Going Going Gotcha
Chapter 14 Going Going Gotcha
Bruce Wayne was sitting in his office going over the latest files to come into his hands, it was two weeks after the Hermes had blown up, it was a daunting task he had taken on but he was no longer chasing after nutcases like the Joker and Riddle, that in itself was a plus and was one of the reasons why he took the position as he wasn’t needed to help run the Justice League anymore since the bad guys didn’t make the transfers into Tikva which to him was perfect for a paradise.
Being one of the three heads of the Counter Intelligence Service had its perks but reading this latest file on the incident with the ‘Hermes’ was starting to put him into a bad mood, he wondered if his old friend Lucius Fox would mind swapping roles and take over this position while Bruce ran Wayne Industries in his stead, nah,, he didn’t think Lucius would go for it.
He smiled to himself thinking about what his friends answer would be and then his smile grew wider thinking about his actually being able to smile and it being a true smile at that. That in turn brought him to the reason why he could smile, his wife Selina Kyle now Selina Wayne and the fact that he and she were having dinner tonight at his alternate reality parent’s home. They alternated dinner between them every two weeks or so and it didn’t matter to his other alternate self that he was coming with his wife as he learned that in all of the realities that existed, that there existed only a handful where Bruce Wayne still had parents alive.
It had been pointed out to him by Michael that in about three quarters of those realities where his parents died, they had been targeted by demons who had whispered in the gunman's ear to kill the adults and leave the child, the goal being to have Bruce become a force for evil as the Batman and use the family money to create and control a global empire of crime making the Kingpin and Ra’s al Ghul look like an amateur’s blindly looking for scraps in a pitch black room, only to have those attempts twisted away from the dark by Angel's whispering in his ears about not letting anyone else fall into the same fate as his parents and he didn’t let his memory of his parents fail him in any way.
The first time he had been told that he had thanked God that she had been looking out for him even if he didn’t know it then and then having Metatron appear before him saying “God says your welcome and that she considers you her Dark Knight of the Light because you always continued to fight for what was right, because it was a part of your soul to fight the darkness and using the darkness that evil had planted within you on that fateful night for Lights purpose of defending those that had no hope, you are blessed Bruce Wayne and you should not spurn the love that has been sent your way. Marry the love of your life and know that it is ok and safe to do so.”
That had been an eye-opener for Bruce that night and five weeks later he finally got up the courage to talk to Selina and they had finally gotten married six months ago. He had also at that time decided to reveal his alter ego as The Batman to everyone, boy had that been a surprise for a lot of people except for James Gordon who had told him at the reveal that it was about time that he had come clean, that he had figured out who he was after spotting his own daughter putting on her own cowl and swing down to a Wayne car driven by Alfred and hearing him talk somewhat sarcastically about ‘Master Bruce’ waiting for her in his ‘Batcave’ and getting ready to deal with CobblePot.
His daughter hadn’t know it at the time but daddy dearest had been putting garbage into the garbage bin outside and she had left her window open as she had been pulling the cowl on as she jumped and swung out the window down to the waiting car. He had been standing in the darkness of the side of the house all because he had forgotten to change the blown light bulb outside the backdoor.
Bruce had turned to Barbara at that point and had given out to her about situational awareness “Barbara, what have I told you about keeping an eye on your surroundings, especially when you are coming or going to or from your own home?”
Jim Gordon had begun chuckling at the incredulous look she had given Bruce which in turn had made Bruce smile at her with her reply of ”Hey, I was only starting out then, I didn’t know any better, I had assumed my dad was in the kitchen because I heard him at the pots and pans.”
That in turn made her father reply with “Sorry my dear but you seem to have forgotten the fact that I was helping your mother put away the dishes while you were suppose to be getting ready for bed as you had that interview the next day with the Gotham University interview board.”
The later days and weeks to come had been very interesting with many still getting over the fact that a playboy billionaire was actually The Batman, one of the founders of the Justice League which caused many to realise that he knew who Superman and Supergirl was along with the other super heroes who kept their identity's a secret. Bruce had let it be known to the press that he had made a magical vow to never reveal their identities unless they the heroes wanted it revealed. It put a stop to the majority of the questions about who they were but you still had the odd nut that didn’t listen and ended up disappointed at the end.
It was after this that he had been approached by the Intelligence Directorate about being the co-head of the Counter Intelligence Service. He had received an e-mail from M and Bruce had it verified by Tikva as to its authenticity and two days later he was sitting in an office that was quite opulent as well as very functional. In front of him was M and Nick Fury and they invited him to take a seat and was in two minds on weather to ask where was he to take it, he had given his head a mental shake and told himself that he had been around Wally to long because he was starting to crack very dry jokes.
“Well, I'm here as you requested and I am telling you here and now that I am not divulging any information on any member of the League or our allies, so get that straight in your heads right now and if its not crystal clear by that statement I can and will enforce that statement by force if need be.” Bruce had stated quite forcefully as he sat down, glaring at them trying to put them off balance as he had assumed that the reason they wanted to talk to him was the League members real identity's.
“No need to worry about that Mr Wayne as we already know who they are, we always did, we even knew who you were when you were wearing your Bat costume but we never interfered and wouldn’t unless any of you turned rouge.” M stated with a slight smile on her face as she saw the momentary look of surprise on the billionaires face.
“Very true M.” Nick said in turn, “even in my reality we always knew who the superheroes were behind the mask and like M has said we never did anything about it unless they turned rogue.”
A cool minded Bruce Wayne answered “Ok, so you know who we all are and I assume you have ways of taking us all out if needed, so why have you called me here, is it to let me know so I can tell the others, which I will by the way, or is it something else? Do not under any circumstance think that you can blackmail me or the others if that is what you're thinking as I know the Tikva won't allow that to happen.”
Tikva's hologram appeared to M’s right and said “Quite right Bruce but you have nothing to worry about as this is a job interview and you are quite safe as I won't let anything happen to you.”
Bruce looked at Tikva and asked “Why didn’t you say that this was a job interview?” and she replied with “You never asked why they wanted to talk with you.”
Bruce just looked at her in shock at her answer and then started laughing internally thirty seconds later at the absurdity of it all, she was right, he didn’t ask, he was still thinking of computers like he thought of the computer in the cave.
“Very true, I didn’t ask.” Bruce said after his short bout of laughing and continued asking “Ok, since this is a job interview what is it I am here to interview for?”
“We are setting up a whole new branch of the Intelligence Directorate and its sole purpose is counter intelligence and we want you as one of its heads. We have plans for each section or department of the Directorate to have multiple heads so if one is taken out the others can take over. Only the co-heads will know who the other heads are in their department, no one else will be able to tell who you are because of a distortion field that the magical secret police called the Unspeakables use, that means your identity will not be known to anyone at all, no exceptions. We want you to recruit those that you think would be perfect, like one candidate of your acquaintance that we think would be a good addition who goes by the name of Charles Victor Szasz, also known as ‘The Question’.”
“Any questions?” Fury asked with a stoic look on his face as he could see the cogs whirring behind Bruce's eyes.
“Plenty of questions to ask Fury, plenty but I will settle with a few answers to a few important questions first” Bruce replied.
He couldn’t believe it, they wanted him for this? He wasn’t a murderer, not in the slightest and he never would be not if he had anything to do with it, he didn’t want this position that they were offering him but it would be a way to keep an eye on the watchers and make sure that they don’t get to big headed. They had already proved by naming Charles’s alias and one of those who he would ask to help him even if he was more paranoid than he was. There were a lot of names that he could ask to help if he took the position but would it be worth it to take up the position or just walk away saying ‘No thank you’, what to do, what to do?
He started to think of all of the secret operations that he had come across when he was with the League, especially when it came to Amanda Waller with her ‘Cadmus’ project and her interaction with Luthor and his twisting of its goals and attempts at making himself superpowered. He could use this position to keep an eye on things but he didn’t want to let it go to his head.
“Alright, you have my attention; I have some questions I want answered before I decide on an answer.” Bruce said and continued
“First question is this, what is the goal you are shooting for here? I figure it’s got more to do than just internal security and I want it clarified before we go any further.”
M and Fury weren’t surprised by the question, they had expected it considering his IQ, if anything they had expected him to get up and walk out at the offer yet he was still there, they had thought it was a fifty/fifty chance between him staying and leaving.
Before they could answer Bruce added “Don’t think my sitting here means I'm going to take the position, I'm in two minds on weather to sit here and listen to your proposal or leave telling you to stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine, so answer carefully.”
That addendum to his question they did not expect to hear and the surprise from hearing it showed on their faces much to their shock. Internally Bruce was doing a somewhat reserved jig after he saw the look on their faces and he knew he caught them off guard with it.
“Well Bruce, I can call you Bruce can't I” Fury asked with a smirk at Bruce’s surprise and getting a nod from Bruce on the answer to his question allowed him to continue.
“The CIS as its called will be dealing with all internal threats to Tikva, even though Tikva is able to monitor everything, technology can be used to render her abilities useless and this is where we, namely you and your department comes in, you will be working with the external departments of the Intelligence Directorate as well the other aspects of our internal branches that deal with internal military security, the FCIS which stands for Federal Criminal Investigative Service, it used to be for the Navy originally but it was converted to encompass all aspects of the military forces once we got here.
You will be working closely with them and with the other departments and when you are ready you can have your own agents added to the other departments to keep an eye on them. You see Bruce, we know that you kept a very close eye on your League friends and had contingency plans in place for every member in case they went rogue. That’s why we want you to head this department, to make sure that no one oversteps their boundaries and endangers everyone else in theirs and judging from the look on your face you weren’t expecting that as part of the package.”
Fury was right, he wasn’t expecting that part of it but he had answered some of the other questions he had including who he was going to work with, department wise. Deciding to continue he asked another question.
“Ok, if that is the case then whom do I answer to if you two or others higher up are compromised, I don’t want to inadvertently place a bullseye on my back if someone at the top doesn’t like me rummaging around in their garbage finding out their dirty little secrets about wanting to blow up the world.”
Bruce didn’t know it but that statement would come back to haunt him later on but for now he was blissfully unaware of its importance and was waiting for an answer to his question.
M fielded the answer to this one. ”That’s an easy question to answer Mr Wayne, in order it goes , you and your co-heads, then us and our co-heads, then the heads of the Council of Races and then or if any and all of us are compromised then Tikva. She is our failsafe in case anything goes wrong and we hope to God that it doesn’t because we have plans for you or Tikva to enable if it ever comes down to it, we cannot afford for anything to go wrong, its one of the reasons why we picked you for the position, even after your dealing with the Justice Lords and the way you did it.”
That surprised Bruce, that file had been locked securely away in his computer system and then he realised and remembered that Tikva had been given access to all data on every computer and library and that she would have come across it. As annoying as it was their statement made sense in a strange way and they were asking him to be the watcher of the watchers and stopped himself before his mind went further into the philosophy of who watches the watcher of the watchers and so on and so forth. He was starting to give himself a headache even thinking about thinking about it and he didn’t want that.
“Alright” Bruce replied “You have made a surprising argument and made a point that I can't refute, I want to think about it for twenty four hours and I will give you your answer here tomorrow at the same time as we started our meeting today. Is that alright with you or do you want an immediate answer now? I want you to note that if it’s an answer now that you want then it will be an emphatic no, as I said I want to think about it.”
“Not a problem Mr Wayne” M said “Tomorrow, here at the same time as your earlier appointment will be fine.”
“Tomorrow then” Bruce said as he rose and left the room not even offering a goodbye. M and Fury knew this was to put them off balance and paid it no mind. They knew they were looking at a strong possibility of one of the new co-heads of the CIS walking out the door of the office, tomorrow would tell the truth on the facts of the offer that they had made to him.
Bruce had made it home somehow and decided to look for advice and called for someone who he could trust with this information.
“Bruce, you look troubled, what's wrong?” the puzzled voice from the viewscreen said while it was looked at the perplexed face of its caller.
“Something has come up, I need to talk to you, its very important, can you teleport here straight away? I have just been made an offer and I don’t know weather to take it or not, I need your advice” Bruce said anxiously.
“I’ll be there in ten minutes, I’ll bring you know who as well, we might need his input” the person on the screen had said.
“Fine, but only him and no one else, see you in ten” Bruce had said as he ended the call and then he told Alfred he was expecting company in ten minutes and to send them to the library when they got here.
Alfred walked into Bruce’s study “Your guests are here Master Bruce; they are waiting in the library as requested, do you wish for any refreshments brought up?”
“Thanks Alfred and I won't need any refreshments but I will need you to be there as well my old friend” Bruce replied as he started to walk to the library.
“Certainly master Bruce.” Alfred answered with a raised eyebrow at Bruce's statement as he followed him into the library.
There sitting in a couple of chairs around the large fire place with a picture of Bruce's parents above it was Princess Diana of Themyscira and Clark Kent, they started to rise from their seats but were waved back into their seated positions by Bruce as both he and Alfred walked to their chairs.
“Thanks for coming so quickly, I have a problem and I need advice on what to do and I have some disturbing news as well.” Bruce stated as he began to tell them everything that he had learned in the office interview earlier that day. There were wide eyes forming at what was being learned and some anger starting to form from what was being learned but cooler heads came about from Alfred's statement of fact.
“I can see where they are coming from and so can you if you look at it from the proper or correct point of view, most of those within the League are superpowered and possess the ability to conquer some or the entire planet and they need to have a way to protect themselves. As long as they don’t misuse what they know you will at least know that if any of you were to go rogue that they would have a way to stop any of you from causing too much damage.”
That statement had made the two superpowered heroes cool down as they had looked at it from the other side and agreed that it was a good idea but only as long as it wasn’t abused and Clark deciding to pre-empt any mishandling of the information spoke aloud to the room and asked
“Tikva, can you make sure that the information about us and how to take us down isn’t abused in any way shape or form by anyone wanting to kill us or cause us harm in any way because we are different or they think we have failed them in anyway?”
Tikva replied “Of course I can Clark and if any of you turn rogue for any reason I will personally render you or whom ever it is unconscious for examination and treatment to return you back into your normal self, you have my word on that to all of you.”
Bruce mentally slapped himself on the head for not thinking of that as a solution, he needed to gather his wits about himself and wake up, he was slipping and had missed that method of ensuring no misuse of the information happened.
“I should be kicking myself for not thinking of that Clark, nicely done.” Bruce said and Clark received similar replies from the others in the room.
“We are protected by the God's and the Supreme being herself so we have nothing to fear but that does not mean that we should not be vigilant in our safety, the wand waving wizard that calls himself Alastor Moody is always shouting out about constant vigilance and he is right. In our training on Themyscira we were taught that at a young age, situational awareness is something we have all learned even among the members of the League and it is something that we should not relax, not even in the slightest, not even here where God's walk amongst mortals as if it is an ordinary occurrence.” Diana said and the others knew she was right.
“Quite true your Highness” Alfred said “It is something I have tried to instil within young Master Bruce along with the other training he undertook on his soul-searching after he came of age, even going so far as to teach him the skills I learned in my eventful employment within her Majesty's service’s in my younger misspent youth. Though he is prone to some rash decision making from time to time I consider it time well spent training him as I did, he still has years to gain the skills which can only be gained through time and experience and then we will see if he is up to my expectations.”
Alfred had a smile in his eyes and a slight smirk on his lips saying the last part which caused Bruce to glare a little at his long time friend and at Diana and Clark as they sniggered that what Alfred had said.
“No telling family secrets Alfred.” Bruce replied with a childish huff while crossing his arms in response to Alfred's pretend putdown which caused the sniggering to turn into chuckling at Bruce's expense.
“Alright, enough with the joking, what about the proposal that they made to me, what should I do? I’m in two minds about weather I will take it up or not.” Bruce said/asked his friends.
That was a tough question to ask and an even harder one to answer as they spent the next few minutes sitting in silence contemplating the question and what the answer could be.
It was Alfred who broke the silence eventually with “I think that you should take them up on the proposal, you have never let power go your head and even when you were dealing with the Joker and the hostages in the building and the use of the surveillance system, you had that dismantled afterwards, if you were power mad you would not have done so. That is one of the reasons why I think you should take it up, if you want the others just look to how you helped run the League and the rules that were set into place, there is also the disagreements you had over methods that members wanted to use that you thought would lead to a sticky end for the League if they followed through on them. You, Master Bruce are well suited to the position that they are asking you to fill and your parents would be overjoyed and proud of you in taking it, as would I young man, so stop doubting yourself, I brought you up to be made of stronger stuff than that and to be able to make decisions with a lot less information than you have received so far.”
Alfred had finished his statement with a stern rebuke and admonition for Bruce, leaving Bruce looking surprised at the reprimand he had just received.
Alfred started rising saying “I have said my piece and you know where I stand on it, I am going to the kitchen to prepare dinner for us and all of you will be eating it as I will not be taking no for an answer, am I clear on that?”
Three surprised nodding and agreeing people gave a verbal affirmative to the exiting Alfred while two were looking at Bruce with questioning looks on their faces and they were further surprised when they heard Alfred speaking loudly from the hall as he went out the door,
“You can stop with those looks to Master Bruce, he knows better than disobey me in matters like this, dinner will be ready in one hour.”
An hour later just as they were sitting down to a delicious looking meal, Diana said to Bruce “So, just so you understand it, you are going to take the position with no reservations and no back chat to me, Alfred or Clark and you are going to be the eyes for us all, to protect us all, superpowered or not. Are we clear on that Bruce or do we need to set Alfred on you again to set you straight?”
Bruce smiled at the forthrightness of Diana; it was one of the reasons why he liked her as she brooked no dissention to her statements or rules, it was apart of her personality from her princess training by her mother and something no male in the League would ever go against, no one in the League was that stupid especially when she had put Lobo through several reinforced walls and an outer wall of the Watchtower after he had pinched her on her rear with one hand and tried to grope her breasts with the other saying that she was coming onto him when she was in fact telling him to get away from her as he stunk from lack of washing.
She had then decided to further teach him a lesson by following his re-entry path back to Earth and further pummel him, venting her anger and letting her anger push her strength past Clark’s level and finally leaving Lobo to be carted off by the Green Lantern core to be hospitalised, he wouldn’t be getting out the hospital for almost seven months by which time a full catalogue of his injuries would have made it back to the Watchtower, it made for scary reading by the males of the League but was regarded by the females of the League as a comic strip, causing one group nightmares and the other laughing fits.
By the time Diana was finished Lobo was truly the last of his race as she had made sure he could no longer father children the normal way which when every male on Earth and in the Green Lantern core found out, would cause them to winch and cross their legs while cupping a certain body part in sympathy at the loss of the body part or parts.
Women’s rights movements were cheering her after the details of why it happened were made public, the result of which couldn’t exactly be missed as Lobo had impacted the ground close to a movie set on the outskirts of L.A during a live T.V interview of the cast.
Afterwards certain villains of the male gender referred to her as the ‘Nutcracker’ or ‘She who you must not piss off’ which made her smile with a feral grin when she heard it, especially when her Amazon sisters and her mother heard about it, they even gave her a set of Gold Testicles nailed to a decorated wooden shield to commemorate the new names she received, they even used real iron nails to hold them in place to add authenticity and to this day the shield sits on the wall of her home in a place of prominence where all could see it as soon as they entered.
Women were often seen after that walking around with nutcrackers in their hands cracking walnuts while smiling at their significant others and causing the significant others to pale dramatically at the implications of the smiles, Shayera Hol was often heard saying that she had the ultimate nutcracker in her hands while swinging her mace around and more often than not looking at one of two men on the Watchtower while doing so, namely Wally West, aka ‘The Flash’ and John Stewart, the Green Lantern causing both men to vanish and causing the women of the League to laugh at their predicament.
“Ok, ok no need to get the nutcrackers out Diana; I’ll do as you say, I promise, alright?” Bruce said smiling.
Diana gave him a look and then smirked at him saying “Good, I would hate to have to remove any ‘nuts’ because it think Selina Kyle might be interested in them and how functional they might be, I can't rightly deprive her of the chance to find out for herself now, can I Bruce? It just wouldn’t be right or fair to the women.”
This statement caused Bruce and Clark to cough, splutter and almost choke on their first bite of dinner while Alfred was laughing at the show being played out in front of him and seemed to encourage Diana saying “Wonderfully done my dear, excellent timing.”
By the time the meal had ended and Diana and Clark were on their way to their homes, Bruce's mind had been made up and he would be accepting the position when he returned the next day.
It had been an eye opener for Bruce as he got used to the position and had his people placed in every position he could for them but he still had one problem and that was man-power or rather the lack of it which caused him to step up recruitment in a big way.
He still had some problems with getting enough agents into the field and the problems he had now with the Hermes incident and an incognito terrorist group. The files he was going through were a mish mash of he say, she say along with the data on those that Tikva had captured and was still having interrogated by the Unspeakables for any and all info that they had. They already had leads to other members of the group and it was a growing number that he hoped would not go any further. They had the names of fifteen people who were not assumed to be involved and he had ordered stealth scans done of their homes and work places and anywhere else that they had frequented.
The three who had been captured were being held in stasis and in the case of the two traitors their deaths faked in believable ways that their friends and family's would think nothing of. The Betazoid members of the intelligence groups poured through the minds of all three with them only being careful with Elliot Ruthers as he would be returned to his family after the whole thing had been dealt with.
The fifteen were magical's with nine being purebloods and the rest being half-bloods and none of them had used Tikva's computer systems after day three of arriving here, they had nothing but scroll after scroll after scroll detailing everything about their sector and who to contact in the other sectors. Tikva had done a quick duplication of all of the scrolls making sure to not disturb the magical signatures on them and was fuming from what she had read in them.
The number that Tikva had estimated for how many there were had been a low number by what they had found in the scrolls. Mont Blanc, it turned out was one of the local bigwigs for the group and the telepaths were finding leads to people they would never had expected to be involved with them. It was also discovered that all of the group members believed that their surviving the cataclysm was an abomination and that all of them should be dead, no reprieve, no second chances, the end of all, that Lucifer was going to end them like they should have been and they were going to do whatever they could to help him hasten that oncoming end.
Bruce was reading this and couldn’t believe that such idiots existed but then decided that they can and do exist considering what he had learned about the group called ‘The friends of Humanity’ from Logan's reality, some people were just plain stupid and idiotic no matter how you looked at it and this lot were no different.
Just from the scrolls alone the membership had risen to five thousand and forty eight members and that didn’t include the scrolls that had the names of potential members. Bruce stopped reading a few times while going through the names that had been on the scrolls and had recognised a few names. Those names were of people who were at heart very religious and he thought that their death or near death might have shaken a few nuts and bolts loose in their heads.
He got an even bigger shock when he saw a few superpowered names on the potential member list, including his. Seeing his own name on the potential member list caused him to almost blow his top and his identity. As he continued to read he saw plenty of names that he knew would never contemplate joining such a group but saw a couple who could if pushed to the extreme. He didn’t like this, this list was too precise but at the same time sloppy, like someone was reading about superpowered people for the first time and not truly understanding what they saw or how they interacted with others.
There was something about this that was not right at all and it didn’t make any sense, it was like someone was looking through a window into a house and not knowing who everyone was and what they were doing, it was if they had no clue about......
Bruce stopped in his thinking and sat up straight, why didn’t he think of it before, it was so obvious.
“Tikva, a quick question for you, it concerns those who we have listed as members from the scrolls, how many of them are magical, as in pureblood or half-blood?” Bruce asked with some urgency.
“Interesting question director, working on it now, compiling.....done, percentage wise it is fifty six point six five percent with forty five of that percent being purebloods.” Tikva replied.
Then she asked “How will you go about solving it now director?”
Bruce answered with “For now I have no idea but I think the ring leader, the head of all of it is a magical and a well positioned one at that as well or at the very least controlling the seat of power itself, it has to be someone charismatic enough that the others will follow without question, someone who has an almost cult like following. We are going to need everyone on that list watched very carefully, even down to when they last passed gas or picked their nose. Then we need to watch those who are on the potential list with the same level of surveillance, we can't take the chance that they have been compromised.”
Bruce took a breath before continuing “Tikva, can you check the homes and offices of everyone on the member list and copy every scroll and book they have as stealthily as possible, even checking any of their warded off areas and anything of a book or scroll format within them as well, we can't assume that they will leave anything lying around like the last lot did. Also we need to check any and every computer device in and around those areas of interest and before I forget, did you have any luck with that island with just the teleport transponder on it?”
“Working on it now director and yes to the last part, I have a surveillance drone that just arrived in full stealth mode watching everything and everyone that comes and goes, scans indicate that there is no one there at the moment, not even invisibly but I have detected a lot of books and scrolls as well as several warded trunks and spatially distorted rooms with a lot of books and scrolls within them as well. This is interesting... one room is setup as a potions laboratory and I am detecting several potion ingredients that were part of the potions regime that was used on Ruthers, I have also detected several vials of completed potions of that very nature as well. I do believe we have found one of their main bases of operation.” Tikva stated with some glee.
“Alert from the stealth drone, it has detected someone arriving on the island, they are shrinking all of the books, scrolls and potions and potion ingredients, it doesn’t matter about the books and scrolls as I already have copies of them all,.... the base no longer exists as the magical has teleported off of the island just after cast the Fiendfyre curse on the structure on the island.” Tikva said with some urgency.
“I have encased the island in a spherical shield in case the fire attempts to spread... the fire is dissipating.... the fire is now out and all traces of the island are now gone, I am reconstructing the island back to its original specifications and.... done, the island is now fully repaired. The individual that caused the fire had their face hidden by an obscuration ward on their cloak and I am working on bypassing it. Identity of the fire caster now known, this is very strange director, I would not think that this person would work for a group such as this, I am tracking his position now ... locating now.” Tikva said in a monotone voice while displaying the face of the fire caster.
“Very true Tikva, from what I know of him from reading his file, this would be something that he would never be a party to and he certainly does not fit the profile in any way, shape or form of someone who would be a party to something like this especially with his background, he is after all a hero to his people. Can you have a stealth drone shadow him; I want to know why Harry Potter of all people is involved in something like this. Try to get a detailed scan of him in case it’s not him and it’s someone using that polyjuice potion that I read about or if he is under some sort of control with magic or potions.” Bruce said while contemplating this new quirk in the case.
This was getting to be a very interesting and twisted set of events and it was time to let M and Fury know about this new twist concerning Harry Potter of all people.
Bruce and Tikva were still going over the scrolls from the island three hours later and had located several that had names of members from other sectors of Tikva as well as more potential member lists. It turned out that Tikva had been right about the islands purpose as it had been the main base of operations for several sectors and had copies of all documents from the other sites as well. As far as Bruce was concerned this was an idiotic move on the terrorist’s part but it could also be seen as a good idea in case of severe problems happening where they lost all of their data in one sweep and having backups in other spots but they had no proper security as to who could access it, unlike Tikva did with her secure and encrypted data banks.
They now knew who the ring leader was and it was a surprise for them plus they also now had a total on the numbers involved and what was surprising was the fact that it only had a core force of one thousand and ninety two.
The more they delved into their reading of the scrolls the more shocking and repugnant the information became, the only things reported in the scrolls as not being committed were murder, rape and blackmail. Everyone else outside of the core group were all under the influence of potions or compulsion spells of high power, power levels that Harry Potter wielded but even his involvement was a mystery to be solved.
The fact that his mentor was the one who was leading the group was a concern as well. Everything that he had read about Albus Dumbledore showed that he was a charismatic leader and was someone that you kept a very close eye on no matter what side of the divide you were on. Even Tikva was searching all of her data banks for information on him from other realities and it was a mixed bag concerning him, which wasn’t good in any ones book and no matter how you looked at it, it was clear he was dangerous to both sides.
Tikva announced to Bruce that M, Fury and the Head Unspeakable was going to arrive at his office in one minute to discuss what he had found out and Bruce cursed under his breath as he hadn’t finished going through the paperwork or the reading of the scrolls from the island.
His three visitors walk in a minute later and Bruce offered seats for them to sit on at the small conference table on the opposite side of the room as they all looked rather shocked and put out by the revelations that Bruce had sent them so far.
The Head Unspeakable who identified himself as Ageless spoke first “This information about Harry Potter is correct?” he asked.
“Yes, one hundred percent correct, his identity confirmed by Tikva.” Bruce said while pointing to the viewscreen on the wall beside them that was showing Harry Potter's face forming from behind the obscuration ward that had been protecting his identity.
Ageless paled at seeing this and said “It can't be him, it just can't be, I know this lad personally and he would not allow himself to be a part of such a group, he would rather die than join the likes of them, he fought against their kind loosing his family to them when he was a baby, it just can't be him, it just can't be him.”
Bruce was surprised at the outburst from Ageless and was sorry for the old man in front of him as he had to impart some more bad news to him.
“If you didn’t like that news then you're not going to like this any better, just before you arrived we managed to identify the head of the terrorist group and we found out its total number of members, the thing is though, that is, that there is a core group numbering one thousand and ninety two and that they control everyone else with those potions. Everyone else outside of the core group looks to be considered expendable and Harry Potter's name isn’t on any of the lists, not of the core members, the expendable members or the potential members, he is not showing up anywhere as a member.” Bruce said before continuing again.
“Like I said, we have identified the head of the group, the ringleader, it’s someone you probably know as well, its Albus Dumbledore.”
Ageless stood up that fast that his chair went flying backwards fast enough to break a leg, the fact that said leg of said chair was made of metal didn’t go unnoticed by the others, the fact that it was assisted by his magic was also beside the point as Ageless was struggling to contain his anger at hearing that Albus Dumbledore, his one time apprentice was behind the attempted genocide of, of everyone, he couldn’t believe it but then remembered Harry's upbringing and his first years at Hogwarts as well as his arrogance in his youth, something that he had thought he had grown out of as he got older and gained more responsibilities. Looking at it from a different prospective showed that he was truly capable of doing this and it saddened him that this was fact. He sat down in his now replaced chair to continue listening to Bruce's findings.
The three visitors listened as Bruce laid out his and Tikva's findings, about the compulsion spells, about how anal Dumbledore was a recording everything including what he and his group had done short of murder, rape and blackmail. The more that they heard the more repulsed they became, somehow Dumbledore had become twisted, it was almost like he was infected and was infecting others around him but medical standards had risen to the point that anything that could cause such a sickness would be found easily. The only other thoughts they had about it were that Dumbledore had somehow cracked under the pressure because of the need for secrecy being no longer needed; he had always been on about how dangerous it would be if the ‘Muggles’ found out about the magical's and the genocide that they would unleash against them.
An hour and a half later the four of them were sitting at the table sipping some strong drinks. Bourbon, Brandy and Southern Comfort were sitting in glasses while their owners were trying to grasp the situation and the fact that somehow Harry Potter was involved in it.
Their peace was interrupted by Tikva getting their attention “Alert from stealth drone classed as HP1, Albus Dumbledore has teleported to Harry Potter's position and is giving him instructions, data is being recorded, displaying on wall viewscreen now.”
“Good job Mr Potter, I assume everything went as expected, no complications to sort out, the island and the structure on it was destroyed?” Albus asked Harry.
“Yes master, everything went as you decreed it would, I await your further orders master.” Harry replied in what was a submissive voice.
“Good, good, very good indeed, your slave collar is working perfectly; the Dumbledore family library never fails me, the runic magic inscribed on that collar has been thought lost for hundreds of years by the rest of the magical world but it hasn’t, we just made sure that we had the only copies of the books left in existence, if only I could get my hands on the Flamel library I would have books and knowledge considered priceless. It would be used for the greater good of course, we can't have the magical world exposed like it is now Harry, it’s not right, we should be hidden and remain so and guide the muggles without them knowing, we are after all their superiors.” Dumbledore stated with a manic look in his eyes.
The four listened as Harry replied “Yes master, it should be as you say, your will is above all others.”
Ageless was looking at his onetime apprentice on the screen with loathing and hatred and the other three weren’t that far behind him as they learned from the horses mouth just how deluded Dumbledore was, he was definitely cracked, of that there was no doubt but how were they going to deal with him was the question that needed answering.
“We need more members Harry, more members from the magical worlds especially that magical called Harry Dresden, he is a very interesting individual Harry, he has skill that we, I will need and I want you to use the usual potions and charms on him to turn him to our cause, also Harry, I want your wife to join us as well, she is then to be divorced from you Harry as she is not proper for you, I will have her marry someone more appropriate for her... skills and we will have you marry a good light sided witch, the Blacks are not to be trusted Harry, not in the slightest, they are a dark family Harry and always will be.” Dumbledore had ranted.
Harry could be seen struggling against the order to divorce his wife, it was known far and wide that they did love one another and that she was nowhere near or even like her counterpart from Harry's reality, didn’t Dumbledore realise that Harry's marriage to her was a magical one now, no divorce being possible, the only way to free the one was to kill the other and Harry would not be able to do that, not even being under the control of the slave collar.
“He’s mad, completely mad; he will kill Harry with that plan, the kind of marriage Harry has with his wife allows for no divorce as it would not have formed unless they were in love and compatible.” Ageless said in shock at Dumbledore's statement.
M said “We have to do something now about that young man and the predicament he is in, if this is as serious as you have stated then Dumbledore is about to commit murder of two people. We already have grounds for his immediate arrest and incarceration and adding this to his arrest warrant will just add fuel to the fire as he is now implicated in attempted genocide and the brainwashing and control of thousands as well as creating a slave collar which was/is a banned device in my home reality. There is also the fact that he used it on a magical hero, which I know the magical world will take very seriously and will mean the end of Dumbledore and his fanatics.”
Fury jumped in at this and said “If we are to save Harry Potter and his wife we will need to move quickly once Dumbledore teleports away plus we will need to move on everyone on the full members list along with the potentials list, excluding Bruce of course.”
“No, include me as well, we have no way of knowing if I have been compromised” Bruce said with some urgency.
“No need to worry Bruce, we had Tikva scan you and you are clean as a whistle otherwise you would be in a cell being interrogated at this moment.” Fury replied easing Bruce's mind.
“We can use the Supers and ask the God's from the Pantheons for dealing with them and have stasis pods ready for all of them to be teleported into, I would rather do it this way with Tikva as support as I want to use this as a live training exercise as well. It would do us well if we had the Slayer God and her warriors ready to assist us as well because there's no such thing as overkill in my book.” Fury added.
They turned their attention back to the screen where Dumbledore was still ranting about secrets and controlling the muggle masses, even those who claimed to be so called God's and Angel's. As far as Dumbledore was concerned they were just unknown magical's and needed to be reined in by force if need be and poor Harry having been relegated to being his yes man to fluff his ego had to agree. Dumbledore was ranting and raving to Harry for almost an hour before he ran out of steam.
“Now Harry, I am going to our main base and you are to begin the mission I have set you concerning Mr Dresden ten minutes after I leave and when you are done with him head home and fulfil your orders concerning your wife as well, am I understood Harry?” Dumbledore said.
“Yes master, I understand” Harry replied with some strain in his voice and with that confirmation Dumbledore vanished, teleporting or apparating away leaving Harry all alone as far as he was concerned.
“Tikva, transport Harry into a stasis pod now and send the signal to begin the operation.” Bruce said.
Once the signal was sent thousands of operatives from the Supers with the God's helping sprang into action appearing beside their targets thanks to Tikva's skills in teleportation. Teams from all over were swinging into action taking out their assigned targets with ease in most cases and requesting help in some others. Those other cases got the Slayer treatment and were taken out hard but for those Slayers’s involved it was just a walk in the park but it broke the boredom of constant training but the Slayer's had decided that betting on the outcome of their training matches with outrageous bets helped to break the boredom up especially when the looser in some of the training bouts ended up having to train mortals while naked causing a lot of nosebleeds among those being trained and some very red all over blushes from the Slayer's if they were a little or a lot on the bashful side.
Watching this entire event take place from his office Bruce turned to Ageless and asked “Do you have anyway of removing that dammed collar from around Potter's neck, we need him out from under Dumbledore's influence as soon as possible.”
Ageless turned from the screen to face Bruce and replied
“I do have a way to remove Potter from Dumbledore's control but it involves requiring some of Dumbledore's blood as well as some of Harry's plus we also need the tear’s and blood from a Phoenix willingly given and if Harry has any children we could do with some of their blood along with some of his wife’s as well. We are also going to need the help of the Goblin nation as their understanding of Runic magic is unsurpassed by any race anywhere. We need to tell them the full reason of why we need their help and they will begin construction of the Runic chamber that will allow us to break the collar’s control and allow it to be removed otherwise if we attempt to use Wizard magic to break the collar’s control we could loose Harry to the magic's effects. We Wizards may think, rather stupidly, that we are the ultimate when it comes to control of magic but we are only scratching the surface of what other race can do and this is one area where we are novices.”
“What are we going to do with Dumbledore though, who is going to confront him over this?” Fury asked.
“I will.” Ageless replied “Its time I brought my wayward ex-apprentice to heel.” Surprising himself with his statement but he was rather annoyed if not to put it mildly ‘pissed off’ at his former apprentice.
“Alright Ageless, but you are going to have backup with you cloaked in case he tries to do anything underhanded, am I clear on that?” Bruce said and his statement had the other two nodding their heads in agreement.
Bruce's statement ended up having M saying “Your dam right he is having backup, if he doesn’t want it I will tell his wife and she will deal with his ego in dealing with Dumbledore, am I clear on this Ageless?”
“Perfectly clear M, I know better than to piss off my wife, six hundred odd years of marriage to her has beaten that into my skull, thank you very much.” Ageless replied with a smirk.
“I’m glad you finally learned my dear, it took you long enough to finally figure that out. now off you go and teach that child the reason why it pays to not mess with other peoples lives.” Ageless’s wife said from the doorway causing Ageless to pale in surprise after he had turned around with his wand pointed at her and had very quickly put away seeing the glint in her eye.
Yep, it didn’t pay to piss off the wife as it caused a world of hurt, especially if you were magical and especially if your wife was your boss as well.
M looked surprised at her showing up but the mystery of how she knew was solved by Ageless’s wife thanking Tikva for letting her know and keeping her appraised of the situation.
“Dumbledore has been located and a stealth drone designated AD1 is now keeping him under close observation, I have also notified Willow Rosenberg aka ‘The Red Witch’, the strongest magic user available at the moment to be ready to assist you, she is being kept appraised of the situation and is ready to help if required.” Tikva stated and surprised them by stating that the famous ‘Red Witch’ was ready to assist if needed.
Willow's power before being made a God by God was already considered to be well and truly above the strongest magical's around and was like comparing a D cell battery to a Nuclear power plant. Now she was like comparing a Nuclear power plant to the output of Earth’s sun Sol. Frightening did not cover what other magical's felt as she walked by if she wasn’t up among the rest in the Ascended plains but she always had a smile for everyone especially children and was often seen giving them magical presents.
“Time to go.” Ageless said.
“Kick his boney ass husband and don’t spare the boot doing so.” His wife said causing him to smirk and then teleporting to Dumbledore's position.
Everyone saw Ageless appear thirty meters away from Dumbledore and saw his reaction at seeing his old teacher.
“Nicolas? I thought you were dead, if fact I burned your body and that of you wife's as well after the incident with the loss of the stone at Hogwarts. I could never find your true home and claim your library, now I see why; you faked your death and your wife's as well. No matter, once I have disposed of you and your wife all you know will be mine.” Dumbledore ranted at Nicolas.
“You won't be doing anything of the sort Albus; even you little plan for the greater good has been dealt with as your core group has been arrested, every single one of them and all those under your control by potion and charm will be eventually freed, even Harry Potter. Now prepare yourself my MINOR apprentice for a true lesson on how to use magic.” Nicolas had said.
The last part was said full of venom and loathing which Dumbledore picked up on straight away, even after the statement that his master plan had failed. No matter he had thought, he still had his backup plans to fall back on but he needed to get Nicolas dealt with and he would do so with a vengeance.
He pulled out his wand and with a roar of hate a sickly looking orange red bolt of magic hurtled towards Nicolas, the fight was on.
(End of Chapter)
(The job I had trying to get this chapter out, it was like it wasn’t ready when I went one way or another but I finally got it to where i feel it can be ready to add to the story, hope you enjoy it)