Ms Marvel, Hawkeye, Power Man and Firestorm were finally back to their group's headquarters with an unconscious Rogue and all the equipment they needed to accomplish Batman's plan, of which only Static knew the specific details. Peter Parker
who had recovered from his injuries helped them set Anna Marie on her bed, while Virgil made sure that the portable cloaking device that Rogue carried was in good condition and fully charged.
Saying that Ms Marvel was furious was an understatement. "Are you happy now?" she screamed at Virgil. "Look at her," she pointed at Rogue. "We lost two men because of Wayne's arrogance and Anna Marie is out of commission for who knows how long. I think we deserve
some explanations," she finished in a menacing tone.
"Please, Carol, calm down," Hal Jordan's weak voice sounded from the injured man lying on his bed. His broken tone had a surprisingly calming effect on her. Although she responded to it by sighing heavily and leaving for a corner to sulk in.
"Nonetheless, Marvel is right," Cheetah intervened. "It's time we finally heard about Batman's
brilliant plan," she said, barely able to suppress sarcasm from her sentence.
With a curt nod Virgil started his explanation. "The plan relies heavily on mine, Firestorm and Power Man's engineering skills. Now that we have a sample of Omega Energy inside Rogue's body, we can study it and determine its resonance frequencies. The goal
is to create what Batman has called an Omega Detonator."
"Basically it's a device that in contact with a sufficiently large amount of Omega Energy will force it to become unstable and create an explosion," he finished.
"So what, you're going to throw this gizmo at Darkseid and bim-bada-boom 'we saved the Universe'?" Hawkeye asked in disbelief. Like him, most of the team wasn't really convinced by their missing leader's strategy.
"That's where it gets tricky," Virgil answered with a grimace. "The Omega Detonator needs to be put inside Darkseid's body for it to work."
"Great! We just have to wound the most powerful monster in the Universe. Easier said than done," Power Man interjected. "He's even more invulnerable than Superman - whatever that's supposed to mean."
"How did Batman intend to do it? Was he going to throw a bat-a-rang at him?" Cheetah asked mockingly, earning herself a glare from Virgil, Hal and Peter who all admired the Dark Knight. Static however didn't have any answer to give her. "You don't even know.
Perfect! Freaking perfect!" she cried out angrily.
"And there's another problem," Ms Marvel drew everyone's attention. "If the Kree energy contained in my body is enough to destroy a small city, can you imagine what kind of explosion would be released from a God's body?" she asked no one in particular. "I mean
it could blow up this whole planet."
"Darkseid's no God," Hal chastised angrily. "But you're right. Darkseid's body contains even more energy than the Green Lantern crystal the Guardians keep on Oa."
"If what Batman wrote in his files is true, we might end up destroying half the Galaxy," Virgil revealed, making a cold shiver run through everyone's body.
"That issue aside," Spider-Man resumed the conversation after a long silence, "we still have no way of hurting Big Bad Baldie."
"I know someone who might be able to help," Firestorm announced. "But I don't know if we'll be able to contact him from down here."
"You're thinking about Orion," Mystique guessed correctly, as she was rewarded by a nod from Firestorm.
"Good luck with that," Hawkeye humphed derisively.
"Actually, I've once heard that Orion sponsors a resistance right here on Apokolips," Hal Jordan explained. "If we can find them, I'm sure they will be able to help us contact New Genesis."
"That actually might be worth the shot," Peter enthusiastically added.
Wonder Woman woke up from a dreamless slumber, her head spinning and throbbing as though it had been pounded by a hammer. Her vision was still blury however and the only thing she could clearly see was the intravenous needle poked into her left hand.
"Hello there, sleepy head," Hawkgirl, who had been sitting in an armchair next to Diana's bed, greeted her back to the realm of the living.
"Shayera?" the Amazon's raspy voice exclaimed. "Where am I?"
"What? You don't remember your old room?" the Thanagarian joked.
Diana forcibly blinked several times to clear up her vision. She wasn't exactly in
her room. Her room was the one she had shared with Bruce in Wayne Manor. Unfortunately, the manor being outside of the city walls, it had been a casualty of a Parademon raid against the city. The room she was in now was the one at the penthouse on top
of the Wayne Tower they used occasionally if the first Batman was too tired to go back home after his patrol.
She also finally noticed another important detail. "I'm not... all green?" Diana wondered out loud.
"Nope," Shayera answered simply with a little smirk. "Apparently, Olympians are as much immune to gamma radiation as the Asgardians," she explained.
"Well that's a relief," she uttered in relief. "What about the others?" Wonder Woman asked in concern.
"Red and Green are next door, resting," Hawkgirl replied, talking about Artemis and She-Hulk. "The rest of our team are with Batman junior at his headquarters," she added.
After the invasion, with his secret identity revealed, Dick Grayson had relocated his headquarters to a secret facility of Wayne Tech's R&D Department, where Bruce and Lucius Fox used to design new Bat-gadgets. He shared his headquarters with the City's Police
Forces who had become Gotham's guardians and now wore Batman-approved gear.
Diana noticed the grim look on her friend's face. "What's wrong, Shay?"
"Mr Freeze and Captain America's team are still missing," Hawkgirl answered with a frown. "And we've received bad news from both Latveria and Wakanda."
"I guess we should be joining Richard and the others at HQ," Wonder Woman announced with a heavy sigh to Hawkgirl who simply nodded in response.
Back on Apokolips, Bruce was the exclusive host of Darkseid's best torture room. The New God had been keeping him on the brink of death ever since he had been defeated in the trophy room, alternating between physical torture and mind probing. Today was the
Being inside his own mind was disconcerting. It felt like halfway between a conscious dream and a hallucination from the Scarecrow's Fear Toxin. Today, Darkseid had decided to explore Bruce's memories, specifically those that featured Batman's best sexual
experiences. Together they had reviewed the nights he had spent with his most valued lovers. Bruce had had been with many women, but only a few had touched his heart.
"You and I have very similar tastes in women," Darkseid commented, rubbing his chin, as they looked through the Dark Knight's memories of his nights spent with Catwoman.
"Oh, really," Bruce replied dryly.
"Headstrong, fiercely independent, controlling. We definitely share the same taste in female companionship. Although... you seem to feel quite jaded about this one," the tyrant observed after looking at the last dispute Bruce had had with Selina. "This one
really tried everything to drive your attention away from your self-imposed duties," he was referring to the many times Selina had cheated on him. Bruce had finally grown fed up with it and broke up with her definitely.
"Your affection this one is most fascinating," Darkseid commented when they were watching as Bruce and Diana were making love on the beach in Themyscira. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman had just come back from Apokolips after the Dark Knight had tricked Darkseid
into giving back her freedom to Kara Zor-El.
"She is everything you seem to despise. A meta-human, a magic construct, an immortal who can't even begin to comprehend the suffering you go through everyday just to wake up. And yet she is the one you are most fond of. Even now I can feel your longing for
her touch," the New God kept ranting.
"Uh huh," Bruce shrugged. He wasn't really bothering with what Darkseid was babbling about. The Lord of Apokolips was right about one thing however. The Dark Knight missed his princess, terribly so.
"I could have her brought here for you. After all, wouldn't my new son deserve a proper gift for his birthday?" Darkseid promised, trying to make Batman agree to join him.
"Good luck with that," Bruce replied dryly yet with an amused huff. As one of the most powerful beings on Earth, Wonder Woman was nigh unstoppable.
She wouldn't let herself get captured alive, he thought grimly.
"You are a fool for refusing to join my side. Don't get too cocky though. Soon enough, I will have understood every recess and corner of your mind. In the end, you will join me of your own free will. That, I promise you," Darkseid announced ominously. "I have
seen enough for today," he added as Bruce suddenly woke up in the middle of his new cell, hanging by his wrist from the ceiling. "We will continue with our usual session tomorrow. For now I have to go and chastise Kalibak. It's seems that my son has once again
failed to kill yours," he congratulated Batman before walking out of the room.
Bruce was left alone in this room, with his wounds for sole companion.