(Kent Farm, 2 days later)
Clark was tense as he waited for his allies to arrive so they could head to the fortress and begin to plan how to stop the war from happening once again. They had managed with J'onn's help to lure Lex and Jason away from Smallville to track down the false stones Jor-El had created. A lot had happened in the last two days, first they had rescued Kara and hid her ship in the fortress and her memories had been restored, so she now knew the truth about her father and his actions, which helped destroy Krypton and she also had been brought up to date on how things stood. She had instantly agreed to aid them in stopping the darkness to come and they had spent some time getting to know one another while J'onn had taken the blue crystal that contained Zor-El and his mother's replicants to the moon and buried it there where he could not hear it calling to him, thanks to Jor-El putting a sound dampener on it.
Second he had recruited Bart Allen, Zatanna, Kyle Rayner, Jennifer-Lynn Hayden and her brother Todd Rice. Dick Greyson and Helena Bertinelli had also joined them thanks to Bruce being able to convince them it was the best option to avoid the darkness to come as had Donna Troy thanks to Diana.
Each had agreed to help them stop Lex Luthor and the madness he would bring. Sadly most of the people who would make up the League were either not active, too young or not on Earth right now, such as Hawkman and Hawkwoman, but having two Green Lanterns was a plus, although technically Jade got her powers from a different source than Kyle, but she would serve in the corps in the future, just before the war started. Bart had signed up eager to show how he had changed since they had last bumped into each other. He had taken a lot of amusement out of learning he was involved with two women and may end up with a third. The last bit he had learned from Chloe who seemed to be enjoying his company.
This was a change, he had not expected to see that happen and if it continued he doubted Chloe would have a relationship with Jimmy Olsen when she went to work with the Daily Planet. Lois had finally been brought into the fold after a group discussion came to the conclusion it was for the best. She had been stunned, then angry and finally accepted that things were much more than she had first believed. Clark had not expected her to react any differently, as she had been an ally in the future as well. She had been his writing partner at the Daily Planet, where his future self had worked before the war had erupted.
Sadly they had not had everything going their way, as Brainiac had continued to change things for another day before his signal had cut out as the time ripple finally eradicated that timeline. The changes he had brought had pushed Lex to break ties with them and put his full focus on breeding an army. He had also begun to recruit other criminals. From what they could find out he got the Joker, the Riddler, Bane, Sinestro, Deathstroke and finally Toyman.
Together they posed a great threat. Each had been in the war in the future and had killed many during it. When the news had arrived through Ra about their alliance with Lex he had fought a rage not unlike that he had felt when he had first met Lex again after receiving the memories of his future self. Things were rapidly falling apart and he guessed he should not be to surprised thanks to Brainiac's interference. Another major problem had been the fact that Brainiac had also activated the black ship and it was slowly heading for Earth. It's movements were been monitored by Jor-El and Dax-Ur, who were confused why it was moving so slowly.
Once his friends arrived they would move from the passive stance they had been in to one of war, because he seriously doubted they would be able to stop Lex without some kind of fight now that he had such dangerous allies.
Ra and Talia were on high alert in case Nyssa showed up. Bruce had been attempting to locate Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, to get her aid, but so far he had not been able to find her. He was certain his friend would catch up with her and he was sure Selina would help them as she was not an evil person at heart. As he continued to wait he thought over how other things had gone. He had grown closer to Raya and Diana who he had gone to visit twice more to keep her up to date on things while Raya and Lionel/Jor-El visited the others to do the same. He was still fighting the memories and emotions of his future self, but he was getting better at regaining that control faster than he had before. He closed his eyes and prayed that what happened from this point forward would indeed prevent the future his future self had been a part of. He doubted he could survive going through it himself, especially if they began to lose people.
He looked up as finally Lana, Raya and his parents arrived, followed by Chloe, J'onn, Lionel and Dax-Ur who had all been busy with their own things. A few seconds later Bruce arrived dressed in his Batman outfit alongside Dick and Helana, who were also in their outfits. Ra and Talia were with them as well. Clark quickly introduced them to everyone although he hadn't doubted Bruce knew who Lionel was.
After that the others began to arrive within the next hour, the last being Oliver who, like the other heroes, was in his outfit. He carried in a large box he handed to Clark stating they were finished. Clark smirked and quickly dug out the outfits Oliver had made. Clearly Oliver had pushed his people to finish them quicker than normal due to how things had changed so much in such a short space of time. He handed them out to Raya, Kara, Lana, Lionel/Jor-EL and Chloe who were all a part of the fight. J'onn had his own outfit already. Things were tense when it came to Lionel and Oliver, but after informing Oliver than Lionel was now under his father's control Oliver had backed off in wanting revenge for his parents deaths which Lionel had confessed to in a private meeting with the young man at his own behest.
"Clark, when did you asked to get these done?" Lana inquired, as she looked the outfit over.
"Four days ago. I will be adding some tech from the fortress to them so that they will adjust to anyone who wears them as well as adding a shield generator," Clark answered absently as he quickly super sped to his room and changed, followed a second later by Raya. Lionel, Chloe and Lana followed at a slower pace.
When they were kitted out Clark led them to the caves and activated the portal sending them all to the fortress before he removed the key and super sped there himself thinking over everything again and again.
Lex smiled as he watched his men dig where he had come to believe one of the stones of power was buried thanks to a tip he had received from some breakaway faction of the one which had attacked his father. It would seem they were having a little power struggle which helped stop them from uniting the stones. He was also soon to meet this man and buy another of the stones they had collected, the one that had been stolen from china. He looked to his left where Jason stood looking tense and angry and wondered yet again if he should just get rid of the man as he was of no use to him now that he had new plans that could lead him to gain true power, but then he shook his head as he knew if he did kill him, his mother would retaliate and she had enough money and power to hurt him right now.
He was still somewhat confused as to where his new plans and ideas had come from, but he no longer fought them and the voice of his younger self had faded altogether which he liked a lot as he resented the voice that had held him back. He had cut ties with Clark and the rest of his former friends, because he didn't trust them and he knew they didn't trust him as well. He was soon going to put a plan into motion to capture Lana once he had found the stones. He was waiting on his scientist to finish making a lot of bullets with cases made from green meteor rocks. Somehow he knew that if he was to succeed he would need them. Again he didn't know how he knew it, just that he did and he smiled as he thought of finally having Lana in his grasp before concentrating on the dig.
"Mr. Luthor," the team leader shouted in excitement. "We've found something. It's a lead box with very strange markings," he added as he turned to his boss, who walked forward with a cool almost blank look on his face.
"Excellent," Lex said, keeping his expression as calm as possible, not wanting to give away how much he wanted the stones before he knelt down and retrieved the box and slowly opened it to reveal the stone within.
It was a transparent color with one of the strange markings from the Kawatche Caves in its centre. It reminded him of the stone he had found in Egypt before it had been stolen.
"Are we sure this is not another fake like the one that was stolen from your father?" Jason inquired, as he looked at the stone, trying to think of a way to get his hands on it for his mother, even as he began to feel fearful about the way Lex had been acting of late.
"I think so," Lex replied before walking away, followed by Jason while his team began to fill in the hole. "We have a meeting to attend where we may get the second stone," he reminded his temporary ally.
"I still find it hard to believe this faction has suddenly split up and one side is willing to either give us the stones or help us locate them," Jason stated once again as he had already argued this point twice before when they had first been contacted.
"I have my doubts as well, but if it gets us the stones I'm willing to play their games for now," Lex responded with a tight smile. "Once we have the stones then we will crush them and after that you can deal with Clark and maybe win back Lana," he added, playing on the man's emotions as he still wanted to get Lana back and get rid of Clark, which Lex wanted as well although he was still somewhat confused why he was suddenly so eager to kill him before shaking his head and getting into his car, followed by Jason.
(Fortress of Solitude)
Clark sat at the front of his allies as they discussed everything and going over everything that had happened since Clark had received his memories. He was surprised everyone had pulled down their masks and introduced themselves, revealing their true identities, especially Bruce, but he guessed they were willing to take a chance as each had a lot to lose and the best way to succeed was with trust.
As the discussion continued he wondered what Lex was planning next now that he had begun to once again follow the same path that had led to the war in the future. He frowned knowing Brainiac had at least made things ten times harder for them to change things than they were before he interfered. Luckily it seemed he had been more focused on making sure Lex took that path than on revealing to him the truth about him and the identities of the League, which at least gave them an edge. However that was tempered by the fact that the black ship was now on its way to Earth, just slower than before and without the meteor shower to cover it, as only two meteors were in front of it this time, although he didn't know why and nor did Jor-El and Dax-Ur.
"So, how do we go about stopping Luthor?" Bart asked from his seat next to Chloe, still amazed to know his friend was an alien from another world and that at the moment he was in a structure from that world.
"We have to stop him from building his army and take down his allies," Bruce answered with a cold tone to his voice before Clark could say anything. "His most dangerous allies are Joker, Bane and Sinestro. We take them down and we stand a better chance of preventing some of what will happen in the future," he added.
Clark worried about Bruce when he spoke the name of the Joker. It was clear to him that learning what he would take from Bruce in the future had marked him deeply and he was determined to remove the threat once and for all, which gave him an idea.
"I think once we have beaten them we should banish them to the phantom zone instead of handing them over to the courts," he said, gaining the others attention silencing them.
"The government is not going to like that at all Clark," Jade responded as she remembered what Clark had told her about the zone. "I doubt they will stand by and allow us to send to them to a hellhole, no matter what they've done," she added.
"I have to agree Clark. No one in power would agree with that idea," Oliver agreed as did Kyle and Lionel.
"I know they wouldn't," Clark said with a frown. "It's a failing of our justice system that we end up fighting the same villains so many times, even if they have been sent away for murder they escape," he continued. "I think this time we take the League one step further and banish our most dangerous enemies, no matter what the government says. We represent the people of the whole world or at least we did in the future," he pressed on. "We serve no government or justice system, we serve the world, we are here to protect the people," he added.
"I have to agree," Bruce said. "I have for a long time ignored what the justice system thinks of me or my methods. I do what I have too to save lives," he added as he stood and walked over to stand next to Clark. "I have fought Joker too many times to count and I'm sick of the fact that the prisons can't hold him. He is a deranged monster who deserves to be sent to the zone and the same can be said of Bane and most of the others," he added. "We can deal with the fallout of our actions later on when it's over," he stated.
"I agree. If Lex is stopped and only sent to prison he will escape and come back at us more deadly than ever. And it will get even worse if he ever learns who we truly are. He will go after our friends and families and kill them," Oliver said with pure hate in his voice, which was missed by no one. "Sending him to the zone is the best way to deal with him," he stated.
"Also if we get rid of some of the worst criminals on Earth we will earn the support of the people and that will go a long way in helping us deal with the government's problems," Kyle spoke up. "They will like the fact they won't have to fear these people ever again," he added.
"All three of you make good points, but it is still a very big risk," Dick said. "But if we do what you are suggesting we may end up being labeled as villains as well. The governments of the world could all end up united against us. What then?" he inquired.
"Risk is a part of our lives Dick, you know that," Bruce shot back. "Who cares what the government thinks of our actions as long as we save lives?" he asked.
"Kal-El, there is a down side of using the zone," Raya interrupted. "Should someone ever learn of it and locate the fortress they could open it and unleash all of the villains we exile there, as well as Zod and the others from the twenty eight galaxies who are imprisoned there," she added. "Also Brainiac is on his way here and should he gain control of the fortress he could do this as well," she reminded them.
"That is true Raya, but still I think this is a better option than trusting the justice systems to keep them locked up where they can harm no one," Clark said in reply. "I don't want to live in a world where we are constantly fighting the same villains again and again in a never ending cycle," he added with a shake of his head. "We would never know any real peace, especially if we want to settle down and start families," he went on, frowning as he sat down.
The others all looked between themselves and nodded as they realized that was true. If they allowed the villains to be sent to a normal prison than they would escape or they would be released through bribery and corruption and they would be forced to deal with them again and again just as Clark had said.
None of them wanted to fight forever no matter what, they all had plans to stop eventually and settle down to a quite life, even Bruce had come to realize he couldn't do this forever and since learning about the family he had lost in the future he too wanted a time to come when it was time to retire. Diana and Donna also agreed with what Clark had said, thinking that the more dangerous men and women who were separated from the world the better it would be for the people who lived in it. Martha and Jonathan were conflicted in this, but kept it to themselves as it was not their lives that were at risk or their futures which were decided right now even though they were involved.
Finally they all agreed that if they managed to stop Lex and his allies they would banish them to the zone and deal with the repercussions as they came. Clark knew he was taking a dangerous path, but this time he didn't intend to live a life of service and he did not intend for his friends to do the same. They would deal with Lex, his allies and the other major villains as they came and finally when the world was safer they would retire, only coming out when it was truly necessary. Maybe without so many insane and dangerous criminals in the world it would begin to change and become a much better place.
Lex and Jason waited in the location they had been told to be to receive the second stone, along with the money they wanted for it. Both were curious what this man would look like and if his face would give them any clues as to what this other faction was made up of. A noise from behind them made them quickly turn around to find a tall rough looking man standing behind them holding a lead case which looked similar to the one which had housed the first stone.
"Do you have the money?" the man asked with a clear accent which seemed to indicate he was from Italy or somewhere close by.
"We do," Lex replied, moving forward alert for any signs of a trap. "And the stone?" he asked in reply, unable to believe he was about to possess two of the Stones of Power.
"Of course I do," the man replied with a smirk, opening the lead case to show a darker stone with another of the Kawatche Cave symbols in the centre, this one different than the first. "The last stone is in Japan, taken there by my former leader. He hid it at these coordinates when the group broke apart," he added, handing a piece of paper with the location of the third stone before they made the exchange.
"What about this leader of yours? Is he still in Japan guarding the stone?" Jason inquired, wondering how he was going to steal the stones from Lex once they had all three without being killed, which he was sure Lex was planning to do once this was done.
"I think he is currently looking for a way to recover the other two stones by recruiting a new group," the man said. "If he is there I'm sure you can deal with him," he added. "Now I'm going I have what I want. I only joined this group to get money," he continued before turning and running out of the building leaving Lex and Jason to look at the stone they had just acquired.
"We are so close to having all three now," Jason said. "I almost don't believe it," he added with a shake of his head.
"I just don't trust how easy this has been going," Lex stated with a frown. "I think we will find getting the third stone more troublesome," he added. "We will have to be careful and not rush in," he warned him.
"Agreed," Jason said with a nod, unable to fault Lex's logic.
Lex frowned some more before heading back to his car, wishing he could dispose of Jason right now, but until he could deal with his mother, he couldn't. Then he came up with an idea of getting Bane and Joker to kill Genevieve Teague so he could deal with Jason and remove him from the competition. This thought caused him to smirk before he quickly stopped just in case Jason saw him and became suspicious.
(Fortress of Solitude)
The discussion on how to stop Lex and his allies continued with idea's coming from everyone present. The best ones were put to one side so they could explore them better and the others were pushed aside only to be considered if everything else failed. Clark knew it would take a bit of time to come up with a descent attack plan, but he was certain they would find something that would help them stop Lex and quickly as they didn't have too much time before the black ship arrived.