This fanfiction is rated T for future violence. I do not own any DC Comics characters. It takes place in the pre-Final Crisis DC universe, though I'm mostly picking and choosing with continuity. So, without further adieu, here is Chapter One of The Odyssey. Please read and review.
“And the final 15 electoral votes, coming from North Carolina, go to Uncle Sam! With 538 electoral votes, more than any other independent in history, Uncle Sam is the next president of the United States of America!”
All twenty-three superheroes who had gathered to watch the election results come in cheered. Several couples, including Nightwing and Starfire, Mister Miracle and Big Barda, and Superboy and Wonder Girl, kissed in happiness. Of course, no one was surprised. Not only did he get the right-wing vote due to being literally the most American person one could find, he received the left vote for his hard stances on crime and support of social progress.
As everyone shared in their joy, the 45th president walked up to the podium. “Shh!” yelled Katana. “He’s about to give his speech!”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Uncle Sam. “Thank you, voters, for choosing me for the esteemed position of leading our nation. Thank you, Luke Rogers,” he said, gesturing to his vice president, “for being my advisor, my partner, and my friend. Thank you, my campaign staff, for showing me as I am to the public. Now, let’s get down to business. While we have many superheroes in this country, saving hundreds of thousands of lives every day, the criminals they fight still get away with things. They rob banks. They murder children. They haven’t taken over the world yet, but the likelihood of them getting lucky seems to get larger every day.
“That’s why, when I become President of the United States of America in January, I am declaring war on supercrime. No longer will the government leave all the work to independent agents who might not be there one day. While I’m certainly not going to impede their operations, I plan to help them by creating a new, government-owned, team of Freedom Fighters. This team will consist of eight members I have hand-picked from every superhero in these fifty states. They were not forced or coerced; they agreed to serve their country. In addition, their identities, if they were hidden beforehand, will be made public.
“Leading this team is a close friend of mine, Professor Ray Palmer, better known as the Atom. At his side will be two of my former teammates in the previous incarnation of the Freedom Fighters, Stormy Knight and Andy Franklin, better known as Phantom Lady and the Human Bomb. I have also selected Garfield Logan, a.k.a. Beast Boy of the Teen Titans, Jennifer Lynn-Hayden, a.k.a. Jade of the JSA, the angelic warrior Zauriel, Cassandra Cain, a.k.a. the Black Bat, and Maxine Hunkel, a.k.a. Cyclone. These recruits have pledged to dedicate their lives to serving this country.”
A murmur spread throughout the room. “A government-run superhero team?” whispered Kyle Rayner to Wally West. “Doesn’t he remember the Ultramarine Corps?”
Wally replied. “That was Wade Eiling. This is Uncle Sam.”
On the television, Uncle Sam left the podium. As the heroes talked, both casually and seriously, one thing was certain: the world was about to change dramatically.
Seventy-four days later, President Uncle Sam was sworn in. The inaugural ceremony was the largest and most joyful in American history. After his inaugural speech, Uncle Sam did not immediately leave the podium. Instead, he made a show of noticing a fly buzzing around his face. As what was about to happen dawned on many audience members, the fly began to grow and change, until it became a green, furry, young boy who everyone recognized. Next to him, a man in a red and blue costume began to grow, seemingly from nothing, while to his other side the air shimmered as a woman in yellow appeared. In the most dramatic entrance yet, a grappling hook latched on to the top of the stage, and a girl wearing black swung on. Then, an angel with a flaming sword and a green-skinned girl wreathed in green fire, and a red-haired woman in a green dress flew above the stage and landed with the others. Finally, an explosion occurred behind the stage, leaving a ten-foot tall whole through which a man in a protective mask ran.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Freedom Fighters!” yelled Uncle Sam. “These eight men and women have sworn to dedicate their lives to eradicating supercrime once and for all!” The crowd went wilder than perhaps any other crowd in history.
The Atom approached the podium. Three whole minutes later, when the applause and cheering finally died down, he spoke. “Thank you, thank you, everybody. I just want to say that I’m honored to lead this team of fine men and women, consisting of some of the greatest superheroes I've ever met.” Professor Palmer gave a long speech, followed by the typical inaugural ceremonies. It seemed as though all was right in America.
That night, in the White House, the President and Vice President met in the Oval Office.
“It’s my understanding, sir,” said Luke Rogers, “that this team of Freedom Fighters would be more accurately called the Freedom Farce.”
Uncle Sam hesitated, and then sighed. “No,” he said. “The Freedom Fighters are valuable, and they’ll do a lot of good. But you are right in thinking that I have other plans.”
“Perhaps, now that you’re inaugurated, you’d like to tell me about these other plans,” said Mr. Rogers. “I’m your Vice President, but you’ve kept me in the dark. Don’t you think I deserve to know?”
“Yes,” said Uncle Sam, “I guess it’s time I told you. I’ve compiled a roster for another team of eight people, the Outsiders. This team will handle the more… unsavory aspects of cleaning up crime. They’re comprised of people the public might not like, but who are willing to do whatever is necessary. I’ve prepared a video that will explain why I chose each member of the team.”
Uncle Sam walked over to a projector that Luke had not noticed. He turned on both that and his laptop computer, causing a video to appear on one of the walls of the office. On the screen, a dark-skinned man appeared, in a dark blue suit with light blue lightning bolts on it. The video showed the man bursting through a window into a room filled with armed men, including a large albino man in a brightly colored outfit. As the superhero defended himself with electric blasts, Uncle Sam spoke. “This is Jefferson Pierce, better known as Black Lightning. He’s a natural leader, and understands what crime can do. I’ve only spoken to him three times, but I can trust him more than I can trust any of the Freedom Fighters.”
On the screen, the video changed. It showed an Asian woman in a black costume with a white star, a white cape, and a white tiara, flying over a huge cityscape. On the streets below her, the camera panned to a large green monster. Flying toward the behemoth, the woman fired an intense beam of white light at it from her hands. The beast was somehow harmed by this, and, enraged, flew up towards her. “This is Kimiyo Hoshi, the second Doctor Light,” explained Uncle Sam. “She’s a physicist, like Palmer, but she has power over, ‘hard light,’ as she calls it. She’s second-in-command of the team.”
The video changed again. This time, a blue humanoid creature in civilian clothes appeared, sporting the horns of a bull and wielding a golden trident. The creature was surrounded by flames in a seemingly infernal landscape. Demonic creatures flew at him from every angle, most being immolated by his trident. “This is Daniel Cassidy, known as Blue Devil. He’s a demon, as you can see, but he’s a good man. Additionally, he can serve as the team’s muscle, and his Trident of Lucifer is one of the world’s most powerful weapons.”
The scene on the screen suddenly shifted to a dark urban alley, in what Vice President Rogers assumed to be Gotham City or Blüdhaven. Two men were huddled together under a streetlight, around a bag filled with what seemed to be some kind of illegal drug. Suddenly, the bag was ripped from their hands, as a woman in a fedora and denim jacket began to beat the two. The woman, strangely enough, had a head entirely devoid of facial features. Uncle Sam explained again, “That’s Renee Montoya, better known as the Question. She has no superpowers, but her police background gives her amazing detective skills, and she’s a good fighter to boot.”
Then, Vice President Rogers witnessed yet another shady-seeming board meeting. Twelve men and one woman in suits and ties sat around a table, while several armed guards surrounded them. However, no one burst through the window this time. Instead, several of the men in the room began approaching the woman, huge smiles on their faces. As they were distracted, the woman pulled off her face, revealing a different one underneath. She then cleared the men away with a sweeping kick, flew at and disarmed the guards, and flew away through the window, revealing squad cars surrounding the building. “That’s Flora Black, a.k.a. Black Orchid,” said Uncle Sam. “She’s a plant elemental with mild super-strength, flight, and the ability to generate attractive pheromones. In addition, she’s a master of disguise, making her perfect for stealth missions.”
The screen then showed a scientific laboratory, in which a diminutive scientist was toiling over a large android, a sinister smile on his face. Suddenly, all the red wires in the humanoid machine leapt out, and spontaneously became a person. This man then delivered a sock to the scientist’s face with a giant-sized fist, while forming his other arm into a sword with which he cut through the android. “That’s Patrick O’Brien,” said Uncle Sam, containing laughter. “You may know him as Plastic Man; he served a few stints with the Justice League. As you can see, he can morph his body into virtually any form, as well as being nigh-invulnerable. Though he’s not the most trustworthy man, his skill and power make him a valuable asset to the team.”
The image on the wall changed a close-up of a man in a red and yellow mask, with a green cape. The man was strapped to a table by thick strips of metal, but squirmed free. When he got up, machines in the wall kept coming at him from every direction. There were trapdoors in the floor, swinging blades, and flamethrowers, but the masked man dodged each and every one. “This is Scott Free,” said Uncle Sam. “He’s one of the New Gods from the planet of New Genesis. He has superhuman strength, as well as access to technology we can’t even imagine, a brilliant mind. However, his real strength is in his ability to escape from any trap he’s placed in.”
Finally, the image changed to a futuristic city, centering on a man with long brown hair and a blue robe. The man was floating ten feet in the air, firing lightning bolts on all below him. Suddenly, the maniacal grin on his face faded into a scowl of anguish, as he clutched his head. The camera panned over to a blonde-haired girl wearing red and white, floating above him, with her fingers on her temples. The man in the robe fell to the ground, and was promptly taken by some men who appeared to be law enforcement. “The girl you just saw is Imra Ardeen,” said Uncle Sam, “who will in the future be known as Saturn Girl. The name comes from the fact that she’s from the moon of Titan. She’s recently come back to our time with knowledge of my plans, and that she had a part in them. I’m not a man to deny the future, and her psychic powers are nothing to sneeze at.”
“So, you’ve placed our country’s fate in the hands of these people?” said the Vice President. “I’m not sure I can support this, especially if they’re going to be kept a secret.”
Uncle Sam sighed and looked down. “I know what you mean,” said the President. “Trust me, keeping secrets from the American people is not something I would’ve done if not necessary. But we have to. We have to strike at supervillains with something they won’t know about. We can’t win this war without a secret weapon.” Rogers said nothing and turned away.
While this was happening, another meeting was taking place. Six people sat down around a meeting table: a bald man in a business suit, a man with brown and white hair in an elaborate costume and a green cape, a Neanderthal-like man, a rather large gorilla, a man in armor and fake fins holding a trident, and an old woman with large white hair, yellow chain mail, and a red cape.
“I believe you all know why I’ve gathered you here today,” said the bald man. “Uncle Sam’s presidency spells doom for our kind unless we do something. For this reason, I’ve recruited the five of you to help me lead a new Secret Society of Supervillains.”
“We know what you want, Luthor,” said the Neanderthal. “What might we get in return?” The other four nodded.
“Return? Return?” said Luthor, his face turning red. He quickly calmed down and said, “You truly are a caveman, aren’t you, Vandal? I don’t think any of you truly grasp the gravity of this situation. We’re on the verge of extinction, my friends. Though we all have different goals, it’s in our mutual interest to do this together.”
“What about her?” said the man with the trident, gesturing to the old woman. “She’s from another planet, what danger does Uncle Sam pose to her?”
Luthor began to respond, but the old woman interrupted him. “Mister Luthor’s promised Granny something she lost a long time ago. Something Granny wants back very much,” said the woman in an eerily singsong voice.
“Any other pointless questions?” asked Luthor. When no one responded, he continued talking. “Good. Now, some of you might want to decline my generous offer. I expected that, which is why all of your chairs have injected you with microscopic bombs that will travel through your bloodstreams and go off if any of you disobey me. I have the Calculator monitoring all of you 24/7, so there better not be any monkey business. Yes, Grodd, that means you.” The other five at the meeting table looked at one another nervously.
“Now, you all know about the new Freedom Fighters. However, a friend of mine named Luke Rogers has given me some information about another team the President has thrown together: the Outsiders. He’s recruited eight more heroes, including one no one’s ever heard of, to do the work he doesn’t want to admit he does. My primary concern, however, is the mysterious one I just mentioned. All I know about her is this: her name is Imra Ardeen, she’s from the future, and she’s a powerful telepath. Our primary objective for now is finding out whatever we can about her, but before we can do that, we’ll need to expand out roster. All six of you will need to use whatever connections you have to recruit an army for us. Are we clear?” Hesitantly, the five supervillains nodded.
“Good,” said Luthor. “Excellent.”
A man sat in a dark room. He was not sitting by choice, as he was gagged and tied to the chair he was on. In front of him stood a man with stony red skin, dressed in a suit and tie. “You’ve done some very bad things, Mister Colton,” said the red man. “Things that make it very hard for people like me. Those laws you passed severely hurt my business. Now, Danny Brickwell is a nice guy. However, when you hurt my business, Brickwell goes away, and Brick comes out!” Brick punched the wall beside him, leaving a hole no normal human could produce unaided. The man in the chair began to grunt and struggle. Suddenly, a woman with red hair and a flapping green costume burst through the large hole Brick had left in the wall. With a wave of her arms, a torrential gust of wind was launched at Brick. He was knocked over, but with virtually no harm done. As Brick began to retaliate, an ant on the floor grew into a green tiger that slashed through the captured man’s bonds, then into a teenage boy of similar color who escorted him out of the room.
“Requesting backup!” yelled the red-haired woman to seemingly no one. Immediately, a younger woman, the second person with green skin to enter the room, flew through the hole. As the woman pointed her hand at him, Brick was bound by dozens of glowing green chains around his arms and torso. Dragging Brick behind her, the green woman flew out of the room.
“Mission complete, Ray,” said the green woman. “Reporting back to base.”
“Earlier this morning,” said a news reporter on a television screen, “three members of Uncle Sam’s new Freedom Fighters completed the team’s first official mission: rescuing Star City council member James Colton from notorious metahuman mob boss Danny Brickwell. We have Garfield Logan here with an account of what happened.”
The camera cut to Garfield Logan, a teenage boy with green skin and green fur. “Thank you, Cat,” said Garfield. “Cyclone made the initial attack. While she did not actually harm Brickwell, she distracted him so I could free Colton and take him out. Once he was safe, Jade flew in and used her powers to tie him up and fly him out. The whole thing was the Atom’s plan, though. Without him, the whole operation would not have been nearly as—“The television was quickly switched off.
“What a sheep,” said an Asian woman in an elaborate costume: the woman who had just switched off the television. “Did anyone really think he wasn’t fed those lines?”
“Yeah, he was fed those lines,” said a bald, African-American man. “What did you expect? He’s a celebrity, his job is to look nice and not offend anyone. You know, Kimiyo, I’m getting just about tired of your whining about everything you disagree with.” The Asian woman’s face grew angrier than before, as her hands began to glow.
“Easy there, both of you,” said a man in a red and yellow mask. “We’re all adults here. Kimiyo, we’d all appreciate it if you kept some of your thoughts to yourself. Jefferson, if you’re going to be this team’s leader, you might need to be a little less abrasive.”
“Scott’s right,” said a smiling man with sunglasses and a one-piece red suit. “If there’s one thing a shadowy team of government operatives needs, it’s friendliness.” He began strumming a guitar, which had not been there before, in the colors of his flesh and costume. “Now, let’s sing, ‘Kumbaya,’ together!” The other six people in the room chose not to respond, causing a lull in the conversation.
A few seconds later, a muscular blue man with white horns broke the silence. “You know, Imra,” he said to a blonde-haired girl next to him, “you haven’t spoken a word since we’ve been here.”
Suddenly, everyone but that girl and the man in red flinched, as a voice appeared in their minds. My species has telepathy, so we don’t need vocal cords. I’m mute, said the voice.
“What’s with everyone?” asked the man in red. “Is there something I should know?”
“Saturn Girl used her telepathy to tell everyone that she’s mute,” said an African-American woman in purple. “I don’t know why you couldn’t hear it.”
“I’ve worked with Plas before,” said the African-American man. “His mind is inorganic, so he can’t hear telepathy.”
“That might prove to be a problem,” said the blue, horned, man. “You’re the tech guy, Scott. You think you could do something about that?”
“I’ll see what I can do,” said the man in red and yellow, “but I’ll bet Uncle Sam has something figured out already.”
“There are supposed to be eight of us, right?” asked the African-American woman.
“Yeah,” said the horned man. “I think the other one’s already on a mission.”
All seven heroes in the room could detect something wrong. The Secret Service agents who had led them into the room said that Uncle Sam would be there by 12:30, but the clock on the wall read 1:15. The Asian woman spoke for everyone when she said, “Something must be wrong. Uncle Sam would not be this late.”
“I think you’re right,” said the man in red and yellow. “We should try and find out if something happened.”
However, this was not necessary. The door through which the seven had entered the room flew open, as a tan-skinned woman with black hair, a fedora, and a curiously blank face ran through. “Emergency!” yelled the woman. “Come with me! The President’s been kidnapped!”