Sol repeatedly poked the chair she sat in before Superboy grabbed her finger and gently brought her hand down to her lap. Nearby, Aqualad smiled at the Krytonians' antics.
"Red Tornado, please open the bay doors." After Megan's request, the doors opened and the bioship took flight. Sol gazed with wonder as their surroundings flew past them. She was interested in the bioship and their surroundings, but not the flight itself, preferring her own method of flight, which was limited to inside the mountain.
She tuned into Aqualad and Superboy's conversation, hearing a familiar word.
"Why must he say sorry?"
Aqualad gave a small, sly grin as the boy of steel frowned. "To feel sorry or be sorry for someone is to sympathize with their plight or misfortune. It's like an apology meant to console or comfort someone. Superboy hurt Miss Martian's feelings."
The living star frowned as she nodded. "I think I understand. Superboy must apologize for making Megan sad, right?"
Superboy sighed. "It's not that easy, Sol. Easy: uncomplicated, effortless or simple."
Robin, Megan and Wally were having their own sad conversation as the Cadmus pair and Aqualad spoke. To distract Megan from her sadness, Robin asked if she could demonstrate martian shape-shifting.
Sol, Superboy and Aqualad turned around as Megan transformed into Robin, then twirled and transformed into Kid Flash.
Wally dopily grinned. "Is it wrong to think I'm hot?"
Robin clapped, but added, "Impressive. But you know you're not exactly going to fool anyone with those."
Sol glanced at Superboy and Aqualad. "How come Robin and Kid Flash had these?" Sol reached up to her chest, but Superboy was quick to grab her hands, again, and brought them down. Robin, who heard and saw, started cackling. Aqualad sighed as Megan started blushing. Wally was too distracted to notice.
"Mimicking boys is a lot harder," Megan said as she transformed into a perfect copy of Sol. She turned towards Wally as he happily sighed, pushing brown hair behind her ear. Robin's eyes narrowed as he caught a glimpse of something black poking out of the back copy of Sol's shirt.
"And your clothes?"
"They're organic, like the ship. They respond to my mental commands," Megan happily said.
Superboy turned towards the front of the ship. "As long as they're the only ones." Sol reached over and held his hand, giving her Cadmus fellow a tiny smile. Superboy stared at the sun blankly, before looking away with a scoff.
Megan looked down with a despondent expression.
Wally hurried to ask, "Can you do that ghosting through walls thing that Manhunter does?"
"Density shifting? No, i-it's a very advanced technique."
Robin chimed in, "Flash can vibrate his molecules though a wall," he stopped to chuckle. "When he does it, bloody nose."
"Dude!" Wally exclaimed.
Megan brightened. "Here's something I can do: Camouflage Mode." Sol looked out the window and gasped as the wings of the bioship disappeared into the clouds.
"Red Tornado to Miss Martian. An emergency alert has been triggered at the Happy Harbor Power Plant. I suggest you investigate. Covertly. I'm sending coordinates."
"Received, adjusting course."
Robin scoffed. "Tornado's keeping us busy again."
"Well, a simple fire led you to Superboy and Sol. We should find out what caused the alert."
Sol tugged Superboy's arm and pointed outside. "I think I know the cause." The bioship was trapped in the tornado, jostling the team before Megan managed to safely land the bioship and the young heroes.
The team looked on as the power plant workers screamed and tried to run away from the devastation wrought by the tornado.
"Robin, are tornadoes common in New England?" Aqualad turned to said boy who disappeared. "Robin?"
Megan wildly glanced around. "He was just here!"
The team rushed inside the power plant, where they heard the missing boy's eerie laughter. They were met with the sight of Robin being blasted against a wall by an unknown villain in what seemed to be a unique red and black, armored suit. Superboy tried to push Sol behind him, but the living star already started floating in preparation for battle.
"Who's your new friend?"
"Didn't catch his name, but he plays kinda rough!" Robin exclaimed as Superboy jumped towards the villain.
"My apologies, you may address me as Mr. Twister," Mr. Twister said before knocking Superboy back with air currents. Superboy hit a wall, leaving a crater imprint, but Sol flew back and caught him by the back of his jacket before his face planted in the ground. She pulled him into a sitting position, and they watched their teammates share Superboy's experience.
"I was prepared to be challenged by superheroes. I was not, however, expecting children," Mr. Twister mocked.
Robin grunted as he threw exploding discs at the villain. "We're not children!" One disc exploded in front of Mr. Twister and the other embedded itself inside his armor, but he plucked it out and flung it away, unbothered by the explosions.
"Objectively, you are. Have you no adult supervision? I find your presence here quite disturbi-!" Mr. Twister didn't get a chance to finish his sentence as he was knocked down by yellow-orange beams of light. Robin quickly turned around and saw Sol's glowing eyes as Superboy glared at the villain.
As Mr. Twister struggled to get up and smoke arose from his armor, Robin mocked him. "Ha! We don't need supervision, but if you'd like to experience it again, we have heat vision." Mr. Twister let out a grunt as the team assembled to attack.
"Let's see if your're more turbed once we finish kicking your can."
Megan used her telekinesis to disrupt Mr. Twister's view with smoke, hiding Superboy's assault. But Superboy was once again blown back, this time into Megan, before he could land a hit. Aqualad and Robin charged forwards, but were swept up into twin mini-tornadoes and thrown at each other.
"Indeed, that was quite turbing." Mr. Twister slowly ascended outside, but slammed back into the ground before he could escape, as a result of Sol's heat vision. The living star nervously blinked, stopping her solar assault. Mr. Twister's head lifted to stare down the floating girl.
"It seems like one of you isn't a completely talentless child, but let's see if you're worthy of being called a superhero."
Sol aimed her glowing yellow fists at the villain, blasting him off his feet with sun beams to the chest before he could start his own assault. But as he flew back, he sent a blast of air at the floating girl, knocking her down. Sol tried to slow her descent and was plucked out the air.
Wally glared at a recovered Twister as he held Sol in his arms. "What have you done to the rest of my team?"
"Embarrassed them, largely," Twister gloated before sending a tornado towards the two young heroes.
Wally tightly gripped onto Sol as they were wildly spun around by the tornado, before being thrown against the side of the power plant. Sol flew out of his arms, snagging his shirt collar before he fell, but accidentally dropped him as she fought against the fierce winds. Wally curled up as he descended, but was caught by Megan's telekinesis.
"I got you, Wally."
"Woah! Thanks." Wally sent her a smile as the team congregated together and faced Mr. Twister.
"I would have thought you had all learned your limitations by now."
Aqualad stepped forward to confront the villain. "What do you want?!"
Twister flew up and looked down on the young heroes. "Isn't it obvious? I'm waiting for a real hero. Although, that one has the makings of a real hero," he said, pointing at Sol who hovered near Superboy.
Aqualad glanced at Megan, commanding her to read his mind. "Find a weakness."
"I thought I wasn't supposed to do that," Megan shakily said.
"It's OK with the bad guys!" Robin exclaimed with exasperation.
Megan adopted a determined expression as she lifted her hand to her temple to better concentrate. "Nothing. I'm getting nothing!" Megan gasped as a realization hit her. "Hello, Megan! Mr. Twister is Red Tornado in disguise. He's inorganic, an android," she gestured towards the robot. "And how many androids do you know that can generate tornadoes?"
"Red Tornado sent us here," Aqualad acknowledged.
"After saying we'd be tested soon enough. This is his test, something to keep us busy," Robin angrily said.
"Speedy called it. We're a joke," Kid Flash said.
Sol frowned and hesitantly asked, "But...we're heroes, right? Red Tornado is a hero. Would heroes...scare people for...a test?" Superboy just grunted and the boys turned towards Mr. Twister, deliberately ignoring Sol in their angered states. Aqualad ground a fist into his palm and looked skywards.
"We know who you are and what you want," Robin said as he pointed at Twister whom he believed to be Red Tornado.
"So let's end this," Aqualad said.
"Consider it ended," Twister ominously said before thrusting his arms high and directing air currents to form a highly concentrated tornado storm.
"An impressive show, but we will not indulge you, we will not engage," Aqualad shouted. Mr. Twister's tornado storm turned into a real storm with lightning. Sol took a nervous step back, but stopped and focused solar energy in her fists and eyes.
"Uh, can Red Tornado do that?" Wally anxiously questioned.
"You think I'm Tornado? Ironic."
Sol turned towards Superboy and opened her mouth to ask a question, but the boy of steel cut her off with a shake of his head. "Later," he grunted. Not a second later, Twister directed the lightning storm towards the teens, blowing them back a great distance. Superboy and Sol managed to stand, but Superboy rushed forward to attack before they could plan anything together.
Mr. Twister shot him down with twin lightning bolts and Superboy didn't get back up a second time.
"Supey!" Sol looked back at her defeated friends. Her sadness and anger added to her determination to defeat Twister. Sol firmly planted her feet on the ground, brought her hands to her chest, put both fists against each other and tried to gather the most solar energy in her eyes and hands that she could manage. Her body started to increase in luminosity and her eyes burned with restrained energy. When she opened them and moved her arms to the side, instead of sun beams coming from her hands and eyes, a solar flare in the vague shape of her body rushed Twister, who shot a lightning bolt at Sol at the same time. The two attacks met head on and resulted in stray sparks burning the surrounding area. Twister's body disappeared into the tree line and Sol's unconscious body flew into the power plant, getting stuck in a wall.
The rest of the team woke up at the sound of the impact, and were shocked by the devastation. Aqualad rushed forward to put out the small fires. Superboy, Wally, Robin and Megan rushed to check on Sol. Megan used her telekinesis to slowly levitate the living star into Superboy's arms.
Wally asked, "What happened?"
Megan opened her mouth to describe what she saw, but Superboy cut her off. "You tricked us into thinking Twister was Red Tornado. Sol got hurt trying to defend us. She knew something was wrong!"
"She didn't do it on purpose," Aqualad tried to defend the distressed martian.
"It was a rookie mistake," Robin added. "We shouldn't have listened."
"You are pretty inexperienced," Wally said, looking away with his hands in his pockets. "Hit the showers. We'll take it from here. That is if there's anything left from Sol's attack to take on."
"Stay out of our way," Superboy commanded as he leaped away with Sol in his arms. The star opened her eyes and tilted her head back to look at her teammates. Kid Flash and Robin followed the Cadmus duo.
Megan stared at the ground with shame, her bangs covering her eyes. "I was just trying to be part of the team."
Aqualad closed his eyes and rubbed the back of his head. "To be honest, I'm not sure we really have a team," he said as he ran off.
At sunset, Mr. Twister continued wreaking havoc on Happy Harbor. Civilians ran away as buildings collapsed and debris flew about.
"Certainly this will get the required attention," Twister said as he admired his destruction.
"You got ours, full and undivided!" Kid Flash yelled as he rushed Twister, kicking at his charred chest. Sol's attack damaged his front, blackened his chest and burned away his tattered scarf.
"Immaterial and insufficient! You are a distraction I can no longer tolerate," Twister angrily said.
Superboy descended with a war cry and Sol floated behind him. The two landed blows on the android, and Sol's singed his chest, chipping off more of the armored suit.
Twister retaliated by throwing a boat at the Kryptonians. Aqualad, Kid Flash and Robin were similarly pushed back, preventing them from landing any devastating injuries. The young heroes struggled to defeat Twister, especially with his target on Sol, who was the only one able to best him.
"Listen to me, all of you!" Megan's telepathic voice rang through their minds.
"What did we tell you?!" Superboy roared.
"I know, and I know I messed up, but now I'm very clear on what we need to do. Please trust me." Megan pleaded.
Twister's violence continued and the team assembled around him. Red Tornado appeared, flying above the villain and team. "Hit the showers, boys, Sol. I was hoping you could handle this, clearly you cannot," he said as he landed in front of the team.
"But we've got a plan now," Robin weakly protested.
"The subject is not up for debate," Red Tornado said. The boys dispersed and Sol floated away. Red Tornado and Mr. Twister faced each other in a stand off.
"I was beginning to believe you'd never show up," Twister stated.
"I'm here now," Red Tornado said. The androids proceeded to direct tornadoes at each other. "We are evenly matched, Twister."
"No, Tornado, we are not!" Twister shot lightning at Tornado, who was knocked down by the resulting blast. Twister approached the fallen android and told him to stay still as wires connected to his head.
"The reprogramming won't take long," Twister said. Tornado's head abruptly turned and transformed, as the hand grabbed onto the wires. Megan replied, "Longer than you might think." A telekinetic blast sent Twister careening in a Kid Flash made tornado, which shot Twister towards Superboy and Sol. The Kryptonians simultaneously attacked the android with crippling punches. Twister flew into the port, where Aqualad began his assault. Megan's and Robin's attacks dismembered the android, whose chest opened up to reveal a thin, frail man.
"Foul. I call foul," he said as he weakly crawled along the ground.
Megan lifted a boulder from the ground and smashed it on top of the man.
"M'gann, no!" Aqualad yelled too late. Robin and Kid Flash stared open mouth, horrified. Superboy covered Sol's eyes.
Robin angrily approached Megan. "Don't know how things are done on Mars, but on Earth we don't execute our captives!"
"You said you trust me," she replied and lifted a hand. The man inside the android, Mr. Twister, was revealed to be an android himself.
"That's why I couldn't read his mind," Megan defended. Wally walked forward, crouched and picked up a robotic eyeball. Sol crouched down and prodded at the other eye as it blinked red.
"We should have had more faith in you," Aqualad stated.
Megan smiled and Wally said, "Yeah, you rocked this mission. Get it? Rocked, ha."
"Ignore him," Robin said. "We're all just turbed you're on the team."
"Heh, thanks. Me too," Megan replied.
Sol continued poking the eye as it blinked red, but Superboy started to pull her up. She poked it one last time with a glowing finger, singing the eye.
Back in The Cave, the team convened with Red Tornado to discuss Mr. Twister and the android inside.
"It was clearly created to sabotage or destroy you," Aqualad said. Sol turned towards Superboy, a question on the tip of her tongue, but the boy of steel shook his head with a small, unnoticeable grin.
"Agreed," Red Tornado monotonously acknowledged.
"Is that why you wouldn't help us?" Megan asked.
"No, this was your battle. I do not believe it is my role to solve your problems for you. Nor should you solve mine for me."
Robin, Wally and Superboy glanced away from the android's schematics to look at Red Tornado.
"But if you're in danger..."
"Consider this matter closed," Red Tornado said as he turned to walk away.
"Batman, Aquaman and Flash, they'd have jumped right in to fix things," Wally said.
"Guess if we're gonna have a babysitter, a heartless machine is exactly what we need," Robin said as he gestured towards Red Tornado's figure.
"And inaccurate. I have a heart - carbon-steel alloy. I also have excellent hearing," Red Tornado said as he faced the young heroes. Sol yawned and Superboy put his hand on her shoulder.
"Heh, right. Sorry, I'll strive to be more accurate."
"And more respectful," Aqualad added.
Red Tornado once again turned away, but this time said, "Sol. I believe it is time for you to retire to bed. You still need to adjust your sleeping schedule."
The living star sleepily nodded as Aqualad, Robin and Wally walked off. "Speedy was so wrong. This team thing..."
"Might just work out," Aqualad finished. Superboy followed after them, guiding Sol along. Before he left, Superboy turned to Megan and simply said, "Sorry."
Sol smiled before she yawned and Superboy guided her to her room with a smile of his own.
"Supey...it's later, right? What is ironic...and sabotage?"
I'm so, so sorry for the long awaited update. I have no excuses, just lost my muse and was super busy with college - still am. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed, followed, favorited and continues to read this story, while checking for updates. I want to especially thank the guest reviewer, Donut Deer, who left a nice review.
My next update should be in May or later this summer. I'm going to be busy with school until then, but you never know.
Thank you again, please review this chapter.