Monday, October 11, 2010
Damian and Jon stepped out of the portal from Yggardis into a cave. Their battle with the living planet had been difficult to say the least, but in the end they had triumphed and saved an entire race of people. The wizard Kraklow, who had initially been against them, had turned over a new leaf to help them defeat the planet and revive the inhabitants that had died. Now that he had sent them back to their own dimension they could allow themselves to feel the exhaustion that had been steadily building throughout the course of the final fight.
“It’s so good to be back!” Jon said as he stretched. “When I get home I’m gonna sleep for a week.”
Damian wasn’t surprised that Jon hadn’t noticed yet. Damian had realized they were in the wrong location as soon as he stepped out of the portal. It was definitely not the Batcave. They were in an open area between what looked like a kitchen and living room. There was a large TV and several hallways leading out of the main area to what could possibly be the living quarters. The only things distinguishing it as a cave were the stalactites hanging from the ceiling and the walls made of rock. That damn wizard screwed up, whether intentionally or not, they were not where they were supposed to be.
“This doesn’t look like the Batcave,” Jon said, finally taking notice of his surroundings. “And it’s definitely not Titans Tower either… Where are we?”
“I’m not sure,” Damian said as he removed an electronic device from his utility belt and accessed the GPS. “According to this, we’re under a mountain in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island.”
Jon’s eyes got wide. “Isn’t that where the JLA is based? Why did Kraklow send us here?”
Damian scowled. “Either incompetence or one last practical joke at our expense. If I had to guess, I’d say we trusted an idiot to get us back, though I wouldn’t put it past him being a petty jerk.”
“At least he didn’t send homicidal clay people to turn you into an old man again,” Jon joked.
The glare Damian shot his way in response would have put Batman’s to shame. “Never speak of that again.”
Jon grinned, enjoying that he got under Damian’s skin a little too much. “So how do we get out of here? Gotham and Metropolis aren’t too far away from Rhode Island. I could drop you off before I fly home.”
“Tt, I do not need your help to get back to Gotham,” Damian said as he began scanning the area for a way out.
Suddenly, without warning, alarms started blaring and the lights dimmed to a red hue. Intruder alert. Intruders in the main hall, an electronic voice echoed from all around them.
“Well that doesn’t sound good,” Jon quipped as Damian dropped into a combat stance.
“Just get ready. We have no idea what to expect,” Damian warned.
Jon took his own combat stance and waited. The boys didn’t have to wait long. A yellow blur raced into the room and stopped short in front of the boys. He took one look at them and visibly relaxed. “You’re just kids. How the heck did you get in here?”
“West? What are you doing in that ridiculous yellow costume?” Damian asked, unsure, because the red hair and super speed was a dead giveaway for his older brother’s best friend, but he looked a little shorter than the last time he saw him. Giving someone a heart attack shouldn’t affect their height. Unless that damn wizard sent them back in time…
The speedster’s eyes widened under the mask. Yep, definitely West. Unfortunately, this caused the redhead to tense up and return to a defensive posture. He looked like he could attack them at any second. Hopefully Jon remembered his training.
“Okay, kids. Playtime’s over. Who are you and how did you get in here?”
“He’s Robin and I’m Superboy,” Jon stated proudly. “As for your second question… wizarding mistakes?”
“You really expect me to believe you got in here because of a wizard?” Kid Flash asked skeptically.
“An incompetent wizard,” Damian huffed, staring at the boy in the yellow costume that had just made his appearance. If this is the past, we will have to be very careful about what we say so as to not disrupt the timeline. Grayson didn’t speak to me for a week after the previous incident trying to keep Deathstroke from doing just that, Damian thought to himself. He did what he thought was the only option at the time. It wasn’t his fault West ended up with a pacemaker. Well, maybe it was, but the alternative would have been so much worse. He did what was necessary. Everyone on that team knew the consequences of being a hero. Sometimes people don’t make it out of battle unscathed.
“Oh, come now, West,” Damian chided. “I know for a fact you’ve dealt with wizards before.”
“Stop calling me that!” Wally growled. “I don’t know who you think you are, but I know Robin and Superboy and you are definitely not them.”
Suddenly, the electronic voice from before sounded again as a Stargate-like contraption came online behind the boys. Recognized: Robin B-01, Miss Martian B-05, Superboy B-04, Artemis B-07.
All the boys turned to see Robin, Miss Martian, Superboy, and Artemis enter through the zeta-tube and immediately take up combat stances. Damian and Jon were surrounded.
“Hey, KF. We got the notification the mountain was infiltrated. Got here as soon as we could. You okay?”
“Yeah, Rob,” Wally nodded. “But I’m not sure if these kids have any more clue as to what’s going on than I do. They tell me a wizard sent them here.”
“Who are you?” Conner asked the two newcomers.
Damian studied the black-haired boy with the red Superman symbol on his black t-shirt. He looked like Superman, but he didn’t look all that much like Jon. Or Jon’s mother, Lois, for that matter. Damian began rethinking his time travel theory. “What year is it?” he interrupted before Jon could oblige them with an answer.
“Really? You’re going with the ‘I’m from the future’ routine?” Artemis scoffed.
“You answer my question, I’ll answer yours,” Damian shot back.
“2010,” Robin said. “Now you. Who are you?”
“Well, that’s interesting,” Damian said almost to himself. He was thinking the new Superboy may be explained by the year being in the future. Maybe Jon’s younger brother. But if it was 2010, they did indeed time travel. But this Superboy, the female redhead with the green skin and freckles, and the blonde archer were unknown to him. Damian had been through all of Batman’s files on the hero community and those three just did not exist. So, could this not only be time travel but in an alternate reality as well?
Jon’s eyes had gotten as big as saucers. “Damian,” John whispered. “The year…”
“No names in the field,” Damian whispered back, keeping his eyes trained on the other Robin and Superboy while making sure to be aware of the other young heroes surrounding them.
“The short one’s name is Damian,” Conner said to the others.
Damian glared daggers at Jon.
Jon on the other hand was paying no attention to Damian as all his attention was brought to the boy with his father’s symbol on his chest. “Super-hearing? Are you Kryptonian?” he asked with genuine curiosity.
Now it was Superboy’s turn to glare at Jon. “What do you think?”
“Everyone,” Miss Martian cut in, sensing Superboy’s volatile emotions about to get out of hand. “I think there’s a simple solution to this situation. I can just read their minds and verify their story.”
“No one is going inside my head,” Damian growled.
“Then we’re going to have to detain you until we can figure out what’s going on” Robin threatened. “And we will need your names.”
“You first,” Damian challenged. If this was an alternate reality, who knew if the people confronting them were evil versions of the heroes they knew back home. No, the safest thing to do would be to escape the mountain and find Barry Allen (no, he would not go near Wally this time. If he hurt another version of his brother’s best friend who knew if Richard would ever speak to him again). Yes, he and Jon, between the two of them, could force or coerce Allen into breaking through the dimensional walls and finding their original Earth. That would have to be the plan.
“Superboy,” Damian started. “Follow my lead.”
Robin could see this coming from a mile away. Was it so much to ask for an intruder to just surrender peacefully for once? This little Him imposter was getting on his nerves. He wanted a fight? Oh, he’d get a fight.
Suddenly all hell broke loose. Damian threw down a smoke pellet and attacked, quickly making contact with the closest body, Kid Flash (okay, one punch, but after that no more hurting his brother’s best friend). Damian’s fist connected solidly with the speedster’s nose, snapping his head back and stunning the redhead long enough for him to pull the younger Kryptonian with him toward the consul connected to the zeta tube. He just wouldn’t mention that he broke West’s nose to Richard when he got home. But this was their best bet at an escape right now. Damian would have to hack it and hope it was close enough to systems he was used to to get it to work quickly enough to escape. “Distract them!” Damian shouted to Jon while he grabbed some hacking equipment from his utility belt and got to work on the consul.
Jon didn’t think this was the best course of action. These people seemed okay to him. Sure, they were acting a bit hostile, but he and Dami had magically appeared in their secret base and no one knew what was going on. It was understandable that they would be suspicious. If only Damian wouldn’t be so paranoid all the time. Jon was sure they could have come to a peaceful conclusion to this standoff. But unfortunately the older boy took matters into his own hands and now Jon had no choice but to protect his friend while he got them into even more trouble. It really annoyed him sometimes. But he couldn’t abandon his friend, even when his friend did stupid things.
Jon flew into the air and was almost hit by an arrow shot by the scantily-clad archer. Then out of the smoke jumped the other Superboy. He crashed hard into Jon while punching him in the face and Jon really felt it. It hurt. So the guy had super-strength too. Dang-it, Damian! Jon thought to himself. He just had to go and get us into a fight. Jon saw Superboy coming in for another attack and he panicked, activating his heat vision in the process and hitting Superboy dead-center, sending him hurtling backwards and destroying his shirt.
“How’s that escape route coming, Robin?” Jon shouted to his friend as he saw Superboy beginning to get up from the floor. “I think I just made him mad!”
Damian couldn’t respond as he was tied up in his own battle with this world’s Robin, the blonde archer, and Kid Flash who managed to make it out of the smoke and find him. Jon was not a great distraction. Using his sword, Damian knew he could hold his own against the other Robin, even Robin and the archer, but adding West into the mix (even a slightly injured West) may have been too much even for him. Normally he’d use one of his attackers against the others by redirecting their attacks toward their teammates, but they seem to be too well coordinated for that tactic. Not to mention harming West any more than he already had would likely cause more tension between him and Richard than there already was. Damian had to figure this out and quickly or he may have to admit he was in over his head.
Jon was becoming overwhelmed by Superboy’s barrage of angry fists. He jumped into the air only to be immediately followed by his attacker. He had the ability to fly though where the other boy could only leap great distances. As Superboy’s path into the air stayed in a line, Jon veered out of the way, barely dodging the next assault and flew right into M'gann. The Martian, tired of this senseless fighting and the damage it was doing to her home, decided to put an end to it. She grabbed Jon and entered his mind. He had surprisingly few mental defenses and in moments he was unconscious. Jon fell out of the sky right into Superboy’s arms.
“That’s ENOUGH!” She shouted, eyes glowing red with anger. “Damian! Stand down. Your friend is unconscious and you are outnumbered. We do not want to cause you harm but you will be defeated if you attempt to continue with this escape attempt.”
Damian considered his options for a moment. He was very tempted to keep fighting. He could escape himself and come back for Jon when he found a way home, but looking at his unconscious partner in the hands of an unknown combatant made him pause. If these were evil versions of people he knew, he couldn’t leave Jon with them. He was better off staying with him. They had ended up here together and they’d leave together or not at all. He dropped his katana with a sneer and put his hands up in a lazy gesture.
“Smart boy,” Megan said and Robin proceeded to cuff Damian’s hands behind his back.