LinkExchange FORWARD

THE DCFuture Underground Fan Fiction group acknowledges that DC Comics owns the concepts behind the DC characters that may be used here, and ALL related characters and retains complete rights to said characters. These concepts are used WITHOUT permission for NO PROFIT, but rather a strong desire to peer into the future of the DC Universe. This also acknowledges that original concepts presented here are the intellectual property of the author.

NorAm: Gotham City

"I don't like this," Captain Atom said. "I mean -- I knew the original. And if this guy's as much different from him as everything else is in this time period -- we could be talking about a major psycho here."

Nemesis smiled that smile of hers. "Nathan, has anyone ever called you a ray of sunshine?"

He shrugged. "No…"
"Now you know why," she said. "You worry too much."
"Well, the original Batman *was* quite an inventive sort," the metal-skinned hero conceded. His eyes swept the alleys below them as he flew over the city, his leader (and what else?) in his arms. "It just seems awfully fast to try replacing Cliff this way." (Cliff Steele, the Silver Age Robotman and the Suicide Squad's technical whiz, who committed suicide in the "Nightmares" TPB -- Tippitt)
"Sssh," Nemesis said, fiddling with the receiver in her ear. "Mercury's tapping out a Morse code signal. We're about three blocks away."
"Here we go," Cap said, bringing them down to a rooftop to look down on the situation.
"I--I'm not kiddin'! My boys, they'll be back any second now, Bat, and they'll waste you! They will waste you!"

The idiot threatening Batman was a teenage hood. Drug dealer, judging by his attire. He stood facing a man dressed entirely in black -- with a red bat on the center of his chest, almost like a bullseye.


The guy Nemesis had in mind as a perfect recruit. She'd been working up a profile on him, tracking down information on him, ever since his name first hit the media. He was on the "Make connections sooner rather than later" list. When Dr. Destiny drove Cliff Steele to take his own life, he moved to the top of a very short list of "High Priority" people. Lucky guy; he didn't even know he'd entered the lottery.
"Randal, I've told you," Batman said in a low, creepy voice.
"Heh, he *sounds* like Batman," Captain Atom muttered.
"Several times, in fact," Batman continued. "Drugs are not tolerated in Gotham. And after I tell you that, I bring you to jail. But miraculously, you reappear before me, again and again. Why is that?"
"Because you're not strong like Priest," Nemesis muttered. "He just kills them."
"I got a lawyer," Randal said. Batman's muscles slacked up just the slightest.
"He's mad," Nemesis said. She watched as 'Randal' went for a piece.
"Nathan, he's got a--"


Batman's head snapped up, looking to see where the bolt of energy had come from. A blast of lightning, or something, that had just sawed Randal in half.
"No use hiding," Captain Atom said, once again sweeping Nemesis into his arms and floating down to land in front of the Batman.
"He had a gun," Nemesis said with a smile. She stuck out a hand. "I'm Nem… Eve. Eve. Nice to finally meet you."
"I could really use a drink," Batman muttered.

Suicide Squad: DCF #12
"Squad Run, Part 2"
Written by Jason Tippitt
Directed by Erik Burnham

BATMAN: DCF created by Erik Burnham
SUICIDE SQUAD: DCF created by Jason Tippitt

   "What are you doing in my city?" Batman asked menacingly.
"We're here to meet the illustrious Dark Knight," Eve said, not letting that smile drop one bit. Captain Atom pondered whether she'd been studying Hourman's technique.
"Nice to meet you. I'd give you an autograph, but I'm fresh out of…"
"Treat her with some respect," Captain Atom grumbled, eyes flashing angrily. He wasn't happy to be here at all.

Captain Atom fell silent, but his look spoke volumes. What was she getting at jerking him around this way? This wasn't the act of a woman who'd seemed only yesterday to maybe be falling for him.

Eve looked back at Batman. "As I was saying, Batman, we're with an organization that is quite interested in your services. We're prepared to offer you…"
"Do I look like a mercenary to you, sweetheart?" Eve's facial expression didn't change, but the 'sweetheart' bit had Nathan clenching his fists, trying to keep silent. Nathan hated the guy right away.
"Mercenary?" Eve asked. "No… no, that's not exactly the type of deal we offer… typically. However, Batman, we are extremely interested in working with you, and…"
"Yo, what the-- what up? Randal? Randal!"

All heads turned to see a gang of thugs standing at the entrance of the alley. Nemesis' smile changed to a look of boredom. Captain Atom's hands started to glow as he looked at an opportunity to let of some steam and save the taxpayers some coin.
"You kids back off," Nemesis said, voice full of menace. "Now."

She might as well have kept her mouth shut. The thugs stepped in, brandishing weaponry some police departments would envy. "Shit, they killed Randal!" a gold-toothed banger said.

Batman looked at the two factions and made a split-second decision. He was outta there.

The fight lasted only seconds. Captain Atom vaporized Randal's heir apparent, Nemesis showed two others plenty of reason to be afraid of the dark, and the rest started begging for mercy. By the time Captain Atom was finished slagging their weaponry, Eve was already shaking her head.
"I don't believe this. Batman ran away."
"Batman never 'runs away,'" Nathan said to her fiercely. "He just goes off and makes strategy to kick your sweet ass out of here."

Johann Carver, aka Deadshot, sat on the posh bed in the penthouse suite of the Gotham Mermacia, admiring the room. The pastel colors, the fancy drapes, the outlandish paintings. Some sort of art-deco on crack motif, he reasoned. "Whatever happened to dogs, and… and poker?" he asked the empty room.

Johann found himself not liking silent places, quiet times alone. Once, when he was alive, he'd enjoyed it. Now he found his head roaring with thoughts about death, and life, and the spaces in between. About his losses. The things he needed to be doing. "Things we've done and left undone," he muttered, flipping channels on the holovision. Nothing good on, as usual.

A rush of wind brought Deadshot back to reality. He was no longer alone.

Deadshot smiled as he looked at the Mercury, his silver hair slicked straight back, smoked goggles slightly askew, and a devilish grin draping his mouth.
"So where've you been?" Deadshot asked the silver and black garbed speedster.
"The Knightclub," Mercury signed. "Nice place, great women."
"What, did they all turn you down or something?"

Mercury shook his head. "Not even close. Matter of fact, I had the pick of the litter," he signed. "Black hair, red highlights, perfect height, size, green eyes… it was love at first sight."
"So where is she?" Carver asked. He looked at the door, grinning. "You want me to leave, Jake?"
"No, no, she's not here… she wanted something I couldn't give her." Again with the smile.
"What's that?"
"What do you think?" Mercury signed out, before tapping his lips.
"You mean she…" Carver stopped, blushing. "Isn't that still illegal?"
"Yes, it is," Nemesis said, striding confidently into the room. "Deadshot, I need you in Puerto Rico."
"What? Why, I thought I needed to be here to help with the…"
"Your services will be of more value in Puerto Rico," she said firmly. "Danny will be here directly. Go downstairs and wait."
"Yes'm," Deadshot shrugged, leaving the posh room and all of the thoughts he'd been thinking behind him. At least this was something to do. He assumed she'd left a dossier or something at headquarters.
"Now, you -- Mercury. Where have you been?"
"Having some fun. It's not every day I'm in Gotham," the speedster signed.
"Must have run out of relatives to kill," Captain Atom muttered. He hadn't even finished before Mercury was across the room, his hands around the silver man's throat.
"If you want to live another second, shiny, you WILL apologize," Mercury said, fingers tapping the words in Morse code on Captain Atom's neck. The look of pure anger in Mercury's eyes relayed the same message.
"Enough," Nemesis demanded. "Mercury, let him go."
"Not until you apologize," Mercury tapped to the Captain. "Or die. Your choice, last chance."
"I'm… sorry," Captain Atom managed at last. He wasn't 100% sure he could kill Mercury before Mercury killed him.
"Damn straight," the speedster signed, letting Nathan go.
"This bickering is not helping us. Mercury, you requested to come along. I allowed it. Don't make me think I made a bad decision," Nemesis said. "I don't like people telling me I'm wrong."
"Sorry, boss," Mercury signed, shoulders slacking up. "So, did you find the bat guy?"
"Yes, we did," Eve answer. "He didn't seem that interested in our offer."
"We never got to even *make* the offer… those children interrupted us, and he slipped away," Captain Atom added.
"Children?" Mercury signed, confused. He was getting a mental image similar to something Manhunter had once told him about, a busload of nuns getting between her and a fugitive. Or maybe those English school children from that ancient Pink Floyd movie… Which got Mercury thinking, what would Eve look like in a Catholic school girl outfit, hmmm. Pretty nice; she was already wearing the short skirt, it would just have to be checkered instead of black…

The problem with being a speedster was that the mind also tended to go off on tangents like this. His mind moved faster than a normal human's -- it had to, to send messages to his muscles. More neural synapses, or something. He'd slept through that day of classes at academy, having been out drinking with a cute redhead the night before. What was her name. Sonia? No, that wasn't it. Sally? No, it wasn't Sally. Serena! That was it!
"Some street gang, packing a lot of heat," Nemesis said, only fractions of a second after he'd asked his question. "Gotham's worse than I remember it."
"And you're still interested in this Batman?" Captain Atom asked.

Yeah, Eve would look good in that Catholic school girl outfit. It would be a nice change of pace from the black she normally wore. Although it would make her look paler. Maybe Charmaine could do her makeup. That is, if Eve hadn't gone and thrown her out for acting like a teenager. He'd have to bring that up with Eve. That was just unfair.
"Of course I am, Nathaniel," Eve smiled. "It was a smart tactical move. The youths represented no threat to us, and we were an unknown to him."

Wait a minute, Mercury thought. What was thinking all this for? Eve was Ollie's girl! Well, except Ollie was gone now. And he thought he'd maybe walked in on her and Nathan kissing yesterday. Nah, that couldn't be… the boss wouldn't move *that* fast from man to man. Unless she was trying to make Ollie jealous when he came back… like that would work. The man was the definition of 'stoic.' (Not that Mercury was one to use the word 'stoic,' but it was true anyway.)
Nemesis continued, "He used the diversion to escape until he was ready to meet us on his own terms. That's smart. I like that."

Mercury could just see Ollie pulling his 'This cannot trouble me' bit on Eve. That would show *her* to be impatient. Sheesh, come to think of it, Eve was a rather rude employer. She canned Charmaine for being a kid, she was using Nathan as a tool to get back at Ollie -- although if he'd let himself be used like that, he deserved it! -- and she didn't even let Mercury know what Carver was doing in Puerto Rico. Maybe he wanted to go there now that Gotham had served its uses. Yeah, Ollie would show her, all right -- wouldn't she be embarrassed?

Captain Atom rolled his eyes. Mercury chuckled, but not over the conversation at hand (although Nathan and Eve both assumed it was). Nemesis frowned.
"This isn't a game, gentlemen. Batman is a valuable asset, and I shall have him."

As Nemesis left the room, Captain Atom growled. Distrust, anger, and flowed through his veins, fueling heat from his body. Moments later, the sprinklers kicked on, and Mercury was sent into convulsions with a fresh round of laughter.
"You're supposed to be mute," Atom muttered as the silver-haired speedster fought to catch his breath.


Carver walked down Danny the Street quickly, past a clown carrying balloons. He stopped to pat Rex the dog's head before dropping into headquarters. A note on the table told him to check the computer.
"Computer, access private files: Deadshot."
-ACCESSING- a mechanical voice droned.

A photo popped up on screen, part of a snatched Justice League transmission. It appeared to depict a crude statue of a man. The text alongside read:

Name: Blok (alias?)
Race: Dryad
Description: Silicon-based life form, biped in structure.
Origin: Unknown at present time

Carver scanned the file. This alien's ship had crashed off the coast of Puerto Rico. His ship, bearing unknown markings, had emitted a distress signal for a short time. Investigation revealed a passing sea creature had damaged the transmitting apparatus after the craft had settled on the sea floor, or else it would have been easier to find.

The vessel appeared to have been on the sea bed for at least a couple of weeks. Fortunately for Blok, the ship was capable of recycling the oxygen on board, or he would have quickly died down there. The vessel was outfitted for a large crew, but he was the only one on board. The vessel showed signs of combat.

Blok was in a Justice League holding facility in San Juan, awaiting transfer to Justice Island as a 'diplomatic guest.' Read: prisoner being plugged for information.
"Damn, I can't do this alone," Carver said. "Computer: find Abby."

Carver sprinted down there, opening the door. She was on a treadmill, walking. Wally Meyer was lifting weights on a machine. He walked over to Abby's machine, leaned over to her, and whispered, "Abby, do you have Charmaine's phone number?"
"Yeah, why?"
"I need her help for something," he said quietly. "Do *not* tell anyone, not even Wally."
"Okay," she said dubiously. She stopped the machine. "I'll be right back, Wally," she called, walking out with the gunman.

Gotham City
Headquarters of Drake Industries:

Nemesis walked up to the first desk she saw, outfitted in one of her more unusual disguises. A pale white wig adorned her head, and emerald contact lenses made her eyes stand out like some demonic presence. She stood before -- Donna Olsen, the name plate said -- waiting to be asked her business; she didn't have to wait long.
"Can I help you?" Donna asked, the slightest tremble in her voice.
"I would like to speak with Mr. Drake," Nemesis replied, coldly.
"I'm sorry," Donna said, looking away. Eve Tresser felt some small satisfaction in making her squirm. "Mr. Drake is very rarely on the premises; he…"
"Where can I reach him?" Eve interrupted her.
"I'm sorry, but I can't give you that information."

Eve smiled. "Come here," she said. Donna looked at her skeptically. "Don't worry," Eve said reassuringly. "Just come here."

Donna left her desk and walked over towards Eve, stopping eighteen inches away. Eve was a good four inches taller than she.
"Listen to me," the woman started. "I haven't seen Timothy in a very long time. I went to college with him years back… as a matter of fact, we were classmates on more than one occasion, and…"
"I'm sorry, I can't give you that information, ma'am," Donna said with a quivering voice. Donna's computer beeped. She turned to look at it, saw nothing. "What was that?" she asked, voice a bit less concerned with the strange woman before her.
"That was nothing," Eve said, smiling. "Here." She handed Donna a card with a teleline code and the name 'Alexis Dupris' inscribed.
"What…?" Donna asked. This really wasn't her kind of day.
"Loyalty in the face of intimidation," Eve said with that same cheshire cat grin. "I like that. If you ever want a new job, by all means -- contact me."

Eve turned and walked out, her work complete.

Nemesis climbed into the hoverlimosine parked across the street from Drake's building. "So did you get it?" she asked, removing the wig and psychoactive contact lenses.
"Sure did," Mercury signed, fading back into view from his speed-induced state of invisibility. "He's out in the boonies. Y'know, 'grass and trees.' We heading out there?"
"No," Nemesis replied after a moment's thought. "Drake is our secondary objective. Tonight we'll make another sales pitch to the Batman."
"How do you plan on getting his attention?" Mercury signed, confused.
"Think, Mercury," Nemesis answered with a smile. "Did you forget where we are?"

Gotham City Police Department:

Captain Atom and Nemesis landed on the roof of the police headquarters to find Mercury fidgeting with a spotlight. Without turning around, the speedster reached a hand up over his shoulder and signed two words: "Almost ready."

Nemesis nodded in approval.
"I still don't see why we need him," Captain Atom grumbled. "He's a minor talent."
"Yes, I can see how that would irk you, Nathan."
"That reminds me; why did you tell him our names?" he asked. "Do you know what he could do with them? Do you have any idea what…"
"Shut up, Nathan," she snapped. "If he's such a minor talent, why worry about his knowing our first names? How can we even assume he believes those were our names, hmm?"
"Then why did you tell him…"
"I was establishing a bond of trust, you idiot!" Nemesis shouted, her voice fogging up the atomic symbol laser-etched over the center of his armored chest. She was about continue the lecture when Mercury shushed them both. Nemesis glanced at the speedster with fire in her eyes. He signed:
"Not now, boss."

Eve felt ashamed. How could she lose her temper on a mission, especially a quiet little recruiting deal? Why was she dressing down Captain Atom -- her second in command! -- in front of another teammate? Of course, apologizing here and now would only make her look weaker. Eve looked at Nathan for a long moment, and finally said, "Never question my authority or my methods again. Are we clear?" Ice dripped off every word.
"Crystal," the captain replied, turning his eyes away from the signal's bright light, a light that bathed Nemesis in its unearthly glow as it projected a legendary symbol into the nighttime sky over Gotham.
"It's working again," Mercury signed, a smile on his face.


Charmaine Doyle walked into the meeting room nervously, looking around at the empty chairs. She hadn't been back on Danny the Street since Nemesis had thrown her off the team. "Deadshot? I'm here."

Johann Carver walked into the room, and Charmaine gasped at his attire. He wasn't dressed at all like she expected. Gone was the red bodysuit, replaced with a black and gray jumpsuit. A sniper rifle and machine gun crisscrossed his back. His white gloves were gone, replaced by gray gloves of rough leather with the wrist cannons attached to them. The silver helmet he'd shown up wearing now had a fin down the back. And sewn above his heart, a familiar yellow-and-black insignia. A hawk's head, mouth open in a war cry.
"Heh, last I heard you were bellyaching about being stuck with the name 'Deadshot,'" she said with a smile. "What made you pull Blackhawk out of the mothballs?"
"This isn't the original costume," he said. "I didn't have time to build a flight pack -- couldn't carry the guns if I did, anyway. Still, whoever's in the way ought to give us a second thought."
"So where are we going?"
"Puerto Rico," he answered.
"And I forgot to pack a bikini."

Stately Wayne Manor:

The alarm echoed through the batcave, startling Clark Kent enough to wake him. He jumped out of his chair, looking around for danger. Seeing none, he relaxed, rather glad Tim wasn't here to see him overreact thusly. "Alfred, what is that?" he finally asked.
"That is the signal warning, sir," the mansion's security and housekeeping computer replied in his (its?) proper British accent. "Someone is summoning Master Tim."
"Wait a minute," Clark paused, settling back down into his chair. "The Bat Signal? Who on earth would be using that? I didn't think the police respected Tim enough to…"
"They don't," Tim Drake replied, actually startling Clark. "That means it must be someone else playing with their toys. The smart money's on our little friends from the other night. Alfred, have you modified my costume?"
"Modifications?" Clark asked.
"Yes, Master Clark; I do wish you'd keep with the times," Alfred quipped, an affectionate edge to his sarcasm. "Now then, Master Tim: I've added all you ask to the suit, plus a few last-minute inspirations…"
"Alfred, I don't have time for anything I don't know how to work," Tim said as he suited up.
"Sir, these are automatic or dormant functions. Besides, one can never tell when one will need shark repellent."
"Alfred, just… ugh," Tim said, unable to even finish his sentence. "Forget about it." Noting the look of confusion on Clark's face, Tim continued, "Alfred, bring up the file on the Suicide Squad."
"Suicide Squad?" Clark spat, jumping out of his chair. "What?"
"Clark, you've been sleeping for a good twelve hours," Tim said, startling the older man. Clark generally didn't need as much sleep as an earthling, and these past few weeks he'd been getting even less. Worrying about Booster Gold's condition, plus wondering how he'd ended up pulling his own Rip Van Winkle. (* For the full details on those stories, read back issues of Batman:DCF -- Tippitt)

Tim continued, "While you were clearing timber, we've found a few things out, and I'd like your opinion on how to handle this."

The Justice League logo flashed on the computer screen, as Alfred took Tim's words as his cue. "It was a stroke of luck that I was able to access the League's computers," Alfred explained as the information began to appear. "True, I only had a narrow window, but I haven't…"
"Not now, Alfred," Clark whispered. "My God -- that's Captain Atom."
"You recognize him?" Tim asked.
"Not another one," Alfred moaned.
"Alfred," Tim scolded before returning to his question. "Do you recognize Shiny?"
"Of course I do, Tim. He was a member of the Justice League for a time, and…"
"So what's he doing here?" Tim asked. "Any ideas?"
"He's changed, but I… what? No. I don't know why he's here any more than I know why *I* am."
"Does he have any weaknesses I can exploit?"

Clark's eyes narrowed just the slightest bit, as he winced at Tim's shift in tone. It was as though he were speaking to Bruce again, a robot concerned only with the task at hand. That familiar chill Bruce was so prone to delivering ran up Clark's spine, then faded when he saw Tim massage his eyes in confusion. What he saw as machiavelian scheming was, when the mask fell away, simple fear.
"I… I just can't remember," Clark finally said. "I'm sorry…"
"Don't be," Tim smiled. "I work better improvising, anyway. Alfred, what about the other two?"
"The woman is Eve Tresser," Alfred said. "As Nemesis, she is the leader of the team, at least according to the Justice League, with a list of aliases that beggars the mind. As to the platinum blonde, sir, that would be Jake Russell. Better known to the public as Mercury. Flash Corps speedster turned terrorist… innate powers, and…"
"I know that guy," Tim said.
"I saw him at my club a night or two back, talking in sign language with… Melody, I think. He's either deaf or mute. Not to mention perverted as hell."
"Concurrent with this information, sir," Alfred said. "Mr. Russell's tongue has been forcibly removed, and… you know sign language, Master Tim?"
"Of course I do, Alfred," Tim said, looking down for a moment. "My mother was deaf. You should know that."
"I… never had any information on your mother, sir," Alfred paused. "It appears I have unearthed a painful memory. My apologies, Master Tim… I didn't mean to…"
"Forget it," Tim said, pulling the mask over his head. And then, looking at Clark: "Any last-minute plays, coach? I'm ready to go."
"Just be careful," Clark said. "Be very careful."
"You know me," Tim said as he climbed into the Batmobile and commanded it to rise out of its moor.
"Yes, I do," Clark nodded as the hovercar rocketed out of the Batcave. The Last Son of Krypton prayed a silent prayer for his friend and walked upstairs into the manor. Was this how Ma and Pa had felt watching his fights over television back in Smallville?

GCPD Headquarters:

"Where *is* this guy?" Mercury signed. "I hate *hate* *HATE* waiting!"
"The signal's only been up for ten minutes," Nemesis said, looking up at the skies. "Be patient."
"Says the boss to a guy who could circle the city five times while she takes one little breath," Mercury signed, mostly to himself.
"Status on the policemen?" Nemesis asked.
"Out cold," Mercury smiled, tossing his taser into the air and catching it behind his back. "Got 'em all in record time. The chumps never knew what hit 'em."
"Good," Nemesis nodded, pleased. "Now all we have to do is wait."

"So you hate waiting, huh?" Batman whispered as he stood on a nearby rooftop, watching the Squad through the macrovision enhancements Alfred had built into his mask. "Brother, you have no idea."

There were three on the roof: Nemesis, Captain Atom and Mercury, or, as he preferred to think of them, Cutie-Pie, Shiney, and Blondie. One could move faster than Tim was able to think; one had more energy coursing through his system than Gotham used in a month; and the other was just as dangerous according to the JL dossier… a martial artist at least on par with Tim, perhaps even better. And for all he knew, there might be a reinforcement somewhere else watching him watching them.

What could Tim do? They were branded as terrorists, no matter who they usually ended up fighting. Terrorists were not, as a general rule, very nice people; that's why they were terrorists. And they wanted Batman's attention. Who's to say Shiney wouldn't go nuke a city block or two just as a wake-up call? It seemed like something his temper would lead him to do. He took out the Statue of Liberty, for cryin' out loud…

Blondie was wanted for several acts of violence. Most of them were committed at the exact same time, miles apart from each other. Makes sense to blame the speedster. They always blame the speedster. And Melody didn't like him. That was a bad sign. Hell, Blondie had killed his own sister, the wife of a local UN beureaucrat, and abducted their kid, right here in Gotham. Tim had to read about it in the morning papers, just like any other citizen. (* Mercury's trip to Gotham took place in Suicide Squad:DCF #9 -- Tippitt)

As for Cutie-Pie.,. Well, best to save those observations for later.
"You don't have to wait too much longer, darlin,'" Batman whispered, as he read the final words off Nemesis' lips and stepped off the edge of the building. "The Bat is back in town."


Albatross and Wally Meyer sat at the counter in Rosemary's diner, watching Chalice and Deadshot blink out of sight down at the end of the street.
"So Deadshot is Blackhawk?" Wally asked.
"Well, he used to be," Abby said. "Looks like he's changed back."
"Carver's an interesting guy," Rosemary said.
"How so?" Wally asked.
"Well, first he was a black guy named Blackhawk. And now he's an undead guy named Deadshot," she said serenely.

The teens looked at her like she'd grown a third arm.

GCPD Headquarters:

Nemesis heard Mercury snickering behind her. She looked at Captain Atom out of the corner of her eye. Why hadn't the Batman hadn't shown up yet? Everything she'd studied had led her to believe he'd be here in minutes. Then she saw it.
"Quiet," Nemesis said. Mercury was by her side immediately. He saw it, too -- a massive shadow moving in the concrete canyons of Gotham.

The shadow of the bat fell across the Suicide Squad.
"Can I watch too?" came a voice from behind them. For all the dark and rumbling, his voice wore a smirk nonetheless.

Nemesis, Captain Atom, and Mercury spun to see him standing by the signal on the opposite side of the roof, arms crossed. With a demeanor of boredom, he flicked off the signal. His cloak was gone, having served to distract their attention. Eve smiled; she hadn't been wrong about him, after all.
"We meet again," the Batman said, straightening up, nodding to Captain Atom. "Shiny." Tim raised his gloved hand and signed a particularly nasty insult at Mercury.

Mercury instantly replied, hands nearly a blur, "I'm not deaf, you know."
"So I'm told," Tim signed in response. "But my virgin lips couldn't bear speaking so ill of a new acquaintance. By the way; has anybody ever told you spandex is a really bad look for you?"

Nemesis, processing this pissing contest in her mind, didn't have time to call Mercury off; he was already off and running, practically foaming at the mouth. He was angrier at the Batman than Nemesis had ever seen him, and between Horatio Roberts and herself, she'd seen his anger cast far and wide. She wondered if Batman would die before she ever got a chance to really know him.

Then the impossible happened. The Batman leapt to the side, put his foot out, and Mercury… tripped.

As the speedster skidded on the pavement, Batman tossed a small disc onto his back. The disrupter charge flashed, and Mercury was out cold before he could finish standing up.
"You… you can't do that…" Captain Atom said, eyeing the downed speedster incredulously. "He's a Flash Corps vet, and you're just a normal human…"
"This 'normal human' knows a few tricks, Shiny. Blondie ain't as fast as he likes to think he is. I mean, let's face it… he's no West, young man." The Batman smiled through his mask, a smile that was both apparent and infuriating. A challenge.

Nathaniel Adam's eyes blazed hot, sending sparks out into the cool night air. Eve Tresser sat down on the edge of the roof, watching. Curious.

Nemesis had no inclination to help either man. It was clear Batman could handle himself without killing her team's most powerful asset, and that made him all the more attractive… in more ways than one. As for Captain Atom, this was a brilliant testing ground. Here was a chance to see whether the captain remembered any of that discipline the military had supposedly taught him, or whether he was all temper and no bearing.

The captain's hands began to glow as brightly as his eyes.

Batman put his thumbs in his ears, making mock antlers like a bratty child. "Neener neener neener," Batman said.

Eve could see the energy crawling over Nathan. It reminded her of microorganisms under a microscope. Beads of white-hot sweat covered the captain's brow…

Batman started dancing a jig. Literally. He was having fun with this.

Captain Atom could hold back no longer. The energy coursing through his body demanded release. It demanded to gnaw the flesh from the bones of this buffoon who slandered the costume he wore. It… demanded… RELEASE.

Batman could see that he was almost there. Captain Atom looked REALLY mad. One more insult with feeling, and the silver-hued throwback would be right where Tim wanted him.
"Hey, Shiny? Is it true that you leak oil?" It was weak, but it worked. Captain Atom raised his hands and expended his energy. All of it. In one burst.
Nemesis leapt to her feet in response, shocked.
The Batman touched a spot near one of his gauntlet's fins. A thick black goo covered the Bat, only to be burned off milliseconds later by the energy burst.
"Hey, thanks, Shiny; that stuff is sticky like you wouldn't… Shiny?"

The strain had knocked the good captain unconscious. Nathaniel Adam lay on the rooftop, flesh and blood again, drenched him in sweat.
"Heh, better learn to relax," Batman murmured. "I hate to think what your blood pressure must be like."

Tim looked back. The blast had also taken out the Bat-signal once and for all, and the northeastern corner of the building wasn't looking too good itself. One more nail in the coffin of an era.

He then turned to face Nemesis, who was already approaching him.
"Please, please, please don't make me even think about hitting you, okay?" Batman asked. Nemesis kept approaching, eyes locked on the dark knight's. She finally stopped eight inches away from him, close enough he could feel the heat off her body.
"Do you trust me?" she asked quietly.

Eve could see his eyebrows raise just the slightest bit. Whatever he'd expected her to say, that wasn't it. "Don't take this the wrong way, Cutie-Pie. No. No way."
"Good," Nemesis said, kissing him through his mask and grabbing his…
"Hey!" Batman said, backing up. "What the--?"
"Sorry," Nemesis said with a smile, backing off as Batman's cloak sailed to his grasp. "When I see something I want, I go after it. Force of habit."
"In all seriousness," Nemesis said, moving closer, "I want you to join us. Please."
"You don't strike me as the kind of person that uses that word too often. 'Please,' that is."
"I'm not."
"Surprise, surprise," Batman said, cloak strapped on, floating an inch or two off the roof. Now he knew a little how Clark must've felt in the glory days; it gave one a feeling of advantage, even if that was a false confidence. "Why should I join a group of terrorists?"
"The Justice League is the terror," Nemesis said. "We do what we have to."
"No dice. Cop-out."
"It's the truth," Eve said with a shrug.
"You work with psychopaths. Powerful psychopaths, true, but that's beside the point."
"You provoked them."
"Damn right I did," Batman said, grinning under his mask. "You know how hard it is for people to think straight when they're upset? I tell you…" He looked over at the fallen Suicide Squad members and winked.
"You could have anything you wanted," Nemesis said, leaning in once more. He could smell her perfume -- the same perfume Shannon wore, as chance would have it -- and that association made him rather uncomfortable. "You could have me." (* Shannon Mitchells, supermodel and love interest of Tim Drake -- Tippitt)
"Darlin,'" Tim said, inching away. "As tempting as that is -- and, believe me, you've got no idea how happy I am to be wearing a codpiece right now -- you also don't strike me as the type who can be 'had.'"
"Touche. Maybe I can reconsider that…"
"Maybe you could. I can't," Batman said, stepping to the precipice. "The answer's still no."
"But you can't say no!" Nemesis shouted.
"My dear Ms. Tresser, I'm Batman. This is Gotham. I do whatever I want. Home team rules." At that, he stepped backwards off the building, spiraling into the night as his air foils grabbed the currents and carried him off into the skyline.

Ollie left her in the middle of the night. Then Cliff took his own life. She had to fire Charmaine in the hopes it *might* spare the girl's life. Now this.

Nemesis, the hard-willed leader of the world's most dangerous guerrilla force, a woman who got whatever she wanted by any means necessary, was thankful that her teammates were out like two dim lightbulbs, as she wiped tears from her eyes.

The Blurb Box heavily influenced by Erik's lame humor: ;)

NEXT: Read Batman:DCF #19. See what happens when Eve tries to recruit Tim Drake. You just know that's going to be a fiasco - but, in true Suicide Squad fashion, betting on "bad to worse" still won't cover it. Plus, Deadshot (or is that Blackhawk? Deadhawk?) and Chalice try to liberate Blok from his captors before he's transferred to Justice Island. (Obviously, they didn't read #3, or else they'd send him a cake with a file.)

NEXT ISSUE: "Squad Run" concludes with the funeral of - um, sorry, we seem to be out room. Come back next time and see for yourself.

All characters are ™ DC Comics
This DC Futures story is © 1998 by .
All artwork is © 1998 by their respective artists.