The bomb hit and he went flying back until he felt the ground push up under him, forcing his lungs to empty and causing him to lose his grip on Miller as pain shot through his body. But he wouldn’t give up; he wasn’t going to stop this close.
He rolled himself over; gritting his teeth at the pain as he felt the shrapnel bite into his chest and thigh. He could feel the blood slowly draining but he could see the hill through the smoke and haze and he knew the scouts would be just beyond it. He reached forward and dug his fingers into the dark mud and pulled himself forward.
He could still hear the wail and screech of the bomb and rockets over head and he could feel the tremor of the earth with each hit, some close, others even close. But he wasn’t going to quit, not until one landed right on him and didn’t give him a choice. He forced his other hand forward and dug into the earth to pull his body a bit closer to the hilltop.
Over and over again he did it, reaching as far as he could and then dragging himself with all his might, pushing with his leg, biting back the cry as his muscles ripped and tore around the dead metal that had embedded itself among them. He gripped grass and weeds, ripped earth and mud— anything to bring him closer to the top, to the scouts, to rescue, to home.
At last he made it, he reached the top as the cries from the sky slowed then ended. He looked out over the new valley that lay under his hill, a vast empty valley of grass and mud little different than the one he’d come from. All that for nothing, no scouts in sight. He reached forward one last time and pulled himself fully over the crest of the hill and then let gravity have its way. He fell and tumbled, no longer holding back the cries from the pain that lanced through his body until he landed in a heap at the base of the hill. Alone and without hope, he lay there. Until at last his body could take no more and he fell into darkness.
“I don’t know how he lived”
Voices, people but he just couldn’t move
“His wounds are healing very fast”
So hard to move, just lift a finger, open his eyes
“And you think he’s infected”
That voice Luthor? If he could just lift his head, just open an eye
“Keep him sedated”
So hard to, just so hard
“Transfer him at once”
Just so easy to let go, not fight
“I told you not to count me out Quarterback”
Just sleep, just…
What’s happening where was he; all he could see was white walls and…doctors?
“He’s fighting the sedatives”
What were they doing, why couldn’t he move what was holding him
“The restraints, hurry hold down his arms”
Who had him, why couldn’t he talk, move, why was he so sleepy again
“Push more, double the dose again”
He had to fight…couldn’t give in had to…stay…awake…
“He’s going under, keep the sedatives coming”
Couldn’t sleep had to…sleep….
“Sir, you have to understand his regenerative abilities are like nothing we’ve seen before,” the doctor tried to explain.
“I know. That’s why I had him transferred here, doctor. I want access to his blood but I don’t need him awake for that,” Lex said as he turned and looked at the two way mirror. Whitney’s body was tied to a bed as an IV fed into his arm while a crimson tube carried away blood. “How long can you keep him alive?”
“With proper care I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to live a normal life span, and given his unusual nature maybe even longer then normal,” the doctor explained.
“Good, very good,” Lex finished with a dark grin.
Four Years Later
“Where are we going to land?” AC asked as he looked out the window at the island. The island was long and narrow with a large complex of building on the far end as the only lights in the darkness of the night, but there wasn’t any large landing area, it was covered by jungle from end to end save the compound.
“We’ll have to do a water landing then, that’s why we have a plane that’s as at home in the water as in the air” Oliver said as he looked over the map his satellites had created of the island. “Land behind this island, we’ll boat over to the main island and then take out the compound. We have to stop that serum.”
“What I don’t understand is why here and why only one place,” Victor asked as he guided the aircraft around one of the small islands as Oliver had directed, “Luthor uses this stuff in almost all his projects yet he only makes it in one place? And he never seems to have enough.”
“I don’t know, why don’t we find out by raiding the place?” Bart asked as he sped around the cabin. “Right that’s what we’re doing bro. Why ask questions now. We’re here so let’s do this.”
“Bart’s right, land us Victor, everyone else suit up,” Oliver ordered as he walked to the back of the plane and opened the panel that held his Green Arrow gear and started to don his outfit.
The others quickly joined him in the back as they too geared up readying themselves for the raid.
Once they where all ready Oliver pulled out the small wake board, “I hope this works AquaMan,” Oliver said as he crouched on the board.
“This will be great, and easier to hide then a boat,” AC answered with a grinned as he grabbed the rope attached to the board.
“You just want to get me wet. System check Cyborg,” Oliver called as he balanced himself and activated his headset.
“Reading you loud and clear Green Arrow. Tell me why I have to stay behind,” Cyborg asked over the microphone.
“You’re the best one to run the system, would you rather Impulse did it?” Oliver joked as he looked over at Bart who was running in circles creating small whirl-pools as he impatiently waited for the others.
“Right I have satellite coverage…now,” Cyborg answered back. “Your side of the island is clear, no sign of security. If you used the window no one will see you coming.”
“You heard him, let’s go,” Oliver ordered as he gripped the board just moments before AC and Bart took off.
“Race you,” Bart yelled as he ran over the water toward the island as AC dove down and sped in the same direction with a grin.
Oliver closed his eyes and just waited for the world to stop as he felt the board skip along behind AC going almost as fast as his plane had been going to get them to the islands. Then just as fast as it started, everything stopped and he felt the board slide onto something firm.
“I’m never doing that again,” Oliver said quietly as he opened his eyes to see both Bart and AC grinning.
“I so won fish sticks, I told you I as faster,” Bart said as he looked around their location.
“Next time you pull Robin Hood and we’ll see who wins,” AC shot back sending a small wave of water at Bart before he slowly and reluctantly left the water.
“Can it you two, we’re on the clock, AquaMan left, Impulse, take down the fence once we’re in range,” Oliver ordered as he readied his bow and started leading the way forward.
The trio quickly and quietly made their way closer to the complex until they were just about to reach the chain link fence surrounding it. Bart jumped into super speed and pulled out cutters and sliced a large door shaped outline in the fence in less then a second before pushing in on the middle with a flourish and sending it to the ground as he grinned. “Not even a little shock,” he added.
“Hold up,” Cyborg ordered over their headsets just as the trio was about to go through the new door. “You have a heat signature moving your way from the east, looks like a normal round.”
“Copy,” Oliver answered as he looked to his east and spotted the slow movement of a guard in no real hurry. Waited until the guard rounded the building without so much as looking their way before he moved again. “Anyone else heading our way?”
“No you’re clear,” Cyborg responded before adding, “and you have a clear path to the generators and the main building.”
“AquaMan you have ten minutes to set the charges. Impulse, you have until then to get Cyborg into the database. I’m off to find the refinery,” Oliver ordered as he lead them through the fence.
“On it Arrow,” AC said back before he ran off toward the power generators.
“See you in ten,” Bart added giving AC one last glace before he sped off.
Once they where both on their way, Oliver made his own way toward the building that seemed to be the source of the serum that Lex used to make half his other projects work. The serum was Lex’s wonder drug? It allowed him to keep the subjects of his experiments alive through almost anything and boosted his other experiments, letting them push themselves farther and harder. They hadn’t been able to figure out why Lex kept the supplies so limited but they weren’t going to wait for that to change, they were going to take it out. Just as soon as found where is this building it was made.
Oliver checked his watch after the second security door before he called Cyborg. “How are the others doing?” Oliver asked.
“Better than you. Impulse just linked me to Lex’s systems and I’m transferring now,” Cyborg answered.
“And AquaMan?” Oliver asked as he crept into a large medical lab and over to a large gray tank that read ‘AresQB-12’ in large black block lettering. “Bingo!”
“He’s half done with his charges,” Cyborg answered back.
“I’ve found it,” Oliver informed Cyborg as he set a small charge on each tank before he eyed the tanks trying to locate the source and at last spotting a pair of large tubes leading to the tanks from one of the walls next to a door marked restricted. “And what will I find through here?” Oliver asked with a smile. “A nice chemical lab,” he whispered hopefully as he slipped out his decoder and hooked it up to the electronic lock.
“Three minute warning Green Arrow,” Cyborg announced a minute later.
“This lock is high grade, the decoders having problems. Anything you can do?” Oliver asked as he looked at the lock, it’s hand scanner and number pad mocking him “You know, forget this. I’m blowing it,” Oliver said before Cyborg could respond. He pulled out some of his low grade C-4 and pressed it into the frame of the door by the locking mechanism before pushing in the detonator pens into the plastic. “Clear,” Oliver told the empty room as he turned away and hit the detonator button.
The small blast shook the room sending beakers and papers off tables and onto the floor and also sending the door to the ground with a large bang that echoed through the lab. “I hope I didn’t wake anyone. Any new movement?” he asked Cyborg as he approached the now clear doorway.
“Not yet. Impulse and Aqua Man are on their way back to the rendezvous point, Get moving Green Arrow,” Cyborg said impatiently.
“I’m in. All I need to do is plant the char-,“ Oliver started as he entered the room bow raised to see something he hadn’t expected. “We have a problem.”
“He’s having trouble with a door. AquaMan is on his way,” Cyborg responded as checked his readings.
“Good, The sooner we blow this popsicle stand the better,” Bart said as he looked in the direction of the power generators to see AC coming his way. But he wasn’t alone. “How many guard are on his tail?” Bart questioned as he started speeding toward the shadow that was following AC.
“What? The field’s clear,” Cyborg called back just as Bart rammed into the shadow.
AC watched as Bart sped past him and turned to see what it was just as both Bart and the other figure were getting up. The other guy was dressed all in black combat fatigues with a full helmet and was moving faster then any normal human should. “Oh man, we have a super soldier,” AC called out as he drove at the super soldier.
AC’s dive hit the super soldier head on pushing them both back into the side of the building. He drove his fist into the center of the super soldier’s chest sending shock waves through the building behind him.
Bart was up and first and went for landing punches everywhere the armor seemed weak. He then switched tactics and kicked the super soldier’s feet out from under him moments after it had landed a punch throwing AC across the field and into then through the metal fence. “We’re going to need some back up,” he called as he rushed over to AC, throwing every rock he could find at the super soldier he could find on the way.
“AC,” he called out as he reached AC’s side just as the other man was getting up, favoring his right side.
“I’m not out of this yet,” AC growled as he stared at the super soldier who was marching toward the duo. “Attack Gamma,” AC called out as he charged forward again.
Bart was only seconds behind AC as he sped in a large curve to the left. Just feet before he and the super soldier would collide AC threw his body and all his weight to the right just when Bart slammed into the super soldier from the left sending him right into AC’s new path but without any momentum to negate AC’s. The super soldier went flying backward and into one of the out buildings.
“Where is green boy? We can’t keep this up forever,” Bart called into his headset as he saw the super soldier coming out of the building. Bart charged forward again, not seeing the weapon in the super soldier’s hand until after he felt the electrical charge wash over him.
Oliver walked forward to study the man, he was tall and his body showed some signs of muscle but they also showed signs of not having been used in some time. His skin was pale so he hadn’t been in the sun, but his grooming needs had been seen to as his dark blond hair was cut short, his face free of stubble and his finger nails weren’t very long…and was he given a manicure? “Someone had some free time,” Oliver said as he dropped the limp hand back to the bed. Oliver glanced quickly at the medical equipment that was attached to the man. One was just a general monitoring device, its white tabs taped to the man’s chest and upper arm, another seemed to be an IV feeling fluids into the man, but the last…
The last one was drawing blood out of the man through two long hoses that lead to a strange devices, with a tube going into the wall, right where the tube feeling the tanks was…”You’re the source?”
“Green Arrow, we have a problem.”
“What’s wrong, Cyborg?”
“I can’t. The source is human. I can’t just blow the place,” Oliver came back over the radio.
“Human? What the hell,” Cyborg exclaimed as he fired up the engines and activated hover mode.
“It’s his blood, I’m unhooking him now but it’s going to take time,” Oliver told Cyborg.
“We don’t have time,” Bart added to the mix. “We can’t take out this super soldier alone.”
“Wait I have any idea. We need to get him next to the power generators,” AC cut in.
“I hope so too,” AC added as he throw himself to the side to dodged the super soldier’s electrical gun.
“That gun is getting annoying,” Bart complained as he ran around the electrical wave and stopped in front of the power generators brushing off his blackened and ruined hoodie. “Come and get me you G. I. Joe wannabe, I want payback.”
Oliver double checked that everything was pulled out before he picked the guy up hosting him over his shoulder like a fireman, “This is going to slow me down, Cyborg, but I’m on my way.” Oliver added as he started making his way out.
“Hurry,” was all Cyborg said in response.
Then the whole ship shuddered as it took a hit. “I didn’t mean for you to actually do better, Any chance you guys are ready for pick up?”
Bart grabbed it out of the air and watched as AC charge through the electrical field found the super soldier’s weapon and planted his shoulder into the soldier’s sol plexus. The momentum sent them both flying forward the super soldier landed in the middle of the power generators, but AC had manage to stop just outside them. He was already turning and running away as fast as he could. Bart waited as along as he could. Right until the moment the super soldier started getting up, then he hit the detonator, racing for AC.
“Arrow, we need to get out of here now. AquaMan’s down and the plane can’t take too many more hits,” Cyborg said at last.
“Get the others and get out of range, I’ll meet you at the back up rendezvous point in an hour,” Oliver ordered as he started hearing footsteps and look around for a hiding place. “Green Arrow out.”
“You two ready for pick up,” Cyborg asked over the com.
“We have a problem, AC isn’t waking up and he’s not getting any better. Isn’t water supposed to heal him or something,” Bart complained as he dragged AC through the water and watched as the plane was hit by another blast from one of Lex’s ships.
“Water isn’t a miracle cure for him. Look hover mode is off line and I can’t land I’m going to go by as slow as I can with the doors open.” Cyborg, sad as he circled the plane and started slowing down as he came along the beach.
“What? I can’t jump on a moving plane with AC, I can’t even pick up AC, he’s twice my size. I’m the one without super strength, remember?” Bart complained as he watched the plane coming.
“You got a better idea.”
“Where’s the boy scout when you need him,” Bart complained as he wrapped his arms around AC’s torso. “We can do this AC…Ready” he added as he pulled up and gave it all it had.
He ran with everything he had, at the door to the plane, but it wasn’t working right. His feet where sinking into the water more and more with each step as AC’s weight slowed and pulled him down. He was half under water when he reached the plane and jumped for it. He got AC’s upper body and his hands through the door, but not far enough. He felt them both starting the slide back out and into the water. “Victor!”
“I got you,” Victor yelled back as he grabbed them both, each with a single hand and pulled them up. “I do have super strength remember,” he added with a grin.
“Show off,” Bart joked back just as the plane was hit again sending them all tumbling to the other side of the craft. “Where the hell is our green leader?”
“He’s still on the island trapped in the complex. Green Arrow, I have Impulse and Aqua man but we have another problem.” Cyborg told Oliver.
“What’s the problem,” Oliver’s voice said back.
“AquaMan needs medical attention and once we land this plane isn’t going anywhere for while,” Cyborg explained looking at AC and then at the damage readings.
“Get AquaMan help, then get a new plane and get to the back up site.”
“Green Arrow, the closest back up plane is-“Cyborg started before he was cut off.
“I know, Cyborg. Now do it and I’ll see you soon,” Oliver said ending the transmission.
“Damn this isn’t good,” Cyborg said as he pulled the plane higher and out of range of ships and island. “How’s AC?”
“He’s not good,” Bart said as he held down gaze over the largest wound on AC’s chest. “That blast got him almost as good as the super soldier. How far is the nearest base?”
“Queen Industries has a compound in Perth, but it’s a couple hours away and a couple back, and it’s going to take at least that long to get a plane ready to take us back. By then it’ll be sun up and during the day there’s no way we can get close without being spotted,” Cyborg explained.
“So Ollie’s on his own until tomorrow night?”
“Him and whoever it was he found.”
“Stop that, quiet,” Oliver told the man as he clamped his free hands over the man’s mouth as he tried to silent him. “Don’t move unless you like being a blood bank,” he hissed.
The man blinked at Oliver and finally stilled just as the sound of stomping feet filled the hall just outside the door. “Don’t make a sound,” Oliver ordered as he pulled back his hand and shifted so he was half facing the door. He drew out his crossbow and tried to reach one of his bolts, only he couldn’t quite reach them in the cramped spot. “Bolts, I can’t reach” he whispered as he twisted his wrist to show the bolts holstered on his wrist, and just out of his reach.
The man glanced from the crossbow to the bolts and then back to Oliver’s shade covered eyes before he slowly moved his hand forward. He gripped one of the bolts and pulled it out slowly only for it to drop from the man’s grasp followed by a rough curse from the man’s dry throat.
“Try again,” Oliver encouraged as he shifted his eyes from the door to the man pressed against him, staring right into the man’s blue eyes. “Slowly, you can do it,” he whispered.
The man tried again pulling out the second bolt stopping just as the tip was about to leave the hoister. “G-grip, ca-can’t grip,” the man forced out, his voice cracking. The man didn’t move for a moment thinking, then he pressed the bolt into Oliver’s arm, keeping it pinned between Oliver’s arm and his palm as he pulled it free of the holster. He then rolled his hand over to the top of Oliver’s before making a fist around the bolt.
Once that was done the man brought his fist over to the crossbow and opened it slowly dropping the bolt into the slot. “Push on the end of bolt,” Oliver told the man. He pulled the crossbow back as the man pushed the bolt forward locking it in place. “The hall sounds empty. When I say three twist the doorknob and then drop. I’ll get anyone in the hall, understand?”
“Yes,” the man nodded as he reached his other hand around behind him to feel for the door handle.
“One, two, three,” Oliver counted. On three the man twisted the door and then fell backward, pushing open the door. Oliver stepped out trying to avoid the man as he swept the empty hall with his crossbow. “We’re in luck for the moment. Lets see how long it holds,” Oliver said as he helped the man up. “I don’t suppose you know where the locker-room would be?” he added as he looked at the almost naked man. “Didn’t think so.”
“They caught us by surprise. The QB-12 facility has been operating for four years with no sign that anyone knew it was there,” the man started before he was cut off.
“And I told you that Green Arrow and his terrorists were hitting 33.1 site all over the world. QB-12 was one of the oldest and, oh yeah, the one with the source of the QB-12 serum. Now your telling me we only have a couple dozen men and a third of them are scientist there” Lex shouted as he slammed his drink into his desk. “I want more men there and I want it found now or I’ll need a new head of security.”
“Yes mister Luthor.”
“I’m just so thirsty, my throat, my body just feels so…” The man started before he downed another palm full of water.
“I get it guy, those drugs may make you want to drink a small lake but if you do it’ll just mess up your system more. As soon as we get out of here we’ll get you seen by a real doctor and then you can drink to your hearts content,” Oliver said as he pulled the man away from the sink. “In the mean time let’s see if we can find something in one of these lockers in your size. We’re going to have to cut through the jungle and your tighty whities alone won’t cut it.”
“Fordman,” the man said talking as he let himself be pulled over to one of the banks of lockers.
“What?” Oliver asked as he looked up from where he was trying to go through a locker in the near dark.
“I’m Private First Class Whitney Fordman United State’s Marine Core, and who are you? And don’t tell me your Robin Hood,” Whitney answered as he sat down on one of the beaches, trying to clear his head.
“All right then Private First Class, call me Green Arrow, and try this on,” Oliver answered as he handed a guard uniform to Whitney.
“Green Arrow? Really? And where the hell am I, is this one of the rebel bases? I was trying to get back to the base and they attacked. Then it gets foggy,” Whitney asked as he tried to slip on the pants but couldn’t keep his balance. “Christ, what’s wrong with me?”
“Your muscles haven’t been active lately. They’re going to need some time. This isn’t a rebel base, this is a Luthorcorp facility,” Oliver paused for a moment as he put his arm around Whitney while the other man again tried to put on the pants. “And what rebels? Indonesia hasn’t had any problems with rebels since late 03.”
“What?” Whitney’s hands slipped and fumbled off the button on the pants as he turned to Oliver. “What do you mean since later 03?”
“I remember reading something about it. The Marines helped the government stabilize itself. I don’t remember the details international politics isn’t really my thing,” Oliver explained as he held up his crossbow.
“How long,” Whitney started as he took a deep breath. “How long have I been here, what month is it? What year?” he asked with dread.
“It’s April 17, 07, well it maybe the 18-what the-,” Oliver answered and then cried in alarm as Whitney bolted out of Oliver’s arms and started retching into the sink, throwing up what little water he’d drunk.
Even after Whitney had emptied his stomach, he still kept heaving until he felt Oliver next to him and then felt a hand on his back. “Are you okay? I told you to take it easy with the water,” Oliver started until he was cut off.
“Four years, it’s been four years.Last I remember 03 had just started and now it’s four years later. What did those bastards do to me, my mother, cla-” Whitney raged as he slammed his hands down on the sink.
“Hey, Fordman, stop that,” Oliver said as he grabbed Whitney’s hands while he glanced back at the door. “Okay Fordman, Whitney, I don’t know how we’ve gotten so luck, but so far no one has heard us but this, this isn’t going to help. If you don’t keep it down we’ll get caught and then you’ll lose a lot more then four years, understand?”
“You’re right,” Whitney answered taking a deep breath. “First we get out of here… and just where is here?”
“Finish putting on the uniform, and we’re on one of Indonesia’s many islands. This one is used by LuthorCorp and you’re in of their labs. You have some ability they wanted so they took you and experimented on you. My team and I are trying to stop Lex,” Oliver rapidly explained.
“Lex? As in Lex Luthor? I knew he was a jerk but I never thought he’d do anything like this. Where’s the rest of your team?” Whitney asked as he started buttoning up the outer shirt, fumbling with the buttons still not fully able to use his fingers.
“Relax, it’s going to take some time to get feeling back. It’s only been 20 minutes. Since I pulled out those IVs. The drug’s still in your system. I’m surprised you’re awake really. And as for my team. They had to pull out, this in and out raid ran into a few problems. We need to get the other end of the island and wait for tomorrow night, but first we need to get off of this compound and we need to do it before sun up or it’s going to be a lot harder,” Oliver said as he helped with a couple of Whitney’s buttons.
“Any plan about how we’re going to do that?” Whitney asked as he looked down at his uniform.
“Yes, you take the lead and warn me if someone is around a corner. If they are, I’ll deal with them. Once we get out of the building I blow the charges and as everyone else runs to deal with them we get over the fence and into the jungle. Easy enough,” Oliver said with a smile.
“Easy, right, says the guy not in front,” Whitney said dryly as he took a breath before walking over to the door. “Let’s hope my legs don’t give out like my hand.”
“Think positive,” Oliver said back as he waited for Whitney to wave him into the hall after checking it.
The two made their way through the building. It was without incident until they reached the outer door. “They must want to make sure you don’t get out of the building,” Whitney said as he looked around the corner and then pulled back. “They have a guard at the door.”
“He’s there as much for you. Start counting and make sure he’s not looking this way when you reach ten and hold your breath,” Oliver ordered as he pulled out one of his arrow and readied his bow.
“What, breath?” Whitney asked concerned.
“Yes, hold it,” Whitney said again just before he pushed Whitney around the corner and into the guard’s view.
“One,” Whitney whispered as he started walking toward the guard. “I’ve been sent to relieve you. They want to make sure no one gets bored or distracted,” Whitney told him as he walked closer.
“What? When did they say that and why didn’t they radio me?” the guard asked as he pulled out his radio and started checking it over.
“What? Having radio problems? Let me take a look,” Whitney said as he reached for the radio as he reached ten in his head and took a deep breath.
“What? No, and I don’t know y-,” the guard answered as he pulled the radio back. Frowned at Whitney, completely missing the green archer and the arrow he was shooting until it sunk into the wall with a thunk and started hissing. “What the-“ was all the guard got out before he fell to the floor asleep.
Whitney ran back towards Oliver as soon as the arrow hit. Holding his breath for as long as he could until he was forced to gasp for air. “Now what? Or do you have a gas mask,” he gasped as soon as he could talk again.
“Better, the gas doesn’t hang around, even in a building. Just don’t breathe too deep and we’ll be outside in a jiff,” Oliver said with a smile as he walked forward pushing open the door and swept the area for any guards.
“It looks like our luck is holding,” Whitney said as he stepped outside. He joined Oliver crouching behind a stack of crates as they studied the open courtyard trying to make anything out with what little illumination the emergency lights where giving.
“It won’t. Lex is going to want you back, badly,” Oliver answered as he rose. “Follow me,” he ordered as he dashed across the yard to a small outbuilding along the edge of the fence.
Whitney followed Oliver keeping himself low, “Is Lex still hung up on that? He needs to learn to let go, and how do you know about it anyways?”
“I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. I’m talking about the fact that your blood is one of the main ingredient in ‘QB-12,’ and he wants to be able to make more of it,” Oliver answered. He looked around to make sure where aren’t any guards before he holstered his bow and moved to the fence.
“My blood? He wants’ my blood? What are you waiting for! Let’s get over that fence,” Whitney said with renewed urgency and he joined Oliver at the fence. “Is it electrified?”
“Normally, but the rest of my team took out the power generators. When you hear the blast, get over the fence and get to those rocks,” Oliver ordered as he pulled out his detonator and pointed to a group of rocks about 15 feet from the fence.
“One, two, three,” Oliver’s last word was cut off as the building behind them rocked when part of the roof went flying off.
Both Whitney and Oliver were on the fence as the blast happened, pulling themselves to the top and over it. And that’s went it happened. Whitney had reach the top and swung his foot over when something happened to his arm. It just felt numb and then he lost feeling in his whole arm. His body fell forward and hit the spiked wire lining the fence edge. He rolled to the side, he tried grabbing on to the fence with his good hand but he grabbed right onto one of the spikes. He pulled back his palm and with it lost his chance of controlling his fall. He dropped to the base of the fence with a loud crack.
Oliver heard the curses of pain followed by the crack and more curses as he turned back, he found Whitney grabbing his left ankle in pain. “Grab on,” he said quickly as he pulled Whitney’s left arm over his shoulder and helped pull the man up. “We need to get clear and take a look at that.”
“Let’s go,” Whitney forced out through gritted teeth as he leaned on Oliver as they both hurried into the jungle.
“He’s not bleeding anymore,” Bart answered unsure as he watched their aquatic team mate.
AC’s green shorts and orange shirt were both almost shredded by dozens of cuts and tears. Some were small some large and each one matched a bloody gash on AC. Two largest, one on his right thigh and the other in his lower chest, had chunks of metal sticking out.
“Good, because we have a problem,” Victor said as he turned and looked at his team mates.
“What’s wrong now?” Bart complained as he let go of AC’s hand and sped over to the front of the cockpit.
“We’re losing altitude, fast.”
“What, are we going to crash?” Bart said slightly panicked as he looked out at the ocean and islands below them.
“I can keep us from crashing but I can’t keep us in the air, so our two hour trip just turned into two days. So I hope AC can last that long” Victor said sadly.
“And what about Ollie?”
“He’s on his own until we can get back,” Victor answered frowning.
“No, we can’t leave him for that long. It’s not that big an island, he can’t hide for two days. A day is pushing it,” Bart said rejecting Victor’s plan.
“And what should we do? AC needs help too,” Victor yelled back.
“How long to get to the backup rendezvous point?” Bart asked.
“If we go right there, an hour. If we don’t want to get caught, a bit longer…Maybe long enough for Ollie to get to the site,” Victor answered seeing where Bart was going.
“But can AC wait the couple of extra hours?”
“I don’t know Bart, I don’t know.”
“Sir they didn’t have enough people-“
“Get more people there NOW and find that blood bank or I’ll find a way to make you it’s replacement,” Lex threatened as he slammed the phone shut again.
“I’ll just stay here,” Whitney said as he leaned back against the tree behind him. He looked down at his leg, slowly trying to pull up his pant leg to see the deep purple bruise just becoming visible in the early morning light that was starting to come through the trees.
Whitney started grabbing all the small rocks around him and pushed them into a pile under his leg as he tried to keep it elevated. Once he was done with that he looked around the small clearing they where in. It wasn’t large just a few feet without trees or large shrubs but other wise unremarkable, and it wouldn’t be very defendable if they need it to be. To may ways in and no good cover aside from the trees along the perimeter, none of which would fully cover them.
“It’s not a good spot to stay,” Whitney told Oliver as soon as he came back down the trail.
“I know but it’s good for a few minutes. Now let’s see how bad your leg is,” Oliver answered as he knelt down by Whitney’s leg.
“I rolled my ankle,” Whitney told Oliver as he watched the other man pull off his gloves to get a better feel.
“You sure about that?” Oliver looked at the bruise on Whitney’s leg for a moment before taking off his sunglasses and clipping them to the front of his outfit so he could get a better look at the leg.
“I’m a football player, I know what a rolled ankle feels like.”
“College? And last time I checked, a strained ankle didn’t come with bruises all over the leg,” Oliver said back as he lightly ran his hand over one of the bruises, making Whitney hiss in pain.
“Okay, so I hit something when I landed. It still doesn’t feel broken. And no I almost went to State but I didn’t make the cut so I enlisted,” Whitney told Oliver.
“Not a bad career choice. You’re not bleeding and I don’t see any obvious break so that’s good. Maybe it is just a sprain. How’s the hand?” Oliver asked as he looked up from the leg.
“It doesn’t even hurt,” Whitney said as he looked at his blood smeared hand and wiped away as much blood as he could, but he couldn’t find the cut. “I cut my hand, I know I did,” he added with a frown.
“I know you did too. Now is it still bleeding?” Oliver asked as he watched Whitney wipe way the drying blood.
“The cut’s gone!” Whitney exclaimed as he showed his uncut but bloody hand to Oliver.
“Well that answers the question of why Lex wanted you. Your ability must carry over into your blood when it’s used on others,” Oliver said as he inspected the hand.
“Ability? You act like this is normal— is this normal now? What’s happened in the last four years?” Whitney demanded to know as he just stared at his hand.
“It’s not like everyone has abilities like this. I don’t but most of my team does. One can run so fast he goes cross country for take out just because he says it tastes better. Another talks to fish, and swims like one too,” Oliver said trying to comfort Whitney.
Whitney just stared at his hand for a few minutes until the silence just became to much for Oliver. He whacked the side of Whitney’s head, getting his attention. “I get this is new for you but we don’t have time for you to process it right now.”
“It’s not new. It makes since now. My hometown always had these stories about people that could do things, but no one believed them. I didn’t believe them. Were they all true?” Whitney talked more to himself then Oliver.
“We can look that up later Fordman. For now, it’s time we moved again. We need to get closer to the other end of the island and find a place to rest for the day.”
“For the day?” Whitney asked in surprise, “I thought we were heading for a pickup point?”
“We are but pickup and drop offs are undercover of darkness only. So we’ll get close and wait out the sun, but a beach isn’t the best place to hide,” Oliver answered as he helped Whitney up again before the two men made their way deeper into the jungle.
“Lex must be flooding the island with troops. Your right Oliver can’t hide for long. Not with this many people being sent to the island. And its day light now…we need to go faster.”
“Hey, this island hopping to hide was your idea in the first place.”
“And it got us this far but if we’re going to help Oliver in time we’re going to have to take a few chances. You game?” Victor asked with a grin.
“Always! What did you have in mind?” Bart asked with his own grin.
“You’re going to go for a run.”
“I’ll be the judge of that,” Lex answered coolly.
“The base has been searched and no more explosives were found. We can also confirm that both Green Arrow and the QB-subject were on the island after the plane got away. They’re trapped on the island, sir.”
“That’s not good news, just not bad news. Do better,” Lex said as he started hanging up the phone.
“We have, sir,” the security officer said continuing the conversation.
“And what is that?”
“We’ve spotted one of the terrorists north of the island. The runner, sir, we believe he’s trying to get back to the island, scouting for a plane or a boat. We’re tracking him, hoping he’ll lead us to the others, sir.”
“Well, well, maybe your not totally incompetent after all. Make sure you don’t lose him,” Lex ordered as he ended the call.
“Add a tree or two to the front and maybe no one will even think to look inside,” Whitney added as he limped forward to a near by tree. “Think we can push this one over, it’s half out anyways,” he said pointing to the exposed roots of the tree.
“Let’s find out. On three,” Oliver said as he joined Whitney at the tree. “One, two, three.”
The tree fell after a few minutes of pushing but both Oliver and Whitney were out of breath once it was down. “I am so out of shape,” Whitney asked as he leaned against the tree. “So who’s taking first watch?”
“I’ll take it, you need to let that leg rest some. Now lets get under there,” Oliver said as he helped Whitney over to the hiding place they’d created.
“I’ve rested for four years,” Whitney complained as he crawled under the trees with Oliver behind him. “I haven’t felt this wiped since my first football camp.”
“Come on it’s been a walk in the park— a park where everyone is trying to kill you and you can’t really walk…” Oliver answered with a grin.
“Yeah, right. I’d rather get sacked by the Shark’s entire offensive line, again.” Whitney said as he tried to find a comfortable position.
“You’re a Shark’s fan? You from Metropolis?” Oliver said as he settled where he could scan the area around them.
“I grew up in one of the farm towns around Metropolis, I always wanted to be a Shark. I got to play with them once, that was a great night. You a fan?
“I’m more of a baseball fan myself but I don’t get to a game too often.”
“But you know the name of Metropolis’s team?” Whitney asked curiosity.
“I’ve spend the better part of the last year in Metropolis. You pick up stuff.”
“I never really spent a lot of time in Metropolis. I went to a few games and I got dragged to an art show or two but my parents where always busy with the store so….”
“Store,” Oliver repeated as he shifted to look at Whitney. “Fordman, you mean Fordman’s General Store in Smallville?”
“Yeah, you know it?” Whitney asked sitting up. “My mom still running it?”
“Yeah, I’ve even stopped there a couple of times when I was in Smallville,”
“What do they think happened to me?”
“I’m not sure this is the best time,” Oliver started before Whitney cut him off.
“We’re going to be here all day, you got something better to do?” Whitney asked as he looked at Oliver.
“They think you’re dead. The woman running the store, your mother I’d guess, has a wall of heroes. You look a lot older then the picture she has up,” Oliver answered.
“They think…I am, aren’t I,” Whitney asked as he looked away from Oliver. “Dead I mean and I have to say that was. I can’t go home, Lex would know. He’d find someway, he might even hurt mom or Lana or…I can’ go home.”
“No, you can’t go back. Lex wouldn’t hesitated to hurt your family and Lana… Wait, do you mean Lana Lang?” Oliver asked in surprise. “Wow everyone really does now everyone in small towns.”
“You know Lana? How is she?” Whitney asked turning back to Oliver.
“Married, last month to-“
“Clark” Whitney answered with a scowl.
“Lex actually. You know the Kent’s too?” Oliver asked in surprise. “Do you know Chloe and Lois too?”
“The editor of the school paper, that Chloe?” Whitney said smiling at Oliver. “Yeah everyone knows everyone in a small town but I don’t remember any Lois off the top of my head. And I’d guess you did more then just drive through Smallville.”
“Yeah I may-“Oliver started when he was cut off by his radio coming to life.
“Green Arrow, come in Green Arrow,”
“Cyborg! This is Green Arrow,” Oliver called back as he looked over at Whitney.
“Get to the rendezvous point site. I’ll be there in five minutes and Lex’s troops not long after” Cyborg told Oliver.
“We’re on our way, we can be there in five,” Oliver told his team mate as he kicked out the tree hiding them.
“Good Impulse will meet you there too, Cyborg out,” Cyborg said ending the transmission.
“Your team’s early,” Whitney as he pulled himself out of the enlarged hole.
“You want to wait until night fall?” Oliver said as he slipped his sunglasses back on. “It’s about half a mile from here. We’re going to have to move fast to make it in time.”
“The ankle’s feeling better and I’d rather have a messed up ankle then sleep for the rest of my life,” Whitney countered as he reached his arm around Oliver’s shoulder.
“Let’s go then,” Oliver grinned as the men moved out heading south for the beach rendezvous, not seeing the movement behind them.
The plane was about ten feet from the beach but it was the best he could do. They’d just have to get a little wet Victor thought as he glanced around the area looking for his team leader
“Cyborg we have incoming!” Oliver’s voice shouted through the radio, breaking the unpeaceful silence.
“How far from the beach?” Victor called as he jumped from the door and started running through the water to the beach.
“I can see the plane,” came Oliver’s quick reply.
Victor scanned the tree line as he ran looking for any sign of his leader. There Fifty feet away, Oliver had his bow out and a team of Lex’s troops coming at him. Victor ran faster, “Impulse. Beach. Now!”
“If they have guns, they really shouldn’t have such crappy aim. Lex should know better,” Whitney said aloud. He pulled the gun from the holster of the guard he’d just taken out, cocking it and finding it half loaded with tranq darts.
“They don’t get as much range time as master archers and marines I guess,” Oliver replied as he let out another arrow, his last. “I’m out,” he called as he holstered his bow and double checked for any crossbow bolts but finding none.
“Then let one near and take his gun” Whitney suggested as he fired the dart gun at one of the guards that came out of hiding to fire his own gun. The guards’ dart landed in the tree trunk giving Whitney cover while Whitney’s planted itself in the helmet of the guard.
“Head shots don’t work with dart guns,” Oliver joked as he heard noise behind him. He turned, bringing up his empty crossbow.
“I wasn’t trained with a dart gun,” Whitney started before he too heard the noise behind them and turned to fire.
“Hold your fire,” Oliver shouted when he saw Whitney move. “He’s our back up.”
“We’re not far from the plane. If we run we should be able to make it before they can catch up,” Victor said as he studied the situation.
“Our running end can’t run,” Oliver joked as he turned back to the still firing guards.
“I was a quarterback not running end,” Whitney yelled back as he fired off the last darts of his borrowed gun, taking out one guard.
“Running end was funnier,” Oliver called back.
“Got any problems being carried, quarterback?” Cyborg asked
“Not if it gets us out of here,” Whitney answered as he looks over at Victor. “You have a plan?”
“Get ready to run,” Victor told both men. He raised his hand over the archer’s shoulder and let out an energy wave that blasted one of the trees that was giving the guard’s cover.
Once the blast hit, the guards dove for cover and Victor grabbed Whitney, throwing him over his shoulder. He started running for the plane with Oliver right on his heels. They hit the beach just as the guards regrouped and started coming forward, only to find their guns were missing.
“What’s taking you so long?” Bart asked from the door of the plane as he casually dropped dart guns into the water outside the door.
“Get the plane ready to take off,” Oliver ordered as he climbed into the plane and turned to help Victor and Whitney out of the water and into the plane.
“Yeah, about that boss,” Bart started before Victor cut him off.
“The plane’s not flying it’s a boat at the moment,” Victor finished. He rushed to the controls and started the plane moving away from the beach and into open water.
“You broke my plane,” Oliver asked as he slumped into one of the chairs. “And how’s AC going, the doctors give you a prognosis?”
“Yeah about that, he’s in the back,” Bart answered.
“What?” Oliver yelled as he jumped up and marched into the back room and knelt next to AC. “Why didn’t you get him help first.”
“Ollie, it’s going to take two days to get anywhere. You couldn’t wait that long, and a few hours won’t make that much a different to AC at this point,” Victor answered from the front of the plane.
“AC will be alright, he’s stable,” Bart added as he sat next to his hurt friend.
“Why is it going to take so long, can’t we go any faster?” Oliver asked as he turned to look across the plane at Victor.
“If there was a way, I’d be doing it,” Victor answered with a glare.
Whitney just watched the team talk for a minute before looking down at his left hand. It was still half covered in dried blood but the gash was long gone. Maybe, “Green Arrow, Ollie?” Whitney called getting his attention.
“Oliver, my name’s Oliver,” Oliver told the other man as he turned to see Whitney lending against the door between the front and rear of the plane.
“It might help your friend,” Whitney said as he held up his hand. “Got a knife?”
“I can do better than that,” Oliver answered as he started digging through the first aid and other medical supplies looking for a syringe.
“What he talking about Oliver?” Victor asked as he watched.
“His blood, it’s why Lex had him locked up. He heals and Lex was draining and taking his blood which means it can be used on others. You sure about this,” Oliver answered and asked as he found a syringe.
“You mean this guy can heal AC?” Bart asked smiling as he started bouncing on his feet.
“I owe you. Now do it before I change my mind,” Whitney said as he let Oliver help him into one of the seats.
“Wait. If he can heal right away why can’t he walk right?” Bart asked as he noticed the limp.
“His name is Whitney. And it’s not an instant thing. I rolled my ankle 3-4 hours ago and now it’s just really sore, but I cut my hand and it was fine about 10 minute’s later so…” Whitney answered with a shug as he watched Oliver line the needle up with a vein.
“I hope this works,” Victor said before he returned to the cockpit.
“So do I,” Oliver said as he turned from Whitney to AC and searched for a vein on his arm before starting the transfusion.
“Now what?” Bart asked looking at the others.
“Now we wait,” Oliver answered.
“Just wait, that’s it?” Bart complained as he started pacing before turning to the others. “Want something to eat? Lets get something to eat,” he added before he super sped around the plane grabbing the power bars and dropping a couple off by each person before stopping next to AC and sitting to eat his.
“He always like this?” Whitney asked as he looked at the bar that had seemed to just appear in his hand.
“There’s a reason we call him Impulse,” Oliver grinned as he started unwrapping his bar.
All four men just ate and waited as they cruised away from Lex’s island and watched to see if anything would happen with AC. It was several hours later then Whitney found himself woken by a new sound. Bart was whispering to the now awake AC, telling him not to move and just stay put with a bigger smile then Whitney had recalled seeming on him earlier. But Whitney’s eyes where really drawn to their hands, where Bart’s hand was clasping AC’s tightly. That was the last thing Whitney remembered seeming before he drifted back to sleep.
“No, that would drive you nuts, wouldn’t it,” Oliver said and then continued without waiting for an answer. “Well really you have three choices. One you can go home and hope Lex won’t bother you or your family again.”
“I can’t risk that; I can’t risk my mom like that.”
“No, I didn’t think you would. Choice two is I can set you up with a new life. I’ve done it before, new name, new job, new everything. We’ll keep an eye on you and if Lex finds you, we’ll be around to help.”
“And the third choice?”
“You’re a marine, you have training, combat training and you’re not bad, you’re a good shot, not as good as me but then who is. You could join us. Help us stop Lex from doing to someone else what he did to you.”
“Because of my ability?” Whitney questioned.
“No, not everyone on the team has one. I don’t, just lots of practice and hard work. Same for Watchtower, but she is only part time. My point is you don’t need an ability to fight, just the will to fight. Do you have the will?” Oliver asked as he looked across the table at Whitney.
“Some conditions,” Whitney started as he returned Oliver’s look. “No mask. I won’t hide who I am.”
“That’s fine half the team doesn’t use them with their costume—“
“Uniform not costume, no spandex or leather. I’ll leave that to you and AC, got it.”
“Don’t dis the leather but I’m sure we can work something out,” Oliver told Whitney.
“Good,” Whitney said before schooling his growing smile and hardened his voice. "Okay. One last thing, and this one is non negotiable," He paused and gave Ollie a stern look. "No way am I letting you chose my code name."