The Battle for National City
Quick bit of housekeeping. This is indeed set in the Supergirl TV series, thing is there is nearly nothing to connect that show with the continuity of anything else that has gone before. So anything we know about shows like Superboy, Lois and Clark, Smallville and the movies are out the window. Even the Flash / Arrow-verse is set in a parallel world. Same goes for the comics and cartoons.
On one hand that gives us very little concrete to work with, on the other it means I've got a nearly blank canvas and the whole DC universe of characters to paint with.
Basically speaking, unless it's in the Supergirl show, it hasn't happened. That doesn't mean I won't be tapping onto any of it. Same goes for other superheroes. Now some of these guys are pretty obscure (because they haven't had a move yet) but I will be introducing them slowly.
Thanks, now on with the show.
Kara looked at the boy, he wore an outdated suit that only just fit. Like he was in the middle of a growth spurt, only it wasn't much of an improvement. He was still very short and skinny. It didn't look like he had an ounce of fat, or muscle for that matter, on his frame. Her first pick from the dozen or so applications for the job of Cat Grant's assistant and they were not what she was expecting
'I'm sorry I didn't think you'd be so young.' She said to the young man in the chair on the authorised of her desk. Cat Grant had promoted her, the first job Kara had was to find a replacement for her old job and it wasn't going well.
'I am eighteen.' He said quickly. 'In, like, four months.'
Kara didn't know what to say to that and looked down at the form he'd sent. 'Err, Well that's good. It say's here you worked at a radio station. What did you do there?'
'I… Well I started out in the archive. It was my job to write down the log sheets. All the songs we played and when we played them. I then had to take them up to the licensing department for them to clear it. When we switched to all digital I became a gofer, go for this go for that. Little things at first, then I was trusted to get more and more done. By the end I was a real assistant.'
So far that was what it said on the resumé. 'So why did you leave?' She asked
'I… uh I didn't.' He admitted. 'I was let go. When we went all digital the station began broadcasting online. We started doing well, national then international exposure through podcasts stuff like that. Then we got noticed by Lex-Tel. Luthorcorp's broadcast division.'
'I know what they are.' She said helpfully. Anyone in the publishing business did. After The Daily Planet did a expose on Lex Luthor that forced him to resign as CEO of Luthorcorp the company became almost obsessed with getting a foothold in news broadcasting. Buying news affiliates and other companies until they were the third biggest name in the business. Next to Planet Media and Cat-Co of course.
'Well once they owned the station they started cutting jobs. Mine was the first to go. A lot of my friends are also looking for work.'
'I'm sorry about that.' Kara looked again. 'That was couple of months ago. This isn't the first place you've applied for since, is it?'
'No Miss Danvers. I know I might be young, but I'm eager. Willing to learn…'
Kara looked at him helplessly. 'There is nothing I can really say.' She admitted, knowing this was exactly the response he would get from just about everyone else.
'Let me prove it. I promise I can do the job.' He sounded earnest, there were almost tears in his eyes.
Kara looked at him closely. Billy had tried hard to hide it, but she could see something was wrong. He was too thin, his clothes a little too warn. This was probably his last chance and she couldn't help but feel for the boy.
She had an idea, it was going to be tricky, but she had a few favours she could ask. 'Alright. I'll have a word with HR. I'll give you a week, as my assistant. I'll be as hard on you as Miss Grant would. After the week, we'll see.'
'Thank you Miss Danvers.'
'I can't promise a job after it, even if you do great. I can't even promise I can give you the chance, but I will do what I can. Deal?'
Alex frowned and looked at the research again. With Kara's help they'd done a genetic map of Kryptonian DNA. It was a lot more complex than Earth based DNA strings and would take a lifetime or two to really decode it all.
Still there were a few things she could tell already. First of all while physically nearly identical there was no way for Kryptonian's and humans to interbreed. Not that there should be, but is was still a point.
Not that it helped with Kara's problem.
So far Alex had only found two solutions. Well three, but the last one was abstinence which would solve the problem, but not in the right way. The other two were a low grade Kryptonite and consulting the Hologram of Kara's biological mother.
Closing her laptop Alex left her lab and found Director Henshaw at the central control. He was standing there, as ever, his arms folded watching the screens. Now that everyone knew he was Martian there wasn't a question of how he could stand so still for so long.
Those that knew him knew he was the same person, just all the little things they couldn't explain before suddenly made sense. Like why he never seemed to leave the DEO, or have a family and life outside of it.
'J'onn?' Alex used his martian name to get his attention.
'Alex.' He replied, not looking away from the screens.
'Something wrong?' she asked.
'There's psychic tension out there.' he admitted. 'I can feel it. It's like the world is holding it's breath for something and it doesn't know what.'
Alex caught a glimpse of the screen on one of the work stations. It showed a bio of that new hero, Captain Marvel. There were a lot of estimates and not a lot of hard facts on it. 'You think he has something to do with it?'
'Possibly.' J'onn gave his version of a shrug. 'I don't think so, but I don't want to discount it either. He's an unknown factor. I want to change that.'
'An all grid search?' That meant going through every data feed into the DEO with a fine tooth comb.
'Turned up nothing. We're going through every last scrap of information we can, but he's disappeared. We can track Supergirl through a snowstorm at night, but this guy vanished like he never even existed.' He finally turned to her. 'I want to find out why. Do you need something?'
Alex coughed nervously, suddenly remembering one of his Martian powers was mind reading. 'I need to, need to use the hologram room. It's a personal matter, for Kara.'
He frowned for a fraction of a moment. 'Do I want to know?'
'Don't think so.'
'Right. Permission granted Agent Danvers.' She nodded and left, but before she got too far. 'And Alex, even if I don't want to know. I'm here for you. Both of you.'
It was at that point the alarms began blaring.
'So he took the deal?'
Kara nodded Winn and James had, after the interview, met up with her and the there of them were talking about how it went.
'So let me get this straight, you're going to take this kid on as an apprentice and if he does a good job you're going to make a seventeen year old boy Cat Grant's new assistant?' Winn asked. 'You've not been near any of that wacky Kryptonite again have you, you're not going to turn evil or something right?'
'No.' She told her best friend. 'Why?'
'Because it's like you're trying to get yourself fired.' James told her.
Kara threw her hands wide. 'I just, I just felt sorry for him. He's got no next of kin, I don't even think he has a family. The emergency contact he put down was just a friend.'
James shook his head. 'I don't think you've thought this through. Even if he does a perfect job there is no way Cat Grant will hire an underage kid. He wouldn't last two minutes. What are you going to do?'
'I… I was thinking there might be something else. That I could find him another job somewhere in the building. If nothing else I can give him a reference.'
'Sounds like he already has enough of those.' He pointed out and she couldn't really argue. 'Still, I think it was a good thing you did Kara.'
That little compliment was enough to get her to smile. She and James might have been going through a rough patch, but she finally had confidence that it could turn around.
Then her phone rang. Picking it up from her desk she saw it was Alex, using the emergency number from the DEO. It only took a glance for the boy's to realise it was serious too. 'Alex, what's wrong.'
'Don't know. Some sort of tentacle alien or vine is attacking the financial district. It's getting bigger and causing chaos. We can't tell if it's something under the street breaking out, or if it's growing.'
Kara tucked the phone under her chin and desperately logged into her computer. Looking for news feeds. 'What do you need?' There it was, the cameras couldn't get a good view of whatever it was but there was obviously something going on.
'It's already blocked access to two buildings and the roads. You're going to need to evacuate people. There are emergency helicopters already on route, but they need someone on the ground.'
'I'm on my way.' She told her sister and Alex hung up. Kara dropped the phone back on the table, next to her glasses. 'I've got to go. I just hope that Captain Showboat doesn't get in the way.' She pulled her hair out of it's bun and at the same time pulled the ear piece out of her desk draw. 'Winn, you're a master of research, see what you can find out about him.'
Winn puffed up his chest 'Digging the internet for superhero trivia. I'm your man.'
'Thanks.' In the blink of an eye she was out the building and in the air. Cat-Co plaza was right next to the financial district and not for the first time she wished her new office had a window. Still she couldn't just appear and had to take a moment to loop around the block and come in from a different direction.
It did give her a chance to get a good view of what was happening. Her sister's description was right. Thick brown tentacles were rising from the blacktop, cracking pavement and snaking up the side of buildings. A glass plain shattered from the pressure, raining shards down on the panicking civilians as they ran for cover.
Kara used her X-ray vision to see just what was attacking and was stunned. They were trees. Actual real trees. Earth trees. With her microscopic sight she could even see the cells that made them up. They were identical to the ones she saw everywhere else on this planet. 'Alex, you're not going to believe this, but the tentacles. They're plants! Earth plants, just growing very fast!'
'I guess nobody told them that!' Kara saw the last fire escape become completely overgrown on the nearest building, trapping some people between floors. Another branch had broken through above them and there was no way out. She changed course to head right to them.
'Try and get a sample.' Alex asked
'Little busy right now!' Kara snapped and sent a blast of freeze breath at the foliage above the people's heads. A quick punch and the trunk snapped. 'Go, up the stairs! helicopters are coming.'
'Thank you Supergirl!' One of the civilians called out as they ran past. The rest were too scared to say anything.
Not that she could blame them. Kara let out a scream herself as an offshoot from another branch flew out like a snake and wrapped itself around her leg. It held her there and for a tiny green vine it was really tough. With a quick kick she tore it free, only to have a handful more fly out after her.
Kara flew clear. 'Alex these things are coming after me. I think someone's controlling them! Is Hank there?'
'I'm here Supergirl.'
'You ever hear of anything like this?'
'Controlling plants? Can't say that I have and there is nothing in the Fort R'ozz database. I've been through it back to front.'
'Great. Any suggestions?' Things were getting crazy. The plants were beginning to knot together, becoming stronger and stronger. Soon they wouldn't be able to shift it.
Then J'onn was back on the ear piece. 'It's possible there's some sort of generator nearby producing exotic particles that promote rapid plant growth.'
'It's an explanation. It's not a good one, but it's either that or magic.' He admitted. 'We'll scan for it from here. Good news is the plant growth seems to be isolated to just two buildings. Sunderland Corporation and the Third National Plaza. You keep up with the evacuation, we'll call you when we have some information.'
Taking a moment she froze. There was no way she could do both buildings, the bottom floors were already overrun and it was only a matter of time before they fell. 'Supergirl!' It was the Captain, his cloak floating in a way she could never get her's to. He came down from the clouds and floated next to her. 'I know I didn't make the best first impression, but I'm only here to help. Where do you need me?'
'Most of that was my fault. I was having a bad day.' Kara admitted. 'I'll take all the help I can get right now! I can't stop the plant on my own. It's growing too fast to freeze and if I use my heat vision it could catch fire and burn out of control. What you got?'
'I can throw lightning, but that's not going to help.' He told her. 'Same problem you have with fire. I don't think attacking it's going to work.'
Another plate of glass exploded and Kara could hear the building below creaking. 'I've got my friends looking for what's causing this! I'll help with the evacuation, but when they call I'll take whatever it is out. You try and keep the people safe until I do.'
'You got it.' he nodded. 'I'll take that building, you take this one and good luck Supergirl.' With that he flew to work.
'You to.' she muttered.
Alex scrolled through meaningless lines of data, desperately searching for something she didn't recognise in the readings. Something out of place. Nothing, there was nothing strange or alien. At least nothing she didn't recognise as coming from Kara. 'Are we getting anything?'
'Not even from the new guy, the Captain?' J'onn asked. Alex hadn't even thought of that.
'Confirmed sir. No alien technology detected.'
'Guys! Anything?' Kara called back.
'Nothing Kara. There's no alien technology or power fields we can detect. Whatever's happening we can't find it.' She told her sister.
'Sir, Ma'am. I've got something.' Vasquez spoke up
'Where?' Alex and J'onn asked at the same time.
'I picked up movement on visual. South quadrant, approaching Sunderland.'
'That's where the Captain is.' Kara shouted. 'What's this thing look like?'
Vasquez brought up the view from a low orbit satellite and ran it through a few enhancement filters. 'That's the best I can get.'
'What the hell is that?' J'onn barked.
'It's not human, but I've never seen anything like it.' Alex agreed. 'Kara, it's some sort of humanoid monster. Tall, around seven feet, heavy set build. Looks strong, no obvious technology. I'd guess it's made out of plant matter, that might be how it's controlling whatever's growing over there.'
'How do I stop it?'
'How else? Hit it until it stops moving.'
Captain Marvel punched his way through the roof and into the break room. There were a number of people cowering in the corner. 'Is anyone injured?'
'Please get us out of here!'
A quick look and aside from a few bruises they were fine. Behind he heard the vines pushing against the door, it was only a matter of time before they broke through. He pointed to the large desk. 'Everyone get on the table. I'm going to fly you out of here. Hold on!'
Smashing through the outer wall he took to the sky. As fast as he could Marvel found a nearby building and dropped the screaming people off on it's roof. It was the first group he saved and it wasn't the last. Calling on the Stamina of Atlas and the Speed of Mercury he tried to keep ahead of the ever growing plants.
Finding and carrying pockets of trapped survivors out. Transporting them to nearby buildings that were safe in ones or twos. Tearing through the plants to carve a path for others to the top of the building.
On the roof of Sunderland's building the owner, Owen Sunderland, was helping the evacuation. Ushering people, his staff, onto helicopters. The Captain made it up behind the last group. 'Mr Sunderland, you and the others up here are the last left.'
'You've checked the building, the whole building?' The middle aged man asked.
Marvel nodded. 'Yes sir. Does anyone up here need medical attention?'
'No, were all…' He was cut off when someone screamed. Others picked it up and started to panic. Scrambling over one another to get to the helipad.
Augmenting his voice Marvel floated a few inches higher so that everyone could see him. 'Please stay calm.' he asked, but he could see what had them scared.
It was a monster, a golem of plant and vegetable in the shape of a man. Two bright red orange eyes glowed under a thick mess of moss and leaves. 'You… Destroy.' the creature rumbled, pointing a hand at Sunderland. It's mouth was hidden in the shadow of a strange hoodlike growth that came over it's lower face but Marvel could still make out what looked like wooden teeth.
'I don't want to fight, whatever you are.' Marvel warned, hoping that the ability to speak meant it also had the capacity for reason. 'There is no reason to hurt people. Whatever you want we can talk about it.'
'No talk. Destroyer. This, just the beginning. City mine now.' It rumbled slowly and the civilians climbed into helicopters
Marvel didn't like the idea of fighting with people around. The building was unstable already. A battle like this one could put civilians in danger. Still this thing was talking about destroying the city. Bringing his hands together he called on the power of Zeus and created a lightning bolt which he raised like a javelin above his head. 'It is my duty to protect the innocent. I will not let you hurt them.'
'Not innocent.' It grumbled only to be cut short when Supergirl flew in at speed and shoulder tackled the monster off the rooftop.
The powerful young woman came back around and landed next to him. 'Why didn't you blast it?' he nodded at the static lightning bolt in his hand.
'Collateral damage.' Marvel explained as he absorbed the energy. 'These things don't come with a stun function. Do you think you killed whatever that was?'
'Slowed it down.' she shrugged only for the rooftop to shake.
'We've got to get out of here!' The pilot of the last helicopter shouted.
'Go, we'll be alright!' Supergirl shouted. Mr Sunderland was the last person onboard and the helicopter struggled to rise off the platform.
Marvel was about to help when the building shook again and a handful of vines pushed their way free. They quickly wrapped together, at first becoming a twisted mess of thorns, but all to soon it took shape. It was another creature, the same glowing red eyes and face. This one didn't have the weight or mass of the first one, you could see through it in some places, but it still looked powerful. 'Destroy destroyers.' It grumbled in the same slow rumbling voice.
Taking to the air the pair of heroes kept their distance. 'We kill one another takes it's place!' Supergirl said into the tiny radio bug in her ear.
'I don't think so.' Marvel corrected. 'I think it's the same creature, just in a new body. Either way I don't think we can stop it. Not like this.'
The creature ignored them and turned to watch the helicopter escape. When it was obvious they had escaped it came to a stop and just sort of slumped down. Marvel shared a look with Supergirl. One of them was going to have to check.
With Supergirl covering him Marvel glided around. The eyes were no longer glowing and he got the sense that there was no one home. 'It's in some sort of hibernation.' he called out
'My friends say the plant growth is slowing down too.' she told him. 'I think we're done here.'
Marvel shook his head. 'This was just the first round. Until we find a way to stop him for good this guy is going to be back.'
'Then we need to find to what we can about him.'
End Act One