Aligning a Defense
It was an odd gathering the next night. The meeting was held in the conservatory and involved a great number of odd individuals, all but three wearing their false faces. Kate and Renee were there as Batwoman and the Question. The Batman had brought his proteges, Batgirl, Robin, Huntress, Spoiler, and Nightwing, as well as a woman calling herself Catwoman. I had gone out and found the Mustard Man, who's name was the Creeper apparently, Mr. Osbourne as he had some experience with interfering with apocalypsi, as well as myself, Clement, Miss Emma, and of course Harley. Then Jason Blood arrived.
"We are in serious danger, " Sir Jason began, "I have been researching the symbols that were carved onto Miss Quinzel..."
"Call me Harley, please."
"Onto Harley. Most are standard protection and sealing runes, common to many different schools and traditions of sorcery, but mixed within in them are runes in a style that was ancient when the world was new."
"How can they be older than the world Jason?" Nightwing spoke up.
"Simple, there from one of the hell dimensions that the Old Ones ruled over...and to answer your obvious next question the Old Ones are the proto-demonic forces that all demons that currently reside on earth and in the hells are shadows of."
Batman spoke up, "In terms of power, how tough is one of these Old Ones compared to Fate or Etrigan or even the Stranger?"
"Physically they could potentially stand up against the Kryptonian as long as they have a source of power to draw upon. Mystically...They all have their strengths and weaknesses, Illyria manipulates time, D'halzak commands the power of entropy, MmZee controls the four states of matter. There are others of course, all different. They are all almost unstoppable in their element, but they still must rely on an external source of power to draw on. In addition, as the wellspring of magic in the modern world is so much less powerful, they could not manifest in their own forms. They must utilize a shell of a human to survive. If this wasn't the case, we would have no chance at all."
"So this Old One is gonna use Mister J's body for a joyride?"
"Or to take over the world..."
"So what can we do?" Catwoman asked.
"It needs to change the Joker's body into something that can support and utilize its powers more easily. The amount of energy that it will be channeling will be prodigious, so it also needs to arrange some way of maintaining this energy...most likely human life force. If we can find its source of energy once it manifests, we can stop it. In this room are the finest detectives on the planet, along with an extremely powerful seer, and a mystic warrior designed to locate and eliminate extra-dimensional threats. The rest of us know this city like the back of our hands. When it has rebuilt Joker's body, we can and will be able to find it. Once I know which one it is, then I can come up with the best way to destroy it."
The Creeper was the next to speak, "Have you gotten a hold of Doc Fate? He's usually the go to guy for this sort of thing."
"He is sequestered in meditation at this moment. I have left word for him so that when he emerges he will know our plight."
"What about the League?" the youth named Robin spoke up.
"I've contacted them and we will have reinforcements if necessary, but this is our city. We are the first line of defense. Until it manifests we're the best chance of finding it, " Batman had assumed a posture worthy of any general deserving of command, "Jason, will it need thugs or will it be able to create them?"
"It will need assistants at first. It should be relatively weak until it can build up a power source."
"What will it look like at first?"
"Much like the shell body I should think."
"We'll start searching for the Joker's recruiting drive. Quinn!"
"Yeah Batsy?" at that nickname most of the assembled champions began to try very hard to stifle smiles and laughs. The glare the Dark One aimed at her only caused the appearance of an extremely innocent 'Who me?' expression.
With another glare he continued, "Start listing Joker's favorite hiring halls and contacts for us. Creeper and Question. Use your contacts and see if there's any movement on streetgang recruiting. Drusilla, you, your people, and Jason will be protecting Quinn and assembling whatever information we can dredge up. Some of us should start seeing what we can find in Joker's old cell to start."
"I'll go there," Mister Osbourne had raised his hand.
"Miss Emma, could you go with him, " my Slayer nodded.
"I'll go too, " the girl calling herself Spoiler volunteered.
"All right, Robin, you go too, the rest of us have to continue our patrolling. If something unusual comes up, contact Oracle and she'll route it. Understood?" with a chorus of yes's and affirmative nods, the group broke up for the evening until all that remained were Clement, Harley and myself.
"Is this really happening? I mean is my puddin' really gonna come back from the dead, as an evil, well more evil at least, alien flesh eating soul-sucking monster?"
"Probably, that's what I did you know."
"Don't worry Harley. Dru's mellowed out a lot and her demon is like a little baby compared to what's coming."
"That's soooooo comforting Clem."