Mindstorm, part 3

by Chicago

Disclaimers and other information in "part 0"

"Bats reports he's stable," Plasticman's voice filtered through the comlink.

"Is he conscious?" Wonder Woman wanted to know.

"Far as I know, no," Plasticman answered. "Whoops. Flash is here, gotta go. Call in when you get there."

The Watchtower signal faded out, and Green Lantern heard Diana mutter something under her breath. "You okay, Wonder Woman?" he asked.

"Keep an eye, Lantern. We're approaching the area where he went down."

"Roger that," Kyle replied, letting silence resume between them as the land below them grew more mountainous. Diana was upset, obviously. Hell, they all were. It wasn't exactly easy to take Superman down. But Diana's reaction had an undercurrent of doing what needed to be done but not liking it. It was familiar enough a feeling in the JLA, but at least Wally or Eel would vent.

Kyle's ring began to emit a sonar-like beep, indicating that they were zeroing in on the exact site where J'onn had found Superman. Kyle squinted down at old growth pine, not seeing any obvious signs of Superman's descent.

"There's some sort of facility over there," Wonder Woman suddenly noted over the comlink, and Kyle glanced over to where she was gesturing, getting the ring to craft a spyglass for him when he couldn't pick out what she was talking about.

"There wasn't one on the map the computer pulled up," Kyle observed, finally seeing the small landing zone cut into the forest and from there able to spy a few Quonset huts tucked among the trees.

"I know," Wonder Woman acknowledged, and the intermittent beeping of Kyle's ring shifted to a steady tone.

Green Lantern stopped dead in the air and looked down. "This is the spot, I guess."

Wonder Woman hovered beside him, studying the ground below warily. "Nothing moving I can see, but -" She trailed off, and Lantern shuddered.

"Yeah, I know." The lack of obvious damage to the forest below was a chilling image to an airborne hero. It bespoke a fall from a stationary position rather than a crash from flight, and while the swath of damage was more dramatic and often more lethal from a crash landing than a straight dive, there were very very few scenarios that dropped a person straight down from flight. None of those scenarios were good.

Kyle followed Diana's lead as she dropped to the forest floor, and they landed beside a tangle of broken pine boughs and underbrush. The forest was silent.

Diana keyed her comlink. "Plasticman, Wonder Woman. We're at the site. Is there any radio traffic or movement from the base about two miles away?"

Instead of Plasticman, Batman's voice answered. "Wonder Woman, please give a more accurate fix on the base."

Diana glanced at Kyle. "Batman," he said, "I'm having the ring send up coordinates."

A half-second pause, then, "Received. I'm bringing satellite focus in on the region. Negative on radio communication, checking for other activity. Is there anything on site?"

"Crash looks to have been a trajectory of 90 degrees," Lantern reported.

"Hm. J'onn characterizes whatever hit him as being like a psychic bomb. It is possible he stopped instantly when it hit."

"Like hitting a wall," Diana murmured, and a new tension seemed to gather in her body. "Batman, I am not certain it is relevant, but the forest is unnaturally quiet."

"I have no activity heading your direction on that base, but infrared picks up sentries. Odd. And you say quiet. Lantern, can you scan -?"

"Already on it," Kyle affirmed, his ring projecting a screen of information. "Doesn't look like there's any animal life forms within 300 yards of us, although as we've been talking that distance has been slowly decreasing."

"Purposeful decreasing?"

Kyle shook his head in answer to Diana's query. "More milling. Like everything scattered and is just coming back."

"Scattered 300 yards in all directions," Batman iterated. "A bigger distance than some species could have gotten in the minutes since Superman fell."

"Magic?" Green Lantern speculated.

Diana looked up from where she had knelt to examine the crash debris. "No. I would know if it were magic."

Kyle stared at the pile of broken tree limbs, then slowly pivoted to visually inspect the pristinely silent forest around the site. "I don't like this," he said uneasily.

"Agreed," Batman replied. "Both of you should get out of there."

"Batman?" Wonder Woman asked.

"J'onn said like a psychic bomb. That may be more accurate than we know. I've got Oracle trying to hack the facility you've pointed out, and if they've noticed you-"

"On our way out," Lantern acknowledged, rising up just to the level of the tree tops in order to take advantage of whatever cover they could provide as he got clear of Superman's crash site. He didn't need to glance back to know Wonder Woman was right behind him.

"See J'onn when you get back here," Batman ordered. "If there was any residue-"

"Understood," Diana cut him off, increasing speed and beginning an upward trajectory now that they were out of range of the base. "How is Superman?"

"Stable."

"We got that from Plasticman," Diana pointed out. "But J'onn hasn't jumped in with a telepathic link. What does stable mean?"

"Stable," Batman repeated. "We will discuss this when you get here."

The connection clicked off, and Kyle met Diana's eyes. "That doesn't sound good."

"No, it doesn't," she agreed, and both heroes increased their speed through the stratosphere.

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