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Batman, Rogue and Superboy were heading for Darkseid's Trophy Room, where Bruce hoped to find some of the equipment the Apokoliptians had taken from him when he had been captured. Rogue and Mystique had assured him that his Bat-suit and
utility belt were all stored in a neat glass container, but they obviously didn't know if the contents of his belt had been emptied or not.
They were making their way stealthily across the halls, sticking to the shadows. Batman was one of Earth's best infiltrators and was famous for his disappearing act and his ability to sneak on people with superhuman senses. Rogue could absorb a person's powers
and skills through skin to skin contact and was currently making use of the skills she duplicated from Batman. Superboy had been created as a mixed clone of Superman and his nemesis Lex Luthor. As a result, the Man of Steel had been distrustful of Conner when
he first showed up and had refused to bond with the clone. Batman and Black Canary had been the ones to initiate Superboy into the superhero business, teaching him their own skills. The end result was that Conner's skill set was quite different from Superman's
and much more suited for covert missions.
"Are you sure we can't take him if I absorb his powers?" Rogue interrupted the silence. She was referring to Darkseid. Batman's plan involved her getting in contact with the Lord of Apokolips to replicate his powers.
"Are you familiar with the combat between Thor and the Absorbing Man," Batman answered cryptically.
"I don't follow you," she complained with a frown.
"Absorbing Man assumed he could beat Thor by absorbing the metal of his mace, but he overlooked a crucial detail. Thor can remote-control his hammer with a thought," he explained. Rogue was getting angry when he didn't say anything else.
"Once Absorbing Man's energy signature matched the hammer's, Thor was able to control his opponent's body at will," Superboy added to help Rogue understand Batman's point.
"You think Darkseid can do the same to me?" she asked turning her attention back to Bruce.
"Along with his powers, you will also absorb some of Darkseid's Omega Energy, which is an extension of his being. From this point on, you will be nothing short of a puppet obeying his every wish and command," Batman clarified.
"Then why do you even want me to do it?" Rogue seethed through gritted teeth. Batman's plan seemed more absurd than ever.
"That's why we need to get a hand on my equipment," Bruce replied.
"I assume you have something to prevent Rogue from going... rogue," Conner cut in, barely able to keep himself from snickering at his own pun. Batman merely nodded in response.
Meanwhile in another part of the palace, Firestorm, Hawkeye and Power Man were gathering equipment from the Armory. Power Man and Hawkeye were surveying the perimeter, making sure Firestorm had all the time he needed to pack everything they came for.
"Aren't you done yet?" Power Man complained.
"Almost there," Firestorm answered. "Okay, we've got everything we came for. Let's go," he said after a moment.
"Shouldn't we join the others?" Hawkeye asked. "After all, we can't make the plan work without Rogue."
"I doubt we can make it without Batman either," Firestorm added. "But we can't risk getting caught."
They walked carefully back to where the two groups had parted.
"Look, guys," Hawkeye addressed Firestorm and Power Man, as soon as they reached the sewers. "You two can make it back to HQ on your own. I'm going back to check on the others."
Firestorm and Power Man reluctantly agreed.
"Fine, man. You're right. They might need some back up," Power Man conceded.
"Good luck," Firestorm finished, as he and Power Man went back to walking toward their destination, while Hawkeye darted in the direction their friends had taken.
At the same time, Batman, Rogue and Superboy had reached the Trophy Room and located their confiscated gear. While Batman was checking on his Bat-suit to make sure everything was working, Superboy was doing a tour of the hall looking for useful equipment. Bruce
had ordered Rogue to hide in a corner and wait for Darkseid's arrival.
Superboy and Rogue had nearly hurled when they saw Superman's head hanging above the hall. Darkseid liked to keep the heads of his most worthy enemies for display. And Batman's armor wasn't the only one adorning the Trophy Room.
"What's this?" Rogue asked when Batman had tossed her something from his recently reacquired utility belt.
"It's a special cloaking device that will shield your energy signature. Hopefully, this will keep Darkseid from taking control of your body," he explained.
"Hopefully!?" she yelled in disbelief. But Batman ignored her comment.
"Now you go hide," he instructed. "When Darkseid shows up, you can absorb his powers and make your escape while we distract him."
"Don't worry," Superboy reassured her before she could protest. "I'm sure there's more than one useful toy here that we can use against him."
After a few seconds of silence, Rogue walked away in search of a hiding spot, grumbling to herself. About an hour later, Batman had equipped his Bat-suit and added an Apokoliptian armor over it. Superboy had likewise found an armor for himself and had grabbed
a large gun.
"Are you done playing games?" a deep voice boomed behind them.
"I believe we are," Batman answered as he turned to meet Darkseid's looming gaze.
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