Flash tried to pick himself up out of the subway rubble, only to have another fist send him flying into yet another wall.
"You're vaunted speed won't help you win this fight punk," the figure growled from across the tunnel. "This will be your last day breathing,"
"If I had a nickel for every costumed freak who's said that," Flash began as he finally regained himself and attacked his attacker. "I wouldn't be wearing my costume!" He landed a sharp right to the side of the villain's head.
The mystery man staggered back wards and held his head. "You do pack a bit of a punch little man, but that's not going to stop Rex from doing his job!" The beastly man launched himself at Flash, which the Scarlet Speedster barely vibrated through in time.
"Rex? Times like this I wish Plas or Lantern was here…" he joked before speeding out the way of the meta human train again. "Where do you get off with that name?"
"Right here!" Rex responded as he caught Flash slightly this time, but it was enough for a cracking sound to be heard as Flash lost his footing and hit what concrete that was left.
Wally slowly tested his ribs and inhaled sharply. Just my luck, cracked. And this isn't gonna get any easier.
"Anything but easy!" Rex hollered as he dropped two fists unto the downed hero. "Cause you will not survive this encounter!"
Green Lantern slowly backed away from the two cannons held by Thompson and Smith, thoughts racing through his head. "You both know I possess the most powerful weapon on the planet don't you?" he asked.
"We don't care," Thompson muttered. "Times up for you Leaguer," He fired his weapon at point blank range.
Kyle had just enough time to construct a shield, sending the blast through the Watchtower's higher floors. He reached out and grabbed Smith by his shirt, flinging him against the far wall. "How you like these odds Thompson? One on one?" He approached the trooper leader menacingly.
Another blast rang out from the corridors, Lantern had forgotten about the other two troops he had distracted. "I got him boss, I did good!" Blake exclaimed.
"Quiet fool, we must prepare for the broadcast. Isn't that right Superman?" Thompson smirked.
Kal-El could only look at him, angered past words.
"J'Onn what do we do?" Diana asked. "Kyle was are only hope with the rest of the team split up,"
"Do not fear Princess," Manhunter soothed her. "We will win the war, even though we do not appear to be winning the battle. I just hope it is soon for Metropolis' sake,"
"Dammit Arthur, listen to me!" Batman screamed as he finally managed to kick Aquaman and his harpoon blade away from his neck. "You're not yourself, the fight with Servo triggered your raw, untamed emotions, and it's having even more of a dire effect due to your Atlantean anatomy. You have to fight this!"
Aquaman was crouching a few feet away. "You're lying Batman, you just want to kill Lex yourself!" He charged the Dark Knight again, with hatred boiling in his eyes.
Batman quickly drew another batarang and jammed it into the prongs of the Sea Kings harpoon, launching him into the air and onto his back. Before Aquaman could respond, the Batman pounced and placed two fists across his face. "If I have to beat you back to your senses I will!" He stood and saw that Arthur wasn't moving. "Arthur?"
Suddenly, Arthur's harpoon was in his side.
"Surprise, surprise," Arthur smirked.
Flash was helplessly thrown into another pile of rocks and tile and before he could catch his breath, Rex delivered another blow that sent him for a loop.
No matter what I try against this guy, he's right on top of me. What good is speed…
"If it's costing you in the end?" Rex finished. He raised his fists again to pound the Fastest Man Alive.
Flash rolled away at the last instant and scrambled to his feet. "You know, I really wish you would get out of my head!" he screamed as he landed a punch across Rex's jaw. He followed that with a knee to the midsection, which put a little space between him and his Herculean opponent. He winced in pain when his ribs reminded him he was injured. "What's your game anyway? I thought Lex gave up on his metahuman clone scheme,"
Rex chuckled as he could see the obvious damage he had done to the Flash. "You're right about the clone thing Flash," he began. He moved in on the hero once again. "But I don't work for Luthor,"
Flash braced himself for another punch, but instead of met by a large pulse blast from Rex's hands. He had just enough time to twist out of fatal danger, but the blast still sent him reeling again. No, no, no. This is way too familiar. This reminds me of what Supes went through when he fought Doomsday for the first time. Except I don't know if I can put this guy down! His lip was busted open now and several tears were in his outfit.
"You're exactly right hero," Rex agreed as he charged his prey again. "You can't put me down. Too bad I don't have the same problem!" He raised his fist again, and Flash had back himself into a corner.
No time to vibrate through! Just when a guy could use some-"Mercy?!"
Rex was no longer charging Flash; his attention had been turned to the battle's newest participant, Mercy.
"You dare think you can challenge me woman?" Rex growled as he held his back from Mercy's kick from behind. "Haven't you seen what I've done to him?
"The last thing I'm here to do is protect a Leaguer fiend," Mercy smirked from across the tunnel. "I plan on killing him, once I've killed you, you filthy traitor!"
"Why do I get the feeling things just got worse?" Flash asked himself.
"Attention all people of Metropolis," Thompson's voice blared across the airwaves, interrupting all Metropolis broadcasts. "We are giving you fair warning. We have planted a bomb in a remote location in your fair city, as per orders from my superiors. You have 1 hour to evacuate the city before it resembles a Gotham of a while back! Good luck…" he chuckled as he cut the transmission.
"You bastard!" Superman screamed as he was pushing his bonds to the limit now. "I won't let you get away with this!"
"I'm afraid you will Boyscout, cause the kryptonite we tied to you while you were out says you aren't going anywhere," Thompson responded as he shoved Superman down by his face. "All you can do is watch,"
"How much longer do you think this will go Thompson?" Williams asked after he took off his helmet.
"What are you doing?! Put your helmet on!" Thompson screamed.
"Huh? What are you…" Williams began. Then he fell silent. He looked at Thompson, who's mouth fell open. He looked to Superman, who was boiling with rage. He then heaved his helmet at Thompson.
"Have you lost your mind boy?" Thompson laughed as he batted away the helmet. Before he could react though, Williams had just upper cutted his chin, sending him a few feet away and helmet-less into the control panels.
Williams raced over to Superman and quickly freeing him and helping him to his feet.
"Thank you," the Man of Steel began, but just as quickly Williams fell to the floor unconscious.
"Superman, your assistance over here would be very appreciated!" Manhunter's voice boomed from across the room.
"On my way!" Superman replied but was met with Blake and Smith. Superman grinned and cracked his knuckles. "Let's see if I remember how to do this…"
Thompson on the other hand was finally regaining his senses. Damn boyscout, he's already taken out my last 2 men! I have to stop him from freeing the other Leaguers! He launched to his feet and started chasing down the kryptonite-affected speed of Superman. "I don't…" he began, but was cut off when a blow came from below sending him back down.
"And I don't think you're going anywhere either chump," Green Lantern growled from a few feet away. "You should've taken care of me when you had the chance!"
Thompson ducked the first punch, but Kyle landed pinpoint hits with his second and third, dazing the now vulnerable head of the trooper leader.
"This is why you finish the job Thompson!" Lantern yelled as he was about to deliver the knockout blow.
Just then, Flash, Rex and Mercy transported into the middle of the room.
"Hi guys," Flash quipped. "What did I miss?"
"Come on Batman, get up!" Aquaman screamed. "Get up and fight!" he added as he kicked the Bat in the side of his wound.
Have to find someway to get through to him, there's no way for me to find Metropolis' bomb in time without him! Batman pondered as he took more punishment. "Arthur. Arthur. Arthur. Odin!" Batman finally yelled.
Aquaman stopped and glared hard at Batman. "You dare call me by kingly name?!"
"Listen to me!" Batman screamed again. "There's a bomb in Metropolis, and it's going to kill a lot of innocent people. All I know is the bomb is underwater somewhere in Metropolis. You have the best chance of finding it," he stated.
"No, I don't care who dies as long as Luthor goes with them," Arthur replied.
"No!" Batman exclaimed. "That is not you. You care about life, no matter whose it is, and you will do anything to preserve it!"
"But…" Aquaman stuttered.
"But nothing! Anyone of your close friends could be in Metropolis now, Tempest or what about other members of the JLX? Or how about Robin or Impulse or Superboy, Cassie, or even Aquaboy? How would you feel then?" he demanded.
Aquaman had no answer. Instead he stepped away from Batman and screamed. He looked to be in tremendous pain as his screams were dripping with agony. The Batman tried to approach him but couldn't get within a foot of him. But with one last yell of torture, he fell to his knees, breathing heavily.
"Aquaman?" Batman asked as he slowly approached. "Are you okay?"
"Y-Yeah. It's me, as well as I'll ever be anyway," Arthur replied as he took Batman's outstretched hand and rose to his feet. "Looks like I cut you a nasty one there," he commented when he saw Batman's side.
"I've had worse," Batman said coldly. "Now we have 45 minutes to get to Metropolis, the Plane is over here,"
"You know what Mercy I just want to thank you," Wonder Woman said as he she ducked Mercy's other leg.
"For what?" Mercy replied incredulously.
"For giving us another chance to rearrange!" she shouted as she caught Mercy by the ankle and sent her into a nearby wall.
Superman and Manhunter on the other hand had the "fun" task of putting down Rex. "You think your silly little eyebeams will hurt me Manhunter?" Rex snickered as slammed his elbow into J'Onn's exposed gut, knocking him of the fight momentarily.
"If you don't like those, try these on for size!" Superman yelled from behind the clone. Just as Rex turned, he was met by a full-on heat vision blast, which sent him reeling. Superman landed and watched as Manhunter caught Rex with some blows as he tried to regain his footing.
"Now boys, you know I didn't mean anything I did to you. Let's be friends?" Thompson pleaded. He was being backed against the wall.
Now Thompson…" Flash began.
"You know damn well…" Kyle continued.
"You're about…" Flash followed.
"To get your ass kicked!" Lantern finished. Before Thompson could respond, Flash sent a right into his nose, Kyle nailed him in the gut with his left, Flash kneed the leader in the chest causing him to raise off the floor a bit, and Kyle used his right to smash across his head, sending him down and out.
"We have way too much time on our hands," Wally decided while holding his delicate ribs.
Two seconds later he was pushing Green Lantern out of the way.
"What in the…" Kyle said angry.
"Chill, Supes and J'Onn just blasted through here with Rex at super speed. I saved you," Flash replied.
"So you think I didn't see that? I was gonna move!"
"Enough you two," Diana scolded from above. "Let's help the other immobilize Rex,"
"What about the bomb?" Flash asked.
"I have a feeling we have two trustworthy members on it…"
"Look I know this may sound corny, but I have to say it. "Where do you get all these wonderful toys?" Aquaman asked as he marveled at the Batplane's ability to turn into the Batsub.
The Batman did not reply as he navigated the Metropolis waters. "Have you picked up any sea life?"
"A little and it's very spread out," the Sea King replied. "And they're apt to run at the slightest rumbling of water,"
"Then let's get to swimming Swimmer," Batman concluded as he slipped on some scuba gear. "We only have 30 minutes,"
The two left the Sub and began to swim the clean bodies of water of Metropolis.
"It's too quiet down here, even for city water," Aquaman said. "There's no sign of life in the center but lots towards the outer bank edges, like it's been pushed away," he added.
"That's it!" Batman exclaimed. "Have we passed the point with the most outermost life?"
"Felt like a quarter mile back…" Arthur realized.
"22 minutes, and once we hit it, yell dig," Batman ordered as he and Aquaman turned around.
Superman and Flash were drug through most of their delicate machinery before Rex finally released them both to close encounters with the wall. Only Manhunter and Diana remained.
"Come," Rex taunted. "Come meet the same fate as your friends," he boasted.
Manhunter took the invitation and launched himself into Rex's midsection, catching his foe off guard. He followed with a left to the jaw, which was merely glancing thanks to Rex's quick reflexes.
"Looks like you got lucky with that one Leaguer," Rex grunted as he rubbed his chin. "There won't be a next time,"
J'Onn said nothing but swooped in with his fists swinging. Rex easily evaded all the brows and began laughing.
"What are you laughing at?!" Manhunter screamed, very out of character for him.
"This," Rex responded as he unleashed two arm blasts at Manhunter's midsection. J'Onn rolled the best he could, but still took the brunt of the blast, sending him down to the concrete.
"I've had enough of you," Wonder Woman sighed from above the villain.
Rex almost began laughing again. "Don't you get it girl? Haven't you seen what I've done to your friends? You really want to continue this?" Now he began laughing.
"Yes." Diana responded.
"What ever you…" Rex started.
Wonder Woman swung a huge piece of crumpled machinery into the wide-open metaclone, sending him into the ground, unconscious. She quickly reached him and wrapped her lasso around him just to be on the safe side. She then dragged a now awake and tied Mercy from solitude and placed her next to Rex.
"One more for the trash pile," Flash added as he dropped a construct wrapped Thompson on top of the other two.
"We got to get to Metropolis!" Superman remembered. We only have 12 minutes!"
"You're right," said a groggy Manhunter. "Let's go,"
The five were rushing for the exit when the television blared to life.
"People of Metropolis. This is Aquaman. Batman and I have just defused the bomb planted by the troopers. The city is now safe. We also have apprehended the perpetrators, they will be delivered into custody in Washington D.C. within the hour," he finished and the television signal returned to regular programming.
"Looks like we have a rendezvous in D.C. team," Flash announced.
"Let's not be late then," Wonder Woman suggested.
"You all served your purpose very well you three," Thomas Jacobs chuckled to himself from his European loft. "You have succeeded where many have failed. You have broken up the JLA's trust. They were so busy worrying about the public's trust, they let theirs go to hell, intentional or not. Too bad Mercy will be bailed out within the hour she entered. Rex and Thompson will go under the knife because of this, but that just saves me that mush cash in not paying either of you. Now I must watch to see how Lex and Desmond move," he finished.
He suddenly snapped up, like he reawakened. He looked down at the tape recorder in his hand. He pressed the stop button and tucked the recorder into his pocket. He then rose and left the room.
Washington D.C. The U.S. Mint.
"I really don't see what the problem is! We saved the day in the end, now let it go!" Flash pleaded.
"No I'm not Flash!" Aquaman replied. "I want to know if this is still a team or not. Let's get back to the basics. Do all of you still feel willing to die in the name of justice?
The remaining six nodded.
"Are we or are we not a team?" Arthur demanded.
"Dammit! Tell me you're still willing to die for your teammate if that be the option you feel necessary to fight for justice!" he shouted.
"Then I guess we aren't a team…" the Sea King concluded.
"I am," Batman suddenly spoke up. Shocked looks crossed all the other Leaguers faces.
"I am too," Flash chipped in.
"I am," Superman agreed.
"As am I," J'Onn said.
"I as well," Wonder Woman continued.
All eyes fell to Kyle.
"Okay, okay. Me too," he added.
"Then it's settled. We're a team, not a group of schoolgirls," Aquaman said.
The JLA nodded in agreement.
"But I still don't trust Batman," Green Lantern grumbled.
"What?!" Batman asked angrily.