Martian Manhunter: Alien.
My favorite JLA character. I wanted to write a decent story about him and it starts off like this.
Midday at the Chicago police office was slow, as time seemed to be purposely crawling along, attempting to annoy all of the people at the office as much as possible. Even the drab ceiling fans were spinning as if in slow motion, barely cooling off the muggy office building during a blazing hot summer day. Its inhabitants shuffled along back and forth, holding conversations that turned into a mellow background buzz. No emergencies and no reports of homicide made this just another boring day at the office, as average looking man tilted back and forth in his chair while reading over some files. He had on a green button down shirt with a light brown gun holster going across his upper body, a pair of simple black jeans and brown leather shoes. His brown hair laid neatly combed across his head and a pair of green eyes stared at the documents in front him without blinking at all.
“John? John…” A cute dark haired secretary had walked across the room towards his desk with a stack of files in her arms. Seeing as the man didn’t respond to her, she shook his shoulder gently, making him gasp in surprise.
“Ah! Oh… I was just taking a… looking over some files from last week’s case.” The man looked over the girl in sudden surprise and after giving her a shy quick glance he returned to looking over his papers, attempting to look far busier than he actually was.
“Oh well… In that case here they are John.” She looked over him with a sly smile, the earthly tones of her eyes flirtatiously twinkling for a second as she put down the file in front of him. “The double homicide right?”
“Yes. Thank you.” He nodded curtly without looking up at the girl and proceeded to open the file.
“So um… John? A bunch of us are going to the restaurant tonight, the new diner that opened up down on Williamsburg, to celebrate Seth getting his detective badge. There’s gonna be some good food and karaoke and dancing and all that good stuff. Would you like to go with us?” She felt uncomfortable and shifted on her feet as she tried to make her invitation sound as attractive as possible. Her eyebrows hovered upwards with hopefulness.
“Tonight? I cannot go. I have a lead on the kidnapping case and I want to look into it.” His reply was short and completely emotionless, shooting down all the hope that she had displayed on her face. He still didn’t look up at her.
“Oh. Well… Never mind then.” She took a step back from John, overlooking him with trace of offence in her voice that she didn’t bother to hide. Any man in the entire building would have accepted her offer before she could even finish saying it out loud, not that she would ask any man in the building, but John didn’t even bother to look at her as she asked him. Feeling absolutely ridiculed and even disgusted by the fact that she was turned down so simply and easily by a man who didn’t even care at all.
“Yea?” She turned back around, pushing the feeling of reborn hope down far below the surface and putting on a face that showed absolutely no care for what John would have to say.
“Thank you for the Chocos. It was very thoughtful.” He tried to pass off a smile which came off as an awkward curl of his lips into something not closely resembling it.
“Hm. Welcome.” She turned back around and continued to click her heels away with her arms crossed. John’s eyes followed her attentively without a single blink while his mind tried to make sense of what just happened. A tempting thought popped into his head, asking him to read her thoughts but he brushed it away like an annoying fly.
“I feel like I will never understand the women here.” He signed while plunging his gaze back down into the homicide file, letting the midday buzz of the office fade away behind him as his eyes became unblinking again and he fell into light sleep.
“J’ohn? Come in J’ohn.” A calm, vast and powerful voice buzzed into John’s ear and popped his dream state like a needle pops a balloon, awakening him.
“This is John. I hear you loud and clear.” He answered with a low voice, almost a whisper while looking around the office to make sure nobody was paying him any specific attention.
“Good. J’ohn, why are you whispering?”
“I am at the police station. Did you find anything?” John’s hand let go of his ear as he stood up from his wooden office chair and began to make his way towards the back exit of the building.
“Yeah I did find something. Well, Batman did anyways. The struggle was badly covered up, seemingly in a hurry, possibly because they heard you coming in. There were traces of blood as well as some alien DNA. The analysis is still being run on it. There definitely was a struggle there, a huge fight and according to Batman, someone died.” John walked through the back of the building and descended into the filing basement, making sure that nobody followed him.
“Hm. I already knew that.” John replied with a bit of a disappointment in his deep voice. He began to pace up and down the dark rows of thousands of old case files.
“Yes, but here is the interesting part. The mother said that they kidnapped a kid, but according to the files the government has on that family, there never was a child living in the apartment twelve ten.” The voice continued to speak, with a bit of intrigue beginning to protrude through the casually confident tone.
“Hm. That is strange. The killer runs inside the apartment at two in the morning, picks the door lock, has a fight with the man, hears me coming and leaps out of a fifth story window. He murders a passerby on the street who saw him land and disappears without a trail. The woman says she was knocked out right away and saw nothing…”
“But here is where it gets more interesting J’ohn. The file of the man whose DNA was all over the scene isn’t listed anywhere either, except for Checkmate’s files.”
“How did you get a file from Checkmate?” John stopped his slow pacing, his eyes widening in amazement.
“Batman said he has a few spies. You know how he is.” The voice in John’s ear dropped with notes of censure towards Batman.
“Indeed. What does the file say?”
“It says that the man is a metahuman, classed at least a seven. Unknown to general public. According to this he never had used whatever powers he had.”
“Until yesterday.” John’s mind was wondering about, scrounging around all of the puzzle pieces in a difficult attempt to put them together in a way that made sense.
“Did you try to read the woman’s mind?”
“Yes. It is very strange. It was like trying to hear something through a lot of static. I couldn’t make out anything specific. Someone had messed around with it, like they knew I was coming.”
“John? What are you doing here?” Another voice came from behind John, taking him off guard. He turned around, quickly wiping away the surprised look off his face.
‘Looking for an old case file Seth. I think it may relate to the double homicide we stumbled upon yesterday. By the way, where were you yesterday? I thought you were called to the scene.” John intently looked over the man that stumbled onto him, as if scanning every inch of his appearance for a flaw.
“Uh… I got my badge yesterday, remember? The chief had called me to give it to me.” He replied with a startled tone.
“At two in the morning?”
“No… Well… You know how chief is, likes his ceremonies to last a while. He invited me for drinks and one thing lead to another and we ended up getting booted out of a bar. I had to take him home.” The man smiled at John awkwardly, like a kid hoping his excuse is good enough for the teacher to believe. He was taller than John, with blond hair and a handsome face with a muscular square jaw. He had green eyes and a few freckles that were like sunshine’s blessing, making his smile appear even more radiant. He was wearing black leather shoes, light brown dress pants, a button up shirt and a light brown sweater. Across his chest was a strap with a gun holster on the side, almost identical to John’s.
“Okay. Sorry I cannot come today.”
“Oh no, that’s okay. We’re probably just gonna go to that karaoke bar Daisy keeps mentioning. She’s been wanting to take me there for a while.”
John felt a sudden burst of emotion in his chest, like a firework exploding, lighting up his mind and quickly fading back into the darkness. He recognized it as a minor jealousy, something that still felt a bit new to him. He brushed the minor annoyance out of his mind.
“Ah, I see. I hope you all have fun.”
“Yeah thanks John. Well, good luck finding that file you were looking for.” He stepped out of visible light and walked out of the door.
“How are you adjusting to the double life?” The voice in his ear buzzed again and came to life.
“Not as well as you Superman. I really don’t know how you do it.” John replied while walking further away from the exit door.
“I was raised here John. It came naturally after a while. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” The voice became reassuringly compassionate, putting back some much needed faith that had begun to escape John.
“I feel each day as if I am slipping. I am afraid to speak because I do not want to say something that might expose who I am. And the ways of this planet are still strange to me, so very contradictory in so many ways.” John replied with much doubt in his voice.
“Hey if you do slip up, you can always erase their memories of you ever slipping up. So you got a failsafe.” Superman continued to be reassuring.
“I suppose so. Does the league need any help?”
“No. There was a war bombing in Israel, but Wonder Woman had just told me she got it. I want you to keep looking into this case John. Contact the watchtower if you need any help.”
“I will. Martian Manhunter out.”
The time past midnight in this part of Chicago was eerily quiet and desolate, with a few quiet voices and whispers of the night speaking of deals more shady than the alleyways in which they were conducted. A few cautious passerby’s that dared to walk the streets in such hours would briskly jog from light to light, never taking to the preying darkness of the alleys. An invisible entity glided past all of them, floating slowly and observantly above their heads unnoticed. After making sure all was quiet, the entity slid through the wall of the fourth floor, materializing next to the apartment 1210, which still had the yellow police tape strewn all over the dark brown door that was hanging on one hinge. The entity slid through the door, making itself intangible again, but stopped after hearing an electrical buzzing noise inside the apartment that was supposed to be empty.
“Nchar. Dubraz… Dubraz! Ah…” The language was unfamiliar to the Martian as he slowly slid out from the corner behind which he was hiding, making sure to stay invisible.
“Who is there?!” A rough voice with an accent that was unfamiliar to J’ohn’s ears greeted him. The light coming from the electrical sparks faded instantly, but Manhunter could make out a humanoid shape in the darkness, crouching over the floor, while holding something like a tube in his hands.
“H… Help me… Please…” Another voice came from further down in the living room, this one high pitched and trembling.
“Shut up before I gut you! Show yourself! I know you’re there!” But the strange humanoid and sinister shape in the middle of the room did not see anyone in the door. The next few long seconds were quiet enough for him to hear his own heartbeat. Nothing moved, the alluring shapes in the darkness stayed perfectly still, their shadows unfaltering.
A muffled gasp came to pierce the silence from behind the figure. He quickly turned around only to see that his captive was not there anymore. His muffled breathing became faster as he began to fumble with the device in his hands with twitchy nervous fingers. Light began to pour into the room from the device, culminating in a bright flash that disappeared back into the device, vanishing out of his hands. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness once again, he noticed a huge smooth shape with beaming and paralyzing red eyes towering over him like a cobra towers over a terrified field mice.
“I suggest you surrender quietly and tell me where that device teleport to.” Martian’s voice was low, but deep with quiet confidence.
“They’re going to get the message soon… heh… and then he is going to come here and find the child. Doesn’t matter where you hid him… He will destroy this planet if you don’t give it to him… Haha… ha… haaaaa…” The wordy figure let out a prolonged groan as the Martian’s hand wrapped around his throat and pinned him to the wall. The look in his eyes intensified as they began to glow so bright that he could feel their heat on his face.
“Get… cough… Out of my head!” He pulled out a blasted from his waist and shot a beam of energy and force the Martian back. He stopped on his feet before crashing into the wall.
“I asked you nicely.” The figure’s crooked teeth grinned as the blaster sent out another shot, but the Martian was already gone, leaving a thing trail of smoke where the blast should have hit him. He appeared from underneath the figure, rocking his jaw with an uppercut. Before he could collide with the ceiling, the Martian caught his leg and threw him out of the window. The figure stood up and dusted himself off, as if he only tripped.
“Tell me where the device went.”
“Never!” In the faint glow of the lamplight J’ohn made out faint lines and shapes that made up his opponent. His skin was the color of cement and looked just as tough. He was shorter than John by at least a foot, but had a stocky build, with austere red eyes, no nose and huge gnashing teeth that kept being run over by saliva. He was wearing some kind of armor around his body, which was obviously not from this planet.
He cocked back his blaster again and fired off continuous shots while moving backwards. The street that seemed to be so serenely quiet was now being rudely awakened by the booming sounds of blaster shots hitting the walls of the apartment building. Martian continued to advance, his imposing stature fearlessly gaining as the blaster shots passed right through him without causing any harm. With one swift punch he knocked out the blaster, catching a return blow in his other hand. Martian threw a haymaker that connected right with the jaw of the alien, but he only staggered back. The alien tried to return to the assault, but Martian proved to be much faster, landing two more hits to the head before the alien could even get his fist halfway to the Martian’s face.
“Who sent you here?!” The Martian’s voice boomed over the quiet night, as the alien tried to scurry away from him without even getting up. Then a huge beam ripped through the sky, making it feel like for a few seconds the sunshine itself had suddenly appeared on earth. J’ohn had to cover his eyes because of the brightness that kept on radiating through the entire block. After the light had gone away, a voice that was a half menacing whisper and half deep daunting rasp addressed the Martian.
“I did. Now, Martian, tell me where my child is and I might spare your life.” Rising over the Martian Manhunter, it was Darkseid.
“No.” Was the brave Martian’s answer as he fearlessly charged the towering figure with his fists bared. Darkseid’s speed proved superior as he moved forward, catching Manhunter by surprise and by the throat and attempting to throttle and squeeze the life out of him. The Martian gasped for air, before Darkseid effortlessly tossed him thirty yards into a nearby parking lot. The Martian landed on someone’s SUV, cracking all of the glass as the roof caved in until it met the tops of the seats. The alarm began to sound loudly as the Martian slid off the car and fell like a lifeless heap onto the concrete. Darkseid was already standing over him.
“I do not have time to play these foolish games Martian. Tell me where the child is, or force my hand to extinguish another race in this universe.” Darkseid stood like a conqueror over the fallen Martian, who arose like lightning with an uppercut that took Darkseid by surprise.
“There is a reason I am a survivor Darkseid.” The Martian quickly quipped while continuing his assault filled with devastating blows to the head of his opponent, which remained unreturned. The Martian’s quiet fury and newfound strength took Darkseid completely by surprise as he retreated step by step with every thundering blow the Martian managed to land. Darkseid leaped away from the onslaught, landing a few good strides away, while observing his opponent with newfound caution.
“Your strength is of great margin Martian, your blows are comparable to Superman’s.” Darkseid continued to bide for time while looking over the Martian in order to find an exploitable weakness.
“Yes, but unlike Superman, I do not intend to hold back.” With his cells becoming increasingly dense and powerful, the Martian lifted himself off the ground and charged forward to continue his onslaught.
“Neither do I.” Darkseid grinned at the charging alien, his eyes becoming brighter with the crimson flame of death as the unstoppable Omega beams ripped through the warm summer air. The only thing that was faster than the traveling beams was the survival instinct of the Martian as he became intangible with only mere millimeters before the omega beams would have touched his skin. The beams continued to travel straight after losing their target, hitting another car down in the parking lot, causing it to explode, and taking out the entire parking lot. The Martian remained intangible as multiple burned car parts flew through him.
“The League will be here any second now Darkseid. You will be outnumbered and outmatched. I suggest you leave now while you still have time.”
“Not without that child Martian.”
“As you wish.” The Martian Manhunter sank into the ground, disappearing beneath the cracked concrete. After swiftly and quietly rising out behind Darkseid, he became tangible again and threw a punch, hoping to catch Darkseid off guard. His effort was caught by the alert Darkseid, as he landed a blow to the stomach of the Martian, knocking out all the air along with his sense of equilibrium. Darkseid next two blows landed on the Martian’s head, making him drop down to one knee with his head spinning.
“Raaagh!” The Martian opened his eyes and released a desperate, point blank range blast from his eyes, throwing Darkseid off his feet and gaining some breathing room to regain his composure. Before Darkseid could get back on his feet, the Martian gripped his hand and after punching him a few times on the face, threw him high up into the air. The Martian then turned into a huge, scaly dragon and after giving off a beastly roar, followed Darkseid. Before Darkseid could manage to gain composure in mid-air, the green dragon had wrapped itself around the man from Apokolips and began to smash and squeeze the life out of him.
“You may be… able to turn into any beast Martian… but I am a god!” Darkseid’s struggling scream echoed all the way up into the skies as he summoned all his might and forced his way out from the Martian’s grip. Instantly he began to pummel the dragon into every place his powerful fists could reach. The mighty blows of the villain sounded like an endless thunderstorm to the people down below on the street, looking up at the fantastic battle. Darkseid finally grabbed the tail of the dragon and threw him down below. The Martian turned back into his normal self as he smashed against the ground, creating a small crater in the middle of the street. People began to run away from the crater, screaming in panic, not one of them trying to help the lone hero.
“Wondering where your friends are Martian?” Darkseid stood on the edge of the crater and looked down on the Martian with a sinister grin with the taste of victory between his teeth.
“The might of the entire legion of Apokolips is keeping them occupied somewhere high up in the orbit of this planet. Some of them are possibly dead already, but one thing I know for sure, nobody is coming to help you. Now then, I must ask you again Martian, where is the child?”
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