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.
Note: The crossover event continues, as the small group of remaining free heroes takes on the VRA in attempts to put a stop to their madness!
Side Note: Should only be one more part in this crossover, so I'll be starting up the conclusion soon. However, due to me starting a new job this week, I'll likely have a lot less time to be writing, so I probably won't be able to get my chapters out on the same consistent basis anymore. But I'll still be working to get them down as soon as possible, so never fear.
Int. VRA Minimum Security Facility – Day
The interrogation room is about as dull and bland as possible, made specifically to numb a person's mood. Plain grey walls, a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling above, and no clock, making it impossible for one to tell how much time has passed inside. Rebecca Chavez guesses it's been maybe three hours since anyone's been to see her, but she can't be sure. She's been sitting at the lone table in the room, silent and alone, for what feels like an eternity. They're trying to break her, she knows.
Isolate a person long enough and insanity sets in, hallucinations start. It's a well known torture technique. They'll come back eventually, try to get her to talk again, and when she refuses they'll leave her alone for a longer period of time, a period of time she has no way of keeping track of. This isn't standard police interrogation by any means, but then, these aren't standard police officials, either. This is the VRA, an agency of power drunk b**tards out to ruin the lives of any superhero that won't answer to them, not to mention those associated with said heroes.
That's why she's here, arrested and taken in just for being involved with Rose, who patrols the streets of Silverstone City at night. When Rose failed to register, they came after her, took her in by force with some super powered goons of their own. Then, they took Becky, Holly, and even Circe and her daughter, Lyta. As far as Becky is concerned right now, they can all go to hell.
The door to the room finally opens, revealing a familiar person walking in. She has really come to loathe this man, Agent Croft. He has a way of crawling under a person's skin, even when remaining perfectly calm and cordial.
Croft: Rebecca Chavez... how are you? I hope these last few hours haven't been too taxing.
Sitting down at the table across from her, he passes over a can of soda.
Croft: Thought you might be thirsty.
Becky makes no move to accept the offering, instead folding her arms across her chest and glaring at him.
Croft: Fine, have it your way.
Becky: Where's Rose?
Croft: She's being transported to one of our more secure facilities, built especially to handle individuals like her.
Her jaw tightens, but she doesn't lose her cool. Not yet, at least.
Becky: And Holly?
Croft: The girl has been handed over to social services and placed back into foster care. It was the natural approach when both people looking after her were... no longer available.
Now she loses her cool. At this revelation, Becky slams her fists down on the table, lurching partially out of her seat.
Becky: You can't do that!
Croft: According to the law, we can.
Becky: She doesn't belong in foster care, you son of a b*tch! She belongs with us, people who love her!
Croft: I'm afraid love isn't enough in this matter, Rebecca. With the charges against you and your partner, neither of you will be fit to take of her anymore.
Taking in deep, seething breaths, Becky glares a hole through the man. She wants nothing more than to lunge across the table and rearrange the b**tard's face, but that wouldn't accomplish anything. It would only make things worse.
Becky: Should I even bother asking what you did to the others?
Croft: The woman known as Circe is currently in one of the other rooms down the hall, under charges for attacking a VRA official. As for the girl, Lyta, she's been taken to one of our children's facilities, where we'll be able to monitor the growth of her power.
Becky: Screw you. You can't just take children from their parents like that!
Croft: I'd respond to that comment, but then we'd just be heading towards redundancy. Let's move on, shall we? Currently, you're facing up to sixty days of imprisonment for your involvement in aiding the illegal vigilante known as Ravager. We're prepared to reduce the sentence, or drop it altogether, if you'll just cooperate with us.
Becky: So you've told me already. Three times.
Croft: Yes, and you've turned us down all three times. But, we're patient. There's still time to change your mind.
Becky: Listen to me very carefully, you slimy pr*ck. Nothing you say or do will get me to help you. Any information you're looking for from me, you're not getting it. End of story.
Croft: I would urge you to reconsider.
Becky: And I'd urge you to f*ck off.
Croft: You are aware that refusing to cooperate with the VRA can multiply the length of your sentence, correct?
Letting out an exasperated sigh, Becky throws her hands up in the air and falls back against her seat.
Becky: Of course it can, why not? You've already thrown due process out the window, why not make up more crap while you're at it?
Agent Croft utters a disappointed breath, then stands up from his seat. He briefly fixes his sunglasses before heading for the door.
Croft: If that's how you feel, then I suppose there's no further need to keep you here.
Becky: Why do I get the feeling that you don't mean you're letting me go?
Opening the door, Croft waves in a pair of other VRA operatives, these ones dressed in uniform and carrying heavy duty stun guns.
Croft: Take her to one of the holding cells, while I go fill out a report. She can begin serving her sentence now.
Ext. Metropolis City Streets – Day
The large transport vehicle rumbles along along the road, heading west past Queensland Park. Two VRA operatives are in front, one driving and the other talking quietly on a cell phone in the passenger's seat. In the rear section of the vehicle, divided by a wall with a small, barred window, two prisoners await transport to the holding facility, where they'll be serving their ninety day sentence. One of the prisoners, a man with reddish hair and one arm amputated above the elbow, leans back casually against the side of the vehicle and stares at the ceiling. He's calm, relaxed, though pretty bored, also.
The other prisoner is Rose Wilson, still out cold from her recent arrest the previous night. The blow to her head had been a strong one, and put her in dreamland for well over sixteen hours. As the minutes go by, however, she slowly begins to come around, eyes flickering open. A small groan escapes her throat, as she realizes a throbbing pain deep in the back of her skull. She tries to put a hand to her forehead, but finds that her wrists are cuffed behind her back. Normally, she'd be able to snap the chain with little difficulty, but with an inhibitor collar around her neck, all of her enhanced attributes are null. Try as she might, she can't wrestle out of them.
The other prisoner turns to look at her once she starts sitting up on the bench. He leans forehead, putting his arm against his thigh.
Man: Rise and shine, Rose. Have a nice nap?
Squinting her eyes, she glances over at the man. Her vision is still a little fuzzy, but she knows that voice. She's heard it many times before, though not in a long time. Even with it being so long ago, though, there's no mistaking it.
Roy: In the flesh.
The man is Roy Harper, formerly Red Arrow of the Titans, and also father to Lian Harper, the girl that Rose acted as a nanny for several years ago. They'd been friends for a while, at least during that time span, though he pushed her and everyone else away once his life went to hell after Lian died. What he's been doing since then, Rose has no idea. She hasn't heard anything about him in almost three years.
Breathing in deeply, Rose takes a moment to gather her senses. When her vision finally clears up and the throbbing in her head begins to subside a little, she lets out her breath and stares at him.
Rose: So they got you, too, huh?
Roy: From what I understand, they got everyone. Or at least almost everyone. Those who already registered with the VRA went and switched sides in a hurry, then started tracking down the ones who hadn't. I got ambushed by Stargirl and Blue Beetle.
Rose: You mean they turned on each other just like that?
Roy: Just like that. Either the VRA has one hell of a persuasive registration policy, or there's something else going on.
Rose: There's always something else going on. This whole thing reeks of foul play, everything from how the bill was handled to putting my father in charge.
Roy: Yeah, I saw that. If Slade's involved, something is seriously wrong.
Rose: Somehow, he got a presidential pardon. Who the hell gives a guy like him a pardon?
Roy: No one I'd want to meet.
Uttering a long sigh, Rose hangs her head and stares at the floor. Her thoughts slip back to Becky and Holly, wondering where they are and if they're alright. Circe and Lyta, too. Wherever they are, she just hopes they're safe. After a brief pause, Roy leans back again, folding one leg over the other.
Roy: I notice you got a new eye.
Rose: I notice you didn't get a new arm.
Frowning slightly, Roy stares at her calmly.
Rose: So where are they taking us, anyway?
Roy: Stryker's Island. Once the new law passed, the VRA took over ownership and retooled it as their maximum security holding facility. It's where they keep the 'unregistered vigilantes'.
Rose: So no lawyer, no trial, no nothing. Just straight to the cell.
Roy: And it's all completely legal.
Rose: Well, they're out of their minds if they think they're gonna keep me there.
No way she's going to let herself be held in prison like this. New law or no new law, this isn't right. None of it is. The VRA and everything it stands for is a sham, she's sure of that. She just has to figure out the secrets behind it, figure out a way to shut it down.
Roy: And I suppose you have a plan to escape, right?
Rose: Please, I always have a plan.
Ten minutes later, the transport vehicle slows down to a stop in front of a small set of docks at the West River. There, another team of armed VRA officials wait for them, just outside the ferry that will take them across to Stryker's Island, or rather, the new VRA Maximum Security Facility. The two guards in the front of the truck get out and head back to the rear doors to open them, while another two wait behind them with their weapons at the ready, just in case the prisoners try anything. Doesn't hurt to be careful, after all.
As it turns out, that's exactly what happens, too. The moment that the doors open, Rose leaps out and kicks the closest man to her in the face, sending him to the ground. The other operatives converge on her instantly, but she isn't screwing around. Her hands may be cuffed behind her back, but she doesn't need them to take out a few goons. Sweeping her leg behind another, she trips him up, then ducks below an incoming projectile. One of the agents fires his weapon, a strange gun that emits a concentrated sphere of electricity, meant to stun and incapacitate non lethally.
Unfortunately for him, all he manages to do is shoot his buddy before Rose kicks up and knocks the weapon out of his hands. As the gun flies through the air, Roy comes to the edge of the vehicle and catches it, turning it around in his hand to grab the trigger. Quickly and accurately, he takes aim at the guy coming up behind Rose and fires. The guard goes down twitching and unable to stand. By this time, however, the other VRA operatives waiting by the ferry are moving in on them, and some of their weapons aren't quite non-lethal.
Roy: Time to move!
Glancing back over her shoulder, Rose swallows and then takes off running, leading the way back towards the city. She allows herself a moment to crouch, however, bringing her cuffed hands down and then jumping her legs backwards, thus bringing her arms in front of her body instead of behind. They're still chained together, but at least now she can use them.
Ext. Suicide Slum – Day
The pair soon find themselves in one of the more run down areas of Metropolis, also one of the more dangerous. Of course, they aren't so concerned with that, paying more attention to the VRA squad chasing them. Fortunately, they have a bit of a lead and are able to duck into an alley to hide for the time being. After waiting for several minutes, Rose slowly peers out of the alley, trying to make sure that the coast is clear.
Roy: So, got any ideas on how we're going to get away? Something tells me we won't be difficult to pick out of a crowd.
Rose: Uh, I didn't really think this far ahead. But if you come up with anything, feel free to mention it.
Roy: Well, a lot of these buildings are abandoned from the looks of it. We could find a place to hole up in, wait them out until night. Then we can figure out another course of action.
Rose: I guess that's not too bad of an idea. See if you can find a suitable place, I'll keep an eye out.
Moving back down the alley, Roy begins inspecting the nearby buildings for one that would work as a temporary hideout. Rose stays at the front of the alley, positioning herself behind a dumpster and looking over it for any signs of the men chasing them. For the time being, though, it appears that she and Roy are safe. That is, of course, until she hears voices coming from the other end of the alley.
VRA Agent: There they are!
Already halfway crawled inside a window, Roy forces himself to duck back out and start running in the other direction with Rose, as the men pursue them. He briefly turns to fire off another one of the electrical pulses from his weapon to keep the men at bay.
Roy: I thought you were keeping lookout!
Rose: Well excuse me for not having eyes in the back of my head! Just move!
The two sprint down the street, ignoring the couple pedestrians here and there who give them odd looks. When a second squad of VRA operatives appear down at the end of the street, cutting them off, Roy grabs Rose by the arm and pulls her down another alley.
Roy: This way!
They don't get very far, however, before coming to a dead end, with a high brick wall blocking their path. Rose looks around quickly, searching for any means of escape, but the only thing around them are smooth walls. Nothing to climb on, no windows to jump through, or anything like that.
Rose: Well, isn't this just fantastic? Good going!
Roy: Well how was supposed to know? Come on, let's double back and-
VRA Agent: Hold it!
The squad now stands at the mouth of alley, blocking the only path. Rose and Roy are both now cornered with nowhere to go. As the guards begin to advance towards them, Rose takes a defensive stance, not ready to go quietly. She'll put up as fierce a fight as she can before they take her in again. However, she never has the need to do so. Before the VRA squad makes it very far down the alley, a massive gust of wind suddenly rips through the street, focused on the armed men. The dozen or so operatives suddenly fly through the air, tumbling farther down the street along with piles of garbage and other debris.
Rose: Did you see that? Tell me you saw that.
Roy: Uh... I saw it. Not sure if I believe it.
Rose: What was it?
At that moment, a figure appears in front of them at the end of the alley, a woman with long red hair and a pair of glasses, wearing jeans and a sweater.
Roy: Better yet, who was it?
Woman: Don't just stand there, come on!
Snapping out of their surprised stupor, both Roy and Rose start running after the woman, who leads them away down the street. The VRA squad, meanwhile, is still recovering after being knocked back by such a powerful wind burst. Within several minutes, the woman leads them to a car parked on the side of the road and gets into the driver's seat.
Woman: Quick, get in.
Needing no second invitation, Rose throws open one of the doors and slides inside the vehicle. Roy hurries around the other side and gets in next to her. As soon as they're in, the engine revs up and the car takes off down the street, leaving the VRA long behind. Finally able to relax, Rose sinks back in her seat and lets out a cool breath.
Woman: Don't mention it; figured you two could use a hand.
Roy: But why help us?
Woman: Because I hate the new EPRA law as much as you two clearly do.
Rose: Alright, and who are you?
Karen: Call me Karen Starr. It's safer that way, at least for the time being.
Rose: Karen Starr... you mean the head of Starr Enterprises?
Karen: The very same.
Folding her arms, Rose lifts and eyebrow and stares at the woman's reflection in the rear view mirror.
Rose: So Karen Starr is just a secret identity, huh? Because I know that wind wasn't just a random act of nature.
Karen: Ah, yeah... super breath. Not exactly the most glamorous of my powers, but it has its uses.
Rose: Really? Super blowing?
Leaning in close to Roy, she holds a hand in front of her mouth and whispers to him.
Rose: I could think of a few things that would be useful for.
In response to that statement, Karen's gaze shifts up to the rear view mirror.
Karen: I also have super hearing.
Flinching, Rose slowly meets the woman's gaze in the mirror.
Rose: Uh... right.
Roy: So where are we going, anyway?
Karen: Well, I was looking for my cousin, the reason I'm even in Metropolis today. Haven't been able to find him, though... I was about to head back to New York City when I heard your little predicament and came to help.
Rose: New York City, huh? Haven't been there in a while.
Karen: We'll head to my apartment; I have a couple of people like us waiting there.
Roy: You mean 'unregistered vigilantes'?
Karen: Yup. And we're going to figure out exactly what the hell is going on.
Sitting up straight, Rose folds her arms and smirks slightly.
Rose: Now that I can get on board with.
Ext. Karen Starr's Apartment Building – Day
The drive from Metropolis to Park Slope, Brooklyn takes about three hours. By the time they pull up outside the apartment building, the sun is starting to set, casting a wave of orange light over the horizon. The three occupants inside the car wait a while, until the street is relatively clear, before finally getting out to head inside. As they approach the building, Rose glances down at her still cuffed hands and tries to hide them close to her body. If people were to see the handcuffs on her, they might be a little suspicious. Then again, the collar around her neck doesn't help much, either. Fortunately, she doesn't have to worry about that for very long.
Karen: Here, let me get that for you.
Reaching forward, the woman grabs the cuffs and snaps them off effortlessly, freeing Rose's hands. Then, Karen does the same to the inhibitor collar, throwing the pieces into one of the bushes outside the building entrance. Blinking a couple of times, Rose turns her gaze towards Karen and frowns.
Rose: Thanks... though you could have done that like three hours ago.
Karen: Hey, I was driving. Besides, you didn't ask.
Rose: Well maybe I would have, if I'd known you had super strength, too.
Karen: And that's not all I have.
Rose: Of course it's not...
Roy: If it's all the same to you ladies, I'd rather continue this conversation inside.
Karen: Right, come on. The others are waiting inside, though keep in mind we'll probably have to relocate soon. With the amount of heroes the VRA has at their beck and call, they probably already know who I am. Odds are, they'll send a team here eventually.
Rose folds her arms again, staring at her.
Rose: We don't even know who you are.
Furrowing his brow, Roy glances at her curiously.
Roy: You don't?
Rose: You're telling me you do?
Roy: I thought it was obvious.
Rose: Wait, so who is she?
Karen: Inside, people, let's continue this inside.
Int. Karen Starr's Apartment – Day
When they finally make it up to the apartment, Karen pushes the door open to lead them inside, then lets out a relieved breath.
Karen: Can finally take this off.
Reaching up to her head, she grabs hold of her hair and... pulls it off. As it turns out, the long red hair isn't her hair at all, but a wig instead. Underneath is a head of blonde hair that falls down around her chin. She then takes her glasses off, too, and tosses them in a small basket near the entrance. It's around this time that Rose finally realizes who it is.
Rose: Wait... you're kidding, right? Karen Starr is Power Girl?
Kara: Shocking, I know. But you can just call me Kara when I'm not in costume.
Rose: Kara, Karen, Power Girl, how many names do you have?
Kara: Enough to keep my identity a secret; that's the whole point, isn't it?
Rose: I suppose...
Following Kara into the living room, they're greeted to the sight of two other unregistered heroes waiting for them. One of them, a tall red haired man in jeans and a T-shirt, Rose doesn't recognize. He sits casually on the couch, watching the news, which is currently detailing the recent superhero arrests. The second person, though, Rose does recognize. Even out of costume and instead dressed in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, there's no mistaking the woman, especially not with the red gem embedded in her forehead. Sitting cross-legged in the middle of the living room, Raven concentrates in meditation, eyes closed and levitating several inches off the floor.
Kara: I'm back; picked up a couple of strays, too.
Roy: Wally? That you?
Looking over at the group, the red haired man on the couch sits up straighter in surprise.
Wally: Roy? Man, where the heck have you been? Haven't seen you in years.
Roy: It's... a long story. So they got the JLA, too, huh?
Wally: Yeah... the VRA showed up at the Hall with damn near an army to take us in. We tried fighting back, but it was all I could do just to get out of there. Fortunately, they didn't have anyone who could catch me. After that happened, I went looking for everyone I knew, anyone who might not be under VRA control yet.
Roy: Any luck?
Wally: Not much. I managed to meet up with Power Girl here, and then Raven found us, going on about our friends being made into 'soulless vessels' or something like that... she didn't really elaborate before she went into sleep mode over there.
Rose folds her arms and stares over at the entranced Raven, who seems to be shutting out everything going on around her in order to maintain her meditative state.
Rose: She found anything useful?
Wally: Dunno, she's been meditating like that since yesterday. Hasn't even eaten anything.
Rose: Well, it has to have something to do with this whole VRA fiasco, right? And how they suddenly got everyone who registered with them to go out like trained attack dogs and take down everyone who hadn't.
Wally: Let's hope so. We need all the information we can get if we're going to fix things.
Rose: We will. They're already broken enough as it is.
Moving across the living room, Kara drops herself into the arm chair and leans forward, elbows on her knees.
Kara: If we're going to figure out what's going on, we need to start at the beginning, with the passing of that Extraordinary Persons Regulation Act. There is no way something like that ever should have made it through to become law, let alone in a matter of a few months.
Wally: No kidding. The thing didn't even get amended once, in spite of the League's efforts to point out everything wrong with the bill in the first place. With how that thing was worded, the VRA ends up having absolute power when it comes to the regulation of superheroes.
Roy: And let's be honest, when's the last time all sides of congress have completely agreed on anything the first time around?
Rose: Then there's Slade. It's no secret to the government that he's one of the world's most wanted criminals, yet the president of our country gave him a full pardon, then put him in charge of the VRA. Tell me nothing shady is going on there.
Wally: I don't think shady even begin to cover it. Not only do they now know almost all superhero identities, but they also have most of those individuals working for them.
Roy: Obediently and without question. Almost like...
Raven: They're being controlled.
All eyes turn towards Raven, whose own eyes are now open. Still levitating in the air, she moves her hands to her knees and gazes down at the floor in front of her. Her expression is distant, sorrowful.
Raven: I understand now... why Wonder Girl and all the others I examined felt so empty, so emotionless.
Kara: Is that what you've been doing this whole time?
Raven: Yes... I have been projecting myself elsewhere, locating our fellow heroes, our friends... All of them, cold and unfeeling.
Wally: Because they're being controlled somehow?
Raven: I believe so. Not just in that they are being given orders and following them... something is forcing them. I do not know what, but I can feel it within them... free will is gone, replaced by artificial instructions constantly being delivered into their minds telling them how to think, how to act, how to feel.
Rose: So let me get this straight; the VRA takes these registered heroes and somewhere during the process... brainwashes them?
Raven: Something to that effect, yes.
Rose: Well this just keeps getting better and better.
Roy: So, put all of this together and you get... what?
Wally: I don't mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but...
Kara: You don't, trust me. At this point, it wouldn't surprise me.
Raven: If that is the case... then who is in charge? How high up does this go...?
Rose: And what are they hoping to accomplish?
A small pause passes between the group. They give each other careful glances, thinking about the situation. Something bad is going on here, and so far it looks like they're the only ones who can stop it. Eventually, Wally stands up from the couch.
Wally: That settles it. I don't know how, but we're going make things right. They think they can just take away my family, my friends... no way.
Sitting up straighter, Roy gives his friend a hard look.
Roy: Your family?
Wally: Yeah... Linda and Jai for 'associating' with me, and Iris so they could 'monitor the growth of her power'.
Bowing his head slightly, a long breath leaves Roy's lips.
Roy: We'll get them back. We'll fix this. Somehow.
Int. VRA Headquarters – Day
Slade sits quietly at his desk, going over several reports regarding the recent arrests and detainments made by the VRA's various facilities. As expected, it's a lot of information to go over, and there are a lot of names on the list. From what he can gather, they now control at least 95% of the superhero community. But that lingering five percent is where his concerns now reside. As he turns the page of one of the files, his office phone rings. He ignores it for several moments, before finally reaching over and lifting it to his ear.
Slade: VRA Director Slade Wilson speaking.
He recognizes the voice coming in over the line; it's not an easy one to mistake, especially considering the amount of time the two have spent working together to organize this.
Slade: Yes, of course. Everything is going smoothly, as expected. No, not yet.
Rummaging through the papers on his desk, Slade pulls out a specific sheet of paper and glances over it.
Slade: The next batch is going through as we speak. It more than doubles our current numbers. No, no fatal incidents to report; every implantation has been a success thus far.
Leaning back in his seat, Slade takes in a deep breath and looks up at the ceiling. He taps his fingers gently on the arm of his seat, listening to the man speak and paying close attention.
Slade: A small number still remain unaccounted for, but we'll find them. We have plenty of information to locate them now, so it's only a matter of time. Of course, I'll update you shortly. Goodbye.
When he hangs the phone up, the intercom on his desk suddenly clicks on, followed by his secretary's voice on the other end.
Cindy/Intercom: Mr. Wilson, Mr. Smalls is here to see you.
Slade: Send him in.
A short few moments later, Holocaust walks into the office with his large arms folded across his chest and a frown on his face.
Holocaust: Bad news.
A small sigh escapes Slade's lips, a hand coming up to his forehead tiredly. He supposes it was only a matter of time until someone made a mistake somewhere.
Slade: What is it?
Holocaust: Just got a report from Metro. Two prisoners escaped from the transport to Stryker's and got away.
Slade: And which two prisoners would they be?
Holocaust: According to the information, it was a man named Roy Harper and a woman... Rose Wilson. They were last seen heading east, aided by another unknown woman; red hair, tall, glasses, powered.
A silence passes over them for a brief time, until Slade leans forward, folding his hands in front of him on the desk.
Slade: I see.
Holocaust: This girl... any relation?
Slade: My daughter.
Holocaust: And you still had her taken in? Seems like a waste... With that kind of relation, she'd have done better working for us.
Slade: Let's just say that we haven't gotten along in quite some time. She never would have agreed, not willingly.
Holocaust: So you sent her to the facility... got it. In any case, what do you want us to do about it?
Slade: Track them down, what else? The tracking device in Rose's collar would be a good place to start, see if you can pick up a trail.
Holocaust: Right, I'll put together a team.
As Holocaust turns to leave, Slade raises a hand, urging him to wait a moment.
Slade: And Leonard... don't come back without them.
Int. Karen Starr's Apartment – Night
The small group of heroes are gathered in the living room still, continuing to discuss how to handle the VRA. Several empty boxes of Chinese takeout are strewn about, having been their lunch of choice. Considering the fact that the VRA is most likely on heavy watch for each one of them, they found it better to be safe and have food delivered than go out and get something.
Sitting on the couch, Roy carefully twists the robotic prosthetic arm around on his severed stump, until finally it snaps into place. When the red lights on the side begin to blink on, he tests it out, clenching the robotic hand into a fist and slowly releasing it.
Roy: Much better. Thanks for the run, Wally.
In the past couple of hours, Wally had gone and retrieved the gear from both Rose and Roy's places of residence, considering they weren't nearly as effective without. Given the nature of his powers, it hadn't really been much trouble for him to go grab their equipment.
Wally: Not a problem. Figured you could use the extra hand.
Narrowing his eyes slightly, Roy folds his arms across his chest, tapping his fingers a few times on the robotic prosthetic.
Wally: Aren't I always?
Rose kneels off to the side of the room, going over the gear spread out in front of her, including her armor, swords, and a carefully assorted allotment of gadgets. She goes through each of them, taking note of exactly what she has for future reference. Given the circumstances, she probably won't be able to call up Batman for more when she runs out.
Rose: Looks like everything is here... were there really only six smoke pellets left?
Wally: Uh, pretty sure. Hold on, let me check.
In the blink of an eye, the man vanishes, accompanied by a gust of wind that knocks over the empty takeout boxes. Kara lets out a small groan at this, as she comes forward to clean up the mess in her apartment. By the time she finishes throwing away the boxes, Wally is back, standing in the middle of the living room again and tossing over a small round pellet.
Wally: Found one more floating around under your bed. Should really be more careful where you put your toys. Especially the one in your sock drawer.
Rose flinches, eye twitching slightly as her gaze shifts hotly up to the man.
Rose: You went through my drawers? That's private!
Blinking back at her, Wally shifts a little uncomfortably, then clears his throat.
Wally: Uh... no, actually. That was supposed to be a joke.
Rose: A... what?
Wally: But now we know.
Feeling a numb sensation begin to crawl its way through her body, Rose slowly turns back to her equipment and starts packing the gadgets into her belt. She can feel their stares on her, could sense what the men were thinking in light of the rather private information she had just revealed about herself. Even Kara lifts a hand to her head and lets out a small laugh, her look being one of sympathy and understanding.
Kill me, someone just kill me now.
Kara: In any case, we need to move out soon. I don't know how much longer this apartment is going to be safe, so suit up and get ready.
Rose: Uh, yeah, I'll just be... getting dressed.
Mumbling quietly to herself, Rose takes her armor with her into the bathroom to get changed. Roy and Wally go to find their own private corners of the apartment to do the same, while Raven and Kara remain in the living room. Ever prepared, all Kara needs to do to get into costume is strip out of her jeans and sweater, as her white leotard is already on underneath. She then begins fishing around the apartment for her gloves, boots, belt, and half-cape.
Raven, too, slowly pulls off her sweatshirt and begins to get changed into her more traditional cloak and robes. However, her expression is distant, almost vacant. She's contemplating what they had learned recently. Everything about this situation unsettles her, forms a sick sensation deep in her gut. As she clasps the red brooch of her cloak, she gazes up at the now fully geared Power Girl.
Raven: Their pain... I could feel their pain, you know.
Adjusting the cape around her shoulder, Power Girl glances over at the empath and narrows her eyes.
Power Girl: What do you mean? Whose pain?
Raven: Our friends... the other heroes... whatever is controlling them is hurting them. They may lack emotion, but they can still feel... and I sense pain in all of them.
Releasing a small breath, Power Girl walks over and places a hand on the woman's shoulder.
Power Girl: We'll help them, I promise. Everyone that the VRA took from us, everyone they're controlling, we will get them back.
Raven: I pray you are right... because if we fail, the consequences could be unthinkable.
A few moments later, the others begin to file back into the living room, Wally dressed in his traditional Flash uniform, Roy in his Red Arrow outfit, and Rose in her Ravager gear, though she hasn't put the faceplate on yet.
Red Arrow: So, what's the first course of action? I wouldn't mind busting into the VRA HQ and grilling Slade for some answers. Maybe after we beat him around a while.
Ravager: No, not while they still have people they can use against us. We should concentrate on freeing our families and friends first, the ones the VRA locked up. Once they're safe, then we can worry about hitting Slade with everything we got.
Power Girl: Alright, but question is, where do we start specifically?
Flash: Their minimum security facility. That's where they keep everyone who was 'associated' with the unregistered heroes; it's were my wife and son are.
Ravager: And Becky...
Testing the strings on his bow, Red Arrow gives a small nod in agreement.
Red Arrow: Alright, and after that?
Power Girl: Definitely the children's facility, where they keep all the powered kids. I don't care what laws they're enforcing, those children don't deserve to be locked up and studied like lab rats.
Raven: Let us hurry... time is already running thin.
Ravager: Alright, everyone- get down!
Her words change mid sentence, as she's suddenly reacting to a vision flashing through her head. Not two seconds after her warning, there comes a large explosion of hot wind and flames at the front of the apartment. The wall erupts inwards, sending a shower of debris inside the living room and knocking all but Power Girl off her feet. Through the dust and smoke appear several figures in the hallway beyond, one of them with his body wrapped in flames. Another man dressed in a brown and tan costume peers closely inside the apartment and sniffs the air.
Catman: You see? I told you I had the right place. Could track them from a hundred miles away.
Holocaust walks inside, moving past the kitchen and spreading his flames to the rest of the apartment. The entire place is beginning to fill with a thick smoke. The rest of of his team moves in behind him, consisting of Killer Frost, Scandal Savage, Knockout, and the aforementioned Catman.
Holocaust: Good work, Blake. Now, take 'em out!
Int. Karen Starr's Apartment – Night
Within moments, pandemonium erupts inside the apartment. As the heroes begin to recover from the sudden explosion, Holocaust's team moves in for the attack. Fortunately, Power Girl is already on the defensive, throwing herself forward into the enemy group head on to give her allies a chance to regroup. By the time they do get back to their feet, Power Girl comes launching backwards through the living room and crashing into the sofa.
Power Girl: Alright, the big ugly one hits a little harder than I expected. Nothing I can't handle.
On that note, she suddenly flies back the way she came, tackling Holocaust and dragging them through several walls until exiting the building somewhere outside. A red and yellow streak then races across the room and crashes against the large, red haired Knockout, sending both of them tumbling back into the hallway beyond.
Flash: I got the amazon! And by that I mean the tall one, not the ones from- well you know!
Grabbing the faceplate to her helmet, Ravager snaps it into place and turns on the built in air filters, then draws her swords and starts heading straight for Scandal.
Ravager: The clawed b*tch is mine!
Leaping over a burning coffee table, Ravager engages the woman, blades clashing and clanging together. Red Arrow takes this opportunity to let loose a flurry of arrows, one after another, at Catman. Unfortunately, Catman manages to nimbly duck, dodge, and dive around furniture, through thick smoke, and otherwise avoid the projectiles on the way to closing the gap between the two and engaging in hand to hand. No longer able to use his bow to shoot at close range, Red Arrow instead uses it as a melee weapon, swinging it ferociously in a mix of kicks and other strikes.
This leaves Killer Frost and Raven to square off against each other. For the moment, Raven makes no move attack, instead staring at the frosty blue woman with contemplative eyes.
Killer Frost: It's a little hot in here, wouldn't you say? I think we need to cool things down a bit.
Raising her hands up into the air, the surrounding temperature rapidly begins to drop. She even draws the heat out of the very flames around her, until the fire suddenly extinguishes into nothing more than cold mist. Then, she holds her arms forward and directs a massive wave of ice and cold forward. A wide, murderous grin slashes across the woman's face, as she believes to have put her opponent on ice. However, when she ceases her attack, she quickly realizes that Raven is no longer there.
Killer Frost: What the- where the hell did she go?
Raven suddenly appears behind her, through a mass of dark haze and energy. By the time Killer Frost realizes what's going on, that same blackness engulfs her, pulling her within a separate world all its own, Raven's soul-self.
Int. Raven's Soul-Self – ???
It's dark inside here, and cold, too, even for her. Killer Frost's body is constantly supercooled, yet she still feels an uncomfortable shiver tingle its way up her spine. And that's when a massive figure appears before in front of her. It's the woman, Raven, but much larger and distorted, and downright... evil looking.
Killer Frost: What... what the f*ck is going on?
Raven: You are a deeply disturbed woman... I can feel the hate in you, the murderous intent... you have killed many times before and you will do it again.
Killer Frost: You sound like my therapist... I hated my therapist.
The blackness begins to spread again, engulfing and consuming Killer Frost. She thrashes around, trying to throw it off, but in this world, such a thing is futile.
Raven: Feel the pain you've caused others... feel what your victims have felt.
The only sound that follows is a shrill, horrified scream.
Int. Karen Starr's Apartment – Night
Ravager ducks below a horizontal strike, the woman's dual arm blades slicing harmlessly overhead. Moving forward, she slashes her swords upwards at the now clearly exposed body of her opponent, but Scandal is no slouch either, throwing herself to the side and avoiding all but a couple of small cuts across her side, and in response thrusting forward with another attack. Ravager parries the strike, then spins forward and explodes her elbow squarely against the woman's face.
Ravager: Not as easy when I have my gear, is it!
When Ravager lunges forward again, Scandal crosses her arm blades in front of her, deflecting the swords and then kicking her leg forward. The boot lands hard against Ravager's stomach, forcing her backwards and on the defensive again.
Scandal: You're right; you're actually putting up a fight this time!
Out in the hallway, Flash is running circles around the far stronger, but far slower Knockout. Every time she throws a punch at him, he simply moves out of the way with more than enough time to spare. In fact, he's moving so quickly from place to place that, to Knockout, it almost looks like he's teleporting. This doesn't sit too well with her one bit.
Knockout: Hold still, cur!
Flash: You're getting closer!
Whirling around again, Knockout swings her arm forward again, having every intent of punching the man's head clean off. Just as it looks like her knuckles are about to connect, though, Flash suddenly disappears from sight and her fist strikes air.
Flash: Almost had me that time!
Growling in frustration, Knockout turns to attempt the same thing yet again, and as expected achieves the same results. Now, though, Flash decides that he's played around long enough and decides to end things. Moving in far faster than she can keep track of, he unloads on her, though is careful not to go too far.
Flash: You seem pretty durable, but I wonder you'll fare against a few thousand supersonic punches!
Within seconds, he finishes his attack, then pulls back and watches as the dazed woman teeters on her feet and then crashes to the floor, exhausted and battered.
Ext. Karen Starr's Apartment Building – Night
Whirling the large man around through the air, Power Girl whips him towards the ground with thunderous force. Holocaust crashes into the sidewalk, causing the entire street to shake and a small crater to form at his point of impact. Nearby citizens on the streets start screaming and running away in a panic, terrified over the two super powered individuals engaged in combat. The blow doesn't seem to do much to faze the man, though, as he starts to crawl his way back to his feet.
But Power girl doesn't give him much of a chance to recover, flying in like a rocket and delivering a punch to his face with such ferocity that it creates a miniature sonic boom in its wake and sends the man careening into the air. Before he gets too far, she flies up to meet him, speeding above and then delivering a double handed blow to send him straight back down again. Once more, she super speeds her way ahead of him again and catches him with her fist as he crashes against it. Finally, she throws him lightly to the ground and brushes her hands together.
Power Girl: That outta do it. Gotta hand it to you, though, you sure can take a punch.
As she begins to return to her apartment, however, Holocaust suddenly rises up from the ground again, cracking his neck from side to side and breathing in deeply. A swirl of flames bursts around his body, growing hotter by the second.
Holocaust: Not bad. Now it's my turn.
Swinging his arms forward, he intense flames scorch towards her. Power Girl stands her ground, throwing her arms up and enduring. Her body is Kryptonian; a little heat isn't going to bother her. She doesn't know how up to speed this guy is on Kryptonians, but so far he's doing a lousy job in trying to beat one. Even through the flickering flames and smoke, her sharp vision sees him charging her. Ducking out of the way of his attack, she sends another titanic punch into his gut that once again lifts him airborne. Though he's still on fire, she flies up after him and grabs hold, continuing her ascent into the sky.
Holocaust: What the hell you doing?!
Power Girl: Taking you for a little ride. If I can't put you down the old fashion way...
Holocaust: You'll what, drop me from thirty thousand feet? Ha! Good luck!
Power Girl: Not quite what I had in mind.
She continues flying higher and higher, well past the clouds. Though the searing flames have already begun to scorch and burn her costume, they slowly weaken and die as the oxygen thins out at such a high altitude. Eventually, the fire extinguishes completely, leaving the man dazed and delirious.
Holocaust: You think... this is gonna stop... me?
Within a few more moments, he finally slumps forward in Power Girl's arms and passes out cold. Quickly, she begins her descent again, back towards ground level. That should keep big ugly down for a while, at least enough time for her and the rest of the heroes to get out of there.
Int. Karen Starr's Apartment – Night
Back inside the apartment, Catman tackles Red Arrow through a table. The two go down hard, several long wooden splinters jutting up and slightly stabbing into Red Arrow's side. But the impact doesn't take him out, as he uses the momentum to flip Catman up over his head, then while still on the ground, raise his bow, nock an arrow, and fire upside down at the airborne man. The projectile zips through the air, piercing the side of Catman's leg. Quickly getting back to his feet, Red Arrow seizes the opportunity to run at the downed man and deliver a crippling kick to the face. This time, Catman goes down and stays down.
Meanwhile, a disarmed Ravager spins around another vicious strike and ends up behind Scandal. Jumping upwards, she lands on the woman's shoulders, clenches her thighs tightly, and then flips backwards. Her sheer strength and momentum forces Scandal into a backwards somersault, ending with her head smashing into the floor. The woman goes limp a moment later, collapsing and unmoving, but still breathing.
Raven then opens her cloak again, a black mass spilling out as Killer Frost reappears, curled up into the fetal position and shuddering with her eyes wide in horror. The others look over the scene curiously for a moment, eyes focusing on the almost catatonic Killer Frost. Slowly, Ravager moves her gaze up to the stolid empath.
Ravager: The hell did you do to her?
Raven: I made her feel pain... all the pain she had caused her victims, all the terror, the agony. She will recover... eventually.
Clearing his throat slightly, Red Arrow leans in close and gives Ravager a careful whisper.
Red Arrow: She always was a bit scary.
A short moment later, Flash reappears in the damaged apartment with the others, though his expression is one of urgent concern.
Flash: Uh, guys, great that we won and all, but we should probably be going. I just did a sweep of the block, and the cops are almost here. I think I spotted another VRA squad on its way, too.
The side wall suddenly crashes inward, as Power Girl makes a rather abrupt and loud entrance. She stands there for a moment, taking in a couple deep breaths while trying to fix her scorched costume. The damage isn't too bad, but there is a noticeable grey, charcoal-like coating across the white leotard, and the edges to her cape are tattered.
Power Girl: Alright, so now would probably be a good time to get out of here.
Ravager: Yeah, we already figured that.
Raven: Allow me.
The sounds of sirens are already filling the streets when Raven opens her arms. Of course, when the police get inside, all they'll find is an unconscious VRA task force. The heroes, on the other hand, have disappeared into Raven's dark energy, teleporting through space to their destination.
Int. VRA Minimum Security Facility – Night
Becky: This is wrong. Hijo de puta, this is wrong.
Lying on one of the two cots hanging from the wall, Becky holds her hands behind her head and stares up at the bottom of the top bunk above her. The cell is small, nothing more than a square space with a sink, a toilet, and the two aforementioned cots. Instead of iron bars, however, the front wall is composed of thick, clear Plexiglass, completely unbreakable for the women inside.
Becky: No lawyer, no trial, bogus charges; they just throw us straight in a cell.
Circe: Not to mention forcing us to wear these atrocious orange jumpsuits.
The purple haired woman on the top bunk leans over the side a bit, looking down at Becky. At the very least they had been put in a cell together, instead of with some strangers. It makes their current predicament a tiny bit more bearable, though not by much.
Becky: You shouldn't be trying to make a joke out of this; it isn't funny. None of it is.
Circe: And what would have me do instead? I am mortal now; I don't have the power to help us.
Becky: I don't know, try to sound p*ssed off, maybe? Or at least a little upset? You've barely said anything this we got here.
Circe: You think I'm not angry? That I'm not furious? Because I am. These people took my daughter away and have the audacity to cage me up like an animal. If I had my magic still, not a single one of them would escape my wrath. I would burn them all to see Lyta safely back to me, in my arms again.
For a brief moment, she stares over at the wall across from her, fingers gripping the side of her cot tightly. A bright flare of rage is starting to form across her face, though she quickly stifles it away and utters a cool breath, relaxing again.
Circe: But I can't. I'm stuck here, powerless to do anything.
Becky: Then why have you been so calm this whole time?
Circe: Because lamenting and complaining about it won't make the situation any better. Instead, I've been spending my time contemplating.
Becky: Contemplating what?
Circe: How I'm going to get my daughter back once our sentence is complete, and how I'm going to make them all suffer for what they've done.
Before Becky can bring herself to respond to Circe's claims, a loud, high pitched alarm begins blaring through the facility. Sitting up, she scoots off the cot and heads to the Plexiglass wall, watching as a team of guards sprints down the corridor, weapons at the ready and shouting at each other.
Guard: They're in the east wing! Stop them!
Becky continues watching until all the guards in their cell block are gone, heading to the other side of the building to apparently deal with some kind of threat. Eventually, she turns around again and sits on the edge of her cot. The shrill alarm continues to ring loudly in their ears, forcing her to raise her voice in order to be heard.
Becky: What do you suppose this is all about?
Circe: Probably some idiot trying to escape. Can't imagine that ending well.
Suddenly, the door at the other end of the corridor explodes inwards, blown off its hinges with several red colored arrow shafts stuck to the edges. Instantly, Becky is back on her feet and trying her hardest to peer around the corner of her cell through the clear wall. She spots two figures entering into the hallway, both dressed in costume. One of them she doesn't recognize, a man in red leather and carrying a bow. The second, however, she knows all too well.
Ravager: You know, for minimum security, you'd think they wouldn't have a building that was teleport proof.
Red Arrow: Well you know, that would be too easy. Besides, it's much more fun this way.
Ravager: Let's just hope Power Girl and Raven's distraction lasts long enough.
Hurrying down the corridor, Ravager and Red Arrow stop when they reach the proper cell, seeing both Becky and Circe beyond. Smiling widely, Becky presses a hand up to the clear wall. In response, Ravager presses her own hand against it as well, on the opposite side.
Becky: Am I glad to see you.
Ravager: Didn't think I'd leave you behind, did you?
Becky: Didn't even know you'd escaped.
Red Arrow: Less talking, more breaking out.
Pulling her hand back, Ravager reaches up to her swords and draws them.
Ravager: Right, get back.
Once Becky is clear, Ravager quickly makes several precision cuts along the Plexiglass. Normally, this probably wouldn't have much of an effect, but ever since Batman upgraded her swords to be five times sharper, the blades cut through it like paper. Instantly, the Plexiglass wall falls to pieces, allowing the two women inside an escape point.
Ravager: Come on!
Without needing much of an invitation, both Circe and Becky follow Ravager and Red Arrow down the corridor so they can flee the building.
Ext. Back Alley – Night
Several minutes later, the group retreats to a secluded alleyway, a short distance away from the facility. Three others are already there waiting for them, one of them being the Flash. The woman with him is Linda West, his wife, and the young boy is his son, Jai West. Both are dressed in identical orange jumpsuits.
Flash: You both sure you're alright?
Reaching forward, Linda embraces her husband in a warm hug, breathing in deeply
Linda: We're fine, hun. Just... thank you for getting us.
Jai: Yeah... it really sucked in there.
Flash: Hey, language, mister.
Jai: Well it did.
A small sigh leaves Flash's mouth.
Flash: I know. We would have freed everyone if we could have, but there's too many people in there; we can't bring them all with us.
Linda: Wally, what about Iris? Is she...?
Flash: We're going after her next, along with every other child the VRA wrenched away from their parents.
The others stand off to the side for now, waiting for the other two members of their party to return. Folding her arms across her chest, Becky utters a long breath.
Becky: Things have really gone to hell, huh?
Ravager: You don't know the half of it. I'll fill you in later.
Finally, Power Girl and Raven find their way back to the designated meeting area. Aside from their costumes being a bit tattered, they appear completely fine. This was the minimum security facility, after all. Nothing but a bunch of fodder to toy with while the others proceeded with the rescue part of the mission.
Power Girl: Everyone here?
Red Arrow: Present and accounted for.
Power Girl: Good, then let's get out of here. Raven, you know the place, right?
Raven: I'll have us there shortly.
Once again, she raises up her arms and envelopes them all in her soul-self to transport them to a safer location, in an instant.
Int. Starr Enterprises – Night
The underground safe house reminds Rose a bit of Batman's bunker, except much better lit and much less of a 'cave' vibe going on. In fact, the place is more or less just a big apartment, complete with all the normal amenities: kitchen, bathrooms, living room, television, computer, bedrooms, laundry room, etc.
Rose: So, you're sure we're safe here?
Power Girl: A hundred percent.
Reaching up to the clasp on her cape, she removes the red garb and drapes it over the back of a couch. She then turns around to lean back against the couch, holding herself up with her arms and casually crossing one ankle over the other.
Power Girl: This is the subbasement of the subbasement; nobody knows about it but me. I had it built a while back just in case I ever needed a safe spot to hide out in.
Rose tucks her helmet under arm, giving the area another quick look. Wally is already out of his Flash costume and back in his civilian clothes, while talking with his family on the other side of the room. Roy left a short while ago to take a shower, and Raven shut herself up in one of the bedrooms to meditate. Circe, too, opted to be alone in the same fashion, finding a quiet room for herself.
Rose: Good call.
Becky steps forward, clearing her throat briefly before holding a hand out. She shifts nervously on her feet for a moment, while scratching the back of her head with her other hand and smiling rather awkwardly.
Becky: I, uh, just want to say thanks for helping us, and, um, it's great to meet you. I've seen you on the news before, read about you in the papers sometimes... you lead the JSA, right?
Power Girl: That's right...
Lifting her eyebrows, Power Girl reaches out to shake the woman's hand, though can't help but notice where Becky keeps looking.
Power Girl: And you're welcome, too. But try to keep your eyes up, alright?
Becky: Wha- oh! Oh my- lo siento! I didn't mean to- I mean I was just-
Uttering a small groan, Rose smacks her hand against her forehead and then pulls Becky away from the rather well endowed woman.
Rose: Easy with the eyes, Rebecca. Let's not be a perv.
Becky: Well I can't help it, they're just so- and then with the big hole in the costume- and they're so-
Folding her arms across her chest, Power Girl chuckles softly to herself, shaking her head and smirking, fully amused at the woman's awkward behavior.
Power Girl: It's alright, really. I get that a lot. Though, admittedly, it is usually from the other half.
Becky: Ay caramba... I think I need to take a shower. I'll just be going now.
Rose: I'll be there in a few.
Once Becky is gone, Power Girl looks to Rose again and smirks.
Power Girl: She always like that?
Rose: Not usually, no... Then again, I don't think I've ever seen her in the presence of a woman carrying around a couple of watermelons.
Power Girl: Flattery and sarcasm, now that's a new combination.
R`ose: Yeah, I'm great like that. Anyway, when are we making our next move? The more time we waste here, the longer those kids have to endure whatever the hell the VRA is subjecting them to.
Power Girl: Tomorrow. It's late right now, and the team has been through a lot tonight. Best to give everyone a chance to rest and recover; the next place is probably a lot better guarded than the one we just came from.
Pausing slightly, Rose shifts her weight and breathes outwardly. Her gaze finds its way to the floor.
Rose: I wouldn't really call us a team. More like the only ones left who can do anything.
Power Girl: Better than nobody left at all.
Rose: I suppose... I just hope it's enough.
Int. Stryker's Island Penitentiary – Night
Formerly serving as one of the world's most premier prisons for dangerous, super powered criminals, Stryker's Island has since been turned into the VRA's maximum security facility, where they keep all those superhero vigilantes who fail to register. At least, that's what they tell the public. In reality, there is something much more sinister at work here, and the man currently rummaging around the laboratory in search of specific tools is at the forefront of it.
Professor Hugo Strange purses his lips in contemplation, as he examines the broken surgical equipment in front of him, including a bent scalpel, twisted drill tips, and dull saw blades. Not a single tool has managed to break through the girl's tough exterior. Granted, he's had this issue before with a few other subjects, but never to this degree. No, a Kryptonian's durability is something altogether different. It looks like he's going to have to make a special request.
Strange: Don't go anywhere, my dear, I'll be right back.
Of course, his subject, the young Kryptonian and member of the Justice League, Supergirl, isn't going anywhere at all. She is currently and completely unconscious, not to mention heavily restrained on the surgical table. Even if she does miraculously wake up in the next twenty-four hours, she won't be able to move. Not even her levels of strength can break out of those specially designed inhibitor straps, tested to resist super powered forces of over 100,000 tons. Needless to say, they are not being careless when it comes to holding certain individuals.
Making his way over to the phone, Strange removes his glasses and lets out a long sigh as he dials the number. Five rings go by before he finally gets an answer, a callous voice appearing on the other end.
Slade/Phone: What is it, Hugo? I trust your work is coming along smoothly?
Strange: Quite. However, I have run into a small snag. Seems that I'm going to need some special equipment for this one.
Slade/Phone: Let me guess, the Kryptonian girl?
Strange: Precisely. None of my instruments can pierce her invulnerable hide. I'll be needing a drill bit with a Kryptonite tip in order to make the implantation. Otherwise, she's useless to us.
Slade/Phone: Have you tried an inhibitor collar?
Strange: Don't insult me, Mr. Wilson. That was the very first thing I tried. Unfortunately, alien physiology doesn't work the same as ours. Our current inhibitor collars are built to suppress an individual's metagene, thereby neutralizing their powers. Or, if the individual is magic based, we can apply our magic dampeners to prevent them from accessing their power. But aliens do not possess a metagene or operate by magic; their abilities are a natural part of their evolution, meaning we have no current technology that can negate those powers.
Slade/Phone: Spare me the science lesson, Professor; I get it. You'll have your drill by tomorrow morning.
Strange: See to that, and you'll have your very own Kryptonian at your disposal.
Hanging up the phone, Hugo moves back across the lab and begins cleaning up all the other broken tools, dumping some of the more irreparable pieces into the trash. Once he's finished, he removes his lab coat and heads towards the exit, flicking the light off on his way out the door.
Strange: I'll be back for you in the morning, Supergirl.
After exiting the laboratory, Strange makes his way down the corridor to the third door on the left. This takes him into another room, which has been made into the subject recovery chamber. His most recent subjects lean back against slanted tables at a diagonal angle in relation to the floor, with thick, reinforced straps holding them in place without falling. A heart monitor is hooked up to each of them, emitting a steady cacophony of electronic beeping. The only other person present is a fellow VRA colleague sitting in front of a computer near the corner.
Strange: Veronica, how are their vitals looking?
The blond woman swings her chair around slowly to face him, removing her glasses and letting out a tired sigh.
Veronica: Vitals are completely stable, and none of them are showing any abnormalities. Seems to be a another successful batch.
Pausing, Strange glances over at the subjects again, the remaining members of the Justice League, who he had already been working on earlier today: Cyborg, Batman, Donna Troy, Green Arrow, and Jesse Quick.
Strange: Good. See to it that you activate them before you leave; I want them operational by tomorrow.
Veronica: Of course. I'll get to work on it now.
When Strange leaves the room, Veronica turns back to her computer and begins running several programs. The heart monitors begin to beep a bit faster for a moment, as the activation process begins. Shortly after, the beats return to normal. Now all that's left to do is to wait for complete functionality, which should take approximately six hours. In the meantime, she could use a hot shower and a long nap. Turning the computer off, Veronica gets up from her desk and then leaves the room, shutting the lights off behind her.
For a short while, the only illumination in the room comes from the steady blinking from the monitors. However, several minutes later, a bright red glow appears, emanating from Cyborg's robotic eye. Though the human part of his brain is still dormant, inactive and awaiting functionality, the machine part of his brain is working on overdrive.
Detecting foreign programming...
Activating defense protocols...
Local firewall activated...
Foreign programming removed.
And that's when Cyborg's normal eye suddenly flies open, while his lungs inhale a deep, shocked breath. He swallows a hard lump in his throat and attempts to move forward, only to find himself strapped down to the slanted table still. It doesn't take much in order to break free of them, however, stumbling forward and catching his balance while his systems begin to boot up.
Cyborg: The hell am I?
The last thing he recalls, he and the rest of the Justice league were fighting against a small army of other heroes under the control of the VRA... and they had lost. After that... nothing. Everything is blank, just a wall of darkness in his mind. Instead of trying to think about past events he can't remember, though, he instead focuses on the present, turning his attention to the room surrounding him. When he realizes that his friends are tied up and unconscious, he immediately attempts to wake them.
Cyborg: Guys? Come on, hey, time to get up.
Of course, that has little effect, as they're completely unresponsive. Lifting up one of his arms, he flips open a panel and activates his bio scanners, trying to get a read on their condition.
Scanners say they're out cold... no signs of waking up any time soon, either. Okay, plan B.
Moving away from the unconscious Justice League, Cyborg sits himself in front of the computer. When he disperses the screen saver, he finds the system requesting a password. An amused smirk crosses his face. Within moments, he interfaces himself with the computer and begins going through its system. The password comes to him in an instant, allowing him unrestricted access to all of its files, data, and information, downloading it all into his system.
Several minutes into his little hacking session, however, particular pieces of data begin flying through his head. He suddenly realizes where he is and what's going on. This is a VRA facility, and what they're doing... His eye suddenly goes wide. Once he finishes downloading the computer's entire hard drive, he pushes himself back in the seat and stares at the screen, partially mortified.
Cyborg: This is bad... this is really bad.
If the data he just received is accurate, then he needs to figure out some way to stop it, some way to fix what the VRA is doing. But he can't do it here, not under the noses of the VRA itself. He needs to escape... but how?
Int. Starr Enterprises – Night
Becky: So, you're going to free the children tomorrow?
Sitting on the edge of the bed, she looks up to Rose and leans back on her hands. Rose, in the middle of examining her armor for any damage that might need repairing, doesn't look back when she responds, instead continuing her work.
Rose: We'll try to, anyway. With some luck, we might even be successful... and after that, we take down the VRA headquarters, pay a little visit to my dad, and find out what's really going on.
Becky: And I suppose you'll be leaving me behind, right?
Pausing, Rose turns now to glance over her shoulder, giving Becky a narrow gaze.
Rose: Haven't we had this conversation already?
Becky: Well maybe it's time to bring it up again.
Rose: Becky, I don't think-
Becky: No, just listen to me, okay? If you think you're going to go running off on some crazy mission without me, then you're loco. You really think you can just leave me here, waiting and hoping you come back again? What if you don't?
Hardening her gaze, Rose moves forward now and looks squarely into Becky's eyes.
Rose: I will.
Becky: You can't promise that, Rose. You know you can't promise that. The situation is a bit different than what you're used to.
Rose: Which is exactly why you shouldn't be coming along. We just freed you, I'm not going to throw you right back into harm's way!
Becky: I'd rather be in harm's way with you than out of harm's way waiting around helplessly for you to come back.
Rose: And I'd rather not get my girlfriend hurt, or arrested, or worse! I'm trying to protect you.
Rising from her seat on the bed, Becky glares at Rose and points at her harshly.
Becky: I don't need protecting! Christ, Rose, you've been spending all this time training me, getting me to improve, but you won't let me help you. If that's the case, then what's the point?
Rose: The deal was to teach you how to better defend yourself, so hopefully my life wouldn't catch you in the crossfire. I was never trying to train you to become my crime fighting partner or anything. If that's the notion you got, then I'm sorry, but it's not going to happen.
Becky: Right, because you're so much better.
Rose: Yeah, I am, like it or not. I've been doing this for years. I have the experience and the skill to handle this kind of stuff. You don't.
Becky: You forget I've been a cop for five years, Rose. I'm not exactly new to fighting crime.
Rose: Being a cop won't stop some super powered goon from punching your head off! The stuff I deal with is a little more dangerous than your average thug with an uzi, and now with the VRA having nearly the entire superhero community at their disposal, you'll just end up getting yourself killed! You can't help, Becky! I wish you could, but you can't. That's just the way it is.
Clenching her jaw tightly, Becky folds her arms across her chest for a moment, glaring hotly at her girlfriend. At the moment, though, Rose doesn't feel so much like a girlfriend as an arrogant, egotistical b*tch. Even if she is putting Becky's safety first, at the moment it just comes across as condescending.
Becky: You know what? Fine! Whatever. I'll just wait here and pray you don't die. Like I always do.
Grabbing a robe off the bedpost, Becky slips it on and ties it off, then starts heading for the door.
Rose: Where are you going?
Becky: Away from you!
She slams the door behind her hard, rattling the frame as she steps out into the hallway and heads back towards the kitchen area. Maybe some coffee will help calm her down, though she highly doubts that. When she does make it into the kitchen, she just stands there for a while, leaning against the sink and taking in deep, steady breaths.
It's dark right now, most of the lights having been shut off a while ago with everyone going to bed, but she makes no move to turn them on. She rather prefers the dark at the moment. When the kitchen light suddenly flicks on, however, she looks up to see a familiar figure standing there, dressed in powder blue pajamas.
Becky: Oh, uh, Power Girl... hi.
Kara: Please, I'm in my civvies. It's just Kara.
Becky: Uh, Kara, right. Sorry.
Kara: So, that sounded like some fight.
Becky: Wait... you heard that?
Smiling slightly, Kara points to her ears.
Kara: Super hearing. And with the way you two were yelling...
Holding a hand to her head, she lets out a frustrated groan.
Becky: It's just... I feel so useless around her, you know? I mean, she's great; she's strong, fast, smart, and can kick a whole lot of ass. But me... I'm just me. Sure, she might be training me on the side, but a lot of good that does when she won't even let me help her.
Kara: Sounds like she's just protective.
Becky: Yeah, I know... she cares, and that's great, but I'd rather be out there fighting with her. Of course, when it comes to that she just treats me like a kid, like I'd just be getting in the way. And maybe she's right, sure, but maybe she's not. Maybe I'd do just fine.
Kara: Hmm... sort of a 'never know until you try' kind of thing, right?
Breathing out a heavy sigh, Becky lowers her gaze and rubs her temples tiredly. She's starting to get a rather aggravating headache.
Becky: But it doesn't matter anyway. Not really a whole lot I can do about it.
Kara folds her arms across her chest, leaning back against the counter and thinking for a moment. It isn't everyday that she meets a person quite like Rebecca Chavez. In spite of the anger and the frustration in the woman, Kara can see a good deal of determination in her, and a desire to do good. The only problem is that Becky doesn't have the means to do it, at least not in the way the superheroes around her do.
Kara: What if I said I might have something that could help?
Becky: Help me how?
Kara: Come with me and I'll show you.
Int. Starr Enterprises – Day
The small group of heroes gathers in the living room the next morning, preparing for their inevitable assault on the next VRA facility. It's a brazen move to be sure, but with the way things are, they don't have many other options. They've already been branded fugitives, so they might as well act like fugitives, and they aren't about to let innocent children, powered or not, be held prisoner away from their families just so some scientists could study their abilities. They don't care that it's required by law now; not only are the new laws broken and ridiculous, but it's just morally wrong. So they're going to do the right thing and stop it.
Securing her swords to her back, Ravager takes a moment to look around at the others. The heroes are all there, including Flash, Red Arrow, Raven, and of course, Power Girl. Wally's wife and son are there to wish their dad luck, and even Circe sits off to the side, watching them. But Becky is nowhere to be seen. Curious, she looks over to Power Girl.
Ravager: Hey, have you seen Rebecca this morning? We... sort of had a fight last night, and she never came back to the room.
Power Girl: Oh, Becky? Not sure... I imagine she's probably still testing her new suit.
Narrowing her eyes, Ravager gives the woman a hard stare.
Ravager: What do you mean, 'her new suit'?
Becky: Hey, Rose! Think fast!
Turning suddenly in response to not only the yell, but also the flicker of precog flashing through her head, Ravager brings up her arms to block an incoming strike. The long metal staff swings viciously, caroming off her forearms with a force much greater than it should have. A miniature shock wave ends up flipping her backwards through the air, over the couch. She only barely manages to twist her body around to land on her feet in a crouch.
Becky: And that was the low setting; I can shatter a concrete wall on high!
And then Becky moves in again, moving at a speed far greater than she should be, lunging in with surprising skill, and delivering a spinning kick with grace and precision that she's never shown before. Though Ravager manages to sidestep the kick, a follow up blow from the butt of the staff catches her off guard and launches her backwards again, tumbling head over heels. As she scrambles back up to her feet, shock and near panic runs through her head.
What the hell is going on?!
When Becky makes another move this time, Ravager is ready for her. The two exchange a brief series of blows; yes, exchange blows. Never before had Becky ever been able to land a solid hit on her during their spars, but right now the woman is fighting like some kind of possessed demon. She's faster, stronger, her movements more elegant, precise. Furthermore, the strikes that Ravager lands barely seem to have an effect. Becky keeps coming, completely unfazed, and in moments a sweeping low attack from the metal staff trips Ravager up onto her back. Before she can make a move to get up, the end of the staff twirls around and plants itself straight against her throat.
Becky: Not bad, ah? Do I pass the audition?
Ravager just stares up at Becky, eyes wide behind her helmet's faceplate. She can't put into words how utterly dumbfounded she is at the moment, and has no idea what just happened. From what she can tell, Becky somehow made a monumental leap in ability overnight, and it must have something with the costume she's currently wearing, a rather tight, though durable and armored power suit, with metal guards on the shoulder and arms. Its armored plating also extends up to her head, adding more protection everywhere except a spot to allow her hair to flow out.
The others, meanwhile, watch in equal surprise, mouths hanging open and astounded. A few moments later, though, Red Arrow's expression shifts into amusement.
Red Arrow: Wow... she really handed it to you.
Flash: Yeah, that was...
Circe: Rather amusing.
Becky: I know, right? This thing is amazing!
Blinking a couple of times, Ravager slowly reaches up to move the staff away from her throat, then sits up, still staring at her.
Ravager: Becky... the hell was that? And what are you wearing?
Walking forward, Power Girl gestures at the suit and smiles.
Power Girl: Ladies and gentleman, I give you the latest prototype from Starr Enterprises' Tech division. The X-suit is a state of the art piece of equipment designed to increase a person's natural attributes to the maximum and beyond. By keying into the wearer's bio-electric signature, it works with the body to increase strength, agility, speed, reflexes, stamina; you name, it does it. Originally meant to be a tool to help workers in dangerous jobs more easily and safely complete their daily tasks, it also makes for one heck of a superhero costume.
Ravager: Well you certainly got the sales pitch down...
Power Girl: Thanks, I've been practicing. You don't think it comes across as a little too cheesy?
Ravager merely glares at the woman, saying nothing as she turns her attention back to her girlfriend.
Becky: So, what do you think? With this thing, I can do everything you can; maybe more. I can help you now, Rose. I don't have to sit on the sidelines anymore.
Ravager: Becky... I don't like this. You can't just... put on a costume and suddenly become a superhero.
Narrowing her eyes slightly, Becky frowns and holds her hands to her hips.
Becky: So even when I'm perfectly capable of handling myself, you still don't want my help. Is that it?
Ravager: It's not that, it's just-
Becky: In case you didn't notice, Rose, I just beat you. Don't tell me you're a sore loser now.
Ravager: I just don't want you getting hurt. I... you know how much you mean to me, right?
Letting out a small breath, Becky reaches up and puts a hand on Ravager's shoulder. She then reaches up to remove the woman's faceplate, so she can look into her eyes, instead of at red lenses on a mask.
Becky: About much as you mean to me, ah? You know that's why I want to be there with you, why I need to be there with you. If you're putting yourself at risk like this, then I am to. That's just the way it is.
A small pause passes between them. Ravager's eyes soften slightly, a sigh escaping her lips as her gaze tilts downward. She's completely against this, allowing Becky along.
She doesn't know what she's getting herself into...
But at the same time, what can she really do to stop her? No matter what Ravager does, short of tying her to a bedpost, Becky isn't going to wait behind again, not now. Eventually, she realizes all that she can do is give in.
Ravager: Fine... you can come. Just... don't get yourself hurt, alright?
Becky: Hey, you watch my back and I'll watch yours. Deal?
Looking back up, Ravager gives a small smile.
Lips widening into a delighted smirk, Becky then leans forward and plants a firm kiss on her girlfriend's lips. When she pulls away, she lifts up Ravager's faceplate and reattaches it to the helmet.
Becky: Good, then let's get this show on the road!
Ext. Arizona Desert – Day
Red Arrow: Well, at least they had the courtesy to put this place in the middle of nowhere.
The group sits on a rocky outcropping, overlooking the buildings down below, about five hundred yards in the distance. All around them stretches the seemingly infinite Arizona desert, a vast expanse of dry, red rocks and earth, and dead shrubs. The compound isn't exactly on the main road, either, instead about three miles down a barely visible dirt path.
Flash: Probably to discourage the kids from trying to run away. Only place to go is miles of desert.
Ravager: What do you see down there?
Squinting her eyes, Power Girl carefully observes the compound in the distance with her super vision. She is silent for a moment before finally reporting her findings.
Power Girl: Several guard patrols, five men per squad. Can't see inside the buildings, though; the walls must be lead-lined.
Raven: And I cannot teleport inside... they have taken many precautions.
Flash: Who wants to bet I can't vibrate through the walls, either?
Standing up and holding her staff against the ground, Becky takes in a deep breath and glares down at the compound. She's motivated, determined, and yet also holds a degree of eagerness and excitement; this time around, she gets to be one of the heroes.
Becky: Alright, so what's the plan? How do we get those kids out of there?
Ravager: Well, our goal here is to free everyone, right? So, essentially we need to take over the entire compound. I say we go with the full frontal attack, work on subduing all the guards and gaining control of the facility. That way, we can stick together and watch each other's backs.
Raven: I agree... They are likely to have many security protocols that would prevent a stealthy infiltration. We must... force our way in.
Red Arrow: Fine, as long PG leads the charge.
Raising an eyebrow, Power Girl glances back at the man.
Power Girl: Quick to throw me to the wolves, I see.
Red Arrow: Of course I am, you're our only heavy hitter. Get in there and cause as much damage as possible; we'll back you up.
Power Girl: Well, I suppose I can live with that... Alright then, let's get down there and introduce ourselves, shall we?
Ext. VRA Children's Facility – Day
Guard #1: Hey, do you see that?
The east guard patrol suddenly stops and looks over to where their squadmate is pointing. In the distance, about two hundred feet up in the air, is a small white dot fast approaching, with a flicker of red trailing behind it. Another guard steps forward and holds a hand up above his eyes, trying to shield the bright sunlight.
Guard #2: I dunno, maybe a bird or something?
Guard #3: Could be a weather balloon.
Guard #2: What the hell would a weather balloon be doing out here?
Before they can further discuss the possibility of what it might be, their buddy throws himself at them, pushing them out of the way.
Guard #1: Jesus, look out!
Two long, hot beams slice across the ground nearby, kicking up dirt and dust into the air. Of course, she hadn't actually been aiming at the squad, instead only intending to cause chaos and distract, but the guards didn't knew that. As far as they were concerned, some super being was trying to kill them. When Power Girl swoops in from above and begins targeting empty vehicles, huts, and patches of dirt, several more squads came running in from throughout the compound to stop her.
As if they could stop her. They can try all they want, but none of them have a way of breaking through her tough, Kryptonian skin. Bullets bounce off, stun weapons simply tickle, and blunt objects dent or break when coming into contact. This allows her to create as much mayhem as possible, while subduing every person she comes across. Granted, she won't really hurt them... much. They just need to sleep for a while.
As several more teams pour out of the surrounding buildings, a red and yellow blur zips into the compound, rocketing from person to person and knocking them out cold. They never know what hits them, as Flash moves far faster than their eyes can even register, though he's plenty careful to not accidentally kill anyone. A short few moments later, the rest of the heroes appear to help.
Staying near the back of the pack, Red Arrow unloads shot after shot, each arrow finding its target and putting the victim down with a powerful, stunning electric shock. Raven levitates upwards, holding her arms up and projecting her soul-self outwards in the form of a giant raven that swoops down onto her enemies, throwing them backwards and holding them down. Ravager, however, takes a much more direct approach. She leaps forward into a small squad, swords already drawn, and begins making precision strikes, cutting tendons and ligaments but doing no lethal damage. When she finds the openings, which actually come fairly quickly, she puts them down with hard blows to the head.
And then there's Becky. Showing no fear or hesitation, she sprints forward with shocking speed for someone without any powers, hitting somewhere around fifty miles per hour by the time she reaches the nearest group of guards to her. They take aim with their weapons, but she's already out of the way, leaping through the air and flipping over them, while swinging her staff down in mid jump and striking two in the sides of their skulls. When she lands, she twirls around and sweeps low, tripping up another, and then lifting the metal pole skyward to catch the fourth man in the bottom of the jaw, knocking him clear off his feet.
Becky: Ha! Did you see that?
Turning her gaze, Ravager looks over to Becky and notices another stray guard running up behind her with a stun baton.
Without so much as turning around, Becky sidesteps the blindside attack and whips her staff up over her shoulder, smashing the man in the face and sending him hurtling backwards.
Becky: You worry too much, Rose, I got it covered!
Breathing out a brief sigh, Ravager moves to the side and catches a guard's arm in mid attack, twisting it harshly and snapping bone. A follow up knee to the face knocks him out. Meanwhile, a lone guard taking cover behind a jeep peers around the side of the vehicles and lifts his radio up to his mouth.
Guard: Are you seeing this?! We need backup out here! They're tearing us apart!
A small hiss of static comes in, followed shortly after by a somewhat annoyed female voice.
Woman/Radio: Yes, I'm aware of what's going on.
Guard: Well then where's the support?!
Woman/Radio: Soon, just try to hold out a little longer. It's not like any of you are dying.
When the radio clicks off, the guard blinks down at it and then throws it away in frustration. As he goes to look around the jeep again, watching the Kryptonian woman creating all sorts of destruction to the property, a red arrow suddenly zips through the arrow and plants itself against his chest. Blinking, he stares down at the shaft for a brief moment before a powerful electric shock surges through him. In seconds, he passes out.
Int. VRA Children's Facility – Day
Inside the main office, Amanda Waller leans back in her seat and taps her fingers against the desk in front of her. She can't say this little attack on the compound is unexpected; with everything going on, she'd actually be surprised if the remaining free heroes didn't try something like this. However, she had been hoping that her team would be a little more capable than what they've shown so far. Then again, with a Kryptonian and the fastest man alive leading the charge, it's no wonder why they're failing so miserably.
But all that will change shortly. Looking across her desk at the six individuals standing in her office, she simply gives them an affirmative nod.
Waller: Bring them down.
Ext. VRA Children's Facility – Day
It doesn't take long before all the guards on the outside of the compound are down and out, bodies quite literally strewn everywhere. They're all still alive, though, and should eventually make full recoveries. While the others regroup, Flash takes a couple seconds to move all the unconscious men into more comfortable positions, lying them down on their backsides in neat rows. When he's finished, he returns to his teammates.
Flash: Alright, that's everyone. When we're done here we can take them to the nearest hospital, but they should be fine.
Power Girl: Alright, let's get inside and-
Long before her words finish leaving her mouth, a blur sprints in from seemingly out of nowhere and tackles the Flash from behind, throwing him wildly across the desert ground.
Red Arrow: Wally!
When Flash finally rolls to a stop, he springs back up to his feet and holds his head, trying to shake himself out of the daze.
Flash: Alright, who's the coward with the sneak attack?
Looking back in the direction that he was attacked from, he gets a clear view of the person standing there, the one who had blitzed him from behind. The blue jeans and black T-shirt with an S-shield on it might not be the trendiest superhero costume ever, but it's certainly recognizable.
Superboy: You shouldn't have come here, Rose. None of you should have come here. Now we have to take you down.
Turning their attention back towards the main building of the compound, they see another group standing there, ready for a fight, a group consisting of familiar faces: Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Static, Bombshell, and Beast Boy. Ravager's heart sinks a little.
Ravager: Oh... crap.
Holding his bo staff at the ready, Red Robin leads the charge.
Red Robin: Titans, take them out!
Ext. VRA Children's Facility – Day
As the Teen Titans begin to make their attack, Ravager starts calling out the match-ups.
Ravager: I'll take Static, Raven you take care of Bombshell!
Without saying a single word in response, Raven takes to the air, enveloping herself in her soul-self and preparing a defense.
Ravager: Power Girl, Wonder B*tch is all yours! Becky, take Beast Boy!
Becky: I don't know which one that is!
Ravager: The green one! Roy, you're on Tim!
Red Arrow: Way ahead of you.
He's already taking aim with his bow, letting the arrow loose with pinpoint accuracy. Unfortunately, Red Robin has the ability to spin his staff and swat the projectile out of the air, allowing him close the distance and make a leaping attack that forces Red Arrow to jump back out of the way. Red Arrow follows up with a second shot, but the arrow hits air, as Red Robin ducks away to the side.
Flying in on a levitating slab of metal, Static sends out a vicious bolt of lightning. Ravager's reflexes and precog allow her to dodge, but only barely. It reminds her of the time they both fought in the Dark Side Club tournament a few years back. Static had been mind controlled then, too, though in that case he'd at least been fighting it. Whatever is controlling them this time seems to have an unyielding grip.
Power Girl and Wonder Girl collide midair with thunderous force, grappling with each other momentarily. Eventually, Power Girl manages to flip them around and throw her opponent off towards the ground. A small crater forms as Wonder Girl crashes, but the blow doesn't seem to faze her, as she's up and flying into the air again only seconds later. This time, Wonder Girl leads in with a punch to the face, sending Power Girl spinning upwards into the sky.
Power Girl manages to slow herself to a stop, though, in enough time to fly out of the way of the next incoming attack. Swopping around behind her opponent in an instant, she sends a hot beam of heat vision into Wonder Girl's backside, burning away part of her shirt and blasting her forward like a rocket. Wasting no time, Power Girl speeds forward again, catching up and delivering a double, overhanded blow to the back of the head.
Power Girl: Sorry kid, but you're not my league yet.
However, though Wonder Girl again crashes with astonishing force into the ground, she's up a short few moment later, blitzing through the air and delivering a hard series of blows to Power Girl's face and midsection. Power Girl finally manages to catch one of Wonder Girl's punches, as well as blocking a kick with her other arm, but suddenly reels backwards in response to a headbutt straight to the nose. Then, Wonder Girl swings her around wildly several times, throwing the woman with every bit of her power into the ground.
Wonder Girl: I'm more than just in your league!
Pushing herself up to her hands and knees, Power Girl utters a slightly irritated groan.
Power Girl: That's it, no more messing around.
Gripping her staff tightly, Becky squares off against the green kid. It would help if she had any idea on what his powers are, but for now she's just winging it.
Becky: So, uh, what do you do?
Beast Boy suddenly shifts into an eight foot tall grizzly bear, growling and and running straight her. Becky's eyes go wide, as she leaps up and over a wild claw strike. She lands nimbly on the other side, turning around and spinning her staff to catch the grizzly in the backside. A small shock wave bursts out from the tip of the pole, sending the bear hurtling forward. A brief second later, Beast Boy morphs into a falcon, flying up into the air above her. Shielding her eyes against the sun, Becky gazes up curiously, watching as the bird suddenly falls into a dive, coming downward with tremendous speed.
Becky: Not sure what you plan on doing like that, but I always did like baseball.
Lifting her staff up like a baseball bat, she takes a stance and waits for the falcon to come into range, intent on swatting the thing for a home run. When the bird abruptly transforms into a hippo, however, her jaw hangs open slightly, having only a fraction of a second to react before the two ton animal crashes to earth, smashing her against the ground. Fortunately, her suit not only allows her to react quickly enough, but also prevents the massive animal from flattening her. Lying on her back with the hippo caught against her palms and feet, she starts to push, limbs shaking violently as she struggles to heave the load upward.
Becky: Get... off!
With one final, desperate shove, she sends Beast Boy several feet into the air, allowing just enough space for her to roll out from under it in the second or so the hippo is airborne. Retrieving her staff, she stumbles back up to her feet and takes in several deep breaths.
Becky: Come on... that all you got?
This time, Beast Boy takes a few steps forward and then morphs from hippo to something that looks like a velociraptor straight out of Jurassic Park. The dinosaur utters a shrill shriek and then makes its charge.
Becky: Ay caramba... I had to ask.
Meanwhile, Flash and Superboy square off, slowly circling each other for the moment.
Flash: You sure you really want to do this?
Superboy: Why not? I'm fast, too. Almost as fast as Superman. Almost as fast as you. And I'm a lot stronger.
Flash: Kid, you're nowhere near as fast as me.
Superboy: Why don't we find out?
In an instant, Superboy disappears from his current spot, blitzing forward in attempts to take his opponent out with one blow. But Flash is faster, reacting before Superboy even makes it halfway to him. He can tell that Superboy isn't holding back, so neither does he, reaching speeds he doesn't normally need to hit in a fight. As a matter of fact, none of the Titans are holding back; whatever is controlling them is pushing them to their fullest. If he or the others of his team try to hold back like they normally do in battle, they'll lose. Hopefully the others have already figured that out by now, though.
Flash does have to hand it to him; Superboy is fast. Probably one of the fastest there is next to a speedster. But, in the end, he just isn't a speedster, who have many more tools at their disposal when it comes to speed. Now, if Superboy could get a couple solid hits in, he might have a chance, but he never gets the opportunity. Once Flash amps it up, there's little Superboy can do. In fact, most of his attacks start to slow down, start becoming sluggish. The only chance he had to land a blow was at the beginning of the fight, and now that chance is long gone.
Flash: Feel yourself getting slower yet?
Superboy rushes forward again, but he's not even breaking the sound barrier now. A few more seconds, and he's barely at Olympic level speed. By now, Flash doesn't even have to try in order to avoid him.
Flash: That's the feel of your speed being drained from your body. The longer this fight goes on, the slower I make you. And then, I do this.
Knocking out a Kryptonian with sheer blunt power isn't easy. It requires an astounding level of force, and how do you measure force? Mass times acceleration. What level of force do you get when you multiply the mass of one's fist accelerating at greater than light speed? Well, we'll leave the math to the mathematicians and just call it what it is: a lot. When Superboy goes down, he stays down. He likely won't be getting up for a while, either.
Bombshell: Damn it, hold still!
Flying forward again, fists glowing with atomic energy, she takes another swing at Raven. And just like the last ten times, Raven simply teleports away, out of reach. It's really starting to frustrate her. At least, that's what her mind is being told. With every failed attempt, the signals come in stronger; she must subdue this woman!
Raven: Amy... you are a strong woman. You don't have to do this. Whatever is controlling you... fight it.
Bombshell: The hell are you talking about? Nothing's controlling me!
Uttering a small, distant breath, Raven teleports out of the way of another attack, then raises her hands and splays her finger apart.
Raven: If reason will not work...
Suddenly, a grip of telekinesis latches onto Bombshell and swings her downward. Letting out a surprised yell, the metal-skinned woman crashes against the ground hard. Really hard. Telekinesis isn't a power that Raven uses often, so it's no wonder that Bombshell forgot about it. Now that she's remembered, though, she suddenly realizes just how much of a mismatch this really is, as Raven lifts her up and slams her back into the ground repeatedly. It doesn't do much to actually hurt her, but it does put her in a daze, rattling her head a bit. When she finally feels the telekinetic hold release her, she stumbles back up to her feet, staggering.
Bombshell: Goddamn... hey, what the hell?!
A black mass begins to form around her, swallowing her. In a brief couple of moments, Raven's soul-self completely engulfs her, drawing her within and imprisoning her. For the time being, at least.
Another hot wave of lightning rips towards Ravager, forcing her to lunge to the side again. She can feel the heat as the bolt passes by, boiling the air around her. Sliding across the dirt, she pushes herself forward again, sprinting at Static. Before she makes it even halfway to him, though, he unleashes another electrical blast that pushes her back on the defensive again. In spite of what some might think, dodging lightning isn't exactly the easiest thing to do in the world, even when she can see it before it happens.
At least she's lasting longer than the last time they fought, but she knows it's still only a mater of time until she gets hit, and although her new suit is largely insulated against electrical attacks, she'd rather not have to test just how protective it is if she doesn't have to. She has to go for all or nothing. Spinning out of the way of another lightning bolt, she sprints forward again, then leaps into the air, a second blast rippling through the air below her. Leading with her knee, she explodes a powerful blow against the side of Static's face, but at the same time feels an electrically charged punch erupt at her ribs.
As the two tumble to the ground, Ravager utters a small groan and rolls over onto her hand and knees, bringing a hand up to clutch her side. Her body is numb and tingling, but at least she doesn't feel anymore damage than that. The new insulation in her armor seems to have done its job well enough. Unfortunately, her strike didn't put Static down for good, a wide field of lightning crackling around him as he pushes his way back to his feet.
Ravager: Damn it, why can't you just stay down?
As if on cue, a small boom erupts from behind him and sends him plummeting back to the ground, unconscious. When he falls, he reveals his attacker standing behind him, twirling her staff in one hand and carrying an unconscious Beast Boy in the other.
Becky: So, what do we do with these guys now?
Power Girl: I said. Stay. Down!
Pushing her foot downward, she forces Wonder Girl's face back into the dirt, preventing her from getting back up. Breathing deeply, Power Girl wipes the blood from her split lip and gives one final stomp for good measure. Wonder Girl's strength finally fades along with her consciousness, as her body goes limp beneath Power Girl's heel.
Power Girl: That's better.
Red Arrow: Hey! A little help over here!
Some distance away, Red Arrow and Red Robin's fight had spilled over towards a small storage shed, one wall of which had a hole through it. Several smoking arrow shafts burn in the ground around them, while Red Robin struggles to get his attacker off of him. Red Arrow kneels on his backside, pinning him against the ground with the bow's string pulled tight against his neck. This hold lasts only a second longer, as Red Robin finally manages to flip Red Arrow off and deliver a punch to the jaw. Trying to regain control, Red Arrow ducks back and takes a swing with his bow, battering the Titan in the head and staggering him backwards.
Raven: Stand aside...
Floating into range, Raven opens her cloak again and projects her soul-self into the air. The black mass reaches outward, engulfing each of the unconscious Teen Titans and swallowing them back beneath the cloak. In moments, the disappear. Dropping back to the ground, Raven falls to her knees momentarily and holds a hand to her forehead.
Raven: They will be... safe there. Until we can figure out how to fix what's wrong with them.
Breathing out a long breath, Ravager hangs her head and slowly rises back to her feet.
Ravager: Good... glad that's over.
Power Girl: We're not finished here yet. Everyone, split up into smaller groups, search the compound. We have to find those kids.
Int. VRA Children's Facility – Day
As they walk down the corridor of one of the main buildings, Becky taps her staff casually on her shoulder and glances over at Ravager.
Becky: So, uh... not bad for my first time out, right? I mean, come on, admit it, I was totally awesome.
Lifting her eyebrows behind her mask, Ravager slowly looks over to her girlfriend. For a moment, she just stares, causing Becky to put her hands to her hips and frown.
Ravager: Nothing, you just... you were pretty good out there.
Ravager: No buts. I didn't know how you'd fare in a battle like that, even with the suit... but you handled herself really well. I'm proud of you.
Breaking out into a wide grin, Becky throws an arm around her and chuckles.
Becky: Dios mio, anyone else hear that? My girlfriend is proud of me. Isn't that sweet?
Of course, there is no one else around at the moment. Becky and Ravager had broken off from the others to cover more ground.
Becky: So, where do you suppose everyone is, anyway? I figured they would have least saved some defenses for the interior.
Ravager: They must have thrown everything they had at us. We did the same to them, after all. Question is, though, where are the kids?
Pursing her lips, Becky moves her gaze to the left, as they pass by another door. Squinting through the small glass window, she spots something strange and moves closer to investigate. A few moments later, her eyes go wide.
Becky: I think I just found them.
A second later, she pushes her way through the door, revealing what looks like a high school cafeteria beyond. Rows of long table line the room, each with dozens of children of all ages sitting down and casually eating. They range anywhere from five to maybe fifteen years old, each of them taken from their families and held here.
Becky: They're just... eating. Like normal kids.
Ravager: You call that headgear normal?
Each child has been outfitted with a strange, helmet-like device that wraps around their heads, with wires and blinking lights. Heading to the nearest kid, Ravager looks closely and waves a hand in front of the boy's face. No response. The boy just blinks absently and slowly continues to eat his ham sandwich.
Becky: Dios... they're like zombies.
Ravager: How much you want to bet it's the sci-fi helmets they got going on? Must... pacify them or something.
Becky: So what do we- oh my, Rose!
Glancing up, Ravager looks over to where Becky is pointing and feels her heart jump. Springing back to her feet, she rushes over to the young, purple haired girl at the end of the table.
Of course, there is no response, as the girl just continues eating and doesn't even acknowledge their presence.
Becky: Can we just... take the helmet off, or what?
Ravager: I don't know... there's no telling what it could do to them. We need to find somebody who can figure out how these things work. We need to help these kids.
Pushing the door open, Red Arrow narrows his eyes and looks around carefully. It looks like they're in some kind of laboratory, with a bunch of medical and chemistry equipment out in the open, apparently having been in use not too long ago.
Red Arrow: What the hell is all this? What are they doing with these kids that they need all of this for?
Flash: I don't know... but I intend to find out.
In an instant, Flash disappears, moving through the building at high speeds. Red Arrow blinks a few times before realizing that his friend is gone. Uttering a small breath, he holds his hands to his hips and starts making his way through the lab as well.
Red Arrow: I hate it when he does that...
He finds Flash a few minutes later in one of the last rooms in the building. At first, he doesn't realize what's going on, but it doesn't take long to figure it out. Halfway through the door, he freezes when he sees the rows of machines lined against the wall, each one containing a small child strapped down and hooked up to a bunch of wires and needles jabbing into their bodies. Small forceps force their eyelids wide open, preventing them from blinking, while heart monitors keep track of their systems.
Red Arrow: Oh my god... Wally, is that Iris?
Flash is kneeling no the floor in front of one of the machines, a small girl clutched in his arms. The girl makes no noticeable cognitive actions, lying limply and staring straight off into space, a weird helmet wrapped around her head.
Flash: She's not responding, Roy. I... I'm trying to reach her but all she does is stare.
Red Arrow: Must be the helmet she has on. They all have one.
Moving towards the machines, he starts to unhook the children from them. Not a single one utters a word or so much as looks at the two men in the room. They just stare... motionless, unthinking. When all the other children are safely out of the machines, he walks over to his friend and puts a hand on the man's shoulder.
Red Arrow: We'll help her, Wally. We'll help all of them.
Waller: No, I don't care what you think is supposed to happen here! The facility is compromised, and the team you sent me didn't help! If you want to keep this place under control, you need to send more backup immediately!
The phone that she's screaming into suddenly goes dead, clicking off. Eyes going wide in surprise, she glares down it and then angrily throws it across the room.
Waller: Damn it, Wilson!
That's when the door to her office suddenly bursts inward, flying off its hinges. Standing there in the entrance is a very angry, dirtied, and scuffed up Power Girl, glaring a hole through the woman. Behind her is the more reserved, quiet Raven. Marching into the office, Power Girl comes to the desk, grabs it with one hand, and throws it through the wall with minimal effort, then reaches forward and grabs Amanda Waller by the shirt collar.
Waller: You think this changes anything? The VRA will come down on you harder than ever!
Power Girl: Then it's a good thing we plan on crippling them, isn't it?
Waller: You're out of your minds, all of you. The VRA has complete power. When it comes to you people, we are the law!
Power Girl: News flash: just because the law gives you permission, it doesn't make you any less of a criminal for what you've been doing here, and sooner or later you'll answer for it. You all will.
Int. Starr Enterprises – Day
A short while later, the team has regrouped back in the apartment bunker beneath the Starr Enterprises building. With them are all the children from the facility, still equipped with those strange, brain numbing helmets. They don't dare attempt to take the things off without knowing exactly what they're dealing with. For all they know, simply unhooking the wires and removing the helmets could cause permanent brain damage; that is, if permanent brain damage hasn't already been done.
Becky: Okay, so that Waller woman and the Teen Titans are in Raven's... soul thingy, the injured guards we transported to the nearest hospital, and now we have a bunch of kids with brain drain helmets on that we don't know how to properly take off... what next?
Power Girl: We find someone who can and will help these children. Waller likely knows how these things work, but she isn't helping. That means we're going to need someone with tech experience... a lot of tech experience. I'll see what I can dig up.
A short distance away on one of the couches, Circe looks up, holding her daughter closely in her arms. Lyta is still as unresponsive as the other kids; she's awake, but nobody's home.
Circe: But they can be helped, can't they?
Power Girl: I promise we'll do everything we can, but until we find someone who can examine and determine what kind of danger removing those helmets poses, then the only thing we can do is be patient.
Circe isn't the only concerned parent in the room, though. Linda and Wally, fresh out of his Flash costume, are sitting with their daughter, Iris. The girl's twin, Jai, is also nearby, studying the helmet curiously.
Wally: Is there anyone left that hasn't been compromised by the VRA? There has to be someone we can contact about this.
Power Girl: I really have no idea, Wally, I'm sorry. Everyone I know of who might be able to figure it out is already under the VRA's control. There might be someone who works in my company with the proper experience, but even then I don't know if we can trust anyone to not turn us in.
Roy: Well we'd better come up with something fast. These kids don't deserve this...
Nearby, Rose leans back against one of the couches, arms folded and eyes slowly glancing from person to person. Suddenly, a small flickering red light catches her gaze. Turning towards Raven, she narrows her eyes slightly.
Rose: Uh, Raven, you're blinking.
Raven: I'm... oh.
Looking down, Raven now notices that the brooch of her cloak is steadily blinking with bright red light. Carefully, she reaches up and unclasps it, allowing her cloak to fall to the floor. Turning it over, she presses a small button on the back of the brooch and then raises it to her ear.
Rose: Uh... what's she doing?
Straightening himself, Wall gives the empath a long look, eyes focusing on the brooch.
Wally: That isn't just to hold her cloak together; it's also her old Titans communicator. Well, I imagine she still uses it since she's still on the Titans, but the only people who know the proper frequency are former members.
Rose: So someone is trying to contact her.
Wally: Must be... question is, who?
Roy: Yeah, and is it someone on our side, or a trap?
Breathing outwardly, Raven lifts her cloak back up and reattaches it around her shoulders with the brooch, then begins to disappear through her soul-self.
Raven: I'll be... right back.
Power Girl: Wait a minute, where are you-
But a second later, Raven vanishes into thin air, the black mass completely dissipating.
Becky: And she's gone. Where do you think she went off to in such a hurry?
Looking up to her husband, Linda's expression seems hopeful.
Linda: Do you think it's someone who can help with the children?
Wally: That would be nice... but somehow I don't think we're that lucky.
Holding his bow over shoulder, Roy lets out a long breath and glances at the floor.
Roy: With everything that's happening lately, we could use a little luck.
Power Girl: Anyway, I guess we should find a place where we can adequately keep the children for the time being. They seem to at least be capable of basic functions, so sleeping and eating shouldn't be a problem... though I might have to go shopping for some more food. I don't think I have enough for all of them in that little fridge.
Wally: Don't worry about that, I'll go. I can get the shopping done faster, and you're still in your costume anyway.
Power Girl: Alright, but at least let me give you some money to-
Her words never get a chance to finish leaving her mouth when the dark flicker of Raven's soul-self suddenly reappears in the middle of the living room. As Raven rematerializes, however, they quickly realize that she isn't alone. Standing next to her is a man quite familiar to most of them, a man that's as much machine as man.
Cyborg: So I hear you could use a tech expert.
Eyes going wide, Wally runs up to the man with a big smile.
Wally: Vic! Oh, man is it good to see you! What happened? I thought you got taken with the rest of the Justice League.
Cyborg: I did. In fact, the others are still under VRA control as we speak.
Wally: Well how did you get away?
Cyborg: Long story, but I'll try to be succinct. I woke up a couple of days after the Justice League was attacked and taken, in the VRA's maximum security facility.
Becky: You mean where they take all the heroes who didn't register, so they can serve their sentence?
Cyborg: Exactly. Only they aren't locking up the ones who fail to register; in fact, they're doing the same thing to everyone, whether they registered or not.
Power Girl: Controlling them somehow, right? Brainwashing or whatever method they're using.
Cyborg: Yeah. By the time I woke up, the rest of the Justice League was already unresponsive, in the process of being 'activated', as they call it. The only reason the same thing didn't happen to me was because they didn't account for the computer half of my brain.
Reaching up to his head, he lightly taps the metal side of his skull.
Cyborg: My security protocols took over and eliminated the process before it could compromise me. Then, when I couldn't get the rest of the team to respond, I hacked into the VRA's computer systems instead to learn what I could. From there, I pretended to be controlled like everyone else, until I got to a point where I could break away and contact someone I could trust.
Power Girl: And what did you find from their files?
Cyborg: Nothing good. For starters, they're controlling people with these.
Holding out his fist, he uncurls his fingers slowly to reveal a long, needle-like device with one rounded end and a bunch of integrated wires.
Cyborg: They're called neural stems.
At the sight of the stem, Rose and Becky's eyes instantly go wide in shock.
Becky: Jueputa... Rose, isn't that...?
Cyborg: You know what it is?
Rose: I've come across them before. Last summer I busted a sub sect of the League of Assassins, led by a man named Shao Shen. He's the one who created them... or at least the scientists who worked for him did. They used the stems to control people around the city, trying to build some kind of force for... something. I never did find out what his ultimate plans were; stopped him before that became an issue. Last I heard, though, they were causing their victims' heads to pretty much explode. Apparently, they've been improved.
Becky: But the entire stash was confiscated following Shen's arrest. After his trial, they were destroyed so they couldn't be used again. Where did these ones come from?
Rose: Not from Shen, that much is certain.
She pauses a moment, then suddenly holds a hand up to her forehead and lets out a small groan, a sudden revelation hitting her.
Rose: That must be how my father got his pardon. They're controlling the president, congress... sh*t they must have the entire government in their pocket. They're the reason that messed up bill went through the system so fast, why this whole law got made in the first place...
Roy: Alright, I'll bite. Who are they?
Rose: Hell if I know, whoever's pulling the strings. But you can be damn sure we're gonna find out.
Lifting up the device closer to his eyes, Cyborg gives the thing a long look, then turns his attention fully back to the others.
Cyborg: Whatever the case, I did manage to have my systems run a full diagnostic on a stem's capabilities, as well as how to properly neutralize them. If I have time to work, I might be able to create a counter device that we can use break others out of the VRA's control. In the meantime, let me see what I can do for the kids.
Int. VRA Headquarters – Night
Slade sits back in his seat, one hand raised to his chin in thought as he watches security footage from the earlier attack on the VRA's children facility. He takes careful note of the individuals involved, begins contemplating the best ways to plan for them. Power Girl, Red Arrow, Flash, Raven, and of course his daughter, Rose. Then there's the one he doesn't recognize, the one in the odd power suit. While he doesn't fully know the woman's capabilities, she doesn't seem to be that big of a threat.
What worries him the most is the fact that they were able to capture the Teen Titans. Should they figure out a way to disrupt the neural stems, then their numbers will grow and they'll be a much larger pain. Nothing he and the VRA can't handle, of course, but still a pain. Eventually, he grows tired of studying the footage and clicks his computer off, then turns to the man sitting in the corner of the room.
Slade: They'll likely attack here next. You know that.
Man: Of course I do. And you'll be prepared, won't you?
Slade: I always am.
Man: Good, because when I put you in this position, I was expecting a lot. Your name has a certain reputation, after all. So far, though, I've been... disappointed. Two of our facilities have been attacked in as many days, you've been quite incapable of stopping the culprits, and now they're coming after you. If they should capture you-
Slade: They won't.
Man: But if they do-
Slade: They won't get a word out of me. Client confidentiality is one of my highest priorities.
Man: I should hope so.
Leaning forward, Slade firmly folds his hands in front of him on the desk, staring intently at the man.
Slade: Just remember, when all this is over, you had better follow through with your end of the bargain. It's the only reason I agreed to this hostile takeover to begin with.
Man: Oh, I will, most assuredly. In fact, I've already located her.
A brief pause passes. Though Slade shows no signs of a shifting demeanor, he does straighten slightly in his seat, eye narrowing.
Slade: Where is she?
Man: In a safe location, away from this country and under the impression that both you and Rose have been long dead. As for her exact coordinates, they will be disclosed when you clean up your mess and get my plans back on course.
Slade's jaw tightens slightly, his gaze intensifying.
Slade: Have them ready.
Int. Starr Enterprises – Night
On her way back down the corridor from the bathroom, Rose turns the corner and very nearly walks right into Cyborg, narrowly managing to turn to the side just before collision.
Rose: Oh, sorry. Didn't see you there.
Cyborg: It's cool, it happens.
A small, awkward silence descends over them for a few moments. Shifting her weight, Rose reaches up and crosses her arms over her chest, gaze moving off to the side.
Rose: So... everything taken care of?
Cyborg: Yeah, the helmets have been disabled and Raven just finished reuniting all the kids with their families.
Rose: I see... that's good. And the Titans...?
Cyborg: In the living room, last I checked. Took a while, but I was able to disable their neural stems. They're just... readjusting. You know they could see everything that happened when they were under control, they just...
Rose: Couldn't do anything to stop it?
Rose: ...I know what that's like.
Releasing a long breath, she gradually begins to recall the days that Slade had her under the control of his mind bending serum, the same serum that gave her her enhanced abilities. When she had finally been freed of that control, looking back on everything her father had forced her to do... it had been horrifying.
Cyborg: And how have you been, anyway? I mean, I heard a lot from Dick, but I don't know the details... he says you've come a long way.
Rose: Ha, yeah that's one way of putting it. I've been... good, at least before this whole sh*tstorm happened.
Cyborg: Heard you're raising a kid.
Rose: Yeah, Holly. She's the sweetest damn girl you'll every meet, I swear. But the VRA took her, shoved her back into foster care... When this is all over, I'm tracking her down and I'm never letting anyone take her again.
Cyborg: Hopefully that'll be sooner rather than later. But that's good, Rose. I'm glad to hear you're doing well.
A small smirk makes it's way across her face.
Rose: Remember the good old days, when you used to attack me on sight? Now here you are wishing me well.
Cyborg: Well, things change. People change.
Rose: Heh, yeah, even me.
On that note, Cyborg's expression suddenly grows a bit more serious. Rose knows that look; she hates that look. It means that he's about to act like a scolding, yet concerned older brother.
Cyborg: But there are some things that you still need to take care of. When's the last time you talked to the Titans?
Breathing outwardly, Rose looks away again and frowns. Damn, she hates lectures.
Rose: Aside from that one time me and Tim crossed paths, not since the incident... so about two years.
Cyborg: You need to talk to them, you know that. After what happened with Bart, after you left them, cut them out... you need closure. You all do.
Rose: Yeah, I know. I just... I'm working up to it.
Cyborg: You've had two years to work up to it, Rose. Now's as good a time as any.
Saying nothing more, Cyborg gives her a friendly pat on the shoulder, then continues past her down the hallways. She utters a long, frustrated sigh, then holds a hand to her head and gazes in the other direction, towards the entrance to the living room.
As good a time as any... right.
Breathing in deeply, she finally continues moving down the corridor and enters through the doorway into the living room. Most of the Teen Titans are there; Tim, Conner, Cassandra, Beast Boy, and Raven. Bombshell and Static are missing, though, which is probably for the best; those two weren't involved in the whole Bart incident, so there's really no need to drag them into this. Her words are meant for the others. Speaking of them, the current conversation they'd been engaged in instantly ceases the moment that Rose walks in. All eyes turn towards her, though no one says anything, only staring. That is, until, Cassie breaks the silence.
Cassie: What are you doing here?
Hostility right off the bat, probably should have expected that. At least from Wonder B*tch anyway.
Rose: Well, if we're keeping track, saving your asses and helping free you from mind control, after someone went and betrayed the team in the first place.
Glaring, Cassie begins to rise out of her seat, a hateful frown forming on her face.
Cassie: I see you haven't changed one bit.
Tim: Both of you, knock it off. We're not here to fight with each other.
Cassie: What do you want us to do instead, just make up nice with her? Have you forgotten what she did?
Tim: No, I haven't forgotten, but it's been a long time since then. It was a mistake, an accident, and maybe it's time we move past it.
Beast Boy: Yeah, I mean... we can't hold a grudge forever, can we?
Cassie: Maybe you can't. But I don't just go forgiving someone who gets one of our friends killed, someone whose life couldn't hold a candle to Bart's.
The group goes silent again, mostly because they're unsure how to react to Cassie's harsh words. Swallowing slightly, Rose folds her arms across her chest and takes in a deep breath. She knew that Cassie loathed her, even before she got Bart killed, so this reaction doesn't really come as a surprise. But apparently those two years since the incident have done nothing to even remotely soothe Cassie's opinion. If anything, it's only gotten worse.
Cassie: No, you listen. From day one, I knew you were trouble. You were arrogant, self-centered, barely got a long with anyone, and you were constantly putting the rest of the team at risk for your own agenda. And that's not to mention all the times you ditched us, just to come crawling back again. But we always took you back, always gave you a home, a family, and what did you do to repay us? You continued acting like the same inconsiderate b*tch you've always been!
Cassie: No, Conner, don't say anything. Just don't. I need to get this off my chest. Rose, you've never cared about anyone but yourself. You've never listened, never considered how your actions might affect the people around you, and while you always said you considered the Titans your family, you did nothing to show that you actually cared. And you know what? You will never change.
Rose's eyes slowly narrow at the woman, her heart beat starting to elevate. She forces herself to remain calm, though, instead just pursing her lips and staring intently.
Rose: Well, I can see this was a mistake...
Cassie: The only mistake was ever letting you on our team in the first place.
Rose: Yeah... of course.
Giving Cassie a couple of slow nods, Rose then shakes her head and turns away, heading out of the living room. Obviously this isn't going to work.
Cassie: And there you go, running away again.
That's when Rose stops dead, jaw clenching and fists tightening. Taking in a deep breath, she suddenly turns around and stares coldly at the woman, pointing at her.
Rose: Now it's your turn to listen, got it? Ever since I first came to your little team, you were nothing but cold and condescending to me, just because of who my father was and what he did to me!
Cassie: I'm sure the fact that you're mentally imbalanced had nothing to do with it.
Ignoring the cheap remark, she continues, her glare intensifying.
Rose: You never gave me a chance to be anything other than the b*tch you saw me as! Nothing I ever did would have been good enough for me to crawl out of the gutter you had me in! And even when I thought we might have been warming up to each other, every time you started treating me with a little respect, I make one mistake and it's all gone, just like that! Had to start from scratch all over again! So yeah, I was b*tchy, I was selfish, I was arrogant. That's what you had me pegged as, so that's all I ever was, no matter how much I tried to be otherwise! You want to know something that will blow your mind, Cassie? Everything you just said right now? You were right. One hundred percent, undeniably right!
Rose allows a brief moment to pass for Wonder B*tch to absorb the information. In spite of the apparent confusion on Cassie's face, she doesn't say anything, probably too busy wondering where exactly Rose is going with this.
Rose: Except for one thing; that I'd never change. Because you know something? I have changed. I've changed a lot. I hate that it took Bart's death for it to happen, but that's what gave me the wake up call. Bart was my friend, too, you know. I might not have been open about it, or been all goody goody with him like the rest of you, but I liked him, and I never wanted him to die. It was my own stupid decision that got him killed and I spent a lot of time hating myself for it. And I'm sorry, alright? I never got a chance to say that, but I'm sorry! For Bart's death, for being a sh*t team member, everything!
Another moment of silence passes between them, this one longer than before. Cassie folds her arms and glares back at Rose, jaw tightening and eyes narrowing. Eventually, she manages to utter out a cold response.
Cassie: Sorry doesn't bring him back. And I don't care how much you think you've changed, Rose, it doesn't make things any different. Just stay away from me.
Their conversation is suddenly interrupted, however, not by one of the other Teen Titans sitting around the living room, but by a different voice coming from the doorway.
Becky: Dios mio, what's with the shouting? Can hear you from the other end of the bunker.
They turn towards her momentarily, but no one says anything, not at first. Rose and Cassie are still in the middle of seething at the other, trying to calm themselves down in light of a new, unrelated arrival.
Cassie: And who are you?
Becky: Rebecca Chavez. You're... Wonder Girl?
Cassie: That's me.
Becky: Well, uh, nice to meet you. And all the Titans, hey.
She gives the group a little wave, smiling slightly. Her attention falls on Beast Boy momentarily, her demeanor suddenly shifting nervously.
Becky: Oh, uh, sorry about having to beat on you earlier, BB. No hard feelings?
Beast Boy: It's cool, given the circumstances. Don't sweat it.
Becky: Right, good. Still sorry, though.
She then turns her attention back to Rose, putting an arm around the woman's waist.
Becky: So you coming to bed or what?
At this comment, Cassie's eyebrows suddenly lift, eyes widening. A small, amused scoff snorts out of her throat, looking over at Rose.
Cassie: Wait, wait. You and... her? You're joking, right? That's just... wow, I do not believe that one.
Again, Rose's gaze narrows at the Wonder B*tch, heart rate quickening.
Rose: What's the matter, jealous?
Cassie: Right, as if. I don't swing that way, least of all over you.
Rose: Oh come on, we both know you wanted me. That's why you could never keep a boyfriend for more than a couple months. Hell, just look at Tim and Conner over there, how long did they last? And refresh my memory, but I'm pretty sure they're the ones that dumped-
The rest of her words are lost, as Cassie's fist suddenly cracks into Rose's jaw, sending her crashing to the floor. Instantly, the entire group of Titans are on their feet, moving to restrain her, but Becky is the first to jump to Rose's defense, stepping right in between them.
Becky: Malparido! The hell is your problem?!
Cassie: She brought it on herself! Now get out of the way!
Becky: You touch her again and I'll-
Cassie: You'll what? Scratch me? Just move!
Tim: Everyone just calm down! Cassie, you're going too far, leave them alone!
Cassie: Shut up, Tim, this isn't your problem. It's hers. Now, out of the way!
As Cassie goes for Rose again, Becky tries to stop her. Unfortunately, she doesn't have her suit or her staff at the moment, so when she tries to push the woman back, things don't go so well. With a single arm, Cassie shoves Becky out of the way, putting a lot more force into it than she should have. For a brief moment, Becky is airborne, then crashes into the living room table, splintering it in half on the way to the floor.
Rose is suddenly on her feet, forgetting all about Cassie or anyone else, and only wanting to make sure that Becky is alright. Kneeling down next to the broken table, she reaches out and helps the woman up. Becky groans, sitting up and holding her head, bleeding from a small cut.
Becky: Dios... that hurt.
Rose: It's alright, you'll be fine. Just a scratch. Can you stand?
Becky: Si, it's not that bad.
Uttering another pained breath, Becky gradually rises back up to her feet with Rose assisting her. Slowly turning her head, Rose gives Cassie a brief, but venomous glare.
Rose: Are you happy now?
Then, she helps Becky limp back towards the doorway.
Rose: Come on, let's get you to bed.
Cassie just stares at them as they leave, a very evident frown on her face. She tries to keep her head high, not wanting to admit even to herself that she had probably gone too far. Eventually, she turns away from the others and storms out of the room.
No More Heroes: Part 3 Preview: Rose, Becky, and company make their attack on the VRA headquarters to put a stop to Slade and find out exactly who he's working for! But what they discover will shock them! In the exciting conclusion to No More Heroes, Rose faces her demons and works desperately to stop a powerful foe! Be prepared for Part 3, as not everyone will survive.