Earth never knew how close it came to destruction that day.
In rural Kansas a young girl unaffected by the war and other ravages of her time sleeps peacefully in her room only to be awakened by a disturbance. Looking out her window at the night sky she gazes at a bright orange dart streaking through the air many, many miles away.
Mistaking the dart for a shooting star she mutters "Make a wish" to herself and does just that. She wishes she'll be married to a man who's brave and a have a son who's strong.
She'll get her wish, although it's not a shooting star that's falling that night...
Right now Kent Nelson wishes he was dead. The flames of reentry that before only tickled him now tear at his flesh, he's screaming loudly but the winds whipping by drown out his cries. To say his current course of descent was random would be a lie, he has a destination in mind. Whether or not he'll reach that destination is another matter. Soon the flames around Kent's body begin to die and minutes later the young man falls past a familiar skyscraper, one Daily Planet building.
Despite the excruciating pain he's under Kent manages to piece together a single thought before arriving at his impact point.
"Must remember the shield spell next time."
Shiera Saunders looked at her husband with nothing but love in her heart, seeing the smile on his face brought one to her own and she raised her drink with the other costumed men in a toast. It would be a pleasant evening, she decided. One that would be free of the usual chaos that their lives seemed to invite on an almost regular basis.
"To the Justice Society and Doctor Fate!" She said in a moment of genuine happiness, something she hadn't truly felt in a very long time.
That was when fate came calling.
He smashed quite suddenly through the glass roof of the JSA Clubhouse sending thick shards of glass hurtling towards the occupants below. Using reflexes honed by several centuries worth of battle experience Shiera's first thought was to the innocent, in this case the young Snapper Carr who in the span of a single second she soared across the meeting table to and used her durable, feathered wings to shield from bodily harm, the falling glass bouncing harmlessly on her feathers.
"I've got you Snapper!" She said quickly to reassure the boy.
A bright, emerald light bathed the room and Shiera saw that Alan, the Green Lantern had covered the top half of the room in a green box in the hopes of containing any remaining structural damage. He kept the construct active as Shiera took a look at the man lying atop the meeting table and beheld the unmistakable form of...
"Doctor Fate!" She gaped, assured that any potential danger had now passed. Immediately cogs began to turn in her mind, mixing and matching possible theories as to what could have happened. Switching to defensive mode she looked to her teammates, most of whom were gathering around the injured sorcerer out of concern.
"Is he alive?" The Flash asked quickly, voice speeding to match the concern he felt. Without responding Wesley Dodds removed two fingers from the side of Fate's neck.
"Barely." The Sandman answered grimly, his voice drifting once more as Shiera noted the vigilante had quickly strapped his signature gas mask back to his face once the action had started. "He's injured and needs a doctor."
"Everyone back away from him!" Shiera ordered quickly getting the two men's attention, they both did what she asked without question, stepping away from the meeting table where the good doctor lay. Briefly turning her gaze back to the ceiling, Hawkgirl saw her husband and Alan hovering in the night sky, most likely trying to see if whatever had caused the incident was still nearby. "Flash, secure the area." She instructed, sticking to code names just in case, a familiar whooshing sound told her that Jay was doing as asked.
Doctor Fate lay broken, looking like a twisted doll atop the remains of what would have been a delicious feast. His limbs, while not broken, were sprawled in various directions and a piece of glass was sticking through the blue cloth that covered his chest.
"Hawk...man..."Fate groaned telling Shiera that he was very much conscious, something she hadn't been able to tell through the helmet. "Help... me..."
"I'm doing all I can." Shiera muttered not bothering to correct the man's mistake. "Sandman, get his helmet off! He can't breathe!" Wesley moved to the other side of the table and placed a hand on either side of the golden helm. He shifted for a moment but nothing happened.
"It won't budge!" He snapped, trying again to move the troublesome thing. Something resembling a chuckle but sounding more like a gasp of pain escaped the doctor's lips.
"Helmet's... the only thing... keeping me alive..."
"What happened to you, Doctor?" Hawkgirl asked, subtly aware of the rest of the team standing behind her. The white light that filled Fate's eyes vanished, revealing the blue pupils of the stranger underneath.
"I... I was fighting... in space." He answered, deep voice replaced by a more frail one. "An... and..."
Hawkgirl raised an eye, concerned. "And?"
"Something punched me out of orbit."
Alan Scott noticed the uneasy silence that filled the room but did nothing to halt it.
It had been several minutes now since Fate, or Kent Nelson as his wallet had read, had crashed through their window, now he lay alone in one of the Clubhouse's guest rooms in a meditative state attempting to heal his wounds.
Whatever had punched the man had nearly broken his ribs, and for the first time since he had become the Green Lantern, Alan felt fear. He and his teammates now sat where the team meeting table had once been and Alan wondered who was going to be the one to speak first. He glanced at Hawkman to his left and the two shared a look before Alan started to speak.
"Right, if nobody else is gonna start it might as well be me." All faces in the room snapped to him as he stood up. "Something's coming and it's up to us to stop it. We were lucky to get Doctor Fate warning us but for now that seems to be all the fortune we're getting."
"Something's coming from space?" Jay asked, the hint of fear filling his normally confident tone. "We've never been to space before and I've never fought aliens before!"
In his chair Snapper Carr shifted nervously, Alan ignored it and a determined look filled his face.
"We've all gotta start somewhere." He said. "Now Doctor Fate couldn't handle whatever's up there which I know is scary but that leaves the job up to us. None of us can beat what's coming alone." He noticed Hawkman and Hawkgirl staring silently across the table at each other. "And if we don't even try to protect the planet than Earth, our home is doomed." The ring on Alan's right index finger began to light up green with energy, fluctuating as the confidence in the room began to increase. "Now. I'm going up there. Can I count on you, my friends, to help me?" Beneath his mask Wesley Dodds began to nod, Jay Garrick let out a sigh in his chair and the two Hawks smiled sadly at one another.
"Whatever's out there will be burned from the skies." Hawkman growled in his normal, grim demeanor. He stroked his lover's hand with his own and said something he'd immediately regret. "But... my love, I would like you to stay here."
A look of shock and rage filled Hawkgirl's face, cut off only by the feathered helmet she wore across the top of her head. Almost instantly her fist knocked into Carter's nose, knocking him from his chair to the ground.
"How DARE you say such a thing!" She yelled, standing up in a state of outrage. "Trying to act heroic... how... I will fight beside you Carter and I will die beside you and be with you in the next life!"
Everyone watched her storm out of the room, most did so in amused silence.
"So what's the plan?" Wesley asked from his seat. Alan didn't smile, but the fires of passion burned deep within him.
"Here's what we're gonna do..."
In front of a million shining stars they gathered, vessels of war crafted in burning flame similar only in temperature to the warmest pits of Hell. In silent awe Jay Garrick stood atop the moon gazing at the battle waging miles away, flashes of green, red and blue light dashed against the black sea and all the young speedster could do was look on in wonder.
"Wow." He muttered, able to breathe and speak in the hostile environment only due to an incantation that Doctor Fate, left behind to recuperate, had cast on their behalf. "That's... there's so many..." The rectangular ships floating in the distance nearly blotted out the sun they were so many, and though the odd one vanished on occasion thanks to Jay's teammates deep down he knew it would not be enough.
"Aw no..." Wesley Dodds, the Sandman muttered as his fedora floated up from his head, he jumped skyward to try and catch it in the zero gravity environment but it was in vain as the hat simply sailed off into the night. Jay watched his friend and chuckled.
"So this is the plan?" He muttered, more to himself than to anyone else. "Alan and the Hawks steer those alien wackjobs here and then... what? We get blasted by a million UFOs?"
Wesley appeared to have been checking his gas gun while Jay talked, he clicked the barrel back into place and looked at his friend.
"No. We welcome them when they get here."
Jay groaned in annoyance, the cocky facade he normally wore now gone, leaving in its wake a number of insecurities that filled his face.
"I catch bank robbers..." He said, pacing in circles. "You knock out serial killers. And we're fighting aliens... we're out of our league."
Any emotions the Sandman might have been feeling were hidden behind his mask's lenses, instead of saying anything he simply nodded at the Earth that now hovered behind them.
"We're the first Americans on the moon, Jay." Wesley said. "We're in a league of our own."
The Flash stopped pacing and for the first time in awhile he smiled. He was about to say something when his words were interrupted by a noise... a noise that somehow boomed through the vacuum of space, the two men locked in a mix of surprise and sheer terror as a tube of booming orange energy seemed to tear its way into reality a mere 100 feet away from them. A black nothing filled the tube's insides, yet out from that nothing sprang a hundred flying creatures that could only be described as demons.
A war cry escaped the demons' mouths, one that could thankfully not be heard in the emptiness, and as the creatures drew ever closer Jay and Wesley stood their ground. Lightning sprang at the Flash's heels and he began to run at the horde with not an ounce of the fear that had filled him earlier. The creatures had slowed tremendously as he ran, almost hovering in place and as Jay leaped at the winged nightmares his heart only knew courage.
The demons couldn't have been alive, not with the amount of parts and pieces sticking out of their bodies, their skin was grey and clammy like Frankenstein and as Jay began to rain blow after blow after blow on each demon he encountered he couldn't help but think that he was doing the beasts a favor. In real time barely ten seconds passed, but to Jay it felt like much longer. Soon his hands were covered in the creatures' blood and there was nothing he could do but rest out of fear of collapsing. Around half of the horde remained and they soared over their fallen brethren without any hint of concern or remorse.
It was then that Wesley Dodds surprised everyone, including himself.
He stood before his foes like a gunslinger about to draw, fingers already wrapped around his trusty gas gun. Jay, out of concern for his friend had began to run to his aid, but it wasn't required.
"This..." The Sandman said as he pulled the trigger. "Is a gift from the Endless."
The gun nozzle that had been fired so many times before finally unleashed its greatest weapon. Instead of the familiar green gas, the gun instead released a mere three grains of something resembling sand. At first Jay didn't understand what was happening, but then he saw Wesley turn away quickly from what he had fired and out of fear Jay did the same.
"Good God!" He yelled as he began to slow. "Wes, what was that?!"
Upon the surface of the moon lay a hundred sleeping demons, each one screaming out silently at the horror of the nightmares that ravaged their minds.
"Just... something my father gave me." He answered, holstering his weapon. His tone made it clear that he didn't want to carry the discussion further so Jay respected his wishes.
In the distance reality began to crack open, such hateful energy pouring out of a hole in space that could only give way to somewhere terrible. Jay and Wesley stood ready, prepared for a second wave of the demonic monsters that had attacked them with such ferocity. Unfortunately that wasn't what stepped through.
The man, if that was what he could be called, was perhaps the tallest man that Jay had ever seen, easily around 12 feet tall. He stepped through the tube with an almost relaxed stature juxtaposed by his hands being behind his back like a general inspecting his troops which he did glaring down at the unconscious demons lying by his feet. A scowl filled the man's face, chalk teeth appearing amidst the man's granite like skin and before Jay could even think to react a beam of bright red energy arched out from each of the man's eyes and impacted the creature closest to the being's feet. The creature's body turned completely white before vanishing in a flash of brilliant light, its companions suffering the same fate as the beams of energy darted between available bodies.
This was no man... Jay was realized eyes wide with a returning fear. This was something else. Standing by his side, Wesley was fumbling for his gun and the movement seemed to catch the stranger's attention as he raised his head and briefly regarded them.
"What are you?" The Flash asked, legs shaking as he did so.
The god didn't even move his lips as his response filled the two men's brains sending them collapsing to the ground in the greatest pain either one had felt.
"DARKSEID." Came the response, the two men's screams placing a sweet smile upon the New God's lips.
Death of the JSA?