Justice League: The Other Side
In Character | Out of Character | Characters
It was the death heard round the world. Around the galaxy. Around the universe.
The death that almost stopped time itself. Panicked voices whispered. Malicious voices plotted. Heroic voices sobbed. And all voices spoke it aloud at least once.
"The Man of Steel is no more."
The only solace that one might take from this death was that he died heroically. A death that honored him. But it still didn't change the fallout that ensued. There was chaos that ensued from this power vacuum, on both the sides of villains and heroes alike. Villains vyying for control and heroes desperately trying to squash them. The main problem was that where the villains were invigorated by the death of the Kryptonian, the heroes were exhausted mentally and emotionally. If a man like Kal-El could be bested by the scum of the universe, what chance did the rest of them have?
Criminal masterminds started using this vacuum as an opportunity to organize it seemed. They were gathering and lobbing assaults on major cities and governments. The casualty counts of the innocents seemed to be on the rise every day.
With their countries falling around them and nothing they could do, the United Nations did the one thing they could. They made a call to one of the greatest minds on Earth. The Dark Knight.
With the help of the Worlds Greatest Detective and the Martian Manhunter, they began to devise a plan. Divided, the heroes of Earth were weak when compared to the forces of evil. They had no support system, and it seemed like it was each man against the world. But by bringing them together under a central hub and name, things could change. Maybe, just maybe, justice would begin to have a fighting chance. With the Manhunters superior poise and diplomacy and the Batman's connections and intelligence and government resources, they were able to lay the foundation for their last hope.
A group of heroes that could work together to combat evil. A team that could stand up to the greatest foes plaguing not only the Earth, but the universe. A league of heroes.
The Justice League.
The room was dark, except for the faint glow of a terminal.
The room, silent. Save for the clicking of keys as they flew over the keyboard.
Bruce Wayne had been up for hours putting the finishing touched on his latest security system. It went along perfectly with his latest project. His greatest project to date.
Of course, he couldn't take all the credit. Some schematics from alien technology and the like had to be compiled, but not much. And of course, he had financed it with only a small portion of government backing.
He'd been toiling for weeks now, finishing the security program that was to go with it. Ignoring sleep, most food and water, and all contact with the outside world save for one pesky annoyance that wouldn't quit.
"Bruce. You must take time to rest. Your mind is near ready to sleep on its own. It might possibly leave your head just to have a rest."
"J'onn, we've been over this. The Watchtower doesn't go up unless everything, and I mean everything is going smoothly. That includes a security program. Now, you could force me to stop. But I doubt that would be in either of best interests."
The Martian Manhunter, who had appeared in the room, sighed lightly as he fazed out of the room again. He knew it was futile to argue with The World's Greatest Detective when he was in this mode. It would be like a regular human trying to move a mountain on his own. It just wouldn't be done. J'onn was no fool. Batman would never admit it, but he was burying himself in his work. Something he did when the world became too close to something that could affect him. Kal-El had been one of his closest comrades. Bruce had respected him. J'onn suspected that it reminded Bruce of how mortal Bruce himself was.
He floated down the hall of the Watchtower to wait patiently as Bruce finished the last touches on the security system. While he waited, he could at least get things underway.
The point of all this was simple: with the death of the Man of Steel, the world needed something to believe in again. The idea had been tried before to start a group of superhuman's to act as the worlds defense, but it had crumbled. Maybe, just maybe this time they'd be able to make this work. The applicants they'd chosen either had some connection to the original group, had been in it themselves, or even had connections to Superman himself.
Though....there were two people the Manhunter still had concerns about. Bruce had absolutely insisted on them though. He'd said they'd want to be part of a group that would pick up where Superman left off.
"Bruce, what you fail to realize is vengeance isn't the only driving force a loved one can have for one who has fallen," J'onn had said. "And it isn't something that's good to rely on."
Of course, Bruce had only scowled and looked away, drafting up the message to them anyway.
"Kara and Lois," J'onn muttered, as if simply saying their names would fix the situation. He had faith in them, but still had doubts in their emotional state.
He made his way to his destination: the console that would activate the beacons to the Watchtower. J'onn had personally given them to each and every individual that they had decided on to invite to the League. Better him than Bruce who had a more.....abrupt and cold nature to him. He'd given them strict instructions regarding it. It was very much a Red Pill/ Blue Pill scenario. They'd had a few weeks to ponder the opportunity and when the device he'd given them, a seemingly simple ring. The concept was simple, when the time came to give an answer, the ring would pulse all around, giving off a slightly warm light and sensation. Very discrete. The user had simply to touch it in a safe area, and two holographic square panels would appear. One read, one blue. The blue one would cause the ring to envelope them in hard-construct light bubble that after 5 seconds would warp them to the main deck of the Watchtower. The red one would simply cause the ring to shut down and the stone inside of it to lose its color, all the technology self-destructing within it. At that point, the user could do whatever they wanted to with it.
As he approached the console it hummed softly, as if it had become sentient and was awaiting this moment.
It was at that moment that his earpiece beeped. It was Bruce.
"Alright," came the gruff voice, "I've finally finished it, J'onn. Everything is in place and ready to go. Are you ready?"
"I'm quite appalled that you've even had the audacity to ask that question," the Martian told him, eliciting the first genuine chuckle from Batman that he'd heard in a long time.
"How could I have been so foolish? Send the call and meet me at the main deck to greet our guests........If we have any." Bruce finished the last part of that sentence with legitimate worry, the same thing J'onn had. But regardless, he pressed the series of buttons, sending the call, and made his way to the main deck. Patiently awaiting to see who would answer the call to Justice.
In another part of the world, or hell, maybe another dimension a purple glow lit the face of a young woman. Even though she was beautiful, her eyes betrayed her. They told of the power she held and the knowledge she was cursed with. They were older than herself, having seen things no man should see. But they still had many glints of a youthful spirit that couldn't be broken. A spirit that's greatest strength wasn't the power that she held in magic, but the power she held in determination.
That was the life of Doctor Fate, or as she was still known to many as, Zatanna Zatara, Magician extraordinaire.
She seemed to be in a trance as she stared at a crystal ball that gave off the purple glow. Something was troubling her, but she couldn't pinpoint what it was. There was a disturbance in the dimension. It was small, but persistent, and for the life of her, she couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from. Her father would probably chastise her for her inability to find the source of this disturbance.
"Dammit ball!" She cursed as her eyes began to glow with energy and she focused on the floating orb once more, "Reveal to me the rift in our space. Show me the trouble that brews on the border of our reality. Reveal it to me!" She gazed in to the orb, but it showed nothing.
"I swear on all gods and fates that I will destroy you one day......as soon as you stop alerting me to sales at my boutiques," she added on as she waved the ball away. It disappeared with a small pop. She concentrated briefly and she was back in her study. Or her father's study. Or....the study of the Fates. Whatever, she couldn't keep track.
She was just about sit down and relax to flit through a few tomes when she felt something. At first she thought it was an enemy. Her palms glowed as she whirled around, only to find no one. Looking down, she noticed her ring finger.
The beacon! The beacon J'onn had given her. It was glowing.
"Wait.....holy--It's actually glowing!" She exclaimed, looking at her hand. She'd known the time would come, but now that it was here.....she was nervous.
But, a Fate never backed down when help was needed. They never took the back burner when the world needed them. And the world, -nay, the universe - definitely needed her.
She gingerly touched the ring and watched as the two holographic square panels appeared. Without missing a beat, she laid her hand gingerly on the blue square and watched as she was engulfed.....and then transported.
The next thing she knew, she was in a different place, which didn't surprise her, she was used to warping. What did surprise her, however, was the view. As she turned, her view wasn't of the sky, a city, a cave, lava, or even underwater. It was the Earth. She was looking at the Earth.
"Of course you'd be the first," she heard a familiar voice. Whirling around she was met by the Batman himself.
"And of course you still have a flair for the dramatic Brucey. Space though? You seem to have outdone yourself this time. Though....I must say," Zatanna whirled around to take in her scenery, "it's quite nice."
"It's good to see you again Zatanna....or should I call you...?" Bruce started, a smile playing on his lips.
"Doctor Fate? Yes, you could call me that if it suits you, peasant," Zatanna said with a wave of her hand. "But! I'll always be a stage magician," at this point she bowed and took off her hat, a flock of doves flying out, "at heart."
Zatanna always had a way of getting through to Bruce where others couldn't. He didn't know how she did it, but she hadn't seemed to change much.
"Ah! Zatanna Zatara!" The Martian Manhunter appeared behind her, a smile on his face.
"J'onn, it's good to see you," Zatanna said with a smile as she hugged him.
"Now, where's everyone else!?"