DC One Million: "End Times" #1

Written by Shadowstar, Edited by Marvelite
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

Characters are the properties of DC Comics

DC One Million:


(*ORACLE FACT-FILE: DC One Million and all characters within were created by Grant Morrison during his run on the JLA title and all are copyright to DC Comics © and are used in this story without profit, but totally for fun!)


The year 85,273 AD:

The two moons glimmer in the dusty pale orange sky, illuminated on the horizon by a bright golden ball of light, falling and fading into the night. It is more comforting for him to see the universe in such a way, as if he where in the center. In such perfect, scientific, factual times it would seem to be a unique perspective, one that would have died hundreds of centuries ago.

He is nearly brought to his knees when a dry cough erupts from his lungs, almost pushing him off his tired, weary legs. His arms pull on his staff planted deep in the sandy ground. There is no escaping the sand, not here. It's the only sight for miles around, it fills the air he breathes and were he to leave this world he would still be brushing sand from places he never knew. His fingers become caught in his knotty white hair as he brushes it from his eyes. Looking back along the treacherous path he walks he can see a thin trail left by his staff as he dragged it along the dirt, totally undisturbed by the still winds.

For the first time in what would seem to be an eternity (17,085 years, 11 months, 24 days, 05 cycles, 52 minutes and 05.22 seconds to be exact) he smiles, knowing in his heart that soon he will be able to make his wish come true. Anxiously he continues, ever eager to complete his journey, stumbling through the endless desert toward his goal.

How long was he there? In such an age where facts and figures rule, where information was far more precious than gold in his own time, where the elimination of such basic sin had gone on to form a utopian society he is lost. He knows not the ways of the new age, nor does he need to. He knows very well that he does not belong.

Guessing, he would say that he has walked for 40 days and nights (39 days, 17 cycles, 18 minutes and 35.73 seconds at an average speed of 2.037 km per cycle) only a few times stopping, not to eat or drink, not to rest, but to regain his bearings. Definitely a rather rough estimation, but what is to be expected of a man whose philosophy is lost in ancient history?

Once upon a time he was afraid to die, though not for the same reasons as others may. The unknown did not for a moment in his long life frighten him. No, he feared death because he knew for certain that he would go to Hell. He's committed sins beyond forgiveness, beyond absolution. Desperate to free himself from death's touch he unleashed an ancient evil, who as punishment for his resurrection made him an immortal then cursing him to listen to the torment of the spirits for all of time.

No longer does he fear, no longer does he feel pain. All that remains is a mad craving which has driven him here, to the world of Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz* to make a single wish.

(*ORACLE FACT-FILE: In the 330th Century Darkseid the Destroyer attempted to turn the planet Mars into New Apokolips, but was met with resistance from the Martian Manhunter. In the battle, both were lost within the Source, and J'onn J'onzz was reborn as the spirit of the planet Mars. It wasn't until the 853rd Century, during the Justice Legion A time switch with the 20th Century JLA did the Martian spirit make himself known for the purpose of defeating Solaris.)

His body races, fumbling a great many times at the sight of a thin line in the sand a distance ahead. This is it, the beginning of the end. Again he makes a foolish guess, calculating the details of his accomplishment. He looks to his left along the path in the sand, then the path in the other direction. The full circle is complete, a circle his primitive mind understands to be roughly 400 miles wide (being a rough circle it is calculated to have a mean radius of 326.451 km and a circumference of 2038.672 km).

What joys overwhelm him, conquering the crushing madness weighing down his heart then spilling from his mouth in the form of maniacal laughter. His cackle is not as powerful or as intimidating as it was in his youth, perhaps it had something to do with the vow of silence he had taken for the last 12,722 years, 8 months, 17 days, 02 cycles, 25 minutes and 07.53 seconds.

Then again, who can really say?

He scoffs and dismisses this pointless train of thought obviously the result of having mind and soul broken countless times over many millennia. With a newfound focus he turns and begins to trek once more, this time into the heart of the great circle towards the city of Z'arnn. Without any thought words foreign even to his own lips mutter from his mouth spilling out into reality falling on silent ears. He does not dare look back to see the bright lances break from the circle and into the stars, he has seen it all before and this time is certain that the end is nigh.

His name was Felix, but now it is simply Faust, and he has a wish. He wishes to die, even if it means taking all life in the universe with him . . .

(Hey there! I'm Oracle, one of the many sentient computer systems scattered across Sol System in the 853rd Century. For those of you who don't know of this place, it's the future of the DC Universe one million months after the first appearance of Kal-El, the original Superman in the 20th Century.)

(This future, unlike so many others, is a utopia and all the planets revolving around the great super-sun are protected by a hero shaped after one of the legends during Superman's age of heroes. Even though it's a paradise, it's still far from perfect, and evil still lurks just around the corner. I'll be your guide as you take a trip to the far future and hear a tale of the Justice Legion A.)


"In the beginning . . ."

Justice Legion A Roll Call:  
Superman Prime = Superman Dynasty = Batman = The Flash
Aquaman = Wonder Woman = Owlwoman = The Atom

The planet Neptune in the 853rd Century, like many other worlds in Sol System has been terra-formed in order to support life and the ever-expanding human race as well as preserve species required to live in a special environment. The outer world of Neptune over time has been converted into a veritable ocean, with scarce any solid land excepting the core of the planet.

The rays of the almighty Super-Sun twinkle upon the waves under the pale blue sky with only a few light wisps of cloud floating over the horizon. The smell of sea salts heavily perfumes the cold, still winds of this world. Above the surface it is amazingly peaceful, without a single sound and only rarely disturbed by the tourists from across the cosmos, which flock to Neptune in order to relax.

Though it's true beauty lies beneath the waves, where the beams of light dance about refracted by the moving water above. All around are strange new life forms, each and every one from a separate part of the universe. They range from large to small, in every color of the rainbow and live at all levels right down to the depths of the heavy ocean trenches.

This is a world of peace and harmony, though maintaining it is no simple task. That's why Neptune needs him - the hero named Aquaman.

Based off the legendary hero of the 20th Century, the current Aquaman possesses liquid-based powers and the ability to breath underwater, bestowed upon him by 853rd Century genetic tampering technologies when he took on his role as oceanic protector. With only the force of his will he can influence water particles, allowing him to refract light, generate massive heat or freeze objects with a thought.

He stands tall and proud with wide shoulders and bulging muscles built up over time living under the deep pressure of the ocean floor. His skin is covered in green scales, making him look more like one of the aquatic creatures more than he does a man. His hair is bright blue, in truth water flowing from him made to look like flowing locks.

He doesn't have much for a costume - only a few plates of armor and the various tatters he has to cover up his shame. It's rather simple, but it's all he needs living amongst the sea creatures. Attached to the chain wrapped around his forearm is a might anchor, Aquaman's weapon of choice.

Then, upon his brow, rests his mark - a three-point trident in tribute to the 20th Century Atlantean king.

However, on this particular day he is rather a bit distracted. His mind isn't as focused on his surroundings or any unusual goings on which may require his immediate attention. Instead he is lost in a line of thought following his lover and co-adventurer - a sea nymph named Tempest. It was only days ago he proposed marriage to her. She said yes, but since then has disappeared.

He needs her here and now, just to know that she's safe. This is the woman he forever wants to be connected to, and she has left him without a word. So he searches high and low, far and wide.

His chest tightens in pain, causing him to cringe and nearly stop. Though he ignores it. His search is far more important, so he passes it off as no more than a cramp. It will pass, so he thinks he should just remain strong and ignore it.

Where could she have gone? The question beats at the corners of his mind, taking more and more of his attention away from his mission. His desperation grows with each waking moment as he scours the ocean beds, the rifts and the tides to find her. He begins to think this is a mystery not even the Batman could solve.

Well, maybe . . .

So lost was he in thought that he almost didn't notice the water swish behind him. He turns to see nothing. His ears are piqued for any noises from around. He can hear a strange hissing, but knows not from which direction it comes. He loosens his chains and swings his anchor a little preparing for a confrontation.

His body moves only moments before the savage snap of a beast's jaw, and without a second thought he kicks, propelling himself through the water. A second snap and he barely manages to avert as another creature attacks. He dives, looking up to see the two silver-black serpents spiraling down after him. Their red eyes glow with fury and their razor teeth hungry for blood.

On any other occasion Aquaman would try to neutralize them without any harm. That is, if they were a species native to these waters. Though these he has never seen before, and if they were an introduced species surely the Neptunian Government would have told him about them.

He can see all the hatred, anger and fury in the serpent's eyes as it opens its jaw and lunges toward him. It's not until now he realized it's size and that it could easily swallow him in a single gulp, if he were to allow that to happen. His body twists and rides the rift caused by it's passing, at the same time hurling his anchor downward and into the beast's flesh. He feels a snag, and kicks with all his strength tearing open a gaping hole in the serpent's back. It cries out as blood pours from the wound, tainting the surrounding ocean's color.

In nearly the same moment as his narrow escape the second curls inwards surrounding the hero with his scaly coils. Here he is, entangled within the serpent's grasp, with nowhere to run as the monster snaps its jaws, anticipating Aquaman as its appetizer. Instead Aquaman stares down with a frown, which, in an unspoken looks says, "I don't have time for this." He throws out his arm and opens his hand, leaving the attacking serpent to collide with a boiling wall of heat. It screeches in agony, and writhes about the ocean unsure of where to turn.

Aquaman watches the two serpents attacking one another, both wanting the other dead so that they might feed. They definitely do not belong on Neptune. Aquaman extends his hand, opening his palm and concentrating on the space around the creatures. Even he can feel the water chill as the particles around them solidify, thus freezing the two ocean snakes.  

Their bodies fall to the ocean floor, landing hard with a cloud of sand rising up. He manages to look through the dirty water and to his recent defeats. He reaches out to the neck of one, wiping off the thin layer of ice formed over it. On it there is some sort of marking, alien to even his comprehension.

These snakes are tagged. These snakes belong to an outside force.

He grabs his ribs for a moment, his body submitting to the force of the current. What is this pain he feels? His ribs ache, constricting until they make breathing more difficult. The pain flares and pulsates, almost as if they're . . . burning.

Though he just ignores it and continues to push forward in search of the mysterious invaders. He outstretches his arms and glides down gracefully. He slows to a paddle and scans the surrounding area for anything unusual. There - he sees it.

Sitting before him is a giant, sleek, silver craft with a bird-like shape. It hovers above the ocean floor with its wings outstretched. A pair of blinking lights sit on their tips calling out to the creatures to come and see.

"How much more obvious can you get?" muses Aquaman swimming around and examining the craft.

He dives for the sand and swims under the cool shadow cast by the alien vessel. It must have an extremely powerful structure - even a Kryptonian vessel would be crushed at this depth. He searches, and brushes his finger along the bottom of the hull. It ripples to the slightest touch, as if it too were like the liquid around.

Aquaman thinks for a moment, and composes himself. In an instant he shoots up from the ocean floor and through the semi-solidified hull. The next thing he knows, he is inside a transparent tank with a number of ocean creatures anxious to escape.

An Equinox Whale, a Pulsating Globefish, a Vuldarian Urchin, and many more - they've all been captured when they should be in the wilds of the Neptunian ocean. Aquaman fumes, swearing that he will free them some way or another and swims to the top of the tank.

He leaps over and into the cold, metallic hallways where each of the walls replaced with a window into the animal confines. He races through them, only stopping for a few moments to catalogue what the invaders have trapped. He is dazzled with horror by the extent of their captures. It's as if there are two of each kind of creature on board - a veritable Noah's Ark from the farthest reaches of the cosmos.

"Stop, or we'll shoot," commands a battle-droid in an incomprehensible tongue. It is followed by five other droids, each sharing the uniform height, width and general size, as well as matching ion-cannons attached to the ends of their arms. Their helmets are simply smooth domes placed upon their shoulders, with red orbs in the center acting as an eye.

They extend their arms in unison before Aquaman could react, and with an echoed whir winding from their weapons they fire in the hero's direction. Just as quickly, Aquaman counters it, forming a cloud of vapor in the air that refracts the beams fired toward him and back at the droids.

Though they were knocked back a little, they return to their attack completely unscathed. Aquaman begins to swing about his anchor with an intimidating stance, which almost begs for them to even try to fight him.

"Damn," he moans, doubling over. "Not now!" The pain he's ignored for so long has decided to strike again, right when he's been forced into a life and death situation. He rolls about on the floor with beads of sweat rolling off his constricted face.

The six droids surround him, leaving him no room to escape. Aquaman pants, then reaches for his anchor, swinging it about and tearing open the armor of two of the droids in the same moment. The other four don't hesitate in shooting, but Aquaman manages to roll out of their lines of fire.

They sprint after him, easily gaining distance, as the best the Neptunian protector can do is stumble about. One lunges for him, but Aquaman grabs his arm and twists it about allowing the droid to take the shower of energy beams for him whilst also firing a shot back at another droid, in turn destroying it.

"Four down, two to go," he coughs, dropping the droid with a heavy clunk.

The last two attempt to trap him on either side, though Aquaman stumbles about trying to keep them both in his line of sight. The droids stop. Their heads wind on their shoulders so that they are facing each other. They blip and click, exchanging information and strategizing. Their heads wind back to face Aquaman and the first charges.

Aquaman takes a deep, calming breathe and grabs the droid, twisting its arm and focusing its blaster on its chest. At least now he has some time. He struggles as the automaton shifts its gears, fighting to break free with mechanical strength. Suddenly, its legs are in motion and it throws itself back with Aquaman still gripping on tight, pinning him against a wall.

The second droid holds up its blaster preparing to fire. The sound of a charge whirs up to an even higher frequency than before. "Damn it," curses Aquaman to the droid holding him down. "You just had to turn kamikaze on me!"

The blast explodes into the hall wider and far more powerful than before. This blast is going to annihilate the two of them. That is, if he doesn't escape in time. Aquaman grabs his anchor and swings it to the droids head, destroying its red eye and giving him leverage to slide out at the very last second.

A small explosion sends shards of twisted metal, gears and silicon parts flying about mingled with fire. Aquaman pulls himself to his knees. Damn, he landed too hard. The pain he's been ignoring for so long is gradually getting worse and worse. Though that does not matter as the last remaining droid stands over him, preparing to take out Aquaman - execution style.

"This time I will not miss,"  it bleeps coldly in gibberish.

He just grunts and stares up to the droid with a look daring it to fire. "You know, I have the ability to manipulate water particles," smiles Aquaman in morbid humor. "I can form them from the air, refract light and energy, even control it's temperature - which means on a human body I could freeze or flash-fry somebody on a whim."

The machine does not move, rather its eye just shifts about as it records the hero's dying words.

"If you were to check I wouldn't doubt that somewhere right now you're having a system's error. It's not just any glitch it's a hardware problem, because right now I've formed a thick cloud of water vapor inside you." Aquaman laughs. "In fact, I've flooded your system and would say you're already out of commission . . ."

He brings himself to his feet and the android doesn't move. He places a single finger on its helmet and pushes it down to the ground. "So why am I still talking to you?"

Past the tanks, to the far end of the corridors is a chamber, which is most probably the ship's main cabin. Aquaman begins to march toward it, though does so as slow as he can so that he can fully psyche himself . . . and hopefully put this damned pain out of his mind!

The doors slide open, revealing the bridge of the craft with a giant glass dome resting above the consoles and a number of tall, featureless, genderless, humanoid beings with large black eyes - better known to the cosmos as the 'Grays'.  

They are collectors in nature, scaling the universe for artifacts and creatures of various species for their own advancement. Though to most they are considered butchers. They have a reputation for playing 'Frankenstein' (to use an ancient term) on their catch, by taking them apart and applying the creature’s features to themselves in distorted steps toward 'perfection'.

It hasn't been confirmed, but they may very well be the immortal offspring of either the Guardians of the Galaxy or the Controllers as well as their female counterparts, the Zamaronians.

"The hero named Aquaman has arrived," one states flatly, like the rest not turning away from his station.

"You . . . speak English?" Aquaman is truly perplexed.

"Yes," another replies simply.

"Well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave this planet," starts Aquaman sternly. "Without your new cargo."

"No," they all reply simply in unison. They all turn and outstretch their hands and with a thought a rift in reality flows out, knocking Aquaman back. They look at him, and the pain in his chest flares up even greater than before to such new extents that he, even for a millisecond, wishes for death.

He forces himself out the door as the psychic beings stalk behind him in a uniformity similar to that of the androids he went to so much trouble to defeat before. Aquaman, hurting, frustrated, and possibly even dying, grows all the more desperate and with one foul swing of his anchor strikes at the control panel, causing the bridge doors to close off and seal the Grays within.

Aquaman searches throughout the ship for some way to escape, yet at the same time to defeat his far more powerful opponents. He checks the porthole in the door and already they have nearly fixed the controls. "Damn," he swears, trying to focus beyond his pain and desperation and formulate a plan.

Then, he has it. He brings himself to his feet and launches his body back down the corridor swiping at the clear windows into the animal cages. If all goes to plan, at this depth the water pressure will be so great that the cabin would be permanently sealed and the Grays would have no way of escape.

Water flows out from the shattered glass, filling the halls from top to bottom. The immense pressure nearly crushes Aquaman, but again he ignores it - he's not going anywhere until he's found Tempest. The animals panic and swim by and around, despite his efforts to calm them.

"This is Aquaman calling the Oceanic Patrol," he speaks through his Headnet* and swimming out of the craft. "We're going to need a pair of clean-up crews and a detainment units in sector Q47536200Z - one in the trenches one on the surface. You'll know it when you see it."

(*ORACLE FACT-FILE: The Headnet is a unit attached to the brain of all sentient, intelligent and organic beings connecting them to the Galactic Macronet - a psychic link between all life forms and computer systems within Sol System. Its usage by the general public is quite common, though beings with a higher psychic rapport do not need a Headnet to connect to the Galactic Macronet.)

Swimming outside he peers into the dome of the bridge atop of the alien ship. The Grays stare out at him, though don't attack. The same dome which protects them from outside invasion also protects Aquaman from their psychic attacks, and with them trapped inside by hundred of tons of water they are caught in a Checkmate position.

Suddenly, he's light-headed and drifts only for a moment before shaking himself back into the real world. If he's going to find Tempest, he's going to have to see a physician first so that he may have the strength to continue his quest.

He swings his anchor about, then casting it over the 'neck' of the bird-shaped craft. The chains wrapped around his arm wind away pulled along loosely by the anchor until it crashes on the other side. Aquaman reclaims his choice weapon and snags it to the chain. He dives down, and bounds off the ocean floor with super-human strength, then dragging the entire ship to the surface of Neptune.

The water shifts through lighter shades of blue as Aquaman races towards the light of the surface, battling the mighty currents and dragging a massive vessel behind him. He reaches the surface, almost flying up to breath in the oxygen in Neptune's atmosphere. Behind him the Gray's craft follows, crashing on the waves with a heavy splash, causing the ocean to ripple for some distance and scaring away the sea life.

With great speed the Ocean Patrol arrive with a number of their units hovering idly over the water and scattered around the Gray's ship. A number of blue-black armor-clad officers step out, a number of them marching to the alien craft and storming it with full force, the other's attending to the beaten but not broken Neptunian protector.

"Are you okay, fish-head?" jokes the leader. He knows Aquaman's a tough guy, and will probably be back on his feet soon enough.

"I need . . . a doctor . . . " he chokes holding his ribs. His eyes bulge out as if they are going to explode from his head.

"Quick! Get a med-unit here!" the patrol leader screams out in panic. Aquaman rolls about on the roof of the patrol unit, signaling for those who rush to his side to keep away. "Oh my God . . . "

Aquaman's wet scaly green flesh quickly dries up to the point where it is peeling and turning brown. This hair too dries up, no longer flowing water, but instead turns into a red translucent matter generating vast amounts of heat. He screams and rolls about in agony, living Hell before the eyes of the horrified patrol.

Some unknown force has set Aquaman on fire!

Reality tears open with an almighty roar as the gate of a Boom Tube appears within the golden force dome of the Justice Legion A Headquarters in the heart of the planet Jupiter. From the end of the tunnel a tall, majestic shadow approaches, eventually coming to light as a proud man, jet black hair and clear blue eyes, garbed in a tight synthetic garment of royal blue with traces of crimson and a blood red cape flowing behind him. Upon his chest sits a strange symbol comprised of three golden round shapes which had evolved after countless years from the legendary 'S' logo it was in times of it's origin.

He is Dynasty, the Superman of the 853rd Century, the latest hero born from the house of El, empowered by the blessings of Superman Prime in the 707th Century. He was born to be a leader and was later accepted as head of the illustrious Superman Squad, a collection of Supermen from all over the timestream, and more recently, the Justice Legion A. "Atom. How's Aquaman holding up?"

At one end of the room sits a transparent cylindrical tank, resting within it is Aquaman, bald as the day he was born and a great amount of his skin flaking away within the chemical bath. He floats silently, oblivious to the trauma he has experienced.

From beneath thousands of micro-men swirl in a tornado fashion coming together into one larger form in a brilliant flash of light. He is garbed from head to toe in red and blue costume made of a similar substance to that of the Man of Steel, every shred of his identity masked from sight. "I've placed him in treatment under the Purple Ray* which seems to have healed most of the burns and placed him within a pool of idle chemicals to prevent him from igniting once more. I'm sad to say that he's going to be out of action for a great while."

(*ORACLE FACT-FILE: The Purple Ray is a device of Amazonian origins, which is capable of healing any wound, or even reviving the recent dead. Wonder Woman made special arrangements that one be issued to the Justice Legion A.)

"What actually happened to him?" asks Superman staring at his comrade seriously.

"It's so amazingly complex," mumbles the Atom gliding over his figures. "From what I can tell source of his combustion originates on a molecular level when a series of hydrocarbon molecules combined with the oxygen within the combustible air around. This caused the hydrogen atoms to blend with the oxygen creating water vapor later forming carbon dioxide or possibly monoxide . . ."

". . . Which in any case is exothermic thus giving off more heat than used," interrupts Superman crossing his arms. "I'm no stranger to this science Atom, so you can spare me the lesson. What I'm more concerned about is how it happened."

"This is where it gets difficult," frowns the Atom once again examining the patient. "I'm sure you know the human body gives off on average of over 625 BTU's per cycle. It would be even more so seeing as our friend here is constantly partaking in physical activity."

Superman nods in agreement and also turns his attention to his injured teammate. "I'm aware . . ."

"Much of this heat remains latent and is often only liberated between the surface of an object and oxygen in the form of fire."

"This really does not answer my question," sighs Superman holding back his frustration and impatience.

"I'm sorry, Superman, but I really have no idea," says the Atom typing the holographic keys extended to him from the monitor. "I've even calculated it through the Justice Legion A Strategy Engine from a number of different perspectives and cannot replicate these results without the intervention of magic, sorcery or mystical forces."

"Could it have been caused by the Grays? A Fifth Dimension imp?"

"I seriously doubt it," Atom chuckles covering his worry. "The Grays, although possessing great psychic power in their own right, do not have attack methods of this capacity, and Fifth Dimensional creatures use a combination of science and magic that can at least be traced or pinpointed."

"What about a freak occurrence like Spontaneous Human Combustion?”

"Possibly, but I wouldn't count on it," ponders the Atom, still shuffling through data on the monitor. "The odds on Spontaneous Human Combustion are too high. It has been recorded that victims of an anomaly like this are either overweight, or consume large amounts of alcohol and that approximately eighty percent of them were female. Again, I seriously doubt this is a factor."

"Contact Batman," barks Superman turning and programming the co-ordinates into his portable Boom Tube. "I'd like to see what he makes of all this."

"Batman? You want a 20th Century hero to help?" queries the Atom with a trace of confusion in his voice.

Superman curses and reprograms his Boom Tube. "No, Batman was a member of the Justice Legion A. I think it's safe to assume this mystery force has struck once more, though this time nobody but myself could notice it, due to my Fifth Dimensional heritage*."

(*ORACLE FACT-FILE: The Superman Dynasty gained new powers and immunity to the powers of magic in the 505th Century when the Superman of that era married into the Fifth Dimensional Royal Family to Queen Gzntplkz.)

The Boom Tube roars as it opens a direct portal to the asylum world of Pluto. Without a second word the Man of Steel races through with the New Godly vortex quickly closing behind him.

The brown dirt flies up into the thin atmosphere as a bare foot crashes from the sky and onto the Martian moon of Phobos. The scenery is plain and barren with no discernable life upon it. The sky shimmers in a spectacular show of dancing lights. The light from hundreds of thousands of undiscovered stars has reached Sol System in the 853rd Century, lighting up the night for millions of years to come.

Wonder Woman sighs as her eyes scour over the moon for the man she was called to meet. A still wind blows, giving her a slight chill. She rubs her blue marble arms trying to warm up. Though she is made of stone she is in fact far more alive than most creatures in Sol System, and has been for countless centuries.

Once upon a time her name was Diana, an Amazonian warrior. Though over time her role in the world changed, and she took her place in New Olympus as the goddess of truth. Since then she led the Amazons across the universe with the other gods, until finally her people settled on the planet Venus. Now, in the 853rd Century she has resigned her divinity and taken human form from the famed 'living marble' and then left her new homeworld to spread her message of truth and hope with the Justice Legion A.

She is a statue, a living tribute to the Amazons and the people of her home. She is tall, strong, proud and in the eyes of many a figure of great beauty, carved into the living marble smoothly and without blemish. On her wrists are two gold bracelets shaped from the 'living metal' of the Web Nebula named Charity and Harmony which provide her with a link to the Galactic Macronet as well as being able to generate her vast arsenal.

The rest of her costume is rather simple with only a dark-blue one piece 'swimsuit' covering the more . . . unmentionable (and most wildly fantasized about) parts of her physique, held up by a gold band around her chest just under her neckline and a blood red star shield resting on her shoulder. And on her head is a golden band resting around her forehead with a single red star in it's center - just like the one worn by Wonder Woman Prime in the 20th Century.

At this particular point in time she is a little shaken and nervous. She can take on gods and monsters and remain unfurled, but now of all times she is somewhat tense, and dare it be said . . . inept? But that's just part of her nature. For so long she's been a slave to her position as warrior, ambassador, teacher and goddess, but very rarely has she taken to her role as a woman . . .

Then, there he is - Superman Prime, standing before her in all of his glory.

She is still to this day dumbstruck by his awesome presence. He has meant so much to Sol System, so much more than he will ever know. In the 20th Century he was the last son of the planet Krypton, Kal-El, sent to the Earth upon the destruction of his home and beset with powers far above those of regular mortals. He became one of the first great heroes and humanity's protector, as well as a beloved husband and an award-winning journalist under the guise of Clark Kent.

However, in the late 21st Century he left the Earth in search of his love, Lois Lane, after he watched her grow old and pass on. Though he was gone the legacy of Superman continued in the form of Secondus, who then managed to keep the Superman ideal alive for many, many centuries. But in the 700th Century Kal-El returned to Sol System, freeing the people from the tyranny of the sentient sun, Solaris. He then entered the great Super-Sun where over time he . . . evolved.

It was but a year ago when the Justice Legion A switched places in history with the 20th Century Justice League of America who'd arrived in Sol System to help celebrate his return. Though it all went wrong, and was confronted with an assassination attempt formulated by the immortal Vandal Savage, Solaris and the former Justice Legionnaire Starman. It was only with the help of his 20th Century counterparts that he managed to end Solaris' reign of terror.

It was then he returned to New Krypton*, and was reunited with his resurrected wife**, and his centuries of searching and battling came to an end when his dreams were finally realized.

(*ORACLE FACT-FILE: In the 853rd Century when Superman Prime emerged from the great Super-Sun the Justice Legion A member Hourman went back in time, snatched the people of Krypton from facing Armageddon and placed them in his own home time as part of the celebrations across Sol System.)

(**ORACLE FACT-FILE: In the 20th Century a blood sample from Lois Lane, the wife of Superman Prime was needed to construct the sentient sun who formulated a chronal anomaly resulting in his own creation. When destroyed by collapsing on itself in the 853rd Century at the hand of Green Lantern V the blood sample was acquired and Lois Lane resurrected in time for Superman Prime's return.)

She can only admire him from afar. His gold coat shines under the super-sun in the cold air of Phobos. Like her he looks to be more like a championship trophy than a man - from the famous 'S' symbol on his chest and the wisp of curly hair on his brow. His yellow cape hangs off his wide shoulders heavily, nearly reaching towards the ground.

Wonder Woman smiles in a moment of levity. You couldn't have a Superman without a cape, she muses.

"Hello, Wonder Woman," he addresses her on a strictly business level and totally ignoring the tension between them. "I'm glad you could make it."

"Hello, Superman," she manages to say after some slight coaxing within herself. She gulps, still as nervously as before. Kal-El is a happily married man, so there is no reason to address each other's feelings - especially not when there is work to be done. "Why have we been summoned here?"

"I suspect we shall soon find out," begins Superman Prime, turning his gaze to the world of Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz. "What I do know is that before the broadcast was sent to us through the Headnet, our comrade, J'onn, suddenly . . . 'disappeared' from the reach of the Galactic Macronet."

"So we are to assume the intentions of our enigmatic messenger to be hostile?" She's finally snapped into that familiar battle mode, where her instincts and honed warrior skills are in full force, tempered with great difficulty though rational thought and patience.

"Again, that is difficult to say," ponders the Man of Steel. "All factors surrounding this case as of yet are to be revealed. Everything is still rather secretive."

Wonder Woman closes her eyes, lets in a deep breath, then followed by a hushed sigh. Superman Prime looks back at her. She can feel his eyes on her, and knows he can tell what she's thinking. She is ever so grateful he's not judging her, and that he understands her and her strength in keeping her emotions in check.

"Let's get to work," he says breaking the silence. His knees spring into action, thus launching his body into the stars. "Up, up and away!"

Within just moments and a quick flight between planetoids the two are standing in the barren red deserts of Maleca'andra J'onn J'onzz and inhaling the thick, dusty air of it's atmosphere. It's quiet. Eerily quiet. Not even the sound of the wind blowing can be heard - not even though the super-senses of Superman Prime. All is still, untouched - but there is an aura . . . like nothing even the two 'New God' level beings could describe.

Then there is an echo - not from the cliffs, or from the horizon. No, it's a different sort of echo. It's the resounding screams of a telepath being drawn into another plane of spirituality against its will, still blasting through the Headnet after cycles of being gone. This is not a totally unfamiliar concept to them, neither the spirit of the Martian Manhunter, who knows that an object, even a whole planet, can psychically record key events to be picked up by those with telepathic rapport.

Something is wrong with J'onn. Damn wrong.

"What happened here?" Superman Prime doesn't need to look at the concerned look on Wonder Woman's smooth, marble face - he can hear enough of it in her soft voice.  

He doesn't answer, and remains still with the scenery. Suddenly, a hand shoots from the ground. This hand is made from the very core of Mars, and grabs to Superman Prime's leg with metahuman strength. Then a second, and a third, eventually 493 are pulling him into the ground from where they sprung.

The sounds of the same struggle from Wonder Woman just a ways across from him is all he hears, as he pushes himself to free the two from the Martian soil consuming them both. Though it seems of little use, as the hands are of equal strength to his own. He can see Wonder Woman falter, her body being absorbed into the core of Mars.

His head swims with a bizarre sensation he almost forgot. "Pain?" he gasps as he begins to lose touch with reality. It's been so many generations since he's felt actual physical pain that it now seems entirely foreign to him. The world begins to blur as his inner-strength begins to seep away into oblivion.

Though before he disappears into the void, an odd sight appears. He can he is hallucinating, but he can swear he see the face of his former team-mate J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter's face morph into the cliff wall, desperately mouthing the words 'please help me'.

Then, all is black.

"The batteries are in place, Apoch," laughs Faust as he pats down the dirt on Superman Prime's head with his foot. "You and I both share their combined power, and soon, the cosmos will fall to us . . ."

NEXT ISSUE: Someone is taking down the Justice Legion A one by one. Aquaman has been incapacitated and the Batman has been pushed to the brink of madness. What else do these evil mystical forces hold for our heroes? Read it now in Chapter 2, "Ghosts of the Past" . . .

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