One Week Ago
The man known as Calculator knocked on the door and pulled his long, gray coat around him to shield himself from the stinging rain. He checked the address once more while he waited. It was correct but he wanted to be sure the right person still lived there. After all, his was not a social call. He knocked once again, this time noticeably louder.
Someone inside scrambled to the door, cursing every step of the way. “Hold your cajones! Who the hell interrupts a man while he’s watching Monday Night Football anyway? This had better be free pizza delivery!”
The door swung open and Calculator stood face to face with… himself.
“Hello Noah,” said Calculator.
Noah Kuttler answered the door wearing a tattered terrycloth robe and house slippers. Although it was three o’clock in the afternoon his hair was matted from sleep as if he recently awoke. “This is impossible. You’re… you’re me!”
Calculator didn’t wait for an invitation to enter the small home. He pushed past his bewildered doppelganger and made his way into the cluttered living room. “Astute as ever I see.”
“I don’t know what kind of scam you’re trying to pull pal, but you’ve got the wrong guy!” Noah warned. “I’ve gone toe-to-toe with the Justice League!”
Calculator enjoyed the befuddlement on his doppleganger’s face. “No, trust me. I’ve found just the pathetic fool I was looking for.”
“What do you want?” Noah asked. “The Eagles and Giants are on.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Calculator answered. “I came to check on you.”
“Check on me?” Noah yelled. “You have some nerve, pal! Who the hell do you think you are?”
Calculator settled into Noah’s seat – the comfortable recliner he found at the Goodwill store years ago. He’d almost forgotten how cozy it was and couldn’t remember for the life of him why he discarded it. “Yes, to check on you. You see, I was curious about your current modus operandi. Do you still sport that ridiculous battle armor?”
Noah was visibly upset at the insult as Calculator knew he would be. “That “ridiculous” battle armor was what allowed me to defeat the Justice League!”
Calculator nodded and pursed his hands together, resting them on his knees. He leaned forward. “Oh come now, Noah! Why be so sensitive?”
Noah gritted his teeth and clinched his fists. “Because that battle suit…”
“Is little more than a glorified walking billboard for Texas Instruments!” Calculator interrupted. “So sad you can’t see this world has passed you by.”
“What do you mean?” Noah asked.
Calculator reached into his pocket and retrieved his Blackberry. “You do realize this phone has more computing power than that asinine contraption you call a costume? Your shtick is passé, Noah.”
“Don’t make me suit up and show you just how effective it is!” Noah warned.
Calculator laughed. “Oh please do! Amuse me!”
Noah stormed to a hall closet and returned with the keypad centerpiece around his torso, but still dressed in his robe and slippers. “Now let’s see who gets the last laugh!”
“My god! I didn’t think it was possible,” Calculator cooed.
Noah searched Calculator’s face. “Didn’t think what was possible?”
“For that contraption to look any more ridiculous than I remember but once again you’ve proven me wrong!!” Calculator answered. “Bravo! Good show!”
Noah punched in a series of numbers on the keypad and waited for the results to appear on the screen. The results were clear for both men to read. “Non-Metahuman Target”.
“Isn’t that amazing?” Calculator asked.
An incredulous Noah checked his screen a second time. “Isn’t what amazing? You speak in riddles!”
“You feel smugly over-confident enough to battle Superman with that ridiculous thing but yet are unnerved by an ordinary man in a recliner because it has no suggestions,” Calculator explained.
Noah cracked his knuckles. “Then maybe I won’t need my battle suit to dispose of the likes of you, impostor!”
“Oh, Noah! Noah!” Calculator replied. “You shame us both. Won’t you ever learn?” He pulled a snub-nosed pistol from his coat and pointed it toward his doppelganger.
“Wait a minute now!” Noah begged. “Let’s talk about this, pal! There’s no need to pull a gun.”
“You see that’s where I disagree,” Calculator answered. “You’ve given me every reason to pull a gun on you. For one thing I know there is nothing in that dinosaur’s database to protect you from gunfire. The capes wouldn’t shoot you would they?”
“No, they wouldn’t,” Noah stammered.
Calculator smiled. “Too bad for you I’m not a cape.”
The bullets tore through Noah Kuttler’s neck. For a brief instant he looked to his shooter as if to question why before he fell to the floor.
Calculator stood to his feet. “Because there’s only room for one Calculator in this world and it sure as hell won’t be a joke like you.”
Garfield Logan pilfered through the cabinets of the elaborate main kitchen at Titans Tower. “Vic! Have you seen the popcorn?”
Most of the world knew Victor Stone as Cyborg, the hybrid man-machine and long time member of the Titans family. He was also renowned as one of the world’s most brilliant minds in the fields of robotics and cybernetics. To Gar he was plain, old Vic, his best friend. The designation afforded him a familiarity very few had the nerve to use - even in the spandex crowd. “Hey, butthead! I’m talking to you! Have you seen the… Never mind! I found it!”
Gar removed a box of buttered popcorn from the shelf and opened it. He quickly stuffed a bag into the microwave and set the timer for three minutes. A full twenty seconds passed before he checked the timer. “Aw! Come on, already! I’m gonna miss the start!”
At last the microwave beeped and Gar grabbed the bag and a large bowl. Escaping steam burned his fingers when he tore into the bag. “Son of a… Why do I do that every freakin’ time?”
Once he poured the freshly-popped, buttery kernels into the bowl and secured a couple of sodas he made his way to the common area where Vic was waiting.
“It’s about time,” Vic grunted. “The show won’t wait all night, Salad Head.”
It was good to be back in familiar digs. The Tower was their proper home. Here they could drop the superhero façade and simply enjoy one another’s company. Gar welcomed the familiarity.
“Too bad Kory and Donna crashed early, huh?” Gar asked as he took a seat on the other end of the sofa. He tossed Vic one of the sodas.
Vic caught the soda with the grace of a world-class athlete. “I doubt they’re sleeping.”
Gar morphed into an owl with oversized eyes as he perched on the back of the sofa.. “Sexy pillow fight?”he asked excitedly.
Vic shook his head. “How many times have you wished for that?”
“Two-million, four-hundred and thirty-seven thousand and six times,” Gar replied with a smile. “And now seven… eight… nine…”
“And how many times has it happened?” Vic asked.
“There’s always a first!” Gar replied as he morphed back into his human form. “I’m a man of strong faith. I can’t believe they’re missing this.”
Vic hit the power button on the television remote and the large-screen plasma monitor blinked to life. “I’m sure they’d find two half-naked women rolling around in Jell-O on pay-per-view offensive to their sensibilities. Come to think of it, I do too.”
“And yet you watch,” Gar laughed.
Vic shrugged his broad shoulders. “It’s like a bad wreck. You can’t look away.”
“A bad wreck with half-naked co-eds and Jell-O,” Gar added.
The alarm blared to life.
“No!” Gar protested. “For the love of all that is holy not now! What kind of self-respecting super-baddie attacks right at the start of Jiggledrome IV? Shouldn’t they be home stealing it on cable?”
Donna and Starfire rushed into the room in response to the alarm.
“Situation, Vic?” Donna asked.
Vic shook his head. “Don’t know yet, ladies.”
“Ever notice no one rushes into the room and asks me about the situation?” said Gar.
“Ok, Gar. What’s the situation?” asked Donna.
“Little Miss Hot Pants versus Bomb Michelle, best two out of three falls,” Gar answered, pointing to the television.
A bolt of energy leaped from Starfire’s hands and blew the television to bits.
“Kory? What the hell?” asked a perplexed Gar.
Vic rushed to the lone, free-standing communications console in the corner. The coffee table disappeared into the floor and was replaced a holographic projection of the grounds floating in the center of the room. A grid of the property revealed several red dots representing trespassers on the ground by the east side.
“Switch to camera view,” Donna instructed. “Let’s see what we’re dealing with.”
The grid disappeared and was replaced by a view from the east side security cameras. A group of brightly-garbed intruders were attempting to enter the Tower.
“Definitely not selling vacuum cleaners,” said Gar.
Outside Titans Tower
“Are we sure they won’t mind?” asked Traci 13. She and her fellow displaced Titans were attempting to break into Titans Tower. Like so many other things in the new world in which they found themselves the Tower was familiar yet different at the same time.
“We’re Titans,” Blue Beetle explained. “We stick together like family. Of course they’ll understand. Besides our intel says the place is basically abandoned these days. I’m sure the old tower won’t mind a few new Titans rattling around her old digs.”
Rose Wilson, a.k.a Ravager wasn’t always the most agreeable of the group. “A couple of hours in the public library is not gathering intelligence.”
“It’s the best we’ve got,” Blue Beetle shot back. “I have no idea how we were dumped in the middle of the Nevada desert or how we get home, but the suit says we’re not in Kansas anymore. Maybe the Titans of this world….”
A starbolt cut Blue Beetle short and blasted a chunk of earth from the ground about three feet from where he stood.
“What the?” asked Aquagirl as all her Titans looked skyward. “Hey! We’re on your side!”
Donna Troy, Starfire, Cyborg, and Beast Boy floated in the air above Blue Beetle’s group.
“From where we stand you look more like intruders,” Starfire shot back.
Beast Boy morphed into a large, green hawk. “Whatever it is you’re selling, we’re not interested. Unless of course you’re selling those Chop-A-Matic slicers! I’ve been meaning to order one for the Tower for awhile now.”
Ravager unsheathed her sword. “So it begins.”
“Rose! Put away that sword!” Blue Beetle ordered.
Ravager stood her ground and eyed the older Titans with a steely glare. “You think because Wonder Girl’s not here I’m going to listen to you?”
“I was hoping you’d listen to reason,” Blue Beetle answered. He hated being the responsible one but somebody had to do it before things got out of hand. They didn’t come to Titans Tower looking for a fight.
The elder Titans landed. Jaime couldn’t help but admire how heroic they looked. Cyborg would be an imposing man with or without his cybernetics. He was chiseled like a Greek god and was an Olympic-level athlete even before the accident that gave him his enhanced body. Like her sister Wonder Woman, Donna Troy was an Amazon. Her super-strength, lightning reflexes, near-invulnerable body and warrior’s training made her one of the most dangerous foes one could ever face. Starbolt energy danced on Starfire’s hands. She was a woman with a great passion for battle. Jaime could tell she was itching for the word to unleash another of those bolts. It would not be a warning shot. Then there was Beast Boy. He perched himself on Cyborg’s shoulder, still in the form of a hawk. His antics and pranks were legendary and his constant banter in battle fooled many a villain into taking him lightly, always to their detriment. The truth was that Gar was very formidable. He could take the form of any animal which made him among the most versatile players in the hero community. If the Titans needed espionage, he could be a fly on the wall. If they needed muscle he could become a charging elephant or rhino.
Of course Jaime’s Titans weren’t shabby either. The scarab grafted onto his spine endowed Jaime with many abilities: flight, limited super-strength, an armament that made him potentially one of the most dangerous beings on any planet, nigh invulnerability, the ability to “see” extra-dimensionally, and about a million other gizmos and tricks. His girlfriend Traci 13 was homo magi, the most powerful race of magic users in the known universe. Lorena Marquez, Aquagirl, was able to breathe underwater and possessed limited super-strength and invulnerability. Like the Martian Manhunter, Miss Martian possessed the full array of powers native to the people of her race – an array of abilities long enough to match even Superman. Static was a master of electromagnetism. His ability to manipulate electrical energy and the earth’s magnetic field with uncanny precision made him a big gun in anyone’s book. Osiris was a member of the Marvel Family, at least on the Black Adam side. He was probably the only person represented with more raw strength than Donna Troy. And then there was Ravager, Rose Wilson. She was the daughter of the Titans’ greatest foe, Deathstroke. Like her father she possessed heightened agility, speed, and stamina, but perhaps most dangerous was her precognitive ability. As if that wasn’t enough she was a world-class swordsman and hand-to-hand combatant as well.
If it came down to a fight, Jaime liked his group’s chances. He just hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
Ravager pointed her sword at Starfire. “We can take these guys.”
The sudden move was all it took. Starfire’s fiery green eyes glowed like an emerald sun and she unleashed a deadly starbolt in Ravager’s direction. Lucky for her Osiris could move with the speed of Heru himself. The blast exploded on his chest like thunder.
Miss Martian rendered herself invisible and slipped behind Donna. She wrapped the Amazon in a tight bear hug. “I don’t want to hurt you,” she explained.
Ever the warrior, Donna had no such reservations. She head-butted Miss Martian’s nose with the back of her head in attempt to free herself but M’gann M’orzz was undaunted by the attack.
Donna tried another tactic. “You may be strong, but let’s see how well you know judo.” She slipped her right foot back and planted it between Miss Martian’s boots. She took Miss Martian over with a simple hip roll.
“You’d think they’d teach that kind of thing on Mars,” Donna said. “What the…”
While Donna indeed managed to throw Miss Martian, she didn’t account for the Martian girl’s shape-shifting ability. Though her body lay on the ground her arms stretched at least ten feet and wrapped around Donna like a constrictor.
Ravager and Osiris squared off with Starfire.
“I thought you were a warrior,” Starfire taunted. “Yet you need a male to rush in and save you from my starbolts?”
“Muscles here did that of his own accord,” Ravager hissed.
The stored ultraviolet radiation in Starfire’s alien cells allowed her to move at great speeds. She took Osiris by surprise when she rushed him and released an explosive burst inches from his face. It was enough to take him out of the fight, even if temporarily. She landed facing Ravager.
“Clever trick,” said Ravager.
“It won’t distract him long but it should give us a chance to battle like true warriors if you’re up to it,” Starfire challenged.
Ravager sheathed her sword and motioned for Starfire to bring her best. She didn’t disappoint. A swift kick caught Ravager in the throat. A backhand nearly snapped her neck off her shoulders.
“You disappoint me,” said an emboldened Starfire. “I hoped for better from someone dressed like Slade Wilson.”
Ravager spit blood from her mouth and smiled. “I’m toying with you Kory. I wanted to know what else you had besides those starbolts of yours. As I suspected you’re a one-trick pony.”
“Pony this!” Starfire exclaimed. She threw a flurry of punches and looked surprised when Ravager blocked every last one with apparent ease.
Ravager wasted no time countering with a flurry of punches and kicks of her own. Each one landed microseconds before Starfire could block it. In a moment the princess of Tamaran was on the ground writhing in pain. It was her turn to hurt. She attempted to sweep Ravager’s legs to no avail.
“Precognition is a bitch, no?” Ravager taunted.
Changeling dropped the hawk form and morphed into an eagle before attacking Static. He used his mighty wings to flog the younger Titan.
Never one to back down Static unloaded an electrical charge in Changeling’s direction.
“Yowzah! Watch where you point that thing!” said Changeling as he shot behind a bush in a leopard’s form .
“You think you can outrun electricity, Logan?” Static called. “Unless that leopard is a member of the Flash family, you’re toast.”
A burst of lightning shot from his hands and burned the bush to cinders. Changeling was nowhere to be found.
“Huh? Where did he go?” asked a confused Static, looking around. A moment later he pawed at his right eye. “Get out of my eye, Logan!”
“Gladly,” Changeling answered as he morphed from a gnat into a green chimp and pummeled Static to the ground.
Aquagirl jumped into the fray to help Static.
Blue Beetle watched in horror as everything seemed to go wrong at once. “Stop! You’ve got to listen! Everybody stop!”
Unfortunately his pleas for sanity were drowned out by Cyborg’s sonic cannon.
“Let’s see how you guys handle a few thousand decibels of white sound!” Cyborg yelled over the fray before unleashing his sonic cannon.
Jaime had the “pleasure” once of hearing Black Canary’s cry. The sheer sonic power of Cyborg’s attack wasn’t on her level but it proved quite effective. It was damn- near impossible to think and giving orders was pointless when every ion in the air was shattering.
Unseen to everyone but Jaime his armor manifested an infrared screen before him and presented him with one terrifying option.
“Most Efficient Defensive Option – Lethal Force.”
A turret ripped through the armor plates on his back and aimed at Cyborg.
"No, armor! Stand down! That is so not an option! What the hell is wrong with you?” Jaime yelled though no one but his armor could hear.
The armor confirmed it wasn’t experiencing any sort of malfunction.
“It was rhetorical! I’ve told you before - lethal force is never an option! There has to be another way!” said Jaime.
He got his answer from a teammate. Titans Tower itself came to the rescue as if it were alive. The cross-section of the massive T-shaped structure reached out for Cyborg and swatted him away like an insect.
Cyborg rolled to lessen the impact of the blow and was quickly on his feet. “Ok, I didn’t see that one coming,” he said. “Donna? Kory? Gar?”
“What can I say? Buildings like me!” said Traci 13. “Anyone care to see how acute my control of the earth really is?”
At Traci’s behest, Titans Tower pounded its “chest” and roared like King Kong.
It took a lot to impress the gathered heroes represented, but both sides stopped to gather themselves and stood in awe of the amazing sight before them.
Jaime used the break in action to once again make a plea to the elder Titans.
“If you would give us a chance to explain,” said Jaime. The scarab advised detonating a meta-level bomb to wipe out everyone in the area while their resistance was nil. Sometimes it really sucked having an intelligent extraterrestrial weapon of mass destruction hardwired into your spinal cord.
“Why should we listen to you?” Gar asked. “For all we know you could be a new Fearsome Five!”
“There are eight of us moron!” Aquagirl countered.
No matter the world, Gar was the same. “Ok, so I missed an episode or two of Sesame Street. You get my point!”
“You have five minutes,” said Donna in response to Jaime’s request to allow him to explain.
It took longer than five minutes but eventually the two teams straightened out their misunderstanding.
“So you’re the Titans team from the other world?” Cyborg asked.
“The Teen Titans,” Miss Martian corrected. “You guys are the senior team.”
“Did she just call us senior citizens?” Gar asked.
Cyborg shot him a nasty look. “Not now, green jeans.”
Changeling shrugged. “Has anyone here ever actually seen me wearing green jeans? Show of hands? I’m just saying!”
“So what brought you to Titans Tower?” Vic asked.
“Our tower is active for any Titans needing a place to crash and we read the tower was empty so we thought we could… you know… but we didn’t know you guys were using it. I mean we don’t want to impose…,” Jaime added.
Donna avoided eye contact. “Oh.”
Gar rubbed the back of his neck and looked away. “Can you say awkward?”
“I’m sorry,” said Jaime. “We understand.”
Gar eyed Aquagirl. “Of course my quarters are always open.”
“We have a Beast Boy on our world too,” Aquagirl shot back.
“Changeling,” Gar corrected. “I haven’t gone by Beast Boy in years.”
“On our earth you recently went back to using Beast Boy,” Aquagirl answered.
Gar smiled. “Another dashing cur wearing this handsome face? It isn’t fair to the rest of the multiverse!”
Blue Beetle hoped no one in his group informed Gar how poorly his team treated his doppelganger.
“You can stay here,” said Donna. “Titans are Titans. We’re family.”
“Thanks,” said a genuinely appreciative Jaime. “And sorry about the misunderstanding.”
“Think nothing of it,” said Donna. “It happens all the time.”
“And why is that?” Gar asked. “You’d think there was an unwritten rule somewhere that superhero groups have to fight after meeting for the first time. It’s so cliché.”
The Streets of Lower Manhattan, Two Days Later
Arsenal wasn’t sure what to make of the “new” Titans. His gut told him they were decent kids and there was no denying they could handle themselves extremely well- much better than the Teen Titans he belonged to at that age. Perhaps it was the way everyone seemed to accept them so readily that bothered him. When he joined the team Donna was the only one who welcomed him into the fold. Dick played the Batman Jr. card on him. He could do no right in Wally’s eyes. Even Aqualad seemed to dislike him. Of course “Speedy” didn’t make it easy for anyone either.
Blue Beetle cut in front of him and took the brunt of a laser rifle blast. The concussive force slammed the armored teen into the side of building where Arsenal was perched. The trip down memory lane would have to wait.
“Thanks, kid. You hurt?” Arsenal asked.
Blue Beetle made his way to the perch beside Roy and shook his head. “I’ve felt better but no worse for the wear. Have I mentioned how badly I hate Intergang, no matter what world we’re on?”
“That makes two of us,” Arsenal replied. “We appreciate your help rounding these guys up.”
“Our pleasure,” Blue Beetle answered. He pointed to the sky above. “But it looks like we have even more trouble now! That thing is fitted with Apokoliptian tech!”
A flying wing flew in from overhead and headed toward Times Square. Twin turrets mounted on either side of the craft opened fire and tore huge chunks out of two buildings. One of the buildings- a towering residential skyscraper, burst into flames.
<There are people trapped in the burning building!”> Miss Martian exclaimed telepathically.
“I’ve got the fire!” said Traci 13.
At her command fire hydrants all along the city block opened and took the shape of a towering water giant. The giant extended one hand toward the building and gently delivered water to the source of the flames.
People began to file out of the building and into the street below. Ravager rushed into the building from the floor level while Static and Changeling took to the air to reach the higher floors
With all the water being sprayed Aquagirl became a major player. She and Donna fought the Intergang foot soldiers in the street. Starfire provided air cover for them.
Arsenal and Blue Beetle maintained a command center from the top of the adjacent roof.
“Your team is good,” said Arsenal.
“I wouldn’t exactly call them “my” team,” Blue Beetle answered. “Our leadership didn’t make the transition to your world.”
Arsenal smiled. “From where I’m standing it sure looks like they did.”
“But you don’t understand…” Blue Beetle argued. “Without…”
“Let me guess you have a Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash and feel lost without them,” Arsenal shot back.
Blue Beetle nodded. “Yeah, I wish they were here. Superboy too.”
Arsenal watched the action unfolding around them. “Superboy? Sounds like the Young Justice group.”
“Yes!” Blue Beetle exclaimed. “They were in Young Justice before joining the Titans!”
Despite the chaos surrounding them Arsenal chuckled.
“What’s so funny?” Blue Beetle asked.
“I’m trying to imagine the Young Justice brats as leaders,” Arsenal replied.
The flying wing passed overhead and fired on them. At the end of the street it turned on its side vertically and rolled in order to make a maddeningly impossible turn and circle back toward them for a second pass.
Blue Beetle’s suit made its increasingly frequent suggestion to employ lethal force. As usual, he ignored it. “Just give me enough to bring down that wing without hurting anyone!” He rose into the air to intercept the approaching ship.
Before he could do anything Osiris shot through the aircraft like a missile and gutted it from the inside. The flying wing exploded.
“Did he just…” Arsenal asked.
Blue Beetle hoped there was another explanation. Osiris was a member of Black Adam’s branch of the Marvel family but surely he wouldn’t kill… would he? “I have faith in him.” Blue Beetle hoped his lie sounded convincing. “He won’t kill.”
Before long the combined Titans teams wrapped up the Intergang incursion and returned to the Tower. Once the T-Jet was stowed away safely, Arsenal wasted no time questioning Osiris. “Did you kill those men in that plane?”
Osiris replied with the same steely glare that made Black Adam infamous before he turned and walked away.
“We’re not finished here!” Arsenal demanded.
Osiris left the common area without a reply.
“I said we are not finished here!” Arsenal barked before going after him.
Ravager intercepted him with her broadsword drawn “I see you still have both arms here. Want to keep it that way?”
“That supposed to scare me?” Arsenal answered. “You wouldn’t be the first Ravager the Titans have taken down.”
The two glared at one another for several tense seconds before Blue Beetle entered the common area. “What the hell is going on here, Rose?”
“I was on my way to question Osiris when Little Miss Deathstroke drew her sword on me,” Arsenal replied.
“We don’t answer to you,” Ravager spat.
“You do when you’re in this Tower!” Arsenal shot back. “Especially if one of your teammates may have killed today!”
“He didn’t kill anyone,” said Ravager. She lowered her sword.
“How do you know?” Arsenal asked.
Ravager sheathed her weapon. “Heightened senses. The ship exploded from the center outward which means there was some kind of self-destruct.”
Blue Beetle hoped Rose was telling the truth and not simply trying to get Arsenal off their backs.
Gar flew into the room in the form of a giant condor. He held a large, wooden shipping crate between his crooked claws. “We had a special delivery while we were out! It’s addressed to the new kids! Someone left it in the hangar bay.”
The announcement made everyone forget the argument about Osiris. They gathered around the crate.
Ravager unsheathed her sword and placed it in the crack between the lid and the crate itself.
“What are you doing?” Arsenal demanded.
“Opening it,” Ravager replied. “Got a problem with that?”
“As a matter of fact, I do!” Arsenal answered. “We have no idea what’s inside!”
Ravager used her sword as a lever and worked to pry the lid off. “All the more reason to open it!”
Gar switched from the condor to a hummingbird and hovered in place over the crate. “Roy’s right. We should analyze it first.”
Ravager would not be denied. She gritted her teeth and at last the lid moved. “When it’s addressed to you, then you can decide what to do with it.”
“At least it didn’t blow up!” said Blue Beetle.
As soon as the lid moved the stench of death wafted through Titans Tower. “There’s a body in there!” said Arsenal. Pushing aside his ongoing argument with Ravager, he helped her remove the lid.
The body in the crate was face-down. It appeared to be that of a young man in his late teens or early twenties judging by his haircut and choice of clothing. He was dressed in a pair of baggy jeans and a bloody t-shirt. He wore no shoes. Blue Beetle searched his back pocket for identification. After he removed the young man’s wallet Arsenal and Ravager rolled him over.
“Oh my god!” Ravager gasped. She backed away from the crate.
“Who is it?” Arsenal asked. “Do you recognize him?”
Blue Beetle verified the horrible truth when he opened the wallet. “It’s Eddie Bloomberg. He was one of us – Kid Devil. He died a hero on our world.”
“Then that means…” said Arsenal.
Blue Beetle nodded. “This is your world’s Eddie.”
“But who...” Arsenal asked. “And why?”
A clearly enraged Ravager kneeled at Eddie’s body. Her reply was only one word, “Calculator.”
“Calculator? Seriously?” Arsenal asked. “He’s a washed-up has-been. He’s not capable of something like this.”
“Your Calculator may not be,” Blue Beetle answered. “But ours is incredibly dangerous – one of the world’s foremost experts on computers and strategic maneuvering. If your world has an Oracle, we need her…. Now!”