Chapter 1: November Rain
(Continuity note: this chapter follows Chapter 45 of the Inheritors)
The system suddenly came to life. Nobody had been in the room for a long time; the dust thick on the singular item that it held. No other circuit, no other interface in the entire complex attached to this device for it needed none. The power cells hummed to life and began to charge. Fifty percent…eighty…at the very microsecond that the status bar reached one hundred, a flash of light appeared and held steady just long enough for a single person to step through before winking out of existence.
The young woman sighed and pulled the hood back from the white sweatshirt she wore, releasing her long flaxen locks. Stepping over to the machine, she flipped a small switch and allowed it to cycle back down before she reset the coordinates back to the original setting. Satisfied with her work, the young woman pulled a paperback from the back pocket of her jeans before heading for the exit.
Expecting the door to easily open, the young lady was almost taken aback when it remained steadfast in her way. Shrugging off the computers apparent lack of judgment or ability to sense her presence, she reached out and pressed the button on the conveniently placed panel.
Rolling her eyes, the young woman shook her head and amazingly walked through the wall, appearing in a little-used hallway two thousand feet below the surface of her home. Silently she strolled through the corridors towards the main shaft that she herself had dug. It was the only way to get around the lower portions of the Fortress, and perhaps nobody in existence knew these pathways better.
But knowing what to expect, the Maid of Might cared little for her surroundings, due to her interest in the book given to her by her friend, Cassie Sandsmark, the preceding day. It was rare that she was able to get good literature and she was thoroughly enjoying the read. She carried nothing else, but when you’re Supergirl, what else do you need?
She could hear heartbeats now…but only four. But outside she could hear hundreds more so she simply dismissed those in the Fortress as allies she had fought beside time and time again. As she reached the base of the shaft, the Girl of Steel was just about to begin flying up to the top when something caught her attention.
Suddenly, everything seemed to be too quiet.
Just as the young woman’s perspectives began to expand outward, her mind just starting to come off her book, she realized the danger. A series of blindingly bright bolts hit the young woman from her flank, forcing her to the far side of the shaft and eliciting a cry of pain from her lips as the bolts tore through her shirt. As she began to rise, another salvo slammed her into the granite wall, cratering it under her strength.
“Warbird! Now!” came a yell from somewhere nearby. The young Kryptonian could care less about the yell as the burns from the bolts of light were still playing havoc on her nerves. But suddenly she found herself ground back into the wall, this time by a pair of fists. Again her assailant pounded into her, but Supergirl could hear the cracking of the owner’s wrists and the splitting of skin across her knuckles and the dripping of blood upon the granite floor.
When the next strike came across her kidneys, Chasity Hudson could feel the coursing flow of electricity flowing from the rod that made contact. Again the pain was enough to bring a cry of pain from her, but when a second blow dropped across the back of her knees, she was forced to give ground as the current temporarily locked her muscles.
Pushing herself off the floor, Supergirl instinctively reached towards the next attack and wrapped her fingers around the incoming kick from the strong female that had hit her from behind. Tossing the woman away with the flick of her wrist, Chasity turned just in time to receive another rod of coursing electricity right across the bridge of her nose. The pain forced the Girl of Steel to recoil and clutch her hands to her eyes.
“Cloak! We need some help here! She’s too much!”
Chasity knew then that something was very wrong. She could not recognize the scents of any of the four who obviously wanted to hurt her, nor was the one voice she had heard familiar. How they got this deep into the Fortress she would have to find out. Just as her vision began to clear, a wave of dizziness swept over her before she heard a voice the likes of which she would never expect to hear in her Fortress.
“I’m glad you decided to join us, Supergirl.”
“Lex!” she cried out startled. For some reason, the lights had gone dark and all she could see was Lex Luthor coming at her with a sharpened and bloody stake in one hand and a Blue Kryptonite hammer in the other. She shirked back from the pain and instantly tried to phase, but found that the pain kept coming.
“Oh, there’s no escape this time,” Lex said confidently. “It’s time I finished the job of taking your life!” He lunged at the young Kryptonian and, to her surprise, she simply could not get out of the way in time. The Nth metal stake plunged deep into the same spot he had driven it into her months earlier.
Chas slipped to her knees, the pain washing over her as she looked into Lex’s eyes, unable to comprehend how he was so easily able to overcome her and why she could not even defend herself. She found she could not even move as he smashed the hammer into her temple, tearing the Girl of Steel from consciousness.
Meanwhile, the man known as Cloak convulsed and slumped to the floor as his teammates rushed to his side.
“Ty!” a blonde girl cried as she reached his side.
Shakily he rolled over and let out a deep breath as she pulled his hood back and pressed her hand against his cheek. “I’m okay, Tandy.”
“What the hell happened?” His teammate Dagger asked urgently.
“Backlash I think,” he said, rising to his feet. “She’s got some serious problems deep inside her mind.”
The three others nodded in understanding as they gathered over the downed form of the fallen girl. There was not a wound on her, and all were amazed enough their final attack had succeeded.
“Damn, she is tough,” a female wearing arm-length gloves, boots and a gray leotard with a yellow lightning bolt splayed across her chest and topped off with a red sash. She was shaking her hands in pain, pulling her gloves off to survey the damage she had caused to herself.
“Carol, are you alright?” their apparent leader said as he replaced the two energized rods back into their holsters on his back. His one-piece black bodysuit was only adorned by a stylized blue bird that crested on his chest and extended to his fingertips.
“Yeah, Richard, I’m fine…if I would have hit any harder, I would have broken my hands. Still think I may have sprained both wrists.”
“Well, the computer did say she was an Omega-level threat,” Dick Grayson retorted. “And you did well.”
The African-American male wrapped in a shroud of darkness huffed. “Hey, it was my illusions that took her down. I just hope I don’t have to do it again. I think I’m gonna have nightmares over that for a while after a reaction like that.”
“It must have been a real strong experience, Ty,” Dagger said. Tandy Bowen wore a one-piece white skintight suit with a stylized dagger cut from the front, and a circle of white around her right eye. “”How much power did you use?”
“I used everything I had,” Tyrone Johnson admitted. “And all I was able to do was knock her out. Unusual to say the least.”
“We had better restrain her before she wakes up,” Nightwing said as he reached for a pair of energized handcuffs. “I’m sure Bruce will want to know how and why she was able to breach the Fortress.”
“Hey,” Dagger said as she knelt down to the girl poking her fingers through the scorched holes in her clothing. “Look here, she’s wearing some type of armor under these clothes.”
Dick Grayson pondered the situation. Armor? For someone this tough? That didn’t make sense. “Hey Tandy, cut the shirt open. I wanna see this armor.”
“Yeah, sure.” Forming a knife made from pure light, the young woman made a quick incision splitting the damaged white hoodie in half, revealing a sleeveless strapped armored leotard emblazoned with a symbol every one of them understood.
“Oh, shit…” Nightwing whispered, horror dawning in his eyes. “Ty…how long will she be out?”
“I don’t know,” he said, fear apparent in his voice. “I’ve never tried to use full power on anyone before.”
“Carol! Get up to communications and get Bruce on the line. NOW!” Dick said as he knelt over the young heroine and began gathering her up. “Ty, teleport to medical and get the monitors set up. Dagger…get up to level three and see if that solar room will power up.”
The three teammates nodded and separated, each going their own ways to the higher portions of the Fortress. Dick Grayson grunted as he heaved the limp figure into his arms, carefully cradling her as he rushed to the repulsorlift platform in the middle of the shaft. Somehow this slight figure of a girl seemed to weigh much more than her frame would suggest.
“Computer, Medical…one-third speed,” Nightwing called out, adjusting the lift speed to not put undue stress on the young woman. As the platform began to rise, he looked down at her intently. Although he had never seen her before personally, he had been told many stories from the remainder of the Unforgiven about this person…assuming this was who he thought she was.
She was so exotically beautiful; it was almost intoxicating to gaze at her. He tried several times to pull his eyes away, only to glance back once again. She smelled faintly of jasmine that seemed to accentuate her highly athletic form. Her bronzed skin felt smooth and firm and she radiated a warmth like no other he had ever encountered.
When she moaned softly and stirred in his arms, Dick’s senses went into overdrive. With just a single hand, she had been able to toss the most physically powerful of his team like a ragdoll. If she spasmed hard or woke feeling threatened, there was little he could do to keep her from killing him.
“Supergirl,” he spoke softly, trying to assuage her. “Listen carefully to my voice. You are among friends and I am taking you to bed now. Please try not to move. The effects of the mental illusions should wear off after a short time. It was just a dream, nothing more.”
Chasity moaned louder this time, and much to Nightwing's amazement, wrapped her free arm around his neck, in an apparent attempt to curl closer to him. She buried her head in the crook of his neck and seemed to relax, making him wonder just how close to consciousness she was.
“Can you hear me?” he asked. “I’m sorry we attacked, but we were not expecting you and I apologize for what you had to experience. If we had known, it would have never happened. Do you understand?”
This time there was no movement, no response other than her steady breathing. The platform came to an unsteady halt just a few stories below surface level and shifted to one side, permitting access to the medical wing of the Fortress. Before he could step off, a soft beep in his ear alerted him to the call.
“Yeah, Tandy…what’s up?”
“The room’s been sealed,” her voice squeaked over the communicator. “Level two access or above only.”
“Damn…” he whispered. There were only a handful of people that had that level of security access and none of them on the island. Professor Grey was the closest one and she had decided to take the day off and go to Hudson’s Pass. He could call her…but decided on another course of action. “Okay, Tandy…um, can you head to the ‘Pass’ and see if you can find the Professor? She’ll be able to verify and hopefully give us a hand if this gets worse.”
“Right, Dick…on my way.”
Chasity slowly opened her eyes, but dared not to even tense up, much less move. She could feel that she was undamaged. although slightly shaken over the experience. It was relieving to know that it hadn’t been real, only an illusion pulled from one of her most horrific memories. But what concerned her the most was the situation she was in now.
She had no idea who this person was. Of all the universes…of all the time periods she had ever visited or been told about, this person was a complete mystery. Granted, he was amazingly cute, and had a well-built fighter’s physique. Although he wore a stylized eye-mask with integrated visual filters, it did little to hide him from her x-ray vision. But the way he held her…she was sure that he was one of the four that had just assaulted her, but something wasn’t right. He carried her gently, lovingly…unafraid. But certain questions needed to be answered before it was pertinent to move, so she continued to play possum.
Closing her eyes once again, she listened carefully as they entered the medical facilities main triage center. He effortlessly placed her on a gurney and trying to keep her as comfortable as possible, adjusted her body position carefully.
“Ty, you got the monitors up?”
“Yeah, here are the sensors.”
Chasity felt his fingers brush away her hair and something placed at her temple. Moments later another was placed at her neck and a third right above her heart.
“What do ya got?”
There was a long silence until she heard the response. “Dick, it has to be Supergirl. The bios are close enough to the four Kryptonians we have on record to be almost a hundred percent sure.”
“Well run a damn DNA check,” Nightwing said with a hint of concern in his voice. “I need to know what to tell Bruce and Steve.”
Chasity could hear the medical systems begin to draw extra power as it began to calculate her unique genome. The two men pressed several buttons on the monitors they were at.
“Let’s see…six base DNA, one hundred eighty-eight pair of chromosomes, one verified as a human x-factor.” There was a pause. “That verifies it, Richard. There is no other even close.”
“I’ll be damned,” Nightwing said, flipping through several of the monitors’ functions. “After all this time.”
“After all this time?” Chasity thought. “I’ve only been gone a couple weeks.”
“Why didn’t the computer pick it up as her in the first place?”
“I don’t know. I think when Bruce reset the security system, he deleted her access. She has been gone nearly two years now.”
“TWO YEARS!?” Chasity screamed at herself mentally.
Suddenly a voice came over an intercom that wasn’t part of the facility when Chasity had left.
“Hey Dick…I’m patching Bruce down there now.”
“Alright.” Chasity could hear several buttons being pressed before the faint sounds of a city in the background resounded through the speakers. Then an all too familiar voice.
“Richard? What’s up?”
“Um, Bruce…we had a breach outside the Portal Room about fifteen minutes ago. The computer instantly told us it was an Omega-level threat. It took everything we had but we were able to subdue the…intruder.”
“Omega-level?” Bruce said, obviously talking through a cell phone. “To my memory there are only two Omega-level metahumans and they both work with us.”
“Bruce, the person we found was a young blonde woman wearing a suit that you made two years ago.”
Other than the background noise, the line was silent.
“Start contacting the others. Tell them to get there now and it’s a priority. I’ll be there in about two hours.”
“What do you want me to do when she wakes up?”
“Don’t overwhelm her. And do whatever it takes to keep her there.”
“Understood. See you when you get here.”
“Keep me here, huh?”
The line went dead and soon after the speakers died. “Ty, you had better head up to communications and give Carol a hand getting the others here.”
“You got it, boss.”
Chasity waited until the other man had left the level and was safely away from them. As she continued to lay there, she could hear the sliding of a chair closer to where she lay and then the man she now knew as ‘Dick’ sat down. He carefully pulled the sensors off of her, and then to her wonder, took her hand in his.
“Gods, I’m sorry…” he whispered. “If I would have known it was you we wouldn’t have attacked. I just wish I knew if you could hear me.”
“I can hear you,” Chasity said for the first time aloud. Her words so startled the man, he nearly leapt out of the chair backwards and, if not for her grip, would have stumbled backwards.
Supergirl sat up and swung her legs over the side of the gurney, offering her other hand to him to assist her in standing up. As he took it, Chasity did everything in her power to hide the amusement she felt. She already knew this man was very graceful, but her sudden words and movements had nearly paralyzed him.
Richard Grayson blankly accepted her hands and pulled up gently, bringing the young woman to her feet. He didn’t even know what to say anymore and subconsciously decided to simply stand there, holding her hands in his.
“Although I can understand why you attacked, I can tell you first hand that is an experience I would not want to relive,” Supergirl said, a smile creeping across her features. “But I gladly accept your apology and I have to ask: Who are you and why are you in my home?”
Chasity giggled slightly. “Don’t worry…I don’t bite. At least not on the first date.”
Her innocent and highly disarming manner suddenly overcame Richard’s shock and he burst out with a single laugh. He looked away for a moment regaining his bearings. “Okay, I’ll take your word on that.”
His deep blue eyes reminded the young woman of Clark’s before she forcefully put the memory of him into the back of her mind. There was a slight tingling to her fingers and a curious feeling in the pit of her stomach. “So…can you answer my questions?”
“I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have,” Nightwing said confidently, having fully regained his composure. “But I have to know…are you…”
Supergirl interrupted him, breaking physical contact for the first time and reverting to a more professional manner. “Yes. I am.”
Dick nodded as he took a deep breath. “Right, ok. Well, first of all I am Richard, although some insist in calling me Dick. Most others know me as Nightwing.”
“What about the others?”
“They are known as Dagger, Cloak and Warbird.”
“Carol Danvers…Tandy Bowen…and Tyrone Johnson?” Chasity’s nose twitched as she remembered not only a story of Rogue’s youth but also two members of the original Alpha Flight killed at Albany by the Otherverse Superman.
Nightwing had already deduced how she was able to have such knowledge. “You knew versions of them all in another dimension.”
Chasity nodded. “Two dimensions, actually, but I’ve never heard of you. And why are you four here?”
“We’re on monitor duty.”
“That’s…” there was an uncomfortable silence for several seconds. “…a very long story best left explained by those you already know more personally.”
“Fair enough,” the Maid of Might agreed. “So I’ve been gone for two years?”
“Yes, Ms. Hudson.”
“Okay, you can stop that right now. My friends call me Chas.”
“Are we friends?”
“If Bruce Wayne thought enough of you to be here then why wouldn’t we be?” The Girl of Steel began walking towards the exit, a move soon mirrored by the tall, dark and handsome man beside her. They walked in silence until reaching the main shaft at which time she briskly turned and held her hand out to him once again.
The slightly mischievous look in her eyes only gave Dick a moment’s pause. He wasn’t about to let an opportunity to touch her again slip by even when he had no clue what she was thinking. Taking her outstretched hand, he gripped tight as she lifted off the floor and headed up, eventually landing in the main living area of the house. Without a word being said, she let go and walked down the hallway to the traditional bedrooms. Turning to face him once more, Chasity simply stopped in front of her bedroom.
“Computer, recognize Hudson, Chasity. Access level one. Voice recognition override code Epsilon Lambda.”
“Primary user accepted. Reestablishing original security protocols.”
Dick looked on in amazement. “How did you…?”
“It’s my house and my computer,” Chasity giggled as she turned and entered her bedroom. “I think I would know it better than anyone.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he responded, a new respect for this fabulous girl building every second. He waited patiently outside her door as she rifled through her dresser until finding a set of clothes she liked. She looked down and brushed her hand over the scorched holes in her jeans and sighed before easily ripping them off of herself. When she began unfastening her cape, Chasity found herself posing before looking up and catching his gaze, seeing his eyes glued to her. She grinned and continued to change, relishing what she was doing to him. Although Dick felt as if he could stare at her forever, he turned and faced the opposite direction.
“And a gentleman to boot,” Chas thought as she changed clothes in the blink of an eye. Leaving her uniform on the bed, she tucked her t-shirt into her new jeans and walked outside, placing a hand on his shoulder as she went. “Now then, shall we?”
“I’m sorry?” he asked, unsure of what she was referring to.
“I have a lot of questions…but they can wait until the others arrive. In the meantime…how about some iced tea?”
Two Hours later…
The gathering crowd of people in the Fortress’ main living area was growing rapidly. Many of the fifty-three now attending Xavier’s Institute for the Gifted had come, many to say hello once again, and others to greet a fellow metahuman. Jean had been especially overjoyed to see the young Kryptonian again, having been especially worried that she had been killed on her mission to Alterverse, hence why she hadn’t come back.
“So you’re telling us, “Iron Man asked, trying to comprehend the situation. “That in your perspective, you left here sixteen days ago?”
“Tony, I told you I was only going to be gone a couple weeks. I honestly have no idea on how this happened. I wasn’t traversing the time stream that I’m aware of, just hopping to a nearby dimension and then back.” Chasity threw up her hands for emphasis. “I suppose there may have been a miscalculation on the space/time coordinates, but I’ve never seen Carrie make a mistake before and she did all the programming.”
“So,” Josie began, her demeanor just as confrontational as it had been when Supergirl had left. “Once again you’re back and once again we’re blessed by your presence. Are you here to stay or are you leaving again?”
Chasity could tell Josie was still torn up over Jon’s death and she had best walk on eggshells around her. It is said that time heals all wounds, but Riptide was living proof that that saying wasn’t always true. “Josie, this is my home now, and I would like to try and honor Jon’s memory by seeing this world prosper in his name.”
If the careful words had any impact, then nobody present could tell. “Then you’re in for a hell of a journey.”
“What do you mean?”
“Chas, there have been some…major…changes since you left.”
Sensing that there was a lot more going on than she had originally anticipated, Chasity settled back and gave her undivided attention to those around her. “Okay, well, why don’t we start small? Bruce is on his way, Thor hasn’t returned from Asgard yet, and…where’s Hipkarma?”
“Off planet,” Logan responded as he lit his stogie. “She said something about pirate activity at some space-lane nexus close to Alpha Centauri. Been gone for a couple months now.”
Chasity looked around and noted everyone that wasn’t present. “Where’s Eric?”
The room dropped their gazes and a cloud of gloom swept in, covering the emotional high that everyone seemed to be having. Phoenix was the first to push past it and answer the question. “Magneto died.”
“How?” the Maid of Might asked, cringing in sympathy.
“That…story is more complex than…”
“Jean, tell me.”
“It’s everything that’s been going on here,” Tony said, stepping in for the redhead. “The World Council…pretty much what is passing as a world forum…took much of what we said to heart. Starvation ground to a halt in mere weeks. In each of the city-states people were either chosen, elected or bought their way into the new aristocracy.”
“Well, that’s not quite the way I had envisioned it, but I guess the system worked.”
“In a way. Many of the city-states are now rigidly organized. It helped in controlling and rebuilding places that were deemed high priority.”
“Great, so what was the problem?”
Supergirl’s nose crinkled. “You lost me.”
Tony held a hand up showing his intention to explain. He rose and refilled his glass of tea as he spoke. “Your satellite defense network is in progress. Most cities are now employing varying types of weapons we offered or others derived from Thanagarian technology. Others have started trying to develop other weapons but with little success so far. But they decided it wasn’t enough.”
Kitty intervened. “They wanted us…the only weapons proven to stop menaces that had been beyond them. In a near-unanimous decision, most of the nations declared that any metahumans within their borders were now ‘in the care of the state’. Or so they said. It was an excuse for them to reorganize and pass not just the Mutant Registration Act, but a stronger Metahuman Registration Act. Anyone exhibiting what could be considered beyond human normal abilities was required to submit to the state to be used as it saw fit.”
Every word that came out of Shadowcat’s mouth dropped Chasity’s jaw lower and lower; her eyes grew bigger and bigger. She raised a hand with a gesture of question, but lowered it without asking before sitting forward and pursing her lips to say something before collapsing backwards. Finally, she began filling in the unspoken details.
“Magneto…seeing something he fought against for years…goes off the deep end.”
Wonder Woman nodded. “You have no idea. He was mad. But the stress was a bit too much for his heart. There was really nothing we could do.”
Chasity looked around the room slowly, first to gauge the emotions of her compatriots, then to try and get an idea of how this had affected them. The impression she got was not a good one. “What did you guys do?”
“As a whole we rejected their demands to turn ourselves in,” Steve Rogers added. “I honestly couldn’t believe that any government, much less the one I’ve spent my life defending, would go and do something like that.”
Bruce Banner rose and began to refill everyone else’s glasses. He had been in his laboratory underneath the school and had quickly come to the Fortress, being the second to arrive. “The thing that probably bothered us the most was that many metas agreed with the policy and had submitted to their respective governments. Others made their way here, parents with metahuman children wanted their children a chance to live in peace, and we surmise that there are still more that are hiding amongst the populace.”
The next to pick up the conversation was Logan. “Lee Owen…who by the way was elected Governor of Crystal Island...”
“Crystal Island?” Chas said, huffing in amusement. “Is that what you call it now?”
“Not us. That would be the population,” Wolverine stated a matter-of-factly. “Anyway, Lee declared the island to be a sanctuary and a nation to itself. He is trying to ward off the other governments, but his refusal to cooperate in the ‘Act’ has made most of them declare sanctions against us.”
The Girl of Steel took a deep, frustrated breath and released it through clenched teeth. “Those arrogant, self-absorbed…”
“You aren’t kidding. Trying to work within the current system is a pain in the ass. I’m sure Tony would agree. Bribery and corruption are rampant, there is no stable justice system in place and crime is rising.”
The room turned at the new voice amongst them. Bruce Wayne stood in the doorway, still wearing the long rain-soaked trench coat. Nobody had seemed to notice his entrance through the back door.
“Chasity,” he said plainly as he divested himself of the wet garment, revealing a tailored suit beneath. “Welcome back.”
She shrugged. “Yeah, sorry it took me so long to get back. It appears that I’ve missed a lot.”
The man known as Batman walked around the group of his fellow metahumans and friends and grabbed a chair from the dining room and sat against one wall. When it appeared that everyone was waiting on him to speak, he simply waved a hand back to Logan. “Don’t stop on my account.”
“Logan, you said the Council placed sanctions against the island. How’s the economy for the people here?” Chas asked, concerned.
Wolverine wasn’t the only one to laugh. “Are you kidding? The sanctions actually helped us. Your food replicators are great and everything, but there is a high demand in chickens, rabbits, livestock, eggs, milk and more. With Jon’s foresight on saving what he could from the Pax has made the island extremely blessed. In return we get materials we normally couldn’t. Mostly high end manufactured goods that Stark and Wayne here don’t bring in themselves.”
“What do the governments think about that?”
“The American government has not as yet begun to stop traffic on and off the island although they have threatened to do so. However they do have a checkpoint on the other side of the bridge. Normal humans may currently come and go as they please, but metahumans are not allowed on or off the island,” Logan continued.
“How can they tell that? Do they have that good of intel on every metahuman here?”
For the first time, Bruce Wayne entered the conversation. “Bio-electric aura scanners based off your long-range sensors in the satellite defense net. I used that same technology when I installed the internal sensors in the fortress. It’s what scanned you and reported to our tactical team here.”
“That reminds me,” Chasity said as she turned and pointed to Richard and his team. “Nothing personal guys...” as she faced Bruce again. “…but why?”
“Threefold. Many students have the intention of doing exactly what we all were before the Pax. Serve and protect humanity, combat crime, lead the populace by example, all enemies foreign and domestic…the whole nine yards. Dick, Tandy, Ty, and Carol were simply some of the most talented and promising people we had.”
“What’s the second?”
For the first time in an hour, Richard entered the conversation. “Ms. Hudson…” he began before he saw the expectant look in her eyes. “Sorry…Chas. If I’m not mistaken, there were what? Twelve of you left after the Thans ran? Eric stepped back to help the school as did Jean, Josie, Banner and Sue. Bruce and Tony have had their hands full trying to reestablish their civilian companies to help produce needed technology and of course Mrs. Stark…”
“Excuse me?” Chas exclaimed, startled.
Tony and Kitty smiled as they both held up their left hands, showing the Kryptonian the matching wedding bands they wore. Kitty shrugged at Chasity’s obvious shock. “He asked and I said yes. What can I say?”
The Maid of Might raised a hand gesturing the thought and her response on hold. “I really have been out of the loop too long. Congratulations?”
Richard cleared his throat. “Anyway…with Hip having greater responsibility than just this planet, she simply wasn’t around enough. Diana’s primary purpose was to act as an ambassador, so she spends a great deal of time in Washington. Steve has been helping Governor Owen establish the basis of government for the island, and Logan has been doing what he could to help small communities throughout the continent against whatever threats they had. In other words…there was no ‘team’ to do the things that needed to be done.”
“In essence,” Cloak added. “We are professional heroes.”
Chasity’s gaze caught Richard’s for a moment as she looked back at the four of them. “And I would say quite effective. What’s the last reason?”
“S.T.R.I.K.E. and the Genesis Project.”
“Special Tactical Response of International Key Emergencies,” Tony intervened, having advanced knowledge of the organization. “It’s what replaced SHIELD when the Thans took them out. The Genesis Project is their version of the Avengers, but with one main goal in mind: Seek out and capture rogue metahumans.”
“I take it you have clashed,” Chasity surmised.
“Several times,” Carol Danvers spat, obviously not a fan of theirs. “Let’s see…Apollo, Serra, Sand, Firefly, Silverfang, and Raven their leader.”
Dagger shuffled and added her thoughts to the mix. “There’s also the Cape-Killers. Five man tactical assassination squads called in when a metahuman gets too violent.”
Supergirl rose from her chair and so she could clearly see everyone in the room at the same time. “Wait a second…this team of metas…the Genesis Project. You’ve clashed here on the island?”
“No, just when any of us venture out,” Richard answered. “Despite the Powers Limitations Act, we still go where we are needed. Although it’s getting harder.”
“Powers Limitation Act?”
Bruce Wayne sighed. “It prohibits any person wielding paranormal abilities including but not limited to mutant phenomenon, altered human powers, those with high technology or superior skills, natural or unnatural alien abilities to interfere in the affairs of any nation not willing to accept them. Which is pretty much everyone.”
“You’re telling me, that if say…some wacko decided to hold Paris hostage with a nuke, if we were to help, even if successful…”
“We would be subject to arrest and incarceration. And if we resisted a STRIKE team would be issued.”
The Girl of Steel collapsed back into her chair and wrung her hands in thought. Even for her this was a lot of shocking information, and she was hardly prepared for it. She ran her fingers through her hair, pausing to rub her temples lightly. “I’m gone for a few days and everything goes to hell.”
Josie cleared her throat, prompting the young Kryptonian to turn towards her. “There is another problem that has caused us no end of grief.”
The young Kryptonian glanced around the room before she realized who was not present. “Kyle.”
Riptide nodded. “A couple months after you left, he just…went mad. Paranoid and delusional. It was something along the lines of if you or your cousins weren’t here, what purpose did he serve? And he snapped. Now he causes havoc whenever and wherever he chooses.”
“There’s also another problem,” Batman said, a twinge in his voice gave away the fact that he was reluctant to reveal what came next.
Jean raised her hand as discreetly as she could and tried to wave the World’s Greatest Detective off. When he either didn’t seem to notice or care, she had no choice but to speak. “Bruce, no…don’t.”
“She’s going to find out eventually anyway.”
“Find out what?”
“Chas, you had better sit…” Bruce began before realizing she was already sitting down. “Lex was cleared of all charges of his involvement with the Thanagarians and the Pax.”
The Maid of Might sat there stunned. A small twinge in her neck was the only thing moving on the young woman. “Why?”
“He claimed that he was being used as a pawn. That he did what he did to try and save his father’s life. They had apparently taken Lionel prisoner and Lex claimed they were holding that over him. Also, he produced papers that stated the lab that had been studying the Pax had been sold years earlier to the CIA. The jury deadlocked and the charges were dropped on the premises of reasonable doubt. He has since gone into hiding although we get the occasional report that he’s seen visiting his father or having a meeting with a Lord or an official.”
“Were the people of the jury bought or just so galacticaly stupid as to buy that load of garbage?” she asked, not directing the question to anyone in particular.
“There’s more…” Bruce said amidst the wild gesture and an ‘I should have known’ look. “Lionel was appointed Lord over the Boston/Providence area.”
Without another word, Chasity stood and made her way through the group and went back to her formal bedroom. Much to everyone’s surprise, a few moments later she emerged wearing her suit. Most of them rose in a hurry and began to move to intercept her.
“No Chas!” Jean said being the first to confront her. “You’re not going after Lex again.”
“No, not yet.”
The three words stopped the others in their tracks. Jean hesitated for a second, thinking. “Well, good. But why did you change?”
“I assume the Council still meets at the Capitol Building?”
“The old U.N. Building…but why are you going there?”
“What you all have told me,” she sighed. “Is very…disheartening. So I’m going to go and try to talk some sense into those idiots. But the last time we stood before them, they were surprised to see many of us out of uniform. I’m hoping that if they see that I’m back, they will take note and listen.”
The room stood silent as the blonde heroine disappeared before anyone could respond. Steve Rogers sighed deeply and simply stared at the spot she occupied moments before. “This isn’t going to go well…”
The World Council Building…ten minutes later…
As usual, the main hall that housed the former U.N. Security Council was not a quiet place. Each of the nearly two dozen or so city-states had sent a small entourage to represent their interests throughout the world. They sported delegates, ambassadors, lobbyists, and many of the ruling Lords themselves on a daily basis. There were at least thirty different conversations ranging in subject from minor to major and every level in between.
A side door opened, and a single person entered, not bothering to close it behind him before nearly running towards the centralized semi-circular table reserved for Lords and Ladies themselves while in session. In his hand was a folded note, and many of the conversations stopped as the messenger rushed past. The frantic look on his face told them all that something was happening.
The Lord of Berlin, Sebastian Berg, gave the messenger a quizzical look as he took the note and unfolded it. He read the note, paused and read it again to make sure of what he saw. “Do they have an identification on this person?”
“My Lord, I don’t know,” the messenger said, panting. “I assume they may have more infor…LOOK OUT!” he cried pointing to the ceiling behind the German leader.
Suddenly the room was in complete disarray as many eyes followed the man’s outstretched finger to the woman that had suddenly appeared inside the chambers and was currently floating down to ground level. Several people stood wide-eyed and frozen while others instantly went for their cell phones for either pictures or calls. The great double doors on either side of the hall burst open and four men armed with slightly clunkier versions of her gauss weapons burst in and trained their sights on the woman.
“Hold! Do not fire,” Lady Celeste Roux, the Minister of Paris called out as she rose to her feet.
Supergirl touched down and bowed slightly to the three rulers present, the last being of Mumbai, Harshad Vemulakanda. “My Lords…Lady…I believe me and my comrades were given an opportunity to speak here again. We have much to discuss.”
“Ms. Hudson?” Sebastian ventured as he too rose from his seat.
“I know I’m not who or what you were expecting, but the circumstances warranted my entrance in this fashion.”
“What can we do for you?”
Chasity’s eyes narrowed as she looked over her shoulder to not only the other delegates in the room, but the armed guards as well. In a way, she had wished that she had not given away the ability to create gauss weapons, but they didn’t need to know she could be affected by them when she was phased. “I need to request that you gather the Council together.”
“I don’t think…”
“I think it is imperative that I voice my concerns to you, so now would be a good time,” she said, her voice icy cold.
“Listen here, little girl,” Celeste spat. “You have a lot to learn when you address us. You will show proper respect!”
“Respect?” the Maid of Might countered, offended at the haughty nature of this woman. “Respect is earned, not given…my Lady.”
“How dare you!”
“Stop this foolishness,” Harshad yelled, bringing the room to a standstill. “It is obvious that Supergirl has come before us with much on her mind after being absent for two years. I think we can procure from her that which is requested.”
“Silence!” the Indian Lord cried out. “I am chairman of the Council this year and we will do this.” He turned to the growing number of people in the room. “Go and find as many of the Council as you can. You all have ten minutes.”
Without a word, much of the room dispersed, intent on following the order. The only people who did not move were the four guards who still trained their weapons on the young Kryptonian. With a flick of his wrist, Harshad dismissed them and sat back down at the head of the table.
“Now then, is there something we can discuss until the others arrive?”
“Actually, yes. The sanctions you have put against Crystal Island…are those official?”
“I believe they are,” Berg said as he sat down himself. “Berlin is not going to lift them if that’s why you’re asking.”
Chasity smiled. “No, that’s not why I’m asking at all. May I ask what cities have not made official sanctions against us?”
The three Lords and Lady glanced at each other in thought for a moment before responding. “London, Doomstaad, and Mecca.”
“May I ask what their reasons for not doing it are?”
Sebastian Berg cocked his head and began to study the body language of the young Kryptonian. She was all too confident in her demeanor; it was being telegraphed to everyone observing the scene. He surmised quickly that it was simply due to her power level and belief that she was unassailable by ‘normal’ humans. “King William has been censored for not complying with the Council’s wishes; Victor von Doom has yet to attend a meeting since the first one and refuses outside contact. And Mecca…well, they have their own problems and haven’t the ability to participate in world affairs yet. But they will.”
“So, in order for the remaining governments to make official policies against a group of people, you have to first recognize that group of people, don’t you?”
“That is essentially correct.”
“So you as a council have just officially recognized the inhabitants of Crystal Island as its own autonomous body.”
The three present rulers sat stunned. In a matter of just a few sentences, she had outmaneuvered them using their own laws and powers. They glanced at each other before looking back. “It seems you are correct.”
“Good. I’ll inform Lee Owen that he can take a place on this Council at his leisure.”
“Now wait just a minute!” Celeste cried out. “We gave nobody permission to join this council!”
“So…what does it take to join it?”
“To be officially recogni…” the Minister of Paris’ words fell off as she realized she was being baited into a verbal trap. Silently she had to give the Kryptonian credit. She knew how to play the system.
“By your own admission, you just made Owen a member of this council since he is the elected leader of those dwelling there.”
“We can discuss that in council.”
The voice from behind startled the young woman. She half turned in time to see Truman Bradley, the Lord of Washington enter and approach. He walked around and took his place at the table. No more words could be uttered before others began taking their place as well. Soon, many of the seats were filled, with only few cities unrepresented.
“Is this all that’s present?” Harshad asked as movement ceased in the chambers.
“This is enough,” Bradley said sarcastically. “We have a two-thirds majority. So…what’s on your mind, Ms. Hudson? We didn’t think it would take you two years to come back to talk with us lowly mortals.”
“Something out of my control altered my return timing.”
“So you say.”
The Maid of Might let the insulting demeanor of this man slide. “Look…I’ve been told a lot of things that are disturbing. First and foremost: Why a Metahuman Registration Act?”
“We could not allow one of our planet’s greatest assets to lie fallow,” Shinju Kagome responded. Although he was not the Emperor of Tokyo, this man held himself regally as he executed his duties as Shogun. “Plus, with the limited numbers of your kind remaining, we had to take steps to ensure they were protected.”
“By forcing them into virtual slavery?”
“Those that have come to us voluntarily are well paid for their efforts. Those that are brought in are well taken care of.”
“And the Powers Limitation Act?”
The Lord of Rio de Janeiro, Lucio Cabral, answered. “A simple diplomatic arrangement. As each of the nations have their own metahumans, they are required to go through proper channels if help is desired or wants to be given.”
“And for those like me who are here to help everyone, not just one group or another?” Chasity asked, her stomach twisting every moment she stood here listening to them.
“I’m afraid that isn’t possible,” Lord Bradley responded. “As for yourself, you are required to register and will be officially declared a member of America’s team since this is the country where you were supposedly born.”
It was only then that Chasity noticed the small repulsorlift platforms hovering varying distances and angles away from this center of attention. A quick burst of x-rays confirmed the hunch. “Is this being broadcast live?”
“We always broadcast official Council meetings,” Lord Berg said confidently. “It shows the public what we are really doing and what we are not.”
“Just wondering,” she assured them with a curt nod and seeming dismissal of the cameras. “And as for your request, Lord Bradley…the answer is no.”
Chasity blinked once and cocked her head. “I said no. I will not submit to this, nor will any of my comrades, ever. Moreover, if we see people in trouble or those that need help, we will intervene with or without your permission.”
“Now see here, Missy!” Bradley cried out. “That is unacceptable! If you wish to be a fugitive from the world again, that’s your choice. But breaking international law…” he let his words trail for effect.”
“What?” Supergirl said, taking a step forward. “What do you honestly plan on doing? We’re doing the right thing; both humanely and morally sound. And here you all sit, threatening the very people that saved you from death and slavery at the hands of the Thanagarians!”
“It’s not wise to threaten this council, Ms. Hudson.”
Chasity held up her hands in dismay. “Threats? You are the ones who have threatened my people with incarceration. You are the people who declared sanctions because they wouldn’t ‘play ball’ with you. You are the ones who have military guards at our border. If I wanted to threaten you, I would do a lot more than declare my intention to violate your lands to help the innocent!”
“Guards!” Vemulakanda cried, watching the young woman get increasingly angry with the way the conversation was going. The same four men, this time carrying a different type of weapon entered from the same doors as last time, trained their weapons upon the young Kryptonian.
She stopped and took a step back, much to the satisfaction of most of the council. With but a word they were able to make one of the most powerful people in the world back off. But Chasity had not had her fill.
“I’ll tell you what…if you want to fire, try it. But I just have one thing to say.”
“And what’s that?”
Chasity turned and looked directly into the nearest floating camera. “I will personally see to the safety and welfare of any metahuman who wishes to come and live free on Crystal Island. If what you have seen bothers you or you are already hiding, get a message to any of us and we will come and get you. So say the Unforgiven!”
The seditious words enraged the Lord of Washington. He rose to his feet and pointed at the young woman. “Fire!”
Instantly four lances of emerald energy struck the Girl of Steel and focused, pouring on their green Kryptonite energy. The four guards began advancing as they went, but the blight flash of the impacts made it hard for anyone to see her. Once they were within a few meters, they released the beams.
Supergirl stood there with her arms crossed, unamused at the attempt to bring her down. The expression on the guards’ faces and the assembled Lords was one of shock and horror, now unsure of what her response would be.
Chasity’s eyes were glazed. She hadn’t come here to do what she had done, and now she was sure things had just gone from bad to worse. There were so many questions left unanswered, but she felt she had to leave before things got any more violent. “I really feel sorry for you all. But remember two things: We will be there to help if we are needed, even if something was to happen to you personally. And second…we didn’t fire the first shot.”
“How?” a guard asked incredulously. “How were you not affected?”
But she had no intention of answering. Turning away from the council, Chasity began to slowly walk away, only brushing by a guard who had not moved. The room stood in silence as she opened the doors and walked away. Only a few could see the tear she wiped away before leaving their sight.
She was wandering aimlessly through the streets of New York. There had to be something she could have done better, something that may have made them understand the way she felt. But instead of being diplomatic, Chasity admitted to herself that she had only exacerbated the situation.
Granted, they were acting out of fear, or perhaps it was simply ego…she couldn’t tell. The guards at the U.N. building had let her leave, unsure of what to do about her, and instead of flying, the Maid of Might walked. Traffic came to a virtual standstill as she passed, and she ignored the hundreds of pictures that were taken as she went.
Chasity barely acknowledged passing the Rockefeller Center, then Grand Central as she veered north. Someone was attempting to talk with her, but she kept going, trying to fathom what the confrontation with the Council had done. It was tantamount to declaring war and she was so tired of fighting. She could only imagine what the others would say when she returned.
The faint smells of trees and water told her subconscious mind that she was nearing Central Park. Still some followed…a reporter…a camera crew…overzealous fan boys…police. Traffic had stalled at the intersection in front of her as the crowd grew. With barely a thought, she floated up and over the vehicles and landed softly in the grass of the park. Walking no more than a few dozen yards farther, the Girl of Steel sat down on a semi-secluded bench.
Onlookers gawked at the sight that none of them had seen in years, and although some dared to approach closer, none had the courage to address the young Kryptonian. She could hear the news crew as it stood perhaps a hundred feet off, filming and doing a live report. Chasity only picked up a few phrases: …Council outraged…defenses moot…voting on embargo…escalating hostilities…menace to society…” She couldn’t take anymore.
“What in Rao’s name is wrong with this place?” she thought to herself. “There is no way that I am that out of touch with the way people think. Are they that afraid? Are they sane? Am I sane? Are they being controlled? Are we all being manipulated? Is there no more to this wasteland than pain and suffering? Maybe I should just go…”
She hung her head and allowed her hair to cascade down the sides of her face as she wrapped her arms around herself, trying to feel at least some comfort. But as thought after thought raced through her head, Chasity felt if her insides were going to rupture…her heart explode with the pain.
“What have I done?”
The crunch of footsteps on fallen leaves barely roused the Girl of Steel from her thoughts, but when a hand gently tugged on her cape, the young woman looked up to see a small boy.
“Ms. Supergirl?” he asked as his mother looked on from a short distance. When Chasity nodded, he pulled a single daisy from behind himself and held it out for her. “Thank you for saving my daddy’s life.”
She could barely believe it. The gesture broke her emotions completely as she gingerly took the flower, staring wide-eyed at the genuine, unadulterated gratitude that he offered. He jumped in and gave the young Kryptonian a kiss on her cheek before turning and going back to his mother. Taking his hand, she glanced back over her shoulder as they walked away, silently thanking Chasity with her smile.
Supergirl watched the mother and her son for long moments before turning her attention to the flower. She studied every detail, every line as if it held the answer to all her worries. Then it hit her…because it did.
“What type of a person would I be if I were to abandon these people now? Some of these people appreciate you…and more need you. There has to be a peaceful solution here somewhere.”
The use of her proper name snapped the young woman back to reality. The voice was unlike any she had heard before and her senses went into high gear before she even moved. There were six of them…all unique to her senses and memory. All others had been moved far away which meant they were not only some type of authority, but expecting something bad. At least they were concerned with the safety of civilians.
“Ms. Hudson, I require an answer.”
The Girl of Steel didn’t bother to lift her head or even look at them. Taking a deep breath and clearing her thoughts, she gave the only answer that seemed appropriate. “Whoever you are…I’m not really interested right now. So please…go away.”
“I’m afraid that’s not an option,” the female voice responded as the six began spreading out, putting some distance between themselves. “Under the authority granted us by Lord Bradley, we have orders to detain you for unlawful use of paranormal abilities in a non-authorized nation.”
“That didn’t take long,” she thought, still not looking up but suspecting who stood before her. “Look…you don’t want to try this. I’m having a really strange day here.”
One of them, a male that smelled faintly like a dog, responded in a huff. “If you don’t cooperate, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.”
“I don’t take threats very well,” Supergirl hissed, her teeth clenching as she began mentally preparing herself. These people were not going to take no for an answer. “So I’m asking you once again: Please go away.”
“I see that you do not want to do this the easy way…”
Chasity sprang to her feet. “I spent two months detained, tortured and humiliated for something that I nor my friends had anything to do with and you think I’m going to let you take me in over some bullshit law?!” She pointed at the blue-cloaked woman who had been speaking. “YOU have got another thing coming!”
The woman’s cloak parted, revealing her complete blue bodysuit, adorned only with red-jeweled cloak clasp. Her hands spread slowly in both a gesture of aggression and to point out her companions. To her right, almost as if she were shielded by fire, another woman stood, holding a pair of weapons aimed at the Maid of Might. A quick glance of x-rays confirmed they were an advanced gauss cannon, and a dark matter accelerator, respectively.
To her right stood a massive and well built man wearing some type of armor that Chasity could not see through, but only covered his shoulders, wrists, and waist down anyway. He had an unusual aura about him and there was an unusual odor unlike anyone she had encountered before.
To the large man’s right there was another man, the one that smelled faintly of canine. He was unassuming, but dressed himself richly and carried a demeanor of confidence. There seemed to be nothing more about him that Chasity could discover.
On the left of the woman shielded in flames, another man stood, studying her just as hard as Supergirl studied them. He wore a closed trench coat and a fedora, but an odd mask covered his face. As she peered beneath the clothing, she was surprised to see that the entire ensemble covered a framework. The arms, hands, feet, legs…all of it was a complex shell that contained…dirt and rocks? Then she remembered. This must be Sand…the man of silica.
To his left there was by far the best looking of them all. The blonde woman stood ready wearing a set of armor that barely covered anything vital though the epaulets and armguards were layered for extra protection. The dull gleam of the metal was trimmed in red and black and draped across her shoulders was a long flowing cloak of scarlet. Her boots were held in place to the waistband of the armor like a garter and upon her head she wore some type of spiked headband. It seemed that the suit was designed to keep eyes off of her sword and on her attributes. Slung across her back she wore a golden sword. On closer look at this woman however, Chasity felt that something major in this woman was changing…and it seemed…somewhat familiar, but she couldn’t place it.
“If you wish to resist us…”
“I don’t want to resist!” Chasity yelled. “Even you have to admit this is stupid! My people and I saved your lives! Along with everyone else who is living today! And you want to confront me now?”
“You broke the law.”
“I broke a lot more than that, Raven,” Supergirl said, deducing to whom she spoke. “And what would happen if I did submit to you? Imprisonment?”
“You would be assimilated into the Genesis Project.”
“And be required to serve just the domestic cities, correct?”
Chasity shrugged. “Well, that’s unacceptable. My duties go beyond this universe. That’s why I’ve been gone for two years.”
The Girl of Steel sighed and shook her head in disgust. “Yet another reason I must resist you.”
The woman known as Raven cocked her head slightly. “Silverfang.”
Instantly the well-dressed man transformed, adding three feet of height and several hundred pounds of muscle and fur. His nose elongated and his hands changed into viscous claws. Somehow his clothes disappeared and when he was finished a large werewolf now stood in his place.
“A Garou!” Chasity exclaimed mentally. “I thought what Jennifer Walters told me about her husband was a joke! And they’re magical, girl. Okay, okay…just remember what happened to Lar Gand and you’ll be okay.”
Raven raised a finger, ready to give the order to attack. But instead of following through, she stared out from underneath her hood and waited for the Kryptonian to make the first move. She watched as the Maid of Might scanned her team over before locking their gazes. She seemed ready. “Firefly.”
Instantly, the girl sheathed in flames fired the dark matter projector. The quarter-gram projectiles shot from the barrel at twenty thousand feet per second with enough force to punch holes through Chobham armor. Firefly watched blankly as her target used one hand and caught the salvo.
“You can’t even hurt me, guys!” Chasity said as she tossed the dark matter away like unwanted candy. “Don’t be foolish!”
She barely got the words out before the assault renewed. The Garou known as Silverfang leapt in, his claws bared to strike. Grabbing an outstretched paw, Supergirl twisted to the side and tossed the beast across the street, eliciting cries of surprise from the gathering crowd. Before she could finish the move, something shadowy hit her across the back like the cracking of a whip, blasting her forward.
Rolling with the punch, Chasity rose quickly and dodged the next bolt coming from Raven, just in time to catch the large man’s hands as his swung. When she saw another shadow bolt coming for her, the Girl of Steel jerked the man known as Apollo forward, using him as a shield against the bolts of magic.
The bolt splashed into Apollo drawing a grunt of pain before he found himself flying at the cloaked sorceress, smacking her broadside. Smelling the approaching Garou, Chasity sidestepped and ducked, barely escaping the claws as Silverfang accidentally bowled into Firefly, sending them both sprawling.
The Maid of Might looked around and saw that the woman in white leather had not moved yet, and the others were picking themselves up. But where was Sand? When the ground itself instantly enveloped her, the question was answered. She tried to move, but found that this man’s powers were quite strong and he was able to restrain her somewhat.
“Do not resist me, Supergirl,” Sand said, the sound of his gravelly voice seeming to come from all around her. “You would not like the results.”
“Let me go or you’re not going to like the results!”
Chasity felt the dirt and rock mixture around her suddenly harden into crystal. Although clear at first, it rapidly took on a greenish hue. She had to admit the tactic was sound, but wondered why Lord Bradley sent these people into battle without telling them that Green K did not work against her. Phasing, the young Kryptonian flew out of the column of radioactive material.
“That ain’t gonna work,” Chasity admonished, solidifying just in time to take the full brunt of a gauss cannon shot, absorbing the energy harmlessly. However, Apollo was fast approaching, his fists swinging. “Don’t…” she blocked the first punch. “…make me…” and the second. “…hurt you!”
Apollo clenched his hands together and swung with all his might, only to have his hands caught and redirected, sending the man into…Chasity expected to see him sprawling on the ground, but he flew parallel with the ground before taking to the sky above her. The others followed suit to surround the young Kryptonian.
“Ms. Hudson…we implore you to surrender,” Raven said, her next spell at the ready. “Do not make us hurt you.”
“How many times do I have to tell you? That’s not going to happen. Nothing you have can affect me,” she lied, withholding her vulnerability to magic. “Take your team and go back to your masters…or better yet, forget him and come live free with us.”
“We have responsibilities to the people of this city and its sister cities.”
“I have responsibilities to the world. How many of you would have starved to death if it wasn’t for me?”
She got no response.
“Dammit! Stop this!” she pleaded. “There is no need to fight anymore! All of the enemies are gone…this is a time for peace. Rebuilding. Family. Values. Not more death and destruction.”
“We are as committed to our cause as you are to yours,” Firefly said.
“As a soldier, would you have us disobey our orders?” Apollo added.
“This is not personal,” Sand commented as he reconstituted himself. “It is our job.”
“And how many unwilling metahumans have you captured?”
“And how many today have the freedom today to do what they want when they want?”
“A few. The rest are still being rehabilitated.”
Chasity shook her head. “Sounds a lot like Fascism to me.”
Raven’s eyes narrowed as a sheen of anger fell over the sorceress. “Serra… end this.”
The woman in white leather stuck her sword in the ground and stepped up to the circle of her allies, facing the Girl of Steel. The others backed away making Chasity wonder what was about to happen. A pair of red beams shot from Serra’s eyes, catching Chas off guard as the heat vision sliced across her cheek, making her yelp in pain.
Tensing, Supergirl shot forward as multi-sonic speeds in an attempt to catch the woman, but found that Serra could move just as fast as she could. Her fist intercepted Chasity and splattered her nose, sending the heroine tumbling deeper into the park, crashing through several trees as she finally came to a stop.
Before she could rise, Chasity ducked to avoid the next blow, and caught the fist of Serra’s other hand. Retaliating the best she could, Chasity aimed a fist at her opponent’s face, only to have it caught in turn. Seeing an advantage, Chasity phased in order to slip through her and attack from behind…but nothing happened.
“Phasing isn’t going to work when I can phase too, Ms. Hudson,” Serra taunted.
“What in Rao’s name?” Chas thought as this woman began to slowly overpower her, forcing her to her a knee. “A power chameleon! Like Rogue…but all she has to do is study an opponent?” The conjecture had to wait as more and more pressure was put on her, forcing her to give way even further.
“Serra? You got her?” Raven asked, running towards the fight.
“For now. You got the Thanagarian shackles?”
The mention of the shackles began to panic the young Kryptonian. With her experience in Lex’s workout room, she knew there was no way to escape them once enclosed around her. Her mind went into overdrive, thinking on what to do without killing someone. She heard the chains of the shackles clink together. They were close now.
Raven tentatively eased forward, handcuffs at the ready. What happened next surprised everyone.
Chasity suddenly let go of Serra’s fist and flew feet first into the ground, dragging the disoriented woman behind her. Coming up through the ground, she grabbed the set of shackles and began flying around a large oak tree as fast as she dare. Clamping an end of the handcuffs around Serra’s free hand, she continued to drag her along, clamping the other end around Raven’s hand. Grabbing the leg irons from Apollo, Chasity whipped the chains at the white clad metahuman, impacting the young woman in the face, splitting her forehead open and knocking her out.
Clasping the leg irons around the leg opposite to the handcuff, Chasity raced back to the tree and clamped the other end around Ravens opposite leg as well, creating a continuous loop. Stepping backwards, Chasity slowed to a normal speed in front of Raven.
“But…that wasn’t possible,” Raven said, confused.
“She may have been able to copy my powers, but not the experience on how to use them and the limitations therein.” A familiar smell was creeping up behind her. “Silverfang…you try it and I’ll make sure those claws are directed into your leader here.”
“I thought you said you didn’t want to hurt us, Chasity.”
“You’re forcing my hand.”
“They won’t surrender.”
“This isn’t a surrender…it’s a stalemate.”
“So it is.”
“Look,” Chasity said, holding up her hands to signal that she wasn’t pressing hostilities. “In a way, I can respect your position. But know this: My position is to help people. I don’t care about laws that hinder that, or national boundaries. Just life. If we meet again…remember that. Even if you were in trouble, I would be there to help.”
“Understood. As long as you understand what we fight for and that we will be there to bring you all in.”
Two days later…
“I don’t care what anyone else says, Tony.”
“Some of the others may get a bit…concerned…that we are insisting on this.”
“We both know that you can’t do this day in and day out,” Bruce Wayne said as he paced the conference room. Although he had been Batman for five years now, this was a lesson he had learned as well. And if what was said is true, then it was more pertinent now than ever. “You have to have an escape.”
“What you’re proposing is not quite an escape.”
“From here it is, Tony. Only those of us who decided to stay and teach spend any amount of appreciable time on this island. And she hasn’t left since day one to do anything other than fight.”
Suddenly the door opened and in walked Steve Rogers, followed closely by Supergirl, all dressed in civilian clothing. The expression on the Maid of Might’s face was one of impatience until the door was closed behind her, leaving her alone and curious with the three men. She had not wished to be pulled away from Communications, waiting for some signal for help but when Steve had insisted, she went with him.
“Okay guys, what did you want to see me about?”
Bruce nodded to Tony, letting him begin the prepared response.
“Chas…If I’m not mistaken, you gave up your position as tactical leader right after the last battle. Just as the Thans were packing up and leaving, Isn’t that right?”
She nodded. “Yeah, that would be correct.”
Then Bruce took over. “We know that you have this slight aversion to those in authority over you. Not that I can blame you considering the circumstances, but since your return, you have either consciously or unconsciously been assuming that authority again.”
“It appeared that this situation needed…”
“It doesn’t” Bruce quipped, cutting the young woman off. “We need you to recognize that we have appointed a new leader. And it’s not you.”
Chasity tilted her head in confusion. “Are you saying that I have made bad decisions? That I have put people at risk for no reason?”
“No, that’s not the point at all,” Captain America intervened. You’re proven to be a fantastic tactician, a wonderful strategist. But at this point we need someone who can balance things out. Walk on the edge of a fence and frankly you seem to be more comfortable on one side of it.”
“I’ve had to do a lot of things that weren’t really in my nature, guys.”
Bruce stepped forward for emphasis. “Chas. Will you accept another authority? Someone that you know and respect? And follow his or her orders?”
The young Kryptonian glanced at the three men. All of them were wise, battle-hardened, intelligent individuals who knew more about this world and time period than she did. And it wasn’t like she had been a leader her entire career…far from it. She didn’t lead the Sorority unless it was warranted…she didn’t lead Heath or Clark or Alysa.
“You’re right. I did give up that position and I haven’t been reappointed. And since I’m supposed to be part of a team…then yes. I will follow and obey whoever is put in charge.”
“Good,” Tony exhaled, a building tension disappearing from his features. “Steve is the chosen leader.”
Chasity looked at the American Icon and smiled. She couldn’t have picked a better person herself. “Okay. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to monitor Communications.”
“No,” Steve said firmly. “That’s not all. I have some orders for you, Chas.”
Surprised at the turn in the conversation, the young Kryptonian stood fast. “Whatcha want me to do?”
“Bruce has the details of your new assignment.”
Batman stepped forward, a file folder in his hand. Tossing the file on the table, he began his briefing. “Effective immediately, you are relieved of your duties to and on this island.”
He waited until the initial shock wore off of her face. “Chas, you have had virtually no downtime since any of us have known you. It’s been constant battling, planning, worrying, imprisonment, saving a galaxy in another universe, whatever. Your orders are this: You will be taking an apartment in New York, one of my former safe houses. You will be taking a sub-contractors job as a technology designer for a small R+D firm that I own. This is to facilitate a paper trail to fool anyone investigating you and to give you some funds on which to live as a human.”
“And what am I to do there?”
“Nothing at the moment,” Tony interjected. “You need some time to readjust. To remember what it’s like inside of society. All the problems that built up in your absence, and the really big one that you just committed us to shows us that you have not yet fully rejoined the team. I assume you thought you did what you had to. Well, for all our sakes, that stops now.”
“You can’t ask me not to help people who are in need.”
Steve smiled and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Wouldn’t dream of it. If you see a problem that requires your attention in New York, by all means…do what you do best. But anything outside of that city is no longer your concern for now. Let us handle it. If we need you, we’ll call you. If you need us…”
Bruce tossed the blonde heroine a cell phone. “Private lines to each of us and back here. Encrypted on a secure link. Also programmed with numbers to Jean’s office and Richard’s comlink.”
“Chas, he leads the tactical team, remember? It is his full-time job. If for some reason you need help, call him. If it’s really big, then he has the ability to get a hold of everyone else. And he can decide whether you would be needed in any situation or not.”
“And what if someone recognizes me?”
“Most people look at the suit, girl, Tony shrugged. “With you running around in civvies, most won’t give you a second glance. Plus…who would expect Supergirl, a.k.a. Chasity Hudson to be ‘Lacey Miller’ in disguise?”
The Maid of Might looked from one of these men to the next carefully. They had expended time and scarce resources to set this up for her. “You guys…have planned this out carefully, haven’t you?”
“You must admit…a few months of rest and relaxation would help you. Plus, maybe it will give you a chance to understand the people who you have sworn to protect.”
Supergirl grinned before laughing softly. “Yeah, I hope so…”
-- Otherverse and Multiverse, as depicted in the Continuum Worlds,
-- are original creations of Dylan Clearbrook
-- Alterverse and The Inheritors and their associated universes, as depicted in the Continuum Worlds,
-- are the original creations of Eldric
-- The Realm and Shadowverse, as depicted in the Continuum Worlds,
-- are original creations of John P. and Jason G respectively.
-- Some characters in Continuum Worlds stories are original
-- creations of Dylan Clearbrook, Michael Liebhart,
-- Jake H., Jason Froikin, Eldric, Jason G, or Andrew Shields and may not
-- be used without express permission of the respective author
-- Supergirl, Lar Gand and other DC characters are property of D.C. Comics
-- Rogue, Jennifer Walters and other Marvel characters are property of Marvel Comics