This story is safe for everyone to read. These characters are not my own, rather this is a work of fan fiction. All the characters referred to within belong to DC Comics.
It was always the heat that one felt first when journeying to Apokolips. Those that had been before could feel it even before the boom tube opened, an unpleasant memory of what was surely to be worse things to come. Of those here though, the thought bothered none. Through the course of her cosmic travels, Soranik had never been to Apokolips, and neither Ya’Wara nor Voodoo had even heard of the place prior to being told that it was the first step in unraveling the mystery as to the anomalies that surrounded them all. Miss Miracle was undeterred either, from what she had known, the Darkseid in her life had been a horrible goddess in control of this horrific world. Darkseid had exchanged children with the Highmother to broker the terms of peace that were just another ploy. Scotia had been sent to Apokolips where she had learned the need to persevere. Thus while she knew the heat was coming, it was also a heat from which a large part of her was born, even if not this particular world from this particular dimension.
“Be prepared,” she told her new allies as she stood in a hangar of the Justice League satellite, “I am opening the portal now.” Her warning was followed by a loud boom, which actually did not create a physical sensation of sound but was the temporary rupture of both space and time. Without even feeling as though they had moved, the four heroes were drawn through into the inhospitable world.
“We must act fast,” Scotia said, “Soranik if you will do as we discussed.”
“I am on it,” Soranik replied. She used her ring to fly skyward and also to mask her presence. The ring also scanned for potential threats, but she had to disable this as essentially it was overloading her with the information of all of the threats. Below her, the other three heroes hid as best as they could among the ruins waiting her return. She scanned the horizon for what Scotia had asked of her. There! A small outpost exactly as Scotia had anticipated. Soranik flew back down to join her colleagues.
“There is a small outpost not far from here,” she said, “perhaps a couple of hours walk.”
“And if we fly?” Scotia asked.
“A couple of minutes if I am doing the flying for all of us,” Soranik said. She had just checked her ring, it was still at nearly 100% power, carrying three others for such a short time would do little to affect those levels.
“Priscilla?” Scotia asked, “have you seen the dark lord of this world?”
“I have seen a nearby statue,” Voodoo said, “and you can call me Pris.”
“Then we are ready,” Scotia said, “Soranik, if you would.”
Soranik picked up the three others in the green glow of her ring and started flying. Although two of them could fly by themselves, this was going to be much faster, and anyway Soranik needed to mask their presence until the last moment. As they flew the bleak wasteland of the world before them unfolded. They could see refugees of the regime, fighting for scraps amongst the barrens. Even if they lived they would soon be recaptured and punished for thinking to escape. Soranik put them down in front of the small outpost, a collecting point for parademons, though it was not clear how many would be here. They did not maintain much security on this place as no one ever thought of attacking parademons as it meant certain death.
Soranik used her ring to create a battering ram for what looked to be the entrance. The noise stirred the contingent there out of their routine as they knew immediately that something was wrong. A group of them flew out together and found what they feared most there – Darkseid himself. Or at least what appeared to be Darkseid which was actually a transformed Voodoo. The group flew to the ground and kneeled in his presence, unaware that it was in fact a pretender.
“Lord Darkseid,” they said almost in perfect unison, “for what do we owe the honour?”
“This honour,” Ya’wara said who had successfully teleported right in front of them before jabbing her knives into one of their backs. Ya’wara was hesitant to attack an unprepared enemy, but as Miss Miracle had said, to do less would elicit nothing but condemnation from the ruler. They were not here to start a war after all, but to make a statement. Ya’wara spun around and quickly slammed the tips of her blades into the chest of another parademon that was already standing up and preparing to fight. And before they could react another one fell to her dual blades. Before they could tell what was happening she had disappeared as easily as she had appeared. Instead in front of them now were the main threats, Voodoo has transformed back to her usual self, albeit with claws for battle and Miss Miracle stood in front of her also prepared for the attack. Soranik flew in from behind cutting off the mechanical wings of the warriors with an efficient and multi-pronged blow which would keep this battle on the ground. Even at that the numbers were well against the heroes, more than forty against four, but the advantage was still with the interlopers as they had already planned for this. Soranik kept the parademons in a solid group while Voodoo engaged those that she could directly. Miss Miracle used her flight disks to pick her battles as they came and Ya’wara continued teleporting in and out of the battle to attack those that posed an unanticipated threat to the others.
“Stop this,” a booming voice said from behind them. The heroes had been so engaged that they had not noticed the appearance of Darkseid himself.
“Who would come to my world and make battle against my forces?” he said.
Scotia turned and made her way to him.
“There is a better way to gain audience with you?” she asked.
“Miss Miracle,” he said, “why must the gods of New Genesis from another dimension pollute my own world with an inferior version of Scott Free?”
“Inferior?” Scotia said, “I think not. I am here for answers and I have brought some with me that are also here seeking answers.”
“Ah yes,” Darkseid said, “the folly of the heroes of Earth, they who think they can control their own destiny.”
“Enough grandstanding,” Scotia said, “I am here for answers and you will give them to me.”
“You dare talk to me in such a way,” Darkseid said.
“I absolutely dare,” Scotia replied, “you have never been capable of killing me, and I don’t see that changing now. You might be able to kill my allies, but you know better, don’t you? Something about this troubles you as well.”
Though his face was essentially incapable of expression, Scotia knew that if it could that he would be showing a form of defiant acceptance of her challenge.
“And so what do you want?” Darkseid asked.
“I want to know what you know,” Scotia said, “save for the manipulation and subterfuge, and save your scheming for other plans. This is of a bigger scale than even you.”
“You wish to know what has happened to the new worlds of ours,” Darkseid said, “ as do I. There has been a change, almost imperceptible but still present. I have been unable to identify it myself even with all of my agents seeking information and my own scientists seeking their own answers.”
Scotia scoffed at the idea of scientists. Darkseid used only those that told him what he wanted to hear, science or no, but they would have still been effective in finding some answers if any.
“There might be one that could know,” he said, “on Earth there is a scientific mind unparalleled in his own field anywhere else in the multiverse. If you find him perhaps he can tell you what has gone wrong and a way to fix it.”
“Who is he?” Scotia asked.
“A human by the name of Rip Hunter,” Darkseid replied, “but he is in and out of time. My agents were observing the hero known as Booster Gold as he is known to have a connection to Rip, but following an anomaly in time, Booster himself has disappeared. It is even not evident what anyone still remembers of him.”
“So he cannot be found,” Scotia asked, “then what use is this to me?”
“He cannot be found by my means perhaps,” he said, “but perhaps by others. You might appreciate better than the others here that I am not well versed in gently persuading facts out of people, nor are my agents.”
“Ah,” Scotia said, “you need someone nice. I can understand why this would be a challenge to you.”
“Your attitude is noted Miracle,” Darkseid said, “you know full well that coming here you could challenge me in such a way as we want to know the same thing and you are evidently able to achieve it for me. I will not forget these insults though. Also tell your friend to never come back here or impersonate me again. I will know and I will find her and punish her for this insolence.”
“Now is not the time for threats,” Scotia said.
“Agreed,” Darkseid said, “it is the time for negotiating our terms. You have come here for information but you will have more than that. You have gotten me as a partner. Lashina?”
A flash of light appeared before them, and Lashina appeared before them. Another gender switch that Scotia had not anticipated as Lashino from her version of Darkseid was a horribly evil lord of punishment.
“My loyal servant here will join your otherwise pathetic group,” Darkseid said, “she will ensure that anything which you learn that I will also learn.” Scotia thought to argue with him but she knew better. This was an unfortunate and unwanted development, but if she were like her male counterpart from her home, then she would at least be valuable in battle should it come to that.
“Very well,” Scotia said, “but she answers to me for the duration of this. Now tell me where to start.”
“The last person that Booster saw before disappearing,” he said, “was a heroine by the name of Godiva. Seek her out and you will start your path to answers. Now begone.” To show his mastery over his own realm, he remotely triggered Scotia’s boom tube and sent the team back to Earth without them even expecting it, where they found themselves in the same hangar that they had left, with an additional member of their team. They had been gone no more than fifteen minutes.
“Now then,” Scotia said, “we must find the location of this heroine.”