Disclaimer: The characters in this fic belong to DC Comics, AOL/Time Warner, and the Cartoon Network. They are used without permission. This was written quickly for a challenge and may, at some nebulous time in the future be expanded into more of a story. In the meantime, it's a little...staccato.
Three Hours in Cadmus
"Look, if I'm not back by six, Dinah's going to kill me," Oliver Queen informed his faceless partner.
"Not my concern," the Question replied. "I need to be back by five." He tilted his face in a way that made Ollie think he was raising an eyebrow. "Or else."
"We're being held by Cadmus," Wildcat pointed out. "The ladies will understand. Else the both of you'd better quit jawing on and find some way to get us out of this tin can."
"Yeah, that's the voice of a man who isn't facing the wrath of Black Canary," Ollie snorted.
"Mm. Or the pointy end of a crossbow."
Wildcat rolled his eyes.
"He has a point," Question conceded. "A way out would be useful."
"If I could get to my arrows," Ollie said thoughtfully, "I might be able to stage a distraction."
"A distraction would be useful," the Question agreed dryly.
"Arright," Wildcat growled. "We've got three hours before Pasty here is shish kabobbed by his nutjob girlfriend. Let's figure out how to get Green Arrow his gear."
"My girlfriend," Question said archly, "is not a nutjob."
Ollie and Wildcat stared at him.
"Three hours," he reminded them.
"Two hours, forty-two minutes," Question said, searching the guard's pockets for the release code.
"Yeah, you might want to get a move on there," Ollie said from outside the stasis field.
"Here, let me," Wildcat volunteered. He set one clawed foot on the guard's chest and leaned in close. "Cough up the code or my haymaker's gonna make you wheeze when you breathe for weeks."
"Four. Seven. Two. Eight," the guard choked out, panicked.
Wildcat looked at Ollie who nodded and punched the buttons. The stasis field shimmered and vanished.
"Let's go!" Ollie called, nocking an arrow and running down the hall as alarms started to go off.
Neither of them saw the Question lift a small box from the guard station.
"Where the hell are we?" Ollie asked, arrow still ready. They could hear the scramble of guards on the other side of the wall but the area they stood in seemed to be deserted.
"Two hours and fifteen minutes from being impaled on a sharp, pointy stick," the Question muttered.
"This is a lab or something," Wildcat said, looking around. He walked deeper into the room. "There's a door over here."
Ollie covered the entrance while Wildcat kicked open the door and Question studied various papers pinned to the wall.
"Oh, no," he whispered as his compatriots charged into the next room.
"What do you think it is?" Wildcat asked, horror evident in his voice.
"Looks like a mini-Supes," Ollie said, tilting his head at the sleeping boy in the tube.
"A clone," Question said from the doorway. "A conglomeration of Superman's DNA...and Luthor's."
"We can't leave him here." Ollie shot a sharp look at the other two. "We're NOT leaving him here."
"Agreed." The Question stepped forward to study the tube, his gloved hands sliding along the door in search of the release.
"Forget this," Wildcat growled. "This is taking too long." He drew back a powerful fist and let fly at the window of the tank. Glass shattered and artificial amniotic fluid gushed out, soaking his feet and Ollie's. The Question stepped nimbly out of the way. "I got him," Wildcat said, hefting the limp body over his shoulder. "Let's blow this joint."
"Too late for that." They looked up to find a half dozen guards led by the mad doctor who had tortured Question.
"Superman should have let Huntress kill you," Question said bitterly. "Cloning human and Kryptonian DNA. Do you have any idea what you may have wrought?"
"A new age," the man sneered. "And my name, preserved in history for all time."
"What is his name?" Ollie asked. He and Wildcat looked at the Question.
Question shrugged. "Does it matter?"
Two net-arrows, three roundhouses, and a carefully thrown glass beaker later, they were on their way once more.
"That took too long," Question murmured, staring at his watch.
"How long?" Ollie called from his station across the hall. He leaned out and let fly an arrow into the crowd of guards.
"One hour, twenty-five minute," Question replied.
"The door can't be that far away," Wildcat grunted. "The kid's getting heavy."
"Hey! What's going on? What are you doing? Where am I?"
The kid had woken up.
"But I don't understand! What are you rescuing me from?"
"Perhaps you hear the gunfire in the distance?" Ollie suggested.
"Perhaps you hear the gentle sound of a crossbow locked into the ready position," mused the Question.
"Oh, come off it already," Ollie snapped. "How long until your time's up anyway?"
The Question, sitting with his back against the wall, made a show of checking his watch. "Seventeen minutes. Shall we make our last stand?"
"Sounds good to me," Ollie said grimly, three arrows at the ready. "You gonna help us out, kid?"
"These people are bad, your people are good?" the clone kid asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"And I know this how?"
"Because they're shooting bullets at us, and we're shooting boxing gloves at them," Wildcat told him.
"Respect for human life and all that," Ollie added.
The kid looked mystified. "Ok. If you say so."
"Interesting," the Question mused as they took their positions. "Embedded moral code, sufficiently advanced to match the instilled intelligence. Appears sixteen upon decantation."
"Shut up and get ready to hit something," Ollie advised.
They barreled into the corridor, arrows flying, nets and sleeping gas everywhere, fists contacting Cadmus body armor.
"Twelve," the Question murmured as he knocked a guard unconscious. "Eight," he added a few minutes later as he disarmed a soldier, emptied his ammunition into the struts holding up a nearby balcony, and casually threw the firearm at an attacking scientist, hitting him squarely in the gut. "Six," he mumbled two minutes later when someone landed a halfway decent uppercut to his jaw.
He was struggling with a particularly large specimen when a familiar thwack thwack thwack brought a smile to his face and his antagonist fell without another motion.
"You're early," he said.
"Couldn't wait to see you," Huntress returned cheekily, using arrows from her crossbow to jam the guns of several other Cadmus flunkies. "Hope you don't mind...she insisted on tagging along."
Question paused in his judo throw of yet another anonymous opponent and looked over Huntress's shoulder to see Black Canary making short work of five men on her own.
"The more the merrier," he replied.
"So when you said 'back' you really meant 'right outside'," Ollie clarified.
"I added an hour to our expected meeting time," the Question explained, tilting his head to let Huntress press ice to his bruised jaw. "I figured that if I didn't show at the pre-arranged time, Huntress would come looking for me." He caught her hand and squeezed it.
"And a good thing she did," Black Canary added. "You guys were getting trounced."
"Hey, hey," Wildcat protested. "Trounced is an awfully ugly word."
"If the shoe fits," Canary sang under her breath.
"I gotta say," Ollie commented, scratching the back of his neck, "they were pretty gung ho to keep us here. Any ideas on that?"
"We had their clone," the Question said, nodding to the kid.
"He's a clone?" Huntress asked curiously.
"He looks like a teenage Superman," Black Canary observed.
"He pretty much is," Ollie said. "Isn't that right?"
"Mmhmm." Question nodded. "Late for dinner. You take him back to the Watchtower and tell Superman."
"Huh, what? We've got our own dinner plans," Ollie shot back. "We're not taking him."
Wildcat and the clone exchanged resigned looks. "Guess it's you and me, kid," Wildcat said. "Don't sweat it. Watchtower's got a great entertainment setup. You ever seen 'Raging Bull'?"
"Why do I think maybe the clone wasn't all they wanted?" Huntress asked when they were alone.
"Possibly because I had this in my pocket," the Question said, pulling out the small box he'd confiscated from the guard station. He handed it to her with little fanfare but cleared his throat a bit as he passed it on.
"Oh, baby DOLL," Helena sighed as the green stone winked up at her. "Is this what I think it is?"
"Yes," the Question said reverently. He put his hand on hers and used the other to extract the object from the box. "Twenty-one grams of pure Kryptonite. Enough to take Superman down." He paused. "If necessary."