Mindstorm, part 23

by Chicago

Disclaimers and other information in "part 0"

"Who the hell-?" Lois asked in confusion as the battle raging in the medbay suddenly and inexplicably stopped. She stared as J'onn pulled out of the wreckage and enveloped the trench-coated man who had appeared from nowhere. She thought J'onn was restraining the newcomer, but in seconds, the two beings separated again. Clark still hadn't moved from his knees.

Wally paused in his more or less constant motion and turned his attention back to the medbay monitor. "Hey, Dr. Occult!" he exclaimed in something like relief. His hands flashed across the keyboard, and he spoke into the open comlink: "Batman, Dr. Occult has arrived. Blue seems neu-" he paused, glancing back at the screen and at Lois - "unthreatening."

Lois heard the word he cut off anyway. Neutralized. It wasn't the right word. Superman - Clark - looked defeated. Despairing.

Batman's growl filtered through the monitor womb speakers. "Get me connected, Flash."

Lois wasn't sure how Wally answered steadily. There was no irritation in his tone as he replied, "I'm working on it. I've only got visuals up here as it is, but I'll see if I can at least get you that much. Oracle's got word on Lantern?"

"Wonder Woman hasn't got him dug out yet," a synthesized voice cut in. "I doubt..."

Lois stopped listening, focusing on the jumpy image from the medbay. J'onn and this "Dr. Occult" were obviously talking, their faces giving away moments of realization and surprise. Neither was paying more than passing attention to Superman, still kneeling amidst tangled metal and looking devastated.

A sudden snap of electricity and a shower of sparks startled her attention back to Wally. "Damn it!" he was muttering, shaking one hand and blowing on his fingers as he returned to the control console. Lois noticed a black streak along the fabric of the suit halfway to his elbow.

He glanced at the medbay feed. "I've got a clearer image up here. That help down below?"

"Affirmative," Batman's voice replied. "What-"

Batman suddenly stopped speaking, and Lois' eyes widened in alarm as Wally grew suddenly glassy-eyed. "Wally?"

She was half relieved when he held up a stilling hand. "J'onn," he murmured, turning back to the console silently in the attitude of one listening intently.

Telepathic link, Lois realized, looking back at the medbay monitor. J'onn looked... pale, if that was possible for a Martian, his eyes unfocused. The man in the trench coat, Dr. Occult, seemed to have the same realization. He began studying Superman, not appearing to offer comfort or to be doing anything at all. It wasn't fair to be angry at him, Lois knew, but he was there, where she couldn't be. The least he could do was-

He spun suddenly, his attention abruptly returning to J'onn just as the Martian toppled forward, landing heavily on one knee and swaying precipitously. Dr. Occult reached for J'onn's shoulder, and Lois shuddered as the insubstantial hand faded through Martian flesh rather than actually touching it. She saw Occult's lips move, forming the word, "J'onn."

The sound seemed to stabilize J'onn, and he stopped swaying. Another moment, and he turned his face to look at Dr. Occult, his mouth moving, but he was turned half away from the camera and-

"I'm still working on audio," Wally's voice interrupted her thoughts. "Teleportation is totally out, though, at least for a bit."

"Understood. We'll work on locating Black. Batman out."

Lois looked from the medbay screen to the Flash. Black. "Manchester Black?" she asked.

Wally looked as if he had forgotten she was there. "Yeah. J'onn says he has been herding a psychic entity around, broke her out of her host and stuck her in Jonathan Kent's mind during the Imperiex War."

"Manchester Black." The answer had been in front of her the whole time. "Fuck!"

Wally's half-diverted focus shifted fully to her. "Lois?"

"The Masters' assassination. Shit. Wally, get me Batman."

Credit the Flash for understanding when something was an order, she reflected, her eyes going back to the medbay monitor for the two seconds it took Wally to get a line back to the planet.

"Report, Flash," Batman's demanded.

"Batman, Lois needs to talk to you. Something about the Masters' assassination?"

"Go ahead, Lois."

Lois looked uncertainly at Wally. "The whole room is mic'ed. He can hear you."

"Oh," she blinked, taking a deep breath. "Batman, can you access my computer at the Planet?"

"Oracle can," he answered. "What are we looking for?"

"Manchester Black. He was being transported between STAR Labs facilities during the war when Masters ordered him diverted." She closed her eyes for a moment, wondering how she had been so clueless to the connection. "He was supposed to arrive at a facility in Wyoming -"

"Lois, we've hacked in. Where is this data?"

"I have it in a password protected folder, using Clark's encryption program. It's called 'Dear Edie Orchard.'"

"DEO," Batman acknowledged. "You have a source?"

Lois bit her lip. "I can't divulge-"

"Understood," Batman cut her off brusquely. "Flash, Green Lantern is not going to be able make any runs to the moon. Oracle is trying to locate-"

"Hold on, Batman." Lois cocked her head at the Flash, watching him do something at the console. "I think - J'onn, can you hear me?"

On the monitor, both J'onn and Dr. Occult looked up. "Go ahead, Wally."

"J'onn?" There was a hint of Bruce bleeding through Batman's tone.

"I'm here, Batman. You have news?"

"I think we might," Batman confirmed, and something in his voice made Lois believe everything might be okay.

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