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Doctor Who Crossover Internet Adventure #05 - "Fear Itself"


Chapter 2
"Suspicion"
by K. Michael Wilcox


---


"Nyssa?" The Doctor turned to his companion, who was staring up in complete shock. Following her gaze, he noticed a shrouded figure atop a nearby building. The darkness and some type of cloak made it difficult to discern any details, and the figure was apparently masked.


       "Well, it appears we have a guardian angel."


* * *


Batman paused for a moment and looked down at the couple on the sidewalk below and at the bundle of punks near them. Groaning to himself, he ducked back from the roof's edge and redoubled his efforts to get to the scene of the 'boom tube' arrival as quickly as possible.


       Though he'd only seen the pair for a moment, it had been obvious that they had not tied up the crooks themselves, which left few alternatives, only one of which was credible: Superman.


       Despite what the Man of Steel probably thought, he knew all about Clark Kent's extended visit and, until now, hadn't particularly cared. That was something Superman just never understood. His problem with Superman wasn't one of territoriality. If Clark Kent wanted to weekend in Gotham, fine. The problem was that Superman's occasional appearances undermined Batman's own effectiveness, up to weeks afterward. Once introduced to an ultra- powerful alien, criminals simply didn't fear him so much.


       As he leaped across Twenty-Eighth and landed on the parking structure for the McDowell Shopping Centre, Batman suddenly became very worried.


* * *


Superman had found what he was looking for easily enough; someone had smashed a man-sized hole in the side of the shopping centre and marched straight ahead, turning a Hallmark store to rubble. Without hesitation, he had followed, flying past the destruction and into the centre's broad corridors. There he'd found a decorative fountain which had been ripped out and tossed aside, leaving a ragged hole in the floor.


       Alighting at the hole's lip, he paused and tried to peer through the floor, but lead pipes -- odd finding those in a building this new, he thought — blocked his view. Meanwhile, he could hear conversation coming from below.


       "Why must I dig?" a gruff voice moaned. It sounded familiar, but Superman couldn't quite place it.


       "It is why you are here," a higher, more sibilant voice responded. "Do you question your father's judgement?"


       "No," the first voice sighed. "But couldn't I at least have a shovel?"


       "No."


       Superman slipped through the hole, then ducked into a shadow as he saw the two intruders. One, a compact but stout creature, had torn up the basement floor and was scrabbling at the cement beneath. The other, a small, emaciated man in a long robe, merely watched.


       "What would Kalibak and Desaad want under a mall?" Superman thought to himself. Deciding that whatever it was couldn't be good, he stepped forward and grabbed Desaad by the shoulder and threw him over an oblivious Kalibak and into the side of an immense air circulation unit. He stepped up behind the digging figure and was about to tap him when Kalibak stood up without warning.


       "I've found it!" Kalibak yelled happily. Almost immediately, Superman felt his stomach tighten and his knees wobble. Finally noticing the slumped shape in front of him, Kalibak tilted his head. "Desaad?" He quickly turned around, and Superman saw that he was holding a rock about as large as a loaf of bread. A green, glowing loaf of bread.


       "Kr-kr-kr..." Superman stammered as he tried to back away.


       "You!" Kalibak shouted. "Here for more?" He trudged closer to the retreating hero. "Why do you flee? Do you fear me?"


       Superman staggered back into a wall. "Kr-kr-kr..." Kalibak paused, confused.


       Suddenly, a mass of black swept between the two. Batman kicked Kalibak away, then draped his cape over Superman. "Lead lining," he whispered.


       Kalibak dropped the Kryptonite rock and lunged for Batman. The human simply stood still until his attacker was close enough, then he did a standing backflip and kicked Kalibak in the face. The alien flipped backward through the air and landed facedown on the Kryptonite, shattering it with his forehead.


       Batman took a brief moment to look back at Superman, who was not looking well. In that moment Desaad ran to where Kalibak lay, grabbed a shard, and activated the portal back to Apokolips. Batman started to run over, but stopped when he felt a quivering hand on his leg. He watched as Desaad shook Kalibak awake, and the pair stumbled into the portal and were gone.


       Once darkness returned, Batman began lifting Superman onto his shoulders and carrying him toward the hole. Once he was under it, he saw four arms reach down through it.


       "Here, let us give you a hand," a man's voice said.


       When he looked up through the hole, Batman was surprised to see the couple who'd been he'd passed earlier.


* * *


Kalibak looked up at the imposing form of his father, Darkseid.


       "I apologise, father. We only brought back a small bit of the green stone." He closed his eyes and braced himself for the pain he always felt when his father was angry.


       "That is enough," Darkseid said simply.


       Kalibak opened one eye. "You are pleased?"


       "I am satisfied."


       Kalibak relaxed. "When Superman attacked..."


       "Superman was there?"


       Kalibak grinned. "Yes, but he seemed weak, unwilling to fight."


       Darkseid's eyes flashed. "I hope you did not kill him."


       Kalibak's face tensed so quickly, the smile was still there. "Umm..."


       "It is critical that Superman lived."


       "I'm, umm, I'm sure he did! Yes! Another man came and saved him!"


       The glow in Darkseid's eyes faded. "Let us hope so." Kalibak nearly collapsed. "You have performed the task, Kalibak. You may return to the mines."


       "No, father, please!" Kalibak screamed. He was still screaming when he vanished.


* * *


The Doctor and Nyssa dragged the ill man away from the hole and examined him while the other man did something below before coming back up to the surface.


       "Thank you," Nyssa said as the man returned, "for before, I mean."


       He pointed at the other figure. "He did it."


       "Well then," the Doctor said, turning to the man lying before him, "thank you."


       "Dnmnnt," the weak man mumbled.


       "What did he say?" Nyssa asked.


       "I think he said not to mention it," the Doctor answered. He looked up at the man in black again. "I'm the Doctor, and this is my friend Nyssa." He held out his hand, but the man did not reach out to shake it. "Ah." He withdrew the hand.


       "Who are you, anyway?" Nyssa asked.


       For a fraction of a second, the man actually seemed taken aback. "I'm Batman." Nyssa looked to the Doctor, who shrugged. "That's Superman."


       The Doctor snapped his fingers. "Of course! And if he's ill, then that green glow we saw must've been..."


       "Kryptonite," Superman finished. "Speaking of which, Batman..."


* * *


His master's throne was turned around as Desaad carefully approached. In his hands, he held a satin pillow, and on the pillow was a syringe.


       "It is ready, my lord."


       The throne rotated until Darkseid faced his minion. "Distilled essence of Mara," Desaad bragged. "The purest of evils. And it's right here in this hypodermic with a Kryptonite needle."


       "Excellent. Have Kanto deliver it to Ra's al Ghul at once. With that running through his system, Superman will be the greatest of my servants. The Earth, the universe, will be mine."


---
To be continued...



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