"I think I may have discovered why three of our comrades just caused the scene they did," Martian Manhunter implied as he led Wonder Woman and Superman to the mainframe system.
"You mean it's more than them reaching their boiling point with each other?" Diana asked curiously.
"That has something to do with it, but there's a little something more aiding their attitudes," J'Onn replied as his fingers blurred across the keyboards. Soon a picture of Servo appeared onscreen.
"What's that little barrel of fun go to do with this?" Superman inquired from over Manhunter's shoulder. "He's not loose again is he?"
J'Onn chuckled at his friend. "Far from that, Clark. But he did have a lasting impression. It seems that contact with Servo will bring out your base emotions or the honest, angry truth. Whoever pushes the infected the wrong way in the slightest, the infected tells their honest feelings to that person. The truth comes tainted, however, since their anger causes them to say something they wouldn't if they were in a calmer state,"
"That's why those four acted the way they did," Superman realized. "They were acting on suppressed, angered emotions while us three were unaffected,"
"Three not four," Diana chipped in. "Batman's mind and will is too well-trained for suppressing emotions, unlike Kyle, Wally and Arthur,"
"Correct," Manhunter added. "The good news is once the emotions are released one time, the infected returns to normal. The bad news is we have to bring those 3 back together,"
"And we're not gonna give ya the chance to do it!" came a shout.
Before the three could turn to face the intruders, bright lights and thunder sounded as a bomb exploded within their mist.
Aquaman, who does he think he is? Wally asked himself as he sat alone in a Manhattan coffee house. Trying to tell me I make poor choices. Like he hasn't made more than a few of those in his life. He stirred his untouched coffee again as he looked up at the blaring television.
"Reports out of Washington are that President Luthor met with the JLA in an effort to combine forces and stop those responsible for the subway tunnel bombing. While it is still unclear how they plan on going about that, I have to say that it's good to know the heroes are on the job."
Wow. A reporter who doesn't hate us. He gazed out his window at the busy New York streets. He saw two children, no older than 6, with their mother walking down the street. One boy had on a shirt with a Flash emblem, the other sporting Green Lantern's. He stood, tossed a few bills on the table, and headed for the door. Maybe I can't get along with my teammates, but I have a lot more riding on me than just public opinion. It may sound cheesy, but I think I better check out that tunnel.
Mercy silently followed.
Kyle Rayner, on the other hand, had decided that the only way for him to really take down Luthor was with the help of his teammates, whether he got along with them or not.
He had just re-entered the Watchtower when he heard voices. He quietly moved into a position where he could hear more clearly.
"Get that satellite running, I want to be on-air within the hour," a deep voice barked.
Lantern could see one battlesuit-armored figure go scurrying away. It was then his eyes picked up on the shackled forms of J'Onn and Diana, with no Superman in sight.
"I can't leave them alone for five minutes," Kyle grumbled under his breath. He sighed and started weighing his options.
Meanwhile, at the New York Harbor, one Sea King was weighing some options of his own. The argument with Flash and Green Lantern had put things into perspective.
"He wants to tear the team apart, then take each one of us out individually. He knows we're too strong together," Arthur pondered aloud as he floated in the surprisingly quiet waters.
Suddenly he rolled over and within seconds, he was miles away from the docks, heading south.
"It's time America finds out the truth about their beloved President," Aquaman resolved as he headed for Washington. "One way or the other,"
Bruce Wayne had not slept.
Not that this was an extraordinary occurrence for him, but this night was filled with unsolved answering and baffling question upon baffling question.
"Master Bruce, I do believe you need something to eat," Alfred announced from behind Bruce. "Even those of us who haven't slept in days."
"No thanks, Alfred," Bruce replied in muffled tone.
Alfred dropped the plate of toast in front of the weary hero. "Eat, young man," he ordered.
A slight smile crossed Bruce's lips as his eyes continued to dart across his computer screens, the answers still eluding him.
Until he took a bite of toast.
"Gotcha," Bruce said triumphantly.
"Are you comfortable, Superman?" one of his captives asked.
The Man of Steel was strapped onto a table facing a camera. Two other troopers were restricting Manhunter and Wonder Woman's bonds even tighter, while the other one continued to hack into a nearby broadcast satellite.
"Never better," Superman replied through gritted teeth. He felt weak, but saw no kryptonite nearby. He strained as he tried to break free again, but to no avail.
"Damnit, Smith, how long does it take to hack a satellite anyway?" the apparent leader barked again.
"There, it's ready when you are, Thompson," Smith replied as he admired his handiwork.
"Good, good," Thompson said as he rubbed his hands together. "Now everyone will get to see the elimination of the Justice League."
"You really believe you can hold us against our wills?" Diana asked.
"Williams, if you would please," Thompson ordered.
The trooper nearest to the Amazon backhanded her viciously.
"Yes, I do," Thompson answered. "I can't wait until the whole world sees that I have brought its superteam to its knees, and what better way to do that than to break its heart and soul?" he pointed to Superman. "I can't wait to see your face when Metropolis is no more, and you couldn't do a damn thing to help. I bet Claudia will eat this up,"
"You're mad!" Superman screamed as he tried to free himself again.
"No, but my employer is," Thompson snickered.
So that's these guys plan. Manipulate it so that we just get more bad press, and aid our detractors. I need to get J'Onn and Diana free if I have any chance at all. Kyle quickly dashed across the doorway, unseen. Now he just had to take out the troopers.
The electricity still had not been rewired in the destroyed tunnels. Nothing seemed to be within these tunnels now. Aside from the occasional rat, all the cleared debris just left a huge void.
Flash continued to let his flashlight beam off the walls, as he inspected them for any clues as to who did this, since he hadn't been able to get in touch with the Watchtower for the last hour.
"I knew I was just wasting my time coming here," he grumbled. "I need to get back in touch with the League,"
Then all the lights came on.
"What the…" Flash asked as he whirled around.
Only to be facing a hulk-like monster breathing down on him.
"You will die, Leaguer!" the beast roared. It lashed out at a startled Flash and sent him flying for a good 10 feet.
Aquaman had arrived, and not a moment too soon for him. Washington D.C. was a big city, but Arthur didn't care, he would take them all down to get to Luthor.
He had taken 10 steps before a dark shadow fell in front of him.
"Don't do this, Arthur," Batman warned. "Luthor's not the man we want,"
"One side, Batman!" Aquaman shouted. "It's time I put an end to this madness!"
"I couldn't agree with you more," Batman agreed. His arm whipped out and sent a batarang crashing into the Sea King's skull.
Aquaman let out a laugh. "You think that a batarang will put me down?" he joked.
"No," Batman answered as he was suddenly next to Arthur. He slammed his fist into Orin's chin. "I was distracting you,"
"What's the meaning of this, fool? Why are you preventing me from revealing the truth?" Aquaman screamed as he responded with a few directs hits of his own.
"Because you're not yourself, your being emotionally-manipulated," Batman explained as he ducked fists. "You are not in control,"
"I'll show you control!" Arthur replied as he shot out his harpoon, ripping across the top of Batman's shoulder. With the Bat off-guard, he nailed the Dark Knight in the face with a well-placed kick.
Batman fell to the ground, the odds definitely not in his favor. He struggled to regain his footing as Aquaman closed in on his quarry.
"I've been waiting for this for a long time…" he started as he raised his harpoon blade.
"What was that?" Thompson demanded as he looked up from his tinkering with the satellite controls. "Williams, Blake, go check it out," he said.
Damn. Green Lantern thought as he watched the two troopers disappear into the Watchtower halls where they would be met by nothing. The construct clatter idea sucked. But maybe I can sneak over to them unnoticed. He took one last look at Thompson and Smith and quickly started towards Diana and J'Onn. Halfway there, still not seen. Who says I can't be quiet?
He was only 6 steps away when the floor creaked. And before he could turn his head he had two guns with huge barrels aimed at his head.
"Can we talk?" Kyle asked as he grinned sheepishly.
NEXT ISSUE: The conclusion! The troopers vs. Green Lantern! Flash vs. this issue's mysterious new villain! Batman vs. Aquaman! Will the team be able to pull it together, or are there even more dark days ahead?