Kevin Conroy

(11/30/1955 - 11/10/2022)

You will always forever be our Dark Knight


Washington, D.C

March 11, 12:22 pm EDT

"Are you sure this is a good plan?" Dinah whispered.

"I voted against it," John replied. Before them, a conference had assembled outside the Hall of Justice. News crews and reporters swarmed the area as the Justice League prepared to announce a new inductee. The event stirred excitement and drew major media attention to the Hall. Superman addressed the crowd from the podium, flanked by the Justice League members, who stood as paragons of justice. Meanwhile, behind the two heroes—John and Dinah—Doom Slayer lingered on the sidelines, eager for the charade to end.

"Thank you all for gathering at the Hall of Justice!" Superman declared. "It is with immense honor that we induct a new member into the Justice League. After extensive review and consideration, we, the Justice League, are proud to welcome the newest hero to our ranks: Doom Marine!"

Promptly, the Doom Slayer, now referred to as the Doom Marine, advanced toward the podium. John and Dinah cleared a path for him, with John offering a reassuring pat on the shoulder. As the Doom Marine neared, the onlookers cast cautious looks and offered tentative applause, witnessing the imposing figure stride forward.

"This is a bad idea..." Whispered Oliver to his wife and John.

""It wasn't our decision," his wife stated, forcing a smile for the cameras as the press captured the moment. While the couple engaged in a subdued disagreement over the event, Dinah momentarily tuned out the world around her, reflecting on the past few hours.

Earlier ago...

Outside, the four heroes waited patiently for John to return with the results — the favorable kind, they hoped. Superman and Dinah harbored some uncertainty, yet their faith in John buoyed their spirits. Batman, however, harbored no such trust; his experiences had taught him enough. Wonder Woman found herself in the middle ground. Although she had voted for John, she was neither fully trusting of his solo mission nor as skeptical as the Dark Knight. For the moment, they were all suspended in time, waiting.

"I hope John is doing alright." Superman hoped. "Because I don't see any other way except possibly detaining the marine."

"John has always been an invaluable friend to us, Clark." Dinah placated a hand on his shoulder. "I know he'll get through to him."

"But expect the worse of it." Interrupted Batman. His distrust was quite apparent with everyone present.

"Bruce..." Superman exhaled, "I understand we got off on the wrong foot, but the rest of us can see a potential ally in the Doom... Slayer."

Batman countered, "However, we had a narrow escape. It appears we've greatly underestimated the Slayer. Half of the League struggled to make him stand down. And that was him being restrained."

The assessment was as uncomforting as it was accurate. The Slayer was far stronger than they had anticipated. Perhaps beyond a metahuman - let alone a Kryptonian - than Batman had assessed. Dinah, however, countered the detective's analysis.

"While you are right in that regard, you forget one thing: he stopped when he needed to and actually showed restraint." Dinah finished. "He seems quite capable of when to draw the line and is capable of understanding us."

"I don't need to remind you about our first encounter." Batman reminded.

"You're right but you were escalating." Dinah countered. "And we have had heroes with similar behavior. I am considering perhaps evaluating his psyche, going through some therapy sessions."

Superman quirked an eyebrow. "You... want to become his therapist, Dinah?"

"If it involves connecting with him on a deeper level to ensure he remains stable, then yes, I am more than willing to volunteer."

"I seriously question the effectiveness of that approach, Dinah," Diana interjected. "Gazing into his eyes, I've only perceived war and death. Such traits could even stir inspiration in Ares himself."

"Do you not approve, Diana?" Asked a concerned Dinah. Wonder Woman shook her head and answered, "I never said I disapprove. My only issue is that for him to make recovery would mean a lengthy amount of time. And that would go way beyond your passing. I've seen my fair share of warriors and veterans who have never truly let go of their past. The Slayer treats his own as if it were endless."

Clark and Dinah's frowns deepened, prompting a clarification from Diana. "It's evident that his allegiance lies staunchly with humanity. Yet, for him to recalibrate would require additional steps... one of which is maintaining a considerable distance from Batman."

Batman crossed his arms disapprovingly, his stern gaze fixed on the Amazon with little effect. Dinah and Clark smirked at their friend's escalating pettiness. Their ranks swelled with the arrival of Green Arrow, Hal Jordan, Flash, and Captain Marvel. Oliver encircled Dinah's waist with his arms and planted a kiss on her cheek.

"So, how did it go?" Oliver inquired. "I'm guessing Batman won this round?"

"Not exactly," Clark responded. "John's in there with the Slayer. By himself."

"Wait, what?!" Flash interjected, his exclamation followed by astonished looks from Marvel and Oliver. "You left him alone with the Incredible Punisher?!"

"He insisted on reasoning with him," Diana replied. "It's better than letting Batman handle it."

"Okay, yeah, but what about John?" Oliver asked. Hal Jordan responded, "Ollie, don't jump to the wrong conclusions, but I've known John long enough to be confident that he can handle situations like this. He's a Green Lantern, like me, and we're pretty cool under pressure."

"Plus, with John's background in the Marine Corps, he's practically an ideal source of help," Dinah added.

"I get that he's capable, but... are we certain he can keep the Doom Slayer, well, on a leash?" Marvel questioned. Dinah, Clark, and Diana had no reassuring answer. Batman redirected the conversation and checked the time. "Seven minutes are up. Heading in."

Superman was on the verge of objecting when John emerged from the room with the Doom Slayer following. Oliver, Flash, and Marvel stood anxiously as they watched the imposing figure loom over the heroes, while the others remained serene, anticipating outcomes.

"John." Superman waited. "Any luck?"

"He says he'll agree," John replied. "It took a bit of convincing but I got him to consider minimizing the damage."

Everyone looked at the Slayer, who gave a non-committal shrug. It was something at least. Batman was the one to speak. "Did he agree to relinquish his weapons?"

"I haven't gotten arou-"

"Then he'll have to agree that as well." Batman interrupted John, causing Doom Slayer to say, "Piss...off."

John extended his hand to halt the Slayer's advance. Superman and Diana positioned themselves before Batman as a shield, while the rest retreated. Except for Dinah, the group was taken aback by the Slayer's voice.

"Bats, your 'tough guy' act isn't helping," John chided. Batman stayed mute, which did nothing to alleviate the tension. Superman intervened, "Bruce, why don't you cool off? We'll take it from here; we can manage."

Batman glared one last time before walking away. Marvel broke out of his shocked trance and asked, "H-He can... talk?"

"Oh, right. You guys weren't here." Dinah realized, "Yeah, he does talk."

John turned to the Slayer. "Say, I know Bats can be quite a hardass and all but... he kinda does have a point about your weapons. Certain ones, at least. Think you can drop the BFG from your arsenal?"

"No." Said the Slayer, earning some uneased looks from the group.

"Look, we're not going to use it anyway," John contended. "We just don't want the public to believe you've been carrying a WMD this entire time. Speaking of which, you might want to consider changing those bullets; they're all uranium-coated, and we definitely don't want any nuclear weapon allegations."

"Lead," the marine stated bluntly, suggesting the alternative. John considered another option. "There's rubber as well."

"Pass," the Doom Slayer refused, much to John's frustration, who let out a sigh of exasperation. Dinah approached John and whispered in his ear, "He's not going to budge..."

"Hang on..." John replied. "Gotta word it out a little better..."

Doom Slayer looked expectantly at John, seemingly unfazed by the subdued conversation between him and Canary. "I'm going to hate saying this, but... as long as you don't kill anyone, we'll overlook it if you aim for non-vital areas. Better yet, just detain using non-lethal methods."

This statement was met with stunned expressions from a few, with Marvel being the first to voice his shock.

"WHAT?!" Marvel exclaimed, the words fueling a surge of anger in the god-like superhero. "Are you serious?! You're actually going to let him use live ammunition?! That's madness!"

"I'd like to see you try to talk him out of it, Boy Wonder. It was hard enough getting him to see our point of view. So I'm all ears," John retorted. Marvel attempted to formulate an argument. "Well, no offense to your efforts, but don't we generally condemn killing?"

"I've already explained this to him," John said. "For the record, I have killed before, during my time in the Marine Corps. Hal and Wonder Woman have also killed when they served in the Air Force and fought in WWII, respectively."

Doom Slayer was taken aback to learn that the latter had participated in the Second World War. He wondered if his ancestor was still alive at this time. His reflections were interrupted by another voice.

"They were necessary at the time," Wonder Woman agreed with John. "We adhere to those rules not only for moral reasons but also to prevent public backlash. The reality is much more complex, Captain."

Captain Marvel found it difficult to accept the idea of a superhero committing murder, as it contradicted his core values. Sensing his ally's turmoil, Superman offered reassurance. "Cap, don't dwell on it. The Justice League has always upheld the sanctity of life. And true to our name, we ensure that criminals face justice in court."

Still unsure, Captain Marvel scratched his head. "Well, that does make sense, I suppose. But... is this guy reliable enough to... you know... capture the villains?"

"They're not exactly demons..." Oliver interjected, hesitating before adding, "Well, most of them aren't, I hope."

All eyes turned to the Slayer, who responded with another noncommittal shrug—a gesture better than outright denial.

"And you'll refrain from using any firearms like the BFG or other heavy weaponry?" Dinah pressed.

"Keep... not use... wasteful," the Slayer muttered. Everyone had a rough idea of his meaning.

"But you will still aid us in defending Earth when the Hell Invasion comes, Slayer?" Diana inquired, to which the marine gave a firm nod. It was not as if he would have declined anyway.

"Good. Not that we didn't expect it," John said, clearing his throat. "Now, since we've resolved most of the issues, we need to establish a new identity and residence for you. It may take a few days to sort everything out, but it shouldn't take too long. Do you have a name other than 'Doom Slayer'?"

The Slayer remained silent before reaching into his pocket. The group observed as he retrieved a dog tag. He tossed it to John, who caught it. The tag appeared old and worn, nearly corroded by time. Most of the inscription was scratched and illegible, except for the name etched onto it: TAGGART, FLYNN

"So... Flynn Taggart?" John spoke loudly, ensuring everyone could hear, "That should work."

"Fake. Good enough." The individual known as Slayer confessed, now going by "Flynn", catching everyone slightly off guard.

"Fake or not, we can work with that," John agreed. Flash chimed in, "Wait, now that we've settled on the name, what about his superhero identity? I'm not sure 'Doom Slayer' will sit well with the public.""I remember 'Doom Marine' was mentioned by VEGA." Hal countered. "That one is pretty tame compared to the others. Plus, it's marketable enough."

"I don't know, it doesn't roll off the tongue quite a bit." Oliver complained. "Sgt. Doom sounds badass. Or how about Lt. Doom? No wait, Captain Doom?"

"Hey!" Whined Captain Marvel. "I should be the one with 'Captain' in the name! Plus that's pretty stupid. Captain Doom. Pffft!"

"Inane," Flynn concurred, taking Marvel by surprise. Diana interjected, "Maybe Flynn would like to weigh in? Perhaps he has a name he prefers?"

Everyone stared at Flynn expectantly if he had any word.

"...Doom...guy?" Flynn suggested. It raised a few eyebrows considering the simplicity of the name.

"Doomguy?" Superman echoed, clearly amused. "Hmm, not bad. Sounds quite nice, actually. But 'Doom Marine' seems more fitting."

"A more mature name indeed," Diana chimed in. "A name should inspire hope and remembrance, but also reflect character and moderation to be a paragon before the public. Although, 'Doom' is somewhat ambiguous as a hopeful moniker, depending on the context."

"I believe we've speculated and questioned enough," Dinah interjected. "Let's give our large friend a warm welcome on Earth. Flynn deserves a welcome party."

"Wait!" Flash interjected, halting everyone in their tracks. "Just one question... can we see the figurines?"

A hush fell over the hall at Flash's unexpected request. Flynn regarded him thoughtfully for a moment before producing a small figure, its armor matching his own. The group was visibly impressed, finding the miniature's design endearing. Marvel, most astonished, exclaimed, "Hold on! He's had a figurine all this time?!"

"Figurines," Oliver pointed out.

"What?! Since when?!"

"He has been collecting them for a while in the recordings. You had already departed," Hal clarified.

"Aw man!" Marvel complained.

"We could manufacture more of these models and sell them at a profit. It might be a good beginning for Flynn once we return to Earth. Also, would you be comfortable with donating a portion of the earnings to charity?" Superman proposed, to which Flynn nodded in agreement.

Subsequently, the conversation shifted to basic planning and minor issues. The topic of VEGA arose, with the team planning to activate and incorporate the UAC AI into the Watchtower, despite Flynn's insistence to keep the AI to himself for protection.

Present

"When I said a 'welcome party', I never meant this." Dinah thought before she was snapped out of it as she remained present to the Slayer's - well, Flynn's - inauguration. The crowd had quieted down as Flynn made his presence. There was a level of nervousness going through everyone's mind as Flynn spoke.

"Hello." He said. A simple word to start. Not impressive but easy enough to get the press going. A reporter raised her hand and Flynn pointed in response.

"Vicki Vale from the Gotham Gazette. Doom Marine, in the events of last night in Gotham, were you responsible for the destruction of the cargo ship in Gotham's docks? In which at least fourteen casualties were confirmed and all of whom are now seeking medical attention?"

"No." Flynn answered, prompting the reporter to ask, "If not you, then who?"

Flynn turned away from the audience and looked back at the League. Many looked confused before the Marine pointed at Batman without hesitation. The Dark Knight grumbled though not so loudly to voice displeasure. Wonder Woman placated a hand over his shoulder. This seemed to stir up a bit of controversy amongst the crowd and the reporter went further.

"And how did he do that?"

"He kicked me." Flynn bluntly answered. Despite the simplicity, it was a rather cryptic answer to boot with little hint as to how that came about. In fact, it was more perplexing and seemed more like a childish response than anything.

Another raised a hand, prompting Flynn to proceed. Superman, with his enhanced vision, observed that it was his colleague and significant other, Lois Lane. Her presence for a major story was anticipated, and it was not something the Man of Steel would object to.

"Doom Marine, I'm Lois Lane from the Daily Planet. Forgive my ignorance, but do you consider yourself a military man? Your moniker suggests a military background, and your suit appears similar to the camouflage uniforms worn by the US Armed Forces," inquired the reporter.

"None taken." Flynn answered. "And yes. Formerly."

"And the branch you're referring to is the Marine Corps, correct?"

"Yes," replied Flynn. In the background, John Stewart nodded subtly, a gesture of respect and admiration. The response reignited the interest of those present.

"So, this means that the Justice League is incorporating more military figures. This includes John Stewart and Hal Jordan from the Green Lantern Corps, along with Wonder Woman, who served in World War II, and Captain Atom, a Vietnam War veteran, all of whom are here today, right?"

"I guess...?" Flynn replied, not sure what to make of that question.

"I see," noted Lane. "Then, shifting to an unrelated topic, why include 'Doom' in the name? What does it signify? 'Doom' can have different meanings for everyone, especially with its negative connotations."

Superman felt a bead of sweat trickle down his face as Lois pressed on with her probing questions. Flynn, however, remained unfazed by her boldness. Like Batman, Flynn had encountered tougher adversaries before; Lane was no exception.

"Classified," Flynn responded succinctly. Lane accepted this with grace. Instinctively, she understood the Marine would be as unyielding as his armor—a tough nut to crack.

"No further questions," Lane concluded, allowing the other reporters to seize their opportunities. In the back, Dinah and John exhaled in relief.

"So far, so good," John remarked. "He needs to work on his vocabulary, but that's fixable."

"Let's just hope it stays smooth for a bit longer," Dinah added. Oliver tempered their optimism, cautioning, "Wait for it..."

The next individual to step forward carried an air of unpleasantness. Some of the heroes groaned as the man made a spectacle of himself. Even at this initial encounter, Flynn felt a wave of revulsion upon gazing at the plain-looking, bald man with a crooked nose.

"Bart Annis from The Super-Zeroes Show." The reporter stated, speaking with a vaguely Irish accent. "Just gotta ask: when are Microsoft and Bungie gonna start suing you?"

"What?" Flynn replied, his voice tinged with disdain. There was an almost smarmy grin on this ballsack of garbage as Flynn observed.

"I asked: when will Microsoft and Bungie sue you for copying their costume? While this tribute to Halo might appear cool, don't you think you're going too far with the gimmick?"

The heroes exchanged numerous anxious looks. To their astonishment, Flynn maintained a calm demeanor and replied, "When they have proof."

"Alright," said Bart, a look of near disappointment on his face. "Next question, related to Lois Lane's earlier one: How do we even know you were in the army? Is there any proof or records of your service, or is this a case of 'stolen valor'?"

This query piqued the interest of every reporter nearby and visibly displeased the League, particularly those who had served in the Armed Forces.

"Sir, please avoid unnecessary vitriol," Clark would have interjected, had Doom Slayer not raised his hand.

"Speak with John," Flynn interjected, bringing relief and surprise to everyone. Stewart, notably, nodded in approval of Flynn's trust in him. Yet, it wasn't enough to deter the persistent reporter. Instead of adopting a more nuanced approach, Bart went for the jugular.

"So, you're just going to keep deflecting questions and rely on others? What's with all the secrecy?"

Every superhero was filled with indignation and disappointment. This wasn't the first instance of them facing slander and libel for their methods of combating crime, with Bart being just one among numerous critics, whether professional or otherwise. Critics like Bart tended to be unrestrained and blunt in their journalistic approach.

However, as though reaching a tipping point, it appeared that the Doom Slayer had yet another ace up his sleeve.

"Perhaps I can speak up for the Doom Marine's stead."

"Who said that?" Bart asked, perplexed. Similarly, everyone was taken aback by the sudden emergence of a foreign voice. Doom Slayer's smirk was hidden behind his visor as VEGA responded. The League members were all caught off guard, not expecting the AI to be activated so abruptly. Green Arrow was the first to express their confusion. "What? How did he get back on?"

Dinah and Stewart exchanged glances before shrugging, evidently as bewildered as he and the rest of the League were.

"Greetings. I am VEGA. Sentient Intelligence and personal companion to the Doom Marine. Apologies for the interruption, but I had just rerouted myself into the Doom Marine's Praetor suit. Due to occurrences from a previous mission, I am limited to simply speaking through the sound systems. As for your question, Mr. Annis, I am afraid Doom Marine has issues with verbal communication. I, on the other hand, will more than take on your questions."

"O-Okay." Bart said, stumped by VEGA's presence. "Then tell me, what were you doing in Gotham City's Docks? Stealing Batman's turf?"

"Not quite. Our arrival to your Earth was completely accidental."

"My Earth? What do you mean my Earth? Are you saying you're both from a different universe?"

"Correct, Mr. Annis. Though, the Marine has been through more dimensions than I have." VEGA's response sparked a huge surge of interest in the Doom Slayer's history. Some people raised their microphones to ask for clear answers, while others feverishly took notes on the unfolding developments.

Superman stepped forward and said, "Please, one question at a time! I'm certain there are enough answers for everyone, but let's proceed orderly."

"Thank you, Superman." Said VEGA once the crowd calmed down. "As I mentioned, I cannot divulge the precise details of the Doom Marine's mission. Nevertheless, I can confirm that it was successfully contained, though it resulted in us being marooned in your world."

"And what exactly did this mission entail?" Bart inquired, his voice still tinged with a perpetual cynicism. VEGA proceeded to respond.

An invasion by transdimensional aliens spreading across numerous worlds, both familiar and mysterious. The onslaught was ultimately thwarted by the valiant efforts of the Doom Marine. The duration of this reprieve remains a matter of speculation.

"So, Half-Life, huh?" Bart chuckled, feigning the air of a shrewd intellectual. "Very original! I bet Gabe Newell could sue over this!"

The Justice League members, upon hearing such a scornful comment, felt nothing but contempt and disapproval for the reporter's immature jab.

"Every time this guy appears, he aims for the cheap shots. Makes me want to pull out the boxing gloves," Green Arrow muttered under his breath.

"Enough, Ollie," Dinah chided.

"I'm just saying," he whispered back to his wife. "The guy's an absolute jerk."

"We shouldn't act on those impulses," John countered. "After all, he's not our main problem. It's the other one I'm concerned about."

Dinah and Oliver exchanged knowing looks as they realized whom the Green Lantern was referring to, their eyes shifting back to the Doom Slayer. Despite being mocked, the space marine remained motionless and unresponsive to the scornful reactions. He appeared idle, seemingly more at ease letting VEGA do the talking.

"Mr. Annis, although it may appear unlikely, the tales of the Doom Marine's feats are indeed factual."

"Yeah? And where's the footage?"

"I will not provide that. Given the sensitive nature of the subject matter, any evidence will be withheld from the public."

"Right. So I guess this means we all have to believe your word for it?"

"Consequently, yes."

"Gotcha. So I guess I'll have to believe you're not some guy behind a microphone? Speaking into discount Master Chief's speakers or something while you're elsewhere in the city? Probably in your mom's basement?" Bart insinuated. Although the public remained unaware, Superman's acute hearing detected the sound of the podium fracturing under Doom Slayer's grasp. The Man of Steel grew increasingly worried and discreetly communicated his concern to the others via Martian Manhunter's telepathy.

"Standby, League. I can already hear Flynn going full nuclear."

"Roger that, Superman. I'll handle this." John replied, his ring emitting a faint glow as he readied himself to subdue the space marine. However, that did not come to pass, as VEGA delivered an intriguing response.

"I completely understand your skepticism, Mr. Annis. There is no credibility for me to provide you with evidence besides my current presence. Though, you are welcome to speculate. Just as I could speculate your credibility as a journalist seriously."

Upon hearing VEGA's statement, the majority of the attendees, including reporters and members of the Justice League, were taken aback, their jaws dropping in surprise. A handful, such as Oliver and Barry, started snickering or laughing outright. Others, like John and Dinah, merely smirked or smiled in amusement. Only Batman remained the exception. And even then, he stayed his hand from the belt. The Doom Marine, previously motionless, now shook with silent laughter at Bart Annis's expense, who, after smugly conducting himself throughout the interview, was now seething with anger at the remark.

"So this is how it's gonna be? You're gonna resort to insulting a professional?"

"Incorrect. I am not insulting a professional. Merely responding to an amateur's questions."

VEGA said, dealing another blow to Bart's fragile ego, further riling him into a defensive mode as the crowd laughed.

"T-This is an insult to my integrity! I have done news coverage for the past decade!"

"I have no doubt about that. However, your report on the confrontation between Superman and Metallo in Metropolis last month was lacking. You condemned Superman for property damage and endangering civilians before he subdued the cyborg. Yet, video evidence has revealed that Metallo was the one endangering civilians and using them as leverage, which prompted Superman to step in. Meanwhile, Justice League members Martian Manhunter, John Stewart, and Batman successfully rescued the hostages without any casualties—a detail later verified by the Daily Planet's Lois Lane, who was among those held captive."

Bart blinked in surprise at VEGA's rapid summary of his last month's report, yet he maintained his composure, ready to explain his rationale. Nearby, Lois Lane exhibited a look of satisfaction, crossing her arms as she listened to VEGA's analysis.

"That's because Lois Lane is known for being rescued by Superman. And it's well-known that she and Superman are kind of a thing. I mean, come on, why else does she keep falling into his arms every time she's in danger?" Bart excused. Superman experienced a surge of irritable disgust upon hearing Bart's remark. Lois appeared unaffected by the sleazy reporter's words, leaving one to wonder if she was adept at concealing her emotions or simply accustomed to such behavior. The others, meanwhile, looked upon the man with disrespect and disdain for his lack of professionalism.

VEGA continued, "It is indeed a peculiar set of coincidences that she has been present at every event and disaster linked to Superman. However, her willingness to risk her life and remain steadfast in peril is worthy of admiration. In contrast, your journal entries are penned from a chain cafe in Manhattan you often visit. Therefore, Mr. Annis, attempting to raise your status by defamation is not commendable. As a self-described 'professional,' you ought to be aware of this."

Bart was now clenching his fists in annoyance, with Lois Lane smiling on.

"In a previous report from September 14th of last year, you published an article accusing Wonder Woman of racial profiling following her intervention in an armed robbery at a convenience store in Washington, D.C. during daylight hours. However, the two apprehended suspects had known public criminal records, including charges of domestic battery, assault with a loaded weapon, and attempted murder."

"Tsk." Bart tried to pass off. "Well, it's a fact that violence on black people by pig with badges has been documented over the ages. No matter how you see it, victims of police brutality will always be ignored in favor of the blue boys."

"Fuck. You." John spoke up, loud enough for his comrades to overhear, his voice dripping with disdain at this asshat's poor excuse.

"While it is truly regrettable that injustices against the black community are frequently ignored or even treated with bias, the individual in question is a superhero, not a law enforcement officer. Supported by eyewitness accounts and testimonies, Wonder Woman acted within the law, minimizing escalation while disarming and detaining the suspect with the police present. Moreover, she, along with her fellow heroes from the Justice League and beyond, has contributed to the community far beyond what one can achieve from behind a laptop screen. And pardon my language but please refrain from jumping into conclusions. You will win not any favors with any person of color. John Stewart seems to think so."

The heroes quickly looked at John, who didn't protest at all; merely crossing his arms with a contemptuous glare at the journalist. The crowd laughing at Bart's expense only fueled his infuriated contempt and resentment towards the artificial intelligence. It seemed to work as hard at undermining his dedication as it did at insulting him at every opportunity.

"So you're saying that superheroes are above the Law? Above cops and the government?"

"No, Mr. Annis. You've indeed raised an interesting point. At first glance, the Justice League might operate outside the law, performing feats beyond the capabilities of the police and government. However, they actually work within the justice system as much as any governmental entity. By adhering to the law, they've not only earned recognition and popularity as peacekeepers and paragons of Earth among the populace but they've also been granted permission by the UN to operate with full jurisdiction beyond US borders. Over the past seven years, the Justice League has undertaken more humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts than crime fighting and defending Earth from hostile invasions. Meanwhile, you have devoted more time to slandering the Justice League with libel and disseminating misinformation for the sake of sensationalism and notoriety via a laptop than to supporting any local charity."

Bart was at his limit. He will not stand by as this self-proclaimed AI beats him down with falsehood that he lovingly preached in the past ten minutes that he had sat through. But before he could say another word, VEGA had more than one thing to say.

Regarding your comment on race, my response is as follows: crime is blind to color, gender, status, and orientation. It only sees victims—those who are vulnerable and defenseless against danger, preyed upon by those who consider themselves superior and strong enough to exploit others. However, justice is also blind in this way. Heroes of all kinds, whether they belong to the Justice League, the Police Force, or operate outside the law to protect their community, can make a significant impact. They lead by example and uphold the law by bringing criminals to justice.

Upon hearing VEGA's statement, both the crowd and the Justice League gave applause for a commendable speech. Even Batman was a tad bit touched by the AI's sincere speech.

"Still doesn't mean I won't be giving the Slayer some lack." Batman stated, clapping his fellow heroes, causing Diana to roll her eyes and say, "Let's drop the topic for now and give him a warm welcome to the League."

Back in the crowd, Bart felt his entire confidence brought down to a peg by an artifici-no, a phony speaking somewhere in this jolly green jackass' suit, all while hiding somewhere in his God-forsaken Earth. But now, he lost any sort of pride to continue his report crusade.

"Mr. Annis, is there anything you have to say?" Asked VEGA. Bart, having nothing to say or react to, simply walked away in a huff, weaving through the shifting crowd of other tenacious journalists and reporters. As he vanished from sight, VEGA continued on and commented.

"That's a shame. I had figured he would have blown a vein if we were to discuss further into his reports. Next?"

Upon hearing the question, reporters began to raise their hands and mics, eager to get an answer to quench the burning enigma that was the Doom Marine and his AI companion. Flynn was carefully deciding on who to pick next before settling on the blonde woman closest to the front.

"Cat Grant from GBS." She stated, with slight enthusiasm. "With your arrival to our Earth, tell us what do you bring to the table as a superhero?"

"Guns." Flynn answered without hesitation, prompting looks of shock on every reporter's faces and winces on most of the heroes.

"I b-beg your pardon?" Asked a very bewildered Cat. Before Flynn could pull out a gun from his suit, VEGA spoke up and said, "What the Doom Marine meant to say was that he has a vast collection of arsenals at his disposal, Ms. Grant. And due to the situation of the aforementioned invasion, the methods used to combat the aliens were dealt with extreme prejudice."

The crowd began to murmur amongst themselves in regard to the last statement, causing suspicion and wariness about the Doom Marine's method. And then the questions began to pop up.

"Does this mean the Justice League is now allowing lethal force?"

"Is Doom Marine a supporter of the Second Amendm-?"

"How do you approach crimin-?"

"Are we expecting a judge, jur-"

"I'll take over from here," Superman interjected, stepping forward as Flynn moved aside.

"I recognize the concerns regarding the Doom Marine's arsenal. Nevertheless, after thorough discussions and agreements, the Doom Marine has consented to adhere to Justice League protocols and will set an example akin to my peers. Concurrently, we will compile data and disclose it to the public concerning his other capabilities."

Doom Slayer folded his arms, displaying a hint of irritation. Although humans were distinct from the demonic entities of Hell, their innocence was questionable. He remembered witnessing humanity's darkest aspects even before the Hell invasions. Coupled with his recent insights into the UAC's corrupt cult-like nature, he was prepared to intervene personally if it meant safeguarding Earth from its own follies.

For the moment, he would wait and undertake what was essential for a brighter future. As the Man of Steel pacified the audience with his rousing speech, VEGA appeared on his display.

"Hello, Slayer. While Superman garners much attention, I have taken the time to run a diagnostic on your suit and found that your previous encounter with Olivia Pierce has fully restored its functions. Even after your battle with the mercenary known as Deathstroke, the suit has sustained no damage. However, it is important to note that without a source of Hell or Argent energy, you cannot recharge the suit upon taking damage. This means you must seek alternative methods for ammunition retrieval and, should you encounter threats on par with demons, suit repair. Nevertheless, in the absence of Hell, the Praetor suit remains impervious to all conventional weaponry."

Flynn nodded. On the one hand, Hell had not yet come. Meaning he'll use his time on Earth to prepare for another invasion. On the other hand, he was absolutely screwed. With nothing but the suit on his back and battling the forces of Hell for God knows how long, he'll need to adapt and find allies to his cause. The Justice League was already backing him, but he'll need people far more willing to take drastic measures.

He hadn't bothered listening to Superman's speech until he heard his name called.

"-adies and gentlemen, let's give it to Doom Marine as the newest member of the Justice League!" Superman clamored, raising his hand to which Flynn shook in kind. Both look into the flashing cameras for pictures while reporters gave heaps of praises for the welcoming ceremony.

"Once this is all over, then we'll put you through the initiation," Superman whispered. "Nothing complicated. Just need to scan your prints and issue your membership."

"Hmm." Grunted Flynn. With cameras dying out and the crowd dispersing, the first to greet his invitation would be John, Black Canary, Diana and then the rest of the League.

"Welcome to the League, big guy."


LexCorp. Tower, Metropolis

March 11, 11:52 am

"And there you have it, folks." The blonde GBS reporter stated in that familiar chipper tone. "The newest member of the Justice League, known only as the Doom Marine - along with his AI partner, VEGA - revealed to the world. And surely the finest addition to the League! I'm sure as excited to see what he will bring to the table! This is Cat Grant, signing off!"

As soon as the man diverted his gaze, the monitor abruptly turned off. Lex exhaled a sigh of disappointment and set the remote on his table. The Justice League had acquired a new ally, granting the Boy Scout an opportunity to flaunt even more power and divinity. This development troubled the astute billionaire even further, relieved only by the fact that this new ally was not another Kryptonian—having two on Earth was troublesome enough. Nevertheless, Lex collected whatever scant intelligence he could from the news report.

The so-called Doom Marine was more than he appeared, and Deathstroke's description seemed quite precise. The newcomer was a veritable bastion, judging by his stature and presence alone. Moreover, this Doom Marine was assisted by an AI companion capable of rapid information gathering. While Lex found it amusing to witness a journalist being put in place by VEGA, the speed at which the AI operated was a cause for concern. The only comparable artificial intelligence known to him was the League's Red Tornado, who was, to his knowledge, confined to his suit.

VEGA was intriguing, but the space marine was Lex's primary concern. Merely observing him invoked a sense of fear in Lex—a sentiment he did not feel towards other heroes like Batman or the alien. This marine was different. It seemed prudent to heed Vandal's directive for the group to refrain from action for now. Patience was key until an opportune moment presented itself.

Yet, what remained unmentioned in the mercenary's report were the weapons. It was plausible to infer that the marine, hailing from another dimension, possessed advanced technology to stow his arsenal securely. Time would tell if the Doom Marine would reveal his armaments.

A knock on his door was brought to his attention and Lex called, "You may come in."

The door to his office opened as his assistant came into full view. A tall brunette carrying an ordinary but unknown suitcase.

"Ah, Mercy." He greeted kindly. "I take it this is a gift for me?"

His assistant only gave a silent nod - her voice stolen from a previous injury - and set the suitcase down. But not before giving her boss a small note to read.

Call me - V.S.

Lex arched an eyebrow but remained nonchalant. Clandestine dealings hardly came as a shock in relation to his business associates. With ample resources and financial backing, skirting the law tends to become somewhat more feasible.

"Thank you, Mercy. You may leave."

His assistant took her leave, closing the door behind. Immediately, Lex went for the case and opened it. It was the sword belonging to Mr. Wilson, still coated in the Marine's blood. Intrigued, Lex went for his phone and contacted his partner, the phone ringing on the other line.

"Luthor."

"Van Sage." Lex greeted Vandal in his alias. "I received your package. I presume this has something to do with last night, yes?"

"Indeed," Vandal answered. "You could say this will provide an ample opportunity to use for the Project. How far are you in it?"

"Already in its final stages. The fact we managed to get a feasible strand from the other donor means the process turned out smoothly. Why do you ask?"

"I want you to delay its release."

Lex paused in his seat; processing the words he just heard.

"Come again?"

"Delay the prototype for the time being," Vandal further explained, "I want you to splice the new strand with the stronger of the two."

Lex's eyes were blinking rapidly upon hearing what he was being told.

"Mr. Sage," Lex was walking on eggshells now, "apologies if I'm being hesitant, but how will this make it any stronger than what we already have? We've taken months to get this project to yield any success. Not to mention, what you're asking is-"

"Luthor," Vandal cleared his voice, "I admire your intellect and ambitions. Not to mention, your fortitude to break the impossible. It is why you are on the Board, to begin with. But do understand that what I'm giving is an opportunity of a lifetime. And perhaps down the line, it may come to fruition. Plus, you've overcome plenty of obstacles before. This will only be a minor adjustment."

Lex's mouth was open yet was speechless. As if sensing the myriad of questions forming in Lex, Vandal quailed his thoughts.

"I understand that you have several questions flooding your mind right now and I am certain you have many doubts about it. All I can say is I will provide extra funding to your foundation. Will that satisfy you enough?"

Lex quickly adjusted himself, "That... is very generous of you, Sage. I suppose we can reuse the setup of the original project into this new one."

"Good," Vandal spoke, "Until I am prepared to spill more details to the rest of the Board, this must be under lock and key."

"Of which I am grateful that you have shared this information. I presume Deathstroke was also informed of this?"

"Only the bare minimum," Vandal assured, "men like him do keep their lips sealed with the bill in between."

"Skipping the innuendos," Lex moved on, "would this also have anything to do with Klarion a few days ago?"

"Yes." Vandal spoke tersely, "And that is all I can say to you, Luthor. Is there anything else you want to know more about?"

Hearing Vandal's tone becoming dangerously threatening, Lex was quick on his feet.

"Well, back to the new project..." Lex changed topics, "you are certain this will yield even greater results?"

"With absolute certainty." Vandal firmly said; voice now calming down, "You can withhold the prototype... for now."

"I see. Can't say the boys at the lab won't be disappointed. Then again, they probably wouldn't mind another pet project." Luthor detailed.

"Undoubtedly." Vandal understood. "Regardless, take this as another testing field. If all else fails, we still have the prototype for backup. Still, I have full confidence in this project. Not that I have anything against Match."

"With your patronage, getting personal is beneath Lex Luthor," Luthor sighed, "Thank you again, Mr. Sage. I'll be sure to send in the reports in the following months."

"Understood. Take care." The call ended immediately. Lex set the phone aside and looked at the case. The man that would bring the Man of Steel to rust and ruin smirked to himself, intrigued as to see what would come about in this experiment.

"One way or another, you'll come into the Light just fine."

Suddenly, the intercom on his desk rang. Lex reached out to answer it.

"Who is it?"

"Hi Mr. Luthor," one of his employees answered, "there's a man who wants to see you. Says he has an interview with you. Shall I send him up?"

Digesting the knowledge laid before him, Lex was both intrigued and amused to hear. the news. Seems today was getting stranger by the minute, he thought.

"Sure. Let him in." Luthor ended the call after. Moments later, the doors opened with Mercy entering. Just behind her, Lex presumed was the aforementioned man from downstairs. Oddly enough, he reminded the billionaire of the one-eyed mercenary. Tall, well-built, and reaching roughly in his 60s or 70s. A strange cocktail. But a deadly one, Lex hoped. Sans the eyepatch and beard, he was practically a twin.

"Thank you, Mercy. I'll take it from here." Lex dismissed her. As she closed the doors behind her, Lex now finally addressed the man.

"So what can I help you with, Mr..."

"Rock." Said the man, "Franklin Rock."


Well there goes another chapter of nothing happening as of now. Jeez, I really need to get this story moving forward.

Moving on, I'm back everyone! Or at least with this one. I actually came back last month with my Warhammer fic (and on its second anniversary, no less!).

For those unaware, I was battling cancer in the form of a Stage IV Hodgkin's Lymphoma. And won. Right now, I'm waiting for my next test next month for confirmation and waiting on standby. Until then, I got this chapter done and getting the next one completed. But I promise, the next one will have actual action. Just gonna need some time to plan out the fight in that one. With all that said in done, I suppose there's a lot to discuss about the elephant in the room: power-scaling.

Look, I'm not gonna walk around this so I'll just be upfront. Yes, I screwed it up with Batman taking the shotgun. Yes, I'm fully aware of how stupidly strong he was against Supe an WW. And will that affect the story and conflicts altogether? Probably. But I won't be tipping the scales for neither Doom Slayer nor the Justice League. That being said, that won't mean I'll be having Doom Slayer keep the kiddie gloves on. Most of the time. Expect a lot of crippling, maiming, and paralysis. And when he does let loose... well, I won't say much.

Really, I had this discussion with a reviewer on my PMs and, while having no idea what I was saying at the time, I've come to conclusion to simply write as just a "power fantasy". Not power-scaling. Power fantasy. Similar words that are ultimately different in context. Yes, it's mainly a DOOM fic, first. But that doesn't mean I'm going to make the DC elements underpowered. Still, I'll be sure to make things balanced out as the story progresses.

Speaking of which, for those worried about Doom Slayer being on the leash, this chapter cleared up things for you. Doom Slayer will keep his weapons but will limit to a few of them for pragmatic reasons. As for dealing with criminals? I'm gonna have to get the next chapter in fast then.

And in regards to the League, there's a lot of gray areas that they need to be careful with. As you can see, certain heroes like Batman and Marvel are staunch about no-killing, but few like WW and Stewart - both of whom are canonically veterans in DC lore - will use lethal force if it's absolutely necessary.

So yes, that's as far as I will tell you as of this chapter. And for all of your criticisms, I still respect them nonetheless. Passion is a human thing for all of us. If I have I missed any points, let me know in the comments or PM me about it.

Moving on, I'll be answering some reviews now. Unlike the first two, I've been itching to respond to some good ones here. Maybe some in the second chapter even. Anyways, here we go:

EndofDaysBitches: Scribbles down even though he's already gotten half of that objective fulfilled.

Guest (10-16-2021): Well, I definitely wanted to differentiate it from my other DOOM fic involving Warhammer Fantasy. Planned to connect the two even.

HaloZealotDemon: Too late, I some ideas of who to ship. *evil laughter ensues*

And no. It's not Wonder Woman. Hope you can cope with that.

shadowmvg4: Thanks for the kind words. I hope this QA answers all your questions here

TheEschaton: Man, you have some really good points. Can't believe I didn't respond to this sooner.

First off, that's fine. You have a valid reason in regards to DKoJ and that's understandable. As for myself, I do enjoy that story along with its other iterations such as the Inquisitor and The Justice of a Tech Priest. Hell, I'm even friends with The Inquisitor author as we speak.

With all that being said, you do make a good point in regards to the depiction of the Justice League. Especially Batman. I'll be honest, I had a bit of a hateboner when it came to Bats. Mostly stemming from only ever understanding his Injustice depiction, and less from other better mediums.

But that's all in the past now. Now, I'm a lot more open-minded and trying to get my research better handled. While I do have some negative opinion, I'm a bit more understanding of the character, especially after watching his final confrontation with Jason Todd in Under the Red Hood. Still, I'm a lot more respective of the characters and I plan to keep it that way. Unlike that jackass Garth Anus.

And the Joker quote: will definitely rework it into the story. I will give credit, though.

p6lishb6kser: Shit. I wish I had respond sooner. Thing is, you're always free to PM me as I sometimes get a little busy. Thanks again.

edboy4926: Maybe. But the character will completely separated in a one-shot omake/chapter. Maybe.

Angel lara451: Well, I hope my response to TheEschaton answers your burning questions. And I definitely to plan to work that in his character development. Gonna take quite a while to get there, though.

Spartan-666: It was actually in the Inquisitor where Victor Zsasz was paralyzed. And yeah, we'll get to the Joker

at some point.

Dontus: Good guess but no. Not at all, actually.

And no, I don't plan on having an evil version of him in the Injustice Gang.

Clown2107: Ouch.

Austin: There'll definitely be situations called upon. I won't spoil the, but he'll definitely loopholes, exceptions, and will eventually be at his breaking point.

In regards to John Stewart, it seemed like a natural addition at the time. And I don't regret it whatsoever.

Thaliak: Yep, I wish had known about that sooner. Goddammit. Guess I'll have to re-edit the chapter again.

Adryn Nighthunter: And here's my due payment.

Anyways, thanks y'all for reading. I'll be back for more soon.

Edit (25-11-2022): Alright, that fucking does it. Not only have I removed the Rune Systems thing entirely, I have also changed up the bit about the damage to the Praetor Suit. Because some of y'all are very salty and seem to not get the point. No, I'm not nerfing Doomguy. I just don't want the superheroes look like absolute chumps in comparison. So quit the fucking talks about power-scaling and leave it be. It'll always be a Doom-centric story but I'm not neglecting the other half nor am I treating the other heroes as stupid. That's all I have to say.