When suburban married couple Jake and Sarah Morrison say the names Hawk and Dove, they are transformed into avatars of war and peace—designed by star-crossed lovers to bring unity to the Lords of Order and Chaos, avoiding the impending age of Chaos called the Kali Yuga and ending the timeless struggle between the forces of Order and Chaos.
War, Peace, and Genocide
Written By Paul Daimler
The floor was littered with packaging and discarded action figures. Reaching toward a display of figures that said, “AMAZING WOMEN OF THE DCU!” Jack Nimball, who had gone by the name of Toyman before Winslow Slott had left him for dead, grabbed three brightly colored action figures still encased in plastic bubbles attached to heavy card backs.
Beneath his darkly colored jester-themed cowl the Toyman’s brow furrowed in concentration as he studied the figure within the first package.
“Cool! The new Hawk!” He said jubilantly as he ripped the package open. “She’s awesome!”
Playing with the red and white action figure, he grabbed the Dove action figure.
“This one is cool too! Dove’s updated costume!” He exclaimed. “Now we just need a villain for them to fight!”
Scanning the area, Jack Nimball’s eyes focused on the garish green and black costume of Genocide. Greedily snatching the package up he studied the figure within, bearing the legend “Wonder Woman’s Greatest Foe!”
“Genocide…” The words were spoken softly in a hushed tone. The figure seemed to seethe and bleed dark energy. But, of course that had to be just some sort of weird visual effect of the odd lights in this room.
“This is going to be great!” The Toyman beamed widely.
Brandishing the Genocide figure, Toyman gave her a deep sinister voice, “ALL WILL DIE BENEATH THE BOOT OF GENOCIDE—CONCUBINE OF ARES!”
Sara Morrison wiped up the syrup on her plate with the last bite of her double-stack pancakes. She was nearly stuffed and if not for patrol tonight, would probably never work off the extra calories. The best part about being a super-hero was that she could pretty much eat as much as she wanted to, knowing she’d burn more calories than she consumed chasing criminals through the streets of Atlanta.
“Hungry?” Jake Morrison asked his wife from across the table.
“Yep.” Sara grinned widely. “Worked up an appetite last night.”
“It did take a lot more to stop the Royal Flush Gang than I expected.” Jake replied. “From the files the JSA sent us, I expected them to be a push over.”
“They were fairly easy. There’s just so many of them.” Sara replied, “Plus the new person they have as their Ten was pretty tough. He’s probably already quit.”
“They go through a lot of Tens.” Jake commented. “It was cool of the JSA to send us the file, even though we are barely even reserve members.”
“When they invited us to join, they knew that it would only be in extreme emergencies that we could join up.” Sara shrugged, “They seem cool with it. We’re pretty busy here in Atlanta. We’re the only super-heroes here after all.”
Jake nodded, popping a strip of bacon in his mouth and chewing it slowly, relishing it. Sara only kept turkey bacon in their house. Sunday morning breakfast meant having real bacon.
Sara’s phone made a bleeping sound. Looking at it, Sara read the text message it’s arrival signaled.
“It’s Ren.” Sara said to her husband. “She wants us to go to dinner tonight at Sparky’s. She has a date with this Patrick person she’s been seeing and doesn’t want to go alone.”
“That’s encouraging.” Jake said, “You know that she’s dating.”
Sara shook her head, “I don’t think it’s encouraging that she’s trying to drag us along.”
“Why not?” Jake asked.
“Honey, she loves Hank Hall.” Sara said patiently, explaining this for the dozenth time. She wondered if her husband was just this dense, or if he was pretending to be that dense to avoid really thinking about the issue. “And, thanks to our gifts from the Lords of Order and Chaos keeping the Unity experiment alive, you’re housing a portion of Hank Hall’s soul and memories and I’ve got Dawn Granger’s memories and a part of her soul. It’s how we’re able to become Hawk and Dove after the original Unity fused their essences to Hank Hall and Dawn Granger.”
“What does that have to do with me?” Jake asked.
“Whatever is left of Hank Hall’s true soul is in your body.” Sara tried to keep the edge from her voice. “And Ren is pining for Hank Hall, and therefore you.”
“Oh, you’re seeing too much into it.” Jake scoffed. “Ren knows I love you and you alone. Some of Hank’s memories might be in here, that doesn’t mean I love her.” Sara did not reply immediately. She wasn’t sure how much of that she believed. Lately, she’d been having dreams and memories that were Dawn Granger’s. The other day she’d found herself crying over memories of Captain Brian Asala, the D.C. cop Dawn had been dating when Monarch had killed him and then her. She still had nightmares of that fateful dead on that cold mountain top.
“Jake, it’s not that I don’t trust you.” Sara said finally, “But I’m not sure if I trust Hank Hall. I mean, he killed Monarch, and then became Monarch. He then became Extant… and nearly destroyed the whole of reality.”
“Right, but none of that is in me.” Jake said, “I know I have some of Hank’s memories in me, but I haven’t had any of the episodes like you… where you remember big chunks of Dawn’s life.”
“Jake—“ Sara was interrupted by the sound of screaming and running in the street outside.
“Looks like we’ll have to finish this conversation later.” Jake said, pushing his chair back. “Thankfully.”
“I paid last time.” Sara said, “You take care of the bill. And meet me outside in a few minutes.”
Once outside, Sara looked around, viewing the area. People were running wildly away, but they were all running in the same direction.
“It doesn’t take Dove’s heightened awareness to realize that whatever is causing this is that way.” Sara muttered. Ducking into a nearby alley, Sara said the magic word and in that brief instant in a flashing of swirling magic Sara Morrison’s 5’7 slim frame was replaced with the 5’11 athletic frame of Dove.
It took less than a minute for Dove to see what the cause of this was.
“Who the Hell is that?” She asked, spying a large imposing woman in black and green, with a shock of unnaturally orange hair sticking out of her head at wrong angles and in sharp points.
“ALL WILL DIE BENEATH THE BOOT OF GENOCIDE—CONCUBINE OF ARES!”
“Sounds like a good time to me.”
Dove looked down to the ground, where her husband stood as Hawk.
“DIE IMPUDENT MORTAL!” Genocide roared running toward Hawk.
Sizing up the competition, Dove quickly realized that they were out-powered. That monstrosity reeked of God-magic. Swooping down she grabbed Hawk by the red strips of other-worldly material that hung from his shoulders and jerked him into the sky heading toward a building top where they could plan… or call in reinforcements.
Below them Genocide roared, smashing into a building, leveling it with the single action.
“Oh spit.” Hawk muttered, his eyes growing wide. “Thanks for getting me out of there!”
“No problem.” Dove replied, “This should be a lesson to you that you should think before challenging unknown super-villains. If that’s even what that thing is… it has some powerful God-magic wafting off it.”
“God-magic?” Hawk asked.
Dove cocked her head to the left, closing her eyes. The mystic energies that existed throughout the world and reality had been whispering to her more and more lately, if she only took the time to listen.
“There is something big going down. Some sort of Universal breach…” She said, “We’re going to have to stop that thing down there and figure out what’s going on and how we can help. Looks like we might be using those JSA communicators.”
Below them Genocide screamed bloody murder, picking up cars and throwing them. The screams grew louder.
“We need to stop her before she hurts someone.” Hawk said.
“I know.” Dove replied, shaking her head. “There is a lot of wild chaotic magic all of the sudden… it’s making it hard for me to concentrate.”
Dove suddenly collapsed to her knees, her head lulling back.
“Toyman.. Metropolis… the Universe is in peril… Who is Dr. Gotham?” She said, her head rocking from side to side. “There are people here that don’t belong here… the fabric of reality is shredding. Square pegs, round roles.”
“Dove?” Hawk blinked, going over to his wife. “Sara?” He touched her shoulder lightly, memories of Hank’s flooded his mind—of when Hank and Dawn had first arrived in Druspa Tau and Dove had been overwhelmed by the magic of that world.
“But Druspa Tau is a high magic world…” Hawk voice his thoughts out loud, “Earth is not.”
The roar of Genocide beneath him moved him to put his thoughts aside. Whatever was going on, stopping that monster took precedence. Dove had said that chaotic magic had surged—and there was more of it. That would be good for him. As an avatar of the Lords of Chaos, he should actually be more powerful than normal if there was that much chaos magic loose in this world.
“I’ll be back Dove. Wish me luck.” He kissed his wife gingerly on the lips, leaping over the side of the building and heading toward Genocide, fervently hoping that he was able to take her on.
“So, you are stupid enough to return?” Genocide gave a laugh, sizing Hawk up. “You are foolish! Quake beneath the might of—“
Genocide was cut off by the car that slammed into her, knocking her off her feet.
“Awesome! Dove! I picked up an entire car without breaking a sweat!” Hawk shouted toward the roof where his wife sat in her trance.
“FOOL!” Genocide roared, knocking the car off.
She rushed Hawk.
“OH F—“ He was unable to finish the thought as Genocide’s tackle knocked the wind out of him.
Hawk slammed into a brick wall, crashing through it and landed awkwardly as he and Genocide slid across the floor of a Sparky’s sport’s bar.
The people inside screamed, running for cover.
As his vision started darkening, Hawk’s thoughts went instantly to Dove. Genocide picked him up, lifting him over her head before she threw him. As he slammed into the roof, everything went completely dark. His body hurtled several feet into the air, taking large portions of the ceiling with him. He crashed back down through the hole his body had created just in time for the restaurant to collapse on top of him. When the debris settled, Hawk was already out.
Somewhere in Bialya…
Their hotel sucked. Majorly. But, really, Holly Granger couldn’t complain. It was cheap and the beds were clean. And the bed seemed to be the most important feature so far as her sister was concerned.
The pretty auburn haired girl sat in a chair, looking out into the streets of Eastern European Bialya. It was gray, dreary and overcast. It matched her current mood. Since resurrecting her sister in the Lazarus Pit*, her emotions had been all over the place.
*see Hawk and Dove Issue #12
She looked at the cell phone sitting on the battered dresser below the vanity mirror. She wanted to call her parents. But, she couldn’t. Her parents had just begun to grieve her sister. Doubts filled Holly Granger’s head. Had it been a mistake to resurrect her sister?
Looking over at her sister, she found that Dawn Granger was still sleeping, her chest rising and falling rapidly. She looked peaceful, even though the time she was spending awake was anything but. Holly had been informed by that man—Barter, the one who had given her info to locate a Lazarus Pit to resurrect her sister, that in the first few weeks after resurrection, her sister might be incoherent and confused at times as her mind healed and adjusted to be alive again.
Maybe this was all one big mistake.
They’d spent weeks in the snowy mountains of the Himalayans with Dawn recovering in a cabin they’d been led to by the strange monk who had saved Holly from freezing to death and had gotten them to the Lazarus Pit. The same monk who had come to their cabin every few days with food and firewood, and taken Dawn out into the snow for long walks and conversations. Holly wondered what those conversations had been about… Dawn had been less than forthcoming with any information since her resurrection.
The sound of her sister’s voice started Holly Granger out of her thoughts.
“Sorry?” Holly said, her English accent was subtle but there. She’d spent so much time in prep schools and at Oxford that most people didn’t realize that Holly Granger was an American.
“You’re sulking. Staring out the window, staring at me.” Dawn said, sitting up slowly, pushing the blankets away. “You regret bringing me back?”
“God, no!” Holly said quickly, “I’m just tired. It’s been a very strange few days.”
“It’s going to get even stranger.” Dawn replied, climbing out of bed and heading into the small bathroom that adjoined their room. They’d been lucky to get a room with a bathroom since most of the rooms in this hotel shared a bathroom.
“What do you mean?” Holly asked, getting up and following her sister to the bathroom. Standing in the doorway, she watched as Dawn put toothpaste on her brush.
“There is a reason I’m back.” Dawn said, looking at her sister. Her clear blue eyes pierced into Holly’s dark amber eyes. “Do you think it was by accident that someone mentioned the Lazarus Pit to you?”
“I haven’t thought much about it.” Holly replied, coolly, her thoughts turning back to the strange store that she’d wandered into lining the streets of Georgetown when she’d gone to visit her parents last summer. The strange proprietor of the store, a man named Barter, had told her about the Lazarus Pit, and then traded a map that would get Holly to the pit for a bracelet Dawn had given her for Christmas the year before Hank Hall had killed her. At the time Holly had thought she was trading a cow for magic beans, but seeing her sister alive here and now, it seemed like it had been a good deal after all.
“There are big things coming down the pike Little Sister.” Dawn said. “There are forces pushing for the Kali Yuga, which I was destined to stop before Monarch.”
“Before Hank Hall you mean.” Holly said.
Dawn turned to her sister, her gaze going cold. “Monarch is to blame. Hank Hall was as much a victim as I was.”
“Bullocks!” Holly shouted. “He killed you! He left you for dead in the mountains! Mum and Dad wondered for years what had happened to you, before one day some weird guy shows up with your body at their door. They held out hope that you were still alive up until that point!”
“Have you ever wondered why some random man showed up with my body a few days before you run into Barter?” Dawn asked quietly. “Don’t you see that there is something larger going on here?”
“How did you know his name?” Holly asked quietly.
Dawn turned to face her sister, “Because I’ve dealt with Barter. And he’s a snake. If he’s the one who told you how to resurrect me, you can guarantee there is something bigger at play. Barter never does anything without it benefitting him. It’s part of his curse. What did you give him in exchange for the map?”
“Just a bracelet you’d given me for Christmas.” Holly said quietly.
“The bracelet with the gemstones?” Dawn’s voice grew very soft.
“Yeah. It seemed a small price to pay for bringing you back.” Holly replied.
Dawn smiled sadly, shaking her head. “That bracelet was important. I gave it to you for safe-keeping.”
“What is it?” Holly asked.
Dawn shook her head, “Holly, that bracelet is one thread in the grand tapestry. Major things are coming, and the Kali Yuga is just one part of it. It’s an important part, but it’s just one part. The Universe is going to be torn asunder if I don’t stop it. And, I don’t even have my powers anymore. I’m no longer Dove. Luckily, there is a breach between this Universe and another coming. That might be just the key to me becoming Dove again. When that happens, the Hawk and Dove of the other Universe will pass over…” Dawn hesitated, putting a hand against her head.
Holly suddenly felt queasy and weak. “What the Hell is going on?” Holly asked, quickly leaning against the door frame for support as her limbs went weak.
“That Universal breach… it’s happening right now.” Dawn whispered, “Crap. He’s bringing over our counterparts from that Universe. I’m not prepared!”
Dawn moved quickly, grabbing her sister and dragging her to the bed, pushing her down she barked at her sister, “Lay there! Don’t move! Maybe it will pass! We only have a few days to get to the states, so we can merge with our other Universe counterparts--”
That was when the seizure struck Dawn, knocking her off her feet as everything went black.
They had been fighting Kestrel outside of D.C. after spending the day with their parents. And then the world had gone all hazy and blurred away.
When their vision cleared, Dove looked around, sharply—her senses heightened.
“What the hell was that?” Hawk asked, her auburn hair dancing in the wind. “And where did this wind come from?”
“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” Dove replied, landing on the ground beneath her. Putting one hand on the ground, Dove cocked her head to the side, closing her eyes and listening.
“What do you mean?” Hawk asked, looking around for any sign of the bozo they’d just been fighting. Kestrel didn’t seem to have made the trip with them. They hadn’t been fighting him for very long before the weird sensation had rippled over them.
“The magic here is stronger than back home.” Dove said quietly, “I’m more powerful here.”
“What are you talking about?” Hawk asked, looking around rapidly. The familiar sights, sounds, and smells of D.C. were all around, but there was something slightly off-kilter. What was it? Was the light different? Why did it feel bigger somehow? Hawk tried to shake the thoughts out of her head.
“You’re picking up on it.” Dove said softly, rising from the ground, hovering several feet above the ground. “We’re in another Universe.”
“Another Universe?” Hawk asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Yeah. Another Universe.” Dove replied. “And magic is stronger here than it is back home. So we’re going to be more powerful. That weird sensation we just had must have been us crossing over from our Universe to another.”
“That explains that.” Hawk replied.
Dove stopped suddenly, a lightness rippling through her brain. It sent a vague queasy feeling through her stomach and left her slightly dizzy.
“We have dopplegangers here.” Dove said, “I think our presence here is endangering them…. Even though the Dawn of this Universe…” Dove paused, trying to sense something important about the Dawn Granger of this Universe.
“Dopple-whatsis?” Hawk asked.
“There are alternate reality versions of us here. Another Dawn and Holly Granger. Or we’re alternate reality versions of them. I’m not sure which. Very odd…” Dove said. She fell silent, listening to the mystical vibrations of this world as they whispered to her. “They are not Hawk and Dove here. At least not yet.”
“Is it Don and Hank Hall still?” Hawk asked.
“I don’t know… I can feel the spell that powers them… It’s concentrated in…” Dove paused trying to listen to the mystic energies. They were so much different than the ones that coursed through their Universe. They had their own distinctive voice and it was harder to understand them. So different from her Universe. This Universe felt brighter somehow… as if more love existed here. She couldn’t quite place her finger on it. But, somehow it was what it was. “They’re in Atlanta. They’re husband and wife. And they are facing Genocide.”
“Genocide? That monster that attacked D.C. and nearly killed Wonder Woman? What are we waiting for?” Hawk asked, “Let’s go!”
Dove shook her head. “It’s going to take us a while to get there. Maybe thirty minutes at my top flight. I don’t know if we’ll make it in time.”
“Let me help with that.”
Both women spun toward the voice, only to find a beautiful dark-skinned woman in a yellow hooded cape and magenta body suit.
“Who the hell are you lady?” Hawk barked.
“I’m a friend.” The woman smiled brightly, her voice was exotically accented. “And, I can get you to Atlanta in a matter of moments.”
“I don’t think so.” Hawk said, clenching her hands into fists and shaking them at the woman. “We’re in an alternate universe. We don’t know how we got here. And now out of the blue you’re here in that ridiculous costume offering to help us get to Atlanta in a matter of moments? Color me suspicious lady!”
“Hawk,” Dove cautioned her sister, placing a hand on her shoulder. “I don’t detect any malice in this one.”
“You don’t detect any malice in her?” Hawk snapped, “Since when can you detect malice?”
“In higher magic worlds, I have more powers.” Dove replied coolly, “And this is a high magic world.”
“The magic here is stronger than the world you come from.” The woman in yellow and magenta said, a massive gold medallion around her neck sparkled in the afternoon sunlight. There was a bright ruby embedded directly in it’s center point.
“Enough talk.” Dove snapped, “Get us to Atlanta.”
The woman smiled slyly.
Golden magic crackled around her hands creating a halo that arched out in ripples golden arcs. The light danced across Hawk and Dove. Both women disappeared. When the light faded, the woman in yellow and magenta remained.
“Things are advancing far too quickly.” She shook her head. Beside her, the air rippled and waned, Alexander Luthor appeared.
“This entire Toyman debacle was unexpected.” He commented wryly. “With everything else going on…”
“Yes.” The woman’s smile was long gone. “With everything else going on--the Kali Yuga, with Time Trapper and Monarch, and Extant…” She stopped. “We have much to do and have to hope that our reality survives this threat so we can save it from the other ones coming.”
“The Time Trapper as well as the other members of our little group are waiting.” Alexander smiled, without humor.
“Then let’s not keep the Time Trapper waiting.” The woman’s face was a grim mask of barely concealed anger.
Dove’s head cleared only once her mind was able to adjust to the influx of information feeding into it. Standing slowly, she tried to determine what time it was. The sun was nearly in the same place it had been when she and Hawk had landed on this roof.
Immediately she smelled the smoke and could hear the screams, rushing toward the edge of the ceiling, she gasped.
Below her the street was destroyed. There was no other word for it. There were smashed and demolished cars everywhere. Snapped phone and electric poles littered the streets and sidewalks.
“Oh my God.” Dove whispered as her eyes focused on the several motionless bodies strewn here and there.
This part of Atlanta—christened Valley Crossing, had been rebuilt after Damage had lost control of his powers a few years back. Now this…
The devastation from this Genocide monster seemed to cover several blocks in each direction. She could hear its roaring voice, muffled and distorted by the Chaos below.
“Where the Hell is Jake?” Dove asked.
Flying down from the roof, she scanned the area even as he headed toward the rampaging monster. So far the destruction was contained to this area. Hopefully they could stop Genocide before it moved to many more areas of the city. Each body that floated by beneath her, Dove looked at—searching for signs of life. But each of them was eerily still and motionless.
“Hawk?” She called uncertainly, vaguely she was aware of him leaving her side while she’d been trying to process the sudden influx of magic. But, her awareness of the immediate vicinity had been diminished greatly by the greater awareness of everything going on in their world.
They needed to put a stop to Genocide so that they could get to work stopping the bigger things coming down the pike. Their entire world was in danger.
Stopping, Dove swiveling quickly toward the direction she’d heard her name called from. It had not been a loud call, very weak and thin, but her increased hearing had picked it up. Landing, Dove walked into a demolished building, lifting debris out of the way. Straining against the weight of the chunks of ceiling and building, Dove was reminded that while she had increased strength, she was not in the Supergirl or Power Girl level. She was not even as strong as Hawk. But, her greater speed, agility, and flight made up for whatever shortcomings she had in the strength department.
“Hawk!” She shouted, seeing him trapped between two large pieces of concrete. Using her limited strength the best she could, she managed to wrench one of the larger chunks out of the way, giving her the ability to pull him from under the debris.
“Thanks babe.” He grimaced, his teeth stained with blood. His costume was shredded in places, revealing bits of the dark brown hair that dwelled beneath—the form that reflected the original form of the Lord of Chaos T’Charr. The hair was clotted and matted with blood. “I feel pretty awful. That green b**tch clobbered me good.”
“That word is misogynist sweetie.” Dove said quietly, cradling her husband’s head. “You know I hate when you use it.”
“I think I’m dying babe.” He replied, “I can call her a c*%# if I want to.”
Laughing, although it was a bitter sound mixed with tears, Dove said, “I hate that word even more.”
Hawk smiled a bloody smile at his wife. “I know.”
In the distance, Dove could hear screaming and smashing. There were sirens and gunshots. People were dying. And she was sitting here cradling her husband. What kind of hero was she?
“This is a touching scene.” The voice was coarse and vaguely British.
Dove spun toward the sound of the voice, only to find her mouth dropping in gaping disbelieve.
“Who the Hell are you two?” She gasped.
“I think you already know the answer to that one Sara.” The other woman said, her voice calm and soothing. “You can hear what the mystic energies singing here just as well as I can. Perhaps even better since you are actually from this world. You knew that we’d be here.”
Sara set her husband’s head down gently, moving toward the woman who was her double.
“Dawn?” Sara asked. It was like looking in a mirror save the minor costume differences. There was some piping along the collar and a smooth white opaque opal in the clasp, but other than that, they looked just alike.
“In the flesh.” Dawn smiled, “I’m sure it’s just as weird looking at me as it is for me looking at you.”
“You two got shifted here from that other world by whatever is going on.” Sara said.
“You got it. Along with that monster out there.” Dawn said, cocking a thumb in the direction of Genocide’s rampage.
Sara turned toward the auburn haired girl in the Hawk uniform.
“One and the same.” Holly frowned, “How do you know me? Dawnie says that here you are someone else entirely.”
“I have all of the memories of the Dawn Granger of this world.” Sara replied. “Her spirit and soul live within me, even though our Dawn is dead.”
“On my world I never really died. The wizard Modru cast a spell to make the world think Hank had killed me.” Dawn said. She frowned, her thoughts turning toward the Dawn she had felt alive here shortly after she and Holly had been shifted to this world. The woman had felt fragmented and as if her memories were incomplete… was that because a great majority of them were housed in Sara Morrison? And Sara was still under the impression that the Dawn Granger of this world was dead. Dawn made a resolve in that moment that she would not tell Sara anything about the Dawn and Holly of this world. If things were unknown to her at this point, there was a reason. The balance between Order and Chaos was far more fragile on this world than on the one they’d come from.
“Your bloke looks to be in pretty bad shape.” Holly said, turning her attention to Jake laying on the ground.
“That thing hurt him pretty badly.” Sara said softly, “I don’t know if he’ll make it…”
“That thing is called Genocide. She’s one of Wonder Woman’s villains.” Dawn said, “She was allegedly created from Wonder Woman’s corpse—killed in a grim future by Ares and given hellish life by Cheetah’s minions in the Secret Society of Super-Villains.”
“That’s promising. Wonder Woman is only the strongest woman on the planet. Second only to Superman.” Sara said. “How can we stop a mad crazed Wonder Woman?”
“It won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible.” Dawn replied. “Part of Wonder Woman’s strength draws from her soul and her moral compass. That thing out there is nothing but rage in a decomposing shell. If we can separate the corpse from the magic spell reanimating it, we can stop it. Plus, with the rampant magic loose on this world…” Dawn smiled, “We are all going to be getting powered up for how ever long this crisis is going on.”
“The three of us.” Sara shook her head, “Jake is in no condition to fight.”
“I don’t know about that.” Dawn said, taking Sara by the hand. She led Sara toward her husband, breathing raggedly as blood seeped from his wounds.
Dawn began to speak softly as they kneeled down beside Jake, “Terataya, the Lord of Order who powers us, once ruled an entire dimension. She was the Alpha and the Omega. She gave life and she administered death. And if someone died outside of the very orderly plans Terataya had laid out for her people, she had the power to breathe life back into them. She was a healer and destroyer, depending on the needs of maintaining order and discipline.”
Sara looked at her hands which were beginning to glow with bright golden white light.
“Lay your hand upon your husband’s chest, concentrating upon his heart.” Dawn commanded. Light began to stream from her eyes giving the darkness of the building shell they were in a sheen.
Behind them, Holly shielded her eyes against the brightness, the Chaos that powered quivering as the light of Order burned brightly.
Dawn placed her hand atop Sara’s, concentrating.
The light flared out from the hands of both Doves, encompassing and covering Jake. When the light receded, Jake sat up, healed.
“Wow babe,” He said trying to blink the spots the bright light had burned into his eyes away. “I didn’t know you could do that.”
“Normally she could not. Not here on Earth. In Terataya’s home dimension there is a great many things she could do. The wild and unpredictable magic threatening your world gives us greater powers than normal.” Dawn said, standing.
“My outfit…” Sara said as the light radiating from her began to burn away the blue and white costume of Dove, replacing it with the gold and gossamer outfit of Terataya.
Jake peeled his own shredded outfit away, revealing the barbarian like garb of T’Charr.
“Is that what I look like under this get-up?” Holly winced.
“More or less.” Dawn smiled at her sister. “Would you like to see?”
“Um, no?” Holly said.
“Fair enough.” Dawn grinned, “At least this way you can tell me and Sara apart.”
“Enough costume talk.” Jake barked, “We have to stop Genocide.”
“You got a plan?” Holly asked.
“No.” Jake replied, “Not beyond punching stuff.”
“I like that plan.” Holly replied.
“You would.” Dawn rolled her eyes. “Sara and I will figure out a plan while you two go and distract Genocide.”
“Will do, sis.” Holly said enthusiastically. Turning to Jake she grinned madly, “You wanna go pummel a dead Wonder Woman?”
“I think I’m starting to like you kid.” Jake laughed.
The two Hawks left the ruins of the building, leaving the Doves to plot.
Atlanta’s meta-human crime division had been formed shortly after Damage had destroyed parts of Atlanta. For the most part over the years they had been called out to arrest the Royal Flush Gang and other lower tier clueless super-villain. Even after Hawk and Dove had shown up to help them stop Kestrel months ago, most of the meta-human crime had been minor and easy to deal with.
“I don’t know if we’re up to this one.” Detective Henry Watkins said, hunched behind a squad car with his younger partner Bigelow.
“What is that thing?” Bigelow asked, his voice filled with fear.
“I don’t know.” Watkins said grimly. “But, our bullets are just bouncing off it. And it’s just standing there, watching… I feel like it’s toying with us before it swoops in for the kill.”
Bigelow looked over the hood of the squad car, his eyes shifting past all the officers in riot gear. Snipers lined buildings on either side of the street. There was radio silence here only because no one really knew what to say. The last group of officers that had gone in to try and stop that thing had lost their lives.
Bigelow’s eyes went to the bloodied crushed bodies of other members of the force. Men he’d known since he’d started at the Atlanta Police Department three years ago after transferring from Orlando, Florida.
“I never thought I would say it,” Watkins said, shaking his head in disgust. “But I hope Hawk and Dove show up soon.”
Bigelow nodded but said nothing.
“Why is it just standing there?” One of the riot officers asked, his voice shaking and wavering.
No one answered him.
“Hey monster! Your costume seriously leaves something to be desired!” The chipper British voice was a stark contrast to the dark tense mood that surrounded them.
Everyone looked at the lithe muscular woman in red and white.
“She’s wearing a Hawk costume.” Bigelow muttered.
“Oh God lord.” Watkins said, his eyes filling with horror. Was this some crazy kid who’d put on the costume with thoughts of challenging that thing? Since Hawk and Dove had started stopping crime in Atlanta and had become more and more high-profile Watkins had feared that kids without meta-human abilities would start emulating them.
Pushing the button on the bullhorn, Watkins directed his attention to the girl in the Hawk costume.
“Young lady! Please move away from the …” Watkins hesitated, what could he call it? Clearing his throat, he started again, “Young lady! Move away! Move toward the buildings on your left and make your way toward us, moving around the suspect! We have you covered.”
The girl laughed jubilantly. “Oh, no worries here Old Bill. I think I can deal with tall dark and ugly! She might smell like a rotten bum, but that I can take! You chaps might want to clear out! Things are probably going to get as ugly as minger here!”
“I WILL CRUSH YOU!”
“Always so serious are you?” Holly laughed, ducking as Genocide swung her fists at her.
“She’s crazy.” Bigelow said in awe, shaking his head. “She’s also a lot less stuffy than the guy Hawk.”
“She’s gonna get herself killed.” Watkins said, watching the girl as she weaved and avoided each of Genocide’s punches.
Holly was far more graceful than Jake was, or Hank had been. During battle, rage and anger could easily overtake her and make her reckless, but her movements were always smooth and swift, looking like beautifully choreographed. When she fought alongside her sister Dawn, the two girls appeared to move in synch like dancers.
When Jake entered the fight, cannonballing into Genocide there was no trace of that grace of movement.
Genocide cried out in surprise, since it would take more than Jake throwing all of his weight into her to bring on pain. With all the godly magic and power of Wonder Woman within her, Genocide was a still a little tougher than that.
The two of them crashed to the ground, Genocide sliding across the asphalt, causing it to crack and buckle, Jake rode her back like a surfboard.
“Surf’s up, ugly!” Jake said, hopping off just as Genocide slammed into a building, crashing through it and causing it to collapse on her.
“Who the #%$@%^ is that?” Watkins asked, looking at Jake in hairy Barbarian Hawk mode.
Landing roughly on his feet, Jake looked toward the collapsed building, waiting for the tell-tale rumble of the rubble—denoting that Genocide was back on her feet. And he knew it would be there, there was no way knocking her down and into a building would be enough to take her out.
Often people thought Jake was a bit dim-witted, and it was a misconception that had been shared with Hank Hall and one many attributed to Hawk. None of them were dim-witted or dumb or any of the other things people called them, instead they were single-minded and less apt to get drug down by the shades of gray that existed between black and white. There was right and there was wrong. There was no debate between. It was something Sara/Dawn/Dove didn’t get. They were so busy thinking lofty thoughts and trying to think about decisions from every possible angle, that often they missed the more immediate picture in trying to see the big picture.
“That was pretty deft.” Holly said coming up next to him, laying a hand on his forearm.
An electrical sizzle shot through Jake combined with a weird floating head feeling from the contact of Holly’s red gloved hand against the thick prickly brown hairs of his forearm.
Quickly he jerked his arm away, looking at her almost like a wounded animal.
“What was that?!” He demanded, his arm still tingling where she’d touched him.
“I don’t know.” Holly said, looking perplexed. “I touched your arm and everything burned and got fuzzy… but it wasn’t entirely unpleasant.”
“I WILL KILL YOU BOTH! THEN I WILL KILL THE HUMANS!” Genocide roared, tossing giant pieces of building away.
“We will have to figure out what the Hell that was later.” Jake said, as both he and Holly turned their attention to Genocide.
“If there is a later.” Holly said, her voice low and determined as she focused her attention on Genocide. She shared the single-mindedness of Jake and Hank, which was part of the reason she made a perfect Hawk.
“Let’s hope the Doves have come up with some stellar plan of action. Cause beating on that thing is fun and all, but I don’t think we’re going to delay it long. And we definitely ain’t gonna stop it that way.” Jake sighed.
Floating high above Atlanta, looking down on the city, the two Doves were pinpoints of light to anyone who might have been looking up at them. They looked like stars shining through the bright blue cerulean sky.
“How do we stop that thing?” Sara asked, her long flowing white hair dancing around the arcs of light that radiated from her eyes. The spell that Terataya had designed for Dove reflected the Lord of Order’s original form.
“I don’t know.” Dawn said, her white hair danced in its ponytail. “This world looks so much like my own, but it’s now. The properties here are different. And on our world Genocide was a monster that Wonder Woman nearly didn’t survive. She’s going to be infinitely more powerful here, as the magic here is stronger.”
“You are also far more powerful here for the same reasons.” Sara replied, “And, this crisis affecting our universe is leading to me being more powerful.”
“Jake and Holly will only be able to delay her a bit longer.” Dawn said thoughtfully.
“How do we stop a god?” Sara said, “That’s the real question. How did Wonder Woman stop her?”
“She didn’t.” Dawn replied. “She beat the Hell out of her and dropped her in the ocean. Her body was never recovered.”
“Maybe that’s why she’s here.” Sara said. “Maybe when Wonder Woman dropped her in the ocean, she was somehow teleported here.”
“That’s possible.” Dawn replied.
“You know, we’re overlooking something.” Sara said shaking her head, “Terataya and T’Charr were gods. And, with this higher magic, we’re much closer to those original forms.”
“And, you and Jake are also powered by the Lords of Order and Chaos who took upon Terataya and T’Charr’s mantle to save the Unity here…” Dawn said, “So, between the two of us…”
“Unity.” Sara said, her eyes growing wide. “Hawk and Dove was an experiment to prove that together Order and Chaos could work together…”
Dawn’s eyes widened when she realized what Sara was leading into. “Hawk and Dove are a spell. A spell where they each work better together… as one… At the end, Terataya and T’Charr had fused into one being… in the form of a giant dragon wearing a pendant.”
“Unity.” Sara smiled, nodding.
“Wonder Twin powers activate!” Dawn laughed as she and Sara bumped fists.
From the ground there was a bright flash of light, and suddenly the air above Atlanta filled with a beautiful music.
“Do you hear that?” Holly asked pulling herself out of the car Genocide had tossed her into. Thankfully her skin was as tough as concrete, otherwise the windshield and metal would have slashed her to ribbons.
“What? Us getting our asses kicked?” Jake asked, wiping blood from his lip. The fact that thing could make him bleed was terrifying to him, although he’d never admit that. He’d taken a punch directly to the face, and part of him suspected Genocide had held back—that she was toying with him.
“No. That music…” Holly said, dusting the glass off her shoulders. “It’s beautiful… yet it hurts my ears.”
Jake cocked his head to the side, “It sounds like… Order.”
“Incoming.” Holly said as Genocide headed toward them.
“Crap.” Jake groaned, “Any ideas?”
“Not dying?” Holly said cheerfully.
“I still like your style kid. Let’s try not to die together.” Jake replied just as cheerfully, the sound of Genocide’s roar as she thundered toward them nearly drowning out the oddly beautiful music of Order that suddenly filled the air.
“Thanks chap. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be crushed to a pulp with. Well, except maybe Justin Timberlake. But, in that scenario it was a little bit less angry and a bit sexier. Well, maybe not less angry. But at least sexier.” Holly smiled widely, bracing herself for Genocide’s impact.
“Gross.” Jake said just before Genocide knocked them both off their feet, sending both of them flying up into the air, tumbling end over end.
Holly thought she was going to lose her lunch as the world revolved between ground and sky at an alarmingly fast rate.
Where the Hell was Dawn and Sara to save their bacon? Holly didn’t generally like admitting that Hawk and Dove only really worked well together. But, at moments like this it was a simple unavoidable truth. There was too much Chaos clogging Hawk’s head when Dove wasn’t there to balance it out. And there was far too much Order keeping everything moving in one certain direction for Dove when there was no Hawk.
“Little Sister. You look like you could use a hand.”
The voice was otherworldly ethereal and so soothing in some ways that Holly wanted to sigh contently just as the sound of it touched her ears.
She found herself coming to a stop as firm hands gripped both of her shoulders.
Holly Granger found herself face-to-face with a ten foot woman with flowing silver hair and eyes made of light. Her body was covered in flowing robes of pale blue and light, high lit by hues of gold.
“Dawn?” Holly whispered in awe.
“Yes. And no.” Dove replied in that same beautiful voice. The music Holly had heard earlier was louder and so beautiful she thought she was going to cry at its beauty.
“What the Hell happened to you two?” Holly asked, sensing both Dawn and Sara within this giant Dove.
“Unity.” Came the reply. Holly realized that the beautiful voice was a perfectly blended harmony of Sara and Dawn and the voice of Dove. The three overlapped into a single voice that sounded like everything good in the Universe. Pure unfiltered Order and Light.
Dove lowered herself to the ground near where Jake had landed. He was sitting up from a massive crater, rubbing his head and wiping the blood from his mouth.
“What the Hell happened to you two?” Jake asked, blinking as he beheld the blended Dove.
Dove set Holly down on her two feet.
“Unity.” Dove replied, turning toward Genocide.
Genocide stood several feet away, digging her feet down into the pavement.
“YOU WILL ALL DIE!” Genocide said screaming at the sky.
“I do not think that’s going to happen today monster.” Dove said quizzically regarding Genocide. In this unified form Dove could see cracks and fissures in the magic that kept Genocide alive. It was a very intricate spell that reeked of Ares and someone else who Dove could not quite place. But, it was a spell none-the-less, one that kept the evil essence driving Genocide infested in the corpse it had been placed in. “You are a lot easier to stop for one such as me than even you assume.”
“Stupid mortal. You may be powered by demi-gods, but you are no god. I am a god.” Genocide roared.
“Hawks…” Dove said turning toward Holly and Jake who were busy staring at the ten-foot Dove. “We will need your assistance in this.”
“Unity.” Holly whispered, turning her attention to Jake.
“What the Hell do you mean Unity?” Jake looked over at Holly, “What did they mean?”
Holly moved toward Jake quickly, remembering the odd jolt that had passed between them earlier when she’d touched him. She realized now what would have happened if he hadn’t broken contact when he did.
Grabbing Jake’s wrist with all of her might that odd electrical sizzle exploded, causing the world around them to become an angry black and red jumble of smoke and shattered images. Pure Chaos flickered through their heads in rapid fire succession—moving so quickly that neither Jake nor Holly could seize upon any of them.
“This is going from bad to worse.” Watkins said watching the ten-foot Dove stare down Genocide while a cloud of pitch black smoke swirled around where the two Hawks had been just a few moments before.
As the acrid black smoke cleared, a ten-foot Hawk stepped forward taking his place beside Dove. His dark hair flared out in a wild Mohawk from the center of his head while his massively muscled body was encased in armor made of red leather and silvery steel.
“I feel really weird.” Hawk commented to Dove, his voice a perfect mixture of Jake, Holly, and Hawk.
“You’ll get used to it.” Dove said quietly. “We need to move quick. It’s taking a lot of magic for us to be in these forms. And we won’t be able to sustain very long.”
“Understood.” Hawk said nodding. “That thing is not really a god. She reeks of one, but she’s not.”
“It’s some sort of glamour.” Dove replied coolly, as Hawk moved toward Genocide. “It’s Ares doing. He was trying to fool Wonder Woman. Hopefully it didn’t work. That thing is nothing of Wonder Woman. And, it’s not alive. Not really. It’s magically animated.”
“That’s fine and dandy, but how do we get past it. It mocks life well and it’s tougher than me.”
“It was tougher than the two Hawks individually.” Dove said softly, her feet did not touch the ground as she hovered several feet above it. “Together it’s an even match. With the greater powers of an unbridled T’Charr coursing through you, you might even be stronger.”
“Thanks.” Hawk replied.
“YOU THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME!?” Genocide screamed.
“Yep.” Hawk replied, “Easy.”
With a solid punch straight to the face, Hawk knocked Genocide down without even wavering in his own stance.
Genocide landed on the ground with a heavy thud, making a grunting sound.
Leaping to her feet, Genocide hauled off—slamming a meaty fist into Hawk’s face. There was a crunching sound as his jaw shattered.
“That hurt.” Hawk replied, touching his shattered jaw gingerly. It began to heal almost instantly. “But, I’ve got an accelerated healing factor you witch.”
Hawk belted Genocide, knocking her down again.
“You didn’t even break anything.” Genocide laughed, pulling herself up quickly and swinging wildly at Hawk.
“Not yet!” Hawk laughed.
Dove stood back watching the two of them box, slamming each other around. Hawk was doing a good job of moving Genocide toward the ruined buildings and away from the gathered police and civilians.
“They’ll be busy doing that for a few minutes.” Dove commented softly. She turned her attention to the police gathered not far, their weapons trained on the scene unfolding, their attention locked on Hawk and Genocide battling it out.
Flying over to them, she landed by Watkins and Bigelow.
“Dove?” Watkins asked, blinking.
“It is I.” Dove replied coolly, “Hawk and I have control of Genocide. I would suggest you and your men move your perimeters farther out.”
“How much farther out?” Watkins asked, even though he didn’t like the idea of taking orders from Dove. He knew that she was better equipped to deal with that thing rampaging through their city. Plus the Mayor and Police Commissioner had directed the police department to cooperate with Hawk and Dove whenever possible—especially when dealing with meta-human villains that they were hopelessly out of their class in dealing with. Plus there was beautiful music emanating from her, making Watkins far more likely to listen to what she had to say.
“I would say at least five more blocks. Genocide has some pretty terrible empathic powers… she can inspire great desolation and sorrow and anger. So much so that you or your men might lose control of yourselves and start shooting each other and yourselves.”
Watkins nodded, “I will trust you on that Dove.” Picking up his walkie-talkie phone he called out to his men, “I want everyone to my east to retreat to Ditko Street. Everyone to my west retreat to Kane Avenue. Everyone north of me needs to get back as far as Guler Street. And to my south get to Liefield Avenue. Dove says that thing has got some sort of power that could affect us and endanger us. And, I tend to trust ten-foot ladies with light shining from their eyes who float a full foot off the ground.”
If there was any grumbling or disagreement with Watkins’ command, it did not broadcast across the walkie-talkies.
The Atlanta Meta-Crime Unit and the SWAT team began their retreat.
Watkins and Bigelow stood by their car, watching everyone else retreating.
“What the Hell has happened to you and Hawk?” Watkins asked finally, his eyes studying Dove’s new form intently.
“We’re in a form closer to our true forms.” Dove replied coolly, “There is a massive influx of extra magical energies flooding this world right now and it’s given Hawk and I massive power ups.”
“Forever?” Bigelow asked.
“Just until the extra energies dissipate.” Dove replied, “Or until we over-extend ourselves. These forms burn up a lot more energy than our normal forms do. When we run out we’ll both pass out for a bit. Hopefully we can stop Genocide before that happens.”
“Hopefully.” Watkins echoed hollowly, his eyes looking almost panicked at the thought of Hawk and Dove being unable to stop that thing.
“Now you two move.” Dove smiled, “I wouldn’t want my two favorite detectives crushed by debris or broken by Genocide.”
“I’m not a detective.” Bigelow replied.
“Not yet.” Dove smiled again, before flying back toward where Genocide and Hawk were beating each other senseless. Blood was flying from both of them with each punch, Genocide’s dark and oily black while Hawk’s was a bright crimson red that matched the vibrancy of the red in his costume.
Dove landed several feet away, just in time to see Hawk wail on Genocide, knocking the rotting monstrosity off of her feet. Landing flat on her back, Genocide groaned loudly, then screamed.
It was a horrible sound like bones being crushed and the death cries of a baby intermingled with a madman’s laughter.
Sitting up slowly, Genocide reached toward the thick green visor covering her eyes, ripping it away.
“What? You wanna look in my eyes before I finish you off?” Hawk scoffed.
“Be careful Hawk!” Dove shouted. “She has other abilities beyond just being strong! Don’t let her look you in the eyes. She can make yo—“
Before Dove could finish her warning, Hawk got caught in Genocide’s sights.
As an avatar of Chaos and war, the effect on Hawk was stronger than it might be on any one else. Feeling the despair and horror deep down to his very core, Hawk screamed a bloodcurdling war cry—spinning around to gaze in blazing anger at Dove.
“GO.” Genocide hissed, “Destroy her. Kill her. Like you did before…” Genocide’s normally loud abrasive voice was nothing more than a whisper, a husky dead sound like dried leaves scuttling across the cracked stone of old tombstones. Slowly Genocide pulled herself to her feet, creeping up behind Hawk, placing a hand on his shoulder while leaning in to whisper in his ear. She seemed to have grown several feet as her venom had infected Hawk.
Dove sized up Hawk. There was one sure way to stop him—cleaning Genocide’s taint from his mind. She had just hoped they wouldn’t have to take that route. It expended far more energy than even these higher forms were burning up. They would only have a short amount of time to stop Genocide if she had to take that option.
“Your mate will kill you… and then your precious experiment will be forever over Terataya.” Genocide almost seemed to purr as she pulled the visor back over her eyes.
“Our experiment is nearly over.” Dove replied coolly, “There were several purposes for the experiment. And the main one, the one that we truly felt would prove our point will soon come to fruition. But, the end of that experiment will not end Hawk and Dove. Nor will you end it prematurely. We took many steps, installing many fail safes.”
“Talk. Talk. Talk.” Genocide pantomimed a puppet with her hand. “He’s going to rip your face off so you can’t talk anymore.”
“Not likely.” Dove said softly, setting her sights on Hawk who approached with bloodlust and war-frenzy seething from his eyes and seeping from his pores in a faint black mist. “Your effect on him, while scary in some ways, is little more than a virus.”
“You were meant to confuse and bewilder Wonder Woman.” Dove began thoughtfully. “I’m surprised it worked. How did Diana not see that subterfuge when she embodies truth? How did she not realize that in you, her enemies were merely using sleight of hand to trick her? Was it because you had corrupted the lasso of truth and because you had hurt those she loved most so deeply?”
“KILL HER HAWK! KILL HER NOW!” Genocide screamed.
Her hate-filled words were all that it took to make Hawk spring forward, flying sparse feet toward Dove.
Genocide smiled smugly, proud of herself in this moment as she expected Hawk to rip Dove apart.
Dove put a hand out in front of her, fingers extended, her lovely features set in determined concentration.
When Hawk reached her, she dropped the extended hand to his shoulder, gripping him tightly as her fingers dug through the thick hair and into his stony flesh.
“Unity!” Dove cried.
For one moment everything stopped, time suspended.
When it resumed Genocide’s breath caught in her foul decaying throat as a metamorphosis occurred where Hawk and Dove had stood moments before.
Standing where Hawk and Dove had previously been was a twelve foot humanoid, neither male nor female. It’s costume a perfect blending of Hawk and Dove’s costumes in white and purple.
“We cannot maintain this form long monster.” The humanoid said. “The magic of this world and the energy of the vessels that comprise us are not enough to keep this form long. But, it will be long enough to defeat you.”
“Unity.” Genocide whispered. “Ares whispered in awe and fear of you…”
“As he should.” Unity replied before zipping through the air, heading straight toward Genocide. “You are far simpler a creation than any would suspect. The scientists who created you thought they were creating a complicated life-form, but they were merely creating a reanimated corpse. Tough and nearly indestructible—yes, but unable to do anything more than what it was told—had Ares not given the Cheetah the essence of godly magic he and his daughter the goddess of discord had created. Embedding that essence in you, along with fake memories of having been a Wonder Woman killed in a future timeline…”
“SHUT UP!” Genocide screamed, punching Unity with all of her might.
Unity smiled, its lean gaunt body as dense and tough as steel and absorbing the impact.
“The truth too much to take?” Unity asked kindly, “You’ve had the illusion of sentience and thought yourself a real soul, even though it’s all been a lie. Without the essence of godly magic—the spell as it were, you are nothing but a mindless automaton—without anything to guide you.”
“SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” Genocide screamed repeatedly, swinging over and over and over, pummeling Unity with all of her might.
Reaching out, Unity gripped Genocide by the neck, quickly pinching off nerve endings that rendered Genocide paralyzed.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?!” Genocide screamed.
“I have temporarily broken contact between your brain and body.” Unity’s voice was kind. “It was necessary so I can do what I have to do next.”
Unity pulled back, the fingers of its right hand coming to sharp points. Pressing its fingers together they formed a blade which Unity then plunged into Genocide’s chest.
Unity chuckled, “The paralysis frees you from any pain. Your scream is merely psychosomatic. Clinging to illusions of sentience until the very end I see.”
Pulling its hand free of Genocide’s chest, Unity’s sharp fingers gripped a heart-sized chunk of flesh and glowing red gemstones.
“No….” Genocide whispered, as Unity regarded the bizarre fake-heart in Genocide’s chest.
“With this little ugly piece of rock so much death and destruction resulted.” Unity whispered. “So much pain for such an unsightly thing.”
Releasing its grip on Genocide, Unity allowed the now lifeless flesh and bone of the monster drop to the ground, where it landed with a hollow thud.
Holding the heart of Genocide, Unity turned its attention to the azure skies above.
“Time for this form is growing short.” Unity whispered, “We won’t be able to maintain much longer.”
Flying into the sky, Unity went higher and higher and higher until the atmosphere began to thin and the Earth was a blue and green orb below and space was a deep blue and black field filling vision on all sides.
“Where will you do the least amount of damage little heart?” Unity whispered as its eyes scanned the stars sprawled out all about.
Focusing on a star light-years away, one that Unity could tell was dying out, based on its flickering.
“That should do nicely.” Unity whispered.
Winding up for a pitch, Unity drew on the combined knowledge and athletic prowess of Hank, Jake, and Holly. With a single deft flick of the wrist Unity hurled the heart of Genocide away. It hurtled through space, picking up speed the further and further it traveled. Had it been held together by anything less than godly magic, the strange construct of red gems and muscled flesh would have burned up long before it struck the surface of the dying star, plunging deep into its cooling core.
Unity lowered down to the surface of the planet as quickly as possible, feeling the magic binding it together begin to dissolve. The magic flooding this universe was still powerful and potent, but the mortals that helped make up this incarnation were growing weak—their energies draining. If Unity didn’t separate quickly, then they would run out of juice high above the earth—dying in a fall that no part of this physical form could endure.
Just before the split, Unity smiled to itself. Soon there would be a form perfectly suited to housing the Unity.
Sara Morrison blinked awake, sitting up slowly. Her head hurt something fierce and her entire body ached. She was wearing the jeans and t-shirt she’d been wearing at breakfast. She looked over to see Jake passed out, his eyes tightly shut and his chest rising and falling in deep rhythmic breaths. They were in their backyard, the green grass cool beneath them. She looked at the sky which was dark and star-filled just in time for the rumble in her stomach to alert her to the fact that she was starving.
“Jake?” She crawled over to him, nudging him lightly. She couldn’t bring herself to try and stand yet. The weakness in her legs indicated that standing might be futile just now. They were still wobbly and felt like they were made of jelly.
Jake Morrison grunted but did not wake up. There were bruises around his eyes and Sara wondered how badly Genocide must have truly battered him if he was still wearing dark bruises in his mortal form.
Her attention then moved to where Dawn and Holly Granger were. Dawn was curled up, her features soft and pretty as she slept. Holly was several feet away, sprawled out with legs and arms thrown in every which direction.
As if sensing she was being watched, Dawn’s eyes opened.
“Hey.” Dawn said, sitting up. “Do you remember anything?”
“Not much.” Sara replied. There were hazy memories of them all fusing into one single being. But the thoughts that had filled their heads and the memories of what had become of Genocide had been filtered through a consciousness far beyond even Sara and Dawn’s consciousness.
“How long have we been out?” Dawn asked. She crawled toward Holly to check on her sister.
“I don’t know. We fought Genocide at lunch time, and it’s dark enough to be the middle of the night.” Sara said.
“She’s still out like a light.” Dawn said.
“So’s Jake. He still looks pretty beat up.” Sara said. Unsteadily she rose to her feet, heading toward the back door. It took several minutes as her legs kept threatening to give up beneath her.
Once inside she looked at the fancy digital clock above the stove, blinking 2:00am.
She quickly set about making some breakfast.
The four of them sat around the kitchen table, eating their third breakfast.
The sun had started to come up and cover Atlanta with golden sunshine.
The television was on to a local station where the newscaster recounted the previous day’s battle between Hawk and Dove and Genocide, even mentioning the “strange new giant hero” who had entered the fray to finally knock Genocide out. Genocide’s body had been delivered to Belle Reve in Louisiana where it was still “unresponsive”.
“Thank God it’s unresponsive.” Jake grumbled shoveling forkfuls of scrambled eggs into his mouth. “How did we stop that thing?”
“I think we ripped its heart out.” Dawn said quietly. “And tossed it into space.”
“That sounds like it could have happened.” Sara said. “It sounds familiar. I wish I could remember.”
“We stopped the thing.” Holly grunted, eating another slice of bacon. “That’s all that matters.”
“I just wish we could turn into Hawk and Dove.” Sara said going over to the TV as it moved to the stories of various heroes and villains appearing around the world. “Something big is going on and we are powerless to stop it.”
“We stopped Genocide.” Dawn replied, “Probably for good. And, that’s something not even Wonder Woman was able to do back in our Universe. And, we’ll be able to turn into Hawk and Dove again. We just need a few days to recover. We tapped out the Hawk and Dove energies in a way we’ve never done before. It’s going to take sometime for enough energy to be available. A couple days at most.”
“I just feel powerless.” Sara replied. The news was discussing some sort of convergence of heroes on Metropolis. There had been messages from the Justice Society asking for their assistance, all coming after they’d passed out.
“We did something major.” Dawn said, picking vegetables out of her omelet and eating them outright. “We do what we can, when we can. We can’t beat ourselves up for the things we have no control over. This is one of them. If we could reform the Hawk and Dove magic right now, then we would. But, that is something beyond our control.”
“What if it never reforms?” Sara asked.
Dawn laughed, “It will. It’s regenerating magic. T’Charr and Terataya were smart when they formed the spell. It’s powered by an entire realm, one safely hidden away. It just has to recharge.”
“Come sit down and eat your breakfast.” Jake grumbled, still shoveling food into his mouth. “You have to leave for work soon.”
“I called in.” Sara replied. “It was an office day. I can make that up easily enough. With all the destruction in Valley Crossing, most of Atlanta is taking the day off. Too many bad memories from Damage.”
“Uh-oh.” The sound from Holly Granger caused everyone to look at her quickly.
“What’s wrong?” Sara asked.
“Uh…” Holly lifted her hand, which had suddenly become transparent. “I don’t know. But it doesn’t look good.”
“It’s happening to me too!” Dawn said, lifting her own hands up.
“Dove!” Sara shouted, but there was no change. There was a brief instance where a suggestion of the magic that completed the transformation seemed to flicker through, but she remained there, standing at the breakfast table as Sara Morrison. “Jake?”
“I don’t know what to do honey!” Jake said, watching as Dawn and Holly faded away.
“I think we’re being drawn back to our Universe.” Dawn said, her eyes wide with fear. She looked over at Holly suddenly, memories and knowledge that had come to her upon merging into Unity had told her that something awful called Blackest Night was coming. Something that her sister would not survive. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this! We were supposed to merge with our doppelgangers here!”
“That’s good right? That they went home.” Jake asked, looking at Sara just as both Holly and Dawn blinked out of existence.
“I don’t think it is. For some reason.” Sara replied. There had been horror on Dawn’s face and she’d been looking at her sister while the emotion had rumpled her pretty features.
“This has been a very weird day.” Jake sighed. “I’m still tired babe. Since you have the day off, you wanna go back to bed for a bit.”
“Yeah.” Sara said, staring at the spots where Dawn and Holly had been only moments before, her chest filling with sadness.
Somewhere in Europe…
Dawn Granger awoke with a start.
“They’re gone. Shifted back to their own world.” She whispered.
“Oooh, my aching head.” Holly Granger said sitting up.
“They were shifted back to their universe.” Dawn rushed to the window, staring out into the gray dreary Eastern European day. “They were supposed to merge with us… they weren’t supposed to go back to their own universe.”
“What are you talking about?” Holly demanded.
“They were supposed to stay here. Not go home. And then you and I would have been Hawk and Dove.” Dawn’s expression was panicked.
“What are you babbling about?”
“The Holly and Dawn from that world were supposed to merge with us.” Dawn said, “Now…”
“Now? What is it Dawn?” Holly asked.
Dawn’s expression going cold. “I was hoping to avoid this. With the other Universe Dawn merging with me, I would have become Dove again… without having to take my powers and memories back.”
“What are you talking about?” Holly demanded.
“We’re going to Atlanta.” Dawn said quietly, “I’m taking back my powers.”
Next Issue: Follow the entire FDCU as they battle to save all reality in “Dangerous Toys”. Then head back for Hawk & Dove Issue #14 where Hawk and Dove must face brand-new villains the Skeleton Men.