Dick sat on the roof of the Bludhaven branch of Wayne Enterprises, looking out over the city as he ate a half baked chicken sandwich. He’d been there for six months, and he was only just getting used to not having a cape on his back. Hell, the whole new costume was awesome; it was more streamlined than his Robin suit had been, and the almost entirely black suit made for warming up quick, especially when up by neon lights.
He finished his dinner, standing up. He leant forward, arms spread as he began to freefall off of the roof. After about three seconds of falling, he pressed his hands against his thighs, spreading his arms as his back plate opened, a cape quickly coming out of it for him to glide on. He caught the updraft, using it to continue along the trajectory he had. As he did, the police scanner in his earpiece went online.
“We have an armed robbery at the Midtown Exchange.” Came the dispatch voice “All units, please proceed immediately.“
“Already am.” Dick said to himself, leaning to his left to change direction, ignoring the figure above him.
Donna Troy, who’d been nicknamed by the media, much to her chagrin, Wonder Girl, watched from above as she saw Nightwing begin to head off in a different direction. Her long, black hair blew gently in the breeze, the moonlight glinting off the gold, triangular belt buckle she wore, and the glitter elements of her red bodysuit, as well as the gold bands on her wrists.
She tracked the trajectory with her eyes, clocking the Midtown Exchange, before beginning to fly towards it at full speed, flying over Nightwing to crash down through the skylight on the roof of the Exchange, using the gold bracers to deflect gunfire as it was rained on her.
“No one ever tell you it’s rude to shoot a lady?” Came a voice from above, Nightwing dropping down onto one of the men as his cape retracted into his back plate, a pair of escrima sticks being pulled from the back of his belt as they electrified “Welcome to super hero team up!”
“Alpha target didn’t show.” One of the men said, apparently talking into a comm. unit “Beta target just arrived. Shall I apprehend?”
Before he could get a response, Nightwing dived at him, hitting him in the face with one of the escrima sticks, as Donna punched one of the men in the face, dashing at another two and banging their heads together. Finally, Nightwing threw his escrima sticks, hitting two men in the heads, ricocheting back to him as the men fell to the floor.
“Not bad. For an amateur in tights.” Nightwing said as he put the sticks away “Who are you then? Or do you like Wonder Girl?”
“Donna.” She replied, holding out a hand to him “Donna Troy.”
“Nice to meet you, Donna Troy.” Nightwing said, before putting two fingers to his ears “Nightwing here, go ahead.”
He paused for a moment, listening to whomever was talking. Finally, he brought his fingers away from his ear.
“I’ve got to go.” He said, pressing the side of his mask, causing the eyes to turn red as he quickly looked over the men “This is the sixth time men in these uniforms have shown up in two weeks. Me and my friend are looking into it.”
“Give me a call some time, if you need help.” She said as she reached into her belt, pulling out a crumpled piece of paper with a phone number on it and handing it to him, pausing before saying “Is your friend Batman?”
“No.” Nightwing said “It’s someone I know from school. We’re putting together a team. That’s all I’m going to say for now. But I might call you. Just… Don’t tell my girlfriend.”
He pulled a grapple from his belt, firing it up at the ceiling and leaving through the skylight.
“Typical move, Donna.” She said to herself “Meet a cute guy, give him your number, and then turns out he has a girlfriend. Great job.”
Dick sat in the penthouse of the apartment building he’d purchased upon his arrival in Bludhaven. As what amounted to the adopted son of one of the richest men in the world, as well as the holder of his own multi-million dollar trust fund, no one had batted an eyelid when he’d spent just short of a million dollars on the building, and another four on refurbishments.
He was looking at a holographic interface, custom designed by Bruce. It was the same one used by the Justice League on the Watchtower, their mobile high altitude base of operations. There’d been a symbol on the shoulder of one of the men at the exchange, a white knight chess piece. He was trying to find some kind of correlation with any existing figures or groups. Needless to say, Bruce had come up a few times, and even Dick himself, in his previous alias as Robin, had also cropped up once or twice.
“Anything good?” Victor said as he walked in, removing the metal faceplate he wore over the left side of his face, a beep indicating it disengaging from his cybernetics as he did “Or just reminiscing?”
“I’m trying to find the white knight symbol. There are a few charitable organisations who use it, and even a couple of companies that are subsidiaries of less than scrupulous businessmen, but no one of interest.” Dick said, sighing as he added “I even tried cross referencing it against some of the more ethical ones. Wayne Enterprise, Queen Industries, they’re both clean. Chimtech, Maxwell Lord’s company, brought up a couple of red flags, but both were in heavily encrypted, classified files. Something to do with some paramilitary group called Checkmate, a Government division. I can’t get in.”
“Why not ask your girlfriend?” Victor teased “If she’s as good as you say, she could do it, right?”
“She did hack the Batcave.” Dick said “But that was a low jack. Completely different to what we need, and far too easy to trace.”
“Then what’s the plan?” Victor asked, cocking an eyebrow “Going by our last few months in this town, and who trained you, I’m assuming there is one?”
“Yeah.” Dick said, grinning “I’m going to get an appointment with the head of the applied sciences division of Chimtech.”
“And how do you intend to do that?” Victor asked as Dick brought up an application, an image of Bruce Wayne appearing alongside a number as a dial tone began “Of-”
“Quiet!” Dick said as the phone was picked up “Bruce, I need a favour.”
Dick stepped into the Chimtech building in Bludhaven, wearing a black suit with a blue shirt. After he’d got off the call with Bruce, he’d received one from Doctor Paul Westfield, head of Chimtech’s applied sciences division, confirming his visit to them on behalf of Bruce Wayne to deal with some details of a joint project between the two companies. Apparently, Westfield had been surprised someone so young was interested in such things, until Dick informed him he wanted to understand the process of business deals, in case he ever found himself running a company of his own.
As he moved through the plaza, he noted the two people who’d been following him since he walked in; large men in black suits. On paper, they would be able to restrain and probably kill him with ease. In practice, not so much, although that would mean giving himself away. For now, he’d ignore them. Besides, he had someone else to see besides Westfield. The person who, for cover purposes, had been taken on as Bruce’s executive assistant six months ago.
“Barbara.” He said, walking up to Barbara, who was perched on the edge of a fountain wearing a blue pencil skirt suit with a white blouse, her hair in a pony tail, with a pair of wire framed glasses perched on the end of her nose, with a smile, kissing her on the cheek as he reached her “I expected Bruce to send Lucius to supervise.”
“Mr. Wayne and Mr. Fox regret to inform you that they are both indisposed at the moment, Dick.” She said with a smile “So, as Mr. Wayne’s executive assistant, I was sent as his representative in this matter.”
“I thought that was me.” Dick grinned, before offering her an arm and gesturing to the elevator in the corner of the area “Shall we?”
The two of them walked through the plaza, eventually reaching the elevator, Dick quickly pressing the control to take them to the fiftieth floor, where he’d been informed Westfield’s office was on the phone the night before. As the doors closed, he turned to Barbara, quickly getting her against the wall and kissing her passionately.
“Dick… Maybe now isn’t the best time…” She said in between kisses “We’re on a job…”
“Come on, that’s hot.” Dick said, grinning at her before the doors opened, the two of them straightening out their outfits “You’re right. Maybe later.”
“Your place?” She said with a small grin.
“Joker couldn’t keep me away.” Dick said, returning the gesture, nodding towards the woman at the desk “I think you’re up.”
“I think you’re right.” Barbara said as they reached the reception of the department “Richard Grayson and Barbara Gordon to see Dr. Westfield.”
“Let me check that.” The blonde girl in glasses behind the desk said, typing it into the computer “I’m sorry, I have you down for next week.”
“There must be some mistake.” Dick said, flashing the girl a smile “Can you check again?”
The girl checked again, whilst Barbara gave Dick a disapproving look, getting a sheepish grin in response. Finally, the girl looked up from the computer.
“I’m sorry, my mistake, Mr. Grayson.” She said with a smile “Have a nice day.”
“Thank you.” He said, quickly glancing at her name tag “Nice to meet you, Rose.”
“I don’t like her.” Barbara said on the way back “The way she was looking at you-”
“We’re on a job, remember.” Dick said with a grin “Besides, I don’t go breaking the necks of every guy who looks at you.”
“You couldn’t.” She said with a laugh, pausing before saying “Could you?”
“You know what they say…” Dick said with a smirk “Anything Bruce can do, I can do better.”
“I’d like to see you tell him that.” She said, returning the smirk as they walked through the doors “Let me do the talking.”
As they entered the lab, a middle aged man with greying red hair approached, holding a hand out to Barbara.
“Miss Gordon, I understand you’re here on behalf of Mr. Wayne? Paul Westfield.” He said, shaking Barbara’s hand and then Dick’s “And you must be Mr. Grayson.”
“Doctor.” Barbara said with a smile and a curt nod “Nice to meet you. Mr. Wayne told me to convey his sincere apologies. Apparently he had a matter to deal with urgently.”
“Yes, I imagine super models don’t date themselves.” Westfield said, smirking to Dick “What do you think?”
“I wouldn’t know. Haven’t dated any.” Dick said with a wry grin “So, I heard you did some work a few years back with a paramilitary unit. Checkmate, I think the name was?”
Westfield froze, his smile faltering. He was worried about something. Something about Checkmate had spooked him. Given what Dick had seen recently, he could imagine why; he was spooked, and he’d thrown down with the Joker and Scarecrow. Hell, he’d been trained by the Batman, and could even manage to at least tie with him about fifty percent of the time in sparring matches.
“Yes, but our working with them ended years ago.” Westfield finally said with a smile “A shame. They had some interesting R&D ideas.”
“Aha.” Dick said with a smirk “Well, that answers all my questions. Babs, I’ll leave you to business while I go and get a coffee.”
Dick didn’t wait for a response, instead turning around and walking out. He walked past Rose’s desk, pausing before turning back, leaning on the desk.
“I nearly forgot.” He said with a smile “Doctor Westfield, he told me I could get the contact info for a group called Checkmate for Mr. Wayne. Bruce has been dying to work with them.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Grayson.” She said with a smile “That’s not possible.”
“Dick, please.” He replied “Why isn’t it possible?”
“Checkmate has been defunct for three years.” She said “Sorry, Dick.”
“Not a problem.” He said, smirking as he said “Every cloud has it’s silver linings and every Rose has it’s thorns. All those other glass half full or half empty metaphors. I’ll be seeing you.”
Dick turned and walked out of the office, pulling his phone out of his pocket as he entered the elevator.
“Vic, apparently, Checkmate’s been defunct for years.” Dick said “Anything on the system?”
“Nothing I can access” Came Victor’s reply “Sorry, Dick.”
“Don’t be.” Dick said “Me and Babs will be back soon, and we’ll call up Batman. See what he can get.”
Dick hung up. He had to call up Bruce and find out what he could find.
Dick sat at the computer, his costume on. He was ready to go out and act as soon as he had the info on Checkmate. He just had to call Bruce up. He pressed the command to contact the bat-cave, having a brief pause before the image of a young man with dark hair, about seventeen or eighteen in what looked like his old Robin costume, minus the mask.
“Hi there…” Dick said “Is Batman home..?”
“He’s gone out.” The young man replied, cocking an eyebrow “Let me guess; you’re his old partner?”
“Old partner?” Dick questioned “I didn’t realise he had a new one…”
“Jason Todd.” The young man said with a smirk “You can just call me Robin.”
“And you can call me your worst nightmare if you tick me off.” Dick replied, a little more aggressively than he’d meant to “Dick Grayson.”
“Charmed, I’m sure.” Jason replied “What are you after?”
“I need access to the bat computer.” Dick said “See if Bruce has any files on a group called Checkmate.”
“Can’t help you.” Jason replied “I don’t know how to give you access.”
“I’ll put on someone who does.” Dick replied, panning the camera round to Barbara, who was sat beside him “Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon. Barbara Gordon, Jason Todd.”
“So you’re the new kid.” Barbara said “Alfred mentioned Bruce had got someone in.”
“Did he?!” Dick said, Barbara rolling her eyes in response.
“Men.” She said to herself “Anyway Jason, to give me remote access, just search for a program called ‘Oracle 2.0.’ Once activated, it’ll give me full access.”
Barbara waited, seeing the Batcomputer’s desk top appear on screen as Dick got up, moving over to a punch bag and beginning to hit it.
“Thanks, you’re a star.” Barbara said with a smile “And don’t let Dick get to you. He just likes to think he’s irreplaceable.”
“I heard that!” Dick called over as he hit the punch bag hard, barely dodging as it swung back at him.
“You okay?” Barbara asked as the screen Jason had been on went back to it’s screensaver “Dick?”
“I’m fine!” Dick said, turning and walking towards the exit “I’m going to go meet with someone. Give me a call when you’ve got the info.”
“Who’re you going to meet?” Barbara asked “Dick?”
She turned around. He was gone. Suddenly, she knew how her Father always felt.
Westfield stood in his office, pressing controls on the computer. He had to finish the project he was working on for a fusion reactor. As he input the latest set of calculations, everything went dark. He reached down into his desk, pulling out a torch. As he pulled it out and turned it on, he felt the cold, hard steel of a sword blade against his throat.
“Don’t move, Doctor.” Came the cool, calm voice of a man from the darkness “Lights!”
The lights were thrown back on, dazing Westfield. There was a tall, slim woman stood by the lab’s breaker, wearing a black leather bodysuit, a long blonde ponytail coming out of the back of her cowl which covered the top half of her face, the right side orange whilst the left side was black. Red lenses covered both of her eyes, an orange belt on her wait with a katana in it’s sheath on her left hip.
He looked to the person holding the sword to his throat. It was a man, around six foot three, wearing a black bodysuit, with a bandolier going over his left shoulder. Coming over his right shoulder was a telescopic staff. On his left and right hips were a pair of automatic pistols. Completing the ensemble was a mask similar to the girl’s, covering his whole face.
“I understand you’ve been talking about things you shouldn’t.” The man said “The Black King and the Wall don’t take kindly to that.”
Before Westfield could reply, the man drew his sword across quickly, separating Westfield’s head from his body.
“That should serve as sufficient incentive to get us a little visit from the people investigating us, but I have another idea.” The man said “But just in case, maybe we should pay Mr. Grayson and his girlfriend a little visit.”
Dick stood on the rooftop of the Wayne Enterprises building in Bludhaven, waiting for his guest. He’d called Wonder Girl on the communicator he’d given her. She’d confirmed she was on her way, but then, he wasn’t sure how similar to Wonder Woman’s her powers were, and by proxy, just how fast she could fly.
He sat down on the edge of the roof, looking out over the skyline. It was peaceful, almost serene. If he was honest, he’d just used the fact they were looking for Checkmate and needed help as an excuse; he hated to admit it, but Barbara was right. Dick did like to think he was irreplaceable, and he disliked that Bruce had already replaced him. More than that, he disliked that Barbara had known about it, presumably since before she left, and didn’t tell him.
He couldn’t decide which one he resented more. He’d always thought that, when he left, it’d just be Bruce and Barbara, then just Bruce. Maybe he’d go back to Gotham to help out from time to time if he was needed, but this Jason didn’t sit right with him.
“You okay?” Came a voice from behind him, Dick looking around to see Wonder Girl stood there “Something up?”
“Girl trouble.” He said as he stood “Or parent trouble or sibling trouble or… What do you call a guardian who’s barely 10 years older than you?”
“That’s a tough one.” She said, moving over and holding out a hand with a smile “I didn’t introduce myself the other night. Donna.”
“I’m-” Dick began before hearing the sound of static in his ear “Ouch! I think I’ve got a call.”
“You do.” Came Barbara’s voice “Reports of Checkmate troops at Chimtech. Wait… They’ve left that area, and they’re heading… Dick, they’re heading my way!”
“We’re on it.” Dick said, looking to Donna “Any chance you can give me a ride?”
Dick and Donna set down on the roof of Dick’s apartment building. There was a Checkmate troop helicopter above, a group of soldiers in front of them, raising their guns.
“Freeze!” The lead soldier said “You gave us a hard time the other night. It won’t happen again.”
“Hey, it’s Freddy the foot soldier.” Dick quipped “How you doing, Freddy? Sorry I hit you so hard the other night, I just don’t play well with others.”
“Shut up!” The soldier said, clicking the safety off on his rifle “Or I’ll fire.”
“I’m sorry.” Dick said with a small smirk “I thought you said ‘fire.'”
Before the soldier could respond, he was sent flying by a wave of energy. Behind the troops stood Victor, in his full Cyborg armour. Dick moved past them, kicking the lead soldier in the ribs.
“Thanks for the help.” He said, gesturing between Victor and Donna “Vic, Donna, Donna, Vic.”
“We’ll skip the whole ‘secret identities are meant to be secret talk until later.” Victor said, crossing his arms “What’s the plan, mini-Batman?”
“Who you calling Batman… Or Mini… Not sure which one offends me more.” Dick said “Donna, I need you to be ready to evac people from the building. Vic, you and I will go in and kick some butt.”
“Just a thought?” Donna said, putting a hand up “Me and, sorry, Dick, was it?”
“No, that’s him.” Victor said, getting a glare from Dick “Oh, so it’s fine when you expose my secret identity but not the other way round?”
“Anyway, boys, as I was saying, since, oh, Vic! Yeah, since Vic and I are the ones with super powers, we should be the ones doing the butt kicking.” Donna said “You, Dick, can play rescue.”
“I’m sorry, who’s been doing this longest?” Dick asked, getting silence in response “That’s what I thought!”
Dick began walking into the building. As he did, a sword was swung at him, Dick barely ducking in time. He looked up, seeing a man in a black bodysuit with a bandolier and an orange and gold mask on holding the sword.
“You must be the Bat’s kid.” The man said, swinging his sword again, Dick catching it in the blades on the side of his gauntlets, tossing it aside “Not bad, kid.”
“You ain’t seen nothing.” Dick said, dropping down and sweeping his leg under the man, taking him to the floor and pinning him, putting on his best impression of Bruce’s Batman voice “Where’s Barbara Gordon?!”
Before the man could respond, there was a crash from below. Dick got off the man, running over to the edge of the roof and looking down, seeing Barbara hanging from the foot of a blonde woman in a cowl of the same design as the man’s.
“Hang on!” Dick yelled, realising how bad the choice of words was “Donna, get down there!”
“On it.” She said with a nod, diving off the roof.
“Deploy the power asset.” The man in the mask said as he stood up, a red, white and blue streak going across the sky “Let me tell you a story, boys. Superman wasn’t the first alien to reach Earth. We found another one. She’s been kept in the stasis she was found in, but we found use for her cells.”
As he finished talking, a figure set down on the roof. It was a woman slightly older than Dick, with blonde hair, in a white bodysuit, with a red cape, blue gloves and blue boots. The man in the mask approached, standing behind her.
“Gentlemen, meet Power Girl.” He said with a small laugh “Power Girl, meet your targets. Let’s call them, I don’t know, the Teen Titans?”
“Not technically correct…” Victor muttered, Dick looking at him “What? We’re not teenagers!”
Power Girl didn’t wait for them to say more, instead charging at them, grabbing Victor by the throat and throwing him off the roof. As Donna came up, Power Girl’s eyes glowed red, before firing a blast of heat at her, causing her to scream in pain as she plummeted to the ground below.
“Oh crap…” Dick said, charging at the man and grabbing him in a hold from behind “Call her off!”
“I would.” The man said “But then she couldn’t kill you.”
Dick hesitated. That was all the man needed to get out of the grip, elbowing Dick in the ribs. The man held a hand up towards Power Girl.
“Stand down.” The man said, pulling a staff from his back, the ends of it extending “Come on then, boy. Let’s see what the Bat taught you.”
Dick stood up straight, pulling his Escrima sticks before the man charged at him, Dick parrying the blow. The man swung again, this time his blow made contact with Dick’s gut, staggering him. He needed another approach.
He quickly hit a control on his belt, the scanner mode on his mask engaging. The man’s suit was heavily armoured. There were only two visible weak spots. The man’s eyes.
Dick disengaged the scanner, charging the man, sliding under the swipe the man took with his staff, and jumping on the man’s back, jamming on of his Escrima Sticks into the man’s right eye.
The man screamed in pain, staggering back. He grabbed his mask, pulling it off and covering his eye, blood seeping between his fingers. The man was Caucasian had greying black hair and a goatee. Dick quickly pressed the control on his belt to snap a picture of the man for review later.
“Fall back.” The man growled “This isn’t over, boy!”
Power Girl quickly sped around, picking up the Checkmate operatives and flying them away. As she did, Donna slowly rose up, carrying both Victor and Barbara, setting them down. Barbara ran over to Dick, hugging him while Donna looked back and forth between Barbara’s and her own body.
“I need you to leave.” He said quietly, Barbara pulling away and looking at him, shocked “You’re a distraction I can’t have right now.”
“Dick, I can take care of myself and we both know it!” She said “I can gear up and-”
“No!” Dick said “Get back to Gotham. I’m sure Bruce is missing your help with tech support. Now that we have access to the system, me and Vic can finish the research side.”
Barbara looked like she was going to argue for a moment, her expression stern. Finally, it softened as she smiled.
“Okay.” She said finally, putting her hand on his arm “Just be safe.”
“Hey, it’s me.” Dick said with a grin, starting to walk inside “Come on, we’ll get your bag packed and I’ll give you a ride to the airport.”
“Okay.” Barbara said, turning to Victor “Cyborg, everything I’ve found is on the computer. You’ve just got to read it.”
“Got it.” Victor said with a nod, quickly hugging her “Nice seeing you again.”
“You too, big guy.” She said, smiling at Donna “Nice meeting you.”
Dick led Barbara inside. As she did, Donna turned to Victor.
“Can I ask you a personal question?” She asked, Victor nodding “Who’s hotter?”
“Uh…” Victor said, dumbstruck “I’ll go get started on that data.”
Victor walked inside, leaving Donna outside. She sighed, shaking her head.
“At least my outfit looks better than the librarian look…” She muttered to herself as she walked inside.
Victor sat at the computer terminal, Donna sat in an office chair behind him, spinning around in it, apparently bored. Victor could understand why; they’d been sat there for two hours whilst he went over files. It was a long, slow and boring job, but it had to be done.
“What’ve we got?” Dick said as he walked in, Victor being relieved someone else was there to take over the computer “Anything on Checkmate we can use?”
“Are you kidding?” Victor asked “There’s tonnes here, references back to Chimtech, shady government experiments. Get this.”
Victor pressed a control, brining up a file marked ‘Project: Deathstroke’ Dick took the controls from him, moving through the folder before spotting a familiar face.
He removed his mask, flipping the point that went over his nose down, revealing a USB adaptor. He plugged it into the computer, downloading everything from that evening. As he did, he moved through the images taken that evening, getting to the photo he’d taken of the man.
“There we go. A lead.” Dick said, folding his arms across his chest “Colonel Slade Wilson. Sole surviving test subject of Project Deathstroke. Says here his strength, agility, durability and intelligence were augmented. Tactical genius. Certainly fits our guy.”
“What’s this?” Donna said, walking over and pointing at something in the corner “That folder there?”
“Military record.” Dick said, clicking on it “Several commendations, and then a dishonourable discharge for assaulting a superior officer. Seems Mr. Deathstroke has a temper.”
“What about family?” Victor asked “Or known associates?”
“Let’s see.” Dick said, clicking around the page “Oh boy.”
“What is it?” Donna asked, looking at the screen and seeing a blonde girl “You know her?”
“Yeah.” Dick said “Name’s Rose, she was a secretary at Chimtech.”
“I think we’ve found how he knew to hit the place.” Victor said “I checked the police reports, it was a Doctor Westfield. Death by decapitation.”
“My fault…” Dick said quietly to himself “If I hadn’t asked her about Checkmate…”
“Dick?” Victor questioned, cocking his exposed eyebrow “What are you talking about?”
“I asked Rose Wilson to give me the information on Checkmate from Chimtech’s records. She must’ve alerted them.” Dick said, slamming his fist down on the metal frame of the computer “I should’ve seen a misdirect a mile away!”
“Cut yourself some slack.” Donna said, standing up and putting a hand on his shoulder “I’m sure faced with a girl that looked like that, most guys would be a little distracted…”
“Yeah, that won’t help.” Victor said quietly “Better to just let him get on with it.”
Dick stood up, moving towards the door. He turned back.
“Victor, keep analysing the data, Try to have a cliff note version by the time we get back.” He said “Donna, come on.”
“Where are we going?” Donna asked, looking between the two of them.
“Chimtech.” Dick said “There’s a crime scene, and I might not be the World’s Greatest Detective, but I can give him a run for his money. Maybe there’s something that’ll give us a clue as to where they’re holed up.”
Maxwell Lord entered the lab beneath his building. It connected via a network of tunnels to various other installations throughout the city. His predecessor had had the idea to not station Checkmate in any one place, and his father, at the time the science director, had had the primary research facility placed beneath his company.
As he crossed the threshold into the main research area, he saw a scientist talking to a tall, muscular African American woman with short, black hair. The debate looked rather heated.
“What’s going on here?” Lord asked, turning to the woman “Waller?”
“Doctor Danvers here seems to disagree with our approach.” Waller replied “He says that our treatment of the girl is inhumane.”
“Does he now?” Lord said, moving to Danvers and clapping a hand on his shoulder “Doctor, inhumane treatment only applies to Humans, not alien monstrosities. We have to defend ourselves from people like her. Otherwise, what’s to stop her, Superman, The Martian and all those other threats from crushing us under foot?”
“Well, I-” Danvers began, pausing for a moment before saying “You’re absolutely right. I’m sorry.”
“Good.” Lord said, slapping Danvers on the back “See, Amanda? Sometimes you just have to try talking politely to people. Shall we go and see the subject?”
“Of course.” Waller said, gesturing for Lord to follow her.
They walked through a large set of double doors. Inside were people in hazmat suits, working with various pieces of equipment. Analysis machines were set up around the room. In the centre, hooked up to various devices, was a large, slim cylinder, an upside down red pentagon with an S and a yellow interior background at the base of it. Inside the cylinder, was a tall, slim blonde girl who looked to be in her late teens to early twenties, wearing a blue bodysuit with the same emblem as on the bottom of the cylinder.
“You know, if people knew about her, they’d call her a ‘Supergirl’.” Lord said “Shame no one ever will.”
“You still want to eliminate her?” Waller asked “Max, we don’t know that Power Girl will remain controllable forever. We may need her to make another.”
“Well then, get all the samples you can.” Lord replied, turning and beginning to walk out “The Kryptonite comes tomorrow.”
Jesse Chamber sat in the cell in the Chimtech lab. She was scared. Two weeks ago, she’d been a nineteen year old intern, with a potential job offer to work there permanently. She’d had a boyfriend, an apartment and a pretty nice lifestyle.
Now she was some lab rat. It had started the week before. She’d found some files in the lab, something about some military group. Next thing she knew, she’d been swept away in the blink of an eye by some psycho bimbo in a white suit. There’d been an African American woman waiting for her when she’d reached the lab, going on about how she had similar protein markers and the same blood type as some guy, Barry something, and telling her she had an idea for her.
Next thing she knew, she was being given chemical baths and blasted with electrical charges on a regular basis. Then they’d started. The spasms. Like her body had accelerated out of control. They were getting more and more regular, every time she got worried about something.
Which when she was in a cell being experimented on, was a lot. They’d kept telling her that if she got it controlled, they’d begin to talk about letting her go. She didnt’ believe it. Not for a second.
What she found stranger still, however, was only a handful of people had been into the lab she was in since she’d been brought there. Maxwell Lord, the woman who’d spoke to her when she arrived, the crazy bitch and a handful of soldiers and scientists.
As she thought about it, the woman from before walked in, flanked by the woman in white, a man in a black leather suit with an orange and black mask, and a man in a red bodysuit with a tactical vest over it, wearing black balaclava, an eye patch with a red lense over his right eye and a pair of silver devices on his wrists, what looked like two gun barrels on each one.
“We’ve got reports of someone on approach. It looks like one of Batman’s children.” The African American woman said “We’re going into lockdown. Powergirl, you’re going to guard the subject. Lawton, I want you on the roof, first line of defence. Wilson, you and your daughter will wait inside the perimeter. Anyone gets in, you know what to do.”
“Exactly what you put this little Suicide Squad together for.” The man in the orange mask said, turning and beginning to walk out “Task Force X, you have your assignments. Move out!”
The other three followed him out, leaving Jesse alone in the lab as shutters descended over the blacked out windows.
She sighed, leaning forward in her chair, before burying her head in her hands, beginning to cry. She was stuck there, and no one was coming for her.
Dick approached the Chimtech building. It looked like it was under lockdown; there were shutters down over all the windows, and armed guards at all the entrances and exits, including the roof.
Dick pressed a control on his belt, causing his mask to zoom in. There were half a dozen troops, all wearing Checkmate uniforms. In the middle of them was the person Dick was surprised to see; Floyd Lawton, AKA Deadshot.
Last time Dick had seen Lawton, he and Barbara had just put him away for a number of assassination jobs he’d carried out for Thomas Elliot, also known as Hush. That was six months ago, and Dick wondered how he’d got out so quickly, especially after receiving a triple life sentence.
As he wondered the answer to that, he heard something behind him, like something charging. He turned to see Victor and Donna stood there, Victor’s right hand reconfigured into it’s blaster configuration.
“Yippe kaiyae?” He said with a smirk.
“Mother-” Dick began.
“Boys!” Donna cut him off “Can we just get this done? I’d rather avoid that… What’d they call her, Power Girl?”
“And I’d rather bump into Deathstroke.” Dick said with a scowl.
He was angry, he wouldn’t deny that. But it wasn’t just Deathstroke and his daughter that Dick was angry at. It was himself too; he’d asked Rose about Checkmate, that was what tipped her off that the Professor was a potential security leak. As far as he was concerned, if he didn’t put them away, he was as guilty of the man’s murder as they were.
“Focus.” Donna said, cutting off his trail of thought, smirking “Where’s all that chattiness you had the other night? I thought that was part of your charm?”
“You were the one who stopped me quoting Die Hard.” Dick quipped “Here’s the plan; Victor, I need you to take down the thugs on the roof. Donna, I’m presuming you’ve got some degree of enhanced durability, but Deadshot uses 50 cal rounds in those wrist guns of his. Even Wonder Woman would have some cuts and bruises from those. So watch yourself while going against those.”
“Why am I dealing with him?” She asked “Shouldn’t ‘Cyborg’ here do it?”
“They’ll rip straight through my armour.” Victor replied “You deal with Deadshot, I’ll take the rest. What’re you going to be doing, Dick?”
“I’m going looking for Deathstroke.” Dick said “I’m shutting him down, and then, we’re shutting Checkmate down.”
“Just the three of us?” Donna asked, looking between them “Look, I get it, I have weird super powers for some reason, and Victor’s a Cyborg, but you’re just a guy in a suit.”
“Who was trained by Batman.” Dick said, smirking “My only concern is you two slowing me down.”
Dick didn’t wait for them to respond, instead diving off the roof, and engaging the cape in the back plate of his suit, gliding towards the roof and landing softly behind the roof access door, the cape retracting back into his suit. As he did, he heard gunfire starting on the other side, followed by some kind of high pitched blasting noise; Victor had started his work. That was followed by the unmistakable sound of Lawton’s wrist guns firing, and bullets being deflected. One less time than shots fired.
Dick peered round, seeing Victor surrounded by the goons, whilst Donna was clutching her left shoulder, blood trickling down from the outside of her shoulder. Lawton had just finished reloading and was taking aim for his kill shot.
“Wonder Girl indeed.” He scoffed “Nighty night, sweetheart.”
“Hey, ugly!” Dick yelled, pulling one of his throwing weapons, or ‘Wing Dings’ as he’d dubbed them and hurling it at Lawton, watching as the projectile was shot out of the air “Remember me?”
“Should I?” Lawton said, taking a pot shot at Dick, who narrowly evaded “You son of a bitch! Only the Bat ever… Oh, I get it now. You know, people in Gotham think you’re dead, bird boy.”
“Sorry to disappoint.” Dick yelled, firing a grapple line up and watching as it was severed by one of Lawton’s bullets “That’s not very sporting!”
“Code of conduct from my new employers.” Lawton said, as Dick heard the older man’s foot steps coming towards him “No one knows about us and walks away.”
“Code of conduct from the people I tend to work with.” Dick said, smirking to himself as he stood up “Always watch your back.”
Lawton turned around, just in time to see Donna punch him in the face. Dick pulled a pair of handcuffs from his belt, crouching down and cuffing Lawton as he removed the wrist mounted guns, handing them to Donna who crushed them.
“What’s going on out here?” Came a voice from the door, Dick turning around to see Dathstroke and his daughter stood there, Deathstroke’s mask having been modified to cover the eye that had been injured earlier “Grayson.”
“Who’s that?” Dick quipped, charging Deathstroke and ducking under the assassin’s sword as he took a swing at Dick “Missed me. Then again, you have got the whole pop up pirate thing going on right now.”
“Shut up and fight, boy!” Deathstroke said as his daughter charged at Victor and a white and blue streak descended from above, Power Girl tackling Donna off the building “Just you and me. I’m even going to do this one for free, after what you did to my eye.”
“Come on then, big guy.” Dick said, pulling his escrima sticks “Let’s dance, bozo.”
Deathstroke took a swing with his sword, Dick parrying the strike with his sticks, causing them to glance off. As he did, Dick brought the blades on his left wrist up to the blade, jerking hard, pulling the sword from Deathstroke’s grip, causing it to clatter away to the edge of the roof.
Dick swung his sticks at Deathstroke, having his attack deflected by the sword of Deathstroke’s daughter, who proceeded to spin and kick him in the chest, knocking him back. Deathstroke pulled a short staff from his back, pressing a control, causing it to extend. He nodded to his daughter, who backed off.
“Just you and me!” Deathstroke yelled, pulling off his mask, revealing a man with greying black hair and a goatee, an eye patch over his damaged eye “Come at me, Grayson!”
“I told you, I don’t know who that is!” Dick yelled, charging Deathstroke and throwing one of his sticks at the assassin, having it knocked aside as Dick pressed a control on his belt, triggering the cape on the back of his suit, which Dick swung at Deathstroke as he pressed a button on one of his sticks “You’re in for a shock now!”
Dick pressed the control on his belt again, causing the cape to retract, bringing the stick up into the face of the dazed Deathstroke, an electric charge running through the assassins body, additional power arcing up from the stick on the floor. Dick saw a streak of blue energy go past his head, turning to see Deathstroke’s daughter on the floor, unconscious.
“She shouldn’t have left me to go help Daddy.” Victor quipped as he walked over to Dick “You know what happened to Donna?”
Donna was sent hurtling through the metal lockdown plates at the side of the building by the force of the punch thrown by Power Girl. She picked herself up weakly. She was battered and bruised; it was the first time since her powers had manifested last year that she’d fought someone as strong as her. Apparently, she could still be hurt like any normal person by someone strong enough.
“Surrender.” Power Girl said as she entered the room “You’re outmatched. Our powers may be equal, but I’ve been trained in combat by the best assassins in the world. Who trained you? The one night stand your Mom had in club Ares that led to you?”
Donna looked up at her opponent, angry.
“No one talks smack about my Mom!” Donna yelled, charging Power Girl, grabbing her and hurling her across the room, through the wall and into a cell with a blonde girl in a red t-shirt and yellow shorts “What the… Get out of here!”
“Thank you!” The girl yelled, turning to run, and disappearing in a blur of red and yellow, before ending up where she started “Oh my god…”
“So their plans did work.” Power Girl said, smirking as she stood up, grabbing the girl by the throat “What do we call you, Jesse Quick? No, that’s lame.”
Power Girl threw the girl, Jesse, at Donna, the pair of them being sent flying out of the window. Donna grabbed Jessie’s waist, catching them both in mid air as she pressed a control on the ear piece she wore.
“Wonder Girl to Nightwing, I need back up down here. Power Girl’s kicking my ass.” She said “Thirtieth floor, there’s a teenage Meta-Human, she looks pretty beat up.”
“Me and Cyborg are on our way.” Came Dick’s reply “ETA one minute.”
Donna grimaced as she flew herself and Jessie back to the window, setting the other girl down. She saw Jesse speed off to the side, turning just in time to see Power Girl charging at her in a blur of blue and white, sending Donna flying into the wall with her next strike.
“Time to die, Wonder Girl.” Power Girl said, mockingly “If it’s any consolation, I was engineered from Kryptonian genetics to fight the Justice League. Your little Titans never stood a chance.”
She pulled her hand back, ready to perform a killing strike. As she did, she winced, before staggering back, falling to the floor. Donna looked up, seeing Dick and Victor stood there, a fragment of green rock in Dick’s hand.
“After our first encounter with her, I decided to take the spare Kryptonite sample Batman left with me out of storage, in case she was what she appeared.” Dick said, advancing on Power Girl, the clone recoiling away from the green glow “Looks like I was right. You okay?”
“I’ll be fine.” Donna said with a nod, as Dick clenched a fist and threw a punch at Power Girl “You couldn’t let me do that?”
“If I wanted her dead, sure.” Dick quipped as he handed the Kryptonite to Victor “Keep her down, but keep exposure minimal. Too much will kill her.”
“Got it.” Victor said with a nod, inserting the Kryptonite into a port on his cannon hand “One Kryptonite cannon, made to order. Complete with stun setting.”
“Captain Kirk eat your heart out.” Dick said with a grin, turning to Jesse “Miss, get out of here. We’ll come and check on you later.”
“I can help.” Jesse said quickly, the words blurring into one, her catching her breath as she said “I was an intern here. I know the building layout.”
“Fine.” Dick said, rolling his eyes under his mask “But I tell you to go, you go. Clear?”
“Sure.” She said, pointing to the back end of the room “The elevator’s there.”
Lord stood in the Checkmate control room, watching the progress on the monitor. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t curious. Waller’s Suicide Squad had been chosen to take down the Justice League, and yet here were these three, barely more than children, taking them all down. It was impressive.
Fortunately, Lord was a persuasive man. He was sure he could deal with a group of kids.
“Amanda, clear the room.” He said to Waller, the men and women in the room beginning to leave “I’ll be in the lab.”
“Yes sir.” Waller said with a nod, turning and walking towards the exit.
As she did, Lord walked towards a door at the other end, entering the chamber with the Kryptonian. He pressed a few controls on the computer, a box coming up out of the floor. He picked it up, opening it to reveal a glowing green rock.
“Apologies, my dear.” He said as he began to wake up sequence “But we’re about to have company, and I need your help.”
The blonde girl fell out of the pod, Lord picking her up by the hand.
“The Titans are about to come through that door.” He said as he pressed another control, solar lamps coming online “You’re going to destroy them for me.”
“Wrong, Mr. Lorde.” Came a voice from behind him, Lord turning to see Wonder Girl, Jesse Chambers and the speaker, Nightwing “We’re already here. It’s over.”
Dick, Donna and Jesse stood facing down Lord. Behind him was a girl in a blue bodysuit, a red and yellow emblem that was very familiar on her chest.
“If they call him Superman, I guess that makes her Supergirl.” Lord said with a smirk “We’ve been able to decipher part of her database. We know her name and that she’s his cousin sent to Earth to protect him. I guess something happened that kept her stuck in stasis. Say hello, Kara.”
Kara charged at them, Jesse dodging the attack, Dick firing a grapple line to evade it and Donna making an attempt to catch her. It was almost like fighting Power Girl. Except Kara was new to her abilities, and they were barely active. Still, she could probably wear Donna down before tiring herself.
“Nightwing, get the Kryptonite from Lord!” She yelled as Kara hit her again “We need to take this Supergirl down!”
“You got it.” Dick said, turning to Jesse “Get out of here.”
Jesse paused, about to run away. After a second, she turned back.
“No way.” She said “He’s going to pay for what he put me through.”
Jesse charged Lord, grabbing the Kryptonite from him, tossing it to Dick, before beginning to hit Lord with a flurry of punches, before Lord finally caught one of them.
“You shouldn’t be fighting me.” He said, his eyes seemingly glowing bright blue for a second “You’d much rather help me fight your friends.”
“Yes… You’re right…” Jesse said, turning back to the others, charging Dick and knocking him off his feet, catching the Kryptonite as it fell “I’ll be taking that.”
“What the hell…” Dick said, before being hit with a flurry of punches to the ribs, feeling the body armour he wore beginning to buckle in places under the rapid blows “Donna… A little help…”
“I’m kind of busy!” Donna yelled as she threw Kara at the stasis pod, the device being dented as Kara fell to the floor “That has to keep me down.”
“No.” Kara said, as she stood up, her eyes glowing red “I was educated on the abilities I’d have under a yellow sun. If you thought they’d be inaccessible due to a lack of information, you were misinformed.”
“Oh shit.” Donna said before being blasted by Kara’s heat vision, Donna barely blocking it with the bracers she wore “Listen, Supergirl… Kara… Whatever your name is… Lord is controlling you.”
Then it hit her. Lord was controlling both Kara and Jesse. She turned to Dick.
“We need to regroup.” She called “I’ve got an idea.”
Dick looked at her for a moment as she gestured with her head slightly towards Lord. Dick nodded. He pressed a control on his escrima sticks, tossing them on the floor, Jesse tripping on one and having a small electric shock course through her, stunning her for a moment.
Dick took the opportunity, grabbing the Kryptonite she’d dropped and tossing it to Donna, who proceeded to hit Kara with a left hook that took her to the floor. As she did, Dick dived at Lord, tackling him to the floor.
“Are you sure you want to fight me?” Lord said, grabbing Dick’s arm, Dick punching him in response “What… Why are you still fighting?”
“Guess you missed the memo.” Dick replied “Insulated suit. Tactile abilities won’t get through it.”
“Then I’ll need to go for something that’s not insulated!” Lord said, grabbing for Dick’s face, having his reach smacked away by Dick over and over before finally making contact “Got you. Now, you’re going to pick up those sticks of yours, turn them to full power, and you’re going to use them as a defibrillator on yourself.”
Dick stood up wordlessly, slowly beginning to walk towards the sticks. Donna saw him pick them up, beginning to press various controls. She charged Lord, grabbing him by the collar.
“Call him off!” She yelled as Dick’s sticks began charging “Now!”
“No.” He said, reaching for her hands “And I think-”
Before Lord could give the order to her, Donna released him. She moved behind him and, in one swift movement, grabbed and snapped his neck with a sickening crunch. As she did, she saw Dick look down for a moment before tossing the sticks away, helping Jesse up before turning to Donna.
“What have you done?” He asked, his tone one of shock.
Dick stood in the Watchtower with Bruce. After Kara had come to, she’d been more than willing to help them demolish Chimtech, and the Checkmate headquarters with it. After that, they’d been able to introduce her to her cousin; needless to say, finding that her baby cousin was now about ten years older than her had been a , there’d been a difficult decision to make. That had led them to where they were.
The airlock opened from the Javelin shuttle, Donna being escorted out by Kara, now wearing red boots and a matching cape with her flight suit from before, and Kyle Rayner, the current Green Lantern. Donna looked at Dick and sighed.
“I’m sorry.” Dick said simply “I wish there was another way.”
“I know.” Donna replied “Just promise me one thing.”
“What?” Dick asked her.
“Promise that if you need me, you’re not going to let some sense of justice keep you from asking me to help.” She said “That’s all I’m going to ask.”
Dick paused. He wasn’t sure how to respond, and was acutely aware of Bruce looking over his shoulder at this point. He looked at the older man, at the empty, white stare of the cowl. He knew Bruce was against the idea. He always was.
“I’ll call if I need it.” Dick finally said “You turned yourself in for this, you agreed to be kept up here. You’re not a monster. You just made a bad call.”
Donna smiled at him before being led off. Dick turned back to Bruce, who was scowling.
“I think you’re being too soft.” Bruce said simply.
“And I think you’re too hard.” Dick replied with a smirk “Maybe one day we’ll find a happy middle ground.”
“Maybe.” Bruce said simply “Rayner’s on guard duty this week, he’ll keep her entertained.”
“I’m sure he will.” Dick said as he and Bruce entered the Javelin “So, what’s the plan, Batman?”
“I hate that joke.” Bruce grimaced as the airlock closed “I’m due back in Gotham. Jason’s been in a medically induced coma for the last week and we’re bringing him to today. What about you?”
“Back to Bludhaven, I guess.” Dick said, Bruce taking the controls of the space craft “City’s not going to take care of itself.”
“They never do.” Bruce said, pressing a control for cruise before releasing the controls, turning to Dick “What about your little team? Barry tells me he’s giving that girl a hand with getting control of her speed, though they’re struggling to come up with a name; at the moment, they’re going with ‘Impulse,’ but the ‘Jesse Quick’ pun has kind of stuck with her.”
“I hear it was a good one.” Dick said with a grin “Does she need to stay up there?”
“Until we’re sure she won’t kill again, yes.” Bruce said “If it were up to me, she’d be in the containment facility with Grundy, Parasite and Reverse Flash.”
“Well, good thing it was my call.” Dick said, pausing “Okay, it was hers when I told her the alternatives were Iron Heights and your suggestion, but still!”
Bruce almost cracked a smile for a second. If Dick hadn’t seen it, he might not have believed it. After a moment, Bruce coughed slightly, breaking the silence.
“Barbara told me…” He began, pausing “She told me that she’d like you to come back. I told her that was a silly idea, that you’re your own man, but-”
“I guess I could visit.” Dick said, slightly awkwardly “Just for a little while, for her sake. And let’s face it, if the newbie is going to be going off half cocked all the time, you’ll be too busy with him to really protect Gotham. Victor can handle Bludhaven for a little while.”
“Good.” Bruce said, before a light beeped, Bruce pressing the control for the communication system, Kara’s image appearing on the screen “Go ahead.”
“Kal’s in trouble. Some kind of enhanced clone.” Kara said “We need to help him. Flash and Impulse are already there.”
“I need to check in with Robin, then I’ll be there. Batman out.” Bruce replied, cutting the line “I’ll drop you off, Dick. I’ll be back within half an hour.”
“Just like the old days.” Dick smirked “Think you can still work with me, that Barbara and Jason haven’t ruined you yet?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Bruce half growled.
“Just that you’re getting older.” Dick grinned “And I call the shots now.”
Bruce rolled his eyes in the cowl. Finally, he spoke.
“We’ll see about that.” He said, smirking as he added “Robin.”
To be continued….
Hi Guys please let me know if you want me to continue this story arc in the comment section…