A/N: I'm gonna get an angry mob after this chapter, aren't I? Bring it on...
Dante stood unshaken on the wing of Batman's air vehicle, the jet shooting through the air at mach speed. Superman, Wonder Woman, Shazam, and the Bat himself had to question why Dante didn't just get in the passenger seat… the three just assuming that was too banal for the half-devil.
"Lantern," Superman called out, "I want you to stay in the city. Keep more pressure on the fleet, it'll only help Batman in separating Brainiac from the beta's."
"You got it." Lantern said as he flew off.
As the Batwing climbed up above the colossus of the Metropolis skyscrapers, the horde of alien aircrafts still circling above, Dante quickly noticed the big one…
What equated to a metallic skull with octopus like arms protruding from its bottom descended from the clouds, a macabre halo over Metropolis.
"We've gotta be fast." Superman said, "Brainiac will take his shield's down to take the city. As he extract's, that's when we board. Whatever he takes can be replaced, but its best we avoid going there if possible."
"Sounds like cake." Dante said, the group of heroes rapidly approaching the ship.
The screams of numerous engines quickly filled the air from behind. "Look out!" Superman said, the man turning to see several of Brainiac's aircrafts speeding their way.
A turret opened up at the bottom of the batwing, Batman controlling it from his ship's control interface.
The alien aircrafts moved unnaturally fast, spinning to dodge the hail of gunfire and superman's heat vision, the drones shooting their own lasers to retaliate. Superman managed to nail a few of them, others flying forward and ahead of the heroes, before quickly turning right around to fly right at them.
Dante cracked his neck and rolled his shoulders, timing this maneuver. He pulled his guns before flipping from one wing of the batwing to another, shooting a drone out of the air from behind the back mid-flip.
The batwing had to twist to a 90 degree angle to avoid collision with an aircraft from behind, Dante running up along the batwing's winglet before maneuvering to the ship's underside, clinging to it as he shot another alien drone down.
A third drone started rapid-firing lazers, the batwing pulling a rapid flip to dodge. Before the batwing pulled the maneuver, Dante leaped forth, landing atop the drone before grabbing hold of its front, taking control of it as it flipped through the air.
The other heroes watched dumbfounded as the man went on a joyride through the air, whooping and hollering like a kid on a rollercoaster.
He aimed the bot towards another above, Dante letting go and free falling as the drone flew right up into its other, the two aircrafts exploding in a violent firework.
Dante landed smoothly down on the batwing's front, the man turning to the other heroes, "How's that for dogfighting?"
A blue light emanated from the mothership's bottom, a signal to the pack of heroes to put it in gear.
They shot into the skull's mouth, the most obvious entry into the ship's interior.
Batman's batwing landed, Dante hopping off the aircraft as Superman, Wonder Woman, and Shazam softly touched down.
Dante glanced around the ship, seeing architecture fittingly straight out of a sci-fi movie. The ship rumbled under the heroes feet.
"Let's get to the Bridge." Superman said, "We make it there we can-"
"2 o'clock!" Shazam called out as a squadron of bots appeared on a balcony above the group. Each one of them held an alien blaster aimed at the heroes.
A quartet of hulking androids jumped over the ledge, landing in front of the heroes with a thunderous boom. The droid's arms were sharpened, meant to be used as blades. The hulking beta's charged the heroes as the bots on the ledge opened fire; Dante, Superman, Shazam, and Wonder Woman moving in on them as Batman quickly threw two fistfull's of batarangs at the ones shooting from above.
With expert precision on Batman's part, each batarang hit its target in the head and exploded.
Diana blocked a downward swing of a bladed arm, before swinging her sword up to cut off said arm before removing the drone's head.
Shazam dodged a blade swing before putting his hand to the bots chest, and shooting a bolt of lightning clean through it.
Dante traded spark filled strikes with the drone that went for him, before turning and giving the machine a behind the back stab through its chest.
Dante watched as Superman caught a bot by both forearms, crushing both as the man's eyes began to heat up. Just as Superman's eyes glow red, the bot's head exploded. Clark, Diana, and Bruce looked to Dante, the barrel of the man's black gun smoking.
"Nice draw there John Wayne." Shazam said with a clap to Dante's back.
"Please hold your applause until the end of the presentation." Dante said as he holstered Rebellion and Ebony. The heroes continued on.
The super's paced through the ship's bowels, Shazam looking to the guns strapped to Dante's waist, "So, red, you uh, you a super or just a gun nut with talent?"
"I can't be both?" Dante asked, "Why I gotta be one or the other?" he nodded to Wonder Woman, "Is she a super or a chick who digs ropes and sharp things?"
Diana huffed, "Super or not, I'm an honorable warrior first and foremost. As such, yes, I will use a sword."
Dante could sense a hint of an insult in the woman's tone, "Guess I'm not a warrior cause I use guns? They sure helped against you didn't they?"
"Only a dishonourable warrior uses guns in sword fights." Diana said.
"Only a foolish warrior brings swords to gunfights." Dante shot back.
"I'm more than happy to conclude what we began." Wonder Woman said.
"Time and place, sister. Name it." Dante said.
"Enough." Superman said, more to Dante than anyone else. The man of steel's eyes hardened as they approached a corridor, the room beyond being one he was familiar with, "We've made it to the Collection Room."
Dante and the other heroes stepped inside, seeing a massive room filled with floating blue orbs. The sounds of screams and wails of panic reverberated from the orbs, the haunting noise filling the room.
"Jesus." Shazam said, the kid-turned-hero looking up and around at all of the captured cities, "All of these cities? All of these people?"
"They're alive," Wonder Woman said, "And that's what matters right now. Brainiac isn't out to kill, he's out collect and study."
"Not all of these are from Earth." Batman said, the vigilante getting a closer look at one of the orbs.
"Of the Earth cities, I notice he took Boston and Baltimore… Syracuse, and Newark." Wonder Woman said, her eyes rapidly glancing between orbs.
Dante held up one of the orbs, the man peering into it, "Kinda cool. Like a twisted alien snow globe." He said, earning an 'are you serious?' glare from Wonder Woman.
"I have the means to restore these cities back at the Fortress of Solitude," Superman said, "In the meantime, let's focus on finding Brainiac so we can end the madness."
"You won't have to look far."
The heroes looked over to the source of the new voice that cut in.
A tall, green, extraterrestrial man in some sort of armor lowered himself in, the being's head and back connected to some sort of bionic tendrils wired into the ship. From either side of the bridge, a pack of betas walked in to block the path out, each of them carrying a blaster aimed at the heroes.
Dante looked up at Brainiac, "Well what do ya' know? Invader Zim got some upgrades."
Shazam looked to Wonder Woman, "I like this guy."
"He's a pain." Batman said.
Brainiac looked to Dante, "You're new."
"I'm in from outta town." Dante said, the devil hunter keeping his cool yet staying hyper aware. This was a being he was completely unfamiliar with, in a ship that basically served as an extension of its consciousness. He was on its home turf... "Figured I'd offer some humanitarian aid."
Brainiac's black eyes watched the man, "I see." he looked to Superman and Batman, "No matter how much you build your forces, you will never truly stop me. This will never end. Every effort you make to oppose me has only ended in a delay on my front. Even superior beings to you have come to recognize my superiority. You may destroy this body, but-"
The league members watched with wide eyes as Brainiac's body was suddenly shot to pieces, the ruined and mangled husk of a body falling from the tendrils and hitting the floor in an electricity crackling heap.
Dante holstered his smoking guns, "He talks too much. I hate people with bigger mouths than mine."
"Does it get lonely on that pedestal?" Wonder Woman asked.
"Sometimes." Dante said, the man giving her a pouty smile, "Wanna be my friend, occupy the extra space with me?"
"I'd appreciate it if you stopped the flirting." Superman admitted.
Dante looked between Superman and Wonder Woman, "Ah... you two, an item. Got it."
"As I was saying…"
Everyone turned to the left corridor, the sounds of booming footsteps quickly becoming audible.
Brainiac reappeared with a new body, one bigger than the last and completely made of metal head to toe. The head was of a metal skull with glowing purple eyes, the rest of the suit a black metal with purple accents at the joints.
"You may destroy my body." Brainiac said, voice appropriately sounding as if it were coming out of a speaker, "But I will always come back. In time, whether during or after yours has come, the universe will adhere to my design."
Dante aimed Ebony and Ivory at the alien, Clark speaking up for him, "Shoot him all you want. He'll just transfer his conscience into another body. We won't stop him until Batman can kill the signal transmissions."
"Better get on that, then." Dante said, not taking his eyes off Brainiac.
Brainiac pointed at the heroes, "Destroy them." he ordered his bots.
Both factions burst into action, Brainiac drones rapid firing their rifles at the heroes who rapidly moved to disable the bots. Batman used his armored forearm to block lazer bolts, Superman jumping over the Dark Knight, landing in front of him to act as his friend's shield. In an untraceable blur of movement, the man of steel shot in close, dismantling the bots with mountain splitting punches and kicks.
Dante deflected the lazer bolts with Rebellion, the bots concentrating fire on him. This allowed Wonder Woman an opening to get into the bot's formation and take them apart with her sword, Brainiac taking few steps back to distance himself from the assault before him.
Brainiac looked up as Shazam leaped up at him, the kid-turned-hero's fist pulled back for a punch aimed at Brainiac's face. Without so much as a twitch of movement, a robotic tentacle hit Shazam in the stomach, slamming and pinning him into a wall above Dante and Diana.
The two swordmaster's looked up, distracted by the assault. Before Dante could act to cut Shazam free, he picked up on something coming at him from his left.
"Heads up!" he told Diana as he dove back, using his forearm to bring her back with him. The two narrowly dodged a massive combat tentacle that pushed through like a speeding bus, crushing the remaining bots before coiling up around the two heroes to peer down on them like a colossal snake.
Shazam used his Herculean strength to crush the tentacle pinning him with his bare hands, before leaping out and kicking the massive tendril encircling the two swordmasters.
Before the appendage could pursue Shazam, Wonder Woman stuck her sword through the metallic tendril, pinning it. Dante held his sword in a reverse grip, the silver blade quickly turning red as it sparkled with demonic energy. He swung the blade, sending forth a torrent of energy that cleaved right through the tendril.
All present heroes put their focus on Brainiac, the robotic alien now standing with combat tendrils at the ready.
Superman was prepped to launch himself at the machine, but before he could advance, he noticed a green light emanating from the hall behind Brainiac, the light growing brighter as its source got closer.
Clark's breath began to strain, an immediate signal of what the source was. "No… how…" he dropped to his knees.
"Superman!" Wonder Woman cried out, running up to her partner and lover. She kneeled down next to him.
"What's his deal?" Dante asked, Batman and Shazam ignoring him as the source of Superman's bane stepped out from behind Brainiac. The eyes of the League members widened in shock. Two teenage heroes made their presence known, one of them outfitted in a blue battle suit bonded over his skin, the other outfitted in a red and orange suit with active flames pouring from his head.
"Blue Beetle? Firestorm?" Shazam said, hoping to get a response out of the two. The answer to what happened to them was clear as day.
Firestorm held in both of his hands two transmuted rocks that glow green, Superman grunting in pain from exposure.
Dante looked between the two teenage heroes that stood side by side with the invader, "Recruiting pretty young there E.T."
"He's got them under mind control." Wonder Woman said, "They can't help what they're doing."
Firestorm spoke up, "Brainiac has unified our dueling minds. Because of this, he has mastered the Firestorm matrix."
"He has perfected the Scarab's power." Blue Beetle added.
"All knowledge will be absorbed into his collection." Firestorm finished.
Firestorm held one kryptonite formed hand to Superman to keep him down, and another hand now formed of fire to Batman and the others.
Blue Beetle's arms morphed into swords, a silent challenge that Dante accepted. The devil hunter stepping up to Beetle, Rebellion drawn and held at his side.
"I detect an unfamiliar energy source from you." Brainiac said as he eyed Dante, "It's a shame I'll be unable to study you… alive."
"Making a lot of assumptions there tin man." Dante said, giving Rebellion a light twirl in his palm.
Before Wonder Woman could grab Clark to get him away from Firestorm's kryptonite, a flurry of tendrils snagged the Kryptonian, pulling him up and ensnaring him. In his weakened state, Superman couldn't break free from the already strong tendrils.
Diana gasped as Superman was dragged into the ship's walls, his form disappearing as he was absorbed.
"He's not dead…" Batman told Diana, reassuring her to make sure she kept a clear head, "He's not dead…"
Firestorm shot a wave of fire at the two that Shazam got in the path of to block, Blue Beetle swinging his bladed arms at Dante that the half-devil parried. Dante kicked the teen over a ledge to give more space to fight away from the others. He jumped down after him.
Shazam turned to Batman, "We'll give you an opening. Just do what you need to." his fingers crackled with lightning, before he fired a wave of it at Brainiac and Firestorm, the alien forming a forcefield to shield himself.
Batman ran past, entering deeper into the ship's cavity.
Wonder Woman leaped over Shazam and came down on Brainiac with her sword drawn. Firestorm held up both of his hands, firing a concentrated beam of flames at Wonder Woman who quickly blocked the attack with her wrist gauntlets, the force pushing her back and next to Shazam.
Captain Marvel put his focus on Firestorm, the electricity based hero smirking, "Sorry Jason, I'm not gonna kill ya' but you are definitely gonna feel what I do to you in the morning." He fired a bolt of lightning that Firestorm countered with a firebolt, before charging in with a punch to the jaw that sent Firestorm back, Shazam flying after him.
Wonder Woman was on Brainiac, the megalomaniac's bionic tendrils the only thing keeping the woman at bay. Diana swung her sword in every direction, cutting and parrying the tendrils that aimed to ensnare.
A larger tendril caught her by surprise and knocked her back, Diana setting her feet into the floor to brake.
"To think that I still have such little Amazonian data." Brainiac said.
"You will have none of it." Wonder Woman said, the Amazon holding her sword at the ready.
"I've come across thousands with that same line of defiance," Brainiac said, a silent gesture from him raising bionic tendrils that came to his defense. Diana's eyes widened as dozens more came to Brainiac's side. She noticed another dozen come to her left… then her right… and she could hear the squeaking movements of several more from behind and above her. Brainiac held his hand to her, "All have come to learn that resistance is futile."
With cannon's formed in both hands, Blue Beetle rapid fired blue waves of energy at Dante who charged at him, the man flash-stepping to narrowly dodge the projectiles. Jaime combined both arm cannon's to form one large cannon that spewed a constant beam of blue energy at Dante, the man redirecting his run towards a nearby wall. The beam tore a deep gauge right through the floor of the ship as it followed Dante. The son of Sparda ran up the wall, before leaping out over Jaime.
Blue Beetle sprouted wings, before flying straight up to meet Dante in the air, his arm morphing back into individual cannon's that he aimed to blast Dante with at point blank range. The Scarab formed a pair of mandible-like appendages at Jaime's waist that it used to trap Dante, before Beetle held his cannon to Dante's face.
With lightning fast reflexes, Dante simply moved his head to the side the second Beetle shot, before elbowing the cannon aimed at his stomach to the side, redirecting its fire. Dante wrapped his arms around Beetle's torso, before flipping the both of their weight upside down, forcing the two of them back to the floor.
Dante sprung back the second before impact, allowing Beetle to get driven into the floor face first.
Dante knew the goal was to stop this kid without killing him. Knocking him unconscious seemed to be the only way. He needed to test the waters to see just how much this kid could handle, before he upped the punishment.
Beetle got back up to his feet with a stumble, a sign to Dante that he was getting somewhere. Pulling Ebony and Ivory, Dante rapid fired the guns at Jaime, the teen getting hit with numerous bullets all over his body, his armor struggling to resist.
The Scarab formed two halves of a shield at each arm, before bringing them together to fully shield itself from the barrage of metal hammering it.
Dante pulled Rebellion, before getting into Beetle's defense almost faster than the teen could anticipate.
Rebellion clashed against the newly formed blades of the Scarab. To compensate for Jaime's dual wielding, and aiming to beat the kid down faster than he could recover; Dante swung his sword twice as fast to parry and counter. He weaved a thrust to the heart and swing to the neck from Blue Beetle's swords, Dante retaliating with a downward swing of Rebellion that Beetle formed an 'X' to catch and block.
"Nice moves there Flik, got any more tricks up your sleeve?" Dante said, pushing his sword down on the teen. He could see Jaime's knees wobbling under the pressure.
Wordlessly, the Scarab began to warp at Jaime's chest, a blue light shining before Dante's eyes. The son of Sparda knew what it was the second it fired, a massive beam tearing straight through Dante's chest cavity and out through the back.
Dante had to admit… he'd felt that...
He kneed Beetle in the groin, before swinging Rebellion into the teen's chest, the armor fortunately blocking the blade from tearing through, but not stopping the force of impact from sending Beetle into a pillar.
Before Beetle could collect himself, he found himself staring into the barrel of a black handgun,
"Sweet dreams." Dante said before he pulled the trigger.
Diana was giving her all, practically fighting a one-woman war against Brainiacs onslaught. She kept cutting, slicing, and dodging, but her stamina was starting to wane… and Brainiac knew this.
As Diana moved to dodge a flurry of tendrils fast approaching from her left, she felt something tugging on her ankle. She looked down to see that a much smaller tendril managed to grab her, wrapping around her ankle like a snake. Just as she moved to cut the tendril, three others grabbed her by her left arm; one grabbing the wrist holding her sword, the other tightening around her forearm, and the third pulling at her upper arm to keep her restrained.
Quickly after, tendrils grabbed her right arm, before a larger one wrapped around her waist, lifting her up as she thrashed and kicked viciously to escape. Several others moved in to restrain the woman, Diana unable to anything at this point except growl like a trapped animal.
Brainiac stepped closer to Wonder Woman, his tendrils prepped to fully capture the woman and put an end to her fight.
"The more you struggle and resist, the more unpleasant this will be." Brainiac said as Diana kept kicking. He sent forth more tendrils to stop her legs, Diana gasping as they crept up her shins, before coiling around her thighs...
A flash of silver spun through the air, chopping the tendrils before impaling through Brainiac's chest.
Diana dropped from the air and landed safely on her hands and knee.
She saw a boot step up next to her from her left, the woman looking up to see Dante offering her a hand, "Sorry, but that was getting a little too obscene for my liking." he said, Diana taking his hand, "You alright?"
Wonder Woman nodded as she got back up to her feet, "Yes. Thank you." She noticed a hole in Dante's shirt, though his chest was just fine. She found that odd...
Brainiac simply looked at the sword impaled into his mechanical body. Before he could grab at it, the blade flew from his body and back to Dante's palm.
"You've fully garnered my interest." Brainiac said to the half-devil.
"Awww, I feel special." Dante said with a grin.
"You should." Brainiac said, "Those who garner my personal attention tend to get dissected… while their heart's still beating."
Dante passed a glance to Diana, "Best stay out of the way, while I handle super geek." he said before he charged Brainiac, fluidly swinging his blade to cut the tendrils swinging for him, his body blurring as he dodged. He jumped at the alien machine, a star appearing at Dante's back as he boosted himself to his enemy. Brainiac put his weight on his back leg and his left forearm up, Dante's Rebellion cleaving right through the metal and into Brainiac's left shoulder, sliding all the way into his peck.
A tendril shot forth from Brainiac's right, sticking through Dante's gut and forcing him back. Before Dante could get pushed too far, he swung his sword at Brainiac's neck, cleaving straight through the metal.
As Brainiac's head began to fall off, a cluster of wires and cords shot out of the neck stump and to the decapitated head, instantly reattaching it. Dante quickly cut the tendril that was sticking into him, ripping the sharp end out and dropping it to the floor.
Brainiac's head tilted, "Healing factor." he noted, something Diana noted as well, "I'm curious to study what the full extent of your healing entails."
"You'd love that wouldn't you. Nerd." Dante said, resting Rebellion on his shoulder.
"Yes… I would." Brainiac said coldly.
The second Dante set to charge the alien again, a bloody fist suddenly burst out of his chest cavity, much to Diana's shock and horror.
Dante looked to the hand messily poking out of his body, the man more annoyed now than anything else, "Seriously? Again." he groaned.
"Clark…" Wonder Woman whispered, the man of steel's eyes looking lifelessly to her before he hit Dante with a backfist, the demon hunter soaring across the room and hitting the wall of Brainiac's ship. Wonder Woman got into a battle stance when she saw into Clark's eyes, the purple hue in his irises telling her everything she needed to know.
Brainiac had him mind controlled.
"Dismantle the white haired one... " Brainiac told Superman, "but don't kill him."
The second Superman turned his sights back on Dante, Diana kicked him in the back of the knee to break his balance, before putting him in a chokehold, "Fight it, Clark!" she ordered, "Your will is stronger than his!"
Just as she reached for the lasso of truth at her waist, Superman elbowed Diana hard in her lower side before grabbing her by her throat, squeezing hard enough to choke her.
The crack of a gunshot round and superman moved his head, narrowly dodging the bullet fired by Dante. The man of steel's eyebrow quirked when the bullet grazed his jaw. He tossed Diana as he just barely dodged Dante's Rebellion, the edge of the sword cutting his side where his ribs were and drawing blood.
Faster than Dante could react, Superman's knee hit him in the ribs, before his eyes fired powerful red lasers that sent Dante across the floor. The lasers tore into Dante, cooking him as fast as his body healed him. It hurt, and Dante couldn't say that about much, urging the devil to pull his sword and use it to block the heat vision.
His sword's temperature heated up to the point the metal turned blood red, Dante getting up to his feet to stand his ground against the force of the rays.
Superman began walking closer to Dante, cranking up the pressure. A punch to the jaw from Diana managed to stumble him and get him to back off. Wonder Woman held her ground.
Dante eyed the man of steel, and then eyed Brainiac. Dante knew that to stop Superman, he'd have to stop Brainiac. To stop Brainiac (or at least this shell of his), he'd have to get through Superman. It was pretty much a certainty that this Wonder Woman chick wouldn't be able to hold back Superman for too long on her own…
'If I use Rebellion or my guns I'll definitely kill this guy. And he's too tough to take on with my bare hands… not as I am...' Dante admitted in his head as he eyed Superman, 'If I'm gonna take this guy down without killing him, I might have to let the devil out to even the field.'
Superman eyed Dante and Diana, the princess too looking between her love and Brainiac. She cursed Hades as she saw more tendrils from Brainiac being summoned from the crevices of the ship. Wonder Woman had her sword at the ready, prepared to engage whichever threat made itself more urgent.
'Devil it is.' Dante thought as he began drawing on his inner potential. Red smoke emanated from his body as his father's genetic gift began to crawl to the surface…
slower than usual…
but it was getting there…
Dante's eyes widened…
Something was wrong…
He looked at his hand. It was still human... He wasn't transforming…
He could feel his body drawing on the power… but as soon as it would come, it was getting sucked right out of him…
'What the hell?'
Superman cocked his head, and Brainiac raised his hand, tendrils at the ready.
Before either of the two could act, the ship jolted, all lights flickering as electricity pulsed through the walls.
Dante looked back and forth between Superman and Brainiac, the man of tomorrow's eyes closing as he slumped to the ground, Diana catching him. Brainiac went completely still, all of his tendrils stopping cold and dropping to the floor.
They watched as the Android's body fell to the ground in a thunderous boom.
"What just happened?" Dante asked Wonder Woman.
"Batman happened…" Diana nodded, "He managed to kill the ship's connection to Brainiac."
Batman stood in Brainiac's control chamber, the dark knight's wrist computer linked with Cyborg. The Dark Knight wordlessly put a block that cut Brainiac off with his ship and the rest of his armada.
He looked to the outside through one of the eyes of Brainiac's skull ship, seeing the sight turn from clouds... to the city streets below...
Over a half-dozen of Brainiac's bots lay scattered on the floor behind him.
The two heard footsteps coming from one of the corridors, Wonder Woman shooting an annoyed glance when she saw the source, "And where have you been?"
Shazam was smiling bashfully, the hero holding the unconscious forms of Firestorm and another young woman; a heroine dressed in a sparkling black bodysuit with equally dark hair was slung over his shoulders, "Sorry, had a few hiccups in the form of this one." he nudged the unconscious woman.
"Donna…" Wonder Woman whispered as she recognized her. She felt Superman coming to in her arms, Clark's eyes opening,
"You're okay now." Diana said softly as he got himself together, the Kryptonian now hit with a mean headache. Diana looked around, "Where's Beetle?" she looked to Dante, giving him a pointed glare as she eyes his weapons, "Did you kill him?"
Dante seemed taken aback, "What kind of sick animal do you think I am? Of course I didn't kill him… I mean sure, I shot the kid in the face, but I didn't kill him. Armor took the bullet. He'll have a nasty ass headache when he wakes up, I'll tell you that much."
Diana, Clark, and Billy looked to each other in disbelief...
The ship started rumbling before it tilted, the four conscious heroes keeping their balance.
"The ship… it's starting to fall." Clark said, a sense of urgency to his voice.
"Can you guys stop it?" Dante asked.
"Yeah." Superman said, he and the other heroes hurrying back through the way they came with super speed, "We'll catch it from the outside, and guide it down to where it can land safely."
"Cool." Dante said as they reached the opening of the ship, "If that's the case… I bid thee au revoir."
"What?!" Wonder Woman said, "Where do you think you're going?"
"Invasions over. My business here's done." Dante said, the man taking steps back to the ledge, the wind from the outside whipping his white hair. He gave a salute as he allowed himself to fall back.
Diana, Clark, and Shazam watched as Dante free fell from over 7,000 feet, the man looking none the slightest bit concerned.
"Interesting man." Superman said quietly, the three heroes looking to one another before flying out of the ship.
Superman and Diana got in front of it, putting their hands to it to slow the descent. Shazam flew under, putting his hands underneath to keep the ship level.
The heroes allowed the ship to gently descend to an open plain miles outside of the city.
Besides torn dirt, the gods managed to set the massive ship down with no issue.
Shazam huffed, Superman clapping him on the back, "Fun way to spend your Saturday, huh Billy." Clark said with a smile.
"I'd have preferred Halo. But what can ya' do?" Billy said with a laugh.
Wonder Woman looked to the two and smiled, before noticing Batman making his way out of the ship.
"Brainiac's been disconnected." Bruce said, "He's gone… for now. The cities are still intact."
"I'll have every single one restored by nightfall." Superman said as he folded his arms, "The ones of Earth, at least. The others, I'll take back to the Fortress of Solitude until we can get their point of origin identified."
Batman nodded, before he looked around, Diana noticing instantly what he was searching for,
"He left after you shut down Brainiac." Wonder Woman said.
"No telling where he's at now." Shazam said.
"Uh huh." Batman said, turning away from the three.
Superman looked at the dark knight blankly, "You put a tracker on him, didn't you."
"The second we landed inside the ship." Batman said, a ghost of a smirk on his face. He noticed an injury to Superman's side and along his jawline, wounds quickly healing due to exposure to the sun. Bruce didn't need to be a detective to see something off with that picture, "Where did you pick those up?"
It was then Clarke felt the cut on his lower side and on his face, "I'm… not sure, it must've happened when Brainiac had me under his control."
"That man…" Diana said, "his sword and his guns… they were able to cut right through Clark."
"Seriously?!" Shazam said.
"Those weapons of his…" Bruce thought out loud, "they must have a magic backing."
"He hunts demons." Wonder Woman said, "It only makes sense."
Batman nodded, "We'll find him. In the meantime, we'll take care of the cities and the kids." he took a few steps away from his friends and allies, the hero contacting Cyborg through his wrist computer.
The young man's voice came in through the communicator, "Batman, Brainiac's forces are all offline. His beta's have shut down and we're focusing on getting these streets cleaned up."
"As expected." Batman said, "There's something else I need you to do for me."
"I want you to hack into Brainiac's security systems. Whatever sort of video feed he could have been keeping to monitor his inner ship activity, I want it…"
As the day went by and the invasion quelled, Gotham's residents poured back into the city. Those who lived in the city went on with their business, those who gave a toss listening to the news coverage of the event. It was like this all over the world, the populace having grown accustomed to invasions and city-level threats.
Batman and Wonder Woman stood atop a building that overlooked a Gotham City Ice Cream Parlour. Both heroes were eyeing the tracker system that was on display from Batman's wrist computer. The tracker pointed to that very Ice Cream shop…
"Are you serious?" Wonder Woman said, looking between the Creamery and Bruce, "How old is he again?"
In all honesty… Batman too was surprised by where the tracker brought them. "I'm not sure…" he answered her.
Diana sighed; she already having agreed to being the one to meet with the newcomer. Might as well get it over with...
She jumped down to the street, before walking up to the Ice Cream Parlour doors. The second she opened it, she saw an environment that fit what she expected; bean bag chairs in the corners, multi-colored tile floors, posters of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, and TV's with cartoon's playing. Of the patron's were parents, and not a single child over the age of 8.
When one saw her, they all saw her;
"Wonder Woman!" a little girl exclaimed, all of the kids and even some of the parents running up to her to ask for pictures and autographs. Diana put on a smile and entertained them, allowing photographs from phones and handshakes. Even people who'd been passing by from outside the parlour had caught sight of the heroine and came running inside.
Through the small mob, Diana looked around, noticing a lone man in red sitting at a counter, back to her and everyone else.
She loved kids, and she loved what she did, but she was on a job. She started to squeeze through the civilians, "Thank you, thank you all. I'd love to stay, but I have business to attend to." she said.
One of the civilians, a teenage boy, called out, "Oh, well, if it's here, you should let me treat you!" a thinly veiled attempt at a score.
"Won't be necessary." Wonder Woman said, brushing the boy off, "I can pay for my own."
She casually took a seat next to Dante, noticing the man was enjoying a strawberry sundae.
"Interesting choice of eatery." Diana said, the woman beckoning a waiter forth with her finger. The teenage girl eagerly ran up to the woman to take her order.
Dante pulled the spoon out of his mouth, "Ice cream's good for the soul, princess." his eyes stared ahead at the wall, "I imagine this is how manna from the heavens really tasted." He took in another spoonful.
"I see." Diana said as the waitress brought her a single scoop of vanilla in a cup. She took a spoonful of it, "I'm certain it takes you back to simpler times."
"Times where I wasn't getting decked in the face and nearly killed by bloodthirsty chicks." he winked and smiled at her.
Wonder Woman, spoon in her mouth, closed her eyes and smiled, "I apologize. I recognize that most of our conflict could have been avoided had I stopped to listen to you in full."
Dante chuckled, "Don't sweat it. Really. Almost every woman in my life has tried to kill me at least once."
Diana's eyes widened awkwardly, "I think that's something Shazam would call a weird flex… but okay." she finished her bowl.
"I doubt you came here just to apologize." Dante said as he pushed back his finished bowl.
"You're right." Wonder Woman said, "I wanted to say thank you... for your assistance in Metropolis, today. You put yourself at great risk for no benefit of your own. My organization greatly appreciates it."
"Hey," Dante shrugged nonchalantly, "It's not every day you get to fight a roided out robot poindexter."
Diana smiled, "Perhaps. Our mutual friend has told me that you are in a really tough spot."
"Awww, he thinks about me when I'm not around?" Dante said jokingly.
"Cute." Wonder Woman said, her tone getting serious, "But we wish to help you."
"Really… help me how?" Dante said, quirking an eyebrow, "Your crew gonna slide me a map with some directions back home?"
"No." Wonder Woman said, "You don't completely trust us, I know. It's understandable. But, my organization, the Justice League, was founded for the sole purpose of helping and protecting people. As ridiculous as you apparently think we are, we mean you no ill intent. If you could take a leap of faith with us, come to our Headquarters, and answer some questions, we can see what we can do to aid you in your predicament." she gave him a smirk, "Seeing as how you're here, and have made no further progress on your own, I think you could do a lot worse than put your stock in with us."
Dante stared at the wall, running things through his own mind. He thought back to what happened just hours earlier,
Standing at an abandoned dock at the edge of Metropolis, Dante looked to his hands. He clenched his fists, and focused again on drawing his latent energy.
He felt it… it was there, surging through him as it always had. Red smoke began emanating from his body. Just as he felt his devil trigger pulling through, ready to rip through his body… it slipped right through his fingers, leaving him with a loss of stamina.
It was straining him to trigger it…
He tried it again… same strain...
Something was feeding on his demonic energy…
Dropping to a knee, Dante panted in pain, "The hell's happening to me?" he asked himself.
He couldn't see it, but a smoking red 'S' shined brightly behind his neck...
He turned to Diana, "Sure. What the hell."
Smiling, Diana made to pull out cash from her top, only for Dante to pull the card Bruce Wayne gave him, "It's on me." he said.
After paying, Dante and Diana stepped out of the Ice Cream shop, Dante spotting a familiar bat-themed vehicle speeding down the road to stop in front of them.
"Get in with him." Diana told Dante, the woman flying up and off.
Dante looked to the car, before looking to Diana who's form quickly disappeared into the skies above. He opened the door, putting Rebellion in the back seat before he got inside.
Batman was of course in the driver's seat, the crusader hardly paying Dante any mind or offering any words of greeting.
"Sweet ride." Dante said as he looked around the teched out vehicle. He pulled the lever on the side of the seat, pushing it back to give himself more leg room.
The car suddenly went 0 to 100 in a heartbeat, the sudden change in speed somewhat catching Dante by surprise. To Dante's further awee, the car turned no corners, and only picked up more speed. A building was fast approaching, making Dante wonder if the Bat was planning on ramming the car straight through it.
The car suddenly tipped back, before rocketing into the air and quickly ascending over Gotham as large wings shot out from under the car.
"Hm. Should get me one of these." Dante said as he leaned back in his seat.
"Good luck." Batman couldn't help but say.
Dante slowly turned his head to look out the window, seeing a sea of dark clouds and a large moon just right outside. They kept ascending even past that. Getting comfortable, Dante put his feet up on the dashboard and folded his arms… something that didn't go unnoticed by Bruce…
'Ignore it…' Batman thought to himself. His eyes went to Dante's shoes up on his dash, 'Ignore it…' he repeated. His eyes went back to Dante's feet on his dashboard, '...I can't ignore it.'
"Put your feet off my dashboard!" Batman ordered the man, Dante doing as he was told.
Ahead of them was a massive, pin-shaped space station; a satellite that orbited between the moon and the Earth. Batman flew his car toward the landing strip at the end of the base as a tall metal hatch opened. Batman flew through the hatch, slowing down as the wheels touched down, the wings slipping back under the car. Dante and Bruce got out of the car, Dante pulling Rebellion from the back seat before he followed after Batman.
The second he stepped through the double 'JL' marked doors that served as the official entrance, Dante was greeted with the sight of a technological marvel that served to fit right into a piece of Star Trek media.
Batman wasted no time in continuing on, Dante following after. Walking through the bridge over the Plaza, the Devil-Hunter could see dozens of costumed heroes moving about down below; to his enjoyment, he noticed more than several in the female demographic were more than a little enthralling…
They passed by three women in the hallway; a woman with mint-green hair and a leaf-green headband noticing Dante before she turned to her friends, "Hey Ice, Vixen, who's the rockstar?" she spoke with a heavy latina accent.
One of them, an African woman with brown hair cut short, a skin tight orange leather suit her dress, responded, "He's a newbie. Apparently, he helped Superman and Wonder Woman take on Brainiac in Metropolis." she said, much to the other women's awe.
Dante could see Flash at the end of the hall, the speedster standing by the door to the Conference room, his arms folded and a scowl on his face.
In a blur, the speedster was back inside; Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern sitting at the table.
"Bats and Santa are here." Flash said, the speedster knocking over the chair at the furthest end of the table, the chair meant for Dante, before the speedster took his own seat.
Wonder Woman rolled her eyes, "Really acting your age, Flash." she said, Superman simply shaking his head.
"The guy's an ass." Flash said as he folded his arms, Green Lantern shrugging in agreement.
Less than a minute later, and in walked Batman and Dante, Superman greeting the devil-hunter, "Hey." He held his hand to the knocked over chair, "Take your seat."
Dante simply walked up to the chair, and with a light kick of the foot, kicked the chair up and spinning into the air until it landed upright. The instant the legs touched the floor, he threw himself into the seat and threw his feet up to the desk in one smooth motion.
Lantern snorted, "Show off."
Superman and Wonder Woman looked to each other, Batman sighing as he took a seat.
"So…" Dante shrugged and held up a hand, "You got me out here. What's next?"
Martian Manhunter spoke up, "We are going to ask you some questions."
"You'll answer them truthfully." Batman said, "Lie to us, we'll know."
"It's all for the sake of helping us, help you." Superman said, "If you want our help, you won't have a problem with it."
Dante looked to each of the heroes, Diana giving him an assuring nod. He folded his arms and got comfortable, "Alright then… shoot."
A/N: Someone asked me to write up a 'power level/scaling' chart, and I'm not gonna do that.
I've pretty much just come to terms that no matter what power system I use, I'm either gonna get pissed off DC fans who think Dante shouldn't touch certain characters (Superman, Doomsday, Darkseid, etc etc) or pissed off DMC fans that think Dante shouldn't be touched period.
The third camp (my favorite, you guys rock) will be the readers that realise that fights require some nuance. How strong someone is doesn't always matter. Dante could fight Wonder Woman and either Dante flips on Quicksilver to take the insta-win, or Wonder Woman could wrangle Dante with the lasso of truth to take an instant win in her favor.
Either way, this is not DeathBattle. The results of fights won't always reflect how I'd actually think these battles would go down.
I can't believe I have to say all this out of implication that Dante may need Devil Trigger to brawl with Supes.
Anywho, it appears Trigon's brand has some other drawbacks for Dante. Do not worry, Dante won't be completely locked out of Devil Trigger. He will use it. The power siphon is just another claw Trigon has in him.
Don't think there's much to explain that hasn't already been touched on in-story, but more questions will be answered next chapter.