I do not own either One Piece or Justice League Unlimited.
Beta read by the wonderful rose7anne101 and MasterQwertster. Make sure to check out their own stories! Also thanks to other readers who have given incredible help, like Kolomte'49, lincoln time, mellra, scl04, King of Fans, Anycents, Crossovernaru, TheWhiteTitan, coalface, Creation Teller, Bellduke (formerly Blackwizard71), Bkaa19, and VixenRose1996. I know several of you will see your contributions here, even if they will be a surprise ;-)
Guest Review answers :-D
"This is not war, this is pest control!"
Back in the original timeline, the Justice League has the tech advantage, but yeah closer than they would like…
LOL you are right for Avatar Nami! X-D
Happy to answer your question, and thanks again for the details.
LOL not the biggest Spongebob fan, but yes now hoping someone writes that!
Sanji would probably treat Godron Ramsay like the other chefs he grew up with. Even if he respected the man, would insult and threaten him back. Especially if he mouthed off to a woman. But not physical so long as the other man did not do it in turn.
Most likely Sanji is indeed learning about all the different cultural recipes. Although with the internet he can 'cheat' a bit.
Nah, if there are going to be creator cameos, it will be with Oda himself!
Hmm, yes I agree Robin would be impressed by J.R.R. Tolkein for sure. Including wanting to bring his books back.
Really appreciating all the ideas! :-D
Here is the latest chapter, and not too long a wait! Looking forward to hearing your newest thoughts! :-D
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Oh yes for sure, the results of this will have Consequences for the Straw Hats, and no idea where the League's intelligence came from.
Here is the latest chapter, and I hope it was worth the wait! Looking forward to hearing your newest thoughts! :-D
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I think in this world Lois was never born. Bugs me a bit in stories where history has been totally changed, but all the named characters are still around. Would be big repercussions. Plus her family is military as I recall, so bigger chance in this case of her ancestor being killed off.
I would say this world was unlucky about Luffy being weakened like that. If Savage had waited a few more seconds, Luffy would have handled most of that mess himself, and the Straw Hats would have been more likely to figure out what Savage's deal was. Would still have been an ugly mess to tear down the Nazi regime (and that would be more because the Nazis would not be getting the message to Leave Them Alone), but not as bad as it was here.
Yes, Robin's wrinkles were inspired by that, especially since in the 'perfect future' she showed no signs of aging.
LOL I had to rewrite that since I already had her down as using the Dragon Claw :-P
LOL that quote definitely fits here! Nice one :-)
Here is the latest chapter, and I hope it was worth the wait! Looking forward to hearing your newest thoughts! :-D
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LOL always glad to see Akainu suffer! Can definitely see Zoro fearing that, and the Joker's reaction. And yes, definitely those two fleeing for their lives as they learn just what they triggered…
But yeah, a key point of the last chapter was the Justice League finally having an idea of what they are dealing with… I am unsure however of how much the heroes will share with the government.
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True, this whole dramatic plot will be erased, but the lessons learnt here are the key. Plus I feel this arc has some very overlooked character bits for the Justice League.
No worries about the story ending soon though! We are just about 20% done ;-)
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The viking 04
Nice to hear how much you enjoy my stories :-)
Ugh yes so many characters to balance is tiring, but glad it is working so far. I admit part of my motivation for writing that chapter as I did was for Zoro to get some screentime where he can finally cut loose. He is too powerful for most of the DCAU cast.
Both the pirates and heroes were holding back a bit there, but not as much as the League would appreciate…
Actually if you re-read, Sanji only knocked Ace out. Originally he was going to, but agreed that outright killing a young girl who was clearly forced into this was a step too far.
Armament Haki will probably not work that way against Martian Manhunter, but he has to remember to use said power. He will be training for it though.
I say there is a chance of further One Piece characters appearing because I do not want to give a definite yes or no at this point. Except you are 100% correct that at this stage in the story the balance would be destroyed. Not just power wise (a reason not bringing in Yamato for example if she becomes one of the crew in canon), but plot-wise, since it would become too much about the One Piece cast. Right now the heroes need more time to develop not only their powers, but as characters. I am not saying anything more…
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Door to Nowhere
Oof, that sounds (unfortunately) accurate for how Carrot and Yamato would become in this case! To say nothing of the "pure unadulterated massacre" that would define the world if the rest of those characters were involved.
Alas no sign of the Sunny coming through there…
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Is this fast enough? ;-) Looking forward to hearing your newest thoughts! :-D
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It is partially revenge, but also partially because the Nazi government just keeps attacking them instead of leaving the pirates alone. Civilians are indeed dying though, even if indirectly. Not being targeted.
The Straw Hats only came through to this sole universe. Which will cause…complications for the JusticeLords. But yes, going to be interesting to see how I address the interdimensional tech.
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Oh yes, that was the time travel portal indeed, and will be repercussions from that chapter. The Straw Hats though will not remember anything.
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Chapter 23: The Savage Time, Part 2
On a mission back to Earth, the Justice League, minus Batman and Shining Knight, discovered the entire planet had been drastically altered. History had been altered so the Nazis won the Second World War, and ruled with an iron fist. When the Straw Hats appeared on the planet though, through some sort of portal, Monkey D. Luffy was murdered. The tragic loss of their leader set the remaining Straw Hats on a path of bloody revenge, as their war with the regime devastated the planet. The heroes discovered the facility they believed to be the source of whatever had altered time, but for better or worse, the pirates attacked at the same time. The heroes fought a vicious fight against Zoro and Robin before retreating down a mysterious hole.
This chapter is an AU of a DCAU episode by the same name.
Two and a half episodes actually, which we are cramming into here a bit . . .
Also a warning that even without taking into account the superheroes, time travel, etc., this episode is not historically accurate in many respects.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men or women to do nothing.
It is the knowledge of this fundamental truth, deep in their bones, which forces the groaning members of the Justice League to raise themselves off the hard ground.
However brief, their fight with the two members of the Straw Had had not been pleasant, and no one was unscathed. Following it with a trip through a tunnel in time was not recommended.
None of them had managed to hold in screams of horror and fear at the sensation of that trip.
Despite this, they still had a mission to complete.
"Where are we?" groaned Flash, the first to stand. He took in the beaten up building they were in, including large gaping holes, before hearing the familiar sound of gunfire. Leaving the others behind to finish getting up, he dashed up some rubble to where the roof was torn off, to get a view from the second-story. "Great Jumpin' Hera!"
It was a firefight in a bombed out city between two armies, and he would swear it was between the Nazis and the old American army. Looked like they were back in the past to World War Two after all.
Good thing too, as J'onn had barely had time to yell what that scary looking portal would do before they were all throwing themselves into it.
"It's just like those old documentaries," Flash said to the others as they joined him.
"Not quite," said Hawkgirl, looking at something advancing.
From the Nazi side rolled up a massive tank unlike anything they had ever seen before. Red with steel trimming, it was a spiked wheel almost a hundred meters tall, if not more, with 'spokes' coming out of both sides with turrets bigger than the American tanks.
And then it started firing death at the soldiers.
"Well, that was fun," said Flash darkly as he rejoined the others.
Truthfully though, there had not been too much for him to do there. Hawkgirl had fired that slick new grenade launcher of hers to blind the gunners of the turrets, so instead of his usual distraction play, he grabbed stray soldiers to hustle them to safety while the others did the heavy-lifting.
Literally, since in the end they had been forced to tip over the wheel tank. The whole thing was impervious to even Superman, including the transparent bubbles the gunners sat in. The best the big boy-scout had managed was to physically slow it down, while J'onn shifted his density to fly inside and pull out important looking things until it stopped moving.
No, his grim mood was because of other concerns, and not just the time travel. Starting with how it was only the six of them here, and no one else from the future.
Meanwhile the Allied soldiers cheered and advanced. Some brave souls even made a pass at Wonder Woman.
"I pulled this from the control panel," said Martian Manhunter without preamble as he rejoined them.
"Transistors?" recognized Green Lantern. "They weren't invented until after the war! How was this built?"
"So it was definitely a future Nazi time machine . . . whatever that was," said Flash.
"Heavy matter," explained J'onn. Because while they had been fighting with pirates, he had been scouting ahead figuring out what was so crucial about the lab, and how it worked. He had not even realized how serious it was until he emerged at the doorway, and directed them all inside. "Like a black hole. They used it as a tunnel into the past. From what I overheard the scientists say, we only have forty-eight hours until the portal collapses, and lose any chance to change things. However they also said it was unstable. Whoever left from our time could have gotten here months ago. Perhaps years."
"So where do we start?" said Hawkgirl.
An explosion answered her, as three more of the super-tanks appeared, firing their artillery.
"Those troops are getting decimated!" said Superman.
Without another word, Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl flew into the fight, leaving the other three behind to work out the bigger picture.
"Are you alright?" Martian Manhunter asked Wonder Woman while they flew to Berlin.
He had not been part of the fight against the Straw Hats, trying to discover what he could from the lab and scientists, yet he had seen the results. Bloody tears in Superman's uniform, if nothing serious, and everyone showing signs of what they had gone through.
And the whole time he had been unaware his friends were fighting for their lives. They could have been killed, and left him alone again. After everything they had already been through together.
Moreover, after Wonder Woman's recent injuries against Parasite, seeing her bruised once more was particularly upsetting. Even if they were quickly fading.
". . . I will be," she said, looking a strange mixture of angry and sad. "I . . . they thought we were with the regime. And I warned them of the dangers of what they were doing, but they were so broken, and—"
"Remember that those are not the Straw Hats we know from our time. No more than Batman," he warned. Even if a part of him wondered what would have happened if he had been there, and able to safely use his telepathy. "Different circumstances and choices. Even so, it is abundantly clear they are far more powerful than we've been crediting them with."
"Yes," she grimaced. Less from any lingering pain, and more her own mixed feelings about the self-proclaimed pirates. For all the harm they had done, they had also been the ones to help open her eyes to how things in Man's World were not as black and white as she would like to believe. She had argued that they should not be pursued as if they were a serious threat; at least not in comparison to the likes of Luthor, Aresia, or Joker. Now though . . .
A thought struck her. "Why did the regime even build the time machine like that if it was so unstable? Especially with the risk of the Straw Hats?"
"At a guess," the alien speculated, "the heavy matter was too hazardous for Savage to contain indefinitely. They had everything prepared before the Straw Hats arrived, and had to use it despite the worsening situation. Furthermore, that future appears to have been possible by the very act of using that time machine. If they failed to create it, it would have caused a paradox."
"What would that mean?"
"I don't know. However, I'd wager neither do they, and were unwilling to risk it."
She nodded in understanding, and went back to keeping a careful eye out. Only he could still see the tension in her frame.
". . . You're upset about Batman, aren't you?"
"Yes. We shouldn't have just left him there! Who knows—!?" she choked off her words for a moment, before saying instead, "Do you think they killed him? They must know he's part of the Resistance."
"If we succeed, he never will be," he reminded her. "As for what happened, it's impossible to say. If they didn't immediately attack him though, then there's a good chance they let him at least explain himself. We will never know."
With a grimace, Wonder Woman nodded. Her friend's words brought little comfort though, as she continued to struggle to process the hectic fight for her life from only minutes ago.
Meanwhile, she knew the others did not have such a chance.
We made the wrong call, Green Lantern grimly knew. J'onn's the best for scouting, so him going to Berlin for answers made perfect sense, except he's also the best for taking down these tanks!
To be perfectly fair, figuring out how and where these impossible weapons were coming from was the highest priority. Except while the rest of the Justice League had struggled with a single one, it had taken J'onn seconds to infiltrate and sabotage the first. So if he had stuck around for even five minutes, they could have handled the rest in fairly short order, and then he could have left on his mission. Instead they were busy stuck with a fighting retreat, trying to keep as many soldiers alive as they could manage.
Oh, and Wonder Woman had gone with him too, refusing to let him go into enemy territory alone. Which while something Green Lantern fully endorsed, also meant they had to make do without her support as well.
Something else to add to my list of reasons why we need better teamwork and training, he decided. Throwing in some 'what if' scenarios too, so we can prepare for circumstances such as this.
Because there's no ignoring what a threat the Straw Hats are.
The Justice League had faced all manner of powerful opponents in the past: bloodthirsty killers, insane tyrants, vengeful gods, and more. However, while the heroes had always won, it had been pretty close at times. Meanwhile these newcomers appeared to be a level above their previous opponents in power and skill. Something he was unsure he and the others were prepared enough for.
And especially since from what we saw, unlike us the Straw Hats have proven capable of their own teamwork!
Because one of the few advantages the Justice League had over their enemies was that supervillains were notoriously bad at cooperating with each other. That is if they were even willing to do so in the first place, given their ego games, and other issues holding them back. Even the Injustice League was ready to come apart at the seams before he and his teammates had busted in on them. So truthfully, while the League fought great together, even in the heat and chaos of combat, they rarely needed their own coordination beyond what they threw together mid-fight.
So we've got to see where we can improve, and fight smarter and harder for the battles to come. Especially if we do end up facing the Straw Hats!
Further thoughts on an unsettling topic were interrupted by something even more unpleasant.
"So why're we saving these guys, but not Batman?" Flash broke in.
Oh. No. Green Lantern did not want to have to deal with this.
"We had no choice!" said Hawkgirl, not unkindly.
"Sure we did, and we left him behind with the pirates gone insane!"
"And if we didn't get through the portal, everything would've been for nothing!" snapped Green Lantern. "We're trying to save lives here, and that includes everyone the Nazis will be killing if they win! We can't beat these tanks, so we're saving all the lives we can here and now, and then we'll come back to fix this!"
They did not have time for this.
Except Flash was the type of man who believed in saving everyone. John Stewart was ex-military, and knew that was not possible. Even Hawkgirl, a police officer for the warlike Thanagarians, understood this.
"Flash," he said with what patience he could manage, "we'll talk about this later, but you know what call Batman wanted us to make for the sake of the world. What any of us would want if we were in his position. Even so, that never means we're disposable. We can't save the world if we're dead."
The speedster opened his mouth to say something, yet he was not done. "Now keep moving before we lose anyone else."
The sheer unyielding command in his voice was second only to the steely Will in his eyes. Clearly showing his best friend why he was the Green Lantern, and not the likes of Superman or Batman.
"This isn't over," said Flash, before he zipped off.
"So we're just soldiers to you?" demanded Hawkgirl. "You don't even care about us as people!"
Biting off his frustration at what should be obvious, he quickly retorted, "Of course not! I care!"
"You don't care about me!"
"What're you talking about!? I'd give my life for you!"
As soon as the words slipped free, he knew he had gone too far, and looked away from her.
From the corner of his eyes she gave him a look impossible to decipher beneath her mask. ". . . You don't know what you're saying."
And with that she flew off back into the fight.
With a sigh, he pushed his feelings aside, and went to join her.
Vandal Savage, destined ruler of mankind, looked down at the maps detailing the utter rout of the Allies' 'D-Day.'
Truly a work of art.
Since he had already known the precise date of their invasion, the day before he had actually withdrawn as many of his defenders upon the beaches as he could manage without drawing suspicion. Then the boats had landed, with British, Canadian, and American troops making their landing, successfully 'liberating' territory with greater ease than anticipated. Driving further and further inland, filled with the belief that they would be ultimately victorious.
Only then did his war wheels swoop in, performing to perfection.
Now his enemies were fleeing for their lives, and would retreat back to Britain to stew in their failure. Once their sense of horror and despair reached the boiling point, stirred on by his agents, he would unleash a crippling blow to them for good. Honestly, he could have adjusted his plans to launch his own invasion already if he had wanted to, instead choosing to maximize the destruction of their hope.
To make them realize his supremacy, as he had done here in Nazi Germany and the other nations which had fallen under his benevolent rule.
After all, there was a reason why these people had felt honoured to alter their precious swastika to resemble an 'S.'
Well, he had told them it was really to honour the Schutzstaffel by using their personal symbol, albeit minus one 'S,' and even managed to make them think it was a coincidence. Ah, it never ceased to amaze him how badly these people needed his help.
Unfortunately his happy thoughts were interrupted as someone ran into the war room.
"Mein Fuhrer! Mein Fuhrer, this just came in from the front," the orderly said, offering a piece of paper.
Giving the man a cool look, Vandal snatched it out of his hands, and read it. "Another report about costumed fighters with magical powers," he said to the generals around him. He crushed the message in his hand, and threw it aside. "Allied propaganda."
A pitiful attempt really. Between Vandal's official and personal agents, he would have long been alerted if the Allies had such tricks up their sleeves.
However . . .
Like proper dogs, the military officers behind him voiced their agreements. With one irritating exception.
"What if it's not propaganda? What if these super-men are real? Are we prepared to deal with them?"
General Hoffman. Honestly, Vandal would have properly dealt with the man long ago, if not for the man's own connections and supporters, the political necessity of keeping at least one of the old Fuhrer's people around (even if Hoffman had not been the firmest of fans), and the fact the man was actually very good at his job. As mouthy as he was, and constantly trying to undermine his leader's position, he remained loyal to the whole cult of assumed superiority infesting this place. Keeping him around meant that there was more to be delegated, which overall made things easier in the long run.
Although maybe I can finally indulge in a warning, now that we are this close to the endgame.
Back still turned to the man, Vandal raised one hand as he lectured, "You have a short memory, Hoffman." He looked over his shoulder to draw attention away from how he was now reaching into his uniform. "You've obviously forgotten about the weapons I've already created. Weapons the Allies have never even dreamed of. And more are coming. Like this."
Vandal turned to aim the metal glove he wore at the general, and shocked him with a blast of electricity.
The others stared in stunned horror as Hoffman screamed in agony, before collapsing unconscious onto the war table. Vandal smirked smugly at them. "Any other questions?"
Martian Manhunter looked down upon the Nazis military's high command building.
He had learnt about it from an Allied spy he and Wonder Woman had met, who had his own mission to follow a lead which would allow them to tap into the enemy's encrypted communications, and learn about an invasion of their own the Nazis were planning.
In the end, the two members of the Justice League had chosen to split up, with her covering that angle. He was better at covert infiltrations anyways.
That said, they had learnt a lot from the agent, one Steve Trevor. For instance, apparently Adolf Hitler had been replaced as Fuhrer, and his fate was unknown. Now the Nazis were led by one 'Vandal Savage,' the same name as the one leading the regime in the future. He doubted it was a coincidence.
Apparently the man was such a genius weapons designer, he had earned his advancement on that alone. More importantly, he retained a personal lab within the veritable fortress which lay down below Martian Manhunter.
The fact the building was both taller and more heavily armed than he believed were 'historically accurate,' improved the chances this was the place to be. At the very least he would find clues.
Vandal was rather proud of the secret passages he had snuck into central command during the various renovations. Not just for all the usual practical reasons to help maintain his authority, or to avoid any nuisances he could not justify killing yet, but to also slip away and privately check on concerns whenever necessary.
It had definitely been worth the effort to subvert all those contractors a decade or two ago, to ensure their cooperation and silence. He almost regretted the necessity of killing them to guarantee the latter.
Meanwhile, despite what he had asserted to the various generals, he knew there had to be more going on here. For instance, while he was a firm believer in technology, he did know magic was real. And had seen some strange things in his life.
Plus there was the matter of that message.
To ensure there were no singular routes for his enemies to locate and sabotage, different passages led to different parts of his quarters and personal lab, all carefully split up. Some opening up into more enjoyable locations than others.
So imagine his surprise when the silent door opened to the cryogenic room, where instead of the always-pleasant sight of that fool Hitler within his cryogenic prison, his view was obstructed by a figure wearing a blue cape?
To say nothing of how the reflection of the man's face as he regarded the former Fuhrer was distinctly inhuman? Green skin, red eyes.
Without a word, Vandal fired his gauntlet, and shocked the figure into unconsciousness.
As Batman had warned them, D-Day was turning into a full-fledged rout.
The Allies were being forced to surrender all the territory they had liberated, and flee back to the beaches as fast as they could travel. Behind them, the massive, Nazi wheel-tanks were mowing down entire blocks of a gutted, French city to advance upon them.
For the Justice League, the best they could do was grab as many soldiers as they could manage, prioritizing the wounded, and move them as far as possible to temporary safety before heading back again.
Carrying two injured men, Hawkgirl soared to get a better angle to try and find Green Lantern, and saw him carrying a third.
Over his shoulder.
While running on the ground.
Her blood froze, and her wings suddenly turned heavy as she realized the terrible truth.
His Ring's run out of power.
Professionally she pushed her dread aside, and flew closer to see what she could do to help.
"Lantern!" she yelled, reaching out with a desperate hand for him.
"I'll be okay!" he said back, and hefted up to her the soldier he was carrying. She had forgotten the unconscious man was there for a moment. "Take off!"
It would mean leaving him behind. Most likely to die.
Hawkgirl stared at him for a moment, feeling her emotions bubbling up, before she hardened herself even as he shouted, "Go!"
Without another word she flew off.
Never once did she look back, even as the sounds of explosions behind her intensified.
The Allies had been pushed back to the beaches, and were boarding boats to safety as fast as possible.
Flash was carrying soldiers out of the way of those massive, one-wheel tanks, while Superman was carrying an entire truck loaded with men.
For all that they were saving, it remained an unmitigated disaster.
Huffing and puffing, Flash took a moment to catch his breath. Glancing up, he saw Hawkgirl coming down laden with three more wounded, and helped ease one to the ground. It was only then did he realize somebody was missing as he looked around. He had to raise his voice to be heard over the constant explosions. "Where's GL?"
"His Ring went out," she said matter-of-factly, if also a bit louder. "He's stranded back there."
Eyes bulging and jaw dropped, he could only gape at her for a few seconds—or ages for him—before his anger took hold. "And you just left him!?"
"I had no choice," she said, even as she laid her final passenger down. "These men needed medical attention."
"Don't you even care what happens to him!?"
"Of course I do! But—!"
"I'm going back!"
With that he was off, leaving a trail of smoke behind him as he headed back to the town.
Hawkgirl stared after him with conflicted eyes, caught between wanting the man to go off on his rescue mission, or to stay here to help.
"Head's up!" called Superman, flying down with a tank held overhead. "We've got company!"
Out of the clouds came dozens of Axis fighter planes.
Without looking away from them, she said "Great," even as she hefted her grenade launcher at an officer. "Hold this," she ordered, before drawing her mace as it crackled with energy.
On cue the strafing runs began.
Flash dashed up and down abandoned streets, poked his head into the doorways of most-intact houses, and looked for any sign of his friend.
"Where are you buddy!?
"C'mon, this isn't funny!
Superman threw himself in front of several soldiers about to be gunned down by the enemy fighter planes, shrugging off the machine gun fire.
Eyes sweeping the horizon, he noted how the super-tanks were withdrawing. At best guess there was an Allied counter-attack happening elsewhere they had been recalled for, with these retreating soldiers being a lesser priority. Especially if they could call in the luftwaffe.
Unfortunately, the sheer number here, and the ominous fact he had not seen a single Allied plane, meant he and Hawkgirl were all these troops had for air support.
Well, time to get to work, he grimly knew.
War . . . was not something he was comfortable with.
Speeding forward, he flew right through a propeller, sending the craft into a freefall, yet knew the pilot would have time to grab for their parachute. Probably.
Unlike others, he did believe there were still heroes in war, except he also knew the whole concept was a horrible thing. A place where it was inevitable people would die terrible deaths on every side, and those who survived had to live with the consequences of their actions.
This was not his first time in one either. Usually though the powers of himself and his fellow members of the Justice League were enough to stop the conflict without any further lives lost. Not always though. Indeed, he himself had fought a war to save the Earth from the Imperium when they had first been founded, which had ended with the aliens' extermination.
Here and now, they were fighting a war to save not only the entire planet again, but history itself.
For all that Superman believed in trying his best to save every single life, during war . . .
"Okay!" he yelled to Hawkgirl over the sound of the dozens of guns firing at them. "This time all bets are off!"
Her response was silent agreement as she accelerated into the fray.
None of her usual enthusiasm at a good fight on display.
Parrying bullets with the shaft of her mace, she spun to the side and came up to knock the tail off of one plane.
Two more tried to shoot her from behind, only to be cut in two by his heat vision.
It was a slaughter as the Kryptonian just hovered there, invulnerable, while again and again his eyes flashed red to down a plane. Unlike those mysterious tanks, these ones had no defense against him.
Despite his words though, the two of them kept landing blows which gave the pilots a chance to survive as their rides fell from the sky.
Most of the time.
Suddenly more planes began exploding as friendly reinforcements arrived. Aircraft with blue fuselages and engines, while the wings and tips of the tails were red. He noted the lead pilot snapping Hawkgirl a salute.
Flying up beside his partner, he said, "Friends of yours?" while he nodded at the hawk-head insignia painted on their sides. Definitely not military markings.
"They are now," she smiled.
Despite there being only four of the newcomers, they showcased superior skill and crafts, under their guns Axis fighters were killed relentlessly by their fury. It was nearly a slaughter.
At no point did he or Hawkgirl try to save those men.
Indeed, Superman grabbed one enemy plane to throw into another, and flew straight through a third in a fiery explosion.
Soon the armada was no more.
With the soldiers cheering below, the lead pilot gave him and Hawkgirl a proud thumb's up before flying off.
Despite the entire mess of a situation they were in, the two heroes could not help but exchange smiles.
Even in the darkest times, there would always be those few individuals who would rise up to fight back.
Realistically it was impossible to evacuate everyone from France. Especially since the Allies' navy had earlier taken losses to originally land everybody. And even now they were taking the occasional hits from those super-tanks. Those which remained were fighting tooth and nail to get out as many people as possible.
Now the rest were hunkering down, enjoying the breather.
On this beach at least. Superman and Hawkgirl knew others were under attack, likely where the rest of those super-tanks had disappeared to. Despite this, the two heroes had come to the decision that it was best to stick together and reinforce one position to the best of their abilities. Especially as they were waiting for more of the League to rejoin them, hopefully with fresh intelligence. Not to mention the Allied Forces could coordinate with them better here.
The soldiers . . . just rolled with it. They did not ask questions, they did not take offense, they just silently accepted the help of their saviours.
One passed Hawkgirl a sandbag as part of a chain of men, and she placed it on the improvised barricade. Honestly, it was a bit of a relief, as it kept her too busy to think. Not only of comparisons to her people's own war with the Gordanians, but also . . .
Overhead Superman carried a truck laden with supplies which had been left behind, with people running up to unload it.
His wounds had not bothered him, and assured her that he had already healed. At some point he had also taken the time to wash the blood off his uniform, so as to not damage the morale of the men they were helping.
She went to join him to see if he had any news, just as Flash darted up to rejoin them at last.
"I couldn't find GL anywhere," he reported grimly, and Superman frowned in response. "I still can't believe you left him behind!" he accused Hawkgirl, which wiped the sadness and shame from her face.
"Come with me!" she said angrily, dragging him off by the arm, while Superman let them go without a word.
They came to the medical tent, and she pointed at all the men stretched out on the beds. Most blissfully unconscious, covered in bandages and wraps to keep them alive. New patients kept being brought in.
Those were the fortunate ones.
"Do you see that?" she demanded.
If not for his fear and anger about his best friend, she knew Flash would never be so insensitive. In many ways he was the Heart of the team.
"Look again!" His features beneath his cowl softened as he drank in her following words. "The casualties would've been much worse if we'd stopped to help John. We had to make a choice."
Casualties that were already terrible before he had run off searching in vain.
". . . Some choice," he said sadly and guiltily, looking away, and she herself found the ground better to stare at.
The sound of propellers snapped them out of their bitter thoughts, and Hawkgirl saw the friendly planes from earlier returning, and they came in for a landing. Quickly she briefed Flash on them as they hurried to greet them.
Each plane landed in perfect formation, and she was sure that many modern pilots with their fancier planes would struggle to do so well. Speaking of which, each of the four men wore the same uniform, yet once again they were distinctly non-military. Too flashy with their blue coats and hats, and the large hawk-insignia their leader proudly displayed. More like gentlemen taking to war.
Which indeed they had proven very capable at.
"Thanks for helping us out up there," said Hawkgirl, speaking for the three of them.
"Don't thank us," said the leader. He had sharp, handsome features, and a naturally commanding presence. "We would have shot those planes down anyway."
"I've never seen an insignia like that," said Superman. "What country are you from?"
"We're not from any one country. André's from France, Hendrickson from Holland, Olaf comes from Norway, and I'm Blackhawk, from Poland."
"All countries occupied by the Axis authorities," realized Superman.
"We Blackhawks bow to no authority until our homelands are free again.
"Vive la liberté!" said André, holding up a fist.
"Are these guys for real?" asked Flash, arms crossed over his chest, and frowning. Hawkgirl glanced away in dismay and a touch of irritation at his blindness.
An international paramilitary force fighting for the rights and freedoms of others. Sound familiar?
Showing no sign of offense, Blackhawk continued. "We would gladly lay down our lives for our cause, but we can't win this war alone."
"How can we help?" asked Hawkgirl.
Back at a burning town, Nazi troops and tanks secured the reclaimed area, while lines of supply trucks drove by unhindered.
Under one particular truck, a muddy and bruised Green Lantern held on tight.
As soon as they passed over a small bridge overlooking a hill, he let go and threw himself down, safely rolling with the impact. He checked to see nobody had spotted him.
Hairs on his neck went up just as he heard the ominous sound of cocking guns, and turned to find himself looking down the barrels of three rifles.
Fortunately those were Allied uniforms.
"What've we here?" said the biggest, with his jacket open to show his muscular chest, sleeves ripped off, extra-large gun (an automatic?), and a bandolier of more ammo carelessly resting on one shoulder.
"Whatever he is," said another, with a big, red beard, "he doesn't look German."
"Don't let that fool you," said the first speaker. "What if he's a spy?"
"Back off, Bulldozer," a fourth said, and the three soldiers looked to see a man with a sergeant's rank on his helmet, and a scruffy face. "He's no spy. I saw him in action while I was out on recon." He walked up. "You a partisan?"
"Guess you could call me that," he allowed. "The name's John Stewart."
The senior non-com looked down at his hand with a smile. "What's that fancy Ring? Some kind of secret weapon?"
"Not anymore," said John, holding it up so they could all get a better look at it. "It's out of juice."
"Too bad! Seeing as how we're stuck behind enemy lines, we could've used some help."
"I'll do whatever I can."
"Ferget it, Sarge," butt in Bulldozer, shoving forward to get right into John's face, exchanging flinty glares. "He might be a hotshot flyboy, but he ain't a real soldier."
He grabbed John's head to shove him back, only to receive a punch to the face in exchange.
A few more blows, and the space cop gave another fist to the gut to make Bulldozer bend forward, and finished it with a blow to the back of the neck to drop the bigger man.
Thankfully, instead of taking offense, Bulldozer's squadmates appeared more impressed than offended. As he had wagered, given his own past experiences.
"Where'd you learn that move?" asked the man with a beard, putting a hand on John's shoulder.
"US Marine Corps," he emphasized to make sure they understood he was one of them.
"Why you lousy—!" Bulldozer's rise and rant were intercepted by the Sarge knocking him in the chest with the stock of his rifle.
"Knock it off, Bulldozer, we've got a war to fight." Turning to John, "There's an enemy airfield around here somewhere," —he grabbed an extra gun from the fourth man, a younger man with freckles, and handed it over to their newest member— "and our job is to turn it into Swiss cheese. Welcome to Easy Company, soldier."
A little dismayed, John looked down at the weapon in his hands.
Comfortable in his lab, Vandal waited for his guest to wake up.
It had indeed been a productive day so far, with the remaining Allies beaten back to the beaches in despair. At two of their landing grounds, they had been entirely slaughtered before the war wheels had been recalled to securely refuel and rearm well back behind the lines. The regular troops could handle the mop-up.
Although it did appear there was indeed something to the reports of costumed fighters, given the one currently vertically shackled to one of his experiment tables. Someone who appeared to be a green, hairless man, with red eyes. Excellent musculature. Attempts to break the skin for samples had failed as well. Most of all, this mysterious person had penetrated every level of security to arrive here.
How very intriguing.
A groan heralded he had an audience.
Marching before his guest, standing straight, the very picture of regality, he tilted his head to regard him, and raised an eyebrow. "Who would have thought the Ubermensch would be green?"
Hmm, no sign of an accent to his impeccable German. Yet acting unfamiliar to a key piece of Nazi doctrine?
Coming forward so they were face-to-face. "The superior man," he answered with a smirk, before walking away. "Those destined to lead the world."
"I thought that was your goal."
Ah, so his guest had a wit, despite his circumstances. Well, he would be happy to share the truth. "My only desire is peace. Progress. Unity . . ."
"With you in charge, of course."
Irritated at the tone, he showed some of his temper as he turned around to say a tad sharply, "Why not?" Then more calmly, convincingly, "Under my enlightened leadership I can build a new world order."
The very proof of it was in this room, with technology decades and decades ahead of its time. How he had re-forged the Axis Forces into something worthy of greatness.
"All this from one laptop computer?"
His face glaring icily at the accusation, and at the words impossible for this man to know.
Yes, he had been close enough to it to have found it before discovering Hitler within his icy prison, and the laptop was here now, even if the green man had never glanced towards the table, but to recognize it . . .
It was best to remain silent, inviting answers.
"I'm from the future, the same as you."
Well, well, this was definitely turning out to be a most interesting conversation. He felt a smile breaking across his face, and did nothing to hide it.
"I'm not from the future," he corrected, walking over to where he had left his precious laptop out earlier. "But this is. Sixty years from now, it'll be a child's toy." He tapped a button to activate it, displaying the new Nazi logo. "But today it is the most powerful weapon on Earth."
It was true what they said about knowledge being power after all.
"Where did you get it?"
"A gift to myself," said Vandal, holding up a disc, which he placed within the precious machine. Instantly it began to play, displaying a message from his counterpart. Who, for some reason, did not appear to have aged a day.
"Greetings from the future."
"You age gracefully," said the green man with a touch of surprise.
"You have no idea," said Vandal, fighting the urge to laugh at the comedy of it all. As much as he enjoyed the opportunity to lay out his greatness, it was best to still keep some secrets.
"I have finally found a way to open a door into the past. And through that door, I have sent you this. Over the last few years I've come to realize that World War Two was the last, best opportunity for me to assume full and permanent power."
Schematics began to play out across the screen.
"The technology inside this device will give you a huge advantage in the war. And I will also give you a second advantage."
Now the images were that of historical scenes from a future that will never be.
"Knowledge of the future.
"First, the war cannot be won if that raging lunatic continues to run things."
While he would hardly question himself, Vandal had had the misfortune of having met Hitler, and fully verified the truth of that statement.
"He must be pushed aside. Second, the Allies will invade Normandy on June 6th, 1944. Be ready. Third—"
The screen was switched off. "Well, you get the idea," he continued to smile. "Knowing the future, how can I not succeed?"
"I've seen your future. It doesn't work."
"Ah, yes. About that."
J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter, had been through many strange situations in his life, but this adventure continued to surprise him.
For the briefest moment, Fuhrer Savage's mask of smug arrogance slipped. He was concerned about something.
The man walked over to a countertop to the side, and picked up something from underneath a piece of cloth which had kept it covered.
Was that the slightest hesitation as he brought it over for Martian Manhunter to see? Or was it, like so much else of the man's theatrics, calculated? For one, he had definitely been intending to show the laptop from the start.
He considered the object with interest, while keeping his face otherwise immobile.
It was a block of metal, with a picture of the Straw Hats etched into it, and painted. Given the precision, he estimated the lines were done by a laser, and a computer did the colouring. It would certainly suit the owner. As for the scene itself, it is clearly from the alternate future when they appeared within that military base.
Of more interest was how the bottom part was left blank, except for a message in language he could not recognize carved into it.
"It's written in a dead language only I can read," Savage helpfully explained. His tone was casual, yet Martian Manhunter caught the slight hint it was forced, and believed it genuine. "The metal was carefully irradiated to leave a signature I would detect with some of the designs included in the laptop, and then thrown into the past afterwards. Which of course meant my future self couldn't know precisely when or where it would turn up, but I still found it."
"It's a warning," said Martian Manhunter without question.
"Precisely." A sharp, piercing look. "Why does it emphasize I must kill them all on sight?"
"They are proof you will never succeed."
"Tell me more."
Advancing, Savage used his superior height to glare down at Martian Manhunter. "Well then, let's start with more immediate concerns.
"The description of your friends did not match those ten, but how many did you bring with you? What are their powers?"
"I'll never betray them," swore Martian Manhunter.
". . . We'll see," said the madman, with an ominous expression. Without another word, he left the room.
A few minutes later, a Nazi officer with rubber gloves entered the room to the Martian's glare.
Without even stopping to ask any questions, the man grabbed a shock prod and stabbed him with it.
The scream which tore from Martian Manhunter's throat was real, as agony beyond his expectations crackled throughout his form.
Again, and again.
Until he figured by now Savage was far enough away.
With a touch of will he slipped through the manacles, and confronted his tormenter. "Stop it."
"What!? But how!?" gasped the Nazi.
Ah, good, finally he spoke. Now he had a voice to impersonate if necessary.
Martian Manhunter decked the shocked torturer into unconsciousness. Another moment, and the bully was the one secured in place, and the hero was free to examine the laptop to his heart's content.
He had a lot to review, and an uncertain amount of time. Regardless, he would have to be sure to destroy this before leaving.
Before he forgot though, he faked a pained scream in case of eavesdroppers.
Hawkgirl, a.k.a. Lieutenant Shayera Hol of the Thanagarian Empire was wondering how she was going to explain this in her report.
The revelation that time travel alone was real, would have . . . consequences. However she trusted her superiors to treat such knowledge with the care it deserved. That they would acknowledge her experiences as a cautionary tale of the dangers of using it, even against the Gordanians.
Currently, she and the others were waiting for Blackhawk Squadron to finish their own preparations before taking flight once more. They had the resources and a plan for a daring strike back at the Axis Forces, which would hopefully stall their advances until the rest of the Justice League regrouped.
The survivors that is.
With almost physical exertion, she pushed that thought aside, and turned her attention to finally properly inspecting her new weapon. It was safe to do so here, on Blackhawk Island, the home base of their new allies. Truthfully, it was an impressive place, and she would have to investigate with the others what it was like in the future. An island near France which was apparently somehow virtually unknown, could be invaluable to the Justice League.
For now though, they were preparing to destroy a factory complex which for some reason was built within France, and was heavily defended against aerial bombing. Clearly it was important to the Nazis. And yet they had taken the risk of building it so close to the coast and the threat of Allied aircraft, that it implied for some reason they considered it necessary for it to be built there, even while aware of all the dangers.
Three anti-aircraft guns would prove little problem for the likes of Superman. Their only real concern was whether there were any further surprises.
Although her new grenade launcher might be able to help with that.
It intrigued her, and not just because it was from a technologically advanced future she was hoping to ensure would never be.
Hard earned as well.
A chill went up and down her wings at the memory of how close she had been to decapitation.
For all her skill and strength, she had been completely outclassed. To the point one could say the pirate Zoro would not so much have 'killed' her, but executed her.
It was that brush with death which made her instinctively grab that gun and fire it, despite the persona she had cultivated here on Earth. Thankfully she would be able to justify her choices to the others by pointing out that if Zoro was able to shrug off hits from Superman, it was unlikely the Nazis had anything lying around which would actually kill him.
Instead she had picked up something arguably even better for the situation.
Carrying it was a little awkward, but she made due for now. If she had time, she might try and see if she could adjust it so it rested over her shoulder, leaving her hands free.
As a bonus, she might be able to keep it too. A flashbang launcher certainly fit the role of a police officer, even if some cosmetic changes to make it look less militant would be necessary.
Despite how it only carried four rounds, she had grabbed several bandoliers of ammo as she ran with the others. Although by this point she was nearly out.
Hmm, would Batman be able to make her more if she saved at least one? Or would that cause a time paradox?
Assuming they were able to get home of course.
That was an interesting word.
A quiet part of her, from the former Thanagarian Military Academy instructor on espionage, wondered when a part of her started to consider Earth to be that instead of Thanagar. Was she losing her edge?
While he had not lied to Hawkgirl, he had certainly omitted the whole truth. Story of his life.
Taking his own breather, Superman was stripped to the waist to look at himself in the mirror, and his newest additions.
One on his left side, just by the seventh rib, and another on his right bicep.
As he had told her, his wounds were all healed, except never before had he been scarred, no matter what magic, god, alien, or machine he fought, his skin was always unblemished hours later. This time however, he could feel down to his bones that these were permanent.
He will have scars, a constant reminder of that battle, and he really was not sure how he felt about it.
Nor could it remain private, as he would have to share this with his teammates.
Especially because for the life of him, he had no idea how the Pirate Swordsman had done this.
Oh, his black blade had definitely been glowing with some sort of dark aura, yet it had not . . . felt like magic. Before he would not have said he could tell what that sensation was like, only now he could not shake the feeling it was something different. Especially since he was well aware that Shining Knight had no scars. Even if the man had benefited from Cherry Blossom Medical's products, it was a simple fact that his Kryptonian healing was superior.
Except Shining Knight had been so outclassed, maybe he had not thought it was necessary.
Hmm, and from what he knew of that golden armour, enchanted by Merlin himself, then magic should not have been able to beat it so easily. At least not without releasing the sort of power he would expect Kent Nelson to detect, and warn the League about. Unless it was not magic at all. Something his gut agreed with.
So it was brand new then, from whatever world those pirates had been stolen from.
Because landing on Earth had certainly not been their choice. Especially as they had visibly been weakened by the process; similar to how the Justice League had been when they had traveled back to the past. Except in this new timeline, their arrival had been unsafe, and it had cost them a man they loved, and in the process their sanity.
Something Superman could understand a little, having heard Lois' story of how she had travelled to an alternate world where her death had hardened his own other-self into a tyrant. How he had ruled over Metropolis with Luthor as his partner. The pirates had taken it to another extreme in their madness and grief, to the point they were unrecognizable. What would Luffy have even said if he had seen them?
Were the powers they had used solely because of their grief? Forbidden techniques, or driven by their pain? Or could the pirates in the timeline they were trying to save, be able to do the same sort of harm to him?
Regardless, it was clear that they came from some place where the rules as Superman knew them, were completely different.
And he was not ashamed to admit that unnerved him.
What other things did he 'know' about the pirates that were wrong?
Now in an Allied uniform, John found himself pinned down in a trench by machine gun fire from a Nazi bunker nest.
Alongside him were his new squadmates, all of whose names he had finally gotten. The man in charge was Sergeant Rock, whose name fit his personality. 'Beardy' was actually Wildman, and for reasons John did not want to know, the last and youngest was named Ice Cream Soldier.
He knew that soldiers could come up with some interesting nicknames, but why? Just . . . why?
"Keep those brain buckets down!" ordered Sergeant Rock. "Wildman, d'you think you can put a grenade into that rat hole?"
"Used to pitch in the bush leagues. Got a nasty spitball."
Personally that description of a 'spitball' was slightly concerning, and the man clearly enjoyed it.
"We'll cover you. 'Dozer and Ice Cream, hit 'em from the side, I'll stay in the middle. Wildman, come in from the other side. Stewart, watch our backs."
The men began their assault, while Wildman ducked closer behind some logs, and grabbed his grenade, primed it, and moved to throw.
Higher caliber than the rest, heard even over the constant machine gun fire from both sides, and with a cry Wildman went down.
The grenade went off, but thankfully it rolled far enough away to be safe.
"Wildman!" yelled Sergeant Rock, running to help, while John spotted the enemy sniper up in the trees on their flank.
Lifting up the antiquated rifle, he aimed and fired in the same breath, and the Nazi fell.
Meanwhile the sergeant managed to run forward enough to throw his own grenade in, with the gunners bailing out and running for it.
More worried about their own, Easy Company converged on Wildman. "Got me in the leg, Sarge," he told them in a pained voice.
"I thought you were watching our backs!" accused Bulldozer. He glanced down at John's hand. "Guess you ain't such hot stuff without that Ring."
While he tried to glare defiantly after the bigger man, he could not help drop his head in shame.
Was Bulldozer right?
Here, without any of the rest of the Justice League, was this all he amounted to?
"Ruined!" raged Vandal, picking up the wrecked laptop left mockingly out on his table. "How could this have happened!?"
"Apparently," said General Hoffman carefully, standing behind him, "the prisoner overpowered the guards and escaped."
The broken, useless piece of machinery shook in his hands for a moment. "He knows too much," he bit out. "We'll have to move up the invasion! Send out the signal immediately! Begin Operation: Endgame!"
Vandal had killed people for lesser insolence. Unfortunately Hoffman was allowed within his inner sanctum for a reason. So he took a moment to grasp his temper. "Why not!?"
Regardless of his nervousness, General Hoffman answered, "We've just learnt one of our coded communicators is missing. We think the spy took it."
"Imbecile!" snarled Vandal, slapping the fool across his face. "Get it back, or destroy it!"
"Ah yes sir," he managed despite his treatment. "We're already working on that."
Fortunately for the incompetent, a few hours later they had confirmation it had been destroyed, and could advance.
It was now time to destroy the factory, with the three available members of the Justice League going first to take out the defending anti-aircraft guns. The Blackhawks would follow up to bomb the place to kingdom come.
Obviously Flash was not comfortable with this whole mess. Definitely less than the others. They were heroes, they were supposed to save lives! Otherwise, what was the point of them?
Except there were no simple answers here.
Something which seemed to be happening more and more, lately.
Not that that was an excuse.
He would not falter from his convictions. No matter where or when he was.
The others were more experienced with war. J'onn and John had fought in them, as had Superman to some extent, Diana had trained for it, and even Shayera apparently came from a warlike place. Not him though. Even the wars he had helped the Justice League with on other planets had been solved without anybody dying once they had arrived to help settle things.
Although now he could understand from personal experience why they said 'War is hell.'
Unbidden, a memory popped into his mind. A scene from a TV show when he was flipping through the channels, back before he had even gotten his powers. It was about army doctors during the . . . was it the Korean War? No, it did not matter. Anyways, the point was that one of the doctors had quoted that line, only for another to rebut with . . .
"War isn't hell. War is war, hell is hell, and of the two, war is a lot worse."
The man, in the midst of conducting surgery to save lives, had gone on to explain how in hell you would find only sinners; those who deserved to be there. In war, you found everyone: soldiers, children, eldery, the infirm, all innocent and suffering together.
After that, Flash had changed the channel, not being in the mood for such a downer after a long day. Besides, why would he ever have to worry about fighting in a war?
In no way his problem!
Back to the present, it really, really, reaaaally was his problem.
And right now his primary 'problem' was that they were about to blow up a factory full of workers. Yes, those people were building stuff for the Nazis, and apparently important stuff, yet that did not mean they deserved to die.
Not on his watch. Not so long as he called himself 'Flash.'
So while Hawkgirl and Superman dealt with the turrets and guards, he ran into the factory planning to get everybody out. So what if he did not speak German? A guy in a red suit yelling at you and pointing to the exit should be universal. Especially if he found an alarm of some sort.
In short order, Superman, Flash, and Hawkgirl found themselves standing beside the burning wreckage of what had once been a critical Nazi war factory.
"Good job, Flash," praised Superman. "You saved all those workers." He himself had also made sure the guards had gotten away from the bombing as well, while the speedster had scared the people inside into running.
"But what were they building here?" asked Hawkgirl, bending down to pick up some of the debris.
"I saw them working on that," pointed Flash.
Hefting aside some rubble, it took Superman a moment to recognize what it was. "A jet engine."
"But this technology's way too advanced," she said.
Privately, Superman was fairly sure jet engines had already been developed by now in the original timeline. Although he could hardly expect her to know that. Plus she may have been referring to the sheer size and obvious sophistication of it.
"It's from the future," cut in a familiar and welcome voice, as Martian Manhunter landed beside them. "And I know how Savage is planning to use it."
John Stewart and his compatriots found themselves surrounded by idyllic countryside.
Without any airstrip.
"We've cased the whole area. Maybe GHQ got some bad info," said Bulldozer.
"Yeah," said Sergeant Rock with a touch of frustration. "Wouldn't be the first time."
"Or maybe the map's no good," offered Wildman, looking over said piece of paper for the umpteenth time.
"You're right," said John. "This hill isn't even on it. I wonder . . ." He walked forward, a part of him wishing Superman was here. The Kryptonian would have solved this in seconds.
Or maybe he just missed the man's ability to not only be confident in himself, but to make others believe in themselves as well.
Wonder Woman's kindness and certainty.
Flash's ability to make you laugh.
Martian Manhunter's serenity.
Hawkgirl's . . . Hawkgirl.
It was almost gratitude he felt for Bulldozer interrupting that line of thought with, "Yer so smart, why don't ya go find a runway with yer magic ring?"
"Enough of that 'Dozer!"
"Sarge, he almost got us killed!" John could hear the bigger man walking up behind him while he was leaning forward to examine the incline of the hill more. "What do we need you for anyway? Yer a big man when your Ring's working, but without it yer just AHH!"
A tearing sound accompanied the shout as Bulldozer fell through the ground.
"What in blazes!?" said Sergeant Rock as he and the others ran over.
"I thought so," said John, looking down into the hole. He could see stone walls and a floor, plus debris from a wooden 'roof' of camouflage they were all standing upon. Well, except for a certain heavy man down below. "The hill's a phony! That's why it wasn't on the map."
They got down, while a groaning Bulldozer sat up.
"There's your runway," said John, looking down a hallway.
Carefully they edged forward, and beheld line after line of hard-faced, Nazi soldiers lined up, all carrying machine guns and wearing parachutes. Dozens of them.
With more already marching aboard giant aircraft larger than anything John had ever seen, barring spaceships. With a line of those massive, wheeled tanks rolling aboard them, each of the multi-story high vehicles utterly dwarfed by their new 'mothership.'
Well, at least now they knew where they had all disappeared to.
And this was being repeated all across the massive complex, with at least a dozen of those oversized jet planes being loaded up.
In a concealed Resistance base, Wonder Woman watched the two men with her.
Steve Trevor had been a spy escaping Berlin when she and Martian Manhunter ran into him. He had escaped with one of the Nazis' encrypted communicators, which would allow them to listen in to their most secure messages. Agreeing this was too important to pass up, she had parted ways with her friend while she got Steve to his contact. It had taken some time, and a lot of violence, but they had pulled it off.
Erns was a small, elderly man, yet he had a strength of courage and conviction she fully respected. A German himself, he opposed the tyranny of his homeland, fighting against them with everything he had. And the greatest weapon he could bring to bear was one the Nazis had already demonstrated considerable concern for; his still razor-sharp mind, as he worked to break their secrets.
"Any luck?" she asked.
"The code is complicated," said Erns, tapping away at the communicator, while listening to a headset, "but—yes!" He jerked up with steely eyes. "I've got it."
"What do they say?" said Steve, leaning forward.
Erns concentrated, before stiffening in horror. "Oh no!" he moaned.
"What is it?" she asked, stepping forward.
"The invasion, it's starting!"
"Does it say where they're going to land?" said Steve earnestly. "Dover? Briton?"
"Britain is not their target," corrected the old man, taking off the headphones. "They're invading America!"
After a moment of shock, Steve snapped into action. "Can you use their communicator to send a warning?"
"I'm not sure the signal is strong enough!"
"We've got to alert the Allies, keep trying."
"It's not too late," said Wonder Woman decisively. She was fully recovered from her fight with Robin, and her own clashes with the Nazis had left her unharmed. "I can still stop the invasion."
Back in the massive hanger, the commandos were hiding behind a series of conventional Nazi tanks. At a guess, they had been intended to guard the complex while it was being prepared, and now their operators were all loaded aboard the super-jets themselves.
"No time to call for backup," said Sergeant Rock.
"Maybe we can string some mines across the tarmac," offered Wildman.
While it would only delay the launch, it would still buy precious hours.
None of them mentioned how even if they succeeded, they would surely die. That was irrelevant.
"Too late for that, look!" said John.
A black car with a motorcycle escort drove up, and even from the distance they could see officers saluting whoever got out. The man was tall and broad, and while everyone else had grey uniforms, his was black. There was no doubt who it was.
"It's the big man himself," said John grimly. Doubtless here to lead whatever invasion he had planned, with nearly everybody else now already aboard. A few guards remained here and there, while several armies' worth of men were ready to take to the air, and drop down on whatever poor souls they were after.
Even as he said it though, despite the distance, John's sharp sniper eyes noted there was something strangely familiar about this Fuhrer Savage the others had told him about. For one, he strangely resembled the posters of the Fuhrer Savage in the future, who the . . . other Batman had identified for them.
It felt more like the angle and his point of view of the man was triggering a sense of déjà vu that he could not shake. But that was impossible. He had never seen—
The video Batman had shown them of the man who had shot and executed the pirate Luffy. Sure, it might be a coincidence with two different men seen like this, and the first time was in a poor quality video, yet he could not shake the certainty in his gut that they were strangely similar.
Maybe even the same person?
No, impossible. He had seen Zoro dismember the man, and Savage was still alive as Fuhrer back then.
Only there was still that queasy feeling in his gut.
His ruminations were interrupted, and he snapped back to the present. "Let's hit 'em, and hit 'em hard," ordered Sergeant Rock. Killing the Nazi leadership should help stall things, and this was their final chance.
Five men opened fire with everything they had.
The guards held their position and opened fire, but Savage raced aboard, and the hatch locked shut. Engines ignited on cue, and the massive aircraft began to advance, with the remaining Nazi soldiers running out of the way, and the car crushed underneath.
They were taking off.
Green Lantern threw aside his gun and helmet. They would only weigh him down. "I've got a plane to catch!"
"You can't stop 'em single-handed!" Sergeant Rock yelled after him.
"He's crazy, Sarge!" he heard Bulldozer say.
"Shut up and cover him!"
Running to a motorcycle from the escort, John got it going, and raced to keep up with the lead jet.
Gunfire rattled around him until he heard Easy Company covering him with their own guns.
An explosion made him glance back, and it seemed Wildman had come up with a better idea than mines, by getting into one of the tanks to fire at the wheels of one of the jets.
Without ever leaving the ground, it crashed beneath itself to become a burning wreck, blocking several of the ones behind it.
Too many were still getting through.
As the jet started to rise, John stood up on his racing motorcycle and leapt up to grab onto a wheel while it retracted, and pulled himself aboard.
Martian Manhunter was still giving his debrief to the others, when Blackhawk's plane came down to land.
Climbing partially out of his cockpit, he called to them, "We just intercepted a message from the Resistance. Savage's mounted an air-born invasion. He's headed for America!"
"That's why he needed the jet engine," realized Hawkgirl. The ones still being produced were likely spares, or of course to make new planes.
"Got to warn the good guys!" said Flash. "Which way is west?"
"That way," said Blackhawk, "but—"
Without another word Flash was off as a red streak, with the others in the air behind him.
Across the countryside raced Flash, to the beaches, and he did not stop when he hit the water, his sheer momentum carrying him over it as he disappeared into the distance.
Aboard the jet, John burst through a crawlspace to find himself alone in a spacious room with what looked to be a lot of important machinery. Perfect.
Breaking off a pipe, he started swinging it to burst others, tear out wires, and whatever else looked vulnerable enough to make it crash.
Sitting within his command chair, Vandal felt his flagship begin to shake, and recognized the changed hum of the engines to mean something was wrong with them. "What's the matter?"
"We're losing altitude," reported one of the two pilots in the oversized cockpit with him.
"Radio the others," he crisply ordered, "tell them to go on without us." As much as he desired to be present for the start of Endgame, success was more important. There had been too many setbacks already, as well as the risk of the green man and his people interfering.
A moment later, "The radio's not working!"
"Find out what the problem is!"
With a salute, the man left to do so. Shortly after, the co-pilot reported the others were slowing down to maintain formation with their leader. Doubtless the fools assumed this intentional, and he was maintaining radio silence for some absurd reason.
Prying another junction box off a wall, John heard someone shouting in German, and turned to see two armed guards heading for him.
They opened fire, but he was too fast and got in close. Two smashes with his pipe took them down, only for a third to club him with the stock of a gun.
Groaning, John felt himself hefted off the ground by his arms, and dragged down hallways and up stairways.
"[Something, something] mein Fuhrer!"
He was brought before the big man himself.
They dropped him from the ground, and he kept his eyes clenched shut, only partially faking the pain he was under. Still, best to let them think he was worse off than he was. With some effort he forced himself up so he was on his hands and knees.
Just so he could have the pleasure of staring up at Savage's face, kneeling down before him with piercing, dangerous eyes. A casual arrogance where he aimed to dominate those around him by his sheer presence.
Yes, this was the sort of man to think he could rule the world.
"Any more of you aboard?" asked the Fuhrer in flawless English.
Silence was the only answer John would give. Let them worry there were more to watch out for.
Face hardening, Savage stood up and said, "Very well. I'm in no hurry" From under his uniform he pulled out a metal glove and put it on. "It's a long way to America," he stepped back, flexing metal fingers, "even with these new jets."
A sound made him glance over his shoulder to see his guards giving room, and John looked back just in time to be hit by lightning and scream as his back wrenched back with the spasms of pain.
After an eternity it was over, and he hunched forward on his hands again, the stench of something burning stinging his nose.
"Now talk," ordered Savage.
"Talk is cheap," gritted out John.
Glaring, the man repeated the torture, and now John was hugging his arms to himself as the agony ravaged every one of his nerves.
The jet shook, and Savage cut off his weapon in surprise.
Once more John fell to the ground, but amidst Savage's orders barked out in German, he heard the sound of hope:
Something hammering against the hull.
Superman flew through the wing of the lead jet once more, while Hawkgirl smashed at it with her mace.
Truthfully, he was hoping they could disable these transports without destroying them completely. Maybe force them to land? Even if in the water, there was a chance some of the thousands of troops aboard each of them might survive.
He had seen them all with his x-ray vision.
Unfortunately for everyone though, it did not look like he would have much choice. In the midst of peeling back a hull-plate, rapid-fire cannons emerged from the hull and shot him.
While undamaged, it took Superman by surprise as he was thrown aside. Regaining his equilibrium just before being hit by missiles. The shock of it stunned him enough to make him fall, only to wake up a few seconds later. Looking up he saw Hawkgirl swooping down to help, only to miss the other jet incoming. "Behind you!" he pointed.
She swerved around the cannon-fire, and dropped down on the tail of one to avoid being shot. "This isn't going to be easy."
"When is it ever?" a familiar voice called out.
Wonder Woman tore through the upper-part of the tail, and dived down to throw her lasso around one of the turrets and wrenched it out of its socket. Swinging, she brought it up to break a whole through the very plane it had come from, leaving a burning wound behind.
Wordlessly the four fliers regrouped and gained altitude, looking down at the eight jets below, several of whom were trailing fire.
For a battle cry, Superman made it nice and simple. "Let's go get 'em."
Accelerating, fist before him, Martian Manhunter went straight through the roof of one, and out through its belly.
Straining a little, Wonder Woman ripped off a steering flap, sending the transport out of control as it pulled aside, crashing into another which could not dodge in time.
Meanwhile Superman and Hawkgirl tag-teamed another, as he took out the turrets and she safely made the blows.
Through the viewport, Vandal saw yet another of his trump cards explode.
A beeping sound, and the pilot reported, "The wiring is repaired, mein Fuhrer! All systems operational!"
"Then signal the others," Vandal smoothly ordered, "fire the afterburners."
A shudder went through the jets, and he could feel the sensation of them accelerating rapidly. A glance at his monitors confirmed they had pulled well ahead of the green man, and the other meddlers.
Good. When he seized his foothold in America, crippling the 'new world,' they would never be able to stop what he had begun.
There were still five jets left, and a quick check confirmed they were largely undamaged. Only a few turrets missing. Satisfactory.
Smaller bursts of fire and destruction could be seen upon another, and his own vessel began to shake. "What!?"
They came through some clouds, and down below he saw the impossible.
Allied warships were in the ocean below, and tracer fire from their cannons clearly visible.
They should have had no warning at this distance, had no reason to look up with all this cloud cover at night, and according to his latest reports were not even supposed to be on this course! He was supposed to pass right over any stray ships that by some fluke he came across, and be gone before they even had a chance to raise their guns!
How was this possible!?
Flash lowered his binoculars. "What'd I tell you?" he said loudly to the navy admiral standing beside him. "Right on schedule."
"Take evasive action!" ordered Vandal, voicing the obvious to prod his people into doing their jobs while they stared slack jawed at the sight of another transport falling towards the waters below.
Did they want to die!?
The sound of flesh hitting flesh, and a brief burst of gunfire caught his attention, and he looked to see the Allied saboteur was on his feet, machine gun pointed straight at Vandal. "You're not going anywhere!"
It was almost cute.
"You think you can kill me?" asked Vandal, stepping away from his chair so he could move easier. Putting his hands to his chest, "You're welcome to try."
He sneered, daring the man to do it.
The prisoner hesitated fractionally before the conviction of a superior man, only to then give a slight grin of his own, and fired.
But not at Vandal. Instead machine gun rounds tore into the piloting controls.
Frowning, the Fuhrer dashed forward, and melted the offending weapon in the grip of his metal glove, crackling with power. The commando dodged a back-handed slap, and grabbed his forearm where the glove did not cover, wrenching it up so Vandal's own face was shocked by it.
Even for him, it was enough pain and surprise to make him stagger back into his own console.
Fist raised, the other man tried to capitalize on this, only to be put off balance as the damage to the instruments was putting them into a steep dive towards the ocean below.
The rest of the Justice League had just caught up, when something caught Martian Manhunter's senses, and his eyes glowed with his power as he reached out with his mind to confirm it. "Lantern!"
A stray round from the ships below struck him, and he fell from the sky.
Thankfully Hawkgirl grabbed him in her arms, and started to carry them aloft while he recovered. "Green Lantern," he weakly said.
"I'm sorry," she said fiercely, "we didn't have time to tell you. We lost—"
"No, he's here!" He pulled out of her grip, and looked down at one of the last remaining vessels, headed towards a cold, dark grave. "Aboard that plane!"
If this was the end, Green Lantern was going to go out swinging. No way was he going to give his enemy an inch of a chance of surviving.
Back to a console, he struggled with the arm of Savage's weapon with one hand. "Say your prayers, Savage!" A right hook stunned the would-be conqueror.
Rolling aside and using the momentum of their crash, he let Savage fall forward where Green Lantern had just been. Only for the tyrant to dodge in turn when the hero tried to bring his fists down on the Nazi's back.
"A god doesn't grovel," boasted the madman. With a quick burst of electricity, he slammed Green Lantern against the viewport.
Only to then hear the most beautiful thing in the world.
A war-cry full of anger and defiance, as a mace smashed through the glass.
"Hawkgirl!?" he said in shock at the figure before him.
"Come on, let's go!" she yelled, grabbing his wrist, and he clasped hers in turn.
She pulled him out and to safety with only seconds left before the plane crashed, leaving the Fuhrer of the Axis Forces to his fate.
Vandal Savage disappeared beneath the waves aboard his metal deathtrap, and sank without a trace.
Looking away, he beamed at his savior, "What took you?"
That actually made her give a quick chuckle. "I had to fix my hair," she smiled.
And despite how she was already pulling him through the air by his hand, his grip around hers tightened a little more.
"They're turning back!" cheered Flash, watching the last surviving two jets breaking off back east. "We did it!"
At his words, the crewmen of all the ships he was with took up their own cries of victory.
Up in the air, Wonder Woman asked with concern, "Shouldn't we go after them?"
"I don't think we'll need to," said Superman with a small, proud grin.
Down from the clouds swept Blackhawk Squadron, having finally caught up.
"Hawka!" cried their leader as the four fighter-bombers dealt with the last of their wounded prey.
It was over.
As the sun rose for a new day, the Justice League knew that against impossible odds, they had won. The threat of the dark future was no more, and all of them were coming back home.
Now, you might imagine that after correcting history just right so there would be no temporal paradoxes, getting back home to their proper timeline would be a major challenge for the Justice League. Especially since they had been dumped into the past by a machine which had not even been invented yet, right?
Actually it was super easy, barely an inconvenience!
Just a little work to dispose of all the super-advanced weaponry here and there, and J'onn confirming that the Nazi leadership had defrosted Hitler from his icy prison to lead them again. That should be enough to handle the rest of the little details.
With that settled, they are headed back to where and when they were supposed to be.
Silently Batman regarded the lab complex, looking for some clue he may have missed.
Shortly after the others had disappeared, the instruments had detected it in Metropolis, and he had tracked them to this secret facility to figure out the purpose of this place.
The main focus of it all was some sort of hole in the center of the main room. Crackling with swirling energy, and unsettling on a level he could not put into words. As best as he could figure from these instruments though, it was going to collapse in a few minutes.
Something shifted in the air, and he retreated into the shadows.
The strange phenomena started to shake, and was appearing increasingly unstable.
A moment later, Flash came flying out of the hole, landing on his feet. Everyone else followed.
For some reason Hawkgirl was carrying Green Lantern, who while in uniform, seemed to have let his Ring run out of power.
What was now apparently a portal started to flare more and more, flashing a blinding light before safely imploding.
None of them seemed hurt. Although for some reason Hawkgirl was carrying a gun of all things, and seemed pleasantly surprised to see it.
"Home sweet home," said Flash with raised hands and a grin. The expression fell, "I hope."
"I should have known you'd be here," said Batman, stepping out into sight. "The instruments in the Watchtower picked up this anomaly a few hours ago."
For some reason they all seemed surprised and happy to see him. Superman and Wonder Woman were particularly beaming, with the former quickly walking over. "Batman, it's really you!"
Then the alien kept coming and wrapped his arms around Batman in a hug of all things.
Hiding any reaction, he waited a few heartbeats for an explanation. ". . . Am I missing something?"
The big grin finally went away, and Superman became more serious, and cleared his throat. "Ah, sorry, it's just that . . ." He looked back towards the others, but they were only smiling and not offering any help. Green Lantern just shook his head in amusement. "Well, it's a long story."
"Is Shining Knight still with us?" blurted out Flash.
"Yes," answered Batman, hiding his growing wariness. "He's on the Watchtower monitoring for any sign of you."
"You're not going to believe what we've been through," said Hawkgirl.
Green Lantern huffed, and lost some of his humour. "The short version is we all need some R&R, and then to get some heavy team training in."
"Hey, we did pretty fine, all things considered," protested Flash.
"Against the Nazis, maybe—"
"—but the pirates? No. If we fought them now, we'd lose, and lose badly. And we could've still done better. The truth is, we've gotten complacent."
Wonder Woman rested a placating hand on the space cop's shoulder. "Let's just get ourselves settled down to tell Batman and Shining Knight all about it first."
There was something in her eyes which concerned him as she looked back at the Dark Knight.
"Although you really might have trouble taking us seriously."
"Oh," commented Superman, and there was something in his voice Batman could not place, "I don't think that will be a problem."
In one deft move he pulled his uniform up over his head, and it only took an instant for Batman to notice what should not be there.
Proof even the Man of Steel could bleed.
Dimly he processed how even the others, who had been with their teammate were also shocked. Meanwhile Clar—Superman wrly said, "A lot can happen in a few hours . . ."
Yes, I almost completely wrote out Steve Trevor. Honestly, I did originally have plans for him, but for the sake of brevity I compressed three episodes into two chapters, so that subplot had to go. Which was personally disappointing, since I did enjoy that part of the story.
For those who have been making references to it this whole time, I have finally read My Hero Academia, so now I know I can properly understand whatever else you want to say about it.
You know, if I wanted to do a true AU with this chapter, I could have had J'onn stick around long enough to handle the War Wheels. Have it that the ongoing character development with the characters, or maybe Shining Knight was with them after all, is what led to the change. Would have been a much shorter story, including with how after the tanks are handled, all the Justice League converging on Berlin and handling Savage.
Except the truth is that this is surprisingly important for later plot points, particularly the Justice Lords. Here the heroes are forced to fight alongside the regular soldiers, struggling together with them. Despite all their powers, it is an uphill battle to achieve victory. All of which means that the idea that they could conquer the world, is not something they would really appreciate and accept, especially on an emotional level. If it was so hard in the Second World War, how could they possibly do it during the present day?
This has consequences down the line.
For a little bit of history, yes Savage's new symbol for Nazism is based upon the Schutzstaffel symbol, or the SS, Hitler's infamous secret police and agents of atrocities. He cut it down to a single 'S.'
That is right! Superman's scars are permanent! Credit to Analise0626 for the idea. There in that harsher world, Zoro discovered Conqueror's Haki, and to fight the cream of Savage's forces, had to push past his previous limits. Hence why they remained. The Man of Steel is also cluing in to how Haki is something brand new.
Yes, the TV show Flash was referencing was M*A*S*H, with the line being said by Hawkeye. As well as that the final bit about how easily the heroes dealt with the time travel was from Ryan George on the YouTube channel "Screen Rant." Because yeah, no explanation was ever given on how they got back home to the proper timeline.
rose7anne101: so all this happened cause of laptop
blacky: in a word yes
rose: it was Apple, right?
rose: the laptop, Apple laptop. Computer slash phone company.
black: they never say
rose: I knew it!
black, no, wa-
rose: explain so much... the eaten apple in the logo, it's literally the devil's work. very clever. hiding in plain sight. The whole story about the garden of eden begins with eaten Apple, and here even in comics, Nazis needed to win because of an Apple laptop. it changed history for the worse.
black: rose... I ... it isn"t
rose: you know, what's more funny…?
black (giving up on explaining): what?
rose: my computer is on the shop getting fixed. I get a temporary one from work until i get it back. guess what?
rose: Apple mac. I edited this chapter and the last using an eaten apple. Coincidence? No way! devil work i tell ya
Qwertster: *snorts at conspiracy while casually eating an apple*
*Stealing the apple *, rose7anne101: you really should get with times and all, conspiracy theories are very trendy these days! * take bite* ;)
Next Chapter: 'Learning Their Trade'
Please Review, and I will get back to you!
The sheer size of my responses for Guest Reviews means I need to start making some exceptions. I will not answer if you are asking when the next update will be, since honestly my answer tends to be, 'I do not know.' Also, for those asking for more One Piece characters, I say, 'Definitely not anytime soon. Maybe later though.' Or 'who would win' questions, since answering those basically counts as giving Spoilers. For those asking about the Justice Lords, I will simply say they are a popular arc request. While Haki is indeed similar in concept to the Will used by Green Lantern Rings, they are still different enough, on different 'frequencies' of willpower if you stretch the analogy, that they do not effect each other in any special way. The Straw Hats cannot use any form of magic, nor teach haki to others. Also no more responding to ones that are just "guest" without a penname, as frankly they cannot be kept track of anyways.
EVERYONE STAY SAFE!