30/30 - Datus Interruptus
Disclaimers and other information in "Opening Credits"
"They've lost interest in us, Roy," Donna's voice crackled over the receiver. "They're too caught up in their own battle."
"Shit! Jesse-" Arsenal half-ducked as a rocket zoomed too close to the T-jet, the sound deafening as the jet bounced between the pull of its own evasive maneuver and the wash of the missile.
"Arsenal!" Jesse's voice barked. "You still with me? Arsenal!"
"I'm here. Head's up, Tempest!" he shouted as the missile splashed into the Atlantic.
"I see it," Garth reported calmly. A moment later a spout of water came shooting up from the ocean.
The answering line was staticky. "The projectiles are on a timer of some sort, designed to lodge before they explode. Look lively if they get another one off - you're getting awfully close to the shore line."
"Tell me something I don't know," Roy muttered, reshouldering his net cannon. What was it with giant robot armor people locked in mortal combat that compelled them to do so next to large population centers? He'd wonder what compelled them to pick Earth as their battle ground, but he'd already consigned that question to one of the mysteries of the cosmos. They came, superheroes stopped them. Just part of the job description.
"Tempest," he ordered, " see if you can raise a water wall to -"
"Working on it," Tempest replied. "They might already be too close to shore to get enough height..."
Arsenal's sharp eyes picked out the surging surf rising into the night, glinting from the sparks and flames produced by the battle. A battle which, while still raging, was becoming more stationary in the sky. "Perfect!" Arsenal yelled over the roar of the wind. "Jesse, another pass!"
"You got it," the speedster confirmed, arcing the T-jet into a wide turn.
Roy put his eye to the sight as Jesse wheeled to the land side of the battle, swinging the jet between Tempest's water wall and the fight. The smaller of the two armored robots had moved in on the larger, seemed now to be winning. Not that Roy cared - he just needed them a little closer together...
"Argent! Troia! Get clear!" he barked, his finger tightening on the trigger. He could see the smaller robot reaching back, seeming ready to toss its antagonist, the larger armored giant throwing back its head...
BAM! The recoil from the net cannon threw him back into the strapping he had anchored himself in, but he didn't take his eyes off the scene. The STAR Labs energy net unfurled almost gracefully as it shot through the air, expanding in a wide circle, catching on armor, wrapping...
A split second too late to stop the final defensive round of the larger robot. The air erupted with the contrail of a dozen missiles, and then the energy net tangled around both robots, sending them plunging toward the ocean.
"Stop the missiles! Jesse, turn us. Go! Go!" Arsenal was scrambling for another weapon, his eyes barely leaving the sky. He could see Donna and Toni catching rockets, detonating them, racing them through the falling water wall to the city skyline. "Garth," he warned, "you've got incoming."
"I'm on it. Worry about the missiles."
The jet swayed with Jesse's course changes, and Arsenal finally came up with the desired gun. A bow would be better, but under these conditions? He fired a shot faster than thought, and another explosion lit the sky. Folks on the ground probably thought they were watching fireworks.
Another shot, another explosion. He was aware of incendiary displays all around him as he stayed focus, and the conversation in his ear.
"Troia, I missed that one. Can you-"
"Hands full right now!" Another explosion lit the sky. "Arsenal? South south-west of your position- oh, SHIT!"
Arsenal squeezed off another shot. "What is it? Donna, talk to me!"
"Regency Tower. Dammit! I'm going in -"
"Argent, help her!" Arsenal barked, unleashing another round. The explosion he triggered was matched by another where he had last seen Toni, and then a silver-white form streaked across the sky.
"One more, Arsenal," Jesse said steadily, and Roy brought his gun back to his shoulder to blow the final rocket from the sky and pray that there were no casualties at the Regency Tower.
She felt Argent streaking by her, beating her by half a second through the breach in the wall and to the missile. It made the difference as Argent threw up a containment shield just as the outer casing of the explosive began to crack.
Screams pierced the air as the roar from the contained detonation cracked the reinforced glass of the restaurant windows. Long practice and faith in her teammate allowed Donna to ignore the cacophony and the incandescent blast and scan the restaurant for wounded or dying. Luckily, the missile had pierced the building through the elevator shaft, slicing away from any tables. The relatively low number of patrons meant no one had been waiting to be seated, and the maitre-d' was standing nearby in shock, but unharmed. "Arsenal, we have contained the blast," she reported into her comlink as she moved to Toni's side. The younger woman was already trembling from exertion and reaction.
"Casualties?" Donna could hear how he didn't want to ask the question. She was just about to reassure him when a crashing sound echoed up from the elevator shaft. Toni turned wide eyes to Donna.
The elevator shaft, Donna cursed as she ordered, "Stay here," and dove down after the crashed elevator. The missile had cut through the elevator shaft and cut the cables...
How had she not noticed when she entered? Silly question, she knew - explosions, missiles, potential victims up top - but still. She hoped against hope that the elevator had been heading down empty to collect someone. From the length of time it had taken to crash? It had plummeted from near the top of its shaft. Ninety-three stories to the sub-basement.
She slowed, unconsciously hesitating as she neared the elevator car. There were two options, really, no matter how much she might want it to be otherwise. Either the car was empty, or whoever inside was a pulp. Maybe several pulps, mashed together unrecognizably. The last thing she expected was the screech of bending metal as the access panel atop the elevator begin to move, revealing a crack of light in the darkened shaft.
Troia wasted no time closing the final distance to the elevator. "Hold on," she called. "I'll help get you out!" She wrapped her fingers over the edge of access panel, noticing the pink-tipped nails that were curling around from the underside. "I'm going to pull off the panel," she warned, and the fingers let go.
"Troia, what's your status?" Arsenal's voice came over her comlink.
The metal groaned as Donna pried the panel from its twisted frame and peered into the elevator. "I've got survivors. I'll call you back."
She heard Argent's "Thank god," right before she closed her signal.
The interior of the elevator was lit by a small pen light, and a well dressed couple was staring up at her. "See, Bruce," the woman remarked, "superhero."
"Yes, I see," Bruce Wayne remarked dryly.
"Are you folks okay?" Troia asked, trying to keep her shock from her face.
"I'm fine," Bruce answered. "Susan?" His hand reached gently to his companion's cheek.
"A bit rattled," the brunette confessed, meeting Bruce's eyes, and suddenly Donna felt like she was intruding. "What on earth happened?" Susan asked, breaking the spell.
"We should get you out of here, have the paramedics take a look at you," Donna suggested.
Susan's green eyes darted up toward her. "Oh, no, it's nothing like that. Just a bit unnerved is all. But maybe Bruce..."
Shock, Donna decided, as Bruce Wayne shook his head and again said, "I'm fine. What did happen, anyway?" There was no way they were fine. Even if Bruce had some Bat-trick that kept them alive, his date was way too calm.
"How about if we decide about medical attention after I get you out of there?" Donna suggested, stretching down a hand.
"Good idea. Although if you need to take care of someone else-" Susan agreed, accepting a leg up from Bruce and reaching up to grasp Donna's hand.
"Everyone's fine. Just you two in the elevator."
There was a tearing sound as Donna pulled Susan from the elevator. "So much for this dress," Susan remarked ruefully. "Brucie, you're going to have to buy me a new one," she called down.
Surreal, Donna reflected, settling Susan on her feet. "Are you sure you're okay?" she asked again, her eyes running over Susan's body. No blood, no visible broken bones.
"Hey, it's awfully dark down here," Bruce complained, and Donna realized Susan was holding the pen light.
"Hold on," Donna called. "Can you aim the light?" she asked Susan, who smiled in response.
"Sure," she replied, aiming the penlight toward the access panel. She was holding it at an angle, Donna noticed, such that it didn't shine down into Bruce's eyes but would allow him to see Donna's outstretched hand. A moment later, Bruce was also atop the elevator, reaching a possessive arm out to hook Susan's waist. They exchanged a quick kiss.
"Um, Troia, is it?" Bruce asked. "Listen, can you get us out of here discreetly? Away from any press or emergency workers or -"
Donna stared at him. "Mr. Wayne, you have just plunged hundreds of feet down an elevator shaft-"
"And I'm fine."
"Maybe you are. But your date-"
Donna froze and turned to Susan. Except it wasn't Susan.
"We're both fine," Martian Manhunter assured her. "I was able to cushion our fall."
"J'onn," Bruce protested softly.
"She won't let us go otherwise," J'onn said quietly, morphing back into Susan's form and pressing a gentle kiss to Bruce's cheek. "Any more than you would in the same situation."
Bruce's expression remained stony, but he did not object.
This is not what it looks like, Donna told herself, trying not to gape.
Her eyes inadvertently met Susan's. Yes it is, she heard J'onn J'onzz say in her head. Aloud, though, Bruce Wayne's date said, "You won't mind if we see ourselves out?"
Donna could only shake her head numbly.
She watched, incredulous, as Susan wrapped her arms around Bruce Wayne, lifting into the air as she stretched to completely surround him. Suddenly they winked out of sight, invisible.
There was a ping in her ear, and she reopened her comlink. "Donna, what's going on? You need help?"
"No, no," Donna replied. "Everything's okay, Arsenal. Argent?"
"I'm about ready to turn things over to the local authorities. You need paramedics down there?"
"Troia? You said you had survivors." Arsenal sounded torn between concern and irritation.
"White hats," she offered, hoping that would suffice.
"What? Who? We had no -"
"In civvies," she explained, flying up the elevator shaft to join Toni. "On a date."
There was a snort over the line from Roy. "Sounds like their love life is like mine."
Donna thought about the tenderness with which J'onn had enfolded Bruce as they lifted into the air. "Or not," she murmured, touching down on the restaurant floor. "Come on, Argent," she ordered her younger teammate, "let's go home."