The scene was chaotic. Sirens and lights filled the winter air as they rushed to the explosion. It had taken place in a Brooklyn subway tunnel, and as the media learned of the event, the death toll was expected to be high. It took many hours for workers to clear the rubble and for the raging fires to be exhausted.
"It is believed to be another terrorist attack, as once again our great nation is threatened by those who see our way of life as wrong…" were only some of the words that came out of various reporters' mouths as they struggled to maintain a balance between professional and scared and weary.
And then a discovery had been made. After clearing the remains of the subway station, no bodies had been discovered. It seemed as if no one the tunnel had been vacated before the explosion.
But all who entered ravaged tunnels saw one thing. An ominous message, scrawled in blood, that could only hinder recent events:
ONLY THE BEGINNING JUSTICE LEAGUE…
The Watchtower, early morning. A slim figure sat in front of the JLA mainframe computer, frantically scrolling through as much information as possible. He used his arm to stretch across the room to the printer, where he tore out a finished piece and quickly pulled in back into view. His eyes quickly scanned it while he let his hands continue his other work.
"Plas?" Kyle Rayner asked as he entered the Justice League's headquarters. "Where have you been? We haven't seen you for weeks!"
Plastic Man turned to look at his teammate as he gathered up all his paperwork and shut down the computer. "It's a long story Kyle, and I have very important business to attend to, so if you'll excuse me," And with that, Plastic Man was out the door.
"That was weird," Kyle said aloud as he sat down. "He didn't even have a joke,"
"What took place last night was no laughing matter Lantern," the Martian Manhunter grimly stated as he entered. "Instead of helping our image, we only accomplished tarnishing it,"
"I don't see what the big deal is," Kyle replied. "I mean we caught the little bastard in the end, even if Impulse was the one to take him down," He constructed a yo-yo and watched it go up and down for a moment. "I think this whole society vs. the JLA thing will die down in awhile anyway,"
J'Onn stomped over to Green Lantern and knocked away his toy. "You really don't realize the seriousness of this do you Kyle? These are not simple times," he stated firmly.
Kyle hopped up from his seat and looked hard at Manhunter. "Where do you get off telling to me how to do my job? I've given my all to this team if not more, don't you dare question me!" He was face to face with the Martian now.
"What's the meaning of this?" Wonder Woman demanded as she rushed between the two. "While the world is being picked apart by all types of things, you two choose to argue amongst yourselves!"
"But he…" Kyle protested, but Diana clamped a hand over his mouth.
"There was an explosion in a Brooklyn subway tunnel last night," Diana informed them.
"Oh no…" J'Onn said solemnly.
"But no one was injured or killed. There was a message directed towards us however and we all been called for an important meeting. Superman and Flash are already in route, I suggest we join them,"
The three made their way for the exit when Green Lantern stopped short. "Wait a minute. What about Batman and Aquaman? Where are we going?"
"I am sick and tired of you freaks destroying my country! Every five minutes, another building falls because of one of your epic battles, or innocent lives are endangered or taken because of your actions! I will have no more of it!" Luthor looked hard at the 5 heroes in front of him, with his bodyguard Mercy at his back. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't arrest you now?"
The JLA stood on the other side of his desk in the Oval Office, defiant. Green Lantern and Flash sat in the chairs fuming, while Superman and Manhunter leaned against the back wall with their arms across. Wonder Woman stood eye to eye with the President.
"Because you need us or you wouldn't have called us here," Diana answered as she didn't flinch. "Now what do you want?"
Luthor smiled and sat back down. "You know me all too well Amazon. Since whoever trashed that subway tunnel last night was targeting you, I want you to find them and take them down. Hard. Are we agreed?"
"We're not your bitches Luthor," Kyle stated angrily as he stood up. Wonder Woman simply put her hand in the air to stop him from approaching.
"We will find the perpetrators Luthor, but we will take them down on our terms. Understood?"
Luthor folded his arms behind his head. "Then we are settled. Now get out of my office,"
The League took their leave and Luthor turned to Mercy. "See to it that they fail at any cost. Once they do, I'll just use the public to take them all down,"
Mercy nodded and also exited.
"Are you nuts?" Flash asked Wonder Woman as they left the White House grounds. "You're dealing with the damn devil,"
"Sometimes you have to deal with the devil to find the light," J'Onn replied.
Superman nodded. "Even if it means we can't achieve our main objective,"
"And on top off all of that, when we succeed in finding these fiends, it helps our image that much more," Diana finished.
"I see your point," Lantern added as he started to calm down. "But I don't think Bats and Arthur are gonna like this too much…"
"I quit," Batman said firmly.
"You what?!" Arthur asked in disbelief. He and Batman had gone to the Watchtower after refusing to go meet Luthor, and now Batman had just caused Hiroshima once again. "You can't quit, we need you to track down whoever's behind these bombings,"
Batman's expression did not change as he stepped closer to the Sea King. "Look me in my eyes and tell me you trust me Orin," the Bat demanded. "Tell me that you still trust me with your life like you have in the past,"
Aquaman could do nothing but turn his head away.
Batman folded his arms and smirked. "Just as I suspected. I'm only harming the team by staying on. I have other matters to attend to as well,"
"You mean that whole Robin thing that's going on?" Arthur asked.
Batman raised an eyebrow. "How did you know about…"
Just then the remaining Leaguers joined them, cutting off Batman's words.
"Great news," Flash began as he fell in a heap into a chair. "Luthor wants us to track down these guys who are targeting us, before they hurt someone seriously,"
Before Wally could even finish his sentence, the Batman was gone.
"Now where did he go?"
"He quit," Aquaman answered as he crossed to the computers.
"He what?!" Clark asked shocked. "It's not like him to just quit…"
"Well maybe if you all could've dealt with what he was trying to accomplish with the protocols, the team's trust would've never been broken," Green lantern accused.
"You mean to tell me," Arthur argued. "That you can still look him in the face and trust him?"
"Yes. More so then you right now. This is twice now that you've been a no show just because you didn't want to," Kyle responded angrily.
"Who are you to tell me what I will and will not do punk?" Aquaman asked as the two heroes quickly got in each other's face.
Flash was out of chair almost immediately and between the two. "Look this is no time to be fighting with each other!" he shouted as he pushed the two apart.
"Speaking of betrayal, it's not like you weren't gone for weeks and left that Quick girl in charge of your identity. You have no room to talk!" Arthur accused.
"Jesse did the best job she damn well could, and you know that!" Wally countered as his blood pressure began to rise.
"That is enough!" Superman yelled as he swept through the three, knocking them all to the floor. "It's obvious that tensions are high with everything that's going on. But we need to keep it together!"
"Clark's right," Wonder Woman chirped in. "We need each other,"
"I don't need none of you!' Lantern shouted. "I'm out of here and tell Lex he can kiss my ass!"
"And I'm not sticking around here to be insulted by this fish brain anymore," Flash countered as he too zoomed his way to the exit.
"I'm sorry Diana, I really am," Arthur began. "But you're on your own. I'm not Lex's underling,"
The remaining three members of the JLA stood baffled within their shambled moon headquarters. The Justice League of America, defeated by their own selves.
"There's only one thing left for us to do," Superman concluded. "It's up to us three, and come hell or high water, we will get to the bottom of this,"
Manhunter nodded. "But before we do that, there's something I need to show you all. Follow me…"
NEXT ISSUE: Everyone is at each other's throats! The JLA is down to three members! How can Superman, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter possibly be able to succeed now? Be here for part 3 of "Politics As Usual" for even more surprising elements as we enter "Election Day"!