Part 5

The first thing BJ Hunnicutt did was shield the two Flashes from detection. Wally O'Reilly headed North. Sherm Garrick headed South, and then each criss-crossed Apokolips, altering rifles made specifically for harming Superman.

Hawkman and Batman dropped Wonder Woman and Hawkwoman right smack in the middle of Darkseid's deadly Chaosphere Elite. Their leader, Lashina, mocked the departing male heroes.

"Fight us, you Terran worms! Prove that you are not men in name only."

Batman turned and tsked them, in a tone only Frank Burns could achieve.

"Klingar, these 'Gods' are just SO sexist. Tell them how we do things on Earth, willya?"

Klingar Hol-Hawkman-nodded.

"What Batman means is that we have a division of labor. While we testosterone-types run out and get some batteries, the Ladies here will take out the garbage! It looks like large trash day, Soonlia, honey. You and Princess Margaret better break this junk down and separate it."

Soonlia Thal-Hawkwoman-smiled at her husband, and playfully grabbed his nose.

"Don't worry your pretty little head over it, Klingar. Mommy'll clean up for you!"

With that, the Elite came at the two warrior women. In between bashed heads, the two spoke.

"So? What's with you and Hawkeye?"

"Nothing! What do you see in Klingar?"

"Its that nose. Its a Thanagarian thing. I love him with all my heart, but I would gladly be his slave for access to that nose. Why are you smiling?"

"Who's smiling?"

"You and Superman are smiling. Its about time, too. I've seen vultures with shorter mating rituals, Margaret."

"Oh, be quiet, and grab an end."

Extended to its full length, Wonder Woman's Lasso was taken by the two and wrapped around the entire writhing crowd of ultra-villains. Margaret began to swing them with terrific force.

"Soonlia? Range?!"

"Er...lets see. Giant Statue Of Darkseid, twenty kilometers, north by northeast."

Margaret hurled her defeated foes with deadly accuracy. The statue was reduced to rubble, and the Elite were very much out of commission.

"Wonder Woman, what do you suppose the boys are doing?"

In the distance, over ninety percent of Apokolips' gun 'batteries' exploded, courtesy of a billionaire neurotic and a former Thanagarian con artist.

"Hawkwoman, they're just playing with their toys. I won't make them clean up, though."

"Neither will I. I like it dirty."

"Hawkwoman, you're worse than Kent!"

Soonlia grinned, and bowed.

"Thank you, Margaret."

Around the planet, the now-useless gun batteries were being placed over the firepits by Cha'arls Win'ch'tr, Manhunter From The Planet Mars. Shielding him from his bane was Green Lantern, who then shoved the gun emplacements into the pits, corking up their power. BJ grinned. In the distance, he saw his comrades, except for Superman, coming towards them. He drove the last 'cork' into place.

"Well, Justice League Of Us, Tall, Dark and Sidey is out of business! Time we found rockhead and closed up his shop."

Omega Beams then lanced out, knocking them out of the sky. Wounded, they all lay before Darkseid, who was far from finished. Win'ch'tr rode Hunnicutt.

"Beeeej---The handbook does quite cle-hearly recommend that one never make such a statement."

"I, Darkseid, pronounce immediate sentence over you. But know this--Superman's fate shall be even grislier. Even as he approaches this position, my riflers are pummeling him with red sun radiation, sapping him of his awesome power. He shall watch as you all perish in fire."

In the distance, they heard the whine of the rifles. Together, the other members of the J*L*A* could fight Darkseid. But only with Superman could they win. And win they would. Before the evil king could react, a gargantuan blast of heat vision knocked him back.


All stared up at Superman, now truly a full god. BJ and The Flashes had altered the rifles to shoot radiation like that of a Blue-White Sun. His body crackled with over 700 times its normal power--normal, that, is, for a Kryptonian under a much less intense yellow sun.

"The Angels are here, Darkseid, and they're really kind of ticked. Translation : Back off--or else."

"Ooooh, we-hell said, Superman."

A glare from the Cosmic-Level hero silenced Win'ch'tr. But Darkseid screamed, and fired off his Omega Beams. Effortlessly, Superman's enhanced eye-beams directed them back at their source. As Darkseid died, so went Apokolips. It was done. On New Genesis, the Warrior God Orion stared at the empty void and spoke to the vanished Darkseid.

"You'll not escape my vengeance THAT easily, Father."

Back on Earth, the heroes celebrated only the end of the attacks. No one had wished the death of another world. Margaret and Hawkeye spoke of what had occurred between them, and how to proceed from there.

"Go slow, Mister Kent?"

"Slow and steady, Miss Prince."

"Good. No need to rush. After all, we're probably both Immortal."

"Let's not go there, shall we? But, I agree that we do have time. There's no compelling reason to force whatever we might decide to do."

A look exchanged between Samantha and Hawkeye told him that all was at last well between him and his sister. He realized now the Incubator wished them all to believe the wrong things about her and Darrin's children, the better to have control over them in the long run. But it still left the question of who he was paired off with, when he was held captive.


"Yes, Margaret?"

"Sherman managed to find out a few things. Did you know about the nuclear reactor Frank shut down, seven years ago?"

"Sure. One of the Joker's little workout routines. I was running the Pacific Rim Earthquake patrol, that day, else I'd have helped."

"Kent, that reactor leaked all over Batman. He's---sterile."

Hawkeye's face showed his concern for the man with whom he had so very many differences. No jokes, then.

"Is he alright, otherwise? I mean, he's not gonna die, is he?"

"No. But---If he was sterilized seven years ago, and my Lyta was born FIVE years ago----"

Hawkeye had a thought.

"Margaret, teleport her here. I hope I'm not right, because that would mean you were played, too."

Not quite understanding, Margaret did as Superman requested. The fresh-faced five year old was delighted to visit her super-aunts and uncles for the first time. Wonder Woman saw Captain Marvel gasp.

"Samantha? What's wrong?"

"Margaret, you better brace yourself."

Samantha Kent Stephens then pulled out a childhood portrait of herself. It was a dead ringer for little Lyta--Kent. Margaret then started to remember an odd fantasy of captivity.

"Folks---its all confirmed. Hawkeye, Margaret--congrats. Its a five-year old."

Father Fate added to Garrick's words.

"You two will think about a ceremony---won't you?"

Superman and Wonder Woman now felt truly awkward around each other. She held Lyta up.

"Meet Daddy, Kiddo---this time for sure."

Assuming his human form of Charles Winchester, Martian Manhunter queried Batman about this odd turn.

"Disappointed, Frank?"

"No, not at all, Charles. With Ho John and Tim and Barbara, my mansion has all the kids I can handle as it stands."

"I like you, Burns. The Lord knows w-why, but I do like you."

"Is that supposed to mean something?"

Back at her home in Connecticut, Captain Marvel changed her clothes and clambered into bed with her husband.

"Sam! You forgot to change back. No powers at home, like we agreed."

She sighed, and braced herself.

"Darrin, they found a way to restore my powers. I'll still call myself Captain Marvel, but I'm a Kryptonian again."

What followed wasn't pretty. Sam almost cursed BJ for altering the starlight guns and restoring the powers she lost in the Crisis. The next morning, she called her beloved twin brother.


"He left me, Hawkeye. Could you come over? See if-see if Margaret can come, too?"

What Hawkeye said next both stunned and pleased the young woman with the shaken confidence.

"Hey--doesn't a fella usually bring his wife and daughter?"

He looked over at the couch, and his sleeping Amazons. He vowed that, come what may, he would do right by them both. And Superman always keeps his word. No matter what. Especially to a wife who was his rough physical equal, and knew how to throw a punch better. He remembered the blows they had traded, and rubbed his chin.

"In any marriage, mutual assured respect is a must."

Note: These events and others will be picked up on in our next J*L*A* segment, 'Time And Trapper'. Sometime in July.

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