Earth Crisis – Part 6

Several heroes met at the Justice League Watchtower to discuss the ongoing Earth Crisis and the hope of stopping the war between Lex Luthor and those from beneath the Earth who had been attacking him. To this end, subterranean adventurer Cave Carson was beamed into the Watchtower to fill the heroes in on his views on who and what they were facing in that regard. Carson believed from previous descriptions given by the heroes of those attacking Luthor and LexCorp that the threat was from a race he called the Mole Men–mainly because their own name for their race was unpronounceable by humans. Similarly, Carson had dubbed their realm below the Earth as Moleria. He’d discovered and visited it in years past, and now was preparing his Mighty Mole II digging machine to take the heroes into the bowls of the Earth to try to negotiate a peace with them.

This would be possible only because the Mole Men communicated mainly by telepathic means. But it wouldn’t be easy, as their realm consisted of a vast network of caverns and tunnels, and it was also inhabited by a number of other creatures and subterranean races, though Carson was confident he could find it again and lead the heroes safely through it. It was because of the diversity of the Mole Men’s kingdom that Carson hadn’t been able to identify the mole monsters that the heroes had first encountered in the initial attack on Luthor at Metropolis Park. The heroes were preparing themselves to accompany Carson back to his island base when an alert sounded.

The alert was from Oracle. When they’d stopped Luthor’s telluric attacks on those below previously, Black Canary had left a monitoring device in the facility, and Oracle had been keeping tabs on LexCorp through it in case Luthor managed to repair his device and renew his attacks. Oracle had detected another telluric attack, though it had taken her time to get the data through all the jammers and scrambling devices Luthor had in place–but she was also now picking up the sounds of gunfire and screams from inside the telluric lab. She believed that LexCorp was again under attack. The heroes immediately undertook the risky venture of teleporting back into the LexCorp facility to find out what was happening. Carson was left back at the Watchtower as they couldn’t risk his coming to harm with so much at stake.

After teleporting into the facility, the heroes could hear gunfire and screams from a ways away . . . though it was originating in the generator room. They could see the LexCorp lab techs huddled down and hiding behind their stations, apparently unhurt, though several guards were down and not moving. The heroes emerged to find Luthor’s chief project scientist, Dr. Helmut Wassermann visibly shaken and reduced by the ordeal to speaking in a heavy German accent, though he managed to convey to the heroes what had happened. Following a tremor and sounds of destruction nearby in the facility, Luthor had sent most of the guards to investigate, resulting in a battle of some kind. Meanwhile, a pair of Mole Men had dug their way into the generator room and grabbed Luthor, carrying him off toward the sound of the conflict.

The heroes rushed to the other area to see what was up, with Black Canary stopping to check the fallen guards and to find them apparently in a deep sleep of some sort. Once they reached the site of the battle, the heroes saw two of the Mole Men’s boring machines sticking out of the broken floor of the complex, with a pair of Mole Men dragging Luthor, kicking and screaming, toward one of the digging vessels. Between them and the hapless captive were several of the mole monsters from before as well as two of the lava men who’d attacked LexCorp during the press tour. Also present were a number of LexCorp security troops firing on the creatures.

Canary had sent Troia and Mary Marvel on ahead to scout the situation while she and Batgirl and new hero Polygon followed as quickly as they could. Though he’d been of great value when they needed to shut Luthor down previously, Canary didn’t want the as yet inexperienced hero exposed to too much danger too quickly. Troia tried to get the guards to hold their fire and to get the Mole Men to talk with them and release Luthor, and Mary backed her up in the hope that they could resolve the situation peacefully. But the Mole Men seemed to ignore them as they pulled Luthor to their machine, and the two lava men suddenly spit out streams of magma, enveloping and incinerating several of the LexCorp security team. Batgirl recognized one of the guards still alive as one who was reluctant to get entangled in the conflict last time and offered to knock him unconscious as a way to save face, as he’d asked her to do before. But Luthor had called out that he’d pay any man who saved him a million dollars, so even this man was gung ho about rescuing their boss.

The guards, hearing Luthor’s offer, doubled down on their gunfire, ignoring the calls for a cease fire. Shocked at the deaths that had just occurred, Black Canary declared that they needed to take the creatures out, even as the mole monsters. who’d merely seemed to be running interference for their controllers up till now, advanced on the heroes and guards. Canary hit one of the lava men with her Canary Cry, using the same frequency Batman had given her that had previously blown out their controlling devices, reducing them to slag. Troia, similarly dismayed by the creatures’ actions went into warrior mode and flew directly at one of the approaching mole monsters hoping to use her full strength to knock it back or out. Mary was also upset at the killing of the men and attacked the other lava creature–who retaliated by spitting a stream of burning magma at her.

Black Canary discovered that her Canary Cry, while affecting the lava being, wasn’t blowing out his control device now–indicating that the constructs had been redesigned to resist her sonics. In desperation, she began altering the frequency, attempting to find the right one again, as she first had by accident when the mole monsters had attacked in the park. Batgirl tried to pull the gung ho guard back out of harm’s way, while Polygon unleashed a mighty bolt of sparking electricity at one of the oncoming creatures. Luthor began to scream to the heroes to save him and he’d donate millions to their favorite charities, while the guards began to fall back under the monsters’ advance, one pulling out a grenade launcher.

The monster Troia hit was pushed back, but seemed resistant–like those in the park had at first–and tried to grab and wrestle the Amazon to crush her in its massive arms. The guard Batgirl had tried to draw to safety pulled away from her and accidentally ran right into one of the other advancing mole monsters, which hit him hard, knocking him into a bloody heap against the wall. The creature Polygon had hit with his electrical attack faltered, and sparks began to shoot from the base of its neck. Then, as the other monsters continued to advance slowly on the heroes and guards, the one hit by Polygon’s attack seemed to go berserk and ran toward them.

Troia managed to withstand the one creature’s attempt to crush her and instead picked it up and threw it at one of the others. Mary evaded the lava stream attack and flew into the lava creature low in an attempt to knock it off its feet. Unfortunately, she’d forgotten it was made of living lava and she was quickly enveloped in the burning material, even as the lava man went down. Tragically, the stream of burning magma that missed Mary, hit another guard, taking him out. Canary suddenly hit on the right frequency to blow out her lava target’s control device, reducing it to slag. But it no longer had the previous cascading effect that had taken out the other creatures in tandem before. . . She realized they’d have to deal with each monster individually this time.

Meanwhile, the Mole Men had managed to reach one of their borer machines and were busy stuffing Luthor inside the hatch. The mogul increased his screams, promising even to stop his experiments if the heroes would save him–till one of the Mole Men stared at him and he went limp, to be pulled into the vessel. Batgirl, horrified by what had befallen the guard went to check him, only to find he was gone. Polygon, emboldened by the effect his attack had on the other monster, hit it with another barrage of lightning. It went down, but not before taking out another guard with a powerful swipe. Canary managed to roll out of the way of one creature advancing on her, coming up behind it and hitting it in the back of the neck with her Canary Cry, while the guard with the grenade launcher shot another in the face, stopping it up short.

The creature Troia threw at the other did hit it and both fell in a heap, only to rise and begin to advance once more on the heroes and guards. The one Canary hit with her sonic blast had its controller destroyed–but it went running berserk through a pair of guards, dropping them before blindly smashing into a wall, the impact seeming to take it out as well. Mary managed to painfully emerge from the lava creature, much of her costume burned off, but resolved to make her way to Luthor and try to save the man before he was carried away below the Earth. As she fought her way out of its body, she fortunately hit the lava creature’s controlling device, causing the being to melt down into a pool of magma. But though she managed to fly close enough to dig her hand into the vessel, before Mary could actually reach Luthor, one of the Mole Men turned and stared at her, filling her mind with an onslaught of oppressive heat and weight, as though she’d been hit by a gravity wave of immense strength. Mary dropped to the ground overwhelmed, the grip she’d obtained on the machine lost.

Both Batgirl and Polygon rushed to help Mary, shouting at the Mole Man and trying to get him to listen, but to no avail as the hatch closed and the machine began to sink back into the ground, rapidly moving away from the conflict and heading back below the earth. The one Mole Man remained behind to cover the retreat as he continued to keep Mary down. As the last remaining guard fired his grenade launcher again at the creature, Black Canary hit the other with her Canary Cry. She knew they had to stop these things, knocking out their control devices even if it made they run berserk–because it also seemed to make them more vulnerable and easier to take out. Her target suddenly erupted at the base of its skull–and charged berserk at her. Meanwhile, the other, hit in the face by the grenade, continued to move relentlessly toward the guard.

Troia then flew to the attack against the Mole Man immobilizing Mary. The Marvel, at the same time, used the feelings of intense gravity and weight along with her flight power to slam herself into the floor, causing the Mole Man to go flying–right into Troia’s powerful punch. He went down and Mary’s mind was freed again. As he fell, the other mole machine began to descend into the Earth, leaving the prone being lying alone. Meanwhile, Black Canary managed to flip out of the way of the mole monster rushing her, hitting it again with her sonics. The other one lost its control device in a secondary explosion after the guard’s grenade had exploded in its face–and it went berserk, rushing and taking out the man as it and its companion began to stride wildly toward the other room and the unarmed civilians.

Troia flew toward the hole that the first machine carrying Luthor had reentered in the hope that she might catch it and free the man. But before she could herself enter the hole, an explosion from deep below caused it to collapse, blocking any path to follow it below. A second explosion did the same for the hole the other machine had disappeared down. Mary, meanwhile, tried to reach the mind of the downed Mole Man, though her attempt didn’t at first seem to succeed. Polygon and Black Canary, seeing the monsters heading toward where the lab techs and scientist were still huddled, chased after them to try to stop the creatures from harming the helpless civilians. Polygon, being closer, got to them first and hit them both with massive electrical bolts, causing them to turn on him rather than continue on toward the others.

Canary called to the other heroes to forget Luthor and the Mole Man–for now–so that they could save the lives of the LexCorp employees. She readied another Canary Cry to support Polygon’s gambit. Troia, upset at losing Luthor to the invaders, considered trying to go after them even still, but finally heeded Canary’s cries to help stop the final two mole monsters before they could hurt the civilians–or Polygon, whom they’d turned on. Batgirl tried to pick up the Mole Man to take him to get help, but he proved too heavy for her. The semi-conscious being began to involuntarily broadcast mental images of underground caverns collapsing on cities, huge rocks smashing Mole Men and other creatures, and a feeling of sadness and loss . . . pictures of what Luthor’s telluric experiments and attacks were doing to his home.

Just then, Firestorm, who’d arrived late at the Watchtower and filled in by Carson on what was happening, teleported in to help. Canary directed him to attack the remaining mole monsters, as she let out another powerful Canary Cry against one while Mary punched it. The other was finally downed by a massive electrical jolt from Polygon. Troia rallied and lassoed the last creature, holding it so that Canary and Mary could hit it again, while Firestorm turned the floor below it into quicksand, further immobilizing it. Suddenly the creature ran out of steam and collapsed lifeless to the floor, followed by a final mental apology from the Mole Man before he, too, went silent. Exhausted by her own effort, Canary dropped momentarily to the concrete before forcing herself back up, suggesting that they get the Mole Man back to the Watchtower for Cave Carson to take a look at.

The heroes teleported back to the Watchtower with the unconscious Mole Man, where Cave Carson confirmed its identity as the race he’d suspected was behind the attacks on LexCorp . . . though apparently the attacks were only made in self-defense based on the images the Mole Man had shown them. The heroes filled Carson in on what had happened. Black Canary declared that, even though he may have deserved his fate, they had to get Luthor back. Carson determined that the Mole Man was dying because it couldn’t last long on the surface, so they had to get him back below as soon as possible or face the reality that Luthor didn’t have a chance. The heroes decided they’d accompany Carson back to his island base and go with him to the underground realm of Moleria to save both Luthor and the life of the now failing Mole Man. Canary would meanwhile stay behind and put out the call to any other heroes who could help, teleporting them all to Cave Carson’s base and the Mightly Mole II.

To be continued . . .

Heroes Present: Troia, Mary Marvel, Batgirl, Polygon, Firestorm, Black Canary, Cave Carson.

Villains Present: Lex Luthor, LexCorp Security (?), Mole Monsters, Lava Men, Mole Men (?).

Civilians Present: Dr. Helmut Wassermann, LexCorp lab techs.

This entry was posted in Justice League of America, LexCorp, Metropolis, Teen Titans, Titans, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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