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Sandstorm: A Legion of Horribles (2/5) | by Duncan C. Young
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Sandstorm: A Legion of Horribles (2/5)

==The Hindu Kush Valley==

 

Walking through the desert, a group of heroes look over at a nearby village. Orange flames lick and spit, civilians run for cover. At their leader's insistence, one, a red and yellow android creates a cyclone, extinguishing the blaze. Another, a Magician in a top hat utters the spell "Wolf Retaw," a stream of water bursting from her wand. Their leader, a blond haired, handsome man, looks up at a nearby jet and puts his finger to his ear. "This is Aquaman, we've arrived at the drop sight. Over."

 

Onboard the Javelin, Mr Terrific answers back. "Understood. What do you see?"

 

Aquaman pauses. The recent sandstorm had made it difficult to see much of anything, even with his heightened senses. A few yards away, he notices something. A series of immobile, black figures, pointed ears atop their masks. "Talons... I see... God."

 

They're all dead, impaled on their own swords, unable to move. He looks at his boot, drenched in their bizarre, greyish blood. They're freshly killed.

Suddenly, the nearest Talon reaches out, unable to take the sword out it's chest, instead it begs, silently, in the hopes Arthur might slay it.

"They're still alive..." he gasps.

 

At this, Terrific looks at the scanners, zooming in on the heroes below them. "Aquaman, get out of there."

 

"I don't understand," Arthur replies.

 

"The blood, Arthur, look at the blood!" Holt yells, as the other heroes join him on the bridge. Without uttering a word, the other Leaguers nod at Holt, and exit the Javelin.

 

Aquaman steps back, and looks down at the ground. "What the hell?"

 

Written in the Talon's blood, a single word. "Aquaman."

 

"Tornado, Zatanna, get out of here," he yells, before a plasma ray sends him flying through a building. Walking towards him, in a black and silver suit, his red eyes glowing with energy, is Black Manta, beside him a man in a red and black tuxedo, a camera mounted on his head. "He actually delivered... Start filming."

 

=The League of Assassins Archives. Nanda Parbat=

 

Ra's looked at the case. Inside it, *her* costume- a bright orange and black leotard, wings protruding from it's back, long red boots and gloves, and a black domino mask. He opened the cabinet, and held the blade in his hand. It must've been fifteen years since he last held it in his hand. The day he gave it to her.

 

"Master, you wanted to speak with the informant?" Ubu asks.

 

Ra's stroked the blade. Nostalgia was not something he often let himself feel, but this, this was different. He'd written it off at first, the effects of the new Lazarus strain, but he couldn't ignore it any longer. He turned his head to his servant, blade in hand. "Ah, yes."

 

"Father, is this wise?"

 

"Talia, enough," Ra's says, raising a hand to his daughter. "Ubu, let him in. Leave us," he adds, as Talia heads towards the door.

 

Complying, he opens the door, and lets him in. The man who sold out the Misfits, the man who told the League of their plans, and where to find them. In a hushed, gruff voice, the figure mutters, pointing an annoyed finger at Ra's. "That sword. 'Doesn't belong to you."

 

"No." Ra's smiles, turning to face Doctor Gaige. Gone was the red mask and snappy suit, traded for his old scuba gear. His mask may obscure his face, but there was no mistaking his demeanor. Ra's gestures to his trophy cases, dozens of them, as he continues. "It doesn't. None of them do. This place, this shrine was built three hundred years ago. I oversaw it's construction personally. It honours all my fallen warriors. Sons, daughters. The finest assassins the world has ever known..."

 

Gaige stirs. "Did you murder *them,* too?"

 

Ra's turns his head slightly. "Some, yes. But it will never be said they died without honour.

You must think me a monster. A butcher. It's true, yes, I've buried children before, Doctor Gaige, my own, and, I will continue to do so long after your death. I can *just* handle the effects of the Lazarus Pit centuries on, but the toll it takes on them... It is better, sometimes, to let them die. So, I do what anyone who has lived as long as I should do. Move on."

 

"Yes, well, that's always been my issue," Gaige growls.

 

Ra's nods. "Hmm. Of course. But, thank you, regardless of our histories, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you. Rest assured, Mr Walker and his friends will be dealt with."

 

Gaige walks forwards, a finger pointed at Ra's throat, bitterness in his words. "Please, I've seen how you treat those you respect."

 

"You speak of Miranda?"

 

"I *speak* of my daughter."

 

...

 

Ra's moves Gaige's hand away. "My condolences."

 

Gaige nods, as he pushes towards the shrine. "I just want her body, and her gear. Do whatever the hell you want with them."

 

Again, Ra's nods, but he can't help look at Gaige. He was quieter, and he hadn't even swore. At last, the pirate chuckles to himself.

"Heh. It wouldn't have worked anyway. Walker's plan. They'd be dead before they even made it to you. Funny that," he nods. "But... imagine, say, if they actually got in here," he says, as he pulls out a harpoon, and fires it into Ra's hand.

 

==Ra's Palace. The Courtyard==

 

"You say hell yeah, and I'll kill you myself."

 

Chuck turns to Gar, a sly smile on his face. "Never," he says cheekily.

Lined on the cobblestones, were the Misfits. Gar, Chuck, Rigger, Chancer and Needham. Their hands were tied, and they were forced onto their knees, by the surrounding Ninja. One mans a camera, aiming it at the five of them, while several more draw their swords.

 

"The Master wants Walker to watch," one of them says, dressed in a yellow and brown outfit.

 

"Of course, Shrike," the cameraman replies, donning a black and green outfit.

 

"Cypher-?" Gar calls out suddenly. "You son of a bitch!"

 

"You're making a scene," Needham murmurs.

 

"Oh no, first Gaige now you?! I'm going to roast you alive you fuckin' traitor!" Gar screams, as another two ninja rush to restrain him

 

"Hell yeah!" Chuck adds encouragingly, before muttering a feeble apology. "Sorry."

 

"The Master offered you mercy," Shrike says warningly, as he begins to sharpen his blade. "You should've taken it."

 

"Your master dropped a city on us, personally, I'm not a fan," Chancer mutters to himself.

"Enough. Kill him first," Shrike says, as a ninja pulls Chancer in front of the camera.

 

"Oh, fuck you, buddy, I didn't even fucking swear!" Sharpe screams out, as his neck is placed on a stone slab.

 

"Oh, Jeez," Rigger moans. Needham sighs, and turns his head away. Gar looks on in horror. Chuck whispers a "Hell no," as the ninja raises the blade above his head, and- the sword shatters on Chancer's neck. The ninja steps back in confusion. Chancer grins as confidence surges through him. As he rises to his feet, the cuffs slide off. The first ninja runs at him, but slips and falls on their face. A second trips over the body, their sword flying through the air, hitting a third in the chest. A fourth hurls a throwing star at Sharpe that he ducks under, landing in a fifth's forehead. Cypher looks at the carnage, and runs off, abandoning the camera. When all's done. The Misfits look at Sharpe incredulously.

"Guess who's back in business," he exclaims proudly, before Shrike punches him in the back of the head, as he collapses to the ground

 

Gar looks down disappointedly. "Huh. That was almost impressive," as Shrike pulls Chancer off the ground, and unsheathes his blades.

"Oh, you're dead," he smirks, as suddenly, an orange fireball hits him from behind.

As Volcana lands on the ground, Shrike lunges for her, but he's quickly dispatched with with a blast of yellow flames. Turning to Gar, she smiles uncharacteristically sweetly. "Hi honey!"

 

===The Dungeons===

 

"My god... Norbert. Norbert, I'm sorry. I let you down. I'm always doing that."

Drury looks at his brother, chained up, bloody. No doubt in his months of captivity, Ra's agents had reprogrammed him. Just another failure of his, Drury thought. When would they stop?

As Norbert's chains are undone, Drury closes his eyes. This was it wasn't it? Not on the battlefield, not by Ra's or Bane's hand... Just him, trapped in a dungeon, with the Killer Wasp.

 

"Drury..."

 

Norbert looks down at him, cocks his head to one side, then kneels beside him. Holding his brother's head in his hand, he whispers hoarsely. "Still me."

 

Drury opens his eyes, and stares at him incredulously... those were *his* eyes. Warm, kind, alive.

 

Norbert turns round, and with an energy blast, tears the stone wall apart, offering Drury his hand, they barrel down the hall, taking down every Ninja in their way.

 

"Y-you... You fought it? You fought the brainwashing," Drury asks, struggling to keep up.

 

As they arrive at the laboratory, Norbert stops, and picks up a pair of bloodied pliers. His own.

For the first time since Drury had been reunited with him, he winks. "I made promise, Drury. Never again."

 

"No!" a metallic voice echoed, as Darhk marches towards them from the other side of the room. "You belong to me! You do what I say."

 

Norbert pauses, raises Darhk above his head, and smashes his glass visor. As he struggles to breathe, Norbert rests a hand on his shoulder, helping him lie down. "Never."

 

"Not bad, kid," a voice calls down to them, as Deathstroke turns to his comms. "The shields are down, the codes are yours. It's showtime."

 

=======

 

"This is Javelin-Theta, our systems have been compromised, we're being pulled apart up here!" Ollie yells as he attempts to steer the ship away from the village.

Flying beside them, a purple clad assailant uses his powers to rip the ship apart, and hurl it at another.

"Gotta say, this is so cool!" he yells to himself.

Passing by him, Sinestro barks a word of warning at him. "Nichols, please focus," as he creates a yellow buzzsaw to take on another jet.

 

Deflecting, Polaris laughs heartily. "C'mon, boss, have to admit, this is a lotta fun," he calls out, using his metallurgy to pull a steel clad man out of the jet.

 

"Hey Plug Boi, pick on someone your own size!" Guy Gardner, yells, as he hits Polaris with an oversized mallet, and catches Steel in a catcher's mitt.

 

"That's the wrong one, Guy," Hal calls back, as he creates an emerald net around Evil Star.

 

"Same difference Jordan!"

 

As Nichols rises back into the air, he calls out, confused. "What's a Plug Boy?"

 

Nearby, the Batwing weaves in and out of the airborne superheroes and villains. A strike from Black Adam's lightning immediately overcharges it's systems, spinning it out of control. "Batwing's hit, switching to auxiliary power," Bruce calls out, as he hits a few levers in an attempt to keep himself airborne.

 

"I don't understand, it's like they knew we were coming..." Clark calls, as he swoops in and catches the crew from the downed Javelin.

 

Bruce growls over comms. "Kenyon. Goldface baited us, and we fell for it."

 

"This is Flash," Barry says as he runs through the battlefield, "Bats, something's not right, Bane and half his goons are a no-show. Hell, I think saw Bivalo for crying out loud! Reckon it's some kind of a diversion."

 

"Understood," Batman replies. "Bane's there somewhere, Flash, keep at it. Any Society member we take down is progress, I'll have Cyborg increase the scanners."

 

"I'm all dark here, Bats. Whatever they've got, it's got a hell of a jammer," Cyborg chimes in.

 

====Society Field Headquarters====

 

Bane watches the battle from above. Hundreds of the society's underlings, *his* underlings, battle the Justice League and Ra's ninja. He felt something unfamiliar, something swelling in his chest. Pride. "Thinker, I think it's time we make our introduction. Lower shields," he says turning to the holographic display beside him.

 

The Leagues look at the sky, emerging from the clouds, a massive skull-like spacecraft. Brainiac's.

 

Bane smirks, as he addresses the ground forces. "We recovered this from an ARGUS blacksite from one of his last invasions. Primary shrink ray has been disabled, secondary weapons at maximum capacity. Let's begin."

 

~

 

Across the world, people watch the battle unfold, as heroes and villains alike fall.

In their slabside cells, Harvey Dent and David Clinton watch on enthralled. As Two-Face argues with himself, Chronos raises a finger to the screen. He knew them all, didn't he?

Bound to a wheelchair, Jonathan Crane trundles through the New Asylum gardens, overhearing his guards, he thinks to himself "That should've been me," longing to wield a yellow ring once more.

Julian Day watches in his new hideout, concerned. Wherever the Misfits had gone, they weren't on the front lines.

In his funhouse, the Joker lets out a maniacal laugh. Let them have their fun. They'll see, it's all a joke anyway.

In Italy, Roman Sionis rests his tennis racket on the ground, and reaches for his phone. "Those idiots are really gonna destroy the word aren't they?" he mutters to his assistant.

In his penthouse, Oswald Cobblepot shares a drink with the Great White Shark. Turning to the TV, he can't help smiling knowing those Talons are suffering.

In the Batcave, Alfred Pennyworth watches on the oversized monitor, and sighs as he continues dusting. His attention turns on the Watchtower teleporter, as a high pitched beeping starts to ring out. "What on Earth?" he wonders.

In Lexcorp, already in the midst of his own masterplan, Luthor checks his smartwatch. "So they actually did it, did they? Morons."

On the streets of Central City, money in hand, the Rogues pause in front of a computer shop, all the screens displaying Simm's footage. His phone buzzing, Mirror Master answers it.

"Yo, McCulloch, you seeing this?" the voice on the other end asks.

 

"Aye, kid. I am."

 

"Good," Axel says, as he puts on his domino mask and turns to his sister.

 

On the battlefield, Disaster points at Simms, and pulls the Mighty Bruce to his side. "Hey, Bruce, that guy's got a camera *on his head*"

 

"Major, that's Mr Camera-" Tockman begins.

 

"Why didn't you ever think of that? Certainly beats lugging all this gear around" Disaster continues, ignoring both Bruce and Tockman's protests.

 

"I'm claustrophobic, Major," Bruce mutters.

 

At this, Artie taps Disaster on the shoulder and whispers harshly into his ear.

"Maj, please don't stuff the kid's head inside a camera."

 

Lastly, in Butchinsky's, Len looks at the bar. Empty. With the Society's video on every station, everyone else had already gone to fight. His picked his rag off the table, and smiled. "Fuck it." And walked out the door.

 

 

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Uploaded on June 25, 2020