A tall, dark man slipped down the alley, the thump of his boots hidden by the thumping and grinding of machines pounding away at adamantium. He was almost seven feet tall and built like a man who worked out quite a bit. Glancing backwards, he made a preliminary sweep, keeping an eye out for his contact. After all, his contact had picked the location. Eyeing the place once more, the hulking man thought about how fortunate he was that there were no cops skulking around. Still, the clanking 'bots, piles of trash and practically nonexistent lighting added to the overall nastiness of this 'hood. He could probably tattoo his name on his chest and scream it from the nearest roof, and still the police wouldn't dare venture into this part of town to catch him.
"You're late," A voice hissed in the semi-darkness. The tall man spun, terror clawing at his chest like a ravenous beast. At the head of the alley, a smaller man lounged atop an overhead pipe. One leg was casually propped up, the other hung down the side, swinging idly. A thin blade was balanced on the tip of the smaller man's finger.
"I had to get away from da boss. He wouldn't a let me get out of there otderwise." the Big man said, swallowing jerkily. True, he'd agreed to meet his old 'friend' here, but the shorter man scared him. Especially the way he stared at him, unblinkingly, like he could see right through the big man. Those slitted eyes seemed to be looking into his mind, penetrating right to the soul. The smaller man's eyes revealed his icy determination, and a veiled threat of what could happen if the big man failed to deliver.
Jumping down from the pipe, Carter landed like a cat, light on his feet. The blade he held in his fingers remained completely steady. "I didn't come here to exchange pleasantries, Bane. I came to make a deal. All I need is some information and some cooperation from your gang."
"Oh yeah? And what'ch ya gonna pay for it?" the big man demanded in an attempt to sound unafraid.
Carter shrugged noncommittally. Reaching into a coat pocket he drew out a small bag and casually tossed it across the alley to Bane. The bigger man unwrapped the package, and his eyes widened. Sparkling sapphires glittered in the bag, along with computer chips, rolls of data sheet, and credit tags. He picked up one credit tag and a data sheet. The amount on the tag was enough to impress even a hardened mobster like him, and the schematics on the data sheets…..Bane grinned at what they would mean before closing the bag and looking back up at Carter, the smaller man's face calm and impassive. "So, what'd ya say ya needed?"
Superman flew into the bridge of the battle cruiser, the wide window of space opening up before him. Brainy sat at the navigation station across the room from Bouncing Boy, who was piloting the vessel. Phantom Girl was looking over a few schematics, and Saturn Girl was turning off a video screen, looking just a little irritated. Timber Wolf and Star Boy were elsewhere on the ship.
"Everything going alright, Saturn Girl?" Superman asked.
"Everything is fine Superman, just having to deal with a few things." Saturn Girl assured him. Before she could elaborate, an alarm went off. A few moments later, Timber Wolf and Star Boy flew into the room.
"What's going on?" Timberwolf demanded.
"It appears as though a gang on Orando is blowing up a S.T.A.R. laboratory." Brainy replied, quickly pulling up some video imaging. A group of gigantic, heavily muscled men with enormous guns were opening fire on the lab.
"The lab has its shields up, but with all the artillery this gang is using against them, the shields probably won't be holding up much longer."
"Is there any information about who these guys are?" Timber Wolf asked, always the practical one.
"For all intents and purposes, it appears to be the Serpents again. It's possible they are working with the Alliance in this case," Brainy answered.
Superman looked back up at the screen, and the destruction it showed. "Then we'd better stop them before they get what they want."
"Like taking candy from a baby, ain't it?" A scrawny, cocky little man said, smirking as he led the gang through the decimated doorway of the S.T.A.R. lab. Beside him, a much larger man frowned. \
"Take it easy. We just need to smash everything in this place." He reached under a desk and pulled out a terrified scientist. Lifting her by the collar and holding a blaster to her head, he bared his teeth. She paled instantly and swallowed hard.
"Please, don't hurt me, I beg of you…." She began shaking, and her eyes began to water.
"Yeah, right lady, we don't want no trouble," Bane scoffed.
"Well, then you should have been looking somewhere else," said a raspy voice, filled with quiet menace.
Bane glanced up just as a gray wolf about his size leaped up and slammed right into him, throwing him to the ground as he released the scientist. A whitish glow surrounded her as she floated over to another part of the room, courtesy of Star Boy.
The scrawny man pulled out a small cannon with an automatic targeting system, setting his sights on the darker boy. Suddenly, a double set of laser disks slammed into the ground around him, raising clouds of dust and blocking the cannon. The man coughed, then looked up. A slender, green skinned teenager had his hands pointed at him, thin lasers popping out of the arm of the suit he wore.
Just then a blast of lasers scorched through the room. At the entrance, several Serpents began firing on the Legionnaires, catching them in a potentially deadly crossfire. Brainy immediately pulled up a shield, and some of the legionnaires stepped behind it. Superman launched forward and fired his heat vision, knocking back three or four of the armored gangsters in one motion. Phantom Girl rose up from the floor behind two of them and stuck her hand through their torsos, short-circuiting the suits they wore and knocking them unconscious. Two more of the gangsters fell, moaning and holding their heads as Saturn Girl projected a mental blast at them.
Just like that, the fight was over. Bouncing Boy was waiting outside, a small pile of gangsters laying on the pavement in front of the building, all unconscious.
"Well, that was easy." Bouncing Boy said brightly as the Science Police arrived to take away the criminals. Just then one of the gangsters laughed, the big guy Timber Wolf had taken out.
"You ain't seen nuttin yet," he snarled, a small detonator popping out of his sleeve. Before anyone had a chance to stop him, he pressed the detonate button. Simulteneously, the gangsters disappeared and an inferno flushed out from the corridor into the main room, headed for the legionnaires.
"Get back!" Superman shouted before taking in a deep breath and releasing his freezing breath. The fire stopped in its tracks, the flames frozen into their shapes. It took everyone a minute to regain their bearings.
"What was that all about?" Timber Wolf asked, the first to recover from the initial shock. Another transmission came in, and Brainy frowned. "There's an attack on the other side of town, at the hospital." Brainy informed the legionnaires as they launched into the sky.
"Why would they attack a hospital? Is there someone there they could be after?" Phantom Girl wondered aloud. Star Boy shook his head as he glanced over several schematics and lists as they flew.
"There's no one really big listed here. This makes no sense. Why would they attack a hospital?"
"I think we're about to find out," Bouncing Boy said, pointing out a billowing smoke coming out of the hospital. "But first, we've got to get those people out of there."
"Phantom Girl, you help the firefighters get those people out of there, your powers will be able to rescue injured people before they suffocate. Everyone else, let's go find out what our friends are up to." Superman uttered the orders quickly before flying into the building ahead of the rest of the legionnaires. Saturn Girl's eyes lit up.
"They're in the center of the hospital, in some of the reconstruction labs. It feels like there's only three of them." Bouncing Boy and Timber Wolf exchanged a glance. Why only send three people?
Superman burst through two doors, knocking it back into the room itself, where it clattered at the feet of three people who they knew all too well. One man was the big one from the attack on the lab, his smirk still etched onto his face. Another man wore a black suit and a mask with green eyeholes, a length of chain twisted in his hands- Grimbor. The third man, who was calmly pulling electrical wires out of the wall, was Carter Snake-Eyes. As the legionnaires entered the room, he turned around lazily, his expression almost bored.
"Oh how droll. The heroes come to save the day again. Grimbor, Bane, if you would, please." Neither of the henchmen really needed the encouragement. Bane jumped forward and smashed his hands into the ground, creating a shockwave that knocked back Timber Wolf and Bouncing Boy.
"Since did this guy get super strength?" Star Boy asked, a little incredulous as he made Bane light as air. Bane floated back against a wall, then pushed off it, his momentum sending him spiraling through the air. Star Boy ducked before letting Bane drop again, this time making Bane as heavy as lead. The man's feet sank into the floor, but he still kept coming, punching at Star Boy, Timber Wolf, and Bouncing Boy, who had recovered by then.
Saturn Girl swooped down from the ceiling, aiming a mental blast at Grimbor. The man yelped at the sudden mental pressure, but whipped one of his chains around and caught Saturn Girl around the midsection, yanking her to the floor. She hit with a soft 'oof'. Grimbor raised another one of the chains to knock her out, but before he could bring it down, he felt the weight disappear from his hand. Looking back, the chain had been melted just a couple inches before his hand. Brainiac 5 lowered his blaster, and before he could react, Grimbor pulled out another length of chain. Spinning it before letting it wrap around Brainy, it let loose an electrical shock from the nano-generators imbedded in the chain. Brainy hit the ground, stunned from the shock. The voltage hadn't been high enough to kill him, or even knock him out, but it was enough to temporarily paralyze him. Grimbor turned toward the green-skinned teen for a moment, then stumbled forward after a kick in the back from Saturn Girl. Grimbor turned and grabbed her arm, throwing her back and hitting Bouncing Boy, slamming them both into a wall.
Superman flew straight at Carter, who stood from his position of kneeling on the floor. From one pocket, he pulled out a small blaster and fired it, letting a net spin through the air, wrapping around Superman. It began glowing green as the man of steel fell to the floor.
"Tyrilium fibers laced with kryptonite. Not enough to seriously incapacitate you, but enough to make doing this much easier." With that Carter gave a quick jab to the side of Superman's neck, hitting a particularly sensitive nerve that, while before wouldn't have even fazed the man of steel, now hurt badly enough to temporarily knock him out.
Timber Wolf turned away from Bane to see what was going on, only to feel two hard fists slam down onto his back, knocking him to the ground. Star Boy jumped back as Bane took more swings at him, then fell to the floor as a sharp pain went through his neck. Carter let his hand drop, still appearing disinterested in the events taking place. Behind him, Grimbor turned away from a chain-wrapped Saturn Girl.
"Do you have everything you need now, Carter?" he asked.
A faint smile played along the man's lips. "Almost. I just need to deliver a message now." Turning to Saturn Girl, he knelt beside her. "Listen well, Saturn Girl, because I won't repeat this twice. All of the Legion's attempts to stop the Alliance are futile, and I can assure you that I am not play-acting, unlike most of the villains you face. Either stop fighting our organization, or you and the rest of the legion will lose everything you care about, everyone you've ever held dear, and every ideal you have ever fought for will be worth nothing. Stand down, or this will come to pass."
With that he leaned over and pressed a hand to a pressure point in the telepath's neck. Pain exploded from the spot. By the time Saturn Girl had overcome it, all three men were gone.
"Did we ever find out what they did take from the hospital?" Bouncing Boy asked, rubbing the bump on the back of his head with a wince. After the fight Phantom Girl had found them all and they had been transported to a recovery wing. Thankfully they were all fine other then a few scrapes and bruises, and those would heal quickly.
Brainy nodded. "The hospital took inventory of all the equipment stored in those rooms. One neurological repair chamber, two biolink power couplets, a regrowth chamber… …basically a bunch of components needed to facilitate the repairs of the body."
"Do you have any idea what they could be wanting with that technology?" Phantom Girl asked quietly, standing next to Timber Wolf, who was holding an icepack to his forehead much to his own annoyance.
Brainy shook his head. "I don't know, but whatever it is, it can't be good."
Carter set the stolen equipment on the lab tables, leaving it for Tharock and Dr. Londo to assemble. Another man stood with him, looking over the technology and nodding with approval.
"I'm glad to see that someone in this organization can do their job properly. You've done well. Now we can go about starting Project Alpha Beta." The man's lip twisted. "Or rather, we would be able to, seeing as your apprentice has yet to deliver the samples from subject T1."
Carter grimaced. "I can assure you sir, my apprentice will deliver soon. The consequences for failing are a good reminder of why we do not fail."