and Holly out to dinner later, when Becky gets off work. Probably be back around seven... say seven-thirty?
Circe: We'll be there at seven-thirty, then.
She turns back to the computer again, fingers flying across the keyboard.
Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night
Christmas Eve, one of the happiest times of the year for many people. For Rose, however, it's been a long, long time since she had experienced a truly enjoyable Christmas holiday, not since she lived with her mother over six years ago. Last year had been alright, with just her and Holly, but given that she had still been adjusting to her new life, it hadn't been as great as it could have. Now, however, she can share this Christmas with not just Holly, but Becky, too. Even Circe, as disagreeable as she can be, and her daughter, Lyta, are there to participate in the festivities, or at least as festive as a small Christmas Eve get-together can be.
Rose busily works in the kitchen, putting together a tray of dessert snacks, most of which she had baked herself the day before. She's only glad that none of her old team had been there to see her baking, of all things. Especially Wonder Girl... Cassie never would have let her live it down. Hell, she'd even been wearing an apron. Two years ago, Rose would have sooner burned an apron to ashes than put one on, but she has grown in that time, changed in ways she never could have imagined.
As Rose continues putting together the desserts, Becky sits with Circe in the living room, attempting to explain the concept of Christmas to her.
Circe: So, you're telling me that this holiday is supposed to celebrate the birthday of an imaginary figure who died two thousand years ago? I fail to see the point in that.
Becky: Uh... something like that. But forget the religious aspects of it. It's more just a day for friends and family to come together and celebrate the good in their life. And exchange presents, of course.
Furrowing her brow, Circe folds her arm and leans back in the armchair. For a moment, she says nothing, then glances over at the brightly decorated Christmas tree in the corner of the living room.
Circe: And what is the purpose of decorating a tree with brightly colored lights?
Becky: Well, just for... decoration. I mean, it looks pretty, ah?
Circe: I wouldn't call it pretty. Gaudy, maybe.
Becky: Er, in any case, it's also where you put the gifts. See, there under the tree?
Circe: I suppose that's a more practical reason...
Becky: We got you a gift, you know.
Suddenly, Circe's demeanor shifts. She sits up straighter in her seat, eyebrows raising and arms folding.
Circe: Oh, did you?
Becky: There's one for Lyta, too. They're under the tree with the others.
Gaze shifting briefly over to the bundle of wrapped presents beneath the tree, Circe raises a hand to her chin and lets out a cool breath.
Circe: I see... Lyta, dear, did you hear that?
But her daughter isn't listening, currently engaged in her own activities. A short distance away, over at the table, Lyta and Holly are sitting together. Holly leans forward, watching in awe as Lyta holds her hands out and emits bright, colorful flames from her palms. She makes the flames dance and take different shapes, then lets them burst into sparkles. Being a demigod herself, and the daughter of (formerly) one of the most powerful sorceresses in the world, Lyta's own magical potential is quite large.
Holly: That is so cool.
Lyta: I can do more, too, watch.
Holding her hands up and far apart, she causes flickering sparks to jump between her fingers, until finally she holds a steady electrical current. After a few moments, she brings her palms together, pressing them firmly and causing her hands to glow brightly. Holly grins widely, thoroughly impressed.
Holly: Man, I bet you could put on the best magic show ever.
Lyta: Maybe not the best, but yeah, it would be pretty awesome, right?
Circe: Lyta, I said 'did you hear that?'
Finally, Lyta hears her mother, looking up from her spot at the table.
Lyta: Huh? No, what's that?
Circe: There's a present for you under the tree.
Instantly, the girl's face lights up, as she jumps out of her seat and heads for the tree.
Lyta: Really? Awesome!
Becky: It's from all of us, hope you like it.
Holly: I helped pick it out!
Finding her present fairly quickly, Lyta levitates it up into the air in front of her and tears off the wrapping paper with a simple wave of the hand. Her gift is a book, a hugely popular and successful book, in fact, and written by a good friend: “Hex Appeal: The Modern Girl's Guide to Magic”, by Zatanna Zatara.
Becky: Most of the stuff in there is just a bunch of illusions and sleight of hand for the average person, but Zatanna assured us that someone like yourself could get a whole lot more out of it. You like it?
Lyta: Like it? I love it! This is so amazing.
A huge smile on her face, she waves another hand, causing the levitating book to begin flipping itself through its pages.
Lyta: There's a lot cool stuff in here! Thank you so much, this is great!
Becky: Ah, de nada. Glad you enjoy it. Now, I think your mother should open her gift next, don't you?
Lyta: Oh, I'll find it for her!
Going through the presents again, she soon finds the small present and sends it through the air over to Circe. Catching it, Circe stares at it for a few moments, rolling it over in her hands.
Circe: It's quite small...
Becky: Just open it, girl.
Finally, Circe does indeed open it, although she must physically do so with her hands, unlike her magical daughter. Beneath the wrapping paper is a small felt box, which she flips open to see a gold chained necklace inside, with a small, ruby pendant. Instantly, Circe's eyebrows raise, as she lifts it up and takes a closer look.
Circe: This is... I mean, it's beautiful. You... really bought this for me?
Becky: Hey, it's a gift. Like it or not, you're our friend, and we give our friends gifts on Christmas.
Circe: I don't know what to say.
Becky: 'Thank you' might be a good start.
A long pause drifts between them, as Circe gazes at the pendant for a while longer, then eventually putting it around her neck. She looks suddenly more docile and agreeable than before.
Circe: Thank you.
Carrying a tray of desserts, Rose makes her way into the living room finally, joining the others. She sets down the tray, which Lyta and Holly immediately attack, going straight for the brownies. Smirking a little, Rose reaches for one of the small cups on the tray and then passes it to Circe.
Rose: Ever had eggnog?
Circe: I don't believe I have.
Taking the cup, Circe stares tentatively at the liquid inside, before taking a small sip. Instantly, she holds a hand up to her mouth and grimaces, forcing herself to swallow. She then coughs a few times, putting the cup back on the tray.
Circe: Vile, absolutely vile!
Rose tries not to laugh too hard, giving Becky an amused look.
Rose: Well, you either like it or you don't. Guess you fall into the latter category.
Becky: I'll grab the wine, in that case.
Still chuckling under her breath, Becky gets up and heads to the kitchen, returning a short few moments later with a cup of wine. Circe takes it immediately, downing a large gulp to get the taste of eggnog out of her mouth.
Rose: Oh, Circe, I've been meaning to ask, can you watch Holly tomorrow?
Circe: Isn't tomorrow your Christmas Day?
Rose: Yeah, but unfortunately some people have to work tomorrow regardless.
Circe: Doing what?
Becky: Police detail. The station arranged for a police escort to transport a dangerous metahuman criminal. I'll be working that.
Ravager: And they want me to help. Well, technically not me. They want Ravager, in case something goes awry.
In the past several months, her relationship with the local police force has gone from shaky to incredibly solid. With how much she's helped them, and how much crime she's stopped, especially crime that the police wouldn't have been able to otherwise, The Ravager is not just a mysterious vigilante anymore, but instead a well regarded fellow peacekeeper around the the city. It is for that reason that they asked her to go along on the police transport, since she has experience handling extremely dangerous meta criminals.
Circe: I don't remember seeing anything about that in the papers.
Becky: It was kept pretty quiet. The guy was actually nabbed one town over, then brought here for trial. Of course, being what he is, they pushed him through the court system pretty fast. Now that he's officially guilty, he has a nice cozy cell waiting for him in Belle Reve.
Circe: I see. Well, I suppose I can watch Holly tomorrow, in that case. I'm sure Lyta wouldn't mind.
Rose: Good, thanks. We'll bring her by sometime in the morning, soon as we finish opening presents here.
A couple hours later, Circe and Lyta take their leave, heading back home. Rose puts Holly to bed, then helps Becky clean up everything. Finally, at around eleven, the two get a chance to just sit back and relax on the couch together, watching the snow fall outside the large window in front of them.
Becky: Feels good, doesn't it?
Becky: Celebrating Christmas like this. Friends, family...
Reaching out, she takes one of Rose's hands in a firm grip, their fingers interlocking.
Becky: I know you said you've never really had much of that.
Rose: Not in a long time.
Returning the squeeze with her hand, Rose leans closer to Becky, resting her head on the woman's shoulder.
Rose: It does feel good.
Becky turns her head slightly, then lifts Rose's chin with her other hand. Leaning in, she gives a deep, loving kiss, then curls up closer to her, shifting into a warm embrace.
Becky: Merry Christmas, Rose.
Ext. Silverstone City Police Station – Early Morning
Ravager: Whoever arranged for a police transport on Christmas Day should be shot and hanged.
At least, that is one of the passing thoughts currently running through her head. She should be enjoying a nice morning of presents, cinnamon rolls, and general laziness, but instead here she is, working in daylight for the first time since coming to Silverstone. While she could have refused and just opted to stay home with Holly, she had worked too hard to gain good standing with the local police to go and blow them off, and Holly would be fine with Circe and Lyta.
Becky: I'm pretty sure that would be the Chief. Something about lighter traffic.
Ravager: Remind me to smack him next time I see him.
Becky: I'd do it for you, if it wouldn't get me fired.
Ravager: So who is this guy we're transporting, anyway?
Becky: Goes by the name of Leonard Smalls. According to the information they handed out, he's a powerful pyrokinetic, along with the usual schtick of super strength and durability. Hell, I heard he once survived a trip down to the earth's core. But, he's got an inhibitor collar on him now to nullify his powers, so he shouldn't be a problem.
Ravager: And he was stopped during a rampage over in Springfield?
Becky: By the Flash, yeah. Not sure what his problem was, be he tore apart half the town before finally being subdued.
Ravager: Well, with a name like Smalls, can't really blame him for being so angry.
A small smirk forms across Becky's face, as she opens the door to her squad car.
Becky: You'll be following behind us, right?
Rose: On my ride, yeah. I'll be ready at a moment's notice, if something goes wrong.
Becky: Kay, see ya out there.
With that, Becky gets into her squad car and closes the door, waiting for the signal to move out. Ravager gives her a wave, then heads over to her own ride, the even more heavily advanced than before cycle built for her by Batman. It looks much the same as her last one, but the engine is more powerful, and the steering much smoother. It's also outfitted with a bunch of nifty and useful little gadgets. As she mounts the bike, she is approached by an older cop, greying around the ears and wrinkling around the eyes.
McCormick: Hello, hey, you're The Ravager, right?
Ravager: You see anyone else dressed up in an armored suit and wearing a mask?
McCormick: Uh, right. Anyway, I just wanted to introduce myself before we get this show on the road. I'm Officer McCormick, I'm in charge of the transport today.
Ravager stares at the man for a moment, before reaching forward to shake his extended hand.
Ravager: Tell me, McCormick, you really expect something to happen?
McCormick: Oh, I'd certainly hope not. But with these kinds of people, you never can be too careful. No telling what kinds of friends they might have trying to bust them out.
Ravager: And you think a dozen squad cars, plus me, are going to be enough to repel one of these hypothetical attacks?
McCormick: It'll have to do, because it's all we got. Besides, you're used to this kind of stuff; you can handle it, right?
Ravager: Oh, trust me, I can handle it.
Ext. Highway out of Silverstone – Early Morning
The traffic is very light on the highway, with only a scant few other cars here and there. Most people are at home either sleeping in or opening presents at this time, and those that will be traveling won't be doing so until later in the morning. This allows for the police transport convoy to progress swiftly and smoothly towards Belle Reve Penitentiary. Given that the location is about six hours away, however, they're in for quite the long drive. Keeping in the back, Ravager pays close attention to the setup. Six squad cars out in front of the armored car transporting the prisoner, and six behind it. If anything did happen, she just hoped that they could handle it. One or two rogue metas coming to free their boss, sure, no problem. But a whole team? Well, that could be an issue.
It's snowing still, has been since the night before, resulting in a heavy blanket of white powder covering the surrounding land, and a rather slick road surface. At least they got a white Christmas, even if driving in the snow is a pain in the ass, especially on a bike. Fortunately, her new ride comes equipped to handle all kinds of weather conditions.
About a half hour down the highway outside of Silverstone, something does happen, although nothing that they had expected. The convoy is forced to slow down to a halt, as a road block consisting of half a dozen black cars with tinted windows sits directly in their path, blocking the entire width of the highway. Ravager glares from behind her faceplate (now outfitted with two eye holes, ever since she got her missing eye back). This definitely isn't normal.
Stopping her ride, she gets off and starts walking towards the front of the line of squad cars. Some other cops are standing outside their vehicles, while others remain seated inside. As she passes Becky's car, the window rolls down.
Becky: The hell do you suppose this is?
Ravager: Not a clue, but I intend to find out.
By the time she reaches the front of the convoy, Officer McCormick is already there, talking to a man dressed in a dark suit and tie, with tinted sunglasses.
McCormick: ...out of your damn mind! This man killed fifty-seven people in an hour, and caused millions in property damage.
Agent Croft: I'm afraid it's a presidential order.
McCormick: Bullsh*t! You honestly expect me to believe-
Ravager: Alright, what the hell is going on here?
The two man glance over at her. The man in the suit looks remarkably calm, while McCormick is borderline livid.
Agent Croft: And you are?
McCormick: This is Ravager; she's assisting us on our transport today. Ravager, this is Agent Croft, with the FBI. He's demanding that we free our prisoner.
Furrowing her brow, Ravager slowly looks over to the fed.
Ravager: You do realize who you're talking about, right? A highly dangerous criminal capable of incredible amounts of destruction. A murderer, plain and simple.
Agent Croft: We know who he is ma'am, but we you're to release him at once. I have the written order right here.
Reaching into his pocket, Agent Croft pulls out an envelope and removes the folded paper inside. McCormick takes the paper from him and quickly reads it over. It is, indeed, a written order to release the prisoner, signed by the President of the United States himself, along with the presidential seal stamped right next to the signature.
McCormick: This is insane. We can't just let him go; he's been found guilty in a court of law. He's a convicted felon!
Agent Croft: Not our call, just following orders.
Putting a hand on McCormick's shoulder, Ravager turns him to the side for a moment, leaning in to whisper to him.
Ravager: I don't like this, there's too much wrong with it.
McCormick: You're telling me. None of this makes any sense.
Ravager: Exactly. How did they even know when we were transporting this guy? They haven't given an actual reason for his release, either, just that it's supposedly a presidential order. That also doesn't make any sense. Why would the president want to free a mass murderer?
McCormick: But at the same time, what are we supposed to do? The papers look legit, and if this is a presidential order, we can't ignore it.
Ravager: So you're just going to let him go?
McCormick: Believe me, I don't like it, but I don't see how we have any other choice.
Letting out a small groan, Ravager lifts a hand to her head and shakes it slowly.
Ravager: Alright, fine, but just remember that-
Her words suddenly catch in her throat, as her mind is blotted out by a precognitive vision. It's not one of her brief warnings of an attack, it's a more extensive one, which she's quite used to by this point. But what she sees sends her into defensive mode. Federal agents firing, dead cops, burning vehicles, and a man standing over them wrapped in flames.
Ravager: Officer McCormick, walk very slowly back to your vehicle, and leave this to me.
McCormick: What are you-
Ravager: Just do it.
He gives her a long, confused look, but the seriousness in her tone finally gets him to head back to his squad car. Ravager then turns back to Agent Croft, glaring at him.
Ravager: So, when were you planning to do it?
Agent Croft: Do what, exactly?
Ravager: Open fire on everyone here.
A long pause passes between them, until finally Agent Croft folds his arms and tilts his head forward, looking over the top of his sunglasses.
Agent Croft: He was right about you; you do see things.
Ravager's body suddenly tenses up, eyes narrowing.
But she never gets an answer. Instead, she sees another flicker of precog, this time reacting to it instantly. Before the agent can get his hands on his gun, Ravager delivers a hard palm strike to the bottom of his chin, whipping his head back and knocking him to the ground unconscious. Then, pandemonium erupts. The feds standing behind their cars all draw their weapons, beginning to open fire on them. Some carry pistols, but others are equipped with heavier artillery, mostly assault rifles.
Several cops go down before they realize they're under attack and start shooting back. Ravager is already on the move, running forward and using her precog to dodge bullets. Leaping over the wall of cars, she lands on the other side and starts attacking everyone in range. They try to shoot her, but are largely unsuccessful, as she viciously beats them down into unconsciousness. The few bullets that do manage to strike her are stopped cold by her upgraded armor; she barely feels them.
Within a short couple of minutes, the shootout ceases. Ravager glances around quickly, carefully examining things. Most of the feds are either unconscious, dead, or rolling around in crippling pain. Back on the other side, she spots at least half a dozen dead cops, on the ground and bleeding. Hurrying quickly back over to the police convoy, she looks around frantically.
Becky: Over here.
Ravager's gaze quickly turns to find Becky sitting on the ground and leaning up against her squad car. She's bleeding from a gunshot wound on her arm, but doesn't seem to be hurt beyond that.
Ravager: You alright?
Becky: Si, just a flesh wound. I'll be fine.
Her attention is pulled away a moment later by Officer McCormick, who approaches them from behind.
McCormick: What in the hell was that?! You want to explain why you just caused federal agents to shoot at us?
Ravager: They never meant to do this peacefully.
McCormick: What are you talking about?
Ravager: They were going to kill us all after they freed the prisoner. No one would have gotten away.
McCormick: And how the f*ck do you know that?
Ravager: I saw it.
McCormick: What do you mean you-
A loud gunshot goes off. Suddenly, Officer McCormick falls face first against the cold ground, bleeding from a gaping wound on his backside. Taking a surprised step backwards, Ravager looks up back over at the road block. Through the whipping snowflakes falling from the sky, she sees a figure standing atop one of the cars. He holds a shotgun forward, the barrel smoking.
Ravager instantly freezes up when she recognizes who the man is. Mask or not, there's no mistaking him for someone else. He's far too familiar to her; those colors, that costume...
And then, the voice.
Deathstroke: What's the matter, Rose? Didn't see that one coming?
Ext. Highway out of Silverstone – Early Morning
Chaos erupts across the highway yet again, this time fueled by the mercenary known as Deathstroke, otherwise known as Ravager's father. As soon as he appears and kills McCormick, the remaining cops open fire on him, as well. Unfortunately, they have no idea what they're getting themselves into. He reacts far too fast for them, already moving, ducking, weaving, and drawing a pair of automatic pistols. Within seconds, he mows them all down, until not a single one is left standing. All that's left are him, Ravager, Becky, and the prisoner in the armored car. Ravager already has her swords drawn.
Ravager: You have some nerve showing up here, coming after me. After all this time, I'd finally put you behind me... and then you show up again like this. You son of a b*tch...
Deathstroke: What makes you think I'm here for you, Rose? I gave you a chance before to come with me, to start our family over, but you threw the offer back in my face. You don't interest me anymore.
Ravager: Then why are you here, shooting down cops? Last time we met, you said you were cleaning the slate, starting over. So much for that bullsh*t, huh?
Deathstroke: I'm here for the prisoner, nothing more. I was hired to make sure this transaction went... smoothly. My client is a very important man, after all.
Ravager: Your client?
Deathstroke: Details, Rose, you know I can't divulge them.
Leaning back closer against her squad car, Becky stifles a small groan at the throbbing from her gunshot. It may just be a flesh wound on the arm, but it still hurts. Moving her head slightly to the side, she tries to see over the front of the vehicle, to get a closer look at their attack.
Becky: Rose, who is that?
Ravager: My father...
Becky: Dios mio... you serious?
Cocking his head to the side slightly, Deathstroke's single eye glares her her through his mask.
Deathstroke: Giving away your identity to the local cops now? Or is she a friend? Didn't realize you had any these days, after that incident with the Titans.
Fingers tightening around her sword handles, Ravager scowls.
Ravager: You don't know anything about it, a**hole.
Deathstroke: I notice you have a new costume now. Finally decided to try and step out from my shadow? It doesn't suit you.
Ravager: Shut up...
Deathstroke: And two eye holes? Is that supposed to be ironic or did you really go and get another?
Ravager: Shut. Up.
Deathstroke: You can change your appearance and distance yourself from me as much as you like, but it doesn't matter, Rose. In the end, you'll never be anything more than Daddy's little girl.
Ravager: I said... SHUT UP!
She suddenly charges at him, not wanting to listen to his venomous words any longer. She had thought herself free of her b**tard father, living her own life with no more constant reminders of him. She had finally been able to push him out of her mind entirely, had been starting to forget him... and then, in an instant, all that freedom is gone. Ravager lunges in at him wildly, viciously, swinging her blades with every intent on ripping through her father's midsection and spilling his insides out over the highway. But of course, he's too quick for that, simply moving out of the way and drawing his own sword.
For a brief few moments, their steel clashes. Her heart thumps quickly in her chest, everything slowing down as her mind and body come into near perfect, fluid harmony. She can see his attacks, defends against them effortlessly, presses her attack... but then she realizes that he's just toying with her. All that harmony comes crumbling down when his knee drives straight into her gut with tremendous force, knocking the wind from her even through her armor. A follow up kick to the head sends her sliding across the ground, and knocks the faceplate clean off her helmet to expose her face.
Deathstroke: You've gotten better, Rose, I can see it in the way you fight, the way you move. But you're sloppy right now, clumsy. You can't get me out of your head, can you?
Gritting her teeth, Ravager pushes herself back up to one knee. As she moves to stand back up, he's suddenly on her again, driving his leg squarely into her chest and causing her to crash back against a nearby squad car, denting the door. Walking forward, he reaches down and grabs her by the front of her suit, pulling her up.
Deathstroke: And as long as I'm in your head, you can't beat me.
A gunshot goes off, the loud bang echoing through the cold, winter air. Deathstroke pulls his hand back in sudden pain, the bullet driving into his armored costume and forcing his sword from his grasp. Slowly, he turns to see Rebecca standing there with one hand pointing her pistol at him. Her other arm hangs limply, bleeding from the wound near her shoulder.
Becky: Get away from her, you b**tard! Put your hands on her head, and get down on your knees! I won't say it again!
Ravager: Becky, don't! Just get back!
Deathstroke's grip suddenly releases from Ravager, dropping her back to the ground and adding another hard kick to her gut for good measure. She coughs out a deep breath, holding herself up on her elbows.
She doesn't know what she's doing, she'll get herself killed!
When Deathstroke doesn't back down, Becky fires again. Deathstroke is already out of harm's way, on the move and rushing straight at her. Her eyes goes wide, as she tries to follow him with her aim. Two more shots go off, but she misses those, as well, and then he's on her. Utilizing her recent training, Becky attempts to defend herself, and actually manages to evade and block the first couple of strikes. She quickly loses ground, however, until finally Deathstroke's knee explodes into her stomach, followed by his palm snapping her head backwards. A straight, stomping kick to the chest puts her on the ground, coughing and gasping for air. Reaching into his holster, Deathstroke pulls out another one of his guns and points it down at her.
Deathstroke: Should have stayed out of it.
Before he can shoot, however, he's suddenly defending himself against a furious, wild Ravager. She comes it at him half crazed, slashing her swords and screaming at him.
Ravager: Don't you touch her!
Though her blades manage to draw blood, the wounds are shallow and do little to slow her father down. Deathstroke quickly recovers from the surprise attack and disarms her, then puts her down again with several hard blows to the midsection. Falling back to the ground, Ravager holds her arms over her stomach, curling up slightly at the resulting pain. One thing about her father, he hits hard.
Deathstroke: Well, looks like I was wrong. Not just friends at all. You never cease to surprise me, Rose.
Rose: Go to hell...
Ignoring her, Deathstroke walks through the carnage, steps over bodies, and finally makes it to the armored car. Shooting off the locks to the rear doors, he throws them open and jumps up inside, where a large, dark skinned man sits, strapped to the bench on the side with a thick metal collar around his neck.
Deathstroke: Leonard Smalls, Jr.?
Holocaust: You're lookin' at him. But I prefer Holocaust.
Deathstroke: Holocaust, then.
Holocaust: So who the hell are you?
Deathstroke: I'm the one who's getting you out of here. A very important man has a proposition for you, one I don't think you'll want to pass up.
Holocaust: I'll be the judge of that.
Deathstroke: If you want your slate wiped clean, you'll take the offer. Either that, or I leave you here.
Holocaust: I'll consider it. That's all you're gettin'.
Deathstroke: Good enough.
Walking over to the man, Deathstroke draws a knife and cuts the straps holding Holocaust in place, then breaks the inhibitor collar and removes it. Instantly, Holocaust stands up and holds up his fists, unleashing a swirl of fire that bursts through the top of the vehicle. Grinning widely, a pleased chuckle echoes in his throat.
Holocaust: Now that's what I'm talkin' about!
Deathstroke: Come on, we're wasting time. We have places to be.
Holocaust: Right behind you.
When the two exit the armored car, Deathstroke looks around carefully. He doesn't see any sign of his daughter or her girlfriend; they most likely retreated when they had the chance. Not that it matters. He didn't come here for them, after all.
Deathstroke: One more thing before we go; get rid of the evidence.
Holocaust: Heh, my pleasure.
Red hot flames engulf the man's body, then quickly begins to spread across the highway and consume vehicles and bodies alike, incinerating them to ash. In mere seconds, a towering inferno rages across the road, thick billows of black smoke rising into the sky.
Int. Silverstone City Police Station – Day
Police Chief Gerald Palmer sits behind his desk, hands folded and gaze narrowed at the two people standing across from him, Ravager and Rebecca Chavez, the latter of whom has her injured arm in a sling. They've just finished debriefing him on the events that took place on the highway, and quite frankly, it's a lot to absorb.
Chief Palmer: So let me get this straight... You were stopped by a federal roadblock, demanded to give up your prisoner, then attacked not only by the FBI, but an international criminal mercenary, resulting in the deaths of fifteen police officers. That about sum it up?
Hanging her head, Becky lets out a long breath.
Becky: Yes, sir.
Ravager: I'd say that pretty much covers it, yeah. Except, you missed the part where the pyro freak torched the entire scene. Wasn't a lot left when we went back to check.
Leaning back in his seat, Chief Palmer runs his fingers through his hair sucks in a large breath of air. He's trying to hold it together, in spite of an overwhelming mixture of anger, grief, confusion, and a swarm of other emotions raging inside his head like a maelstrom.
Chief Palmer: Son of a b*tch... I knew those men. Good cops, every last one of them. Now I have to tell their families that... Goddamn it.
Both Ravager and Becky remain silent, only glancing at each other briefly.
Chief Palmer: Okay, you two just... go. Chavez, take the rest of the day off, Ravager... do whatever you normally do. I'll handle this. Gotta send a team up to investigate the scene, send word out to the deceased's families, report this... incident. Just... go, both of you. Now!
Ravager is the first to turn and leave, heading out the door. Becky, however, remains behind a brief moment. She knew all those men, knew them well. They were fellow cops, there was a bond there. Losing that many of her comrades in one day... she feels the pain of it, too.
Becky: Sir... if there's anything I can-
Chief Palmer: Not now, Chavez. Just... not now.
Swallowing a hard lump in her throat, Becky nods slowly, then finally leaves the office.
Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day
Rose watches, as Becky moves across the penthouse and into the living room, dropping herself onto the couch. They're both tired and hurting, but in different ways. For a long moment, neither says anything. Becky sits there, motionless, while Rose stands in the main hallway, head hanging. Finally, she turns and starts heading into the kitchen.
Rose: I'll... put some coffee on.
The next ten minutes go by in utter silence. Rose just stands there, watching the coffee drip into the pot. When it finishes, she pours two cups and walks into the living room to be with her girlfriend. Though she holds one of the cups of coffee out, Becky doesn't acknowledge it at first. Only after Rose pushes it closer to her face does she finally take it, bringing it to her lips and sipping down the hot drink.
Rose sits down down across from her in one of the arm chairs. She takes a long sip of coffee, then leans forward and places her mug down on the table between them. Words escape her at the moment, not knowing exactly what to say. Neither of them had been prepared for such an incident today. Even Ravager, with all her experience, is at a loss. Fortunately, Becky breaks the silence.
Becky: So... that was your father?
Becky: He's a b**tard.
Rose: I know.
Breathing in a long gulp of air, Rose holds a hand to her forehead and leans back in her seat, eyes closing.
Rose: I thought... I really thought I was finally free of him, you know? I had my own life, one that he wasn't a part of, I'd managed to get him out of my mind... and then he comes right back in and f*cks with me all over again.
Bringing up her cup of coffee again, Becky takes another long sip.
Becky: Who do you think hired him? It... couldn't really be the president, could it? I mean, you don't really think...
Rose: No, no way. If Slade's involved, then those guys couldn't have been legit, definitely not feds. Maybe just some goons my dad's employer hired as plan A. When that fell through, daddy dearest came in as plan B. But whoever it is... whoever hired him, I'm going to find him, and I'm going to hurt him.
Becky: Yeah... I'm sure you will.
A brief moment of silence passes between them. Rose glances up at Becky, notices the hurt on her face. Seeing Becky this way... it makes Rose almost sick to her stomach. Getting up from her seat, she moves forward around the table and comes to sit on the couch next to Becky, putting a hand on the woman's shoulder.
Rose: Becky... I'm sorry. I really... I know they were your friends. I was a cop, too, I know how strong that bond is... and you worked with them a lot longer than I did.
An answer doesn't come immediately. Becky simply sits there, quietly staring down at her reflection in the cup of coffee. Eventually, she breathes out a heavy sigh and shakes her head slightly.
Becky: I just... I wish I wasn't so useless all the time.
Rose: What are you talking about?
Becky: Rose, what did I really do today? I shot at a few people, got shot myself, then almost got killed. A big help I was, huh?
Rose: Becky, there's nothing you could have done.
Becky: But that's the problem!
She's on her feet now, lurching up from her seat and holding her good hand up to her head. For a moment, she just paces, then finally drops her arm and looks to Rose.
Becky: With how you live your life, with what you do... this whole superhero thing, I can't help you with that. No matter how much I want to, I can't. Yeah, I'm a cop, but as you love to point out, there's just some things that the cops can't handle. Take today, for instance. All I did was get in the way. I want to do more.
Rose: But you already do more, Beck. You help me every night, at that computer, on the radio. You-
Becky: Jueputa! I don't want to be stuck behind a computer! When you're out there every night getting yourself shot at, putting bad guys away, what am I doing? Sitting at a desk and praying to god that you come home in one piece. I want to be out there with you, Rose, I want to really help you.
Rose: Becky... even if I wanted to put you in danger like that every night, you still wouldn't be ready, you're just-
Becky: A rookie, right, I know. Madre de Dios, I know.
Rubbing her eyes tiredly, Becky starts pacing again, then swallows a tight knot in her throat. She's trying to hide the wetness of tears beginning to form, but isn't entirely successful. Rose can see the moistness seeping around her fingertips.
Becky: And I don't have any powers or anything special about me, anyway. I can't even fight that well... what could I really do?
Standing from her seat, Rose comes forward and puts her hands on Becky's shoulders, giving her a hard, yet caring gaze.
Rose: You don't need anything super or special about you, Becky. No matter what, you're special to me, and that's what matters.
Becky: I... I know, I just... I can't help it, you know? I hate being here while you're out there, knowing I can't do anything for you. I just wish I could do more.
Rose: But you don't need to. Just being yourself... being in my life, you're already do more than enough.
When Becky goes silent, her gaze lowering towards the floor, Rose leans in and gives her a firm, loving kiss. When their lips part, Becky takes in a heavy breath again and swallows, then nods slowly.
Becky: Thanks... I'm just gonna take a while to clear my head. Think I'll take a shower.
Rose: Alright, you do that. I gotta go pick up Holly, anyway. When I get back, we'll all go out for dinner, how's that sound?
A small smile curls its way across Becky's face.
Becky: Sounds perfect.
Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Day
It's snowing again, but only light flurries this time. People line the streets, watching the squad cars and police motorcycles drive by in a long, mournful procession. Six days, that's how long it takes to organize such a massive funeral march. As much as the city would rather have individual funerals for these fallen officers, there just isn't enough taxpayer money to go around for fifteen such instances. Never before has such a tragedy befallen Silverstone's finest, and every single person there is hoping that it never does again.
Rose stands on the sidewalk, at the corner of Levitt and Hunting Street. Holly is there with her, holding her hand tightly and watching with sad eyes. She may be young, but she's old enough to understand the kind of impact that such an event has on the a city and its people. The general public hadn't been privy to the details of the event that actually took the lives of so many officers, though. All they were told was that dangerous criminals had heartlessly murdered them. As for the information about Deathstroke, the phony feds, and phantom presidential orders, that's all being kept under wraps, at least for now.
After the initial wave of police cruisers, the long lines of officers on foot appears, marching behind the slow procession. Becky is right at the front, walking in rhythm and trying to keep her head high, in spite of the tears evident on her face. But she isn't the only one crying. Nearly every single officer waters around the eyes. These men were their co-workers, their comrades, their friends, and they will be missed. As the line of police continues on, Holly glances up and tugs slightly at Rose's hand.
Holly: Are they going to catch the people that did this?
Breathing outwardly, Rose returns the gaze.
Rose: Of course they are.
Holly: Are you going to help?
Rose: Yeah... damn right I am.
No matter what it takes, Rose will find out who was responsible for that massacre. She's already heavily involved as it is, with her father being the biggest lead that they have, but there's something more driving her motivation, something burning deep. Whoever did this would pay dearly. Whatever she needs to do... the people responsible won't get away. She'll make sure of it.
Looking back to the funeral procession, Holly lets out a heavy breath, tightening her fingers around Rose's hand.
Int. Silverstone City Central Police Station – Day
Several hours later...
Becky knocks lightly on Chief Palmer's office door, taking in a deep breath and then slowly letting it out. When the response comes, telling her to come inside, she hesitates. Part of her just wants to turn the other way and keep on going, maybe find a nice hole to curl up in and disappear. Of course, the other part of her, the stronger part of her, forces her through the door. She closes it back behind her, then stands awkwardly in front of the man's desk for a moment.
Chief Palmer: You can sit down, Chavez.
Becky: Right, of course.
Moving forward, she quickly sets herself down in the chair across from him.
Becky: Sorry, I... I mean, I wasn't...
Chief Palmer: I know, don't worry about it. Now, what did you want to see me about?
Becky: I just... wanted to talk. About the incident last week.
Chief Palmer: What about it?
Becky: I want to apologize. I was there when it happened, you know? I.. I tried to do what I could, sir, but it wasn't enough. We were caught completely off guard, unprepared, and we failed. I failed.
Becky hangs her head, as a silent pause drifts over over them. Regardless of how much she knows it isn't her fault, knows there was nothing else she could have done to help, the guilt is still there, clawing at the back of her mind constantly. Chief Palmer gazes back at her, shifting in his seat and sighing.
Chief Palmer: The only reason you failed is because I failed. I should have handled it differently, set the transport up another way... I don't know, maybe I put too much trust in that Ravager.
Becky: Ravager is the only reason I'm still alive, sir. She fought tooth and nail with us, but she's only one person.
Chief Palmer: I know, I know... it's not her fault. And it's not your fault, either.
Becky: Right... it's whoever set us up, whoever hired Deathstroke, whoever wanted that prisoner free. That's who we should be going after, and I want to help. Whatever you need me to do, sir, I'm yours. I'll take extra shifts, go undercover, work with the detectives, it doesn't matter. I want to help catch these b**tards.
Another long silence passes between them. Palmer's gaze moves away from her, a hand coming up to run through his hair. He looks nervous, agitated even. This doesn't go unnoticed, as Becky narrows her eyes at him, curiously.
Becky: What is it? I know that look, something's wrong.
Chief Palmer: Something's wrong, alright. We won't be handling the investigation.
Becky: Mierda! Are you kidding me?
Chief Palmer: I wish I were, believe me.
Becky: What the hell happened?
Chief Palmer: It's become a federal case. All I was told was that the FBI would be handling the investigation, and that we can't be involved. You know, because we're just the damn city cops.
Practically jumping up to her feet, Becky slams her fists on top of the desk. She's not just angry, she's not just upset; she's p*ssed.
Becky: The city cops who just lost fifteen members of their force! And they're telling us we can't be involved? That's bullsh*t!
Chief Palmer: Believe me, I'm right there with you, but there isn't anything I can do about it. Those are the orders.
In her outburst, Becky drives her boot into the desk, giving it an astoundingly hard kick that rattles everything on it. Palmer doesn't make a move to calm her down, though, or try to get her to stop. She's reacting exactly how he would expect her to react, actually. He isn't any more pleased about the situation that she is; the only difference is, being police chief, he doesn't get to react like that. Rather, he has to retain his cool, has to bite the bullet. But Becky... he lets her vent.
Becky: Of all the garbage things to... I can't even... Goddamn it! Permission to take the rest of the day off, chief? I... I feel like I need to go hit something.
Chief Palmer: Was just about to suggest it myself, actually. Take tomorrow off, too, give you some time to clear your head.
Clenching her jaw briefly, she nods to him and then heads to the door.
The door slams behind her, shaking the entire wall. Breathing out another long sigh, Chief Palmer leans forward against his desk and holds his head in his hands; he suddenly has a very large headache.
Int. Rose's Martial Arts Studio – Day
The studio might be closed for another few days, but Becky really wants to hit something, and this is the only place with a sizable enough area for them to spar in properly. The penthouse living room suffices well enough when all the furniture is moved out of the way, but this is much preferable.
Rose ducks the incoming punch, then counters with a palm thrust to the chest. Becky stumbles backwards, growling in frustration, but doesn't let that slow her down. She comes back in again with a whirling kick, viciously. Rose throws up an arm to block it, then pushes her leg to the side.
Rose: It has to be some kind of joke. The feds are really just coming in and pushing you out of the way?
Becky: Of course they are, why not?
Exhaling a loud, sharp breath, Becky lunges forward with another punch; she hits air. Trying not to fall too far off balance, she follows up quickly with a roundhouse elbow, but again Rose blocks it.
Becky: I'm pretty sure it's in the FBI handbook, to be the biggest a**holes possible. Kick us off the case, keep us in the dark... sons of b*tches!
As their spar goes on, Becky grows increasingly aggravated, not only because of the situation involving the investigation, but also because she still hasn't managed to land a hit on her sparring partner, in spite of how bad she wants let out her frustrations on something. She thought that maybe this time, she would actually give Rose a challenge... but not so much. Even with how much she has improved, Rose is still leaps ahead of her.
Becky: Hijo de puta! I need to hit something!
Again, Rose blocks an incoming strike and pushes Becky off balance. She isn't fighting back as she usually does, instead just defending herself. No reason to add insult to injury, after all. Still, Becky doesn't give up, pressing her zealous attack with everything she has. Unfortunately, everything she has isn't nearly enough, as Rose continues to nearly effortlessly avoid her strikes.
Becky: Goddamn it!
Rose: Would you rather I just stand here like a dummy, or do you want earn it?
Another duck, another weave, another misstep that throws Becky off balance.
Becky: To be honest, I'd rather just beat the crap out of something!
This time, Rose catches Becky's arm and twists it slightly, then pushes her backwards while stepping behind her, in the process tripping her up. Becky goes down, landing on her behind and beating her fists against the mat.
Rose: There's always the heavy bag.
Becky: The heavy bag doesn't fight back.
Flipping herself back up to her feet, she lunges in with a flying kick. Rose sidesteps it, pushing her on by and causing her to stumble yet again.
Becky: It won't help me improve.
Uttering another loud breath, she turns and throws a cross jab, only to once more be pushed away with ease. This time, Rose moves behind her and puts her in a simple choke hold, with one arm forced behind her back.
Becky: And... I'm going... to improve!
A few months ago, Becky would have been trapped for good, but not anymore. Throwing her body forward, she uses the moment to flip Rose over herself onto her back. Letting out a quick breath upon impact, Rose looks up and then grabs onto Becky's gi, throwing her down as well.
Rose: You have improved. But you still have a long way to go.
When both are back on their feet, Rose takes another defensive stance and waits for Becky to make her next move. For a moment, however, Becky just stands there, taking deep, angry breaths. The frustration is still written heavily across her face.
Rose: I'm waiting.
Becky: When do you have to pick up Holly?
Rose: Uh, she'll be at Circe's for another few hours, why?
On that note, Becky runs in with a wild yell. Rose prepares to defend herself, but she isn't quite prepared for what happens next. Even her precog doesn't pick it up. Diving forward, Becky tackles Rose to the ground, pinning her there on her back and straddling her hips. She breathes deep, heavy breaths, hands coming up to pull open Rose's gi. In the next moment, her lips are attacking Rose's neck, while her hands start moving in under her clothes. Rose's eyes go wide, back arcing and body tingling.
Rose: Whoa, alright, wasn't expecting that.
Becky: If I can't beat away my frustrations, I'm gonna handle them a different way.
As Becky starts pulling her shirt off, Rose utters a long breath, eyes closing.
Rose: Well sh*t... be my guest.
Int. Circe's Apartment – Day
The two women walk up to the apartment door hand in hand, both rather glowing at the moment. After what Becky had initiated, though, it's no wonder. Raising a fist to knock on the door, Rose glances over at her girlfriend and raises her eyebrows.
Rose: So, you feeling better now?
Becky: A little, yeah. Still doesn't make me like being benched by the feds any better, though.
Rose: I know, but don't worry. They might be able to put you on the sidelines, but they can't do the same to Ravager. We'll get to the bottom of this with or without permission, promise.
Giving her hand a firm squeeze, Becky smiles, while leaning in to give Rose a quick kiss before the door opens, answered by Lyta.
Rose: Hi, Lyta, how's it going?
Lyta: Hey! Things are great, thanks. Come on in, everyone's in the living room.
Following the girl into the apartment, Rose and Becky make their way into the living room, where Circe and Holly are sitting and watching the television closely. From the looks of it, the channel is on some kind of political talk show. Rose furrows her brow curiously, then sits next to Circe on the couch.
Rose: What's going on?
Circe: Shh, you're going to want to hear this. Just listen.
Now even more confused, she turns her full attention to the television screen now, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees. It doesn't take long for her to identify the man being interviewed: it's the current New York State Senator, Thomas Greene.
Interviewer/Television: So, can you give us some more details on this bill you're introducing? I've heard from many sources that it could change our nation forever.
Greene/Television: You mean 'introduced'; it's already making its way through the process of becoming law.
Interviewer/Television: Right, of course. In record time, too, isn't that right? It was only proposed a few months ago, and already it's being voted on.
Greene/Television: That's correct. The content of this bill is of great importance to the security and stability of our nation for years to come.
Interviewer/Television: Why don't you reiterate, for any of our viewers just joining us? What about this bill is so important?
Greene/Television: Well, it's no secret that our world is populated by people of extraordinary power, people who dress up in costumes and masks, hide their identities, fight crime. We call them superheroes. Our kids look up to them, they have their own comic books, they save the world, etcetera, etcetera.
Interviewer/Television: But you feel there's a problem with that, correct?
Greene/Television: Not so much in the sense that I don't appreciate what these people do, but in the sense that they aren't regulated, they aren't controlled, and they aren't held accountable for when they make mistakes. This happens on a consistent basis; they do so much good that we overlook the fact that they don't strictly follow the law, laws that work well enough for the rest of our nation's people.
Interviewer/Television: A lot of people don't mind that, though. Even local law enforcement agencies back our heroes with what they do. As long as they keep helping others, should it matter if they're always acting inside the strict confines of the law? Just to play devil's advocate here, they have saved the world more times than we can count.
Greene/Television: I'm not denying how much they help, I'm saying that these people need to be monitored closely, they need to be regulated. Sure, they do good, but they've also done bad. You have some so called superheroes that are the good guys one day, and the bad guys the next. That's a lot of power out there that can just turn at the drop of a hat.
Interviewer/Television: Well, I can't say you're wrong there.
Greene/Television: And furthermore, if these people are going to using that kind of power, whether for good or otherwise, they must be held accountable for collateral damage. Too many times have I seen unnecessary amounts of destruction as a result of a superhero's power. And what happens? It gets swept under the rug. We turn the other way, because, oh, they're the hero, they have the power, so it's not their fault. Well guess what? Sometimes, it is their fault.
Interviewer/Television: Could you give us an example?
Greene/Television: Gladly. Go back about a year and a half, maybe two years ago, down in San Francisco. A bunch of thugs storm the local police station, take half a a dozen officers hostage, and make demands. Aside from the fact that the victims are some of the city's finest, sounds like your standard hostage situation, right?
Interviewer/Television: Seems like it, yes.
Green/Television: Well, that's where you'd be wrong. See, when negotiations don't get anywhere, instead of following normal procedure, what happens? They call in the local superhero team, the Teen Titans; you know them.
Interviewer/Television: I do.
Up until now, they've been watching the program in relative silence, mostly concerned and curious. Now, however, Rose is on her feet, heart pumping rapidly.
Rose: That son of a b*tch!
Turning to her, Becky puts a hand on her shoulder, eyes narrowing.
Becky: What is it?
Rose: He's... he's bringing it up. That. The reason I left the Titans, remember? I told you about it.
The revelation suddenly hits her. Becky's eyebrows lift, as she turns back to the television.
Greene/Television: ...setting the explosives off, even though she was told not to go in. A mistake that got six police officers killed, as well as one of their own. You'd think that this 'Ravager' would be held accountable for such a tragedy, right?
Interviewer/Television: Well, of course.
Greene/Television: And you'd be wrong again. What happened instead? The incident was ruled as an accident. Sure, relations between the San Francisco police and the Teen Titans were shaky for a while, but were any charges filed? Did the superhero known as Ravager pay for her mistake? No, it was forgotten about. Just one of the many reasons why this bill is going through so quickly, so that if things like that happen again, someone answers for it.
Rose is livid now, hands clenched to fists and arms shaking. Her eyes glare a hole through the television screen.
Rose: It was an accident! I didn't mean...
But the interview continues, in spite of her rather loud outburst. There's nothing she can do to make them stop, after all. She isn't there; she can only watch.
Interviewer/Television: I suppose you make fair points, but what exactly would this bill accomplish with the superhero community? What is its intent?
Greene/Television: The Extraordinary Persons Regulation Act intends to deliver a way to monitor these people we know as superheroes. No longer will they be free to run around uncontrolled, doing things as they see fit. They'll follow strict regulations, and be held accountable for their actions, or they won't do anything at all. With the laws set forth when this bill is voted in, there will be no more uncontrolled vigilantism.
Interviewer/Television: And instead replacing it with... controlled vigilantism?
Green/Interviewer: In a sense, yes. Those people we know as superheroes will be required to register with the government, in turn giving us access to their full identities, details on the extent of their powers, if any, and will regularly report to our department, who will determine and monitor their activities. It should also be noted that this Act covers not just those we refer to as 'metahumans', but also those affiliated with magic, such as the magician Zatanna, individuals who are of a more alien origin, like our very own Superman, as well as unpowered vigilantes who are physical weapons in their own right, such as Batman. Those who refuse to register will not be allowed to continue their 'superheroing' by law, and if they attempt to break that law, they will be detained and arrested for illegal vigilantism.
They watch the program with wide eyes, in utter disbelief at what they're hearing. Rose clenches her jaw, shaking her head and muttering under her breath, while Becky runs her fingers through her hair. Even Holly and Lyta watch with their mouths slightly agape. Only Circe seems to be remaining calm.
Rose: Bullsh*t. This is complete bullsh*t.
Becky: They... can't do that. Can they do that?
Circe: I think they just did.
Rose: But they can't! They want us to hand over our secret identities? They're secret for a reason! And f*ck all if they think I'm gonna be playing call girl for some government patsies!
Becky: It won't go through... it can't go through. They'll vote against it. Right?
No one has an answer. All they can do is keep watching the program.
Interviewer/Television: Oh, just one more question. You mentioned that the newly registered 'extraordinary persons' would have to report to your department. What department is that?
Greene/Television: I'm glad you asked. Since other departments of this nature have been... unsuccessful in the past, as well as restricted in how much they can get involved, a new government funded department will be created, called the Vigilante Regulation Agency, or the VRA. I actually have the future director of this agency with me here today, if you'd like to have a few words with him.
Interviewer/Television: Oh, well, yes, that would be great. Bring him on out.
When this new director walks into frame, Rose isn't quite sure how hard she kicked the coffee table, but it ends up flying across the room and crashing into the wall. She yells, too, rather loudly, though not any coherent word or thought, just a wild, angry, spiteful shout of disbelief. Thoughts begin to swarm around in her head, and suddenly some things start making sense. Those hadn't been phony feds, meaning that those presidential orders were likely legit, which makes the person who hired them...
But that doesn't make any sense... why... why would they do that?
As the man, wearing an eye patch across his right eye, sits down and shakes hands with the interviewer, Senator Greene leans forward against the desk in front of him and smiles.
Green/Television: Allow me to introduce you to the future Director of the VRA, when this bill passes: Slade Wilson.
Int. Political Talk Show Set – Day
In the middle of the interview, shortly after Slade Wilson is introduced as the future Director of the Vigilante Regulation Agency, things are suddenly interrupted. A red and yellow blur zips into the building, rushing straight past personnel quicker than they can see. In an instant, the Flash is standing in front of Senator Greene with his hands pressed against the table in front of him.
Flash: Are you out of your mind?!
Camera crew, sound operators, the talk show host, the guests, and everyone else present all stare in surprise for several moments, an awkward silence descending over them. Leaning back in her chair, the woman conducting the interview utters an exasperated breath and then motions to the man in red.
Interviewer: Uh, w-well, looks like we have an unexpected guest with us, ladies and gentleman. I give you the Justice League's very own Flash.
The Flash glances between the host and Senator Greene briefly, then focuses his gaze on Slade, pointing at him.
Flash: This man is a criminal! A dangerous, murderous psychopath, and it's hardly a secret! You all know him as Deathstroke the Terminator. He should be behind bars, not sitting here on a talk show! And hiring him as this director of your bogus agency? What's the deal? This some kind of stunt? Because it's a stupid one.
Grinning slightly, Slade folds his arms and sinks into his seat.
Slade: Good to see you, too, as always.
Flash: Don't play friendly with me, Slade. You know damn well what kind of person you are.
Clearing his throat, Senator Greene leans forward, giving Flash a very stern look.
Greene: We appreciate the concern, really, but I'm afraid it is unneeded. Mr. Wilson has done some questionable things in the past, yes-
Flash: Questionable? Well if that isn't the understatement of the century...
Greene: But he's been given a second chance, employed under direct order of the government to head the Vigilante Regulation Agency.
Slade: Full presidential pardon, if that means anything to you.
Narrowing his gaze, Flash glares back at Slade again.
Flash: He's already been given enough chances. Guys like him don't change; he's a killer, end of story.
Interviewer: While we appreciate this visit, Mr. Flash, are you quite finished insulting and slandering my guest on national television?
Greene: Yes, if we could get back to the discussion; I believe we were on the specifics of the registration process.
Flash: Don't even get me started on this bill of yours, Senator. Superheroes registering with the government? Are you trying to get our families targeted by our enemies? Because that's what will happen when you force us to give up our identities. There's a reason we wear these masks, and it isn't just a fashion statement.
Greene: I assure you, the secret identities of you and your fellow superheroes will only be divulged to a select few members of the government, namely the President, his cabinet, and those in charge of the VRA, like Mr. Wilson here.
Leaning forward closely, Slade utters a whisper under his breath, so the cameras can't here.
Slade: Of course, some identities I already know. Isn't that right, Wally?
Throwing up his hands in disgust, Flash starts walking away from the set.
Flash: This is completely bogus, I'm out of here. But you can bet we're not done with this, Senator. You're going to have a very vocal superhero community rising up against this bill, I guarantee it.
Greene: By all means, Flash, we welcome it.
Int. Hall of Justice – Night
The Justice League isn't quite what it used to be. After many fallouts, disbandings, rebuildings, and members leaving for other things, the once most prominent superhero team in the world is but a shell of its former glory. That's not to say that the current members don't still operate normally or won't be there to fight the big fight when the next alien invasion finds is way to earth, but most of the big names are gone, replaced by newer faces. Membership is a lot smaller than it used to be, too, no longer expanded to the much larger team it was in its heyday.
Still, all, or at least most, of the current members do show up to the meeting, the first one in long time. They gather around the conference table in the meeting hall, at the very back of the building, away from the public museum area. Batman sits at the head of the table, with the other members spread out around the sides: Donna Troy, Supergirl, The Flash, Cyborg, Jesse Quick, and Jade. There is still one empty seat, but considering the member who it belongs to hasn't returned his calls, they're not waiting for him to show up.
Leaning forward, Batman folds his hands in front of him and gives them all a long look.
Batman: I assume we all know why we're here?
Flash: Yeah, to figure out what we're going to do about this trumped up law they're trying to pass.
Donna: I must admit, from what I've heard, it does not sound like an avenue that will benefit heroes.
Folding his arms, Cyborg sits back in his chair and frowns.
Cyborg: I don't think it's meant to benefit heroes, only the lawmakers who want to keep better tabs on us.
Supergirl: You mean control us. That's what this is about; the government wants us in their back pocket to do with what they please. And forcing us to give up our secret identities...
Jade: Would that really be such a bad thing, though? I mean, if it would help superhero relations...
Supergirl: Easy for you to say, you don't have a secret identity.
Looking up from the stack of papers she's reading through, Jesse Quick snickers under her breath.
Jesse: Yeah, pretty hard to accomplish that when you have green hair and skin.
Jade: Nobody asked you.
Batman: Alright, calm down. We're not here to argue. Jesse, you still keep in contact with the JSA, right? What are their thoughts on this?
Jesse: Well, according to Power Girl, she's pretty much against it. Something about exposing her identity causing complications with running her company effectively, or something. Though, the other members aren't as concerned over it. She may be their leader, but she's in the minority.
Flash: Then I guess it's just up to us to come up with a solution.
A moment later, the doors to the meeting hall slide open, revealing another figure standing there. The others looks over at him for a moment, before he finally approaches the table and sits down.
Green Arrow: Heard you were having a meeting.
Batman: Connor, glad you could make it.
Green Arrow: Yeah, well my father sure wasn't coming. Figured you needed an arrow representative.
Donna: Is Oliver still...
Green Arrow: On his mad quest for vengeance? Yeah, pretty much.
Batman: Let's move on. Jesse, what can you tell us about the details on the bill?
Glancing up again from her papers, which happens to be a copy of the Extraordinary Persons Regulation Act given to them by Senator Greene, Jesse lets out a long breath and shakes her head.
Jesse: Nothing good, I'm afraid. There's a lot more in here than just what they're telling people in the media. From what I can gather, any superhero that fails to register with the VRA by the designated deadline, which will be determined after the law passes, and continues to try and fight crime, can be arrested and jailed for illegal vigilantism for no less than 90 days on their first offense. Depending on the number and severity of infractions, that time only goes up from there.
Cyborg: Branded criminals for trying to help people, go figure. I don't like it.
Donna: It just seems so unnecessary and extreme.
Jade: The simple solution would be to just register, then we can keep doing what we do.
Supergirl: Yeah, but on the government's leash. And if you muck up and cause unneeded damage while trying to fight a supervillain or something, they'll slap you with... uh, what was it called again?
Jesse: Superhero negligence.
Supergirl: Right, that.
Jesse: That's not all, though.
Flash: Of course it's not.
Clearing her throat slightly, Jesse sits up straighter in her seat and flips through a few pages.
Jesse: According to section twelve, paragraph B, it will become law for citizens to notify the VRA of anyone with metahuman, magical, or otherwise destructive abilities. This includes people who have been identified to have the metagene, even if it isn't active, and forces them to register so the VRA can monitor their growth, development, and level of power.
Flash: This just keeps getting better and better.
Jesse: And with how vaguely this section is worded, it could even allow the VRA to take children from their homes if they fit the above descriptions, to be held in a government facility where they can be watched, with no indication of how long they're forced to stay there.
Tapping his fingers on the table, Green Arrow shakes his head slightly and frowns.
Green Arrow: So, they don't just want to control superheroes, they want to abduct kids with powers and raise them themselves. Wouldn't be surprised if they tried to turn those kids into government weapons.
Glancing over at Jade, Supergirl folds her arms.
Supergirl: Still in favor?
Jade: I... suppose that might be a bit too far. Maybe it could be worded differently, or some sections amended. But I still don't think the general idea is that terrible.
Flash: Yeah, well for those of us with secret identities, exposing that will leave our families as open targets. If people know who we are, they'll know who to attack to get to us.
Jade: But it's not like our identities would be thrown out to the general public or anything; they're only going to the government, and even then mostly just the VRA.
Cyborg: You really that's going to end well with someone like Slade in charge? Somehow, I don't think our identities are any safer in his hands than the public's.
Flash: What I want to know is why in the world they would give him that chance? Why would they want a cold blooded murderer in a government position?
Donna: And why would he have received a presidential pardon for his past crimes?
Jesse: Seriously... is the president on something, or what?
Batman: Another matter for another time. We need to focus on the bill right now.
Flash: Any ideas?
Cyborg: Well, we could show up at the congressional committee meeting tomorrow; that's when they'll be finalizing the bill's last minute details before sending it off to the president to sign.
Green Arrow: Some of us could, anyway. I doubt the entire Justice League showing up at the capitol building and interrupting a congressional meeting would look too hot.
Donna: A good point. I would suggest that we also come up with a written counter to the bill itself, voicing our concerns and opinions, and why we believe the bill should not be passed.
Supergirl: And you really that that will work?
Jesse: It's worth a shot. I mean, what else can we do? Just sit here and hope the thing gets vetoed by some miracle?
Jade: We should also come up with an alternate version to the bill, one more clearly defined, just as an alternative if we can't stop it from passing altogether. Maybe they'll consider some changes.
Looking around at the Justice League members, Batman stands up from his seat and leans forward, hands flat against the table.
Batman: All in favor of this course of action?
Int. Capitol Building – Day
The time is roughly one-thirty in the afternoon, when the doors to the conference chambers burst open. Several men in suits are hurrying after the three costumed individuals, trying to stop them, but of course they can't really do a whole lot. The members of the senate and house of representatives on the conference committee all turn their attention over to the interruption, their previous discussion coming to an abrupt halt. One senator in particular, the familiar Senator Greene, stands up from his seat and leans forward, glaring at the intruding heroes.
Greene: Might I ask what this is all about?
Coming forward to the center of the chamber, Donna Troy, Cyborg, and Supergirl look up at Greene. Donna acts as their spokeswoman, approaching the man and dropping a large packet of papers in front of him.
Donna: We've come here to protest the passing of your bill. This here is a written declaration from the Justice League of America that details our concerns, apprehensions, and overall distaste for what your proposed laws will do to the superhero community.
Clearing his throat, Greene slowly sinks back into his seat, then folds his hands in front of him.
Greene: I'm afraid that's not the way it works, dear.
Donna: Maybe not, but I think you can agree that this bill is unique in not only its content, but also the way in which it's being shoved through the system to be made law as soon as possible. I think that warrants an unorthodox counter. If you'll just read through this document, you'll find our response to every section of the bill, our opinions on it, and why the idea should be voided or how it could be improved.
Greene: And you managed to type this all in one night?
Donna: We have two speedsters on our team.
Greene: Point taken.
Leaning forward for a moment, the senator takes a few moments to look over the first page, then briefly flip through the packet, before closing it again and taking in a deep breath.
Greene: Well, you seem to have put a great deal of thought and effort in this, and you know we of course highly respect the League's input.
Donna: Of course.
The three teammates give each other quick glances, as though mentally noting to each other that they don't quite believe the man's words.
Greene: Tell you what, we'll break this conference for lunch and I'll make copies of your... protest. Once everyone has a copy and has read it thoroughly, then we'll reconsider our options on how to approach this bill. How does that sound?
A brief pause passes between them. Cyborg and Supergirl lean in close, whispering their thoughts to her. Nodding, Donna looks back to the senator and folds her arms.
Donna: Very well, as long as you'll take our opinions seriously and strongly consider them.
Greene: Of course. Now, if you'll excuse us, it looks like we have a lot of homework to do.
The three heroes give their goodbyes and then finally exit the chamber. When the doors close behind them, Senator Greene lets out a cool breath and glances back down at the packet. He gazes at it for a few moments, then lifts it up and drops it into the trash can next to his table. Not a single other person present so much as bats an eye over the action.
Greene: So, where were we?
Int. Vigilante Regulation Agency Headquarters – Day
Three weeks later...
Slade Wilson takes in a deep breath and slowly lets it out, standing behind his desk and looking carefully around the office. It will do just fine, for now. He might consider reorganizing things a little later on, but right now he has more important things to deal with than the arrangement of furniture. Sitting down in his seat, he reaches over to the intercom system at the corner of the desk and pushes the button.
Slade: Cindy, send Leonard in, please.
Cindy/Intercom: Right away, Mr. Wilson.
Several minutes later, Leonard Smalls, Jr., otherwise known as Holocaust, enters into the office. The large, muscled man comes forward and drops down a stack of files on the desk.
Slade: Welcome, Leonard. Enjoying your new position?
Holocaust: Actually a bit boring, but it beats prison.
Slade: Don't worry, you'll be seeing plenty of action soon, I assure you. Are these the files I requested?
Holocaust: Every last of 'em. The top one is a list of all the supes who registered already. The first wave, as you called it.
Reaching for the top file, Slade opens it and glances over the list inside, which includes names, addresses, aliases, and an assortment of other personal information. A few names in particular catch his eye, next to some notable superhero identities: Bernhard Baker, Courtney Whitmore, Lorena Marquez, Antonia Moretti, Cissie King-Jones, Ray Palmer, Dinah Lance, Jaime Reyes, Mia Dearden, Bette Kane, Natasha Irons, and Jennifer-Lynn Hayden.
Slade: Interesting... this is good progress.
Holocaust: More are coming in everyday, too.
Slade: And yet still many more will refuse to register; that is inevitable enough. Once the deadline passes two weeks from now, we'll need to be ready to step in; you'll need to be ready, as will the rest of the task force you'll be leading.
Holocaust: Is that what those files are for?
Looking back down at the stack of files in front of him, Slade begins spreading them out across his desk. Written across the top of them are abbreviations for names, and inside are very detailed information about each individual. He gives each file a careful look: SS, KO, KF, MK, ZA, CM, CR and PI.
Slade: Yes, and these should do for now. In time, we'll have plenty more at our disposal. Now, get back to work; I have a few calls to make.
Int. Rose's Martial Arts Studio – Night
Two weeks later...
Wiping sweat from her brow, Rose takes in a deep breath and grabs a bottled water from the mini-fridge behind the counter. She's just finished teaching her fourth and final class of the day, which means in a few hours she'll be heading out for the night as Ravager on patrol, just as she always has, EPRA and VRA be damned. She might have had zero success in turning up any evidence or information against her father, and that stupid law might have passed exactly as the government said it would, but that's not going to stop her from doing what she does best, nothing will. No one is going to make her play pet attack dog to the VRA, especially not with Slade of all people, in charge.
Suddenly, a strong pair of arms wrap around her midsection from behind, squeezing tightly. A soft kiss comes next, pressing against the side of her cheek. Smirking, she turns her head and returns the kiss, pressing her lips firmly against Becky's. From the seat behind the counter, a small, almost disgusted groan sounds out.
Circe: Uck, you two are absolutely nauseating sometimes. What's the expression? “Get a room?” Yes, do that.
Raising her eyebrows, Becky glances over at the purple haired woman.
Becky: When you find love one of these days, maybe you won't be so easily nauseated.
Circe: I tried love once, didn't like it.
Rose: Must have had something to do with you ending up damned to Hell.
Circe: Yes, it must have. Now, if it's all the same to you, I'd very much like to get home. It's been a long day.
Rose: Yeah, alright, get going. Just remember, we have belt tests tomorrow morning, so we're opening an hour earlier.
Circe: I know when we're opening tomorrow; I made the schedule, remember?
Rose: Just checking.
Letting out a frustrated sigh, Circe stands up from her seat and grabs her coat, then looks back for her daughter.
Circe: Lyta, dear, we're going.
Over on the other side of large room, Lyta and Holly are in the middle of their own improvised training. While Lyta used her magical talent to shoot out small orbs of light, Holly would practice either her footwork and agility by dodging them, or her hand eye coordination by striking them out of the air. When her mother calls for her, however, Lyta looks over and smiles.
Lyta: Alright, coming. Later, Holly!
As Lyta goes to leave with her mother, Holly gives her a wave.
Holly: See you tomorrow!
When Circe and Lyta go to leave through the door, however, they're suddenly met by a man wearing a suit and dark sunglasses (despite it being night out), who pushes his way past them inside.
Circe: Uh, sir, hello? We're closed right now.
He doesn't respond, instead walking straight up to Rose and Becky.
Again, no answer. But he doesn't need to say anything for Rose to know exactly who it is. It might have been a little more than a month ago, but she hasn't forgotten that face.
Well, looks like someone survived the highway barbeque.
It's what he finally says, though, that has her heart beating rapidly in her chest.
Croft: Rose Wilson, otherwise known as The Ravager, pleased to meet you again.
Instantly, Rose's eyes narrow. She steps in front of Becky and glares at the man.
Rose: Two questions: What the hell are you doing here, and how the hell do you know who I am?
Croft: I'm with the VRA now, Rose. It's our job to know these things.
Rose: Well isn't that just dandy?
So Slade's his boss now, no wonder he knows who I am.
Croft: As for what I'm doing here...
Reaching into his coat pocket, he pulls out a folded slip of paper and hands it over to her.
Croft: I have a warrant for your arrest.
As he pushes the warrant in front of Rose's face, Becky moves around her in shock.
Becky: Arrest?! What are you talking about? What the hell are the charges?
The other girls, Circe, Lyta, and Holly, watch in much more reserved silence, though they're just as confused and concerned as the more vocal Becky is.
Croft: Well, let's see, what was there...? Oh, yes, failing to register on time with the VRA, for one. The deadline was three days ago, and the police confirmed your activities these past few nights acting as Silverstone's vigilante, a direct violation. That's a minimum of 90 days right there. Then, there's superhero negligence, which you committed roughly two years ago and resulted in the deaths of six police officers.
Rose: That was a mistake! An accident!
Croft: Yes, a mistake that you're finally going to be paying for.
Becky: But this wasn't even a law when that happened! You can't charge her with that!
Croft: Actually, according to section twenty-seven of the Extraordinary Persons Regulation Act, retroactive arrests are perfectly legal in this scenario. But that isn't all, anyway. We also have you on no less than two-hundred and sixty-seven counts of assault and battery as an illegal vigilante, and the murder of one Arnold Pavoni.
Rose: Pavoni was scum!
How does he even know about that?! Pavoni's body was destroyed in the house explosion, which Jerry caused. No one knew that I killed him before that! No one even knew I was there!
Croft: But you don't deny the murder. So, all in all, you're looking at some hefty jail time once you're convicted.
Becky: Jueputa! This is crap!
Clearing his throat, Agent Croft then glances over at Becky and reaches into his coat again. He then pulls out another folded slip of paper and hands this one over to her.
Croft: And here's the warrant for your arrest, as well.
Reaching forward, Rose grabs the man's shirt collar and yanks him towards her.
Rose: What the hell crap are you trying to pull now?!
Croft: Nothing at all. This is perfectly standard, actually. According to our information, the woman known as Rebecca Chavez has been knowingly aiding and abetting an illegal vigilante, as well as a wanted criminal – that would be you.
Rose: You're out of your mind!
Croft: As for the girl, Holly Sanders, she's to be taken and handed over to social services.
At this, Holly's eyes go wide, as she immediately rushes over to stand behind Rose for protection. A brief moment later, Rose straight up clocks the man, bashing her knuckles into his jaw. Agent Croft goes flying back through the air, landing hard and sliding across the floor. When he come to a stop, he wearily sits up and wipes the blood from his lip.
Croft: And now we can add assaulting a VRA official to your charges.
Rose: You are not taking Holly away! You hear me? You're not taking any of us! Now get the hell out of my studio before I throw you out the window!
Slowly returning to his feet, Agent Croft reaches inside his mouth and pulls out a loose tooth, followed by spitting out a large mouthful of blood.
Croft: I had hoped we could handle this peacefully, like adults, but in the event that you decided to act like a child, I brought backup.
Rose: The hell are you talking about?
Before he can answer, the front window of the building shatters inward, sending a spray of glass in all directions. Circe desperately pulls Lyta out of the way, as two figures land inside, both women. The first is shorter, with short auburn hair, and dressed in a tactical leather outfit complete with a lower face mask covering from her neck to her nose. A pair of metal bracers adorn each arm, both equipped with two long, wicked looking blades. The second woman is much taller, standing at least a head and a half above the other, with long, fiery red hair, toned muscular body, and a green colored costume with domino mask.
Still holding his jaw, Agent Croft walks backs away and gives the two women a hard look.
Croft: Scandal, Knockout, take them in.
The shorter woman with the arm blades begins advancing forward.
Scandal: My pleasure.
Rose pushes Becky out of the way, as Scandal suddenly lunges in with a solid kick. She's surprised at just how deft and perfectly placed the attack is, being forced to duck down and roll away from a follow up swing of her blades. Springing up to her feet, Rose flips back over the counter, just evading a second blade strike, which ends up slicing the counter clean in half, causing the computer to crash to the ground.
Rose: Hey, that cost money, b*tch!
Scandal: Cry me a river!
The woman known as Knockout, meanwhile, comes forward towards Becky and simply folds her arms.
Knockout: I will give you a single opportunity to surrender, whelp.
Becky: Like hell. Holly, get back, I gotta take care of this.
Once Holly is in the clear, Becky makes her move, utilizing all the training that Rose has given her up until this point to attack. Unfortunately... it doesn't go nearly as well as she pictured it in her head. Knockout doesn't even move, instead standing there as the roundhouse kick strikes the side of her head, not even causing her to flinch. Becky, on the other hand, feels like she just kicked a brick, hopping backwards on one foot in pain.
Becky: Hijo de puta!
Rose weaves around the blade attacks, doing everything she can to avoid being hit. Her reflexes and her precog are doing just fine, but she isn't wearing her armor right now, and she doesn't have her own swords, while this woman is fighting viciously, wildly, and yet not seemingly losing any skill as a result.
God I feel like I'm fighting naked right now.
Finally, she sees an opening. Turning her body to the side, she traps one of her opponent's arms with her own, then reaches up with her other hand to catch Scandal's remaining wrist. Without so much as a hesitation, she throws her head forward and smashes it against the woman's nose, feeling it snap.
And then they're both falling. Scandal tumbles backwards, taking Rose with her, while driving her knee forward. Rose ends up landing right atop it when they hit the floor, the knee coming into her gut and knocking the wind from her lungs. Coughing in shock, Rose rolls off and holds her abdomen, trying to scramble back to her feet. Her precog goes off, though, and suddenly she's throwing herself backwards again; but she's not in time.
She feels razor steel slicing into the meat of her shoulder, not a grievous wound, but enough to draw a fair amount of blood and burn with agony. When Rose hits the floor again, she cringes briefly, trying to force herself through the pain. But suddenly Scandal is atop her, blades pressed against her throat. She freezes, daring not make a move.
If I had my swords, this b*tch would be mincemeat!
Scandal: You so much as twitch and I'll cut your throat to the bone, got it?
From the other side of the room, Agent Croft clears his throat.
Croft: We need them alive, Scandal.
Knockout walks back over to Croft, carrying a now unconscious Becky over one shoulder, as easy as though carrying a pillow.
Knockout: I've defeated mine.
Scandal: Someone give me some cuffs so I can- oof!
She's suddenly hit in the head from behind, by none other than an attacking Holly. The young girl may be small, but she knows how to fight, and she isn't about to let the closest person she has to a mother get beaten and arrested like this. Unfortunately, she is still young, meaning she isn't all that effective. Though she gets in one good hit as a result of surprise, Scandal groans and slowly turns her attention to the girl.
Scandal: You little b*tch...
Holly: Leave her alone!
Scandal just stares at the girl for a moment, then raises one of her arms up, pointing the blades at her. She leaves her other pair of blades pressed closely to Rose's neck.
Scandal: Back off, kid.
Rose: Don' you touch her!
Suddenly, Holly is hoisted into the air from behind, as Knockout comes up to her, grabs her around the head, and holds her high in the air. Holly struggles, kicking and screaming.
Holly: Let me go! Let me go!
Knockout: Quiet, young one, we are not going to hurt you.
Scandal: Emphasis on the quiet.
And that's when Lyta, who had up until now been watching the scene from the sidelines with her mother, rushes forward. Circe tries to stop her, but loses her grip on the girl.
Circe: Lyta, no! Don't get involved!
Lyta: Leave my friends alone!
Holding her hands up, her palms abruptly crackle with magical energy. A bolt of lightning shoots out from her finger tips, striking Scandal and throwing her off Rose, while an invisible force causes Knockout to release Holly and then launches the woman backwards into the wall. Lyta hurries over to Holly, helping the girl up.
Lyta: Are you alright?
Holly: Yeah... I'm okay. Thanks.
Lyta: Well I couldn't just let them-
Her words abruptly cut off, as her eyes roll into the back of her head. She teeters there for a moment before falling forward, unconscious with a small dart sticking out the back of her neck. Agent Croft lowers his weapon, a tranquilizer handgun.
Croft: The magic girl will be coming with us, too.
Crying out with pure, seething anger, Circe charges him.
Circe: You b**tard!
But Circe is mortal now. She has no magic, no power, and no real physical fighting experience. Agent Croft might not have any powers of his own, but he does have some training, and thus easily overpowers the woman with a sidestep and chop to the back of the head. Circe goes down hard and doesn't get up.
Rose is back on her feet now, holding a hand to her bleeding wound and taking in deep breaths. She gives the terrified Holly as consoling a look as she can muster and reaches out to hold the girl's hand.
Rose: It's alright, sweetie. I promise, everything's going to be-
A hard blow to the back of her head drops her in a heap. Knockout leans forward to grab the unconscious woman, starting to bring her back over to the others. Holly hurriedly follows, beating her fists futilely against Knockout's backside.
Holly: Put her down! You can't do this! Rose!
And then Holly goes down, as well, another dart sticking out the side of her neck. Scandal walks over, breathing heavy and holding a hand to her chest, where the lightning bolt struck her. The blow had ripped straight through her outfit, burning a hole into her skin. Grumbling to herself, she reaches down to lift Holly up by the shirt collar.
Scandal: Can we go now?
Croft: Of course. Bring them to the van, bind them, and we'll head back to the facility.
Giving them both a nod, he carries out the unconscious Circe and heads for their vehicle. As Scandal makes her way towards the door, Knockout stops her on the way to inspect her wounds.
Knockout: Are you alright, my love?
Scandal: Yeah, fine. Just some scratches; they'll be healed by the time we get back, don't worry about it.
The larger woman breathes out a small sigh of relief.
Knockout: That's good.
Scandal: Come on, let's get the hell out of here. Liana's waiting for us back.
Ext. Gotham City Police Station – Night
Commissioner James Gordon stands on top of the police building roof, aiming the large spotlight up at the clouds. Letting out a cold breath, he shivers slightly, a chill running up his spine. It must be five degrees outside, and he doesn't want to be out here any longer than he has to, especially considering the nature of this call... he just wants to get it over and done with. So far, though, they've been waiting up here for forty minutes. Next to him, Detective Harvey Bullock shifts his weight and lets out an impatient sigh.
Bullock: He ain't coming.
Gordon: He'll be here. He always answers the signal eventually.
Bullock: That could be hours from now, if he's busy
Gordon: So be patient.
Finally, twenty minutes later, two figures swing down onto the rooftop, seemingly out of nowhere. Batman stands straight, holding the cape of his costume closely around his body, likely because of the cold. Robin, on the other hand, leans back against the parapet and folds his arms, waiting for them to get the meeting over with.
Batman: What's this about?
Switching off the bat signal, Gordon shoves his hands into his pockets and steps forward and breathes outwardly.
Gordon: Listen, Batman, I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do about this.
Batman: What are you-
Narrowing his eyes, Batman abruptly cuts his own words off, now noticing a handful of men dressed in armored tactical gear, as well as carrying non-lethal weapons, marching up the stairs that lead from the building to the roof. Remaining silent, he takes a small step back and carefully analyzes just how many men there are, their positioning, and what kinds of weapons they have.
Gordon knew I wouldn't come if they were already waiting on the roof with him... smart.
One of the men, the only one not wearing a helmet and visor, comes forward and holds up a slip of paper.
VRA Agent: Batman, Robin? This is a warrant for your arrest, under the new vigilante laws put into place recently. You were both given ample time to register with the VRA, but have failed to do so. As such, you will be taken in and held for 90 days, at which time you will be made to register with us and then released.
Still silent, Batman slowly reaches forward and takes the paper from him. Robin, on the other hand, jumps up straighter with his eyes wide.
Robin: What?! Uh uh, no way, you're not taking us! Just try it!
Batman: Robin, calm down.
Robin: Calm down? Are you insane? They're trying to arrest us!
Batman: And whining about it isn't going to make the situation any better.
Glaring, Robin folds his arms again.
Robin: I'm not whining...
Turning his attention to the VRA Agent again, Batman gives him the warrant back.
Batman: I can't leave Gotham alone for that amount of time.
VRA Agent: Well, you should have thought about that before you failed to register. Then you'd still be here legally.
Batman: And at your beck and call.
VRA Agent: Make the smart decision, Batman. If you don't come peacefully, our orders are to take you by force.
Batman: That would be a very unwise decision on your part.
Moving forward again, Commissioner Gordon brings his hands out of his pockets and folds his arms. He looks conflicted, caught between his partnership with Batman and orders from a higher authority.
Gordon: Batman, please don't make this any harder than it needs to be. Just do your time, register with them, and you'll be back before you know it. We can handle things until then.
Batman: You know I can't do that.
VRA Agent: Then you know what we have to do.
Robin: Just try it, punks!
Suddenly, Robin charges forward at the man, in a clear move to attack. Batman tries to grab him on the way by, but misses.
Batman: Robin, wait, don't!
He hadn't been planning to fight these men; a simple smoke bomb and quick escape would have worked well enough. Clearly, though, Robin has other ideas. The VRA Agent doesn't even move, as Robin leaps forward, simply watching with knowing eyes. That's when a brown blur dives into view, coming from the shadows of the rooftop, near the doorway leading back into the building. A strong kick drills into the side of Robin's head, sending him tumbling across the roof.
The Boy Wonder groans slightly, pushing his way up to his hands and knees. He's dazed, a throbbing pain in his head. Whoever hit him had hit him hard.
Robin: Cheap shot...
Batman takes a defensive stance, instantly recognizing the man, dressed in an almost knockoff costume of his own but with brown and tan colors, instead of black and grey. His name is Thomas Blake, otherwise known as Catman, the world's most premiere hunter and tracker, also a highly skilled combatant and sometimes criminal.
Catman: Settle down, kid, or I'll hit you harder next time.
Batman: Blake, what the hell are you doing here?
Catman: My job. I'm with the VRA now, ever since they recruited me as part of their task force. I'm here to make sure you go with them. You're welcome to resist if you really think you can take all of us.
When Robin finally stumbles back to his feet, he holds the back of his head and glowers at the man. Without so much as another word, he then runs forward to attack Catman head on... only to be abruptly put down by one of the VRA operatives' stun guns, rendering him flat on his back and and twitching from the electricity coursing through him.
Batman: Alright! That's enough! I'll go, just stop it!
The VRA Agent severs the charge from the cables connecting the stun gun to Robin, relieving the Boy Wonder from pain, though it will be a while until he regains his motor functions. Watching this, Harvey Bullock shifts his weight uneasily and frowns.
Bullock: Jesus, he's just a kid.
VRA Agent: And yet he's as guilty as the rest of them.
Catman: So, ready to come quietly?
Bowing his head, Batman lets out a long breath, not seeing many other options at the moment.
Batman: Fine, I'll go. Robin stays, though; he's still just a kid. I'll serve is time in addition to my own, if need be.
The VRA agent pauses a moment, considering the proposal. He then glances back Robin, holding a hand to his chin and nodding.
VRA Agent: Alright, we can do that. Now, come with us; we have transport waiting down at street level.
Batman gives the men a long look, shifting his gaze between the VRA operatives, Catman, and Gordon. Then, he finally walks forward, escorted by the team back down the stairs. Bullock goes with them. Before leaving, however, he turns to Gordon to make a request.
Batman: Make sure he's alright.
Gordon: Of course.
When he's gone, all that's left on the rooftop is Gordon, Catman, and a still recovering Robin. Humming to himself, Catman reaches into his belt and pulls out a phone, quickly dialing a number. He waits a moment for someone to respond.
Catman: We got the big man, move in on the Birds. Start with that leader of theirs.
Instantly, Gordon's heart jumps and eyes widen. If this guy is referring to the Birds of Prey, then that leader is...
Gordon: No! What are you doing? She's already registered! Why the hell are going after her, too?
Catman: She registered, sure, but that's not all we got her on. She's still been aiding and leading unregistered vigilantes around Gotham, and that makes her guilty by association. So, the VRA brings her in. That's how it works.
Gordon: If you think I'm going to let you lay a hand on my daughter, you're insane!
Catman: Not me; but someone will.
Int. Firewall – Night
The underground base known as Firewall, built beneath Barbara Gordon's apartment, once served as simply Batgirl's personal base, her very own batcave. There, she was assisted by Proxy, Oracle's protégé. In the past couple of years, however, with Oracle returning once more to lead Gotham's Birds of Prey, Firewall evolved into a base for the entire team. Now, both Oracle and Proxy monitor and assist the Birds' crime fighting activities around the city, though Oracle also continues to aid all heroes who need her expertise.
The two women sit across from each other at two separate computer terminals, surrounded by screens, holographic maps, and streams of data. Leaning forward in her chair, Oracle clicks a button on her keyboard and brings up a large map of Gotham's East End. She then brings a hand up to her headset and presses it closer to her ear.
Oracle: I said the one on Park Street. The deal's going down in twenty minutes, you need to get there and get into position.
She expects a response of confirmation soon after, but she gets nothing. Furrowing her brow, she tries again.
Oracle: Black Canary, do you copy? Black Canary?
Still nothing, just a hiss of static.
Oracle: Huntress? Batgirl?
Oracle: Black Bat? Anyone? What the hell is going on?
Glancing up from her terminal, Proxy gives her a concerned look.
Proxy: Barbara, I'm getting some weird interference on my end. Can't seem to figure out the cause.
Oracle: And I think my signal just went dead. That shouldn't happen. Wendy, see if you can-
Her words stop abruptly, as the screens around her workstation begin to flicker and fill with white noise. An electrical hissing soon follows, playing over every single one of their speakers.
Oracle: What in the...
Instantly, both women's fingers begin to fly across their keyboards, trying to do everything possible to regain control of their systems. But no matter what they do, nothing works. Panic starts to strike, Oracle's adrenaline pumping furiously now. This shouldn't be happening. This can't be happening. She built these systems herself; they're untraceable, unhackable, and completely crash proof.
What the hell is going on?!
And that's when everything goes dark, the base's power suddenly cutting out. The back up generator kicks in a few moments later, throwing on the emergency lights and providing a small amount of power to the computers. Two screens pop on, one in front of either women. On those screens is a face, hazy and distorted, but it doesn't matter; there's only one person it could possibly be.
Proxy: Is that...?
Calculator: Well, well, good to see you again, Oracle. Barbara. Babs.
Oracle's eyes narrow, muscles tensing.
Oracle: How did you get in here?
Calculator: You registered with the VRA, remember? Just like a good little girl. And I work for them now; all that information they have is mine now. Who you work with, where you operate from, how to hack into your unbreachable systems...
Proxy: You gotta be kidding me. You're a criminal! Why the hell would they hire you?
Calculator: Ah, Wendy... I'm very disappointed in you, joining in with these heroes. These people are what put you in that wheelchair, and they're the reason your brother is dead, or have you forgotten?
Proxy: You know I haven't... but unlike you, dad, I don't hold grudges. I forgive. And given the choice between them and you, they win every time.
A small, distant sigh escapes Calculator's lips. The face on the screen slowly shakes side to side.
Calculator: As I said, disappointing.
Oracle: Enough crap. What are you doing here? We both registered with the VRA, you shouldn't be coming after us.
Calculator: Ah, so you did. Unfortunately, not everyone on your little team followed suit, yet you continue to work with them. That makes you just as guilty as they are. As we speak, a squad is moving in on your base; they'll be there shortly.
Oracle: You son of a b*tch. You can't do this!
Calculator: Oh, but I can. I would suggest going quietly, too. There's no reason we have to make this difficult.
Springing into action, Oracle turns her wheel chair away from the computer and begins wheeling herself across the floor.
Oracle: Wendy, see if you can manually activate the security systems! I'm gonna try and restore the main power!
Proxy: On it!
Proxy immediately turns herself around and begins wheeling her way over to a control panel on the wall, punching in a numbered passcode.
Calculator: Don't bother, girls. I have complete control over your base; there's nothing you can do. Now, have good evening. I'll be seeing you both very soon.
Int. Parking Garage – Night
The parking garage is quiet and nearly empty, save for a scant few cars here and there. The Birds of Prey are in position, though, waiting for the expected huge drug deal to go down. At least, that's what they were supposed to be there for. So far, however, nothing has happened. No shady individuals, no activity, definitely no drug deal. Peering around the side of a pillar, Huntress glances around carefully, curiously.
Huntress: Are we sure we're in the right place?
Responses come in over her comm from the rest of her team a short distance away. She can seem them all looking around cover at her, the same concern on their faces.
Batgirl: Uh, I'm pretty sure. The signal was pretty fuzzy for a while, but I thought this is what Oracle said.
Black Bat: I didn't get a clear message myself, and for some reason I can't make contact with base right now. The signal is dead.
Black Canary: Don't worry about it, nothing's wrong. And this is the right place.
Huntress: I still think I heard her say the one on Park Street.
Black Canary: Then you misheard; it's the one on Levitt.
Uttering a small sigh, Huntress shrugs her shoulders and disappears back behind cover again.
Huntress: If you say so.
A couple more minutes tick by, with no sign of the drug deal going down. Instead, something else happens; someone approaches them. Huntress hears the footsteps coming closer, echoing inside the spacious parking garage. Immediately, she prepares herself, raising her crossbow and preparing to engage. But then, she hears something else, words coming in over her comm.
Batgirl: Canary, what are you doing? Hey! Canary!
Confused, Huntress looks around the side of the pillar again. To her surprise, she sees Black Canary out in the open, walking towards a man in a suit and sunglasses.
Huntress: Whoa, hey, what's going on?
Black Bat: Black Canary? Hello? Dinah?
It takes a few moments for the response to come, as the woman moves behind the man and waits.
Black Canary: Everything's alright. Just come on out.
The three other members of the team give each other careful glances before slowly moving out of cover. Huntress keeps her crossbow at the ready, though, just in case.
Huntress: Alright, feel like explaining this?
VRA Agent: Good evening to you, Birds of Prey.
The man pauses a moment, reaching into his jacket pocket and pulling out a small slip of paper.
VRA: I have with me a warrant for your arrest.
Huntress: I'm sorry, come again? I could have sworn you just said you were going to arrest us.
Black Bat: That's exactly what he said.
Batgirl: Wait, hold on, why?
Clearing his throat, the agent folds his hands in front of him and stares calmly.
VRA Agent: For failing to register with the VRA and continuing your illegal vigilantism.
Huntress: Oh you gotta be joking. This whole thing is a sham, you know that? Tell you what, you turn around and walk out of here, and I won't but a bolt through your knee.
VRA Agent: You were right, Miss Lance, they won't come peacefully.
Eyes going wide, the Birds of Prey stare in surprise for a few moments, their focus on Black Canary. Huntress' aim falters, lowering her crossbow and blinking a couple of times, while Black Bat merely folds her arms.
Batgirl: Canary, you... you're working with them? You registered?
Black Bat: And set us up at the wrong location for this little meeting, from the looks of it.
Huntress: Is that what this is? All of a sudden you're a government patsy turning against your team? Your friends? I thought we made a pact, Dinah. None of us were supposed to register with the VRA's bullcrap, and we were supposed to look out for each other!
Black Canary: I just thought it was the sensible thing to do. This is the law now, and we must obey. Resisting is futile.
Huntress: My god, would you listen to yourself? I swear they must have brainwashed you or something, because the Black Canary I know doesn't talk like that!
A small pause passes between them, but Black Canary's expression doesn't change. She stares at them with an icy cold gaze, emotion seemingly gone from her face.
Black Canary: Please go quietly; I'd rather this situation not escalate.
Huntress: Escalate, my ass. You've already sold us out!
Black Bat: And will you be the one to bring us in? Will you fight us?
Black Canary: If I have to.
Bringing her hands to her head, Batgirl closes her eyes and shakes her head rapidly.
Batgirl: Can't believe this happening, can't believe this happening. I'm dreaming, I must be.
VRA Agent: I'm giving you girls one chance to come peacefully, so we can all sort this out. If you don't, we will take you by force.
Glaring at the man, Huntress lifts her crossbow up and points it at him.
Huntress: You can damn well try.
Black Canary: Helena, one more chance to stand down.
Huntress: And then what, you burst our skulls with your canary cry? I wonder how well you can scream with a bolt through your neck!
Batgirl: Whoa, okay, everyone calm down. No one's shooting anyone in the neck.
Black Bat: No one's going with them, either.
VRA Agent: As expected... looks like we'll have to do this the hard way. But your friend here won't be bringing you in. They will.
Suddenly, a dark shape rushes into view, leaping over a nearby car and throwing itself at Huntress. Whirling her aim around in time, she gets off a couple shots before the furry beast lands on top of her and pins her to the ground. Blinking up in shock, she realizes she's staring eye to eye with a massive, snarling werewolf.
Kubrick: Unless you those are silver tipped, don't bother; they won't do you any good!
Huntress tries to move, struggling beneath the beast, but his strength far surpasses her own, and the several knee shots she manages to bring up into his abdomen don't even phase him.
Batgirl: Hold on, I got you!
Reaching into her utility belt, Batgirl pulls out a sonic batarang, clicking the button in the middle to activate the charge. Before she can throw it, however, another figure lunges forward. The force at which it collides with her sends her spinning back head over heels across the ground. When she recovers, she notices the blue skinned, shark mouthed alien monster charging at her again. Turning to the side, Batgirl manages to evade the slashing claws and counter with a kick to the monster's stomach. However, this doesn't have much of an effect, and then suddenly its long, barbed tail curls up and wraps around her throat, pulling her into the air.
Black Bat: You! Let her go, Celarian!
Zaria: Ah, you remembered what I am this time.
Black Bat: I also remember that I've beaten you once before. I'll do it again if you don't drop her.
Zaria: True, you have beaten me... but you're not fighting me this time.
And that's when the cement ground beneath Black Bat's feet begins to crack apart. Instantly, she jumps backwards to get out of the way, but she doesn't get very far before thick plant vines coil up and lash out at her. Within seconds, they wrap around her arms, legs, neck, and abdomen, holding her firmly in place. A few moments later, a large plant pod rises up from the ground behind the vines, opening up to reveal a green skinned woman with striking red hair, her only clothing being a few strings of leaves: Poison Ivy.
Ivy: Don't bother struggling. The harder you squirm, the tighter my babies constrict.
And just like that, the Birds of Prey are taken in, quickly knocked unconscious by their captors in order to transport them without any difficulties. The VRA agent gives the three task force members a careful look before motioning them out of the parking garage. He's still getting used to working with a bloody werewolf and an alien. That's not to mention the crazy plant lady.
VRA Agent: Alright, let's get them out of here. And Miss Lance, you did good here today. We'll be in touch.
Int. Titans Tower – Day
The subbasement is mostly quiet at the moment, with only one occupant present and utilizing the training equipment. Tim Drake grips the chin up bar tightly, pulling himself up repeatedly at a steady, even pace. The other members of the Teen Titans are up on the twelfth floor, eating lunch together. Tim, on the other hand, hadn’t been feeling hungry and so opted to get another workout instead. Somewhere around his fiftieth pull up, however, the door at the other end of the room slides open, revealing a cloaked and hooded figure floating towards him.
Raven: Tim... we must speak.
Blinking at the woman, Tim hangs there from the bar for a few moments, just dangling. Finally, he drops down to this feet and grabs a towel, wiping sweat from his brow.
Tim: Sure, what's this about?
Raven: It's about Wonder Girl. I have noticed... changes in her, these past few days.
Curiously, Tim furrows his brow and folds his arms across his chest.
Tim: What kinds of changes? As far as I can tell, she's been the same as always.
Raven: It isn't anything you would notice. Her personality, her actions, her mannerisms... they are all still the same.
Tim: Then what's wrong?
Raven: It comes from within her. Ever since she returned to the tower last week, I have sensed an emptiness inside her, an utter lack of emotion and feeling, as if devoid of any soul. I fear everything she does right now is an act.
Reaching for the bottle of water next to him, Tim takes a long gulp, mulling over Raven's words in his head for a moment. When he finally answers, he gives her a long, but concerned, look.
Tim: And you're absolutely sure about this?
Raven: At first, I wasn't. I thought that maybe my powers were malfunctioning... but then I projected myself into her mind to be sure. I found... nothing. Just an empty void lacking emotion. Yet, at the same time, I'm sure that she is the real Cassandra Sandsmark. Where did she go when she left last week?
Tim: To visit her mother. Do you think something happened to her there?
Raven: I feel something must have, yes. Something caused this loss of feeling, though I do not know what it could be.
Giving a small nod, Tim starts walking towards the door, motioning for Raven to follow him.
Tim: Come on, we'll go have a talk with her, see what we can find out.
Before he makes it to the exit, however, red blinking lights begin to flicker above them, accompanied with a loud, blaring horn.
Tim: The alarm? Damn it, someone's on the island without permission.
He suddenly quickens his pace, sprinting down the hall towards the elevator. Raven floats after him, keeping pace.
Raven: An enemy, perhaps?
Tim: Or a tourist trying to get a closer look than he should. Either way, we need to get topside!
Ext. Titans Tower – Day
Several minutes later, every member of the Teen Titans (consisting of Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Raven, Beast Boy, Static, and Bombshell) exits the front entrance of the tower, looking for the intruders. It doesn't take long to find them, as the two trespassers are standing calmly outside and waiting for the team to show up. Instantly, the Titans take a defensive position. After all, how often do a pair of super villains show up on your front doorstep without looking for a fight? The large man in charge comes forward, hands held behind his back and a large smirk on his face.
Holocaust: Teen Titans, we meet again.
Red Robin: Holocaust... what are you doing here? Kid Flash sent you on a one way ticket to the earth's core years ago.
Holocaust: Didn't think that could really stop me did you?
A sudden burst of electrical energy draws everyone's attention, as Static comes forward. Lightning bolts are already flickering and jumping around his body, eyes glowing in anger. He and Holocaust have a long standing history with each other.
Static: You got some nerve coming here! You want a fight, then you came to the right place. I'll be more than happy to put you down again!
Holocaust: Not here to fight; well, at least not if you behave yourselves.
Bombshell: Right, and I suppose you're just here for some small talk? Cut the crap and get to the point. The hell you doing here?
Holocaust: I wouldn't talk that way to the head of the VRA's special task force, girl.
Static: The head of... what?!
Holocaust: That's right, I work for the government now. It's my job to deal with you people.
Red Robin: We people?
Holocaust: Superheroes, of course. At least the ones that don't register like they're supposed to. The deadline passed four days ago, and you're all currently acting as illegal vigilantes, giving me the power to arrest you all for ninety days imprisonment. You get it?
Beast Boy: He's kidding, right? Tell me he's kidding.
Red Robin: If you're with the VRA, then what's she doing with you? You're telling me they hired her, too?
He's pointing at the woman behind Holocaust, a woman with icy blue skin and hair, and an unnatural chill emanating from her cold body.
Holocaust: That's right; Killer Frost is with me.
Beast Boy: Alright, now I know he's kidding.
Red Robin: So let me get this straight: a legal, regulated government agency hired two well known super villains as a part of their task force to bring in rogue superheroes?
Killer Frost: Heh, kid, you don't know the half of it. Now, be a good little boy and come quietly. Or don't; I wouldn't mind snapping off a few frozen limbs.
Superboy: Enough talk; you two don't belong here! Get off our island before we throw you off!
Killer Frost: Oooh, I'm terrified. What are you gonna do, Kryptonian?
And then, another voice speaks up, one that had up until this point remained silent.
Wonder Girl: Guys, just do it. Don't make it harder than it needs to be.
All eyes turn towards her, most in a mix of stunned surprise and disbelief.
Superboy: What the hell are you talking about?
Wonder Girl: Just go with them and do your time. Then you can register like I did and be back doing things like normal.
Beast Boy: What? You went and registered with these bozos?
Wonder Girl: My identity was already public, Gar. It only made sense.
Beast Boy: That's not the point! Now you answer to them, right? Like a trained attack dog!
Wonder Girl: Maybe... but it's better this way. There doesn't need to be anymore tension between heroes and those in authority. Even though we answer to them, we can still do good, just like always.
Bombshell: And I thought Ravager was nuts. This b*tch is off her rocker.
Moving towards her, Superboy puts his hands on her shoulders, staring into her eyes.
Superboy: Cassie, would you listen to yourself? You can't honestly believe what you're saying. It's... not you.
Wonder Girl: It is me, Conner. It's all me.
Meanwhile, Raven, the other silent one of the group, is kneeling on the ground, a hand pressed to her head and eyes closed. No one notices her yet, but she looks almost sick, and afraid. Her voice speaks up in nothing more than a hoarse whisper.
Raven: I was right... there is something wrong. This isn't Wonder Girl, not as we know her. She's... I can feel something now, but it's not coming from her.
Static glances over at Raven, the only one to take notice of her a the moment. Leaning down close, he puts a hand on her shoulder.
Static: Raven, you alright? What's going on?
That's when Raven's eyes fly open.
Raven: We're in trouble.
Before Raven can give further warning, Wonder Girl reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small lead box, then flips the top of it open. A bright green glow emerges, coming from the small space rock within. Instantly, Superboy doubles over in pain and nausea, sweat beading from his forehead. In seconds, he's on the ground and groaning incoherently, as the chunk of Kryptonite lands next to him.
Red Robin: Wonder Girl, what the hell are you doing?! That'll kill him!
Wonder Girl: If you won't come quietly, then we must take you.
She then suddenly flies forward with a burst of speed, heading straight for Static. He puts up an electrical field to try and defend himself, but the resulting impact of her super strength punch sends him flying through the air, eventually landing in the waters of San Francisco Bay.
Red Robin: Cassie, stop!
Bombshell: Forget talking, she's out of control!
Launching herself at Wonder Girl, she throws a punch infused with an explosive amount of atomic energy. Whirling around, Wonder Girl throws up her arms in defense, taking the brunt of the impact but flying back into the air as a result. Bombshell flies after her in hot pursuit.
Bombshell: She needs to be put down!
Holocaust: Not so fast.
Raising an arm, Holocaust forms a torrent of flames around his body, sending a scorching stream straight at the silver woman. Upon being engulfed, Bombshell utters a loud cry of pain, starting to fall from the air. Keeping the flames on her, Holocaust turns up the heat, causing the girl to roll over in agony. The extreme temperature causes her metallic, Dilustel skin to begin to break down and peel off, exposing her normal skin beneath.
Killer Frost: That's enough, we're not supposed to kill them. As sad a fact as that is.
In response to the attack, Beast Boy suddenly charges forward, in the process transforming into an enormous, forty foot tall T-Rex. Opening his jaws wide, he plunges his head down, intent on chomping the man between his teeth. Before he gets that far, however, Wonder Girl flies back in and delivers a thunderous punch to the side of his face. Beast Boy goes down immediately, transforming back into his regular form and falling unconscious.
Red Robin: Damn it, Cassie!
Turning around, Red Robin hurries back over to the crippled Superboy. and makes a desperate dive for the chunk of Kryptonite. He has to get rid of it in order to get Superboy back on is feet. Unfortunately, in mid lunge a cold wave suddenly blasts over him. He feels the temperature drop rapidly, until a thick layer of ice encases around his body, pinning him against the ground.
Killer Frost: Chill out, kid.
Holocaust: Just one left.
Raven, however, doesn't look to be in a condition to fight back. Hands holding her head tightly, she groans and takes in deep breaths, sweat pouring down her face.
Raven: No, no... this is wrong. This is all wrong!
All she can focus on is the utter emptiness coming from Wonder Girl, an emptiness being filled with artificial emotions and instructions. There's something inside her, something forcing her to do this... and it's destroying her. Glancing up, her eyes focus on Wonder Girl, who changes her course and starts flying at Raven.
Raven: I can't... I must find help. I have to fix this!
And then, in a swirl of dark mass, Raven vanishes from the island, teleporting through her soul-self.
Ext. Appalachian Wilderness – Day
A red and white blur streaks across the sky. Taking in deep, frantic breaths, Power Girl glances back over her shoulder. Her outfit is torn and dirty, the cape shredded. Even with her high level of invulnerability, she's bruised and scraped up, exhaustion stinging her lungs. Twenty minutes ago, it had been a completely normal day. She'd called a JSA meeting, just like she did every Monday, gathering together all members of the team.
But not just the JSA had showed up to the meeting. With them was a whole team of VRA agents, threatening to take her in for failing to register with them. Of course, she completely brushed this aside. After all, what were they going to do, shoot her? Yeah, because that's always effective. She had her own reasons for not wanting to hand over her life and identity to the government, and no one was going to make her.
That is, of course, until the entire JSA turned on her. They had all registered with the VRA, and they were all now following the government's orders. Just like that, her leadership and friendship to them was suddenly gone. When she refused to let herself be taken away by the VRA, they attacked. They all attacked. She might be one of the strongest women on the planet, but even she can't deal with that kind of onslaught. After realizing that she was fighting a losing battle, she took off to the skies at super speed and fled. After that, she managed to put out a distress call to one of her closest friends. The homing beacon in her belt would draw the girl right to her.
Landing somewhere in the middle of a forest, with a range of rounded mountains in the background, Power Girl lands and parks herself on a large rock. Sighing heavily, she drops back and lies down, just staring up at the sky.
Crap, my body hurts. Feels like I just went ten rounds with Darkseid.
About a half hour passes before a shadow starts to descend over her. Squinting slightly, she sits up and leans back on her arms, watching as the dark haired girl in a white and black outfit floats down on a levitating rock.
Terra: I got your call, Peej. What's going on? And what the heck happened to you? You look terrible.
Power Girl: Yeah, well I feel terrible, too. Something's wrong, Atlee, something's really, really long. The VRA just showed up on the Justice Society's doorstep looking for me. I mean, sure, I didn't register like we're supposed to, but come on. They can't really expect us to just give our whole lives up to them so we can keep beating up super villains, right?
Getting down on her hands and knees, Terra leans forward over her floating rock, which hovers several feet above Power Girl.
Terra: And they did that to you?
Power Girl: No, that's the part that's so messed up! I could have swatted those VRA goons away with my eyes closed if I wanted to, but I never got that chance. My whole team turned on me, Terra. The entire JSA, they just... they attacked me. I put up a fight for as long as I could, but then I got the heck outta there and called you.
Terra: Hmm... sounds problematic.
Power Girl: Well if that isn't an understatement...
Terra: I really wish you registered, Peej. Now I have to bring you in, too.
A cold, numb feeling quivers through Power Girl's chest, her attitude suddenly sinking into hopelessness.
Power Girl: No... Atlee, not you, too.
Terra merely shrugs, then reaches out and clenches a fist. Instantly, the earth around her rises up in the form of a giant hand that grabs hold of Power Girl and squeezes tightly.
Terra: You have to understand, the VRA is trying to help us. We all need to listen to them and follow their laws. Just come peacefully, Peej. It's only 90 days, and then you register with them with like you already should have. Nothing terrible.
Gritting her teeth, Power Girl clenches her fists and throws her arms up, bursting through the earth holding her.
Power Girl: No, this isn't right! None of this is right!
What the hell is with everyone? Why is the whole superhero community turning on each other?!
A flying boulder abruptly cuts off her thoughts, exploding against her backside. Normally, it wouldn't hurt that much, but with how battered her body is already, she feels it. Cringing, she falls to one knee, holding herself up with one of her hands.
Terra: Don't make me hurt you, Peej. And I can hurt you; especially in your current condition.
Power Girl: Yeah, well... you're forgetting something: I can hurt you, too!
Taking in a deep breath, she rockets herself forward at super speed, blitzing the girl. She makes certain to hold back with her punch, way back. After all, she isn't trying to take Terra's head off or anything. Whatever's going on, whatever's doing this, they're still friends. She just needs to put the girl down for a while. Once her fist connects with her friend's head, Terra goes down hard, not moving but still breathing. Letting out a long groan, Power Girl then reaches down and lifts Terra up into her arms.
Power Girl: Sorry, girl... let's take you home. Then I need to figure out what the hell is going on around here.
Int. Hall of Justice – Night
As the doors to the meeting room open in front of him, Flash folds his arms and looks around. Supergirl is with him, walking in with her hands on her waist. Cyborg and Donna are waiting for them inside, but the others aren't there yet. Before any of them can speak, another speedster zips into the room.
Jesse: Z25Y(2AB)6. Alright, I'm here. What's going on?
Cyborg: You mean you don't know?
Jesse: Uh... no. Should I?
Cyborg: Considering you called us here, I would hope so.
Jesse: Wait, what? But I was called here by Donna.
The Justice League members begin glancing at each other in confusion.
Donna: And I was called by Supergirl.
Supergirl: Don't look at me, my call came from Cyborg.
Flash: And mine came from Jade.
Another voice interrupts them, as the doors open up again. Green Arrow walks in, bow over his shoulder. He's glaring, a concerned look on his face.
Green Arrow: And Flash called me.
A dead silence descends over the group. Clearly, something is very wrong here, with each member of the team apparently being called to this meeting by someone who had no knowledge of placing such a call. It doesn't take long to realize what's going on, however, at least not in a general sense.
Cyborg: Then the question is: who really called us?
A voice echoing across the room answers his question, as the other set of doors open to reveal another figure walking towards them, a very familiar figure.
Deathstroke: I did.
The Justice League immediately goes on the defensive, preparing themselves for an attack. The man is in full costume, after all, with weapons at the ready.
Cyborg: Slade... what the hell are you doing here?
Deathstroke: Ah, Victor... not as sharp as you used to be, are you?
Flash: Cut the small talk, Wilson. Give us one good reason why we should pummel you and drag you off to jail.
Deathstroke: Well, for starters, I haven't committed a crime.
Jesse: Oh, duh, of course you haven't. Because you're such a nice guy, right?
Deathstroke: I'm a free and innocent man now, whether you like it or not. I'm also the head of the Vigilante Regulation Agency, the agency that you were all supposed to register with according to the new laws put into place two and a half weeks ago. The deadline expired, and none of you complied.
Donna: Because it's wrong. And it is not something we can give in to. Forcing heroes to give up their identities and fall under government control will not end well.
Supergirl: Yeah, and what's stopping the government from forcing us to go attack another country, huh? Sorry, but I'm not fighting your wars for you.
Letting out a short breath, Deathstroke simply shakes his head.
Deathstroke: Doesn't matter what you think about it, Donna. It is law now, and by law, it's my job to take you in for breaking it. Come quietly or suffer the consequences.
Cyborg: We're not going anywhere with you, Slade.
Green Arrow: Now get out. This room is for Justice League members only.
Deathstroke: Sorry you feel that way. Looks like we'll be taking you by force, then.
Jesse: Please, who's gonna force us, you?
Deathstroke: No... they are.
On cue, the doors behind them slide open to reveal a small army standing there; a small army of superheroes, to be more precise. Among the crowd, they spot Animal Man, Aquagirl, Argent, Arowette, Speedy, The Atom, Black Canary, Flamebird, Blue Beetle, Stargirl and nearly the entire JSA, as well as a dozen others at least. Leading the pack, however, is a painfully familiar face, a green skinned woman flying up in the air and glowing with energy.
Jade: So, how are we going to do this?
Flash: Jade?! What the hell are you doing with them?
Jade: The right thing. You should have registered, Wally. You all should have. Now you pay for your inaction.
Jesse: You backstabbing little... 3x2(9YZ-
But before she can finish the phrase, a beam of green energy emerges from Jade's palm, wrapping around her mouth in the form of a gag. If she can't speak the full speed formula, she can't gain access to the speed force, and thus her powers.
Jade: Not so fast, Jesse.
Deathstroke: You're coming with us, whether you like it or not. By order of the VRA, you are all under arrest.
No More Heroes: Part 2 Preview: With most of the country's superhero population either already arrested or under the VRA's control, those few left roaming free are branded fugitives and enemies of the state. But something is clearly wrong with how events are playing out. What did Raven really sense in Wonder Girl, and is it affecting the other heroes employed by the VRA? What are the VRA's real goals? And is Slade really in charge? Find out next time, in part 2!