I know Kara is a bit OOC in this, but she had to be in order for the plot to work.
I want to thank both Miss Singing in the Rain and ccheng1234 for reading over this chapter.
I also want to say that I was reading 'The Truth About Flash' by Starrynyte04, and it was chapter 49 of that story what finally gave me the last push I needed to finish this chapter.
Please don't forget to review!
The moment Supergirl was transported into the Metro Tower, she immediately headed for the control center. When she arrived, she found Black Canary, Fire, Booster Gold and Vixen standing there, talking with Mr. Terrific on one screen and Batman on another. A quick glance at the bandages covering most of them showed her that only Booster Gold and Black Canary were uninjured enough to join her. This was looking rather grim.
"What's the situation?" she asked right away. Everyone turned to look at her with relieved faces (except for Batman) and it was Terrific who answered.
"As you know, the team sent after your clone was defeated and taken hostage by her. 12 minutes ago she called to tell us you had 15 minutes to go face her. We haven't heard from her since."
"Alright, so what's the plan? I just take a team there and beat her?" Kara didn't miss how everyone shot a sideways glance at Batman, or how his usual scowl seemed to deepen before he answered her.
"Almost one minute ago Batgirl asked for transport into the Watchtower for herself and another girl. They immediately went to one of the computers, and its record says that they are watching the security video from the time when the teams of Ultimen attacked the tower. More specifically, the battle between you and your clone in the reactor room. Batgirl is also hacking into every file that both CADMUS and the League have about said clone as we speak."
"So what's she planning, and who's the mystery girl?"
Batman's scowl deepened even more when he said, "She said she wants us to wait until she´s done showing the girl all the files, and then she'll tell us her plan. The girl is a meta-human."
At the lack of more information, Vixen raised an eyebrow, "You have no idea who she is, do you?"
Batman's scowl turned into a full glare, but he merely repeated, "Batgirl said she wanted us to wait."
"Wait? We can't wait! That woman, that thing could be hurting our teammates as we speak" exclaimed Black Canary. Kara found herself agreeing with the other blonde.
"She's right. Besides, what are we waiting for anyways? Some sort of miracle solution in the form of some girl that no one knows anything about? I don't think so. I say we go in now, instead of waiting for the last possible second."
"We don't know what Batgirl is doing. We can't just dismiss her plan," Batman stated, clearly supportive of his fellow Bat, and having been himself many times in a situation where he had a plan, but not the time to explain it to anybody.
"Canary is right, Batman" said Terrific "Supergirl's clone is unpredictable and volatile. With every second that goes by the risk for our teammates increases exponentially. We can't place their safety entirely on the hands of an unknown, teenage meta,"
Batman opened his mouth to answer, but was cut off by a glowing light and the sound of teleporting coming from somewhere out of view in the background of Terrific's screen. He looked up and then everyone saw Batgirl join Terrific in the Watchtower's communication center. However, before she could speak, Canary jumped forward and started asking questions.
"Batgirl! We were told you have a plan! Are you coming down here to join Kara? Do you have some special weapon to use against the clone? Do you know how to rescue Ol… err, the hostages? Who is this new girl we heard about? Is she going to help you fight? Where is she? What…"
"ENOUGH!" both Bats yelled in unison, so similar that everyone else took a step back. Batman took one look at Batgirl and merely said, "Explain".
"There's not going to be any fighting. I want no one from the League in the scene, especially not Supergirl. I just sent Ella down there so she can speak to Galatea. She should have just enough time left to explain…"
She couldn't continue talking though, since Supergirl started yelling "Are you crazy?!" at the same time Black Canary yelled, "Have you lost your mind?!" After that, Canary seemed to be at a loss for words, but Kara didn't have the same problem.
"You sent some rookie girl out there ALONE? That clone is one of the most dangerous, powerful, and violent villains out there! Even with a whole team this would have been hard! And what do you mean I shouldn't be there? I have to be there! She's MY clone! Even with Superman here I'm the one that can match her the best, and since she's my clone, defeating her isn't only my responsibility, it's my right!" Batgirl tried to interrupt Supergirl, but she was having none of that. "No! This friend of yours has better be really good in combat, since she's going to have to hold her own against a Kryptonian until we get there. And in case you haven't noticed…"
Kara's angry rant was effectively cut off this time by a loud beeping sound. Everyone present froze, whether on a screen or in person. All eyes in the room focused on the same point. The little red numbers indicating how much longer they had before the clone attacked the hostages.
The timer read zero.
Not wanting to lose any more time, Kara shot up in the air and went straight for the teleporter while calling over her shoulder, "Beam me there, now!" She heard the sound of frantic typing coming from Terrific's screen. Then she reached the teleporter, pressed the button, and waited.
She pressed the button again, and when it still didn't work, she made a frustrated noise and turned around. "Terrific, what's wrong with the teleporter?" when she looked back at the screens, she was greeted by a sight that didn't seem to make any sense. Apparently, Batgirl had pushed Terrific away from the main computer, and was typing furiously. On a side computer, Terrific was typing just as fast, but he looked nervous and was sweating bullets. On the other screen, Batman was sending a full-force bat-glare at Batgirl. Everyone on the Metrotower was looking in disbelief. It wasn't until Canary yelled, "Batgirl what the heck do you think you're doing!?" that all the pieces fell into place.
"Wait a second, YOU are doing this? Why? Are you nuts?" Canary summed herself to her rant, both of them yelling at Batgirl. Terrific then started talking, probably to try to get everyone to calm down. Adding to the cacophony, Booster had muttered something that had made Fire and Vixen turn around and start yelling at him, while he started to talk quickly, presumably excusing himself for whatever he had said.
"QUIET!" Batman's command effectively made everyone shut up, and Batgirl and Terrific stop typing. He sent a terrifying glare at Batgirl (which didn't seem to lose any of its effect because of being sent through a screen) and coldly repeated his earlier command. "Explain. Now."
"The girl's name is Ella Phantom. She's the cousin of the ghost hero Danny Phantom. Because of some things in her background, she's the perfect person to talk Galatea down, and find a way to resolve this peacefully. But in order for this to work, she needs to talk to Galatea without any members of the League present. And since it's very important not to make her angry, we can't have Supergirl on the scene under any circumstances." At Batman's raised eyebrow, she continued, "But of course there's a backup plan. I contacted Zatanna earlier and told her to be ready to teleport at all times. I gave Ella a communicator, and if she gives the signal, I'll beam Zatanna over there immediately. Between her magic and Ella's own powers, they should be able to handle Galatea for more than enough time to rescue the hostages without Supergirl's help. But I really doubt it will come to that, since I know for a fact Galatea will be very interested in some of the things Ella has to tell her."
A stunned silence followed Batgirl's words, as the people listening tried to wrap their minds around different parts of her speech.
Unfortunately, once again, Kara was the first to recover.
That seemed to unfreeze everyone in the room, and they all cringed at the sheer volume of the yell, some of them even thinking it had been Canary to do it, but a quick glance (or three) revealed that the older blonde still seemed too stunned to speak.
"You sent a diplomat to deal with a dangerous, irrational being that has our teammates hostage?! We are dealing with a dangerous experiment engineered by a crazy, delusional, and paranoid organization with the specific purpose to destroy the Justice League! You can't rely on diplomacy when the person you're dealing with isn't even a person! That abomination isn't even worth the effort, it's a criminal, a murderer, a fake, and it's going to hurt our teammates and…"
If the Leaguers had thought Supergirl looked angry before, they certainly weren't expecting the enraged look on Batgirl's face. They were suddenly very aware that this was the apprentice of The Batman. And right now, she looked every bit as dark and scary as her mentor did when facing a particularly bad case. She was giving Supergirl a bat-glare so intense, Kara felt her anger be replaced by nervousness. She had never seen her friend like this. Batgirl looked like her rage had been building up for a while, and it was finally bursting. Everyone else felt like taking a step back. Booster Gold looked positively white, and Terrific was discreetly inching away from her. Only Batman kept his usual poker face, but those who knew him well would've been able to tell he was surprised and intrigued by this new development. Maybe even a little bit nervous. Just a little.
When Batgirl spoke, she did in a low, cold voice that sent a shiver down everyone's spines, "You don't even know what you're saying. You sound like some spoiled, irrational brat. Who are you to judge someone like that? Declare they're not people when you're not even from this planet?" Even Batman's eyes widened at this, but Batgirl was not done yet.
"You're one of my best friends, Kara, but I can't believe you're being so blind. Maybe you've forgotten that the girl you seem so eager to label as 'dangerous, violent and irrational' was created based on YOU. Her instincts are based on you, her DNA is yours, her danger level is the same as yours, and by the way you were just speaking, you're obviously not very rational yourself. This does not mean that this girl is you, or that she's just a copy of yourself. She's her own person. An individual, and she deserves to be treated as such.
"I can't believe that, in all the time since this mess started, I haven't heard anyone call her Galatea once. Not you, not anyone. You just call her 'Supergirl's clone' or 'it'. You should know better."
She looked every Leaguer in the eye, before setting her focus back on Kara.
"After all that mess with the Ultimen, after so many Leaguers took turns visiting Long Shadow in the med bay while he was de-stabilizing and then recovering, and after the League deals with so many different species and all kinds of weird things on a daily basis. Yet now that this girl appears, with your own face no less, she's suddenly just a weapon created to mess with you? Well, let me tell you something Kara, the world doesn't spin around you. Haven't you thought that maybe she is like she is because that's all she's ever known? She may look twenty five-ish, but she can't be much more than a year and a half old. All that time she was trained to be a defense for the world in case the Justice League went rogue."
"That was her purpose in life. And the first time she ever saw actual members of the Justice League, you guys beat her up, even if she did brought that fight on herself. She was created in an attempt to be able to defeat Superman, and you took her down. It's no surprise that she became obsessed about you. But then, the second time you fought her, you insulted everything she is. You didn't even acknowledge her as a person, and you made sure she knew that. Never mind that the first time she attacked you, it was because she had a conscience, and it was getting on the way of the dirty work she was ordered to do. That shows that, deep inside, she knew what she was doing was wrong, and she wanted to stop, but she didn't exactly have a say in the matter. So yes, I did send a non-leaguer to talk to her, because no one ever has. I'm convinced she can be reasoned with, and by giving her a chance, we may not only be avoiding making ourselves a new enemy, but we might also be saving Galatea from herself. I believe there's a big chance to steer her into the right path. We just have to show it to her."
Saying the members of the League that were listening to Batgirl were shocked, and speechless, was an understatement. Everyone exchanged looks with each other, thinking back to everything they knew about the cl… about Galatea. What Batgirl was saying actually made a lot of sense, and none of them had ever thought about looking at it from that angle.
Even Batman's eyes had slightly widened while Batgirl was speaking. The heroes started looking back and forth between Supergirl and Batgirl. Supergirl's previous anger had completely evaporated, and she was trying to make sense to what she had just heard. Surely she couldn't be the bad guy here, right?
She wasn't sorry about fighting her clone, because she had been fighting in self-defense both times they had fought. Although… in all truth, she had been pretty unfair towards her cl… towards Galatea. And Batgirl was right, Kara herself had been one of the ones who visited Long Shadow in the hospital, and the only times she ever thought of him as a clone had been to think how that was what was killing him.
The silence seemed to last for hours, but it had actually been just a few minutes when Batman spoke. "While all this is certainly very important, it seems to me that you're making a pretty big gamble here. It doesn't stop being true that… Galatea was born and raised to oppose the League. And she has been in prison for a while, so she might not know that your friend, Ella, isn't a Leaguer. What about her makes you so sure that she can get Galatea to listen?"
Batgirl seemed thoughtful for a moment. Then she said "do you remember back when Long Shadow was dying, that I barely spent any time on patrol or in the Bat-cave, and then I was gone for two days, and when I came back I had the documents and samples that finally allowed us to save him?"
Batman's eyes narrowed at this, and everyone stood a little straighter in curiosity. Everyone remembered that one day, when everyone thought Long Shadow would be dead within the week, he had gone to sleep with a high fever and struggling to breathe. But when morning came, he had been sleeping almost peacefully, his fever had broken, and he had slowly started to recover. Rumors had run wild on the Watchtower for days, until Long Shadow had a relapse and Batman had rushed into the room with a syringe, injected him, and doubled his recovery rate. Nobody knew how Batman had done it, especially since he had been pretty busy with a mysterious murderer that had been stirring up trouble in Gotham at the time, so he couldn't have spent that much time getting research done on the dying Ultiman. Apparently, it hadn't been him.
"Phantom helped you" it wasn't even a question, but Batgirl answered it anyways.
"As I said, she has a very special background. She knew of a lab in the mountains in Colorado that had done a cloning program a few years back. We went there and looked all over the place until we found something that could help. She really knows what she is doing. But if you won't trust her, or Galatea, at least trust me" She said the last looking at Supergirl, but her friend didn't meet her eyes. "Kara come on, I know you're angry about this, but I really think you were making a mistake. I had to stop you before it was too late. For both you and Galatea". When Kara still didn't look at her, Batgirl sighed and seemed to deflate a little. An awkward silence started once again, as nobody knew what to say. A beeping sound, this time coming from the Watchtower, broke the quiet. Both Terrific and Batgirl looked at something out of the screen that the others could not see, and Terrific informed them the watchtower was getting an incoming transmission. He answered, still out of sight from the others, and gasped in surprise. Batgirl took one look at the communicator and said, "Wait a minute, I'll patch you through so everyone can hear you." She clicked on a few buttons, and then another screen turned on. Vixen, Booster and Supergirl gasped, while Canary, Fire and Batman just stared at the newest addition to the conversation. It was a white-haired girl with neon-glowing green eyes. She looked around Supergirl's and Batgirl's age, and she was wearing a black jumpsuit shirt with white on one side starting from her right shoulder and going down, black pants with white on the outside, white shoes, and her midriff was showing. On her right shoulder was a small black DP logo that some of them recognized as Danny Phantom's symbol, and on her chest, there was a capital letter 'E', but the lower corner of the top horizontal bar on the letter looked like it had been pulled downwards, making it look almost like a 'P'.
… So this was Ella Phantom