Mindstorm, part 11

by Chicago

Disclaimers and other information in "part 0" Air Wave's distress call is taken from JSA #49.

Batman was already walking as he materialized in the Cave, striding purposefully toward the main computer terminal. "Oracle, the DEO files -"

"Already waiting for you - at least as much as I could hack. They've been experimenting with closed systems for their top secret stuff. Some of the files for that facility you had me investigate are probably there now. I picked up traces of them and could do partial reconstructions-"

Batman stared at the files that opened onto the monitor. "But not enough. And your hack into the compound itself?"

There was a snort over the line. "I'm lucky I got personnel records before they smelled me and took their system offline. But that's not a total loss."

New files began to load onto the screen. Batman scanned over the flagged documents, noting specialties, raising an eyebrow at a name he had known from STAR Labs. "Tan isn't at STAR anymore?"

"No. In fact, she's not anywhere except in this personnel file. No banking activity, no property in her name, nothing. It might be that she isn't working at this base anymore, either, but-"

"But she was on the initial team working up telepathic screening technologies," Batman remembered, his fingers flying over the keys. "All these names - they're all mind scientists?"

"Of one kind or another. Not quite a smoking gun-"

"And it doesn't explain Jonathan Kent," Batman pointed out. "Superman could be a target of opportunity, close by for the test of a new weapon, but it hit Jonathan first... Oracle, have you got a location on Mr. Terrific?"

If the non sequitur threw her, she gave no sign. "I've completely lost most of the JSA; the shadow activity over Manhattan has been as disruptive as bad solar flares."

"Damn. I was hoping - we need someone who can enter the mental realm. Another telepath or-"

"Mr. Terrific wouldn't be able-"

"No, but his team has the right kind of ties and he'll know who he can spare."

"Fate's out, unless you're thinking - Dr. Occult?"

"Poss-" Batman's answer was cut off by the sudden buzz of an emergency signal on the JLA line. Frowning he punched at the console. "Batman here."

"Bat-" Sudden static blasted over the line, punctuated by Oracle's "OH SHIT!" through his ear piece.

"Situation!" Batman demanded, typing furiously to bring up monitor views of the outside. His answer came both from Oracle and from the images that suddenly flooded his screens.

"The moon - they've managed to pull the moon out of orbit! It looks like they're using it -"

"To eclipse the sun," Batman finished grimly. He watched the shadows beginning to take hold over the Manor grounds. "But no earthquakes, no effect on the tides. What-"

"I'm getting this distress call. Patching through now."

There was a hiss and pop of static, then, "...anyone read me out there, this is Air Wave of the JSA reserves broadcasting a distress call on every available frequency. We need your help."

"Air Wave? I thought-"

"Every JSA reserver is already pulled into this. Most of the regulars have disappeared from the grid in one way or another. I just cut Canary free from a mission to help in Philadelphia."

Air Wave's message was continuing in the background, explaining how three beings has pulled the moon out of orbit. "...only their power is keeping the world from cracking in half. For now anyway."

"Our people?" Batman asked, pulling up his own tracking software and trying to ignore the continuing static from the lunar feed.

"Lantern's still neck deep in rescue efforts on the Indian subcontinent." Batman listened to her report as he found Dick's location in the 'Haven, traced through the movements of his police radio. Tim's signaler showed him at Brentwood and hopefully safe. Oracle's voice continued, "Wonder Woman is helping in London." Cassandra's tracer was moving away from her cave under downtown Gotham. "I've still got Aquaman in Kansas."

"No moving any of them," Batman decided, new monitor views coming to life as the emergency signals began flooding in. There were heroes everywhere, spread too thin as thousands of ordinary citizens were possessed by Eclipso. He could see the telltale shadows on their faces, visible even in the eclipse gloom. "And the moon?" He did not let his tone hint at his worry.

Barbara heard it anyway; he could sense sympathy in her matter-of-fact tone. "I'm working on turning a satellite to their new position. Teleporters are definitely offline. Visual from an earth based telescope confirms the Watchtower is still standing."

Batman's mouth tightened into a line. He needed a plan. As fast as things were moving, getting Superman back into action was looking like a long shot at best, no matter how much they needed him. And the way things were moving, it was looking more like the question would be how to contain Superman if for some reason -

He felt a tickle at his wrist.

He blinked once. He had forgotten about Ace. He hesitated for a moment, remembering how hard it had been for J'onn to link to him when he had been up on the moon with him, but...

But he had to know. He could focus on a world saving plan if only he knew...

He ordered Ace to connect him to J'onn.

The zo'ok gave its usual wriggle of excitement, and Bruce could feel it extending telepathic energy. He waited a beat, then two, then exhaled the breath he had been holding. Bruce?

J'onn! Are you all okay?

There was the slightest pause. We are no worse than we were. But we are worried for you. We cannot see the planet.

We're ... the Earth's not shaking apart. Oracle's working on - J'onn?

Sorry - too much -

Go, Batman acknowledged. I love you.

You, J'onn echoed, and then the link was gone, leaving only a vague mental ache behind.

"Batman." That was Oracle again, snapping him out of his momentary longing to a more practical emotion. "You need to see what's broadcasting all over TV."

He leaned forward and kicked on the television signal.

Lex Luthor was staring out of the screen at him from behind the Oval Office desk. "...crisis affecting the entire world. We cannot sit idly by and hope for superheroes to save us. I have convened an emergency meeting..."

Batman felt his lips curl into a snarl, and somewhere in the back of his mind, a niggling suspicion blossomed into a conviction.

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