A grounded reworking of the Wonder Woman mythos that aims to create a version of her that could exist in the real world, Wonder Woman and the Bringer of Fire takes inspiration from the actual ancient Greek myths about the Amazons and modern day events to create a story that’s both relevant in the modern day and pays respect to the character.
I dnt own DC characters
Luthor couldn’t help but smile as he turned up the volume on his television and listened to the news anchor speak.
“Evacuations continue on the island of Themiscyra, which was thrown into turmoil after the island’s small male population revolted against the matriarchal government.”
The pieces were falling into place, and the businessman knew that it was only a matter of time before he’d be able to move forward.
“The already economically strained Greek government is expected to spend millions housing and feeding the thousands of refugees from the small island, which, until now, had only received limited contact with the outside world.”
As the anchor spoke, the image changed to a video of crowds climbing off of enormous cargo ships, and being led into camps with barbed wire fences on all sides.
“The decision to intervene in the affairs of the once sovereign nation has been met with criticism. Greece’s Prime Ministers stands by his choice, saying that ‘The people here are Greek citizens, and we will work to make sure that they receive the rights they are entitled to.’ However, some have speculated that one, if not multiple third parties may have played a hand in the decision.”
“Mercy, pack my essentials and get the Learjet ready,” Luthor said, pressing a button on his intercom. “And tell LexCorp’s Athens branch that I’ll be coming for an extended stay.”
To say that the queen of Themiscyra felt insulted would have been putting it lightly.
“I don’t know who this wretched fool is that assigned me to these quarters, but I will find and punish them!”
Her handmaidens had heard this rant many times before, and, just as they always had, they smiled and nodded, reassuring her that her accommodations, which were the same size as everyone else’s, were not befitting of royalty.
“All they do is pile insult upon injury,” the queen said, holding the identification card that the Greek customs officer had assigned her. It had been printed only weeks after the men of her domain had revolted and days after her queendom had been dismantled. “Diana Prince” was the name on the plastic card, and the irony had not escaped her.
“I will not stand for this much longer.” She charged through the tent flaps, and every person moved from her path. This was in part due to her wild temper, but mostly due to the xiphos on her hip, which customs had allowed her to keep on the grounds of it being an ancient heirloom.
“Your majesty, perhaps it would be best if we remained indoors.”
“Yes, your majesty. Outside, you are very exposed.”
“Nonsense. We have nothing to fear from these heathens.” She pointed her sword directly at the soldiers watching the fence. Every single one was heavily armed, and had a single word written across their vest, “LexCorp”.
“Men cannot be true warriors. They are too brutish and slow.”
“That may be true, your majesty, but-” The handmaiden stopped and stared in complete shock as a piece of rotting fruit struck their queen in the head.
“Who dares to assault me?!”
“To Hades with you, tyrant!” screamed a group of men. The men and women of Themiscyra had been kept in different camps, with guard towers and extra fences in between them. However, that didn’t stop the males from showing their displeasure towards their queen.
“May Cerberus devour you!”
The queen refused to allow them to insult her. “Those will be your last words!” she cried, before drawing her xiphos and hacking through the metal fence, as if it were tissue paper.
The men ran at the sight of the queen charging towards them, but there was no need. Her vision became clouded when a dart filled with sedatives struck her in the arm. A second tranquilizer dropped her to her knees, but it took a third to finally stop her from crawling toward the fence, sword outstretched.
“She’s completely nuts.”
“Should we drag her back?”
“I’m not touching her as long as she’s holding that sword. Get a drone to do it.”
Cold metal pincers locked around the queen’s waist, and soon one of the hovering robots was pulling her back to her tent, in front of all her subjects.
As the women crowded around to see their once proud queen drugged and docile, the royal heiress saw anger on all of them, and it only grew as the soldiers spread throughout the crowds, shouting about punishment for their leader’s behavior and the cutting of rations.
The queen sat in her tent for hours, waiting for the drugs to wear off.
Eventually, her handmaidens returned, and she asked them, bluntly, “What were those men talking about, when they spoke of rations?”
“Well, your majesty, our food supplies are limited.”
“When did this happen? I have not felt the effects of any food shortage.”
The handmaidens looked at one another before tentatively revealing, “It has been a problem since we arrived here, and our supplies have only shrunk since then.”
“You kept me in the dark? Why would you not tell me of this?” She cried, reaching for her sheathe, and then picking up the nearest blunt object when she realized that her sword had been stolen.
Seeing the Handmaidens cower in fear filled the queen with a sense of pride, but also reminded her of the angry subjects who had stared at her with hatred in their eyes.
Perhaps it was the realization that violence wouldn’t solve all of her problems, or perhaps it was the sedatives, but the queen put down her weapon, and stepped away.
She picked up an ornate shield from her bedside, and looked at herself in its reflection.
“I was caught off guard by the revolt and then unable to defend my people from the battleships that came to our borders. I will not fail my people again. Go out amongst them, and tell everyone to stay strong. I must leave to find out why these strangers have pulled us away from our island.”
“Your majesty, are you sure that that is a good idea?”
“Where would you even start looking?”
She pulled a new sword from a nearby chest and once again barged through the tent flaps, but this time, she pointed her weapon at a new target.
“That building must be where the soldiers and the boats came from, for it bears the same strange words upon it. I am going to the place known as ‘LexCorp’.”
“Approaching the podium is Lex Luthor, owner of LexCorp,” the Prime Minister announced, before his guest was allowed to speak. “Please note that Mr. Luthor does, in fact, have business interests surrounding this debate, which shall be noted for the record.”
The businessman stepped up to the microphone, as the stenographers continued to pound on their keyboards and translators prepared to interpret his message to the men of the Greek Parliament. Luthor’s translator spoke to him through his earpiece, allowing the businessman to stand alone at the podium. He didn’t like sharing the spotlight.
“So, tell us, Mr. Luthor. What have you come here to say?”
“Well, the truth is, Prime Minister, everything I plan to say, you already know.” The members of Parliament looked at each other in confusion.
“You already know that a woman has to right to choose how she lives her life. You already know that modern women are strong and independent. However, to me, the most important and fulfilling thing that a woman can ever do is become a mother. It wasn’t just men who were being oppressed on the island of Themiscyra, through servitude, it was also women who were being kept under the thumb of a tyrannical regime, by never being given the choice to become mothers. Instead, they were forced to be warriors and providers, and never allowed to consider the valid life choice of becoming a loving wife and homemaker.”
The mumblings of the politicians sounded like gibberish to most, but Luthor could read their lips and faces, and he knew that he had struck a chord with them.
“We should not even be considering sending these poor souls back to their homeland, for to do so would be sentencing them to a life of slavery. It is the duty of this government to ensure that every citizen is given choice in how they live their lives, and to assume that every single one of these women was happy with the masculine role that society forced on them would be ridiculous, would it not?”
Luthor fought not to smile. Even though the Prime Minister was doing his best to keep a straight face, his subtle body language betrayed him. He’d eaten up every word.
“Mr. Luthor, I will not indicate towards my own personal leanings, as that would be unethical, but, hypothetically, if the people of Themiscyra were to remain in Athens, their care would be expensive. Since you have such strong feelings on this subject, would you be willing to donate a piece of your fortune to help clothe and house these people?”
“Well, I’m not sure that I would be capable of doing that. My finances are diversified. They’re tied up in stock, foreign markets and things of that nature. I’m sure you understand. However, I do believe that LexCorp could offer assistance, in trade.”
“Has that been your goal all along, Luthor? To extort us?”
“Of course not. I may be wealthy, but I don’t just leave millions of dollars lying around my house, and acquiring it from my own company for a personal project, no matter how charitable, would be embezzlement. A small trade would be legally required in order for me to help.”
“I see your point, but what is it that you will ask of us?”
This time, Luthor couldn’t help but smile.
“Something easy. Something free. Something insignificant. Something that won’t cost your taxpayers a dime. Something that technically hasn’t been owned by Greece since the rise of the Roman Empire. Something that would just sit idle otherwise. The island of Themiscyra.”
He strode out of the room feeling especially proud. It would take a few days for the paperwork to be drawn up, but the plan was underway.
Luthor climbed into his limousine, where two others were waiting for him. His assistant, Mercy, was, as always, dressed professionally, but with a button up shirt that she could easily open or close, depending on whether sexuality or threats would get her what she needed.
“I’d say that went well,” she told him.
“Yes, better than expected.”
“We’ve been having some trouble down at the camp. A few of the warriors from Themiscyra have been getting rowdy and cutting through the fences. We’ll need to beef up security if LexCorp is going to maintain those security contracts.”
“How much are they worth?”
“After fees and taxes, our profit will be approximately $200,000 per month.”
“That’s it? Did you cut the cost of supplies, like I asked?”
“We’ve been using the cheapest food suppliers we can find, and looking for any reason to cut their rations.”
“See if you can use the warrior’s aggression to extort a few more cents out of the Prime Minister. Tell him that the more dangerous they are, the higher the cost of holding them will be. Anything less than $500,000 isn’t worth getting out of bed for.”
“I agree, which is why I question why you choose to cut into your profit margin by hiringâ€¦” Mercy glanced at the third person sitting in the car. “By hiring extra security.”
“Security? I thought I was just here to be your translator,” the man said, sarcastically. He pulled an earpiece with a microphone out of his trench coat and tossed it in Luthor’s lap.
“Oh, you’re much more than that. My guards can handle those warriors, but before the revolt, my moles on Themiscyra brought back some ratherâ€¦ interesting reports about their queen. I don’t think she’ll stay in captivity for long, and I need you to be ready to stop her.”
“Well, killing royalty is my specialty.”
The limousine pulled into LexCorp’s sublevel, and the three passengers climbed out.
“It’s only a matter of time before she tries to escape, so wait down by the camp,” Luthor told the man in the trench coat. Now that he stood up, Mercy could see how bulky he looked. No doubt from some form of armor he wore beneath his trench coat.
“Mr. Luthor!” said the driver, climbing out of the car. “I’ve been ordered to get you out of here. The most recent headcount at the camp says that they’re missing someone.”
“Well, that didn’t take long.”
“I’m surprised she didn’t make more of a scene,” said Luthor. “It seems like she might be taking a more subtle approach than I had anticipated. Wait here for her.”
“Where are you going to go?”
“Probably to dinner, and then a five star hotel. I’m craving steak.”
Luthor and Mercy climbed back inside the car, and as the two of them drove away, Mercy looked back and saw the mercenary putting on a purple helmet and drawing a white nightstick from his coat.
“You! Underling!” shouted the queen of Themiscyra, as she pointed to the LexCorp guard sitting behind the building’s front desk. “Where is your woman?”
“Where is your wife?”
She grabbed him by the collar and pulled him over his desk, until his nose was almost touching the polished metal of her helmet. “Go back to her, now, unless you want others to think you are some gentleman of the night.”
The armored queen dropped the poor man, and stomped through the lobby of the LexCorp building, where both men and women in suits, who had previously looked confused at her presence, ran screaming as she pulled out her sword and put on her bandolier of knives.
“Who is your leader?” she screamed at the top of her lungs. “I demand answers!”
The only response she received came from the robotic drones, which fell from the ceiling and hovered in midair.
“Please, drop your weapon. There is no need for violence.”
The only thing that surprised the queen more than how annoying the drone’s mechanical voices were, was how easily her sword cut through them. She knew that Themiscyran metal was strong, and that the blacksmiths who had forged her sword and armor had spent three decades smelting the most perfect materials they could find and hammering out every possible impurity, but she also thought her enemies would put just as much effort into their creations.
“Please, dro-“ was as far as the next one got, before it was sliced in half, and two more fell soon after.
“Threat Level Elevated”.
Guns popped out from hidden compartments on the drones, and unleashed a volley of 45mm rounds. Unfortunately for the drones, they weren’t powerful enough to get through the queen’s armor, but they were strong enough to knock her around.
She held up her shield and stood firm as the bullets rained down, but as two more drones closed in behind her, she dived as far as she could before throwing her shield at one of them and her sword at the other.
Both of the machines dropped to the ground, and she made short work of the others using a shower of knives.
As she caught her breath and did her best to retrieve all of her lost projectiles, the lobby suddenly was bathed in red, and the queen’s heart sank as one of the plaster walls was lifted away.
A powerful engine roared as a massive automaton rolled into the lobby, with huge tank treads and gun barrels the size of an elephant’s trunk.
“Please, desist. This is your last warning.”
“Do not try to give orders to me, machine! I will not-”
The queen flew across the room and crashed through the front doors. Her armored form landed on the sidewalk outside and blood dripped slowly out from between her armored plates.
Pedestrians ran screaming as the queen laid motionless on the ground. White hot pain filled every joint and muscle of her body.
One more shot from that drone’s cannon would kill her, but the queen rose anyway, slowed, but still determined.
She stood up straight and went on the offensive, diving back into the lobby and sprinting for her life as automatic fire ripped apart everything behind her.
As she dashed in a circle, around the metal behemoth, it began to move toward the center of the lobby. However, she was just barely able to run fast enough to kick off the wall behind it and land on its deck.
The moment she touched it’s shell, smaller drones began to pour out of the larger model, determined to tear her off of her target. When she realized that her sword and shield had been lost, the queen quickly pulled a large knife from her boot and slashed apart as many drones as she could, as they continued to emerge. When her knife was shot out of her hand, she grabbed every drone within reach and ripped them apart with her bare hands. Those that she couldn’t reach, she hit with her throwing knives, and when her knives ran out, she tore apart drones by throwing or stabbing jagged metal that she ripped off the tank. And when even that was no longer viable, she ripped off pieces of her own armor and hurled them with enough force shatter the drones into pieces.
When the final flying nuisance had been taken care of, the queen was finally able to turn her attention to the tank. Both of her gauntlets had been tossed away, and electricity singed her hands as she reached between the metal plates and tore out every tube and wire she could get her hands on.
Soon the machine was sputtering and slowed, but it still remained operational. The queen, now beginning to lose hope as the pain of her injuries caught up with her, quieted her mind and whispered, “Athena, give me strength” as she tore away yet another layer of the tank’s armor, exposing a mass of circuit boards and even more wires.
The queen took off her breastplate, which had cracked from taking the full force of the cannon blast. She split the metal sheet in two, and strapped the pieces onto her arms, forming a pair of jagged gauntlets, which she repeatedly stabbed into the heart of the robotic beast.
As it slowly died and sparks flew from its carcass, the queen dropped to the ground and salvaged what was left of her armor and weapons. Her helmet was lost, along with her gauntlets. She was able to find her bandolier and about half of her throwing knives, but her shield was underneath the tank’s massive treads and moving it wouldn’t be possible.
She pulled the armor from her left leg and tore the neck guard from around her throat as well. Both had become damaged during the battle and were now basically useless. The leg pieces had been chafing her, leaving a line down her shin where the skin had been slowly stripped away with every step, and the guard, though it had probably saved her from breaking her neck, was now bent and pressing against her windpipe.
“At least I’ll be faster, now,” she said, feeling lighter now that she only had to carry her back plate, right leg pieces and shoulder guards.
She headed down the first hallway she found, injured and bleeding, but not dissuaded.
“My God, she’s so strong,” Luthor said, taking another bite of his well done steak.
“Far stronger than a normal human.” Using Mercy’s phone, the two of them were able to watch the queen battle the tank on LexCorp’s security cameras, while enjoying a meal, three cities away.
“I don’t know what’s worse,” Mercy said to her boss, “The fact that you came to Greece and wanted to eat at an American steakhouse, or that you ordered your meat practically burned.”
“Well, I’m sorry that I like my food fully cooked,” he responded, sarcastically.
“You’re basically eating shoe-leather. In times like these I remember that you weren’t born with money.”
“In times like these I remember that I should have fired you a long time ago.”
“But no one else can keep your ego in check.” Mercy pulled out her phone as she finished her sentence.
“Who’s texting you? You’re new husband?”
“Yes. He’s upset about my impromptu trip. He thinks I’m not home enough. I’ll get him a new Porsche and he’ll forget about it.”
“This is the artist from Queens, right? Isn’t he a little young for you?”
“Do you really want to have this conversation? Should I bring up a few of your old loves?”
The two of them took a moment to enjoy their food, soaking in the atmosphere and listening as their waiter, who had an accent as thick as his moustache, tried to speak with a Texas drawl.
However, soon Mercy leaned in told Luthor, “We need to talk business. There’s a woman rampaging through LexCorp right now, and you don’t even seem worried.”
“We only have one or two controversial projects being worked on there and the money we’ll extort once she’s recaptured will go up with everything she destroys. More destruction means more danger, which means we can charge more for running the camp.”
“But our guards let her escape.”
“I made sure that were a few local policemen sprinkled through the guard roster. We’ll forge a few sign-in sheets, say one of them was on duty at the time and then buy their silence. It’ll cost ten thousand, at most.”
“You really do plan for every contingency, don’t you?”
“I like to be prepared,” Luthor said, switching to a different camera view. “Now, let’s watch closely. I believe that our extra security is about to arrive.”
Luthor’s ace-in-the-hole took detailed mental notes of everything the queen did. Even as she ran down the hallways, his mind raced as he looked for potential weaknesses to exploit.
“You! Get over here!” she shouted to a worker as she entered the loading dock.
“Are you alright?” he asked her. It was a natural response, given that the woman was bleeding and bruised, but the worker should really have paid more attention to the weapons strapped to her body.
As soon as he got close to her, she grabbed him and held a knife to his throat. “Where is the ruler of LexCorp?”
“Lex Luthor? I don’t know. I’m just a forklift operator.” More workers showed up, but didn’t dare come closer.
“This Lex Luthor is your master?”
“Sure. Whatever. Please, don’t hurt me!”
“Let him go.” The queen turned and watched as a strange man crept from the shadows. A purple helmet adorned his head, and his trench coat barely hid his advanced armor, which included a set of bronze combat gloves.
The queen was tired and sore, but, even in this state, she could never back down to a challenger, and she knew that this man meant business. “How dare you speak to me in this way. Do you know who I am?”
“A slave driver from a backwater third-world island?”
A knife raced past his face, which he was barely fast enough to dodge. Luckily, she’d had to let go of the worker in order to throw the projectile, allowing him to rejoin his friends and escape.
She menacingly scraped her gauntlets together, sharpening them into a set of even more savage weapons. “What is your name?”
“You can call me Prometheus.”
The queen looked at him, confused. “The bringer of fire? You’ve named yourself for the one who advanced humanity and gave us independence from the Gods?”
“Yup, that’s the one.” He wanted to keep her talking for as long as possible and keep analyzing her. He knew he’d need as much information as possible to take down the warrior queen.
“I am intrigued by you, Prometheus, but that will not stop me from killing you. In order for them to know their place, men must be punished when they step out of line.”
“I should have known you were a Dom.”
The queen raised her gauntlets, while Prometheus raised his fists, and, of course, the aggressive queen was the first to make a move.
Not expecting much from the male before her, she took two quick stabs at his torso and one swipe at his head, testing his abilities. He far exceeded her expectations, not only dodging her attacks, but by making a few jabs at her, which she thought she had evaded, until she looked down and saw that one of her gauntlets was missing.
Her anger grew as she saw him smile and toss the weapon aside.”
She charged again, putting her full strength behind every swing. She had no desire in her mind, other than to chop Prometheus in half, but the man was proving to be a much more competent warrior than she could ever have thought.
Every swing she took seemed to miss, and was met with a blow to her torso. He wasn’t as strong as the warriors she had fought on Themiscyra, but every shot he took struck a bruise or an already broken rib with pinpoint accuracy, causing her massive pain.
However, the queen’s anger grew alongside her discomfort, and moments after another failed lunge, she called out, “Enough of this!”, and kicked him into a stack of shipping crates.
It didn’t take him long to jump back to his feet, but the queen was ready for him.
“Dodge this, you little cretin!”
Prometheus jumped out of the way as a sheet of metal shot past him so hard and so fast that it tore through the metal crates behind him like tissue paper. However, he didn’t have to chance to stop and marvel at the queen’s strength. More projectiles were already flying at his head.
The man used the metal sheet now lodged in the crate as a stepping stone to leap on top of the container, as wooden pallets shattered around him and large pieces of metal grazed his body.
The queen unleashed a roar that could be heard across Athens and rushed forward, kicking the enormous shipping crate out from under Prometheus, and forcing him to come down to her level.
The queen used her remaining gauntlet to deflect a flurry of blows from Prometheus, who had drawn his nightstick.
Despite his incredible speed, his offensive capabilities were limited against his much stronger opponent, and once the queen managed to grab his weapon, she unleashed a blow that, once again, sent him flying across the room.
He rose slower this time, but he rose nonetheless, and pulled a pistol from his coat. The queen dive away, expecting gunfire, but was surprised to see him fire it at the ceiling and grapple away.
She tried to grab him as he came back down for his nightstick, but in less than a second he was back in the rafters and out of sight.
She saw small objects being tossed out of the darkness, and soon explosions rang out all over the room, bringing high stacks of crates and sections of the wall down on top of her. She desperately tried to stay out of the way, but soon realized that she no longer held the advantage in this fight.
One last crate came down, with one end crashing to the floor and the other landing on top of the queen.
Prometheus dropped to the ground as she struggled to carry the enormous weight, but, after only a few seconds, her knees were beginning to buckle.
“What did you expect to find here?” he asked her.
“Answers,” the queen told him, between gritted teeth. “I am the rightful ruler of Themiscyra, and I deserve answers for why my people have been detained, so I can save them.”
The wounded man laughed in the face of the queen. “That’s ironic. You want to know why you’re people were moved? It was so they could be saved from you.”
As the last of her strength ebbed away, Prometheus used his grapple to pull her out from under the crate, just before it could crush her.
“Did you tell him to bring her in alive?” Mercy asked her boss, as they took an elevator down into the bowels of LexCorp.
“Of course not. This makes things much more complicated.”
“I don’t think even you can turn this mess around.”
“Mercy, that’s something you have yet to fully grasp. I can always turn things in my favor.”
The two of them entered a room, where a private cell had been set up for the queen, with specialized reinforcements that had been built to contain superhumans. However, armed guards still stood in every corner, ready to open fire at a moment’s notice.
“So, this is the queen of Themiscyra,” Luthor said, pompous as always.
Prometheus sat on top of a nearby desk, meditating, without his helmet, armor or even his coat. “She can’t understand you, Luthor.”
At the mention of his name, the queen jumped to her feet, ran to the transparent wall of the cage and began shouting in a language he couldn’t comprehend.
“I can’t tell what she’s saying.”
“She’s speaking Greek,” Prometheus told him, “But it’s a very old dialect.”
“Can you still understand her?”
Luthor looked at the woman. The beauty of her face and the long dark hair that hung around her shoulders stood in contrast to the burns and bruises on her hands, and the still bleeding wounds on her body.
“Ask her why she came here.”
“I already know. She wanted to know why her people were taken off the island.”
“You’ve already interrogated her?”
“I asked a few basic questions. That’s all.”
Through the whole conversation, Prometheus never opened his eyes, nor did he move at all. Luthor found it unsettling.
The queen approached once again, and Luthor didn’t need to understand her to feel the anger in her voice.
“What is she saying now?”
“She’s just a ranting about men. It’s nothing important.”
“Tell me anyway.”
The male warrior listened to the queen for a few more moments before speaking. “Here’s the rough translation. She actually thought Mercy was Lex Luthor when you walked in, because men shouldn’t be rulers. They lie halfway between humans and animals. That is why they are so awkwardly large, with extra hair and small minds. Without a woman guiding them, their thoughts would become scattered and they wouldn’t be able to function.”
“Yes,” Mercy said, smiling. “Very interesting.”
“Well, I supposed we can deal with this in the morning. Can you keep her contained?”
“It won’t be a problem,” Prometheus assured him.
Luthor left without another word, ignoring the cries of the woman in the cage.
“Why did you let him go?” the queen screamed to Prometheus, at the top of her lungs.
“Because you had nothing important to say.”
“How dare you! I am-”
“What you are no longer matters,” he said, finally rising and moving over to her. “All the titles and bravado in the world won’t get you out of that cage. Do yourself a favor and get that through your thick head.”
He returned to the desk, where he began meditating once again, in order to speed the healing of his wounds.
The queen, however, found herself unable to relax or clear her mind.
“Why do you hate me so much?”
“I was paid to stop you from destroying LexCorp.”
“There is more to it than that. I know it. You’re not just a simple mercenary.”
Prometheus opened his eyes.
“I hate royalty. I hate entitlement. I hate monarchies. I hate power being in the hands of people who don’t deserve it.”
“And yet you work for a wealthy man.”
“At least Luthor earned every dollar he has. He might be sleazy and underhanded, but he gained his fortune through intelligence, not inheritance, and I respect him for that.”
“Are you saying that I didn’t earn the right to be queen?”
“That’s the exact definition of a monarchy.”
The queen turned her back to him and lifted the bloodied linen shirt she had been wearing underneath her armor. Beneath it, from her left shoulder to her right thigh, stretched a long and ugly scar, where the skin of her back had been opened like the pages of a book.
“In the battle circle, anyone can challenge the queen’s right to rule. I earned my throne every single day.”
Prometheus approached her, and placed his hand on the glass.
“My mother was old when she gave birth to me,” the queen told him. “Some even called me a miracle child, but it took a toll on her, and she wasn’t able to fight after that. She trained me to be her surrogate, defending the throne as she grew older.”
“How old were you when you got that scar?”
She turned back to him. “Thirteen. I hate myself for the fact that I never learned diplomacy or leadership from her. Instead, I spent every moment either fighting, or training for when the next fight came. They called me the wonder child, when I was younger, because I could take down adults twice my size, but, to this day, I still feel as if…” For a moment, the words were stuck in her throat. “…As if, despite all the blood I lost in that arena, and all the suffering I went through, I still wasn’t meant to rule. I still don’t feel like I’m good enough.”
Prometheus was thoroughly surprised by her story, and looked at her with both surprise and sympathy in his eyes.
“What about you?” she asked him. “I’ve hear stories about warriors from the mainland, who lost loved ones to criminals and devoted their lives to fighting crime, anywhere they found it.”
Prometheus chuckled. “Yeah, there are a lot of heroes like that.”
“Is that what happened to you?”
Silence hung over the two of them, until the queen’s curiosity got the better of her.
“Are you going to tell me what happened?”
“Well,” he started, his words heavy and pained. “I don’t like to talk about it, but let’s just say that it wasn’t criminals who took my family.”
The queen put her hand on the glass, less than in inch away from his.
“My parents were bad people. They deserved to be punished, but they still raised me. SWAT teams kicked down our door and put both of them on their knees, before taking their lives, and the worst part of it was that, after it was done, the man who pulled the trigger, with their blood splattered on his vest, turned to me and said, ‘It’s ok, son. They’re the bad guys.'”
“I’m sorry,” she said to him.
“It happens.” Prometheus looked up at her, and their tired eyes met. “In a world filled with warriors and superhumans, and where a badge is all you need to get away with murder, someone has to be around to keep the heroes in check, and I’ve spent my entire life training to do exactly that. If that makes me a villain, then so be it.”
The two of them looked at each other for a very long time, contemplating the fact that they had just revealed their darkest secrets to a person they had tried to kill only a few hours earlier. It was a strange thought for both of them, but nothing about this day had been normal.
“I just realized that I don’t know your name,” she said to him.
“Charles Hampton. What’s yours?”
The queen thought for a moment, and then laughed. “I guess you should call me Diana. Diana Prince. Although, I did have another name on the island.”
“Are they actually getting along?”
“It would seem so,” said Luthor, while sitting in his office, on the top floor of LexCorp. “That’s certainly unexpected. His deep hatred of authority was half the reason I hired him.”
“Well, we’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t let her go. We just need to keep her locked inside for a few days, and the plan won’t be in jeopardy.”
“He won’t let her out.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because I know people. Just trust me.”
As Mercy’s phone went off, and she left to take the call, she turned to Luthor and told him, “I hope you’re right about this.”
The CEO went back to watching the screen, where he could see the two warriors speaking.
“You’re not going to take this from me,” he thought to himself, as he watched the queen. “That island could generate billions, in the right hands.”
Instantly, his mind was filled with thoughts of bulldozing the slums for beachfronts homes and turning the temples and other stone buildings, which had been perfectly maintained for thousands of years, into museums and attractions for sunburned tourists.
All that revenue would go straight into his pocket, and all he had to do was keep those island peasants locked away, until the world forgot about them.
“We have a problem,” Mercy said.
“The Prime Minister wants to meet with her.”
“What? How did he find out that she escaped so soon?”
“Lex, people saw an armored woman walking down the streets of a major city. There were explosions in our building, one of which threw her out the front doors. It couldn’t have been hard to figure out.”
Luthor slammed his fist down onto his desk, horrified that his plan could end if the queen could convince the Prime Minister to allow her people to return home.
However, his anger soon abated, and Mercy saw her boss stand up and begin laughing uncontrollably.
“What’s so funny?”
It took Luthor a moment before he could even speak. “I just thought of something. We need her to disappear, and do you know who would be perfect to carry out a job like that? A mercenary who hates royalty.” He began laughing again. “Unfortunately, the one I bought seems to be defective.”
He threw the screen off of his desk and stomped it into pieces.
“So, what’s our next move?”
“The queen needs to die, but we can’t be connected to it, which means that it needs to be a third-party assassin.”
“I can have Wilson here in less than six hours.”
“No, not him. If it looks like we can’t stop a single assassin, then the government will pull our contracts on the camp. Not only will that cost us money, but we don’t want them looking too closely at the measures we’ve taken to make that place profitable.”
“So what do we do?”
Luthor thought for a very long time. The situation seemed hopeless at first, but, just as always, a sinister idea wormed its way into his mind.
“The Greek government can’t condone us for not stopping one assassin, if that assassin killed one of their own. It’ll also throw suspicion off of us, if her death is linked to a spree, rather than being an isolated incident.”
He looked at the broken screen, lying on the ground, that flickered off and on with an image of Prometheus.
“When was the last death of a member of the Greek Parliament?”
Mercy looked up the information on her phone. “Two months ago. He was found dead in his home, after suffering a heart attack.”
Luthor smiled. “Find the coroner who determined the cause of death, and start moving some funds around. We’ll need to bribe him to come forward and announce something to the media for us.”
“What’s he going to say?”
“That the Prime Minister was poisoned, but he was threatened into not saying anything about it, by a man in a purple helmet and a trench coat.”
“What was it like?”
“Brutal. I spent a year out in that jungle, but after that I became a pit fighter in a city called Rio.”
“I think I’d like to see this place. You called it the Amazon, right?”
“Yeah. What about you? What is Themiscyra like?”
“It’s beautiful. The sand on the beaches is pure white, and there is a quarry on the north side of the island that produces the most brilliant pink marble you’ll ever see.”
“I used to love the beach, when I was younger.”
“So did I, but some parts were filled with these ugly shacks and pens where we kept theâ€¦”
Prometheus looked at her, and the queen froze, mid-sentence. As she looked at him, she realized the awful thing she was about to say, and she knew that he had realized it too.
The thought still rang in her head. “That was where we kept the men.”
The moment was interrupted when both warriors noticed all of the LexCorp guards squirming simultaneously, as an unexpected voice spoke into their earpieces. When the message was done, all of them turned and left the room.
Well, all but one, who did something strange. He pulled a television from a nearby locker, sat in the queen’s view and turned on the news.
“Humanitarian foundations are still fighting to be allowed inside the camp, where, according to sources inside of LexCorp, the refugees from Themiscyra are being starved and mistreated.”
“What? How could this happen?”
Prometheus went back to meditating, as the queen watched the screen.
“No one is sure exactly what is going on inside, but the guards have erected wooden walls around the camp, keeping anyone from seeing inside. LexCorp claims that this extra security is necessary, since the queen of Themiscyra escaped the camp, while others say that LexCorp is simply trying to hide to atrocities they are committing, in an attempt to turn a profit.”
“How dare they!”
“Don’t start getting worked up.”
“Shut up!” The queen shouted. “Don’t you see what is happening? I need to get out and save my people.”
She began punching the walls of her cage, trying desperately to escape.
“That won’t work. The cage was designed to hold-”
The cage cracked before Prometheus could finish.
“I need to get out of here. You travelled the world, honing your skills, because you wanted to bring justice and fight oppressors. Tell me then, does that look like justice to you?”
She pointed to the television, where a cameraman zoomed in on the slim and hungry people of Themiscyra, before the guards tossed them away and continued putting up their wall.
“The Prometheus of old tried to liberate man from his cruel masters. Isn’t that your goal, as well?”
The male warrior walked away from her, grabbed his helmet and left the room.
“I think things may finally be getting underway,” said Luthor, as the security cameras lost their feed.
“You’re very trusting.”
“I know people, Mercy. Getting her worked up and angry was the push that he needed. He’s just left to get his armor and he’ll be returning to bash the queen’s brains out very soon.
Prometheus did return in fact to the cell, with his armor and a duffle bag.
He opened up the door of the cage, where the queen was waiting for him, but, to her surprise, he didn’t make a move against her. Instead, he tossed the duffel bag over to her, and inside she found gauze, her old armor, her sword and shield, all of her knives and even a brand new set of high-tech armor.
“It’s time to bring down a god.”
“Who did this belong to?” Diana asked, as she and Prometheus made their way through the twisting hallways of LexCorp.
“I’m not really sure,” he told her, looking at the ‘NM’ insignia that had been engraved on the front. “All I know is that it’s from one of Luthor’s old projects that failed miserably.”
Suddenly, he stopped, right in the middle of the hallway.
“The cameras are back online.” Prometheus’s helmet allowed him to observe and hijack every piece of electronic equipment in the building, and he could even see the exact camera Luthor was watching them from.
“There.” He pointed up to a camera mounted on the ceiling, before showing it his middle finger.
“Well, this is unexpected,” said a voice from nowhere, but Prometheus recognized it right away. “I didn’t expect you to betray me, Charles.”
“Maybe you don’t know people as well as you think?”
Screens dropped from the ceiling, and Luthor’s face appeared all around the two of them.
“I assume you’re on your way to the camp. Unfortunately, I can’t let you go back to there.”
“You want to stop us?” The queen asked, with Prometheus acting as translator between the two of them. “How can you sleep at night while my people are starving?”
“Don’t act high and mighty. We both know that there were more than a few starving slaves living on your island, but you were too busy practicing with your sword to ever notice that.”
Diana looked down at the floor, ashamed.
“Just so you know,” Luthor told them, “I’m not a villain, I’m not evil and I don’t want to hurt your people. In fact, I’d be a philanthropist, if it paid better. Stealing your island is going to make me a lot of money, and putting your people in camps was the most profitable long-term option. If I could have made more money by building houses for them and feeding them five course meals, I would have, and if there was no money to be made by keeping them alive, I would have put them on a cargo ship and sunk it to the bottom of the ocean. It’s not me you should be angry at, sweetie; it’s capitalism.”
She ran her sword through the screen and kept walking.
“I’m tired of listening to him.”
Luthor stood silently for a long time, until Mercy finally worked up the guts to ask him, “Lex, are you ok?”
“I want soldiers on the street.”
“All of them!” he shouted. “Get every drone and soldier we have down there, now!”
“How are you going to spin that? It’ll look like we’re declaring martial law.”
“I don’t care. Tell the Prime Minister it’s a training exercise, or something. I want those two stopped, immediately,” he said, watching them exit the building through the cameras by the front door. “No one makes a fool of Lex Luthor!”
In minutes, the last three blocks separating Diana and Prometheus from the camp were filled with LexCorp guards and drones.
“We need to be smart about this,” he told her, as they took shelter in an alleyway. “I think we can sneak past them, and launch a surprise attack once we get closer to the camp.”
He began spelling out his intricate plan for getting past Luthor’s guards, but Diana wasn’t even listening.
“Where the hell did she go?” he said, once he realized that she was gone. Prometheus barged through the nearest door in the alleyway, which happened to be a paint store that had been abandoned once the soldiers had crowded the streets.
“What are you doing?”
She ripped open a can of red paint and started writing over the ‘NM’ on her chest. “I’m making a statement, and I need your help to do it.”
After telling him her plan, the warrior walked out into the street, where tanks, soldiers and flying drones were already waiting for her. Her expression couldn’t be seen behind her helmet, but the ‘WW’ painted across her breast plate was clearly visible.
“She’s going to get herself killed,” said Prometheus, as he grappled up to the nearest rooftop.
However, the queen wasn’t afraid, and the whole world knew that as news choppers showed her stepping slowly toward the line of soldiers and guns.
“Do not come any closer!” they shouted, but she continued, step by step.
The entire world held its breath as international news crews scrambled to wrap their heads around the events currently happening in Athens.
Things became much easier for them, once an anonymous email came in, courtesy of Prometheus.
“This just in. A source inside of Athens has just informed us that the mysterious figure opposing LexCorp security is actually the queen of Themiscyra, Diana Prince. Though, now she goes by a different name…”
The humanitarians as well as the Themiscyrans chanted in full force, when they heard her name, and didn’t stop until the moment the battle started.
“Get back!” shouted the soldiers, though they knew it was futile. They realized they were going to lose as the chanting continued and the world held its breath.
She landed on one of the tanks after a single enormous leap, and with a few accurate punches managed to break off the barrel of its gun. She hurled it like a spear at the treads of another tank, bringing the monstrosity to a grinding halt, and turned her attention to the soldiers.
She kicked one into a nearby car before picking up one of the nearby barricades and swinging it like a baseball bat, sending the other two flying.
A shot from a tank flew over her head, but, before it could reload, she had already used her sword to hack through its armor and shoved the wooden post through its mechanical innards.
She used the knowledge she had gained from fighting the first tank to take out several others, but was never able to see the snipers training their guns on her.
Luckily, Prometheus was watching her back, leaping from rooftop to rooftop, knocking out Luthor’s troops with his bare hands.
He had to grapple across the street to deal with an especially troublesome group, who had fired several shots at the queen. He grabbed one and tore his rifle away, before bashing the soldier across the face. He ejected the magazine and struck one of his friends in the face with it, before breaking the weapon in half.
Two more tried to shoot him, but he was already on top of them. He grabbed one soldier by his hair and slammed his face into a metal railing, caught the next with a left hook that shattered his jaw and used the grapple to pull the last one over to him. The LexCorp trooper screamed as Prometheus hurled him off of the roof and through the window of a building next door.
Back on the ground, Wonder Woman still had one and a half blocks to make it through, and they weren’t going to be easy.
Flying drones were everywhere, hitting her from all directions, and the queen was getting tired of it.
Luthor was running out of tanks, but she got an idea when she saw one that was still operational.
Wonder Woman jumped onto its deck and grabbed it at the base of the turret before screaming to the heavens, “Athena, give me strength!”
Both her concern for her people and her anger at Luthor served to increase her power, and, after ripping the turret off, she held it by the barrel and used the hunk of metal as an enormous flyswatter, taking down dozens of drones with each swing.
Prometheus, however, had found a special use for the drones, and grabbed several in his arms as he came back down to the ground.
It only took him a moment to quickly hotwire the machines, and even less time to throw a bomb and blow a hole in the armor of a nearby tank.
He clicked a few wires together, threw the drone through the hole, and, moments later, it began uncontrollably firing its 45mm cannons in all directions, shredding the inside of the tank.
He repeated this process until the last of the metal behemoths were dealt with, while Wonder Woman sprinted for the camp at top speed.
The rounds fired by the LexCorp troopers didn’t even phase her anymore. She was too filled with determination and battle rage to even bother with them.
She grabbed two of them by their ankles and hurled them at the rest of the soldiers, before making one last leap onto the wooden walls the guards had erected and tearing them down.
Reporters snapped thousands of photos of the starving people of Themiscyra, and aid workers rushed forward to help them, but everyone stopped when they saw that the queen wasn’t moving.
She stared at the barbed wire fences that housed her people, at the way their faces had sunken in and at the piles of rotting food that they were forced to eat from.
In that moment, her anger melted away.
She sliced through the women’s cage, allowing the aid workers to enter, before cutting through the men’s side and entering herself.
“I know that many of you don’t like me, but I want you to know something. If the way you lived under my rule was anything close to this, then I’m sorry, and I’ll do everything I possibly can to make it right.”
She left before they could respond. Some had looked like they wanted to cheer, while others were about to throw rotting fruit.
‘Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman!” shouted the crowd of reporters, as they fought to get near her.
“You’ve just uncovered the atrocities LexCorp was committing against your people. Can you give us your thoughts?”
“Yes. Give us a statement.”
The queen thought for a moment, before telling them, “I don’t have any thoughts beyond getting my people somewhere safe.”
Mercy knew better than to give one of her usual sly comments. Despite his calm appearance, Lex was furious.
“The chopper is waiting for us, sir.”
“Good. Have my men destroy all records and torch the labs. We’re not coming back to Greece anytime soon.”
In the weeks following the ‘Battle of Athens’, as the media had called it, the fences and walls had been torn away from the camps, and the refugees of Themiscyra were living much easier.
“They’re still too weak to travel,” Diana said, sitting on a nearby rooftop and watching her people from above. “But, when the time comes, they’ll have the choice to either stay or go home.”
“That’s good to hear,” Charles said, looking down below them, where a very confused looking pizza guy was wandering around. Suddenly, the box was pulled out of his hands by a grapple, giving him the shock of a lifetime.
“Dinner is served.”
“I must say, I’m really starting to like the food here, and I don’t relish the idea of not having electricity or indoor plumbing.”
“So, you’re going to stay?”
“Maybe. I should go back for a little while, when they start building. The Prime Minister is going to help create a real government and infrastructure on the island, in exchange for a few concessions.”
“We have to open up the island to tourists. I don’t like the idea of doing that, but if that’s the price I have to pay to give my people running water and modern medicine, then I’m willing to pay it.”
“It sounds like you’re a pretty damn good queen after all,” he said, taking a bite out of his slice of pizza.
“I hope so, but I don’t think I want to stay there forever.”
“What will you do instead?”
She looked at him with curiosity and excitement in her eyes. “Travel the world, meet new people, fight new battles, and I especially want to see this place you described; the Amazon.”