JUSTICE LEAGUE

7

Loudmouth, The Silencer, and A New Member
 

Oreo Avenger flew around the city, looking for trouble. She didn't want to go back to the Hall of Justice until she knew Homeward Bound was well over. She glanced at the watch pendant on her necklace. Only a half hour more.

Suddenly (Dun dun DUUUUUUUN), an alarm sounded from the city below. Two masked men ran out from a small store.

"Attention Justice Hall," she said into her radio, "I'm going to get some punks who just robbed the Mom and Pop Bakery. You know, the place with those little donuts." Oreo Avenger waited for someone from the Hall to acknowledge her. Only static came through the speaker. The person manning the radio must be involved in an exciting card game.

Oreo Avenger hesitated only a moment before flying after the punks.

***

As a result of the virus, Twisk gained some unexpected powers. She now had the ability to generate electricity through jets of water shot through her hand.

"See, unexpected advantages can come through, even in great disasters," Neomatrix told her.

"You got lucky." Pinzz said indignantly.

“Now if you all don’t mind, I would like to get back to repairing my ship and retrieving files-ALONE!” Neomatrix said.

Everyone vigorously nodded in agreement.

***

Isomorphix sat in his room at the Hall of Justice. He sat in his revolving chair with his boots up on the table, fiddling with a set of readouts.

The track had gone cold since Kut Kastle. He had been around, visited places, slept in understaffed filthy motels. It seemed the next round of clues led to the Green Penguin formerly known as Bubba. Or now known as Radioactive Bubba. It didn't matter... the bird was always one step ahead.

Isomorphix crumpled up the papers and tossed them into the wastebasket sitting in the corner, his katana propped up next to it.

Heh. She was as mad as I expected. Isomorphix thought as his thoughts shifted to when he first arrived again at the Justice League. Violet had seemed pretty mad. Most of her incoherent words had passed over him, but he wondered what was with the girl.

He stared back at the computer console for a moment... relevant links between the many crimes seemingly disappearing off the screen. Pressing his thumb and forefinger against the bridge of his nose, Isomorphix looked up and outside the small window next to the bed.

The spaceship had been moved off the roof of the JL Main Hall for convenience. That story, in and of itself, had complications Isomorphix didn't even want to think about.

A lighthearted yelp came from down the hall. Some others having a good time.

Isomorphix looked back at his katana. He needed to... vent. Jumping up from his chair, Isomorphix's boots made a heavy impact on the floor as he picked up the sheathed blade and slid it into his belt.

Slipping past the hall lined with doors to the other living quarters, Isomorphix slipped outside of the Residence Building and made his way to the forest behind the JL HQ.

***

Neomatrix wandered into the living room. The Justice League was mostly sitting around, watching some show about animals on TV. The man on the screen had a clearly Australian accent, as far as he could tell from his database.

He didn’t bother to get their attention; he just started talking. “All right, we’ve got some major security issues at the Hall of Justice. I mean, you allowed an alien spacecraft to land. We are going to need some class A disruptors all around the JL perimeter; we will also need some shrieker missiles manning the main building. My ship has been repaired, so I will be able to defend the base with it and possibly manufacture new weapons for the Justice League. So who wants upgrades? I also could start building a fleet of ships or a mothership using stored information....

"No." said Raven. Everyone looked at her, mildly surprised. Raven was usually pretty agreeable, though once she got a hold of some ideal she would never let go of it. (And would likely start a revolution to boot.)

She sighed, and stood up from the La-Z-Boy, pacing like a caged tiger-or a raven with its wings clipped. "The Justice League Hall is not a fortress. And we all should have our say in this. It's not that I don't trust you, Neomatrix. To be honest, I'm not sure yet. But no. Not until everyone has a chance to put their say in."

She paused. "I'm going to look for Oreo. She'll need to be here if we're going to discuss it."

***

Oreo Avenger swooped down after the two punks. One wore a snowcap and baggy clothes; the other wore an overcoat and a baseball cap, turned backwards. Their outfits were, of course, completely black. They both wore masks.

Oreo Avenger followed them for a little, waiting for them to notice her. When they didn't, she finally said, "Ahem."

The two punks jumped ten feet and spun around. "Hey! Who are you?!" demanded the one in the snow cap.

Oreo Avenger gave them a blank look. Pointed at her costume.

"Oh, yeah. Sorry. Um, what do you want?!"

"I want to know why you two felt so obliged to relieve Mom and Pop's Bakery of their money!" Oreo Avenger retorted.

"Yo! We didn't take just the money!" The snowcap-wearing punk said. "We took some of those little donuts, too! Damn, they're good. Aren't they good" He asked his counterpart, who just glared at him.

"Um, right. Now, who are you two?" Oreo Avenger demanded.

"Well, I'm Loud Mouth, and this is my hetero life mate, the Silencer!" Snowcap Loud Mouth said, striking a pose.

Oreo Avenger stared. "Why are you called Loud Mouth?"

Loud Mouth shrugged. "Oh, well, there's a very interesting story behind that, you see..." He took a deep breath and then, at the top of his lungs, which must have been the size of dinner tables, yelled "SNOOOOOOOOOOOOCH!!!!!!"

Windows shattered, sidewalk cracked, and Oreo Avenger was thrown back by the sheer force of the sound.

"See?" Loud Mouth said, when the deafening echoes had subsided. "Loud Mouth! Makes sense! Now, you silly Justice F***, time to get a spanking!"

He breathed in deeply, but Oreo Avenger was faster this time. She flew at Loud Mouth, knocking him over, holding his mouth closed. Loud Mouth glared, and then let out another blast of sound, which, after a few seconds, forced Oreo Avenger off of him.

Raven had arrived at the scene, but had been knocked back by Loud Mouth's first mammoth yell. Now she ran, because she saw the one thing Oreo Avenger hadn't- the Silencer. He was moving up behind her, and even in his bulky over coat, boots, and the numerous gadgets hanging from him, he seemed to make no noise. Maybe he was just well trained in stealth. Or maybe he was a mutant. No time to puzzle it out now.

Raven ran up and kicked the Silencer in his tubby rear, and he fell, rolling himself up in his overcoat, He freed one hand, his head, and produced what looked like a gun, with a four-pronged hook at the end. A grappling hook gun, Raven realized, a second before he fired.

No time to dodge, Raven concentrated, and made the molecules in her body move farther apart. The hook passed through her as if through air and latched onto a telephone pole.

The Silencer was suddenly dragged behind it, through Raven's barely-solid body, and ended up hanging helpless, from the telephone pole.

"Thanks," Oreo Avenger said.

"Hahahaha!" Loud Mouth laughed, not very evilly. "Prepare to become hearing-impaired, Justice S*** Heads!"

He took a deep breath...

Sucked in an Oreo.

With a POOF, a pink poodle appeared where Loud Mouth had been. Oreo Avenger grabbed it and wrapped ultra-super-unbreakable adhesive- duck tape- around its mouth. Raven collected the Silencer, and knocked him unconscious by whacking him over the head.

"We should get back now," Raven said. "Stuff's going down."

"Bad stuff?"

"Maybe, not quite sure just yet. Hopefully good."

"Yeah, hopefully."

***

X-Raytor fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat. Way too on edge, way too restless. He hated it when he couldn't concentrate like this. Back before he'd gotten his powers, the doctors had given him medications for this, after the school counselor had decided his low grades weren't just a product of not trying.

ADD. That's what they'd called it. Attention Deficit Disorder. He hadn't heard much after that- obviously. He'd always had a short attention span, especially in school. Darn teachers talked so much and for so long... how was he supposed to concentrate. His x-ray vision had given him a new outlet for his boredom- finding out exactly what his female classmates had under those white golf shirts and gray skirts. All in good fun, of course. Except for the girl he'd looked at too much, the girl who he hadn't been able to look away from, the girl who he needed to see naked, vulnerable, to cover up his own insecurities for failing her before...

And, in the end, he'd failed her again.

The door opened. Oreo Avenger and Raven walked in, dragging an unconscious man and a poodle.

"Don't ask." Oreo Avenger said.

After the two criminals had been taken to the holding center, the debate started up again. Thank God. Arguments, fights, and looking through girls' clothing- those were the only things that could keep his attention. He could only really concentrate when he was angry or horny. Sometimes in fear, too, but everyone became alert then.

Neomatrix started to talk, explaining. X-Raytor listened for a few minutes, caught a few words- "Chak-Ra," "Nlaarg"- but then he tuned out. God, no matter what planet they come from, people just couldn't stop talking.

Bored. Bored bored bored. Restless restless restless. Legs tingling from being in the same place too long. Eyes moving lazily, not even taking the opportunity to peer through Twisk's suit. Pinzz was talking now, then Isomorphix. X-Raytor tuned in every time a new speaker started, but it was all diplomat speak, boooooooooooring.

He wanted an argument. He wanted Neomatrix to make some sort of outrageous demand. He wanted someone to explode on the alien for his meddling. Hell, he wanted Pinzz to start calling him a freak again. Anything, anything to outlet the boredom, the anger, the...

"Okay, listen." X-Raytor said, standing up. Pinzz, who had been in the middle of speaking, paused, looked annoyed.

"Hey, Super Pervert, we're having a discussion here." She grated, obviously on edge. She had been under a lot of pressure since people started regarding her as the unofficial leader.

"Yes, that's all we're doing. Discussing. Discussing when we've got an alien here, a fugitive alien, with a ship full of weapons that we don't know anything about. An alien who has meddled not just in our affairs, but with our actual selves as well. Look! Twisk is mutated into some sort of hydro-cyborg, OMEGA was doing a mind-meld with E.T. here."

"Do you have a point?" Pinzz asked, trying to restrain herself.

"Yes. Yes I do." X-Raytor's heart was pumping now, the blood hot in his face. You could cut the tension in this room with a knife; everyone was so on edge, so close to exploding... Cool. "I say, screw the diplomacy. Screw the niceties. This isn't some sort of foreign ambassador we're dealing with, this is an alien. A dangerous alien- maybe dangerous to us, maybe not. There's only one way to find out,"

X-Raytor turned to Neomatrix, and gave him a hard look from beneath his mask. "Tell me this, and tell me clearly. No skipping around, no sap stories about the Nlaarg or whatever, just tell me plain and simple: What do you want?"

***

"Right on X-Raytor." Pinzz said and turned to FreakMatrix. "That is an excellent question. Why don’t you answer it?"

"I am Neomatrix. I was flying through space for billions of years. I landed here, not purposely of course. I do not think I can get back to my planet, which is very technologically advanced. I wish to join your team."

"Uhh, well, you want to join our team?" Pinzz repeated.

He nodded.

"See, I think it would be...uncomfortable for you to be here with us."

"Why is that?" he asked.

"Well, because…well, look at you. You’re staring at me right now. You’re not even blinking. That’s a little freaky there NeoBooger."

"Yeah, plus he is dangerous. He almost fried me... well, in all fairness, I did that myself, but he was in my head and stuff. Not fun." Twisk said.

"Yeah. He is a little weird. But we don’t know his powers. Maybe he has good ones?" Scarlett looked uncertain.

"Well, what are your powers?" Pinzz asked.

"I have many powers, as well as greatly advanced technology I could give to you. I am also very powerful myself. I can communicate with technology. I am a master of machines..." He went on stating his powers for a while.

"You want to be in? One, don’t be weird. Two, you better not be weird. Three, you follow rules." Pinzz said.

"You sure, Pinzz?" Studmuffin asked.

"Do we need a vote?" I asked. No one said anything. "Okay, then. And we need to go night hawking. Come on."

***

Xiao was bored, and unable to sleep. Raven and her watch had been dull and uneventful, and Fred was nagging her about her "lack of servitude", and Pinzz and Crystal had been as annoying as ever. Wanting a distraction, she headed outside, surprised to see it was almost dawn, and a thin, misty fog was rolling in.

She wandered off into town, not sure of what to do since she didn't have much cash on hand, and she wasn't really hungry or thirsty. Xiao considered entering a bar, but decided against it. She couldn't stand all those people crammed together, drinking, and dancing. Instead she just walked along, until... something happened.

First, several thugs stepped out of an alley and began following her. Second, two more appeared in front of her.

"Great. I just love confrontations," she muttered to herself. "Well, might as well get this over with."

There were five in total, and none had any visible weapons, although one had a suspicious bulge under his shirt that looked like a large gun.

The first one to step towards her appeared to be in his twenties or thirties, and he was the ugliest of the bunch. Xiao wasn't one to really judge appearances much, but this guy could've at least attempted to bathe every once in awhile. He reached Xiao and started to make rude suggestions. She reached over, touching his face with a hand and suddenly he fell limp to the ground as his life was drained through her into Fred.

She drained another when they stared, surprised, at their fallen leader. After that, two drew knives, and the one with the bulge produced a pretty darn big firearm that did not look at all legal. Xiao went for him first, since the others wouldn't be quite as deadly. He managed to fire once, but it went wild because she kicked his arm when he went to fire. He went down, and she turned to find Fred had grabbed one by his scrawny neck and tossed him several feet through the air like a limp rag doll-but not before he managed to swipe at Xiao, and draw a long wound on her arm.

The other ran off, cursing, and looking back at them every few feet, and finally disappearing into the fog of dawn.

"That was satisfying," Fred said, flexing his shadow muscles. "Those idiots had plenty of juice in them."

"Yeah well, speak for yourself." Xiao examined her injury. "Man, this sucks. My brand new shirt..."

"Shut it, slave. When I regain my dark power, torn shirts will be the least of people's problems."

"Whatever. If you want your 'dark power' so badly, next time, do your share." She rubbed the wound, wincing. "I hope that knife wasn't rusty. I'd better go wash up before I get back..."

Stopping at a public restroom in a fast food restaurant ('Open EARLY!', the sign said), she washed the blood off her arm, and fixed her shirt so the rip wasn't noticeable. When she got to HQ, she'd have to hope everyone was asleep so she could change shirts after bandaging the cut and washing it more thoroughly.

When she got back, everyone did seem to be asleep, though she didn't exactly check. Cleaning the wound as best as she could, she bandaged it up, changed her top, and slipped back under the covers, and fell asleep.

***

With several cracking sounds, the branches in front of Isomorphix tore into splinters. He held his stance for a moment, the deadly blade running parallel and backward to his arm, the hilt held firmly in his grasp.

He sighed and resheathed his katana. It had been an uneventful day and night, for Isomorphix at least. He had been out in the woods practicing (or venting, whichever), only returning every now and then to the Main Hall for food.

He and Violet Princess were supposed to have been "nighthawking" that night, but Isomorphix had stayed in the woods. He imagined that Violet had been by herself in the Main Hall watching a movie or something similar.

And now... now it was nearly morning, the first strands of light beginning to penetrate the darkness. Despite being up all night destroying the woods, Isomorphix seemed restless.

Walking across the dead leaves to a firm tree, Isomorphix sat under it, his back leaning against the trunk.

The sun is already rising, he thought as he looked up into the brightening sky.

The sunrise had just barely been complete when, without realizing it, Isomorphix slipped into his cautious pseudo-slumber that had become his second nature, his katana still clasped in his hand.