OC Character List:
Blue Cloud/Kumo Hazaki – blue magic
Little Crane * Hoodette /Tian Zi Hu – handguns, Ba Gua
Flashgirl*The Female Flash/Annie Patchet/Allen - superspeed
Black Hole/Gabriel Luthor [he never actually made it into the written part, but the mission they go on leads them to him]
Kitty/Katniss Argon – advanced martial arts, shuriken
Target/Aaric Avery Bell – guns
Inferno/Jack Phillips – fire
Crane looked around the room curiously, taking in how the team had changed in the past year. The group had been through a lot, with Inferno leading them down and unsuspecting path towards evil. Hopefully they had all come back stronger from it.
Annie was back in The Female Flash outfit, which made the meeting much less awkward (calling her Flashgirl just seemed to inspire jokes) She’s gotten a little taller and Crane heard she was seeing the Red Devil back from the grave.
Blue Cloud was the same. Her hair was a little longer and eyes a little softer. Crane knew the Japanese heroine had gotten married to a civilian two months ago. Marriage had softened Kumo in all the right ways.
Aaric was taller, slimmer, and toner. He’d spent the year traveling with his girlfriend and her not-quite-hero father, which was code for training.
Kitty was unchanged. Same outfit, same attitude. She was lounging on the window seat staring off into the forests of the island.
Crane herself was in a different outfit and going by a different codename. She kept her hair up in a sporty ponytail. Her costume was a simple grey shirt and brown booty-shorts. It was slightly inspired by Red Hood even though he hadn’t told her he was alright with the association.
Actually, he’d specifically told her not to remodel.
But Jason had left Gotham to join his own team, the Outlaws. That left Little Crane pretty bored in the dark city so when the timid suggestion for reforming DAH showed up in her inbox she’d packed her bags and met Target at the airport to fly out to their base hidden on Long Island. Well, not hidden, but considering it was one of Bell’s production towers but no one bothered them.
With Inferno locked away in Arkham, the team felt like it could make a new start. Annie had broken up with Jason for her own good and Tim for his own good, and Red Devil was good for her. Kitty had stopped sleeping around and Crane was in the first thing that felt like a relationship she’d ever had.
Not that Jason knew that’s how she saw them.
Not that he ever would.
“So…” Kumo began “What does everyone think about reforming Dial-A-Hero?”
“I think we’d need a new name,” Kitty purred, “Since the world is a darker place.”
“Yeah,” Annie agreed, “Dial-A-Hero is kind of old…and totally copyrighted by Heroes.”
“I think-”Aaric interrupted bluntly, “that we need a new leader.”
Only a few moments and Target was already hostile.
“Kumo didn’t even suspect Inferno. She brought him on this team and she gave him everything he needed to take us down. She made him vice-leader and he betrayed us.”
“And who do you suggest, Bell? Yourself?” Kitty rolled her eyes.
“At least I suspected him. I never gave him my trust!”
“You don’t give anyone your trust.”
“Not true,” He retorted, “I trust Little Crane.”
“It’s Hoodette now,” Crane spoke up habitually.
“So do you want Hoodette to be leader?” Blue Cloud asked.
“I’d rather her than you.”
Kumo’s lips thinned as the rest of the old team became uneasy.
“Look, I aknowlede that Inferno fooled me, but the only reason you didn’t like him is because you don’t like anyone.”
“Can we not do this?” Crane interrupted, “We have enough problems on our own, can we keep the tension off the field?”
“We aren’t in the field,” Kitty said.
“Same difference,” Crane replied.
Annie took a seat at the computer chair, “Here we go,” She muttered.
Kumo and Aaric lapsed into angry jibes at Kitty rolled her eyes. This was typical behavior for the entire team. Kumo and Aaric always fought like an old married couple. IN the early years of the team, everyone just thought they had unresolved sexual tension. Now they knew better, Kumo and Aaric hated each other.
It was usually about now that the others vacated the room to let them argue. Crane headed for the training room, curous to see if any equipment was still there. Annie followed.
“Hey Crane?” The former Siren* asked.
“Um, I didn’t really get a chance to tell you this before but…it’s about Jason Todd.”’
Crane folded her arms.
“I think you should keep your distance from him. I know you like hum, but Jason is messed up. The things I found out when we were together….well-”
“Yeah, yeah. I know Jason is fucked, Annie,” Crane waved a hand, “I got over it.”
“Maybe you should too,” She walked off, rolling her eyes. [god, I really liked this phrase, didn’t I?]
An hour later found everyone back in the main room. The alarms were blaring from the computer system and Aaric was trying to turn them off.
“What’s going on?” Crane asked as she neared the screens.
“A Lexcorp lab we’d been watching got a hit.” Kumo replied.
“From a year ago?”
Kitty stretched, “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go check it out.”
“I want Crane to lead us.” Aaric said. He looked much calmer than before.
Kumo took a moment to reply, “If you don’t mind, Hoodette.”
“…whatever,” She sighed, “Let’s go.”
The now unnamed team arrived at the multi-level underground lab in stealth. Aaric’s jet, it turned out, had been upgraded to have a camouflage feature.
Thanks to a spell from Cloud, the team was sneaking along an empty hallway on Sublevel 1.
“What’s the plan, Hoodette?”
Now that they were in the fied, no mixed-up names were being thrown around.
“Blue Cloud teleports to the deepest level she can reach. Target gets the cameras cut and doors opened. Kitty and FF go as a pair, check every room for whatever set off our old signal. I’ll go as far as the elevator takes me.” Hoodette replied smoothly. “The plan is to find the reaction. If you encounter anyone else, I don’t care if you kill them or not, just don’t get killed.”
“Yes ma’am” Target chuckled.
They all scattered to their positions. Hoodette followed Target to the elevator, watching as he slid a blank white card into the keyslide. He brought out a device that resembled a portable creditcard reader and started typing.
“Why did you want me to be leader?” Hoodette adjusted the bullet-belt on her torso, “I lost my powers after the Project Army mission.”
“And you’ll get them back eventually.”
The elevator doors opened.
“You have fun now.”
Tian Zi stepped into the elevator and hit another floor’s button. The doors closed on Aaric waving her off.
She leaned against the wall, playing with the belts around her torso. Tian Zi had lost the ability to change her physical appearance when she was caught in the explosion of Project Army’s main lab. Luckily she already had Ba Gua training and years if experience to keep her on her feet. The Batfamily had helped inspire her, but it was Aaric who had picked her back up again. She couldn’t count the many nights she’d spent on Aaric’s couch after leaving the team. Target was by far her closest friend.
The elevator stopped with a ding and the doors began to open. Crane moved to the right side of the contraption, hidden from view. No one rushed in the elevator so Hoodette took the small handgun from the back of her shorts and stepped out of the elevator gun drawn.
Only to step into the path of two.
Crane paused not lowering her arm. Then she did with an over-exaggerated eyeroll. “Red Hood. Sup?”
His guns lowered too, “Crane? The hell are you doing here?”
Hoodette put the gun back in her shorts, ‘We got a hit on this lab.”
“I told you Crane, I’m not working with you.” Jason’s face was completely covered by a mask but she could hear his exasperation.
“Not you and I ‘we’. The old team and I ‘we’”
Hoodette walked around him and all the possibly dead bodies she’d not noticed before. “And even if you won’t work with me again, I still go by Hoodette now.”
“Obviously.” Jason was following her, “What old team, not that I care.”
“When I first came to America I was part of of Dial-A-Hero. With Target, Blue Cloud, Kitty, Flashgirl (“The Female Flah” Jason corrected) and Inferno.”
Her earpiece buzzed to life with Blue Cloud’s voice, “I just ran into Starfire, boss.” The title wasn’t even sarcastic. Hoodette turned away from Jaosn, pretty sure he couldn’t hear the communication, “Are the Outlaws here?”
“Talking to Red Hood right now.” Hoodette replied lightly.
“Oh. Ok, then. I’ll inform the others?”
“You do that.”
The mic cut out.
“Boss?” Jason asked, “You’re a leader now?”
Hoodette tightened her ponytail, “Apparently so.”
* The Sirens was an all-girls team Annie and Crane were part of in Gotham before they met Jason respectively formed specifially for taking down one organization. Once they suceeded, they split.