Chapter 1 - Snapped Judgement
Peg asked the question.
"What will you do to him if he's convicted?"
BJ drank his coffee while his Power Ring converted his architect's thoughts into the needed product.
"We--have a piece of Gold Kryptonite, taken from The Fortress. It'll remove his powers--permanently. Samantha has agreed to abide by our decision, but we're worried about Tabitha, Adam, and Lyta. Lyta Pierce may not even be affected by Kryptonite."
"That's good. Then maybe a group of self-righteous prigs won't be able to maim her like you plan to maim Hawkeye."
BJ raised one finger.
"Honey--don't start. He brought this on himself."
"BJ--Hawkeye Kent brought our little girl home. I think you should return him to his little girl---unharmed."
The Green Lantern was adamant.
"Winslow Newsome was scum. But we have rules we live by--rules Superman wrote. He can't cast them aside when he loses it. No way. No how."
Sarcastic clapping was heard. The Hunnicutts turned.
"Congratulations, BJ! You are now officially a bigger yutz than I ever thought you could be."
Once, the man doing the clapping was exactly what he appeared to be. A happy-go-lucky youngish man with curly blond hair. Secretly, he had been BJ's predecessor as Green Lantern.
"Peg, meet Retired Air Force Captain Harold Francis Xavier Jordan--also known as----"
"Trapper Hal, at your service. Hey, Peg-- thanks for putting up that marker for Louise and The Kids, where San Fran used to be. It means a lot to me."
Peg knew what this man had done. But she also understood why he had done it. His easy-going manner and charming good looks had her reminding herself that she was married.
"You're welcome, Trapper. Everyone should be remembered."
BJ asked the obvious.
"Jordan--why are you here?"
"I'll keep it simple for you--'GL'. Hawkeye didn't do it. Would never do it. He's Superman. If he says he's not guilty, he's not guilty. If he's lying to protect who did smite that bug, Winslow Newsome--you better believe there's a damned good reason for it--and let it go."
BJ shook his head.
"Trapper, the word of one murderer speaking up for another does exactly zilch for me. Now please leave my home."
Resuming the costume of Parallax, Jordan regarded Hunnicutt like a virus under the scope.
"You have the Ring, kid. Don't debase it any more than I have by throwing in with Batman's agenda."
Then he was gone.
"Peg--I have to depose Hawkeye on the Satellite. What time will you be home tonight?"
"I won't. I'm staying with Samantha til this is over. Now that she's separated from both her husband and her twin brother, she needs friends around. Then--after-- we'll see if I come back."
BJ used a bit of intuition.
"Do you know who he's protecting? Is It Margaret?"
She turned from him.
"I Love You, BJ. But when you're in this mode---I can't be around you."
Soundlessly and wordlessly, he left. He was now also angry that Peg would interfere in so fundamental a J*L*A* concern. He was almost as angry with her as he was with his friend and hero for betraying the oath he had taken, and then preached about so often. Either Superman was lying and was a murderer--or he was lying to protect a murderer. Neither option pleased him. Nor did a third, darker one.
"Maybe its like Burns said. No human psyche can handle this kind of power. Jordan and Newsome spring immediately to mind."
At the home of Samantha Kent, once Supergirl and now known as Captain Marvel, Peg accessed a 3-D HoloProj of an old J*L*A* file. Their very darkest case now played out before her.
SEVEN YEARS PRIOR..........
Lex Luthor cackled.
"We Of The Legion Of Doom have captured the home of Weapons Master! The J*L*A*'s high-tech wunderkind will work for us, or we will reveal that his secret identity is that of Toy Manufacturer Winslow Newsome!"
"My Yellow Power Ring will scan his home for all of its secrets....Now, lets see."
Sinestro saw. Then, Sinestro screamed.
"L-L-L-L-L-Luthor? You better go down to the basement with me."
"If this is a trick....Bizarro, come with me, just for safety."
"Me, Bizarro--never say, The More The Merrier. We go down and check out rumpus room---even if we not find rumpus."
Luthor sometimes regretted allowing Bizarro to keep Superman's quip-driven sense of humor.
The three came back up, shaken.
"Me, Bizarro--about to gain lunch. My skin wants to crawl onto me. Beautiful thing like that always supposed to happen. Always. Me hope me always see it again."
Sinestro shook his head.
"I've slaughtered whole worlds---but that was war--what in the Qward is all this about?!"
Luthor gave the answer.
"Those fools dare to call us evil? All of you go. I have to contact Superman."
Though confused, The Legion did as they were bid. Superman arrived--with Green Lantern in tow. Trapper formed a cage around Luthor--but he saw the man's face. Superman spoke.
"Alright, Lex---where's the device that sends us away, or robs us of our powers? We're busy Super Friends, ya know. We can't only cater for arch-enemies. In fact, of late, the whole catering business..."
"SHUT UP, YOU FOOL!! Green Lantern--go to the basement. Look around. And know this--not I nor any of my team had anything to do with it. Not one thing!"
When Hawkeye nodded, Trapper went down to do as Luthor suggested.
"Luthor--why are you in this man's house?"
"I know who he is, Superman. But you don't know what he is."
Green Lantern returned. His face had drained of color.
"Superman---Kal--its bad down there. I mean, really bad."
"How bad is really bad?"
"Bodies, Superman. Kids. Young Kids. Lots of freezers. And the Legion didn't put em' there. I did a trace with the Ring."
Luthor looked up. His rage was that of a man who didn't often feel righteous anger.
"If he were a member of my team--we'd have killed him. But you - hypocrites - nurtured him. The first thing the Legion will do when we take over is eliminate people like Newsome. Farewell--'heroes'."
When Newsome arrived back at his small home--the entire League was waiting. Deputy Leader Barry Blake--The Flash-- spoke for the team. But Winslow Newsome spoke first.
"Hey---guys! It is called a 'secret' ID, after all."
He had a bookish style about him, and an intelligent charm. None of the team could believe what they found. Barry now stated his reasons for their presence.
"Winslow---is there any really good reason why there's dead bodies in your basement? Are they future Hitlers, or demonically possessed, and you had no choice--or---what?"
Barry was desperately trying to find a rationale for the utterly unrational. But Newsome was already done for. Working in an odd tandem, Superman and Batman had already found all the evidence they needed to put him in Arkham Asylum for the rest of his life.
Winslow Newsome shrugged.
"It wasn't like that at all, Barry. They were just bad children---and I punished them. They won't ever be bad again."
"Ever. You see, I realized after that campaign on Rann that all we really do is spill blood. Now, we go, and we wash it off--but its still there. So I just seek more in my spare time, and I perform a public service, while doing it. The world won't miss these brats. Oh, don't worry--I never let it interfere with my J*L*A* duties. No, that's a sacred trust. One I would never betray."
The Martian Manhunter scanned him telepathically.
"His so-called mind is not unlike an open sewer. But--our little Toyman has no secrets of any import to us."
Their ID's safe, they moved to arrest Winslow Newsome.
"What the hell are you guys doing? I'm a member of this group. I--Am The Weapons Master."
Green Lantern slapped the fool across the face.
"You're not one of us. You're what The Manhunter called you--A Toy-Man."
"Hey, I only used those toys as bait--not for anything sick. I-NEVER-was with a single one of those kids!"
The resulting scandal forced the J*L*A* to disband for a full six months. But Newsome vowed revenge--and The Toyman would one day have it.