The Justice League of America has to face the threat of Exchange
This is a Justice League fan fiction that I originally wrote in 2000. The team roster in this story is accurate to the comic book at that time period. Most of the characters in this story are owned by DC comics.
The morning light was beginning to break over the city of Gotham and a lone figure stood perched atop a gargoyle, his gaze searching the city below. Searching for what, he didn't know, but he'd recognize it when he saw it. A black cape whipped out behind him, caught in the strong grip of the wind, though the Dark Knight seemed not to notice, too focused upon his city sprawled out beneath him.
Finally, Batman looked up at the rising sun, deciding that it was time for him to return home. He'd already spent the entire night on patrol, stopping three muggers, a street gang, a would be rapist and one escapee from Arkham Asylum. All in all, it had been a rather slow night. And though the Dark Knight was tempted to continue his work, the sun was quickly rising and daylight was not his element. There would be more work for him once the cloak of night fell over Gotham again.
Suddenly, something caught his eye and Batman looked out, noticing something in the distant sky, highlighted by the rising sun. He quickly pulled out his binoculars and looked towards what appeared to be a man floating in midair. The floating man, if that truly was what he was, was wearing gray full body armor which seemed oddly like an insect’s chitenous exoskeleton except for the gold and green metal belt. The figure had a helmet that covered its entire head and glowing green lenses where the eyes would be. Three long tentacles that appeared to be made of some gold metal hung from each of its shoulder blades, twitching back and forth on their own. And still it just floated, slowly moving across the city.
Batman stared at the figure and frowned. He didn't recognize this one, either personally or from the Justice League's vast records of metas. This one was an unknown and Batman didn't like surprises, especially not when they might prove a threat to Gotham. Then, without a moment's hesitation, Batman was in motion, moving quickly and with near inhuman silence as he made his way towards where he'd left the Batmobile.
Within minutes, Batman had made his way to where the mysterious figure floated. Right above the Wayne Foundation Scientific Research building. Above his building. Batman made quickly returned to the building tops, where he was more comfortable, and more effective. The creature was much more visible now, and remained just as much an unknown. The Dark Night frowned, his instincts screaming out to be cautious with this one.
Just then, the figure moved. It raised a hand towards the building, releasing a red energy blast that obliterated the buildings wall. A huge gaping hole was now visible in the side of the building. Bruce Wayne's building. This only made Batman more determined to stop the creature.
Batman watched as the figure slowly moved towards the hole, planning his course of action. His mind ran through several methods of attack, but each was discarded for the moment due to lack of information. This character was obviously powerful, and something about him made Batman hold back for a moment.
The Dark Night hesitated, deciding that he could probably use some help on this one. And though his pride nearly stopped him, his instincts propelled his hand towards his belt radio. A moment later, he called to the Watchtower. The moon based headquarters of the JLA, the Justice League of America. The world’s greatest heroes, of which he was one.
"Hey Batman" a young male voice answered from the Radio, "What's up?" The voice was that of Green Lantern, the youngest member of the Justice League. Though in spite of his youth and relative inexperience, he'd proven himself time and again, even managing to do what few others had been able to…earning Batman's respect. At the moment though, he was the one on monitor duty at the Watchtower.
"Are any members of the League close to my location?" Batman asked Green Lantern, his eyes never leaving the hole in the building.
A few seconds later, Green Lantern responded, "Yeah. It looks like Wonder Woman is just a couple miles from Gotham. Why? What's up?"
"Have her follow my signal" Batman instructed, "I may need some assistance" Then with that, Batman cut communications, leaving only the tracking signal turned on so that Wonder Woman would be able to find him. He hoped that she'd be able to get there in time, knowing that her power could be valuable against the unknown threat. But for the moment, Batman couldn't wait. He'd have to deal with this until his reinforcement arrived.
Batman used one of his grappling hooks to latch onto the rubble from the hole, then swung himself through it, inside the building. A large hole in the rooms far wall showed where the intruder had gone, and Batman quickly followed.
It only took Batman a couple minutes to catch up to the intruder. He paused, seeing that the stranger was walking on the floor, holding something in his hand. A metal canister of some sort.
"Stop right there" Batman announced, stepping from the shadows, a batarang already in hand.
The intruder snapped around to face Batman, holding the metal canister tight in his hands. Suddenly, one of the gold metal tentacles that hung from the intruder's back shot forward with amazing speed, moving right at the Dark Knight. With incredible reflexes, Batman dodged out of the way, flinging the batarang in the same deft movement. And though it struck the intruder in the neck, he didn't seem to notice.
"Damn" Batman swore to himself, realizing that his opponent’s armor was protecting him. He'd have to find another method of dealing with the stranger.
Then a mass of tentacles snapped towards Batman as the intruder slowly walked forward. Batman jumped and dodged, barely managing to avoid the tentacles which keep coming closer and closer. Finally one of the tentacles snaked around his ankle, and Batman found himself flung through the air. The Dark Knight slammed into a wall with a painful thud and then slowly got back to his feet. The intruder had left him there, already walking towards its previously made exit.
Batman grimaced, and ran forward, planning to catch his opponent unaware from behind. Though he didn't like using that method, he knew that it was his best shot for the moment. However, before he could get too close, the tentacles once more snapped out around him, grabbing him tightly in their grasp. The opponent turned around and seemed to stare at Batman for a moment, before using the tentacles to throw him backwards again.
Slowly Batman got back to his feet, watching his opponent warily. His eyes drifted to the metal canister that was clutched tightly in the armored arms, noticing the symbol on its side for the first time. A feeling of grim determination came over Batman as he saw the radioactive materials warning, as he realized that this was a sample of a highly radioactive element that his company had been studying. Whomever he was, Batman didn't know what he intended with it, but it couldn't be good.
For a moment, Batman observed his opponent, searching for any clues......for any weaknesses. Several were beginning to make themselves known to him, but nothing that he could take advantage of without proper preparation. Grimly, he knew that he had to try anyway.
"Halt" a loud female voice suddenly called out.
A slight smile formed on Batman's lips as he saw who it was. "I'm glad you made it Wonder Woman" he told her, relieved that his reinforcement was there. She at least would have the power to help fight this intruder.
"And who is this?" the Amazon heroine asked, confidently watching the armored intruder. She obviously thought that she could take him and actually seemed almost eager to try. Like the warrior she was, she welcomed the chance to battle. "It makes little difference" she added, "I won't let you leave here anyway."
For a moment, the intruder stood where he was, the golden metal tentacles twisting and twitching around him. One of the tentacles lashed out towards Wonder Woman, but the amazon deftly grabbed hold of it with her hand and used it to yank her opponent closer to her.
"Careful" Batman warned, "He can also fire energy blasts from his hands"
Almost as if hearing Batman, the creature did just that, firing a blast of energy into the ground just in front of Wonder Woman. The floor around her collapsed into molten slag and ruin, though Wonder Woman remained where she was, held aloft in the air by her flying power.
"You can't take me out that easily," she told the armored intruder, grabbing hold of its tentacles even tighter, though he struggled to pull away.
When the intruder saw that he had no chance of pulling loose, he stood motionless instead, while his eye lenses started to glow a much brighter green.
"Watch out!" Batman warned, jumping to push Wonder Woman aside. However, he was too late. An ethereal green light poured out of the intruder’s eyes, seeming to fill the entire room. Batman grimaces in pain as the light filled him, running throughout his body and even into his mind. He screamed mentally, though refused to give voice to his pain. Then suddenly it stopped and with a wave of dizziness, Batman collapsed on the ground, right next to Wonder Woman.
After several moments, Batman suddenly became aware again, and instantly realized that something was very wrong. His finely honed sense of balance was very, very off. It only took the Dark Knight another moment to realize what had happened to him, and he stared down at the huge breasts that pushed out from his chest. Wonder Woman's breasts, and her costume. In fact, a quick glance confirmed that Batman seemed to have her entire body. He stood up, feeling rather wobbly in her high heels, though he quickly caught his balance and looked around. His attacker was gone, without a trace.
The Dark Knight grimaced at the thought that he'd failed and let his opponent get away, and more so at whatever that stranger had done to him. He felt so strange. And oddly, very powerful. Very strong. Stronger and more powerful than he'd ever felt in his life. Stronger even than when he'd used the drug venom. Then he reminded himself that somehow he was in Wonder Woman's body, and therefore had her powers. The situation was greatly unnerving to the Dark Knight, but his steely disciplined mind took control over his emotions, and focused itself on the new task at hand. He refused to be distracted, even by the fact that he now had the body of a very powerful amazon woman.
At that moment, Batman heard a groan, and looked down to see his own body unsteadily getting to its feet. A moment later, it looked at itself in complete shock, exclaiming "Great Hera!"
"Try to remain calm Diana" Batman instructed Wonder Woman, who was obviously confused. "Our opponent seems to have an ability that we hadn't expected. Somehow, he exchanged our minds"
"Merciful Minerva" Wonder Woman muttered darkly, looking uncomfortable. She looked down at herself and frowned, feeling so weak all of a sudden. Though Batman's body was in peak physical condition and far superior to most normal men’s, it still lacked her raw strength and power. And even worse, Wonder Woman thought with disgust, she was trapped in a MALE body. How humiliating. Beginning to get furious, Wonder Woman looked around and growled "Where is he? I'll kill the fiend"
Batman looked away from Wonder Woman, away from his own body. He stared at the gaping hole in the wall and quietly said "He's gone. Escaped."
"We have to find him and make him change us back" the former Amazon announced in a determined voice. "I won't stay like this a moment longer than I have to"
"For the moment though" Batman said in a firmly controlled voice, revealing none of his own discomfort, "We seem to have no choice. Our foe has departed, and our best option at the moment is J'onn."
Batman referred to J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter and one of the founding members of the Justice League. J'onn was, as his name implied, an alien. A survivor of a doomed race of Martians and a hero of long standing. The Manhunter possessed a great many useful powers, though the one Batman was thinking of at the moment was his telepathy. Some time ago, Hawkman and Hawkwoman had undergone a similar exchange as a result of a telepath, so the Dark Knight reasoned that the most logical solution would be using a telepath to put them back in their rightful bodies.
Wonder Woman nodded at Batman's suggestion, realizing that as always, he was correct. She didn't like it, especially not with having her team mates see her like that, but she knew it was their best shot. "Let's get to the Watchtower and get this over with" she growled to Batman in her body.
Almost instinctively, Batman reached for the grappling hook at his belt, though his hand found nothing. His grappling hook, like the rest of his tools remained on his own belt. On his own body. The Dark Knight grimaced at that reminder, though it was unnoticeable on the frozen expression that he had, even on Wonder Woman's face. At the moment, his usual style wasn't going to work, he knew. Not in an unfamiliar body. Batman quickly started running through his options, and just as quickly realized that at the moment he had several new options.
"Hang on tight," he said, gabbing Wonder Woman in his body and picking her up with unbelievable ease. Then, without a moment of hesitation, Batman jumped forward, through the hole in the building, and into mid-air. And though he'd done that same move uncountable times before, always throwing out a grappling line to catch himself, this time was different. This time the Dark Knight felt a faint thrill. This time, he didn't throw out a grappling line, and instead of falling at the mercy of gravity, he remained where he was. In mid-air. Flying.
Several moments after jumping out of the building, Batman had enough control over his newfound ability to fly that he was able to make his way to the Batmobile. Wonder Woman glared at him as he let her go, obviously embarrassed by this sudden turnabout, but she didn't say anything. Moments later, Batman had climbed into the driver’s seat, adjusting it to his now greater height, and started off towards the Batcave. Towards the transporter device hidden within that would get them safely to the moon, and their best hope. The Martian Manhunter.
Sitting silently in a crater on the moon was a sight that would have awed any observer, had there been anyone there to witness it. A huge gleaming fortress rose from the moon's surface, glinting impressively in the faint light. This was the Watchtower, headquarters of the Justice League of America, a collection of the Earths greatest heroes.
In the center of the Watchtower was the Justice League's main meeting room, which was dominated by a large round table in the middle of it. At the moment, only five members of the Justice League were physically present in the room, while the ghostly image of a woman's face hovered over the table.
The image was that of Oracle, the team's information specialist and researcher. She was never there physically, always choosing to communicate with the team via the holographic image. And though only two members of the team knew who she really was, and only one of them had ever seen her face, she was one of the most valuable members of the Justice League. At the moment, Oracle carefully watched the meeting through her computer monitor, hardly able to believe her ears.
Sitting at the table, and looking very thoughtful, was a green skinned man, if man he could truly be called. J'onn J'onzz, more commonly known as the Martian Manhunter looked up, at Wonder Woman and Batman, both standing in front of him. Off to the side stood Green Lantern, having been on monitor duty when Wonder Woman and Batman had come in with their extraordinary report. Next to Green Lantern stood the Flash, the fastest man alive, having come in to relieve Green Lantern.
J'onn looked carefully at the figures standing in front of him. At Batman and Wonder Woman, neither of whom was actually who they seemed. The Manhunter finished his telepathic scan and announced, "I'm sorry. There is nothing I can do at this moment, though I will continue to work on it"
"Thank you" Batman said, sounding surprisingly calm as he stood there in Wonder Woman's body. He looked over at Wonder Woman, standing next to him in his own body, noticing that she had regained more of her self-control and confidence since her initial shock over their exchange had occurred. "At the moment, I suggest that we focus our efforts on locating our attacker. I believe that he is the most likely solution to our…" He paused for a moment and glanced back at Wonder Woman, "problem."
Wonder Woman loudly agreed, "And when I find him....."
On the other side of the room, Green Lantern looked on in near disbelief at his senior members. If it had been anyone else, he wouldn't have believed their story of having traded bodies. He would have thought it a joke. But this was Batman, a man who Green Lantern suspected would rather die than smile, much less play any kind of prank. And Wonder Woman certainly wasn't the kind to get involved in jokes either.
Green Lantern was amazed as he watched the woman that he knew contained Batman's mind. She stood there so confidently, almost as if she was in control of the entire situation while she gave directions to the Martian Manhunter and Oracle. As if her new body, and new sex, were completely of inconsequence. Or nothing more than a minor nuisance. Amazed, Green Lantern leaned over to the Flash and whispered "Doesn't ANYTHING faze that guy?"
"Not that I've seen," Flash whispered back
At that moment, Batman announced, "I believe that this unknown foe may provide a greater threat than just causing people to trade bodies."
"I agree" Oracle's voice came through the radio. "I've just done some research, and it seems that he's been sighted in several other places, each time breaking into a building and stealing something." The ghostly head paused for a moment, then Oracle continued "From Lexcorp he stole a supply of rare metals, while a prototype fusion reactor was stolen from a government research facility in Nevada."
"He's up to something," Flash chimed in unnecessarily. "And we'd better find this exchange guy, and fast" It was obvious that Wally West, AKA the Flash, was impatient to start searching. "Who knows what he'll do next?"
"Or who," Green Lantern said faintly, barely able to take his eyes off of Wonder Woman's body. Then upon realizing that Batman was looking back at him, Green Lantern looked away in embarrassment.
"Yes." Batman said in a carefully controlled voice. He took a deep breath, well aware of the odd weight on his chest moving, though he showed no sign of this. "Who knows what kind of damage Exchange will do," he finished, using the Flash's reference as a temporary name, until they could find out more about their opponent.
The Manhunter stood up, and announced "I will alert the rest of the League to the situation, and suggest that we all look for.....Exchange." Then J'onn noticed that Batman looked lost in thought, though he didn't doubt that he was still fully aware of everything going on around him. "Batman?" he asked.
"There's something that bothers me," the Dark Knight mused aloud.
"Really?" Green Lantern snickered sarcastically, chuckling as he tried to keep his eyes from Batman's new chest. However, with a quick glare from Wonder Woman, he once again looked away. "Sorry Wonder...I mean Batman," Green Lantern apologized hastily. Batman however seemed to notice neither the comment or the apology.
"Why did he just cause us to exchange bodies?" Batman asked aloud, looking around the room. "Or leave us alive while we were incapacitated? It was obvious from his power that he was capable of more than just this," he gestured down at his body, giving a slight look of embarrassment, which vanished too quickly for anyone but Wonder Woman and Oracle to notice.
The talk continued as they considered possible strategies for locating Exchange and for forcing him to change them back once they had him. Finally, the Martian Manhunter said, "I believe that we should convene the whole team…just in case."
"Agreed," Both Batman and Wonder Woman echoed together. Flash and Green Lantern looked at each other and shrugged.
"Then let's find this villain," the former amazon princess growled in her male voice, eager to get back to her body. She felt so...uncomfortable...as a man. Then she continued, "and make him wish for Hades' comfort."
"Um...Batman..." Green Lantern said hesitantly, looking at Batman's body, "...I mean Wonder Woman. Um...how exactly are you two going to fight?" he gestured at Wonder Woman and then at Batman, "I mean, it's not like you’re at your best"
Wonder Woman looked insulted by the challenge to her abilities, and was about to correct Green Lantern, when to everyone's surprise, Batman said "He's right. Neither of us are in any condition to fight at the moment. We're unfamiliar with our bodies and our usual fighting techniques won't be effective."
After a moment, Wonder Woman nodded agreement. "But I refuse to idly sit by while others fight my battles." She looked around proudly, daring anyone to argue with her. "And I don't believe that you will either," she gave Batman a knowing look.
Batman looked thoughtful for a moment, then said "I suggest that we try to familiarize ourselves with our new bodies. We both need to learn how to fight in them." Soon it was agreed that both Batman and Wonder Woman would use Watchtower's gym to begin work on their training.
With everything having been agreed on, the meeting was soon over. Green Lantern gave the Flash a cocky grin as he left the other man to monitor duty, while he was about to go home to his girlfriend Jenny. Wonder Woman and Batman went towards the gym, each anticipating a long and grueling workout. Oracle's holographic face vanished from above the meeting table as she cut off transmission, and the Martian Manhunter disappeared without anyone noticing.
Barbara Gordon pushed back from her computer monitor and sighed. She removed her glasses and wearily rubbed her eyes, thinking about what she'd just found out. Batman in Wonder Woman's body. The very idea seemed ridiculous, and even though she knew how serious it was, it still made Barbara feel slightly amused.
Putting her glasses back on, Barbara moved her wheelchair away from her large computer console, thinking about the Justice League. Every time she attended one of their meetings, she always came away feeling regretful. And envious. Every time she saw one of them, it only served to remind her that she too had once worn a costume. That at one time, she had also been a hero. That she had been Batgirl. Unfortunately, one bullet, courtesy of the Joker, had quickly ended that career. It had shattered her spine, and left her trapped in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
But even then, Barbara had refused to give up. She'd refused to stop helping people. Since Barbara no longer had the use of her legs, she'd turned to her other talents. To her ability with computers and researching information. With grim determination, she focused on using what she did have, becoming Oracle. Barbara thought it ironic that only now, when she was no longer a hero, had she been invited to help the Justice League.
After getting herself a fresh cup of coffee, Barbara returned to her computers and stared at them for a moment. "I guess I'd better get on Batman's problem," she mused aloud, already considering where she'd start searching for Exchange first. Barbara took a sip of coffee and began her work.
Twenty minutes after she'd begun, Barbara had found no leads yet, though she knew that the search was just beginning. Suddenly the lights, and her computers all went dead. "Shit," Barbara growled, waiting several minutes before the emergency generators came on. "Nothing works right since that damned earthquake," she thought angrily about the massive tremor that had hit Gotham months earlier, doing extensive amounts of damage. And unfortunately, though she had backup power to her equipment, even that wasn't working quite right.
Barbara waited patiently, slowly counting backwards from one hundred. When she reached seventy-nine, the lights suddenly came back on, and her computers with them. "About time," she growled, quickly returning to work, and praying that she could find the solution that her team mates needed.
Green Lantern flew across the sky, smiling as he spotted his apartment building below. "Finally," he said aloud to no one in particular, relieved to get away from the Watchtower for awhile. And more importantly, to get back to the love of his life. With that, Green Lantern made sure that no one was watching then flew in threw the window. As soon as he was inside, the green glow around him faded, and he stood there in his black and white costume with green trim, and a big grin on his face.
With a quick thought to the ring on his hand, Green Lantern's costume vanished, being replaced with street clothes. Kyle Rayner, the latest Green Lantern looked at the green ring on his hand, the source of all his Green Lantern powers, and grinned. No matter how many times he used it, he could never get over how amazing that ring was.
"Hey Jenny," Kyle called out, walking into the living room where he immediately spotted a woman with green skin and hair laying back on the couch. "I'm home," he said unnecessarily.
"About time handsome," she said with a smile, quickly making her way over to Kyle and greeting him with a passionate kiss.
As with the ring, no matter how many times he saw her, Kyle could never get over how beautiful his girlfriend Jenny was. Even her green skin and hair only served to make her more exotic and attractive. And what was more, she understood Kyle's ‘career’ having once been a super hero called Jade herself. In fact, she'd even been a Green Lantern for a short time, though she was currently retired. "Miss me lover?" she asked seductively once they broke away.
"You know it gorgeous," Kyle responded with a grin. Still grinning, Kyle chuckled and said, "You'll NEVER believe what happened to Batman..."
Batman stifled a grunt as he lifted the weight above his head. It was far more weight than he'd ever lifted before, or imagined that he'd ever lift. He held several tons in his hands and he still had the impression that he could lift far more. Then, satisfied with what he'd done, Batman set the weight back to the floor, impressed in spite of himself. He'd always known that Wonder Woman was strong, but to actually possess that strength himself... Suddenly realizing how much he was enjoying his newfound power, Batman grasped his emotions firmly, refusing to let himself enjoy them too much. He had to get back to his own body and refused to be tempted by mere power.
For the last several hours, Batman and Wonder Woman had worked hard in the Watchtower gym, each training to familiarize themselves with their new bodies. Each knowing that their returning to normal, and even more importantly, that their very lives would depend on how well they could handle themselves, on how well they could fight in each other's bodies.
The Dark Knight had quickly found that his newfound body was relatively easy to control, as well as very strong and powerful. He quickly mastered the ability to fly, and even using the true owner's magic lasso. A task that was made much easier by his frequent use of grappling hooks and ropes himself. However, he was greatly disappointed to find that his new body lacked the speed and agility of his own. His hardest task though, was to keep his mind off of his body's changes. Off his unfamiliar balance and the other more personal changes. Even his steely discipline was beginning to fade under that difficulty.
Wonder Woman on the other hand was having a more difficult time, dealing with the loss of all her powers as well as her unfamiliar new body. She panted in exhaustion, having spent the last few hours learning how far she could push her new body. And though it was far weaker than her own, she was amazed at just how quick and agile it was. She found that though she could no longer use her usual fighting tactics, many of the fighting moves that she'd learned which required speed were nearly as effective, especially with Batman there to show her several new moves.
The former amazon felt tired from her exercise but refused to show any sign of weakness. Her own disciplined warriors mind pushed her forward, refusing to let such a minor thing as exhaustion stop her. Especially not in front of Batman. He was a man who had no powers, but she'd long ago learned not to underestimate him. His mind and intelligence never ceased to amaze her, not to mention the skill with which he fought. Even Superman would have hesitated before confronting him. The Dark Knight was a true warrior and well worthy of her respect. And if he could fight without powers, then so could she. Keeping that thought in mind, Wonder Woman continued with her workout, forcing herself to ignore the pain and weariness.
Finally, they paused for a break and Batman looked at her intently. "You're tired," he said simply. It was a statement, not a question. Wonder Woman reluctantly admitted that she was, though she showed little outward sign of it. "I'm not surprised," the Dark Knight responded slowly, "That body has been awake and active for 37 and a half hours with little rest. Perhaps we should both rest while we can. It might be awhile before we have another opportunity."
Wonder Woman agreed, and since they knew that neither of them could return to their respective homes at the moment, they both started walking to the sleeping quarters area of the Watchtower. There were guest rooms, and rooms that had been reserved for each of the active members of the JLA. They were a place to store spare costumes, weapons and to rest when they required it.
Batman followed Wonder Woman to her room, his careful attention noticing how tired she was, though she hid it well. He suspected that very few others would have noticed it. Once Inside, Wonder Woman looked thoughtful. "About your mask..."
The Dark Knight immediately understood what she meant. It was his own face and his own identity that was at risk. For a moment, he hesitated, considering their options, but quickly realized that they would need to trust each other now more than ever. "Like this," he said, removing the cape and cowl from her. "Though I would appreciate it if you remained in this room and didn't see anyone without it." He forced a smile.
"Thank you" She said simply, then began to undress, forcing herself to act nonchalant and remain in control.
"Good night Diana" Batman whispered as she started climbing into bed. And with that done, Batman nodded faintly, then turned and left the room.
Several minutes later, Batman was in his own reserved quarters, locking the door behind him. He didn't want any interruptions. He slowly walked over to the full length mirror and frowned as he observed his new body. Wonder Woman's body. For the first time since the intruder had exchanged their minds, Batman was free to relax his guard and examine his new body. He felt somewhat embarrassed, and guilty, but he pushed those feelings aside with practiced ease, instead reminding himself that he would need to be familiar with his new body if he wished to survive. Especially since he didn't have any idea how long he might be in it.
Snapping back to his accustomed focus, Batman stripped out of Wonder Woman's clothes, gently dropping them to the ground. It took every ounce of self-control that he possessed not to stop and examine himself further, to act as if everything was normal. But somehow, he managed to do so.
He gently set the magic lasso on the bed, briefly considering whether or not he should give it back to its rightful owner and take his own accustomed weapons back for his own use. That could wait, he decided, already moving towards the shower stall. Batman washed his body quickly and efficiently, refusing to give in to his curiosity. Refusing to give in to the temptation which he considered to be an invasion of his friend’s privacy.
When Batman was finished, he sat down on the floor, cross-legged and started meditating. He knew that it would take all the focus which he possessed not to be distracted by his new body, or the tempting power which came with it. For the moment, Oracle would be capable of the search, and all he could do was wait for his opportunity. And prepare.
In a large room in the Watchtower that was filled with dozens of TV and computer screens, sat a lone figure. A black haired woman, dressed from head to toe in shades of purple and violet, started intently at the monitor's before her, looking for something. For anything.
The Huntress growled to herself as she glared at the monitors in front of her, bored out of her mind. "Why did I join the Justice League?" She asked herself aloud. Since she'd replaced the Flash on monitor duty several hours earlier, all she'd done was sit and stare at screens. She would have much rather been out stopping criminals, which was the reason she'd become a hero in the first place.
In fact, the only interesting thing that had happened since she'd gotten on duty, was that she'd found out that Batman and Wonder Woman had somehow traded bodies. She chuckled slightly at that, thinking how the Dark Knight was handling his new situation. But unfortunately, she hadn't seen either Batman or Wonder Woman, making her wonder if the Flash had just been pulling her leg. Not too unlikely, except that the Martian Manhunter had also relayed that to her, instructing her to watch especially for any reports of that Exchange character.
Forcing herself to be patient, the Huntress shifted her position and began scanning through news reports again. Hopefully something would turn up. The very thought of her being the one to find Exchange and tell Batman, made her grin to herself. "That would show that smug bastard," she mused. Keeping that thought in mind, the Huntress returned to her searching with a renewed determination.
"DAMN," Barbara Gordon growled as her computer monitors blanked out again. "I've got to get that fixed," she told herself, thinking about how the recent earthquake had damaged her equipment. Unfortunately, though she'd managed to get most of it up and working again, several problems continued to reappear, almost by magic. Her semi-frequent power outages were only the latest and the most annoying.
Barbara sighed and impatiently waited for the power to return, thinking that she'd never find anything out about Exchange at this rate. She glared at her usually reliable computers, knowing that she didn't have time for this. There was no telling what that new threat could be up to and she knew that it was imperative to find him. If not to just stop him, then to at least get Batman back in his own body. He'd come through for her far too many times in the past for her to consider failing him. Not now when he might need her more than ever.
Finally the power returned, but Barbara started to return to her work, annoyed to find that several circuit breakers had apparently popped during the latest outage and some of her equipment seemed to be damaged. "Cheap junk," she mumbled, in spite of the fact that her equipment was anything but cheap. But unfortunately, she didn't have the time to keep dealing with the power and repairs.
Her mind quickly started considering options, thinking about the equipment in the Bat Cave. That was close enough to hers that she could easily have used it to continue to the search, but she suspected that Batman might be having some equipment problems as well because of the quake. "Damn" she mumbled again, wearily rubbing at her eyes and trying to come up with a solution.
Finally, an idea presented itself to Barbara. "The Watchtower," she whispered aloud, realizing that the JLA's headquarters had computer equipment that dwarfed her own. And though she'd never physically been there, she had frequently accessed those computers from her own so as to utilize the much vaster recourses. The recourses which she knew would help her find a solution to the Justice League's latest problem, and most importantly, to Batman's.
Barbara immediately thought of the Bat Cave again, specifically, the transporter device that she knew was hidden within. As one of the few people who actually had access to Batman's lair, she knew that she could use it to get to the Watchtower, and to the advanced computers that she needed.
Having made up her mind, Barbara glared at the computer console then turned away, moving her wheelchair towards the door. This was going to be her first time in the Watchtower, and she hoped that she could manage it without being seen by her team mates. Most of them hadn't seen her face yet and had no idea who she really was. She knew that her exposure was a risk but one that she was willing to take. She had a mission to complete, and one that she was determined would not fail.
Barbara had made her way to the Bat Cave and from there to the Watchtower with relative ease. And once she was on the Watchtower, a program that she'd once installed in the computer, just for such an emergency, prevented it from alerting anyone to her presence. As she pushed her wheelchair out of the transporter room, Barbara carefully brought up the Watchtower's schematics that she'd long ago committed to memory and plotted her route to the backup computer room. A route which would avoid where anyone else was likely to be.
Trying to be as quiet as she could be as she rolled her wheelchair through the halls, Barbara became impressed in spite of herself. The windows which let her view the surface of the moon made her nearly gasp in awe. Evidence of highly advanced technology was evident everywhere, a gift from New Genesis. And though she'd memorized the schematics, and even seen the inside of the Watchtower from her monitors, that was nothing compared to the real thing.
When she saw that no one else was in the halls, Barbara began to wonder just how different the other places in the Watchtower would look in real life. Her curiosity began to grow stronger, and almost in spite of herself, she found that she'd changed course, heading towards the meeting room. "One quick peak," she promised herself, "then I'll get out before anyone sees me."
It only took Barbara several minutes to reach the central meeting room, still not having seen a sign of another person, much to her relief. When she rolled into the room, she held back a gasp, staring at the large round table, ringed with chairs. Almost on autopilot, she moved around to the back of the table, to the chair with that was marked with a large black bat in the middle of a yellow field. Batman's symbol. And his chair.
Barbara smiled faintly, while at the same time, sighing in regret. She couldn't help but think back to the time when she too had worn the symbol of a bat. But that was long ago, she reminded herself, and now she had other responsibilities. Responsibilities which she knew she had to get back to instead of sight seeing.
As Barbara was beginning to turn, she was startled by the sound of voices. Before she could move, three people stepped into the room, stopping suddenly as they saw her.
"What the...?" Superman exclaimed, obviously surprised at seeing a red headed woman in a wheelchair in the middle of their headquarters.
The blonde haired and bearded Aquaman looked equally startled, though regained his composure more quickly.
"Who are you?" The purple clad Huntress demanded, aiming a crossbow straight at Barbara.
"How'd you get in here?" Superman demanded before Barbara had a chance to answer.
Aquaman held his hooked left hand out menacingly, and looked squarely at Barbara. "Only members of the Justice League are allowed in here, girl."
Barbara just stared at them for a moment, silently berating herself for getting caught. She felt so embarrassed next to them, but at the same time, she was beginning to get angry. "I am with the Justice League," she snapped without really thinking. When she realized what she'd just said, she knew that she couldn't back out now. It was time to play her cards, "I have every right to be here!"
Suddenly a new voice added itself to the room. "She's right," the confident female voice said. Everyone nearly jumped as they saw that Wonder Woman had entered the room, or more precisely, Batman in Wonder Woman's body. Even now he seemed to sneak in without anybody noticing. "She does have every right to be here," he continued. Batman stopped, a faint look of curiosity visible on his face as he looked at Barbara. He quickly turned to the others and gestured towards Barbara, "Let me introduce you to Oracle."
"ORACLE??" the other three exclaimed at once, staring at Barbara with renewed interest, though no longer hostile. Except for the Huntress, who had at least put away her crossbow while she glared menacingly.
"Yes," Barbara told them in a firm voice, "I am Oracle," sounding as if she was daring them to make something of it.
Superman seemed to recover first and forced a smile. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you in person," he said, extending a hand which Barbara willingly shook.
"An honor," Aquaman stated, still standing back.
Barbara looked around, then caught Batman's eyes. She could scarcely credit her eyes, hardly able to believe that this amazon woman was really the Dark Knight. However, there was something in the way he stood and carried himself, as well as in the look in his face, that removed any doubts that Barbara might have had. Undeniably, this was Batman. Regardless of who's body he wore.
"I am curious as to why you are here in person," He stated, simply and to the point.
Barbara sighed in embarrassment, then reluctantly admitted her equipment failure, and her inability to repair it in time. The others seemed to accept this, though the Huntress remained silent the whole time, doing nothing but glaring at Barbara suspiciously. Finally, she was free to go to the computers and get back to work. Hopefully, she thought as she wheeled her way out of the meeting room, she'd be able to get results before the Justice League meeting that was scheduled for two hours later.
After having been working hard with the Justice League computers and scanners for nearly an hour, Barbara still hadn't found much more than she'd started with. Exchange remained just as much a mystery now as when she'd begun. "What can he be up to?" she mused aloud, pulling off her glasses and rubbing at her eyes.
Suddenly a loud siren went off, nearly making Barbara jump. "What the hell?" she exclaimed as she put her glasses back on and frantically looked for any signs of what was setting the siren off. Then, she remembered that it was the intruder alarm.
Just at that moment, Aquaman's voice came over the intercom, announcing "We've got an intruder in section seven. Be careful...It's Exchange"
“Exchange?” Barbara gasped, pushing her chair out of the computer room. As soon as she got into the hallway, she was nearly ran into by a black clad figure. "Batman..." Barbara exclaimed, then stopped as she remembered that this was Wonder Woman, not the man that she seemed. However, Wonder Woman barely seemed to notice Barbara, except for the rapid jump which sent her clear of Barbara's chair.
Suddenly, from around the corner at the end of the hall, Barbara could see golden metal tentacles, coming around the corner. Wonder Woman saw them too, coming to a complete stop, though readying herself in a fighting stance. Then, there he was. The enemy that they called Exchange. He slowly walked around the corner, his gray chitenous armor looking threatening and alien. His golden tentacles whipping back and forth from his back, almost as if seeking something to grab onto. Slowly, the intruder turned, looking at Wonder Woman and Barbara with his eerie green eyes.
"Get to safety," Wonder Woman called back to Barbara in Batman's gruff voice, "This one's mine."
Barbara gasped, recognizing the anticipation in that voice. Then she shook her head, reminding herself that she wasn't capable of dealing with Exchange and had better do what Wonder Woman had ordered. With only one more backwards glance towards Exchange and his tentacles that were lashing out at former amazon, Barbara started rolling as fast as she could to the other end of the hallway.
Finally Barbara reached the door at the other end, though her arms were aching from the strain of pushing her wheelchair so fast. She turned and glanced back once more, only to see Wonder Woman, in Batman's body, thrown backwards, while Exchange continued to walk forward…towards Barbara.
She looked around frantically for something to defend herself with, or at least to help her avoid the attacker. Fortunately, Barbara quickly realized that she was in the trophy room, surrounded by an arsenal of potential weapons, but only if she could get them out of their glass cases. Quickly, she moved to the nearest case, seeing the energy gun that had been used by one of Darkseid's Parademons. She pounded on the case, looking for a way to open it but finding none. But even as she searched for a way to open the case, Barbara's mind searched for answers to the questions that filled her. Like why was Exchange on the Watchtower and how did he even manage it? But before she could figure out any answers, to either the question of the trophy case or to Exchange, there he was.
Exchange slowly stepped in through the door, his tentacles waving about around him. He seemed not to notice Barbara as his attention seemed to be focused on the far wall. Slowly, he stepped forward, past Barbara and towards the wall. Towards the trophy cases which lined it.
Barbara glanced down the hall, seeing that Batman's body was struggling to get to its feet. Then she let out a sigh of relief at the realization that Wonder Woman was all right. With that out of the way, she stared at the trophy wall that Exchange seemed so intent on, trying to remember what those things were. Trying to guess which of those items might be Exchanges target, and for what purpose.
Suddenly something struck the intruder, making him turn quickly. Barbara's eyes followed his, relieved to see that it was the Huntress, standing at the door way with crossbow in hand. "Get out of my way," the black haired vigilante called as she ran past Barbara, firing yet another crossbow bolt at Exchange. The bolt struck him clean in the chest, though it bounced off his armor and fell broken to the ground. And what was worse, he barely seemed to notice it. "Oh shit" the Huntress exclaimed, firing another bolt and hoping that some of the more powerful members would get there soon.
A red beam of light flashed from off to the side as Superman entered the fray with his heat vision. "I'll take care of him," he called aloud as he flew towards the intruder with great speed.
Then somehow, one of Exchanges tentacles lashed out and managed to catch the Man of Steel by the ankle. Superman reached down to remove it, only to be caught by several more metallic tendrils. Exchange gave Superman a steady look from his green lensed eyes, then tossed the Man of Steel backwards, to the far end of the trophy room.
It was obvious that Superman wasn't hurt in the slightest, but he stood where he was, warily watching Exchange and trying to anticipate what their latest foe would do next. Superman frowned, knowing that he was probably more powerful than his opponent, but not knowing what his opponent was capable of. A quick thought of Batman and Wonder Woman reminded him more of that.
"I wish Batman were here already," he thought to himself, knowing that the Dark Knight had the most experience with this character.
Then suddenly, one of Exchanges tentacles lashed out towards a trophy case, shattering the glass and wrapping around the item within.
"Oh no you don't," the Huntress exclaimed with a determined expression, firing one more crossbow bolt at the tentacle and item, knocking it from Exchanges grasp. She saw that the intruder was about to pick it up again, and fired yet another bolt, this one an explosive one.
The explosive bolt went off on Exchange’s chest, knocking him backwards and staggering him. They all witnessed the intruder look around as the various members of the JLA slowly gathered, Batman having just stepped into the room, though standing back cautiously next to Superman for the moment.
Barbara looked around, feeling worse than useless. All she could do was sit off to the side of the room while the others all fought. She couldn't help but feeling envious, remembering a time when she would have been in there with them. "God, I wish I had a batarang" she muttered under her breath, looking for something that could be used against Exchange. Though she knew a batarang would have been next to useless, the familiar weapon would have at least made her feel more confident.
Then Exchange moved closer to Barbara again as he attempted to wrap his tentacles around the Huntress, who was still firing away with the exploding arrows. Suddenly, his green eyes started glowing brighter.
"GET BACK!" Batman ordered abruptly, "NOW!"
Quickly, the others stepped back, neither Barbara or the Huntress were able to as the green light intensified, then exploded outward in a near wave. Barbara screamed as she felt the tingling green energy wash over her, filling her with an intense pain that seemed to set fire to every nerve of her body. Then just as quickly as it had started, it stopped and Barbara collapsed in exhaustion.
The other's watched in horror, helpless as the green energy poured out from Exchange, and as Oracle collapsed in her wheelchair while the Huntress fell to the ground. Exchange looked around at the Justice League which had him outnumbered, then back to the item it had dropped to the floor. It slowly moved back towards it, but Superman yelled out "NOW" and everyone rushed the intruder at once. Then in a sudden burst of light, Exchange was gone.
"He teleported" Superman exclaimed, sounding almost as if his opponent's doing so was unfair.
"We've got more important things to worry about," Batman said quietly, already moving towards the motionless bodies of their teammates. The others looked on in concern, but Batman seemed unaffected as he quickly and methodically checked Barbara for a pulse and any signs of damage. When he found none, he moved over to the Huntress, verifying that she too was all right. At least physically.
When Barbara came back to, she groaned from the headache that greeted her. Cautiously, she opened her eyes, remembering the confrontation with Exchange, and the strange green light.
"She's awake" Barbara heard somebody say.
"Barb....Oracle?" Barbara heard in a female voice, that took her a moment to realize came from Wonder Woman. Or actually, Batman, she reminded herself.
"Yes?" she hesitantly replied, feeling her stomach lurch when it come out in an unfamiliar voice. Unfamiliar to her throat at least. Barbara gulped as she sat up, and cautiously lifted her hand to look at. Her fears and suspicions were immediately confirmed as she saw a purple glove decorating her hand. The Huntress's glove. "Oh no," she gasped, looking down at herself in amazement.
Still feeling somewhat dazed, Barbara stood up, gasping as she did so. She was amazed as she got to her feet, actually being able to stand up. After years of being trapped in a wheelchair, she couldn't contain her excitement as she started walking forward, testing her new legs. Then she saw her own body in the wheelchair, and the Huntress beginning to come too.
"Oh no," she whispered again, her enthusiasm dampened by the realization of what her being able to walk had cost the Huntress.
Barbara slowly walked over to where the Huntress was waking up in her body. She forced herself to hold back the tears of guilt she was feeling as she saw the Huntress's reaction upon waking in a body that couldn't walk. After giving the Huntress a moment to think, Barbara whispered to her "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry"
The Huntress just glared at her for a moment, almost as if hating her for what had happened. Then the other woman forced a smile and said "It's not your fault"
"We'll get back to normal" Barbara promised her. "I won't leave you trapped..." The Huntress just nodded doubtfully, while the others looked on in sympathy.
A short while after the attack, the Justice League members who were currently aboard the Watchtower gathered in the meeting room, awaiting the arrival of the rest of the team. The Huntress sat in Barbara's wheelchair, glowering at anyone that looked at her, while Barbara took great delight in the simple act of pacing. She couldn't help it. After having been trapped in her wheelchair since the Joker had shot her, she felt so free. So healthy and alive. Like she hadn't felt in years. Even her guilty feelings about the Huntress couldn't dim the excitement she felt too much.
"Wait till I get my hands on him again...." Wonder Woman was saying to Aquaman
"I know what you mean" Barbara said, thinking about how useless her information gathering had been so far, and anticipating a chance to be productive, "I want a chance at Exchange as well"
The others stopped talking and stared at Barbara in disapproval. "I know you mean well Oracle" Superman said in a lecturing tone, "but you aren't going to be of much use to us in a fight. You may look like the Huntress for now, but you aren't her."
Barbara stared at Superman for a moment, trying to keep her mouth from dropping open at the way he'd just talked to her. She felt so humiliated at being patronized like that, her cheeks turning bright red. Though she was furious, she forced herself to act calm, glancing briefly at Batman in the corner who was watching the exchange silently, then at everyone else.
"You're right" Barbara said in a forced even voice, "I'm not the Huntress." With a forced smile, she added "And this isn't really my style anyway." Then Barbara snapped around and marched out of the meeting room, leaving a startled Justice League behind her.
Though Barbara was angry at having been treated in such a way by Superman, she wasn't about to let herself be ruled by it. She'd learned long ago not to be ruled by her anger or bitterness. Instead, she needed something to focus on. And with a grin, she knew exactly what she was going to do, and started towards her destination in the Watchtower.
The Justice League sat around their meeting table, each watching Batman, Wonder Woman and the Huntress warily. Steel, Green Lantern, Flash, the Martian Manhunter and Plastic Man had all arrived, and been updated on the latest changes.
While Batman sat silently in his seat, apparently unconcerned by his new female body, Plastic Man strutted back and forth behind him, having changed his shape to that of an overexaggerated cartoon woman in an attempt for attention. The other members, even having already gotten used to his antics, were still mildly annoyed. Batman however seemed oblivious to the groups jokester.
"Where's Oracle at?" the Flash asked, sounding concerned. Ever since he'd heard about Exchange's latest attack, he couldn't help but feeling sorry for the Huntress, and even more for Oracle. He could just imagine how horrible it would be to suddenly get out of the wheelchair he'd just found out she'd been in, and then have to go right back. He suspected that when things were set right, she'd be devastated.
"Probably pouting," The Huntress grumbled, obviously still upset and trying to hide her fear with aggression.
Suddenly the meeting room door slid open, and a figure stepped in. A tall raven haired woman, dressed with a cape of dark blue, with a matching point eared cowl. She wore a costume of a dark gray, with yellow boots, gloves and belt. A yellow symbol was obvious on her chest, as the woman stood there silently.
"Oracle?" Green Lantern asked in confusion.
"I've decided to go back to an older name for now," Barbara said with a smile, stepping further into the room so that they could all get a view of her new costume. "You can call me Batgirl."
The members of the JLA all stared at her in surprise, half of them with their mouths hanging open. Then Batman stood up in his new amazon body, and an uncharacteristic smile, as faint as it was, appeared on his face, shocking the rest of the team even more. "Welcome back...Batgirl"
The noise level quickly rose inside the room which served as the meeting place for the Justice League of America, as each of the members arrived for the impending meeting.
Green Lantern stood by the main entrance, nervously watching as his fellow Leaguers gathered around, slowly finding their seats one by one. His eyes wandered over to what appeared to be Batman, sitting in Wonder Woman's seat, though he knew appearances were definitely deceiving. Next, Green Lantern looked at Steel, who was calmly talking to the Martian Manhunter about plans for increased fortifications of the Watchtower. The others also gathered around, each doing their own thing.
However, the person that Green Lantern's eyes lingered on the longest was the red headed girl in a wheelchair. A girl whom he'd been told was really the Huntress, in Oracle's body, all courtesy of Exchange's latest attack. An attack, which the Justice League had managed to fight off, at the cost of Oracle and Huntress trading bodies.
"Impressive, isn't it?" A female voice suddenly said from just behind Green Lantern, nearly making him jump in surprise.
Green Lantern turned quickly, and saw what appeared to be Wonder Woman standing there, a controlled expression on her face. Green Lantern gulped as she walked past him, into the room itself. Even in Wonder Woman's body, Batman still had the tendency to sneak up on him, much to his embarrassment.
"Let's get this meeting started" Superman called aloud, ordering everybody to their seats. Moments later, everyone was seated and watching the Man of Steel, who stood up and looked around. "Our numbers are a little short today" He announced. "Orion and Barda were both temporarily recalled to New Genesis, so won't be able to join us"
"And who knows where the hell Zauriel is?" The Flash exclaimed cheerfully, referring to the teams angelic member.
"Or more likely, where in Heaven" Green Lantern added, grinning to the Flash.
At that moment, Plastic Man stuck his nose into it, literally. Plastic Man's neck stretched so that his head was in the middle of the table, while his nose stretched out further for some reason. "And where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" He asked in an announcers voice, though most of the team tried to ignore him.
Then Green Lantern’s attention was drawn to the door as someone else made her entry. The whole room was awash in shock and disbelief as Batgirl entered, introducing herself, and even being welcomed by Batman. All Green Lantern could think to do was stare, hardly believing that this was the same Oracle that had been giving them information, and in the Huntress's body no less.
After the commotion had settled down, Batgirl seated herself in one of the unused seats around the table, and Superman once again called the room to attention. "All right everyone" he carefully set something on top of the table. A bowling ball sized sphere which seemed to be made of a silvery metal, though with several holes around it which emitted an eerie orange light. "This appears to be what Exchange was after when he broke in here earlier. Fortunately, the Huntress was able to stop him from getting it"
At this, Wonder Woman, or actually Batman, Green Lantern reminded himself, stood up. "This was brought back to Earth several years ago by Hal Jordan," he stated simply, then looked around. "It is definitely alien in origin, though of what race and for what purpose, we don't know as of yet. However, he had left it with the Justice League for safe keeping, saying only that it was dangerous."
Everybody murmured at that and Green Lantern sighed. Yet another mess that he had to clean up, thanks to his predecessor as Green Lantern. Ever since he had become Green Lantern, he'd been having run-ins with Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern turned villain. He only hoped that this wasn't another one.
"Thank you Wonder Wo...Batman" Superman corrected with an embarrassed grin. "Exchange might try for this again," Superman warned them, "So we have to be on guard."
Again the talk commenced as they each speculated on what Exchange might be up to and where he'd strike again. However, none of them had any solid proof, so were limited to theory only for the moment.
Finally, Plastic Man jumped up yelling "I know, I know. He's trying to steal all the Beanie Babies in the world"
Wonder Woman, in Batman's body, yelled "SHUT UP and sit DOWN!"
Almost immediately, Plastic Man was once again in his seat, looking hurt but at least silent.
"Thank you Bat...Diana" Superman sighed. "I'm sorry" he apologized, glancing at her and then at Batman, "This is a little confusing"
Batman nodded faintly, while Green Lantern mumbled, "No kidding"
For a moment, Wonder Woman looked around, then she sighed. "To make it less confusing until we change back...." she cast a sidelong look towards her former body, "I suggest that you call us by the names of the body's we're in." She looked somewhat pained by the suggestion she'd just made, but obviously thought that it was the best solution.
Reluctantly, Batman added "I agree." Then with that, the new Wonder Woman sat back again silently, with a typical Batman look on her face.
"All right...Wonder Woman" the Flash said, looking at the former Batman uncomfortably.
Superman sighed. "Now that that's settled..."
Just then, a loud alarm went off, and everybody froze. "I'll get it," the Flash said, then faster than anyone could see, he was off to the monitor room. Less than five seconds after he'd taken off, the Flash was back, with a panicked look on his face.
"It's him," the Flash exclaimed, "He's been sighted in Metropolis, attacking STAR Labs." he gave Superman a serious look, and quietly added. "And he's not alone"
At that last, the entire Justice League looked at each other nervously. Exchange was enough of an unknown already, but another one...
"Then" Superman proclaimed as he looked around the room, a determined look on his face, "we WILL stop that one as well." The tone of his voice gave no doubt that failure was not an option.
Soon the Justice League had arrived in Metropolis with the aid of their transporters. It was obvious as soon as they arrived that something was wrong at STAR labs. Smoke billowed from the roof, from the inside of a gaping hole that had been blasted there. Obviously Exchange had been through there.
Superman frowned, fearing for the worst. At the same time, rage was beginning to form as he thought about Exchange. About how their opponent had not only dared to break into the Watchtower, but now attacked Metropolis itself. Superman's home.
Quickly taking everything in, Superman didn't see any sign of the second opponent that the Flash had reported. But he didn't doubt that he was around there somewhere.
"Careful everybody," he ordered. "We don't want any repeats of the last time we confronted Exchange. Keep your distance if you can, but don't let him get away."
Wonder Woman looked thoughtful for a moment, then said "He's repeating what he did in Gotham. He's burning his way through to his target." Then she turned to the Martian Manhunter and told him to use his telepathy to learn everything he could about their foe. "Hopefully that will give us what we need to stop him."
Just as the team was about to split up and enter the building, they saw something moving within the smoldering hole. A moment later, Exchange was there, floating in the air as he slowly arose through it. Golden tentacles waved gently around him, and he held something clutched tightly in his hands. When Exchange noticed the Justice League, surrounding him as he left the hole, he paused where he was.
Suddenly, a loud grunt erupted from the air, as a huge creature climbed out of the smoldering hole. It stood at least ten feet tall, completely covered with red and black armor, except for its face which seemed only vaguely human, looking as gray and solid as if it were carved of stone. The creature grunted again, this time in a challenge as it jumped in front of Exchange, obviously readying itself to defend its master.
"Oh boy," Green Lantern said, "He's sure a big one."
With a loud yell, Batman jumped at the creature, using none of the finesse or style that they were used to seeing from him. Instead, Batman attacked with the raw abandon of someone who was used to much more strength and power. Then with almost lightning fast reflexes, the creature swatted back at Batman, sending him flying. The new Dark Knight would have gone over the edge of the building, had not the Flash caught him in mid-air.
"He may be big," Wonder Woman warned, "but he's also very fast"
At this, the creature grunted again, then charged forward at the heroes. They dodged away from him, all except for Wonder Woman who caught his wrist, and used a judo throw to fling the monster to the ground. But it didn't stay there. A moment later, it was back on its feet, and once again moving towards the largest grouping of heroes.
Green Lantern just grinned and focused his concentration through his ring, forming a large green cage of energy around the monster. "That should hold him," he proudly exclaimed.
However, the monster grunted once more, gripping the bars and shattering the cage as if it were made of glass. The creature started to advance once more.
Suddenly something flew right out of the hole in the roof, and directly at the creature. It reacted with incredible speed, knocking it's attacker aside. The latest attacker rolled on the ground, revealing itself to be a woman. Slowly, she stood up, shaking and looking bruised. A blonde haired woman with a costume of white and blue, even having a blue headband wrapped around her forehead.
"Power Girl" Flash exclaimed, immediately recognizing his former team mate from an earlier incarnation of the Justice League.
The battered Power Girl wiped the blood from her nose, then looked around, obviously startled to see the Justice League. "I heard on the radio that STAR Labs was under attack and thought I'd give a hand." she offered, her eyes staying on the creature. "I expected Superman to show up, but not the rest of you."
Superman nodded, then realized that something was wrong. They'd been focusing so much on this creature, that they lost track of Exchange.
Almost as if reading Superman's thoughts, Wonder Woman pointed, "There he is," gesturing towards the next building over, where Exchange was flying away.
With a glance, Superman ordered, "J'onn, Green Lantern, Steel and Powergirl, you come with me." He paused and looked at the rest, "The rest of you deal with this creature." Then with that, Superman was off, flying towards Exchange and hoping to catch him before he got too far away.
Batgirl watched Superman fly off towards Exchange in the distance, frowning as she did so. She could barely believe that Superman had taken almost all the teams more powerful members, while leaving the rest with this monstrosity. Now, the most powerful member that they had left to face this brute was Wonder Woman.
For several moments, Batgirl stood back, watching while the rest of her team mates rushed the creature. Plastic Man was wrapped around its legs, preventing it from going anywhere, or at least trying. Batman was rather clumsily throwing batarangs at it, scowling fiercely as he did so. The Flash kept hitting the creature, then dodging out of the way before even its reflexes could do anything about it. Unfortunately, none of the blows, even dealt at machine gun speed, seemed to be bothering the creature in the slightest.
Then Aquaman and Wonder Woman went in, with Wonder Woman being the most effective against the creature. She was slowly driving him back with her raw strength and the skills honed from a lifetime of training, even if they were being used in a less familiar body. The creature fell to the ground, thanks to Plastic Man's efforts, though he quickly returned to his feet.
Batgirl clutched her batarang tightly, looking for any opportunity, but realizing that there wouldn't be much that she could do. Not at the moment at least. She carefully observed as her team mates attacked savagely, only to be thrown back, and then charged in turn by the creature.
Finally, Batman cried out, "Ba...Wonder Woman..." His voice carried an odd and uncomfortable tone, "Use the magic lasso."
Without a word, Wonder Woman reached for the lasso at her waist, then flung it around the creature and drawing it tight. "I've got him," She called out, obviously struggling as she fought to keep hold of her end of it.
Seeing an opportunity, Batgirl smiled. "Flash" She yelled, "Use the lasso to wrap him up."
The Flash immediately understood what she meant, as did Wonder Woman, who handed the lasso to the speedster. A second later, the Flash was running around the creature at a speed that left nothing of him to see but a scarlet blur. Then the Flash stopped, and bowed, gesturing at the creature who was tightly wrapped up in the unbreakable magic lasso, though struggling to get loose.
"Am I good or what?" the cocky speedster asked with a grin.
However, after struggling for several minutes, the creature once again let out a loud grunt, then suddenly seemed to blur, looking more and more transparent with each second. Then the magic lasso fell through him, as if he were no more than a puff of smoke, and fell into a pile on the ground. With another grunt, the creature turned opaque again, then stepped forward menacingly.
Still watching all of this, Batgirl felt her surge of triumph fade, replaced with a grim determination. Obviously with most of the powerful members off after exchange, they didn't have the ability to take the creature on one to one. And their attempts at using speed had failed as well. Batgirl felt useless as she stood there, the batarang clutched tightly in her hand. "I might as well still be in the chair for all the good I'm doing," she muttered to herself, still looking for a way to help.
Batgirl looked back at the gaping hole in the building, then off in the distance where she could faintly see signs of the others fighting Exchange. As she did so, a thought occurred to her. They still didn't know what Exchange had taken from STAR Labs, and knowing that could be all the difference. She frowned, also realizing that STAR Labs developed highly advanced weapons, and that one of them might be useful in stopping that creature. Taking a guilty look back towards where her team mates were fighting the creature, Batgirl jumped into the hole and started running.
As Superman flew towards Exchange, he almost forgot about the heroes that flew behind him. Instead, his attention was focused on the being that was slowly floating away from them, towards who knew where. The being that had invaded the Watchtower, and more importantly, had harmed his friends. He wouldn't...couldn't let Exchange do that again.
It only took Superman a moment to reach the point where his target was, and he wasted no time in grabbing hold of Exchange. Just seconds later, the others had arrived, surrounding Superman and Exchange, and obviously waiting for an opportunity to attack as well. An opportunity that was denied by the Man of Steels being in the way.
"You aren't getting away that easy," Superman told his prisoner, trying to ignore the metal tentacles that were wrapping around him. "Not until you fix the trouble that you've caused."
Exchange didn't utter a word or make any sounds as he struggled to get loose of Superman, in vain. Finally, one of his tentacles lashed out, catching Superman in the eyes and surprising him enough so that Exchange was freed from his grasp.
"I've got him," Steel called out, throwing his massive sledge hammer right at Exchange. The hammer slammed into Exchange, throwing him backwards against the side of a building which smashed apart at his impact. Brick and other debris fell to the street below, only to be caught in a green energy net as Green Lantern stopped it from landing on the people below.
"Oh my God," Steel exclaimed, staring at Green Lantern with a mixture of horror and relief as he realized just how close his attack had come to harming the civilians on the street. The armor covered black man just hovered in the air as his hammer came back to him of its own accord, his confidence wavering from his near accident.
While the Justice League had been watching the debris, Exchange had removed himself from the hole in the wall and was moving away from them again. Superman noticed this called for the other's attention, gesturing at the attempted escape.
"Oh no you don't," Superman told Exchange as he caught up with him again. Then, turning back towards his team mates, Superman said, "Green Lantern, hold him."
"Sure thing" Green Lantern responded, already focusing through his ring. A safe, composed entirely of green energy formed around Exchange, trapping him within. Though a moment later, Green Lantern's construct shattered as red energy rushed out. They stared in surprise as they noticed the energy coming from their opponents free hand. Exchanges other hand was still wrapped around a 3 foot glowing rod, obviously what he'd gone to STAR Labs for.
Steel glared at him in determination, then seeing that the path was clear, threw his hammer again. At the same time, he also fired a machine gun barrage of rivets from the gauntlets in his armor.
Exchange noticed them, and with a flash of red energy from his hand, obliterated Steel's hammer and the rivets, all in mid-air much to Steel's surprise. Suddenly, Exchange flew forward, his tentacles lashing outward and catching Steel by the ankle. Steel tried to get away, but it was too late. A moment later, he was flung towards the ground with a violent motion from Exchange's tendril.
Superman saw that Steel had caught himself before hitting ground, and turned his attention back to Exchange, who had moved over the top of a skyscraper. Then something else caught the Man of Steel's attention, as he realized that there were several dozen people on the roof. "Oh no," he thought to himself, realizing that now there were more innocents in the way for Exchange to harm. He gulped at that, determined not to let any innocents get hurt.
Using his enhanced vision, Superman scanned the group below, seeing that it was a press conference of some sort. Then his eyes widened in disbelief as he recognized one of the people among the crowd. "LOIS," he gasped, recognizing his own wife.
The Man of Steel sighed as he realized that it was the woman he loved. It seemed somehow that she was a human magnet, always being drawn into the center of danger. That was one of the things that made her such a good reporter. She always managed to be drawn to the greatest stories at the right time.
For the moment, Superman left the others to face Exchange, while he landed on the building below. Cries of Superman went up from the startled crowd, though many of them were busy watching the fight above them instead.
Almost immediately, Lois pushed her way to the front, emerging in front of Superman. "What's going on?" she asked, making him realize that was already working on writing up a new story.
Superman gave her a faint smile, but didn't answer. Instead, he called out aloud "You are all in danger. Please evacuate the area immediately." Then, with a look of longing towards Lois, he flew back towards the fight. He was greatly worried that something might happen to her, being this close to the fighting, and he was determined that nothing would.
Batgirl had run through the halls of the building, following the path of destruction left by Exchange and the other creature. But by the evidence, she suspected that the creature hadn't gone in very far, instead having been left by the hole to guard it. She quickly managed to make it to the center, where the item that Exchange had stolen had apparently been taken from.
Nervously, Batgirl looked around, until she saw a man in a lab coat, uncertainly getting to his feet. "What hit me?" he moaned, then stared in surprise when he noticed Batgirl standing there.
"Are you all right?" she asked him, suspecting that he wasn't. However, she had to make sure.
"Um....yes, I think so" he responded. "I'm Dr. Dreiss" he extended a hand, which Batgirl shook.
"Can you tell me what he took?" She asked him cautiously.
Dr. Dreiss smiled faintly, then told her that Exchange had taken a metal rod which he believed had been used as a weapon of some sort by a super villain, who's name Batgirl didn't recognize. When she admitted as much, Dr. Dreiss shrugged and admitted "He was apparently killed by his own weapon. It seems to manipulate gravity, and he somehow made a mistake with it." Dreiss chuckled faintly at that, "I guess he wasn't cut out to be a villain after all. However, we still haven't found out where he got it from or how it really works."
Batgirl thought about what she'd been told for a moment, then filed the information away for later use. At the moment, she remembered that she had bigger problems. After talking to Dr. Dreiss for another minute, Batgirl was able to borrow one of STAR Labs weapons. One that she was sure would end the fight with the creature. With a quick "Thank you," to Dreiss, she ran back the way she came, hoping that she could get there in time.
Several minutes later, Batgirl arrived back at the hole. She looked up through it, seeing that the fight was still going on outside. "Good," she muttered, "I'm in time." Then with that, Batgirl took the rather large energy rifle that she was carrying, and slung it across her back. Using a grappling hook, she started climbing back out of the hole, feeling greatly relieved that the Huntress kept her body in such good shape. It made her own job so much easier.
Once Batgirl was back on the roof, she saw that Wonder Woman was bleeding from her nose, looking rather bruised as well. But she also had a look of grim determination on her face, a look of focus that Batgirl had frequently seen on Batman's. Aquaman was off to the side, helping Batman, who seemed to be injured, and Plastic Man was stretched out halfway across the roof, with his head being stepped on by the creature.
Pulling the gun from her back, Batgirl called out, "Out of the way!"
Wonder Woman gave her a serious look, then nodded faintly. The Flash just zipped back, giving Batgirl a clear view. She aimed at the creature, who just grunted, and then she fired. A beam of blue energy shot from the end of the gun, hitting the creature straight on. At that moment, a blue glow surrounded him and he went motionless, frozen like a statue.
"What was that?" The Flash asked, eyeing the gun curiously.
Batgirl shrugged, and dropped the weapon to the ground in distaste. She'd never been fond of guns of any type, especially since her...accident. And even though that hadn't been anything like a regular gun and she didn’t have much choice, she still didn't have to like it.
Smiling faintly, Batgirl looked back at them and announced, "Stasis field generator." She chuckled, "Designed in case Doomsday ever showed up again."
The Flash whistled at that, obviously impressed.
Wonder Woman nodded ever so faintly in Batgirl's direction, and quietly said "Good job," before turning to go help Aquaman and check on Batman...on her old body and the old friend inside.
Plastic Man had immediately bounced back to his goofball self, and was making jokes about the frozen creature and pigeons.
Aquaman looked at the injured Batman, relieved that nothing seemed to be really broken, though there would be a LOT of bruising. He ran his good right hand through his beard, then pointed the hook on his left towards the distance. "We can only hope that they were as successful."
Green Lantern quickly dodged the tentacle that was lashing out at him, being careful to watch Exchange's eyes. Normally he rather liked the color green, but the moment his opponents eyes started glowing, he was gonna be gone. And he wanted to make sure that he had plenty of time to get out of range.
"Hold him," Power Girl called, having caught two of Exchanges tentacles in her hand, keeping him from moving too far.
Without responding, Green Lantern once again concentrated on trapping Exchange, binding him in lots of chains and shackles that appeared around him. "That should do it," Green Lantern muttered to himself.
For a brief moment, it looked as if Green Lantern had succeeded, but then Exchange somehow managed to slip one of his tendrils free, and it shot out rapidly right at Green Lantern. Green Lantern put up an energy field to defend himself, and the second he lost concentration from the shackles, they vanished, setting Exchange loose again.
Green Lantern watched nervously as his team mates surrounded Exchange, knowing that they were going to stop him, and probably would have already if they hadn't been so careful about his exchanging powers. He looked down towards the rooftop that had been full of people several minutes ago, and saw that there was only one person still there. A black haired woman that he'd seen Superman talking to for a moment.
Then Green Lantern's eyes moved back to Exchange, and saw that Steel was flying straight at their opponent. However, a moment later, Exchange lashed out with another tentacle, grabbing around Steel's arm, and flinging him violently aside. Steel flew back out of control, smashing into the building next to them and causing part of it to crack off from the force and crumble.
"STEEL," Green Lantern called out in concern, hoping that his team mate's armor had protected him. Then he noticed something even worse and gasped aloud. A large chunk of the roof where Steel had hit had just started sliding off of the building, and the woman who had been on the roof was falling with it.
"LOIS," Superman screamed out in panic, racing towards the falling woman.
At the same time, another voice called "I've got her," and Green Lantern saw that the Martian Manhunter had gotten there before Superman. "But the rubble..."
Superman nodded and hurried to catch it before it smashed into the streets below, and onto the people that were walking past. Steel, seeming to have recovered somewhat from his crash, even though he looked rather dented, hurried to help Superman.
"Let's get him," Green Lantern growled, advancing menacingly, trying to decide what he wanted to form with his ring.
The Martian Manhunter was still holding the woman that he'd caught, not yet having had time to put her to safety. "Wait" he called out, then looked as if he was concentrating. Obviously he was using his telepathy, and Green Lantern quickly realized that he was using it on Exchange.
And when he looked back at Exchange, Green Lantern thought he noticed something. Their opponent was wobbling slightly in the air, as if he were tired. Unable to help himself, Green Lantern smiled, figuring that they were almost done. And to make sure, he went around behind Exchange and focused through his ring, making an energy rifle in his hand for the attack.
While the Justice League was readying themselves for one final attack, none of them noticed the green glow that had started in Exchanges eyes, until it was too late. A green wave of energy seem to explode from Exchange, washing over the heroes.
The Martian Manhunter cried out "No! Stop this..." But before he could finish, he let out scream of pain, then started falling helplessly to the ground, as did the woman that he'd been holding in his arms.
Just as Superman and Steel had finished stopping the falling debris, they looked back up and stared in horror at the green glow that had surrounded their friends. Superman gasped "Lois," then shot up after the falling woman.
"I've got Green Lantern and Power Girl," Steel called out, flying to catch the young man first, and hoping that he could handle both at once.
While Superman and Steel rushed to save their unconscious and falling friends, neither noticed their opponent. Exchange took advantage of their distraction to quickly and erratically start flying away. In moments, he had escaped them again.
Green Lantern groaned as he regained consciousness and opened his eyes. He realized immediately that he was lying on the ground and could see Superman standing over him.
"This one's awake," Superman said to someone off to the side, and a moment later Steel was standing there as well. Both looked down at him concerned. "Who are you?" Superman then asked.
"Who....?" Green Lantern repeated stupidly as he sat up, wondering what kind of idiotic question that was anyway. However, as soon as he sat up, he felt rather strange. He looked down at himself and gasped, remembering the strange green light and Exchange. Immediately, Green Lantern jumped all the way to his feet and grabbed his chest yelling "I've got TITS!" in horror.
Superman and Steel looked at each other for a second, and at the same time, both exclaimed, "Green Lantern."
"Uh huh," Green Lantern mumbled staring down at the large breasts that pushed out from his chest, their size clearly visible within the spandex costume. With a quick look over his body, Green Lantern groaned, realizing that not only had Exchange gotten him, but had put him into the body of Power Girl as well. "Why couldn't it have been Superman?" he silently wondered to himself.
"Then what about the others?" Steel asked.
Forcing himself to take his hands off his chest, as well as his eyes, Green Lantern looked down at the ground...at the rooftop below where they'd fought Exchange. The Martian Manhunter, some civilian woman and his own body all laid there, each beginning to stir. Green Lantern just stared, especially at his own body. He couldn't help but wonder who was in there now.
For the next several minutes, Green Lantern stood there uncomfortably. He was very aware of his new breasts, and of the other differences in his new body. Including just how strong he suddenly felt. How powerful. Not surprising, he realized, remembering that Power Girl had about the same powers as Superman. It was with great difficulty that Green Lantern managed to keep from examining himself too much, though the presence of Steel and Superman helped his self-control.
Next, the Martian Manhunter woke up, or at least whomever was in his body did. The green skinned alien looked confused, then horrified as he stared at his hand. He looked up at Superman and relief became evident on his face. "Cl....Superman" gasped the person in the Manhunter's body.
Superman stared, and Green Lantern could have sworn that the older hero's eyes were about to pop out. "Lois?" Superman asked hesitantly. When the Manhunter's body nodded, Superman looked almost as if he were about to feint from shock.
"Who are you?" Green Lantern asked curiously.
Before the martian could answer, Superman responded "This is Lois Lane. A reporter for the Daily Planet, and...a good friend of mine." Then the Man of Steel looked at her oddly, making Green Lantern wonder just how good a friend she was.
Right afterwards, the other two bodies stood up, each looking confused. However, the one in Lois's body seemed to take control again immediately and almost seemed unconcerned. "Obviously Exchange escaped us again," the woman said in a calm sounding voice.
"J'onn...?" Superman asked the woman.
"Correct," the Martian Manhunter said, briefly glancing down at his new female body, then back at Lois who was in his own. "It would seem that our troubles have only gotten worse."
Finally, Power Girl, in Green Lantern's body, grimaced. She looked strained and uncomfortable. "Who was that guy?" she demanded, "You all sound as if you expected something like this" She glared at each of them in turn, especially Green Lantern.
Superman sighed, taking his eyes off of Lois, and turning. "We'll fill you in back at the Watchtower." Then he looked at Steel and frowned. "The others have already reported that they stopped the other creature. Perhaps he will shed some light on Exchange.”
"I hope so" Green Lantern sighed, looking down uncomfortably once again. "I really hope so."
Back on the Watchtower, the Justice League gathered in the meeting room, with Power Girl and Lois Lane both present as well. The Huntress sat in the corner, her arms crosses as she glared at everybody present, especially Batgirl. She was obviously not taking her own change very easily.
"All right everyone," Superman called out, "Quiet please." The noise died down as the assembled team turned their attention towards the team’s chairman. "The creature that was captured is being held by STAR Labs, and I expect a detailed report on it from them within several hours."
"What's to report?" the Flash grumbled, "He's big and dumb."
Green Lantern forced a smile, though he didn't really find it as amusing as he would have otherwise. He had other things to occupy his mind, and he looked down at the breasts that pushed out from his chest to remind himself. As if he really needed to. "How am I going to tell Jenny?" He wondered. Frowning, he forced his eyes away from his chest, and flushed with embarrassment as he noticed that the real Power Girl had been watching him. Coughing to hide his embarrassment, Green Lantern forced himself to once again pay attention to the meeting, hoping that no one else had noticed his brief lapse.
"And that's about all we have for now," Superman finished off.
"Not quiete," a female voice interrupted. All eyes turned to the woman who stood up from the Martian Manhunter's chair, especially Superman's.
Superman coughed, then asked, "You have something...J'onn?"
"Yes." the Martian Manhunter stated from within Lois Lane's body. He gave a brief glance at his own body, which was standing back by the far corner, looking incredibly uncomfortable. "Before Exchange had managed to...exchange us...I had managed to read some of his thoughts."
Everyone in the room gasped at that, and gave him their complete attention. Green Lantern's jaw nearly dropped in relief, just knowing that his team mate would have something that they could use.
The Martian Manhunter continued on, "His thoughts were difficult to make out, and I was interrupted before I could find out too much. However, I did discover that Exchange is an alien." The Manhunter looked slightly ironic as he revealed that, being an alien himself. "His ship crashed on Earth, and he was seeking materials to repair it."
"That explains the robberies" Wonder Woman calmly stated, looking very thoughtful. The mind of the world’s greatest detective which was within her amazon body was obviously going to work with the newest information.
"But why didn't Exchange teleport right away?" Green Lantern asked, "Why try flying, or do this..." he gestured down at himself, "to us when he could have just teleported away?"
"Because..." The Manhunter replied, "he is severely weakened from our confrontations, and didn't have the energy to teleport again. Not so soon. As for the mind changes..." the martian actually looked slightly embarrassed as he glanced towards his own body, "that is a defensive act, linked to his fight or flight instinct."
Once again, Wonder Woman nodded. "What better way to disorient an opponent" she said calmly.
"Correct." Still looking at his own body, the Martian Manhunter announced, "I also discovered that Exchange is a pacifist."
"LIKE HELL!" The Huntress growled.
"It makes sense" Superman said slowly. "He never used his energy powers on one of us directly. All he did was throw us away from himself, and..." Superman coughed slightly, "and exchange some of our minds. And he did none of this until we confronted him."
"He was just defending himself," Batman stated, sounding somewhat surprised. "And he thought that we were attacking him"
"From his point of view, we were" The Manhunter finished. "He is trapped on a hostile world, trying to repair his ship, and was attacked by the....primitive natives." The last was finished with a faint smile.
"And where is his ship?" Aquaman demanded. "Where is Exchange at? We cannot just let him go without fixing the damage he's caused, regardless of how peaceful his intentions."
Green Lantern nodded. No, they definitely had to find Exchange, and the sooner the better. "Yeah, where is he?" he demanded impatiently, startled by the female voice that came out.
"I'm afraid that I didn't get that," the Manhunter admitted, looking chagrined. "I was interrupted before finding that out."
At that, they all groaned, knowing that they had to go back to searching the hard way again. After several more minutes of talking, the meeting broke up with each of the members heading in different directions.
Just as Green Lantern was leaving the room, he felt a tapping on his shoulder. When he turned around, he was face to face, with himself. Or actually, Power Girl in his body. He looked down at her slightly, realizing for the first time that he was taller than he used to be. Then his thought was interrupted. "We need to talk" she said seriously in his voice.
Green Lantern listened to Power Girl as she described how weak and powerless she felt at the moment, trying not to be insulted by that since it was his body she was talking about. But he did have to admit that he certainly felt a lot stronger and more powerful at the moment, which would explain her point of view.
After thinking about it for a moment, Green Lantern suggested, "Let's go to the gym for awhile. I can show you how to use my power ring, and you can show me how to use your powers."
"Agreedb" Power Girl replied with a forced smile. "That way I at least won't be so useless until we change back."
Several minutes later, they were in the Watchtower's gym and Green Lantern thought that it was appropriate since that was where Batman and Wonder Woman had worked so hard trying to get used to their new bodies. He looked down at himself, feeling so strange. So out of place in his new body.
"All right" he said, looking back at Power Girl in his body, "Let's get started"
Over the next half hour, Green Lantern tested his new powers. He was amazed at just how strong he was and how tough. Being able to fly was nothing new to him, but he did so in an entirely different way than normal. Normally he just concentrated on moving in the air, and his ring took care of it for him. But now, it felt more natural, and easier.
Power Girl on the other hand glared in frustration. "Damn!" she snarled again, eyeing the green ring on her finger with hatred. "This damn things is useless. I can't make it do anything."
Green Lantern sighed and moved back next to her. He'd already explained how to concentrate through the ring, and how to focus, but none of that had done any good. She hadn't been able to use its power in the slightest. "It doesn't work for everybody" he admitted. He looked at her embarrassed. He'd known that the ring would normally only work for him, but he'd thought that as long as she was in his body, then she could use it too. Obviously he was wrong.
"Here then," she growled, tearing the ring off and handing it to Green Lantern, "See if you can still use it."
The ring went on Green Lantern's new finger with ease, almost as if designed for his new body, much like it had on his old one. Just one of the lesser properties of the amazing ring, he thought to himself. Then, with long practiced ease, he focused on creating a wall of green energy in front of him. As the wall appeared, Green Lantern smiled, thinking that it was no more difficult than normal.
"You want to try again?" He asked Power Girl, handing the ring back.
"Here I go again" she mumbled, a look of incredible concentration on her face. However, like before, there was nothing. Finally she sighed in surrender and handed the ring back to Green Lantern. "I guess it's your again."
Green Lantern felt slightly guilty as he took his ring back and once again slid it on his finger. He'd taken her body and her powers, and he hadn't even left her his own powers to use until they changed back. "I'm sorry." he said quietly, though Power Girl just shrugged it off.
"It's not your fault" she told him, "It's just that I'm not used to not having my powers. I feel so damn useless and weak." Then she gave him a weak smile and added, "And it's extremely strange to be in a man's body."
"I know what you mean" Green Lantern sighed, "I know just what you mean."
For the next minute, Green Lantern stayed where he was while Power Girl left the room, looking somewhat depressed. He couldn't help but feeling sorry for her, and guilty, in spite of the fact that none of it was his fault. Finally, he turned and headed towards his spare room, wondering just how he was going to break the news to Jenny.
Alone in the confines of his room, Green Lantern sat on the bed and looked down at himself. He nervously touched his new breasts, amazed at the strange sensation, and just how firm they were. At how firm his whole body was. Not surprising considering that he was now about as invulnerable as Superman.
Standing up, Green Lantern flexed his new muscles, actually enjoying how strong they felt. His powers had always been derived from his ring, and from his willpower, not from his body or anything physical. He was actually beginning to enjoy the idea that he had super powers and not just a weapon that could do things for him.
Unfortunately though, he didn't like the idea that the price for the powers was his manhood. He shuddered as his hand slipped between his legs, finding the area void. "I've got to get back to normal," he muttered aloud, deciding that this was an interesting change for a short while, but not something that he wanted to deal with permanently. Especially not when he remembered how his girlfriend Jenny got when she had her periods. That thought alone made him more determined to ensure that it only temporary.
When Green Lantern looked into the mirror, he couldn't help but stare at the blonde woman that was reflected back. Power Girl certainly was attractive, he thought to himself. But even though her blue and white costume looked good on her, he really didn't think that it was his style. Suddenly, the artist in Green Lantern took over as he eyed the reflection, mentally designing a costume with some style.
After finally deciding what he wanted, Green Lantern sent the order to his ring, focusing on just what he imagined. A moment later, a green glow surrounded his body, and when it passed, he stood there in a new costume. The black and white spandex that covered his body held a strong resemblance to his regular costume, especially the lantern symbol which was identical. His arms had the same green metal arm band as always, but he'd also made a few other changes in his costume. His boots weren't the metal ones he was used to, but a tight green cloth that went a bit higher, going above his knees, but showing off the legs nicely. Around his waist, he wore a green sash which hung loose on one side, and just because he thought it would look cool, he'd even added a green cape in back.
Standing back and admiring his reflection, Green Lantern smiled and said, "Now that's a cool costume." He could barely wait to show it off.
Superman, Lois Lane and the Martian Manhunter stood awkwardly in one of the Watchtower's rooms, each uncomfortably looking at the others.
"Are you all right Lois?" he asked, feeling odd to be asking that while looking into the face of his longtime friend and Justice Leaguer.
"I think so," she responded hesitantly, glancing awkwardly at her own body.
The Martian Manhunter watched both of them, seeing the love in their eyes. As one of the very few members of the Justice League who knew that Superman was really Clark Kent, and that Lois Lane was his wife, he especially understood how difficult this was for the two of them. He could sympathize as he watched them.
But then, he could also sympathize with Exchange. He understood all too well how difficult it was to be stranded alone on an alien world. How strong the desire to return to his own kind, must be for Exchange. Even when they fought Exchange, their opponent only defended himself, and his worst attack was just a way of disorienting them. Seeing Lois and Superman together reminded him even more of that part, and just how effective it was.
On the other hand, J'onn wasn't quite as disoriented as Lois was in his body. He was a shapeshifter, used to looking like other people. He'd quite frequently taken on the forms of human women so wasn't bothered at all by his sex change. Even the form that he usually wore around others wasn't his own. What bothered him at the moment was knowledge that he was trapped his current form, unable to shape shift into another one, and of course, the fact that he no longer had his telepathy. He'd lost one of his senses and found it very disorienting. For a human, it would have been like going blind, though he suspected the Huntress at least would have an idea of how he felt, having lost her own ability to walk in her exchange.
"Ahem…" The Martian Manhunter interrupted Superman and Lois, "I believe that I might be able to help her some, but it will require some privacy."
"Are you sure?" Superman asked, nervously looking at the team mate in his wife's body. The Manhunter didn't even seem uncomfortable, moving just like any woman would, though not in quite the same way that Lois did.
Looking at Lois, the Manhunter continued, "If you would like me to help you that is"
"Of course" She stammered out in his rough male voice. "What do I have to do?"
"I guess I'd better leave then" Superman sighed, looking greatly disappointed. To Lois, he said, "I'll talk to you in just a little while honey." Then looking at the Martian Manhunter, he said, "Take care of her J'onn."
After that, Superman left, leaving the Martian Manhunter alone with Lois Lane. "Please sit down," J'onn directed, sitting down on the floor himself, "This will require patience, and concentration."
"All right" Lois said, doing as she was asked. She watched him curiously, wondering what the alien in her body had in mind. Her curiosity was beginning to overwhelm her fear and discomfort, and she even wondered how she might get a story from the experience.
"First off" J'onn instructed, "I want to you relax, to close your eyes and listen to me with your mind. I'm going to concentrate on my instructions, and I want to you to be able to pick them up with my telepathy. It will be much quicker and easier to teach you to control my powers telepathically. We will start with the telepathy first."
"OK," Lois responded, feeling nervous and slightly foolish as she closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. A moment later, she could actually ‘see’ the thoughts in J'onn's head. She gasped as she looked at them, suddenly beginning to understand how to use the telepathy more effectively.
Over the next half hour, the Martian Manhunter carefully instructed Lois in how to control his powers. He concentrated on the information, with the skill and mental discipline of a lifelong telepath, pushing the information towards her. Lois's new telepathy let her pick up his thoughts, and understand them immediately, making her learning extremely quick.
When they had finally finished, Lois stood up and exclaimed "Wow!" as she thought about everything she'd just absorbed. And about all the powers she realized that she now had. With a little concentration, her body changed shape slightly, turning into a female version of the Martian Manhunter's, though she made sure that the face was definitely more feminine and attractive, and she even added long green hair. "How's this?" she asked J'onn in a female voice once more.
"Very...effective" he said calmly, not showing the discomfort he was feeling as he watched her flaunt his powers. She just chuckled, sensing the thought before he closed her off with his skilled blocking.
Lois stretched out her arms, feeling so good. So powerful and alive. She decided that she liked having super powers, just like her husband. Then she chuckled as she realized that almost anything he could do, she could do as well. Plus a few things that he couldn't, like the telepathy, shapeshifting and turning invisible.
Feeling confident in her new powers, Lois changed her shape again, making herself become smaller and more human looking. When she was done, Lois stood there, looking like herself once more. She turned to the Martian Manhunter, who looked like her mirror image and commented, "You know, I've always wondered what it would be like to have a twin sister."
The Huntress sat in front of the monitors looking for any sign of Exchange. She focused intently, knowing that at the moment, the thing she could be of any real use was on monitor duty, and besides, who else had better reason to find Exchange.
Sighing, the Huntress leaned back and adjusted her glasses, hating the fact that she had to wear them now in order to read. Though that wasn't nearly as bad as her legs. She forced the rage that was boiling inside her to the side, thinking about how the team had treated her. It was almost as if they just brushed her off now that she couldn't fight. She was left behind when they went to fight Exchange, and the sad thing she knew, was that she couldn't blame them. She was useless, or at least she certainly felt so. Once they got back, all the others did was look at her with pity in their eyes, telling her how sorry they were. Especially Batgirl. And what bothered the Huntress the most, was just how much Batgirl obviously meant it.
And while several members of the Justice League were beginning to leave the Watchtower, going home for awhile, she was stuck there. Trapped in another's body, not to mention the wheelchair. She watched in the monitor, seeing that even Wonder Woman, who was actually Batman inside she reminded herself, was leaving the Watchtower. Going back to Gotham she assumed, envious of her ability to do so.
"Just wait till I get my hands on that bastard," the Huntress growled to herself, imagining all the things that she'd like to do to Exchange. Shipwrecked alien or not, he was still the one responsible for her being stuck in the chair that she was beginning to truly hate.
The Huntress gently clasped the crucifix that was around her neck, the same one that she usually wore with her costume. For a moment, she just looked at it, then silently she started praying.
Wonder Woman stood perched on top of a large gargoyle, staring intently at the city spread below her, but not paying as much attention as she would have normally. She felt slightly chilled, knowing that it wasn't the temperature, but the exposure of so much of her skin to the air. It wasn't the cold that she was feeling, but more as if she were naked. Not something that she was used to. She desperately wished for the comfort of a long cape to wrap around herself, to hide in. But instead, she stood out, extremely noticeable in her costume. And that alone made her even more uncomfortable.
Frowning, she thought how strange she felt in her own city. How much she stood out, and even more, how strange she felt in her own body. But then again, that was the problem, it wasn't really her body. Though the Justice League called her Wonder Woman, which she certainly appeared to be, inside she was really Batman. He was really Batman.
Batman frowned as he looked over his body once more. Over the last few days, he'd begun to almost get used to it, though he knew it was truly more the fact that he'd just gotten better at ignoring the strangeness, and working with the abilities his new body offered. He smiled faintly as he remembered the bank robbers that he'd just stopped several minutes earlier. It had been so easy. All he had to do was fly in and pick up their car. Not at all like his usual subtly, and that bothered him slightly, though not as much as he would have suspected.
For nearly his entire life, he'd trained his body and mind, turning himself into the perfect weapon against crime. And now, he thought ironically, his body was an even more perfect weapon. He was far stronger and more powerful than ever before, and his mind remained just as sharp as it always had been. The Dark Knight was thoughtful as he realized that his recent change had given him what he'd always trained for, the ability to fight criminals even more effectively. And since he'd sacrificed so much for that already in his life, he wondered if his manhood was too much a price to pay for that extra edge.
Perhaps not, he decided, though Diana definitely was. There was no way that he would or even could sacrifice one of his friends just to be better at what he did. And as tempting as his power was, as the thought of just how much good he could do with it was, he couldn't keep it. He couldn't keep his new body. Somehow, somehow he would find a way to regain his own, and return Diana's to her.
The Dark Knight once again looked at the costume he wore. Wonder Woman's costume. It left him feeling almost vulnerable, in spite of just how much stronger and more powerful he was. He nearly chuckled at that, thinking it ironic that his old cape, designed to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, was almost like a security blanket to him.
Realizing the time, Batman decided that he should probably head back to the Batcave, and from there, to the Watchtower. So far he'd managed to avoid Alfred when coming through the first time, and knew that he'd have to be careful to do so again going back. There was no way that he was ready to reveal what had happened to him to his old friend and butler, even though he was one of the few people that Batman trusted completely. No, he thought, his current predicament was far too embarrassing for that.
Suddenly realizing that he was becoming lost in his thoughts, the Dark Knight snapped down on his thoughts with long enforced discipline, focusing instead on finding an answer to his problem. Then, after several more minutes of careful thought, it came to him. As the plan began to form in his mind, a faint smile touched the edges of his lips.
Feeling satisfied for the moment, Batman grimly stared at Gotham below him then turned and flew off the roof top, heading towards the Batcave and the transporter. His brief trip back to Gotham had been helpful for him, even relaxing in his own way. However the solution to his current problem would be with the Justice League, and that was where he had to be. With grim determination, Batman flew on, knowing that very soon he would once again have to become Wonder Woman.
The real Wonder Woman grimaced as she sat up in bed, aching from the bruised ribs that Exchange's ally had left her with. And though the pain was immense, she refused to utter a sound. A true warrior accepted the fact that pain, injuries, and sometimes even death, could be the price of battle, and one thing she was, her own body or not, was a warrior.
Carefully, the former amazon climbed out of the bed, trying to maintain her balance as she walked over to the mirror and stared at the reflection. The image that was reflected back was that of a well muscled man, with black hair, and lots of bruises. The image of Batman, or at least what he looked like underneath the mask. However, Wonder Woman, or Diana as she was called by her friends, had made very sure that no one else had seen that face. She owed it to her longtime teammate and friend.
After a moment, Diana allowed herself the luxury of a sigh, reluctantly admitting that at the moment she wasn't going to be of much use in a battle. Then aloud, she added "But I'd rather go to Hades than not try."
Diana stared at her unfamiliar reflection for a moment more, then stifled a grunt as she returned to her bed. Though she wasn't in any condition to fight at the moment, she knew that wasn't going to stop her. She wouldn't let it. But for the moment at least, she decided, she'd need all the rest that she could to prepare for the upcoming ordeal, whatever form it would take.
Green Lantern couldn't believe how good it felt as he flew, without even using his ring, though it was still readily available. Instead, he was actually flying under his own power, or more specifically, Power Girl's power. After all, it was her body and powers that he was using at the moment.
"I'm glad that I could get away from the Watchtower for a minute," he sighed aloud, thinking that it was definitely getting too weird there lately. With a quick embarrassed look at his own body, he just added the proud breasts that he now wore to that inventory. Though he knew that he'd have to go back up pretty soon, he was at least looking forward to going home for a short while.
At the same time, he was very apprehensive, thinking that Jenny was going to be there. She was the reason that he wanted to get back, though he couldn't think of how he was going to explain his new body to her. It was too embarrassing. However, he knew that she'd understand. Or at least understand better than most girlfriends would.
Most guys girlfriends weren't former super heroes, much less having super hero fathers and brother, and a villainess mother. No, Green Lantern thought with a grin, Jenny was definitely not the normal girlfriend, for which he was very grateful.
Seeing that the coast was clear, Green Lantern swooped down and in through his apartment window, landing softly on the floor.
Almost immediately, a girl with green skin and hair stood in front of him, demanding "Who the hell are you and what are you...?" Then Jenny paused for a second and blinked, apparently recognizing Green Lantern, "Power Girl?" she hesitantly asked, "What are you doing in that...?" Jenny gestured at Green Lantern's costume, looking confused.
"It's me Jen," Green Lantern said with a faint smile. Taking a deep breath, he wondered how best to say this, then continued "You remember what I told you about Batman and Wonder Woman? Well..."
Several minutes later, Jenny stared at Green Lantern, her mouth nearly hanging open as she said "My God Kyle, this is so weird." Then she smiled, and even chuckled slightly, adding "But you do look pretty cute honey."
"Um...thanks" Green Lantern, also known as Kyle Raymond, answered in embarrassment, blushing as he did so. "This is pretty strange," he told her, smiling cheerfully and chuckling himself, "Though I have to admit that I'm getting a kick out of these new powers." Then as a demonstration, he leaned over and picked up the sofa with one hand, grinning triumphantly at Jenny, "See."
"Awesome" Jenny admitted, "But what's it like? I mean," she gestured at Kyle's chest, "what's it like for you to suddenly turn into a girl?"
Kyle frowned for a moment, then answered honestly. "Kind of scary and really embarrassing. It's like my whole body feels so different, but at the same time, not nearly as much as I would have expected." he looked thoughtful as he tried to put his feelings into words. "And it's also kind of.....interesting," he admitted.
"I'll bet," Jenny chuckled, "Though I think I prefer the old you."
"Me too," Kyle sighed. "Me too."
For the next half hour, they sat on the couch, leaning up against each other and talking. Jenny would occasionally tease Kyle by grabbing one of his breasts, and then telling him that he'd have to get used to the occasional ‘groping’ if he stayed in that body much longer. Kyle just chuckled since it didn't hurt at all, no matter how hard Jenny tried pinching, all thanks to his new invulnerability. However, it was a little embarrassing for him to be reminded of his new assets so much by his girlfriend, especially since he now had bigger breasts than she did.
Finally, Kyle looked at the clock and groaned. "Time to get back to work," he told Jenny with a grin. "It won't be long before we find Exchange, and I have to be there when we do."
Jenny sighed. "I understand." Then with a mischievious look on her face, she added "Though I still haven't seen your clubhouse yet. Why don't you bring me up with you for a look around, while you and the others go off and take care of this Exchange? I might not have my powers any more, but I'm sure that I can still be of some use while there."
Kyle frowned, not sure that this was such a good idea. But when Jenny managed to get on her tip toes and give him a passionate kiss, his resistance to the idea quickly crumbled.
"All right" Kyle surrendered, "But you have to stay out of the way of the others."
Once Jenny had given her word, Kyle focused through the ring on his finger, and a green bubble formed around Jenny and himself. With a faint grin, Green Lantern lifted them both up and out the window with the ring, then started towards the moon and the Watchtower.
Superman stood in front of the assembled might of the Justice League of America, mentally rehearsing what he was going to say. Though several of the members had yet to arrive in the meeting room, most were already there, and sitting in their seats.
The door to the room opened and Superman's eyes were drawn to the figure that walked in. He gulped as he instantly recognized his wife, or at least his wife's body. Unfortunately though, it was the mind of the Martian Manhunter inside of Lois's body.
"Greetings" the new addition to the meeting room announced, then a moment later, another figure came up behind him.
"Lois?" Superman gasped out before catching himself. There behind the figure of Lois Lane, stood another Lois, looking identical to the first.
"Hi everyone," Lois said nervously, waving to everyone before going over to the corner while the other Lois sat in the Manhunter's chair.
All that Superman could do was stare for a moment, slightly confused, until he felt a thought brush his own telepathically. He heard inside his head. Superman quickly looked at the Lois who was standing in the back, with her arms crossed and a smug look on her face. The real Lois. she explained to Superman telepathically.
Shaking his head slightly, Superman forced his eyes away lest his stare give any clues as to his true relationship with her. Though Lois seemed to be handling her situation all right, he couldn't help but being worried about her, not to mention uncomfortable with the idea that his wife's mind was in an alien man's body.
Wonder Woman sat in Batman's chair, her expression unreadable. Superman couldn't help but wonder how she did that. How she created such a perfect poker face, even when in an unfamiliar body and using a new face. Batman on the other hand slumped slightly in Wonder Woman's chair, making it obvious to everyone that he was injured, in spite of how much he tried to conceal it.
The Huntress sat in her own seat, or at least in her wheelchair parked next to it. She didn't look at all happy, and Superman couldn't blame her. He only hoped that her courage would hold out and she wouldn't give up hope. She was too proud a woman to handle being trapped in her wheelchair easily.
Batgirl stood at the table, ignoring the open seat in the Huntress's spot, obviously feeling as if she'd taken too much from the other woman already. The Flash was tapping his fingers on the table, faster than the human eye could see, though Superman was at least able to keep track of them. Plastic Man played cat's cradle, using his own stretched out fingers as the string, and relieving Superman that he wasn't being obnoxious for once, while Aquaman sat quietly brooding in his own chair.
Next, Superman's eyes went to Steel, who's armor showed numerous dents and scratches, though obviously still worked. Even his custom built hammer sat next to him, ready to go. Or at least the replacement which he'd had in his lab.
The figure of Green Lantern also stood to the back, though Superman had a hard time reminding himself that it was the mind of Power Girl which resided inside. The look on her face and the noticeable absence of the ring from her finger made Superman wonder what had happened between her and Green Lantern.
Finally, the door opened and Green Lantern stepped in, making all eyes turn towards him. Superman was slightly startled to see that he was wearing a Green Lantern costume again, even while in Power Girl's body. Even if the costume had obviously undergone several major redesigns. The ring was clearly visible on his hand as well, once again making Superman wonder about Green Lantern and Power Girl.
"Sorry I'm late" Green Lantern apologized in a feminine voice, nervously glancing backwards before moving to his own seat.
Superman's eyes, as well as everyone else's lingered at the door, seeing the green skinned woman standing there that he immediately identified as Jade. He didn't know what she was doing there in the Watchtower, especially in civilian clothes, but he'd seen her in action as Jade and even dealt with her briefly during her recent stint as a Green Lantern, and knew that she was quite a capable young lady. If she was there, Superman decided, then Green Lantern obviously had a good reason for bringing her.
"Since everybody is here," Superman announced, his voice immediately bringing the room to order and everyone's attention to him, "It's time to begin. To start with, I've gotten the report back from STAR Labs about the creature" They all knew which creature he referred to. Superman glanced down at the papers on the table in front of him, then continued "They've informed me that the creature is some sort of artificial biological construct. Probably created by Exchange to act as a bodyguard and distract threats away from himself."
For the next several minutes, Superman described what they'd learned about the creature in greater detail, then he went into what more they'd found out about Exchange. Unfortunately, that was summed up with the word ‘nothing’ much to the disappointment of the team.
Finally the briefing finished and Batgirl announced, "We WILL find him" she glanced at the Huntress as she said so.
"Yes" the Huntress snarled bitterly, "but I'll be stuck here when you go and face him."
Superman sighed "But Lois will be here with you," and with a quick glance at Batman, he uncomfortably added "and perhaps Batman as well." Trying to ignore the glare he got from the former amazon, Superman explained "He's still too injured to be of much use at the moment."
Suddenly a woman's voice exclaimed "Like hell I'm staying."
Superman groaned, knowing that tone of voice all too well as he turned to face Lois, who had a VERY determined look on her face. "I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself," she stated, looking extremely confident as she did so. "At least while I'm in this body." She looked slightly embarrassed at that.
"I'm sorry Ms Lane," Wonder Woman told her, "but you don't have the..."
"I'm going" Lois stated, looking right at Superman, "and that's that." Then with that comment, her form started to blur and she grew taller, her muscles becoming larger and more defined. Her breasts grew larger as well, and her hair turned pure black as her facial features altered slightly. At the same time, a costume of pink and blue with some white seemed to form around her. A pink and white cape was draped behind her and a white U decorated her chest.
"And since it seems to be a prerequisite to be taken seriously here," Lois added, "I've even got a costume and a code name" She stood up proudly, her voice somewhat different than it was a moment earlier. "You can call me Ultra Woman"
Several groans echoed from around the room and Superman sighed in defeat. He knew that there was nothing he could do to stop Lois, especially once she'd made up her mind. He knew that all too well, and dreaded what would happen once they got home if he even tried. Forget kryptonite, he thought ironically, she was the one thing that he could never truly stand up against, and that was before she had any kind of powers.
"All right," Superman said aloud, "We can use all the help we can get." Then he gave an apologetic look towards J'onn, who almost seemed to be amused by the situation.
After the meeting, the Huntress moved away from the others, knowing that she wasn't going to be of much use at the moment, and hating it. Without really thinking about it, she rolled her wheelchair through the halls, and into the room where she'd been cursed with her new body. The trophy room.
The Huntress stopped and stared at the spot where Exchange had stood, where she'd attacked him without suspecting his response. Without guessing what he would to do her.
"Excuse me" a female voice called, making the Huntress turn quickly, seeing the green skinned girl standing at the doorway and looking slightly embarrassed. For a second, the Huntress searched for the girls name, then recalled that this was Jade. The daughter of the original Green Lantern.
"I'm sorry to interrupt," Jade said, walking over to the Huntress, "but I saw that you looked pretty depressed and thought that talking to someone might help. Green Lantern told me everything."
The Huntress forced a grin, not wanting any of the pity that Jade offered. "I'll be fine" she responded, hoping that the girl would go away.
Jade took the answer without comment, then slowly started walking around the room, looking slightly amused at some of the trophies, and somewhat impressed by others. "You know" Jade sighed, "I do miss it. The adventure, the thrill and knowing how much good I was doing people." She chuckled slightly, "I guess it runs in my family."
"Yes, I know" the Huntress responded, not bothering to look at Jade. "I've met your brother and your father."
"They will get him you know," Jade said, turning suddenly and looking at the Huntress. "So don't lose hope. I'm sure that before long, you'll be back in your own body again."
The Huntress smiled faintly, hoping that she was right, praying that she was right, but not counting on it. She sighed faintly, then started to leave the room, Jade following close behind her.
Suddenly the Huntress noticed a flash of green light behind her, and turned around, shocked to see Exchange standing in the trophy room again. And what was more, she noticed, he seemed to be staggering slightly, trying to regain his balance. The Huntress's mouth opened as she saw her opponent, then quickly formed into a grimace of determination.
"He's back," she called into the radio on her wrist, "Exchange is in the trophy room!"
"This can't be good" Jade muttered, looking around. "Let's get out of here, and quicky"
The Huntress frowned as she stared at the alien, barely noticing Jade's comment. Then a faint smile formed on the Huntress's lips as she got an idea. Quickly, she picked up the radio and called to the others "Send Ora....Batgirl NOW!"
This was her chance, the Huntress thought. All she had to do was hold out until Batgirl got there, and then get Exchange to attack them again. She quietly whispered to Jade, "Get out of here unless you want to be the one in the chair."
In another room, a number of the Justice League were talking idly, when they heard the call about Exchange come in.
"Oh no" Green Lantern gasped, suddenly worried about Jenny. She'd mentioned something to him about going to talk with the Huntress, and he suspected that she was with her right now.
"Don't worry" the Flash said, "I'll get them out of there before Exchange can do anything"
"No" Wonder Woman snapped, but it was too late as the Flash had already taken off, and most of the other heroes had quickly followed. Wonder Woman grimaced, then started to follow, hoping that she could get there in time.
Green Lantern was startled when he arrived, seeing the Huntress actually trying to roll out closer to Exchange, while Jenny was trying to pull her back. At the same time, the Flash was running around, trying to distract Exchange long enough for Jenny and the Huntress to get away.
It took several seconds for Green Lantern to notice that Exchange wasn't fighting back nearly as well as he had before. In fact, he was just slowly stepping towards the trophy cases, his tentacles still moving around, but just barely. The alien seemed to be tired, Green Lantern realized in surprise.
"Stop," Superman suddenly announced, holding his hands outward in a peaceful gesture as he started walking towards exchange.
"He's a peaceful being," Superman explained to his team mates as he continued his slow but steady march towards Exchange, "and I believe that we can reason with him."
Then turning his attention fully back to Exchange, Superman continued "We mean you no harm. We just want to talk with you."
Exchange just stepped back further, his tentacles moving around a lot more actively than several moments before.
Green Lantern gulped, his eyes moving back to Jenny, who was struggling to get the Huntress back to safety. He couldn't let her get any closer to Exchange, and quickly started to move out.
Suddenly, Wonder Woman grabbed his new cape, flinging him backward, "NO," she ordered in a firm voice, then she called to the others "Get away from him NOW."
Ultra Girl and Batgirl both jumped slightly, but took several steps backward, towards the hallway. Wonder Woman was firm enough that neither doubted that she had her reasons. Even the Flash looked startled and started to move back away from Exchange, deciding to help get the Huntress out of the way.
Then Exchange reached over and picked up the glowing sphere that he'd tried to steal before, clutching it tightly in his arms. Green Lantern could almost swear that the alien looked nervous, or even terrified, though how he could tell that without seeing anything beneath Exchange's helmet he didn't know.
"Please talk to us," Superman pleaded towards Exchange, still attempting to make peace.
The Flash just yelled, "We can't let him get that," and once again started towards Exchange.
At that very moment, a green glow came from Exchange, and Green Lantern only had time to scream "JENNY!" before it exploded outward.
When the light cleared, Green Lantern stared in horror, seeing that once again Exchange had vanished from the trophy room with his prize. And worse, much worse, was the fact that the Flash, Superman, the Huntress and even poor Jenny, were all lying motionless in his wake.
"Oh no" Green Lantern gasped in horror, "What are we going to do now?"
After a second, it was Wonder Woman who spoke. "Now" she said quite confidently, "we go and take this fight to Exchange."
When all eyes turned towards her in confusion, Wonder Woman gave a faint smile that all but Batgirl missed. "Thanks to the tracking device I planted in the artifact."
Superman groaned slightly as his senses returned to him. Even in his groggy state, he was immediately aware of how different he felt, a fact which caused his head to clear up even quicker.
"Exchange" he mumbled, remembering the last confrontation, and gulping at the realization that he..... That he'd been yet another victim of Exchange's odd powers, and was no longer in his own body. However, he still didn't know just whose body he was in, and he was afraid to find out.
Knowing that he couldn't hide from it much longer, the Man of Steel cautiously opened his eyes and sat up. The weight that he suddenly felt on his chest only gave him a sinking feeling, which got even worse as he looked down and saw green skin.
"Jade," he muttered, realizing just who's body he was in. He grimaced at that, then slowly got to his feet, trying to ignore the nearly alien feel of his body.
Superman looked around, seeing the others that were close to him, and must have been the other victims. All of them were already awake and none of them seemed to steady on their feet. The Flash, or at least whomever was in his body, was almost smiling as he started walking around in circles. "That must be Huntress" he assumed.
Whoever was in Oracle's body was looking down at themselves in shock and horror, and Superman certainly couldn't blame them. He suspected that he would be too if he'd ended up in Oracle's body and trapped in the wheelchair. Being both a girl and powerless was bad enough for him, and he was trying as hard as he could not to look at himself or face it.
Then Superman's eyes fell to a far more familiar body. One that caused him to shudder as it looked right at him. He was caught, looking at himself, and not feeling at all comfortable with it.
"Are you all right?" Green Lantern's female voice asked cautiously, and Superman turned to see that he looked very concerned. Green Lantern was even staring at him, which reminded Superman suddenly that Green Lantern was supposed to be very close to the girl who's body he was in. That just made him even more uncomfortable, which he hadn't thought was possible.
Superman suddenly heard in his head.
He turned and gulped as he looked at Ultra Woman. At Lois. "Great Scott" he gasped, realizing suddenly that he was now shorter than his wife, or at least the body she now wore.
he heard her telepathically. The concern and worry that was visible on her face, was even more noticeable through the mind link. she said, and he knew without a doubt that she meant it.
"All right everyone," Wonder Woman's voice commanded, "Calm down. First..." she looked at Superman and then there other victims, "who are you?"
"Superman" he sighed.
"Huntress" called out the Flash's voice.
"Flash" came from Oracle's body, and he looked extremely uncomfortable.
"And Jen.....Jade" from Superman's body.
"All right then" Wonder Woman said, "You have fifteen minutes to start getting used to your new bodies. That's how long it will take to get everybody together again in the meeting room," Then with that, Wonder Woman turned and marched down the hall.
Slowly, all the other members of the Justice League followed, though Huntress, in the Flash's body, ran around the trophy room several dozen times in a couple seconds before leaving.
Finally, Superman was there along, with Lois. "Are you all right?" she asked in concern, coming over to stand next to him.
"For the moment," he said cautiously, hoping that somehow they could find Exchange and talk him into changing them back. "But I don't know how long I'll be able to hold up."
Lois nodded slightly, "I guess I got a better deal out of my trade in" she smiled faintly, and then gave Superman a hug.
Superman gasped under the pressure of Ultra Woman's arms, and managed to get out, "Not so tight"
"What....?" she asked confused as she stepped back, suddenly realizing that she was now the one who was much stronger than him. "I'm sorry" she apologized in embarrassment, and even somewhat awe at herself, "I guess I don't know my own strength" she forced a smile. Then after a moment, the smile became real as she realized that she kind of liked being stronger than Clark for once. It gave her such a feel of power, even more than just her new powers.
"It's all right" Superman told her, trying to keep up hope. He gave her a smile to prove that he wasn't afraid, or worried, though inside he was more scared than he could ever remember being.
"Well there is one good thing about this." Lois said, trying to cheer him up.
"Now we both have green skin" and with that, she changed into a female version of the Martian Manhunter, earning a faint smile from her husband.
After they stared at each other for a moment, with Superman drawing strength and courage from her presence, he finally whispered "We'd better get to the meeting room before they start."
In the hallway, Green Lantern walked alongside the person who appeared to be Superman, feeling rather strange as he did so. "Um...so Jen" he started, "are you OK? I mean..." he gestured at her now large muscular and male body.
"I'm just shaken up is all," she admitted, "But I sure do feel weird. It's like you said before, strange yet similar. And how powerful I feel..." She shook her head.
"This certainly is strange" Green Lantern sighed. "I mean, now I'm the girl and you're the guy," he chuckled slightly at that, thinking that it was almost funny. Jenny gave him a grin back, showing that she thought so as well. Then Jenny put an arm around Green Lantern's well muscled but still feminine shoulder, and kissed him on the cheek.
"What...?" he started, caught slightly by surprise.
Jenny just winked at him, and they both started chuckling at that. "We'd better get to the meeting before anyone notices," Green Lantern said with a faint grin.
The Justice League once again assembled in the meeting room, only a short time since their last meeting had ended. However, in that short time, a great deal had occurred.
Wonder Woman stood up and looked over the others confidently. "For those who weren't there, Exchange returned to the Watchtower again." She looked at them intently, then went on to describe the alien's latest attempt and the unfortunate results.
"At least we now know where to find the creature," Batgirl said.
Most of the assembled team looked at her without understanding, wondering how they could possibly know that. It was Green Lantern who announced, "Wonder Woman figured Exchange would be back, and bugged that doohicky he wanted."
All eyes once again returned to Wonder Woman, several of them almost with hostility. She'd known that Exchange would return and hadn't warned them, either of that, or of the tracking device. However, she seemed completely oblivious to this.
"I think that at the moment, neither the Flash or I will be of much use," Superman added with a sigh, then looked at Batman was similarly lacking in usefulness due to his injuries.
"That's true," Wonder Woman admitted, "But when we go to Exchange, everyone should be there. That way we will be in a better position to utilize any opportunities to regain our correct bodies." The others nodded, and then Wonder Woman continued, "Ultra..."
"Why don't I just hit him fast and hard?" Huntress demanded impatiently, obviously unused to how slow everything seemed to be moving to her because of her new powers.
"Let the woman speak Flash," Aquaman growled.
"That's the Huntress," Batgirl interjected with a faint smile.
Wonder Woman sighed almost unnoticed, then said, "For the moment it might be less confusing to go with the solution we'd come up with earlier." She gave a knowing look at Batman, and continued, "We will call you by the names of who's body you're in" She looked at the former Man of Steel and asked "Is that acceptable....Jade?"
The new Jade sighed, "For now"
"Then let's get on with this," Batman growled, obviously eager to confront Exchange once again, and hopefully defeat him.
For a moment, Wonder Woman looked thoughtful, then she continued describing her plan of action. Ultra Woman was to go in first, and attempt to communicate using her telepathy. If they weren't able to find a peaceful solution, then it would be the time for force. The time that most of the team was anticipating, hoping to get another chance at Exchange, and to redeem themselves.
When they were finished, Jade stood up and looked around the room. Staring at each and every hero for a moment, the immense determination visible in her eyes. Even Plastic Man was serious for a moment, caught with the realization that if something went wrong, he might end up in another's body as well. Jade held his eyes the longest, trying to reinforce on him just how serious this was going to be. Finally, she announced "Since that's all taken care of, let's go get Exchange and our own bodies back."
The Justice League was all assembled on top of a large rocky hill in the middle of the Australian outback, brought there with the help of their teleporters. The group all stood silently, staring down at the scene below them. At the massive gouge torn through the landscape, and the gray metal space ship which lay motionless and damaged at the end of it.
"There it is," Jade said unnecessarily, pointing at the vessel which had brought Exchange to Earth.
"Looks bad," the former Flash, now Oracle said in an understatement.
The ship was nearly a hundred yards long, and not in the best of shape after the crash. It had several noticeable tears in its sides, and several large dents. However, it was also very obvious that much of the damage had already been repaired, and most of the holes patched.
"Remain cautious everyone," Wonder Woman warned, looking at the wreck thoughtfully. "You all know what Exchange is capable of." Then she turned and looked intently at Ultra Woman. "It's your turn. As we discussed."
"You got it boss woman," Ultra Woman answered with a grin. Then with little effort, she left the group and few down towards the wreck, her telepathic powers fully active and scanning for Exchange. Hopefully, she'd be able to communicate with him this time, and convince him to change them back.
And though Ultra Woman was determined to succeed in that goal, mostly to get her husband back to normal, she was also somewhat disappointed at the same time. She knew very well that if their plan worked, she would lose the body that she was currently in. The body, and powers that she was very much beginning to enjoy.
Ultra Woman sighed, reminding herself that Superman was counting on her. Not that green skinned girl who was in Superman's body, but the real one. The one that she was married to and hoped to get back to normal. He'd saved her more times than she could possibly count and she was determined to repay the favor, even at the cost of her new powers.
Farther back up on top of the hill, the rest of the Justice League watched Ultra Woman with mixed feelings, though mostly with hope and nervousness.
Oracle sat in her chair, glancing nervously over at the man in the red costume. The costume that she'd been wearing herself, not to mention the body. She frowned slightly, thinking how strange it was to have suddenly been turned into a girl. And even stranger, to have not only lost all of her speed, but even the ability to walk.
But as uncomfortable as Oracle was, and as helpless as she was feeling for the moment, she refused to give in to hopelessness. Especially not with victory and the return of her own body so close at hand. Forcing a grin, she thought to herself "Everyone keeps saying I need to get off my feet for awhile." And with a quick glance at her wheelchair, she continued "and I can't get more off of them than this."
Several feet away, Batgirl tore her eyes from the damaged ship and looked at Oracle. That thought made her shudder, knowing how strange it was to be calling the Flash that. But it was her body, and as strange and uncomfortable as the situation was for her, it was doubtlessly worse for him. But she was relieved that at least the former Flash was taking it all a lot easier than Huntress had, and Batgirl would have thought he'd be worse.
Deciding that now wasn't the time to be distracted, Batgirl forced her eyes, and thoughts away from ‘Oracle’ and once again focused them where they belonged. On the ship below, and Ultra Woman who was hurrying towards it.
The Martian Manhunter, whom the others continued to call by that name, stood in the back silently, watching intently as the woman in his body went to confront Exchange. He thought it odd, that ever since he'd come to Earth, he's spent large amounts of time pretending to be a human, trying to understand the people that he now lived among. But now, because of conditions beyond his control, he now was one. Physically at least. And he still felt no closer to being accepted, to actually being one of them.
Plastic Man's neck was stretched out several feet as he reached for a better view of what went on below. Even he stayed quiet, somehow realizing that his usual antics were inappropriate, though the effort to do so was obviously straining him.
Power Girl, still in Green Lantern's body, was silent and looking sullen. She was obviously feeling useless without either her powers, or the power ring that belonged to the owner of the body that she wore.
Batman slumped slightly from his injuries, though struggled not to show them. Wonder Woman looked so focused on their target that Green Lantern wondered if she'd somehow forgotten that she was even in the wrong body. Steel and Aquaman both stood ready, looking as if they also expected a fight to break out at any moment. But so far, all they could do was wait on Ultra Woman.
Jade frowned, looking over at Superman who stood next to Green Lantern. For a moment, she stared at him and sighed, then looked back at Ultra Woman, finding it hard to believe that this was actually Lois. But once again, her knack of finding trouble had put her in that position, and in that body.
"Good luck," Jade whispered, finding it ironic that her own life, her own fate, was in the hands of the woman that she'd saved so many times. After so many times of going off to save the world and leaving Lois behind, she finally understood just how Lois felt. And as much as she hoped that Lois was successful in convincing Exchange, she hoped even more that Lois didn't get hurt trying to do so.
Ultra Woman landed next to the alien ship, carefully reaching out with her telepathic powers and looking for any signs of Exchange. She knew Exchange was around there somewhere since this was where Wonder Woman's tracking device had led them.
Then Ultra Woman sensed a presence. No, she realized, two presences, both coming out of the ship. She opened her mind, projecting
There was no answer, then suddenly she saw the presences. Two creatures came into her view, each standing 10 feet tall and being covered with red and black armor. The only flesh visible was the gray stonelike skin of their faces.
She stared at them in shock, recognizing them from the descriptions of the creature that had attacked STAR Labs. These were two more, just like it, and that one had managed to hold off half of the Justice League. She gulped nervously as she realized the danger she was in.
Ultra Woman repeated aloud this time "I come in peace" but the creatures didn't seem to understand. Instead, both just grunted and started marching towards her, menace clearly visible in their eyes. "Oh no," she gasped, then the first one lashed out at her with a huge fist. The fist hit her with more force than she'd expected, more than she'd ever taken before in her life. The impact flung her back where she smashed into the ground.
Forcing herself back to her feet, Ultra Girl quickly tried thinking of how to handle this. The others were counting on her to get to Exchange...Clark was counting on her. She had more power than she'd ever had before in her life, than she'd ever imagined, and yet she wondered how well they would work against these two creatures which were about to get her again. If force wasn't the answer, she decided, maybe something else was.
After a moment's consideration, she decided to try getting into their heads. To make them stop attacking. But as soon as she opened her mind, pushing her thoughts into hers, she became overwhelmed by the mindless aggression and obsession with protecting Exchange that was emanating from the creatures. If there had been only one, she might have been able to resist, but the two of them together overwhelmed her mental defenses, turning her own psi attack against her.
Ultra Woman screamed as her mind seemed to be on fire, collapsing to the ground. She was barely even aware as the two creatures started to smash her with their oversized fists.
"LOIS!" Jade screamed in horror as she witnessed Ultra Woman being viciously attacked by the creatures that had come from the ship. Without even thinking about it, she was running down the hill, trying to get to her wife as soon as she could, hoping that she could get there in time. The fact that she no longer had any powers didn't even occur to her, only the fact that Lois was in danger.
At the same time, Wonder Woman yelled "Go!" and started flying as quickly as she could towards Ultra Woman. The other members of the Justice League immediately hurried towards the ship and their fallen friend as well. Only Power Girl, the Martian Manhunter and Oracle remained behind on the hill, all three realizing that at the moment, they would only get in the way.
Green Lantern immediately formed an energy wall between the creatures and Ultra Woman, giving the others a chance to pull her free. Then he focused his will, and formed an energy gun in his hand, which he fired straight at the two, though neither seemed to even notice it. "Damn," he thought, seeing that Wonder Woman was doing little better.
After several more failed blasts, Green Lantern looked to see if Ultra Woman was all right, but didn't see her anywhere. It took him a moment to realize that she must have turned invisible for the moment. "At least she's safe now," he thought with relief.
Green Lantern turned his attention back to the creatures, seeing that the Flash was punching away at them as fast as he could, which didn't seem nearly as fast as normal. Not surprising, Green Lantern realized, since the new Flash wasn't yet familiar with his powers. The same could be said for Superman, he noticed. He seemed to be wobbling badly as he flew, and looked very, very clumsy. Green Lantern hoped that they'd be all right.
Quickly, Green Lantern flew down and attacked one of the monsters directly, using all the strength and raw power of his new body. He punched as hard as he could, seeing the creature forced back several steps. But as he attacked again, the Flash got in his way, making him hold back for a second. Just long enough for the creature to strike back with inhuman reflexes, smashing Green Lantern painfully across the face and sending him flying back.
As Green Lantern picked himself up from the ground, he rubbed the sore spot on his face that he suspected would be badly bruised. "Thank God I'm really tough now," he muttered aloud, imagining just how bad it would have been if he didn't have Power Girls body. He looked at the back of his hand, noticing that there was blood on it. From his nose. He shuddered at the realization of just how strong that creature was.
Standing back for a moment, Green Lantern watched the fight, looking for an opening. There were so many of the Justice League attacking though, that they kept getting in each other's way. And there was the obvious unfamiliarity with new powers and bodies that was creating more discord.
But as Green Lantern watched the battle, he realized that there was still no sign of Exchange. He must still be in the ship, Green Lantern decided. And from the way Batgirl was sneaking towards the entrance, she must have had the same idea.
Just as Batgirl was going into the open door of the ship, a mass of golden tentacles flashed outward, throwing her back violently. Slowly, the rest of the body followed the tentacles out, and there stood Exchange at the opening. His tentacles were whipping around back and forth, and he looked towards his creatures, and at the Justice League. Exchange moved forward several more feet, then staggered slightly, and leaned up against the wall of his ship.
Green Lantern just stared at the alien, realizing that Exchange was weak. He looked exhausted. But he stayed where he was, keeping Aquaman, Plastic Man and Batgirl out of reach with his tentacles. Even Jade who'd started sneaking up on him. He might be exhausted, but his tentacles were still doing their job just as effectively as every other time that they'd fought.
Then Exchange's eyes started to glow green. "Watch out" Aquaman warned, grabbing Batgirl and yanking her back as he started running. At the same time, Plastic Man also started to run out, his legs stretched to 10 feet long each and increasing his stride as he hurried out. Finally the green explosion of light came from Exchange, but fortunately everyone had managed to get out of reach in time. Everyone but Jade who stood there looking slightly confused
"Nothing happened," Jade exclaimed in surprise. She was still in Jade's body. Probably because there was no one else in Exchange's field to be swapped with she decided, feeling relieved. It was bad enough to wake up in another's body once, but doing it again..... She shuddered. She might not have been swapped, but she still felt all tingly and strange from it. "I'd better get out of the way," she muttered after taking another quick glance at Exchanges tentacles.
The Flash stopped where he was, and stared at Exchange. Hatred was visible in his eyes. "I'll get that bastard," he screamed, then started to slowly move towards the alien with purpose. However, he was so focused on Exchange that he didn't pay attention to the two creatures behind him, or to the fact that one of them had moved up behind him.
"WATCH OUT!" Green Lantern yelled to the speedster, but it was too late. The new Flash wasn't aware enough of his powers to use them in time and the creature had grabbed him by the throat and lifted him off the ground.
The Flash was scrambling to get away, to pull himself loose. His limbs flailed faster than the human eye could see, but they did no good to the unimpressed creature. Green Lantern helplessly watched in horror, knowing full well that the real Flash could have gotten away by vibrating his molecules and moving through solid matter, but this Flash didn't have that experience or control. Then there was a sickening crunch, and the Flash's motionless body dropped to the ground.
"FLASH," Green Lantern screamed, already flying to his fallen comrade as fast as he could. He didn't stop to think about it as he rushed to the creature that stood over the Flash, and hit it with all the strength that his new body possessed, backed up by all the power from his ring. The creature was thrown back by the force, nearly hitting Wonder Woman, who'd barely managed to dodge in time, and then slamming into the side of the space ship. It didn't even stop there, tearing through the outer wall of the ship and disappearing inside. However Green Lantern barely noticed that, his attention already having gone back to the body of the Flash.
"Are you all right?" he asked stupidly, checking the body for a pulse. But there was none. "Oh God," Green Lantern moaned, realizing that the Flash was dead. His neck broken by the monstrous creature. "Oh God!" he cried out loud, tears pouring from his eyes as he picked up the body of his dead friend and team mate, forgetting for the moment that it was the mind of the Huntress inside, not of his real friend. But that didn't matter. What really mattered is that he was helpless to protect his team mate from being killed in front of his very eyes.
Green Lantern gently put the body back to the ground, his eyes moving towards the other creature, hate filling them. He absently noticed the shock and horror on the faces of his team mates, as they all stared at the Flash's body. All except Wonder Woman and Batman, both of whom looked very grim. Wonder Woman looked even grimmer than Green Lantern could ever remember Batman looking, something which he would have thought impossible a moment earlier.
As the entire Justice League turned, almost as one towards the remaining creature, grim determination in their eyes, Exchange had started moving slowly towards the dead body. His body language seemed to show shock, as well as exhaustion, but none of the team noticed that, or him. They were far too intent on the first creature who was climbing out of the hole in the ship, and the remaining one.
Suddenly, they all attacked the creatures. Wonder Woman had managed to throw one of them, only to have the creature caught by Green Lantern and body slammed into the ground, as hard as his superhuman strength would allow.
Superman charged forward, firing his heat vision straight at the other creature, catching it full in the face, and knocking it back several feet. The creature grunted loudly, sounding almost in pain. Its hands covered it's eyes as it howled, stumbling around for a moment without direction. Then it started swinging its arms back and forth, blindly lashing out in the chance of catching something.
"He's blind" Batman yelled out, "Get him while he can't see."
But before anyone could get close to the blind and flailing monster, the other creature got too close. The blind creature struck the other one, accidentally throwing him backwards, right into Exchange. Both collapsed to the ground while the blind monster continued to flail around.
"Remember," Wonder Woman yelled out, "They're only constructs. Don't hold back"
A grin formed on Green Lantern's face, and he opened up with the full power of his ring on the blind creature, at the same time that Superman also attacked full force. A moment later, there was only a smoldering crater where the creature had been standing, and Green Lantern felt much better for that. "That's for the Flash," he growled at the hole.
Then Green Lantern turned his attention to the other creature, which was charging violently at Batman, who barely managed to dodge out of the way in time to avoid it. Wonder Woman's magic lasso was quickly wrapped around the creature’s neck, and she started flying into the air, using her lasso as a noose. However, as the creature was lifted off the ground, it suddenly turned intangible and fell free from the lasso.
Ultra Woman suddenly came out of nowhere, obviously refreshed enough for the fight. She lashed out at the creature with all of her power, only to be knocked back again.
Then the creature started picking up rocks and throwing them. One hit Plastic Man in the face, though not doing any real damage to the group clown. Green Lantern stopped another one with a wall created from his ring, and he started using his powers to protect his team mates from other flying debris.
Jade ran into the fight, yelling "Lo....Ultra...." only to be interrupted by a rock that was flying straight at her. She stood there with her mouth open, staring in horror as the huge boulder came at her. Then suddenly Ultra Woman jumped in front of her, catching the boulder with a slight grunt.
"You all right?" Ultra Woman asked Jade.
Jade gulped. "I'm fine."
"Then get out of the way" Ultra Woman ordered, picking up the protesting Jade, and flying her out of harms way. "Stay here where you won't get hurt" Ultra Woman told her husband, then turned and flew back into the fight. Jade could only stare helplessly and humiliated as Ultra Woman once again flew off.
Finally, they managed to stop the creature. Its body lay motionless on the ground, though they weren't quite sure that it was dead. Still, it was stopped for the moment, and that was what was important.
For several minutes, the Justice League stood around the body of their fallen comrade, each mourning his loss, and wondering what that would mean for Oracle whose body that was. The real Flash still lived, and Huntress was the one who died
Staring at the body, Batgirl was especially horrified. The person who died was the one whose body she currently possessed. Feelings of guilt overwhelmed her as she remembered the promise she'd made the Huntress, that she would get her own body back. And now....now there was no way.
Cautiously, Steel looked around, then asked "What about Exchange?"
With that question, everyone was reminded of their purpose for coming, and the reason the Flash lost his life. Exchange. It only took them a moment to locate the alien. He was lying on the ground where his creature had smashed into him earlier. Exchange was motionless, with the exception of occasional twitches from his tentacles.
Green Lantern was cautious as he leaned over their foe, expecting some sort of surprise attack. But none came. Instead, Exchange just twitched his tendrils some more, though not enough to be threatening. In fact, it took Green Lantern a moment to realize that Exchange's armor was badly cracked and bluish green fluid was leaking from the broken armor.
"Oh my," Batgirl whispered.
"Is he all right?" Ultra Girl nervously asked.
Wonder Woman bent over and examined the creature, then shook her head. "I don't know enough about his physiology to tell."
Green Lantern nervously reached over and touched the smashed armor, and the helmet which had nearly been broken in half. He hesitated for a moment, then pulled the pieces apart, revealing the face of their foe.
The alien face that looked up at them looked somewhat insect like. Its bald head was shaped somewhat oddly, though still nearly human even if covered with a dark green chitinous material. It had four green faceted eyes, two large ones where a humans would be, and two smaller ones on its ‘cheeks’ There was no mouth or nose visible.
"Ugly bastard," Steel whispered.
"Kind of like your mama" Plastic Man joked half heartedly, earning him glare from Steel which made even him cringe.
Ultra Woman gulped, then tentatively reached out with her telepathy. The alien thoughts came to her, cloudy and confused. She could make out memories of a dying world, and the deep despair and loneliness of a scientist and explorer. One who had been searching for a new home for his people when he'd crashed on this harsh alien world. When he'd crashed on Earth.
"It's....sad" she whispered, trying to offer what comfort she could to the alien. His thoughts were weak, and filled with regret over the death he'd inadvertently caused. Ultra Woman could sense his apology. Then his thoughts weakened more, and faded out entirely.
For a moment, Ultra Woman just stared at the alien body, tears coming down her cheeks. Then she slowly looked up at Superman, then around at the others. "He's dead," she whispered, "Gone."
They all stared at her in shock, and then at the dead body, realizing that Exchange was gone. That their way back to normal was gone.
Green Lantern gulped as he looked up at Superman, realizing that he and Jenny might never see each other as themselves again. The thought left him confused and in shock. He couldn't believe it. He couldn't believe that they could very likely spend the rest of their lives in the wrong bodies. And that he might be female for the rest of his. Most of the others shared his sentiments.
The entire Justice League stared in horror and shock at the bodies of
both Exchange and the Flash. Both were lying on the ground before them
dead, and both having been very much alive just a short time before.
Somehow, while the others weren't aware of it, the members who'd been
left behind on the ridge made their way to join them. Power Girl in
Green Lantern's body, the Martian Manhunter in Lois Lane's, and real
Flash, inside Oracle's body, all formed around the fallen body of the
"Oh my God," Oracle's voice whispered in horror and shock. She just
stared at the body on the ground. Her own body. "Oh my God!" she echoed
in disbelief. "She killed me. My body..."
Tears began pouring down Oracle's cheeks as the Flash tried to absorb
the fact that his own body had been killed with Huntress inside. That
now he'd never be able to return to normal, and would never have his own
body again. And worse, that he'd likely be trapped in a wheelchair for
the rest of his life, to never, ever run again.
The Flash leaned forward, putting his head into his hands as he
started sobbing uncontrollably. The others could only stare at him in
pity, realizing the true depth of his loss. As bad as any of theirs had
been with the death of Exchange, his had been far, far worse.
Finally, Batgirl slowly went over to her own body, and gently hugged
it, giving what comfort she could to the tormented man who was trapped
within. Though the others couldn't see it through her mask, tears were
coming from her own eyes as well.
"I'm so sorry," Batgirl whispered, then clenched the Flash even
tighter, adding her tears to his.
After several minutes, Wonder Woman looked up and suggested, "Perhaps
there might be something in the ship." She gestured at Exchange's ship.
"Something that can give us a clue..." She left the rest unfinished,
but they all knew what she meant. Perhaps they might find another way
to switch back to normal, or at least something about Exchange which
"Let's go then," the Martian Manhunter said in Lois Lane's feminine
voice, already moving confidently towards the ship.
"Hold it," Ultra Woman said, gently grabbing hold of J'onn. "That's
my body, and I don't want it in any more danger than necessary at the
The Manhunter nodded, though frowning as he did so. "Then I will
hold back for the moment," he assured her reluctantly.
A moment later, Ultra Woman, Jade, Wonder Woman and Batman went
inside, only to find that Exchange apparently had a self-destruct device
go off when he died. For when they looked inside, they found that
everything had been reduced to slag, leaving nothing but a hollowed out
shell of a ship. Unfortunately, nothing remained to give them any
further clues about where Exchange came from or how to get back to
Sadly, the Justice League admitted that there was nothing more that
they could do, and decided to return to the Watchtower to decide their
Wonder Woman gently picked up the body of the Flash, a look of sadness
on her face replacing the grim look, though everyone else was too caught
up in their own remorse to notice. And Steel picked up the body of
Exchange, suggesting halfheartedly that perhaps his body might offer a
solution, though no one believed him.
Finally, they were ready to leave. Green Lantern looked down at the
wreckage, then over at Wonder Woman and the body she was carrying. A
deep pang of sadness went through him.
Then he looked over at Oracle, whom he knew was really the Flash.
She...he was sitting motionless in the wheelchair, staring numbly at his
hands. He didn't seem to notice anyone or anything around him, obviously
being deep in shock. It was Batgirl who was gently pushing the
wheelchair along, though the Flash didn't seem to even register that.
Green Lantern sighed, and looked over at Superman...at the person
that was really the woman he loved inside. Then Green Lantern took a
final look at the alien wreckage, feeling his hopes of returning to
normal fading. Sadly, he wiped the tears from his cheeks, just as the
transporter beams returned them all to the Watchtower.
When it came time for the funeral, the Justice League debated on
whether to give it for Huntress or the Flash. Finally, it was decided
that they had to keep what had really occurred to themselves, and away
from the public. If the public knew that they weren't themselves, they
would lose confidence in the Justice League, and their enemies would
seize the opportunity to destroy them in their weakened condition.
So it was decided that the funeral would be for the Flash, with only
the heroes being told the truth. Huntress's real memorial would be in the Watchtower where they would never forget her.
During the funeral, the entire Justice League assembled around a giant
statue of the Flash, both current and past members. The younger team of
Titans were also assembled, since the Flash had been a member of that
team as well as the Justice League. And even though they'd been told the
truth, that didn't stop them all from crying, even Batman's protege,
Other heroes were present as well, all who'd known the Flash, or
Huntress. And all of them mourning the loss of one of their own.
Mourning the loss of both the Flash and Huntress at the same time.
Throughout the funeral, Batgirl stood next to a red headed girl in a
wheelchair. Though most of the heroes didn't know that this was the
body of Oracle, few didn't know that it housed the mind of the Flash.
A mind which didn't even seem to be aware of the events going on around
him. The Flash seemed completely oblivious to everyone and everything,
his mind too far gone in shock. He had retreated from the rest of the
world, much to the sadness and pity of all the heroes present…especially Batgirl
When it was finally over, not a single eye in the audience was dry,
save that of the Flash, a fact which gave all present even more cause
to shed tears.
Green Lantern looked at the ground below him, keeping all his senses
open as he looked for trouble. He couldn't get over just how strong all
of his senses were now. How inhumanly sharp they all were, all thanks
to his new body and new powers.
It had been two weeks since the funeral, and he couldn't help but be
sad when he thought about it. But he also knew that he had to let it go
and get on with his life. A lesson learned the hard way after the death
of his girlfriend when he'd first become Green Lantern. He had to get
on with his life, even if it was in a new body, and a female one at that.
Being a girl was different, he thought to himself with a faint grin.
For one thing, he couldn't get over the strange face he saw every time
he looked into a mirror. And that wasn't anything compared to his new
breasts, or what was between his legs. Very strange indeed, especially
since his period had started several days earlier.
Green Lantern shuddered at the thought of how disgusting that was, and
how much his cramps hurt, even with his new invulnerability. Fortunately, he thought to himself, Superman...Jenny, was there to help him out, even if she did tease him about the fact that he had the periods now instead of her.
However, there were compensations. He felt different, but he was also
stronger and more powerful than he'd ever imagined he could be. He felt
more alive than he'd ever felt before in his life, and he loved it. He
wasn't sure that he would give it up now if given the chance, even if it
did mean he'd be a woman for the rest of his life.
The thought made him feel a little guilty as he thought about Power
Girl, now in his body, and having disappeared somewhere. She'd said she
had to get in touch with herself, and had wandered off without telling
anyone where to. J'onn had even gone with her to keep her company, and
Green Lantern suspected perhaps more.
But for the moment, Green Lantern was getting used to the body he now
wore. Every morning he'd been waking up, amazed at how great he felt.
And that was something he wanted to keep, even if it meant the cramps
and everything else that went along with it. Besides, he thought with
amusement, with all his new powers, and his ring as well, he was now the
most powerful member of the Justice League, without a doubt. Not that
he let that go to his head. Jenny made sure of that.
It was amazing how much the Justice League had changed as well, Green
Lantern thought. Wonder Woman now led the League since Superman didn't
have the experience. The original Superman, in Jade's body, no longer
had any powers and had left the team. Green Lantern wasn't even sure
where Jade had gone, though he was saddened by that since he loved
looking at Jenny's old body.
Aquaman, Steel and Plastic Man were all still the same, and with the
additions of Ultra Woman and Batgirl, the team had been doing nicely.
Unfortunately, Jade wasn't the only one to leave due to her lack of
power. Power Girl and J'onn had gone on their walkabout, and Batman had
gone on a leave of absence, claiming that his recent injuries proved he
needed further training in his new body, as well as perhaps an edge.
Green Lantern was sad to think of them leaving, though not as sad as the
Flash. The real Flash, that was, who was almost a vegetable the last
time Green Lantern had seen him.
Suddenly seeing his apartment below, Green Lantern forced the
depressing thoughts from his mind, thinking instead that Superman should
be home...Jen should be home. With that, Green Lantern made sure that
no one was watching, and flew in through the window.
Once inside, Green Lantern was greeted with the sight of Superman,
sitting on the couch. The Man of Steel stood up, and happily exclaimed,
"Kyle, you're back!"
"Miss me, Jen?" Green Lantern asked, thinking again how odd it was to
realize that the mind of his girlfriend was in Superman's body. And more
than that, that they were still just as close as they used to be, even
if they were both now the opposite sex.
"You know it!" Jenny said with a grin, coming over and giving Kyle a
hug which would have crushed a normal human. Then they kissed
passionately for a moment, before pulling apart.
"Wow!" Kyle said, grinning back at her. It had been pretty strange
kissing Superman at first, but after a couple weeks, he'd not only gotten
used to it, but was thoroughly enjoying it. Especially since it was
Jenny who was inside.
After a moment, they sat down together, while Superman described his
day in Metropolis, with Green Lantern listening carefully. Every day
since the change, Jenny had taken over the real Superman's
responsibilities in Metropolis, and surprisingly, at his request.
Sometimes, Green Lantern missed having her around, but he understood the
"This sure is strange," Kyle said, willing his costume to disappear
and his civilian clothes to return. "If someone had told me a month ago
that I'd be dating Superman, and have a pair of tits, I would have
laughed in their face."
"Funny how life is," Jenny said, leaning over to give Kyle another
As they became lost in another passionate kiss, it still remained in
the backs of their minds that perhaps...just perhaps, someday they would
all be returned to normal. But in the meantime, they were who they
were, and they still had their lives to live, regardless of what bodies
In a small apartment in Gotham City, Batgirl had just gotten home from
a night prowling for criminals. It had been a long night, and she'd even
cut it short. But at the moment, she still had other responsibilities, responsibilities which she knew were just as important as, if not more
so, than crime fighting.
Slowly, she walked into the living room, and stared at ‘Barbara.’
It had taken her a while to get used to it, or at least try to. She
still found it odd to call the former Flash by her own name, but at the
moment, there wasn't much other choice. At least not in public.
"Are you all right?" she asked unnecessarily, moving around to look
Barbara in the face. Barbara's eyes shifted, and looked at her for a
moment, then went back to the wall. "At least she's improving," Batgirl
muttered under her breath, hoping that eventually she would come out of
it. That she'd come out of the vegetative state she'd been in since
Exchange's death. Since her own death.
Batgirl stared at Barbara for a moment more, feelings of guilt
overwhelming her. She knew that it wasn't her fault, but knowing it and
believing it were two different things. She couldn't help but feel as
if she were to blame for Barbara's being there. "If only I hadn't gone
to the Watchtower..." she kept telling herself. But she had gone, and
first Huntress, and then the Flash, paid for that with her body, while
she was walking around, and even fighting crime again.
Sighing, Batgirl looked away from Barbara, thinking that she was
responsible for her now. At least, until she could snap out of it.
Batgirl was hopeful though. After all, Barbara had been showing signs
of improvement lately. She'd started watching, and occasionally paying
attention. Sometimes, she would even make slight sounds or movements.
It shouldn't be too much longer, Batgirl told herself patiently.
Batgirl had moved in with ‘Barbara’ as a roommate after the funeral.
Her own father, Commissioner Gordon, had almost seemed relieved for his
daughter to have a room mate and friend. "If only he knew," Batgirl
muttered, sadly thinking how heartbroken she'd been when her father had
seen ‘Barbara’ like that. She hadn't had the courage to tell him the
truth, and didn't dare do so.
As Batgirl slowly undressed, she slipped her costume on a hanger and
stared at it long and hard. She knew that she could put it away forever,
and focus all her energies on helping Barbara. But getting her costume
back, becoming Batgirl again, had cost far too much to just give it up
again. Not now.
Still staring at her costume, she sighed, thinking of Barbara. "Someday," she whispered. "Someday."
Ultra Woman finally let go of Jade, who stepped back from their hug.
"I'll see you later," Jade told Ultra Woman...Lois...her wife.
"I love you," Lois told Clark, looking down at him in Jade's body.
"I'll see you when I get back from stopping Metallo." Then with that,
Ultra Woman was gone, having turned invisible and flown out the window.
Clark stared at where she'd gone, knowing that he couldn't see her,
but trying anyway. He frowned, and whispered, "Be careful."
Slowly, he walked away from the window, worried that she'd be hurt.
She had all that power now, but didn't have the experience. At least not
on her own.
Nervously, Clark Kent, now in Jade's body, looked down at his slender,
green skinned arm. He felt so weak and useless now, especially with Lois
being the one to have all the super powers. She had really taken to
them, and to being Ultra Woman. Her confidence was overwhelming, and
only served to make Clark sadder.
He was afraid that they weren't going to be able to stay together.
Lois had so far been more than willing, but he got the feeling that she
was almost bragging about her new powers, showing them off to him. And
all he could do was stay behind, and hope that she'd be all right. "Now
I know how she felt," he sighed to himself.
So far, Lois' powers had come in useful, though. She'd been able to
shape shift into her own form, and keep her job and Lois Lane identity,
and at the same time, occasionally even turn into ‘Clark Kent’ and make
sure that his identity was kept active, as well.
Clark slowly went and stood in front of the mirror, staring at the
young green skinned woman that was reflected back. He nervously touched
his breasts, the ones which he'd had for several weeks now, and was only
beginning to get used to. Or at least to some degree. His whole life
had suddenly changed, all with one burst of green light from an alien.
He'd lost everything. He'd lost his body, his sex and his powers. He'd
lost his position with the Justice League, and even as a super hero. And
what was even more embarrassing, was that his wife had taken his place.
Becoming almost everything that he'd lost.
He couldn't even be a true husband to Lois anymore, which only made
him sadder. Several times, she'd turned into a man and suggested that
they try things from the other perspective, but so far, he'd refused.
He wouldn't...couldn't let himself lose hold of who he really was. He
was Superman. With our without his powers. And he knew, or at least
hoped, that one day he would be again.
As Clark stared at Jade in the mirror, he frowned, wishing that he had
something to smash the mirror. Something to break away the proof of how
much he'd changed. A baseball bat would be great, he thought to himself.
Suddenly, Clark gasped as a strange tingly sensation ran through his
body, focusing on his hands. His eyes wandered down, and his mouth
dropped open as he saw what was in his hand. A baseball bat, made of
glowing green energy, was clenched tightly in his hand, just as he'd
For several minutes, all he could do was stare at it, then a slight
smile began to form on his lips. A moment later, the baseball bat was
gone. Clark looked at his reflection with renewed amazement, realizing
that somehow, Jade's powers had returned. That somehow, he now had those
powers. This was most likely due to the confrontation with Exchange. With a bit of concentration, a glowing green statue of Superman appeared on the floor, and Clark started laughing.
"Well," he said to his reflection, to Jade's reflection, "I may not
be Superman anymore, but I can still rejoin the Justice League."
Feeling greatly relieved, and even hopeful, the new Jade knew that
she was going to be able to help people again. That she could once again
stop some of the crime and horrible things that happened to people. "But
first," she said aloud, floating up in the air with a green aura around
her, "I need to get a little more used to my powers." She chuckled,
"And then it will be time to find Ultra Woman!"
"Watch out criminals," she laughed aloud, "Jade is back!"
Along one of the dark streets of Gotham, two gangs were preparing to
rumble for control over the street. Suddenly, a dark shape appeared
above them, silhouetted by the moon. A hauntingly familiar shape to
anyone in Gotham, especially among the criminals.
"It's the BAT!" one of the street punks screamed, staring at the bat
shaped silhouette which was quickly descending towards them.
Almost as one, all the gang members on both sides started opening fire
at the quickly descending figure.
Suddenly it landed, and a dark black cape wrapped around a humanoid
figure stood there. The gang members continued firing, though the figure
didn't seem to even notice.
Finally the shooting stopped, and a grim female voice asked, "Are you
The gang members all stared in horror as the Bat threw back her cape,
revealing an impressive amazon physique, clothed in a black costume with
a yellow bat insignia on her chest. She wore a black mask which covered
the top half of her face, and the top of it curved up and back to give
the impression of bat ears. Behind that, a long mass of raven black hair
hung back. A yellow belt was wrapped firmly around her female waste.
The criminals stared at her. Half in horror and fear, the other half
with lust. However, none of them doubted that they were all in deep
trouble. "It's Bat Woman!" one of them screamed from the back, and then
turned and ran.
Before any of the gang members could get far, she was on them. She
moved faster than any human should, and she even flew over their heads,
with bullets bouncing off of her. She seemed only mildly annoyed at
this, quickly stopping all the gang members but a token few.
When she was done, the Bat stared at them, and whispered, "Spread the
word." Then she jumped into the air, unfolding her bat winged cape, and
flew off into the night, leaving the gang members all wrapped up in
metal poles, helplessly awaiting the arrival of the police.
As she flew off, the Bat thought that she definitely felt more
comfortable now. Dressed in a modified version of her real costume, the
costume of Batman, she was able to fight the criminals with even more
effectiveness. Her costume let her hide in the shadows again, and was
the perfect thing to strike terror into the hearts of criminals. Much
better than that skimpy swimsuit that Wonder Woman wore.
Seeing that the sun was beginning to rise, the Bat sighed, deciding
that she'd done a good night's work. Her new powers had greatly helped
her, giving her an edge against the criminals. She didn't like having
to give up her manhood to get that edge, but that was just one more
sacrifice in a long line that she'd made for her goal. For her mission.
It wasn't long before the Bat landed back at the Batcave, and
confidently walked across the floor. She stopped for a moment, and
stared at her old costume, which decorated a mannequin. "Maybe someday,"
she whispered, determined to somehow find a way to give Diana back her
body. As much as she enjoyed the power, and the usefulness to her
mission, it still wasn't hers.
The Bat confidently made her way to a mirror, and looked over her
reflection, then carefully took off the mask. The face of Wonder Woman
showed back. She smiled faintly as she recalled the looks of shock on
Alfred's, Robin's and Nightwing's faces when she revealed that she was
really Batman in that body. It was embarrassing for her, but she knew
that she had to do it. She hadn't regretted it since, either.
Shortly afterwards, she'd gone to work on making her new costume. On
crafting her new identity as the Bat. A perfect gender neutral name,
though most people still insisted on calling her Bat Woman. Heroes and
criminals alike. Even Alfred. She'd about given up on correcting them,
Forcing her eyes away from the mirror, Bat Woman quickly stripped from
her costume, standing naked in front of the mirror. She was vaguely
aware of Alfred standing in the far corner watching her, and she even
sensed his embarrassment at seeing her naked. Bat Woman just smiled so
faintly that almost no one would have noticed it.
Then she went to the table that stood next to the mirror, and started
to quickly put on the clothes that lay spread out on it. It only took
her several minutes, but once she was finished, she looked back into the
mirror. The reflection of Wonder Woman looked back. The only thing
missing was the magic lasso and the tiara, both of which Wonder Woman
picked up off the table, and put where they belonged.
"Perfect," she said, as she looked over herself. Wonder Woman was
ready to go. Though Bat Woman was needed for Gotham, Diana had insisted
that Wonder Woman was needed in the world. As a result, she'd been
forced to promise Diana that she would carry on as Wonder Woman, but only
when she was working with the Justice League. And they did have a
meeting in a couple hours.
Wonder Woman looked away from the mirror, her eyes going straight for
the corner where her butler Alfred was hiding. "Where is Diana at?" she
asked him, knowing that Alfred would have the answer.
Diana, the real Wonder Woman, was still inhabiting her body. The body
of Batman. After her injury, she'd taken time off from the Justice
League, accepting the new Wonder Woman's offer of a place to stay, and
a place to train until she was ready again.
"I believe..." Alfred looked uncomfortable, and said with an ironic
smile, "Master Bruce... is in the gym, working out."
"Good," Wonder Woman said, "she...he'll need it, if he wants to get
ready." But secretly, Wonder Woman doubted that he ever would. He was
too used to fighting with raw strength and power, and even his skills
were directed at that, not at the speed and stealth which would be
required for Batman. But he was very, very determined, which Wonder
Woman decided was a major point in his favor.
Finally, Wonder Woman looked at Alfred, and said, "Tell him that I'll
work on his martial arts with him, once I get back from the Watchtower."
Then with that, Wonder Woman took a deep long look at her Bat Woman
costume, wishing that she could wear it at the moment, but accepting that
she couldn't. Her eyes shifted to the Batman costume, and she thought
how ironic it was, that in order to become the perfect Batman...she had
to give up being a man, altogether.
Then with that, Wonder Woman was gone, knowing that she had a lot of
work ahead of her with the new Justice League, and she was determined to
do it right.
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