Those two words were all that filled Desaad's mind as he walked briskly toward his vessel's command deck. Indeed they were the only words that filled the minds of most aboard the ParteTenebrosa, capital command ship of the planet Apokolips, and as Desaad drew nearer to the vessel's bridge he thought to himself how lucky he was to be able to think them at all.
His master was not a kind one, and things such as free thought were luxuries on his mind. His cruelty was evident in everything, even the ship's decor as its grim aesthetic was accompanied by dark, twisting hallways that filled its inhabitants with a haunting sense of claustrophobia, the stench of rotting flesh was never far away and then there were the screams... well, Desaad didn't actually mind the screams.
Ahead in the hallway before a large, circular door stood two, hunched over Parademon guards, their legs weary and shaking from week long shifts with hardly any chance at rest. Desaad ignored them as the door snapped open for him and immediately hissed shut as soon as he stepped through, almost skimming his calf.
"Darkseid is." Desaad thought in an attempt to make himself feel more comfortable.
The room was dark, large and spherical in shape, the only light coming from the glass display at the other side that was currently showing the space sector that the Parte Tenebrosa was inhabiting, and in a throne facing away from Desaad sat Darkseid, who made no acknowledgement of Desaad's entrance yet Desaad dropped to his knees and knelt anyway, his purple robes the only colorful source in the room.
A long, terrible moment of silence passed as Desaad waited to be noticed, not daring to break his master's concentration or even think himself worthy of attention. He kept his head pointed to the ground and his breathing mostly silent so as not to disturb the dreadful one... and after an age of silence Darkseid finally spoke.
"What have you brought for me, Desaad?"He asked in a voice so cold and cruel that Desaad felt terrible shivers chill his spine, yet Darkseid never even looked at the man.
"N... news my lord. Your fleet is in position around the planet. The inhabitants, other... other than the helmeted fool you encountered earlier are completely unaware of their impending doom."
Looking up from the ground Desaad noticed bright embers sparking from the front of his master's head and he immediately felt a sense of panic.
"This planet is on the fringes of 'civilized' space is it not?"
"Th... that is correct my lord!" Desaad said feeling a spike of courage. "It's practically untouched! The Guardians of the Universe and their Corps barely even know it exists!"
"Then WHAT..."Darkseid's voice rose sharply as he raised a finger to the window ahead. Hearing the anger in his master's voice Desaad practically jumped to his feet and began to back towards the exit, knowing what was to come. "IS THAT?!"He finished.
A bright, emerald green light began to fill the room like a torch, its source emanating from space.
"B...b, but the Green Lantern Co-" Whatever Desaad was going to say was quickly cut off by the sizzling crackle of two red beams shooting from his lord's eyes, beams that instantly curved around and darted directly towards their target who didn't even have time to scream as his master's Omega Beams turned him into nothing, leaving not even ash!
Alone in his throne room Darkseid found himself considering the green light outside.
In space Alan Scott was fighting for his life, and he wasn't alone. As his fists, imbued with the energy of the Starheart, tore their way through alien metal he was joined in combat by the duo of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, both of whom soared silently through space wreaking havoc on their faceless enemy.
"I hate space." The Green Lantern muttered to himself as he blasted a beam of energy as hot as the sun at his foes melting them to slag.
Yet while their enemy was faceless they were no less deadly. Several ships surrounded the Lantern from all sides and as they prepared to fire their deadly weapons Alan quickly generated a bubble of protective energy around himself. Red bolts of Hell shot at the man from all sides, the bubble beginning to crack under the pressure as Alan found his concentration wavering. The Lantern grit his teeth as he tried to concentrate on his defenses but it was no use, soon the emerald green of his construct was gone, replaced by a number of jagged cracks inflicted by the enemy, yet before the bubble could be destroyed in its entirety the enemy ships all exploded one after the other and Alan smiled with relief.
"Come on, Lantern!" Hawkman said as he floated down to his teammate,covered in dirt and burns. The two had been rewarded with a brief moment of peace from the surrounding conflict. "There's too many of these insects for me to kill them myself!" In the distance Hawkgirl was engaging in a chase with a number of the enemy ships, Nth Metal spear sparkling with energy as her foes fled in tremendous fear. Taking a moment to catch his breath Alan dropped the bubble, letting it dissolve back into mere empty thought.
"How are we gonna beat these guys, Carter?" He asked, sounding exhausted. "There's too many of them and not nearly enough of us..." Carter maintained the serious face he always kept in combat, while all around the enemy ships slowly drifted towards Earth below. "It might be hopeless..."
"Like hell!" Hawkman yelled, grip tightening around his mace which he brandished in the air. "We'll find a way! We always do!"
Alan smiled again, impressed by his friend's courage, but then he saw something off in the distance. Using his ring to create a pair of hard light binoculars he took a look in the distance and saw flashes of blood red energy on the surface of the moon.
"What the hell's going on over there?"
Jay Garrick had never run so fast in his life. Usually when he ran at super speed he tried to keep below the sound barrier in order to avoid damaging the area around him but right now he was well past that limit and for good reason.
Nipping at the Flash's heels, barely an inch behind him were the same pair of energy beams that, that Darkseid fellow had used to disintegrate a battalion of his troops and Jay had no delusions about what would happen to him if they caught up. He didn't have time to turn around, nor time to worry about his teammate Wesley who he'd left behind but he knew that if he didn't think of something fast he was done for.
"Come on, Jay!" He muttered to himself as he came upon a rising mound in the moon's surface. "Think..." And then the Flash dropped to his knees and slid across the ground, letting the beams pass over his head and collide with the ground generating a massive explosion of dust and moon rock. "...fast!" Jay gasped as he slowly stood back up. "Jesus..." Then the Flash looked back to where he'd come from and something sparked in his eyes.
"Darkseid." He said angrily before zipping back the way he'd came.
Alone, Wesley Dodds felt fear. Backing away from a being sure to give him nightmares for years, the Sandman desperately pulled the trigger of his gas gun and watched hopelessly as the green chemical did nothing to discourage the slowly approaching Darkseid.
"Your thoughts are intriguing."The New God's voice filled Wesley's mind and it took everything the man had to avoid collapsing to the ground. "The sights you've seen, the wonders witnessed... all wasted on a dull ape deluded into thinking himself sentient."
"Just back off!" Sandman screamed, watching the mighty Darkseid slowly raise his fist. He closed his eyes, knowing that there was nothing he could do. Yet when Wes opened his eyes he found himself a good mile or so away from where he'd been standing, Jay Garrick at his side looking grim under his tin Mercury helmet.
"You alright, Wes?" The Sandman nodded slightly, somewhat stunned at how close to death he'd just been, the closest of his career for sure. "Who is that guy? Death?" Something within Wesley twitched and he sprang back to life.
"No... no, no, no, no. That's..." He bit his lip as in the distance Darkseid turned his head towards them. "I think that's one of the New Gods." Jay looked at his friend, confused.
"How the heck do you know that?!"
"From a book my father... I... look, Jay the New Gods are the most powerful beings in all existence!"
Lightning began to spark from the Flash's body, his fist twitched, his legs began to shake and the lighting symbol upon his chest seemed brighter than it ever had been.
"Well I'll give him something new to worship."
And before Wesley could begin to protest Jay had already started to run. The world seemed to stand still, distant battles paused in motion and the mighty Darkseid stood like a stone statue. Jay braced himself as he approached and got ready to land a punch on the god's grey jaw.
Jay's hand turned to jelly immediately upon impact, fingers broken and twisted as he sank to his knees and began to scream in terrible pain. Darkseid looked down at the man, completely unfazed by the punch that could shatter concrete. Tears welled in the Flash's eyes as he held his injured hand, color quickly fading from his face.
"Impressive."He said as his hand snapped out and he dangled the young speedster by the leg. "No one has ever out ran my Omega Beams before."The dark one's eyes began to burn as he summoned his power again. "Allow me to correct that."
Yet before Darkseid could do just that a bright green steam engine appeared as if from nowhere and knocked him into the ground, releasing Jay from his grasp in a shower of dust.
Hovering just above the ground was Alan Scott, determined look on his face as his cape floated gently behind him. By his feet the Flash groggily rose, skin pale from his injury.
"Where's Wes, Jay?" Alan asked, eyes locked on the dust cloud rising from where Darkseid had fallen.
"I... took him to safety."
"Bring him back!" Alan said quickly. "We're gonna need everyone..."
Almost immediately Jay zipped off to do as asked, and as Alan stood alone he saw the dust begin to part and reveal the standing form of Darkseid who appeared completely unharmed.
"A Green Lantern."He said. "Its been eons since I lasted faced one of your kind."
"No idea what you're talking about." Alan said, again remaining dead focused. Darkseid raised a curious eye.
"There's something different about you."He noticed. "A different scent on the solar winds."
"Who is it I'm talking to?" The Lantern asked, twitching with anticipation. A faint smile passed over the New God's lips.
"I am Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips. But you and all of your miserable species will call me 'master'."
As if on cue a feminine shriek filled the air.
"Like hell!" Hawkgirl bellowed as she and her lover hovered above the two men drawing both of their gazes.
"Thanagarians..."Darkseid watched as the two hovered to Alan's side. "Again its been an age since I last enjoyed killing your species."
"You won't kill anyone this day, Dark Lord!" Shiera yelled as Jay and Wesley popped up behind them. "Never again!"
"Then enough talk."Darkseid said as calm as ever. "Let's go."
The Justice Society stood united for one glorious moment. The Earth's greatest defenders against its greatest evil, and finally when the tension finally came to its breaking point it was Alan Scott who lead the charge.
"Light him up!" He commanded as he flew forward across the ground, Jay Garrick dashing by his side at a measured speed. From the Lantern's ring sprang an assortment of weapons, swords and axes that all leaped into the air and lunged down towards their target leaving a trail of hard light energy behind. From the other side Jay scooped up pieces of rock and shrapnel and began to fling them at high speeds towards Darkseid.
It was of course to no avail. With his left hand Darkseid simply blocked the hurled shrapnel with unnatural ease and with his other hand Darkseid merely slapped Alan's constructs away, shattering them into shards.
"Pathetic."He scoffed. "Your constructs are cheap, a mere knockoff of the original."And with that the New God clapped his hands together creating a thundering wave of energy that sent Alan and Jay tumbling away.
"Bastard!" Hawkman swooped down from above and brought his crackling mace down upon Darkseid's skull making him grunt in pain. The look of hate that filled the god's face was utterly terrifying.
"Pest!"Darkseid's fist, bigger than a boulder, sent Carter spinning to the ground where he lay still. Standing by the injured Hawk, Wesley Dodds briefly regarded his friend before yet again firing his gas gun. The misty, green vapor had no effect on the mighty one who did not look amused. His eyes glared at the frightened Sandman yet before he could unleash his Omega Beams a miracle occurred. Shiera slammed into the New God's back at high speed shifting him from his position by just the smallest amount. Wesley watched in amazement as Hawkgirl rose into the air and slashed her spear across her foe's face leaving a bright red wound across his nose.
"Fantastic..." He muttered.
Yet before the Hawkgirl could react Darkseid's hands shot out and grabbed her, effortlessly holding her as she struggled.
"Release me!" She yelled, panic filling her voice. "Release me or I'll-"
And then the New God gripped her by the arm and snapped it.
As Alan Scott returned to the scene he could hear the poor woman's screams and could do nothing but stare in horror as her arm lay twisted from where it had once been. No longer amused, Darkseid tossed her to her lover's side.
"Shiera!" Alan roared landing at her side, Wesley standing silently behind them. The injured Hawkgirl kneeled on the floor, broken arm hanging limply at her right side, fiance unconscious at her feet. Horrified, Alan looked and saw Darkseid simply watching from afar.
"Pathetic."He said again. "There are rats upon Apokolips with more spirit than the lot of you."A dark smile formed on the god's face, smudging the blood of his wound. "Yet you clowns have amused me and for that... I grant you a quick death."Jay Garrick whooshed in behind his team just as Darkseid's eyes began to glow, raw with power.
"Carter..." Shiera whispered planting a hand on the Hawkman's bloody, shattered helmet. Gritting his teeth Alan threw up a protective barrier around himself and his friends knowing full well that it would do nothing.
"Its been an honor, Jay." Wesley said solemnly.
And then Darkseid, grinning as he did so, sent his destructive blast forward, twin beams of pure hate moving in a straight line... and Alan Scott prepared for death, hopeless.
"FEAR NOT!" A bright yellow ankh appeared in reality blocking the beam with mystic force. "FOR FATE HAS INTERVENED!"
Doctor Fate appeared among the group as if he had always been there, armor still damaged from prior conflict. Alan gave his friend a weary smile.
Fate nodded under his helmet as golden runic symbols appeared around his enclosed fists.
"Come my friends. Now is not the time for talk." The Doctor said, voice booming heroically. "Now... is the time to fight!" Yet Fate's appearance did nothing to deter Darkseid as several of his fleet's ships rose up from behind, menacing like vultures.
"No. Now's the time to die."He corrected as his forces began to fire their beams upon the group. Desperate, Green Lantern projected a barrier to his left and was joined by Doctor Fate's protection to the other side. Explosions rattled the other side of Alan's shield and he felt his concentration waning all while he saw Darkseid preparing another Omega Blast.
"No!" Doctor Fate yelled as Alan's barrier shattered, he extended his own barrier with both hands but immediately began to feel strain. "NO! I will not allow this! Lords of Order, please! Protect us! Protect u-"
Darkseid unleashed his rage upon the group, Omega Beams streaking towards their targets. The dust from the battle rose around the group and when it disappeared they were gone.
The JSA were gone!
And Darkseid laughed.