Saving a Superman

March 28, 2018:

Superman "drops in" to Titan's Tower


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

"My slaughter is most discriminate."

Forged in the fire of the pit of Surah, blade is small but sharp in a way few things are. A scalpel, littered with glitter once clear and pure that would make it sing against the atmosphere. Forged by her father, a gift to his daughter, on the day Faora-Ul would take her place at Zod's side, it means all the world to her. But that world is dead. And like all dead things from that world, it now glows green under the light of a yellow sun.

A growing moisture at the small of Kal-El's back, a growing weight, as if gravity can once again hold him. Pain will begin to catch up with him, with that slender blade that lets minute amounts of his homeworld into his bloodstream. As one God looks on, saddened as another God, her only challenge left on this world, is sacrificed to her worthy cause.

"I do not need to kill them. Nor do I want to. Only to put them in their proper place. With proper guidance. Today I begin, with the death of hope."
Faora leans close, whispering in his ear. "Do not worry. I will take care of them. Goodbye… /Superman./"

With his Earthly name, she divorces him from a shared lineage, with a push, she sends him from the sky and towards the city, and as fate has it, towards a building that already has a hole in it.

[INTERIOR – Titan’s Tower – New York City]

“Welcome Superman-01,” the Titan’s tower alerts audibly throughout the structure the feminine voice simultaneously heralding the arrival of a non-Titan but also signifying that there is no perceived danger in the presence.

Those who would query the system would find that the computer registers the Man of Steel in the room which earlier melted beneath the heat of a burning star.

“Welcome, Superman-01,” the tower alerts a few seconds later, as if he had departed and returned, and the nine second later, “Welcome, Superman-01.”
Those who make their way to the scene of the earlier event fine the room empty save for an odd play of light and shadow. The translucent webbing that covers the hole sends a grayish pattern across the floor as the opaque tendrils and translucent webbing block shield the interior until a patch can be made.

At the center of the web-of-shadows a figure struggles like the proverbial fly caught in the spider’s web. Those who look up at the ceiling would clearly see the netlike webbing solidly ensnaring a figure of blue-and-red who thrashes weakly as if seeking to escape the grotesque fetters. His struggle forces the webbing to bounce gently and each time it moves downward beyond the perimeter of the hole to where the internal sensors scan the computer alerts all..

“Welcome, Superman-01.”


These days, she spends her time hopping in between New York and Gotham, and while in New York, between Brooklyn and Titans Tower, and occasionally Queens whenever she insists on dragging her friend Peter Parker (who is absolutely, unequivocally not related anything resembling Titans business) out for tacos. This is one of those former moments and true to her typically generous nature, she is doing the one thing that she knows everyone in the Tower will appreciate:

Stocking the fridge.

What she has in her hands are the direct results of John Constantine's curmudgeonly personality when he is working - especially when he's working, and when his stress levels intensify, Chas Chandler's stress levels intensify, and whenever that happens, he cooks. He cooks a lot. And once the haze fades and he realizes what he has done, and that John's fridge could only hold so much, he attempts to foist off his tupperware containers to anyone who would take them. Today, Zatanna Zatara is the lucky recipient.

Thankfully, Chas in an amazing cook.

So the refigerator now bears all of the efforts he has expended in the kitchen the last few days: cannelonis stuffed with ricotta cheese, several variations of curry, half a rib roast and some Turkish dessert the young witch hasn't even heard of, nevermind that half her genetic makeup comes from the very region (some kind of sweet thing made with rice and pomegranates).

There's so much that any of them spoiling would be a legitimate concern…and then she remembers Impulse lives there.

She is pushing in the last of these offerings when the warning causes her to lift her head, furrowing her brows to the nearest sensor.

Welcome Superman-01.

Her expression is indescribable. What, really?

In spite of her years trailing after her father's imposing shadow all over the world, the realm of metahumans - superheroes - is still relatively new to her. It may be common knowledge to some that Batman and Superman are close friends, or as close as anyone can get to Bruce Wayne, so it wouldn't be all that difficult to assume that he is here visiting his adopted son. But she doesn't know that. There is a lot about Bruce's life that she doesn't know.

And due to certain mishaps in the last year, it's understandable that she has become somewhat estranged from him.

Closing the fridge, she starts to move out of the Titans living area.


The Tower, naturally, is prepared for certain contingencies.

For one thing, there's some people out there that you just couldn't keep out even if you really wanted to. For another, it'd probably look bad if certain prominent members of the Justice League showed up and the building told them to get lost. For all that the Titans under the leadership of Red Robin are trying to not simply be a Junior Justice League of Avengers' Youth Auxiliary, there are practical concerns to worry about.

So of course the Tower, build years ago and recently refurbished with the team's reactivation, knows Superman when it sees him. Though it was probably expecting him to come in through the front door, if not from the roof.

The destroyed forensics lab was supposed to be off-limits, though that hasn't really stopped certain people anyway. Silk's efforts to cover up the damage from without and a hasty replacement of the blast doors from within at least shored up the security breach… But they still somehow wound up with an Asgardian (and a goat) visiting, and now it seems a Kryptonian. But something is, clearly, wrong.

"This is Red Robin to all points," the former Boy Wonder calls over the team comms. Surely, there's other Titans in the building. "Anybody available, meet me at the forensics lab." Fortunately, he was already on the operations level, practically flying out of his personal lab and rushing down the corridor. The hastily-replaced security door scans him, recognises him, opens as it must.

Featureless white lenses set in a jaggedly designed domino mask scan around the room, his suit's onboard computer identifying, tagging, highlighting changes. And then up, he sees…

"Now," he adds, more fiercely, drawing a sharp-edged batarang from his belt, to start cutting at the webbing.


“Help,” the figure in the webbing manages so weakly that without enhanced hearing it may not be clear until he implores the second or third time that the plea is clear.

The web formula utilized to cover the roof lacks much of the adhesion of its counterparts but none of the durability. It's like a sticky oversized trapeze net, the red-and-blue figure struggles partially due to the epoxy but also because of its flexibility over such a wide space.

An astute detective might immediately recognize the dripping fluid that moves between the ropelike tendrils and spatters – just a drop here or there – upon the blackened floor.

As others enter the room he rolls to his belly and thrusts an arm between a space in the webbing, "Help," his fingers widening as if somehow hoping he can reach across meters of space to take their hands. The webbing bulges downward suddenly as if some great strength were attempting to convey him to those below. However, it relents after a moment and he springs back into place with a playful bounce.


"So, like… I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say this isn't normal."

This is Spider-Man's, who is definitely not Peter Parker, who is definitely not lamenting missing out on yet another Taco Tuesday, first observation as he takes in the sight of a walking alien god just kind of weakly struggling against the webbed up stretch of wall that was once a very lovely, scorched hole. The masked menace (vigilante) was one of the first to respond when he heard Robin's voice over the comms, and that is entirely because he was already heading that way to begin with. It's Superman, come on!

The guy, like, bench presses continents with a stern glare, you don't NOT go see Superman and hope he's not here because it turns out he's a big fan of the Daily Bugle and maybe he's here to arrest you OH GOD THIS MIGHT BE A HORRIBLE MISTAKE —

Or at least, it might have been.

If Superman wasn't bound up in a huge bundle of Silk's webbing like a fly in the… well, you get the idea.

"Like — I mean," begins Spder-Man eloquently as he hangs, upside-down, from the ceiling of the damaged lab, scratching the side of his head. "Last I heard, Superman plays ping-pong with planetoids, which is a really cool band name idea, by the way, not like, trying to suggest we should start a band to bolster our public image, but if we WERE, y'know." Vague hand gesture goes here. "We'll circle back around to that. The POINT is — considering sometimes it feels like even a slightly annoyed geriatric woman can break our webbing on a bad day-" Which SHOULDN'T BE POSSIBLE, he notes, in his quiet inner monologue as he gestures at the struggling Superman.

"All this? Seems like a big problem."

And there Robin goes with the very sharp batarang, and Peter, concerned as he is, drops from the ceiling a moment later. He slips something small from his utility belt, tossing it Robin's way.

"Here. It's a solvent. That one should work on Silk's." Yes, he has webbing solvents prepared for both his AND Silk's webbing. You have no idea how annoying it is to remove if you web something you don't mean to. No. Idea. "Just, y'know — get him free. And maybe to a medbay. Maybe he needs some spinach? That's how his powers work, right? The Pop-Eye Principle?? No but seriously he sounds like he's in a lot of trouble this seems really super bad, what the heck happened??"

Jokes aside — the webbed vigilante readies himself to catch the Kryptonian if he has to. Because he's not going to ask Red Robin or anyone else here to try to carry around potentially Kryptonian dead weight.


The forensics lab?

Weren't they fixing that still?

Zatanna finally emerges from the other side of the Tower and into where the small group of Titans is slowly gathering, boots hitting clean metallic floors and eyeing the double doors left open (and half melted) from the blast of…whatever happened with the poor guy they brought here. Taking a step forward, and catching sight of familiar figures clad in (mostly) red, she lifts her fingers in a wave of greeting. "Hey," she says. "Not sure if we managed to purge the Jane Virus out of the computers yet, but the security AI just said that Superman-01 is around. Do we know him? Or is he here because we did something wrong? Because whatever it is, it wasn't— "

Ice-blue eyes finally fall on the Kryptonian struggling with webs. Struggling with webs. The strongest man on Earth, and he's knotted up in Silk's protective weaves.


She's moving, at least, taking several steps forward to assist Red Robin in disentangling their (inexplicably weakened) visitor. With one of his batarangs out, the witch takes up the other side, a single spell uttered to reduce some of the strings holding Superman to drops of harmless water, letting those parts of his body pass through in an attempt to release him.

There is a very emphatic, inquiring look shot at Red.


Calling this situation non-ideal would be a pretty big understatement. Red Robin doesn't say it out loud though, because he's not the wisecracking kid sidekick anymore, he's a serious… Well, serious-ish vigilante superhero. And more relevantly at the moment, the leader around here. He needs to project an air of focused confidence. He needs to keep morale up in this particularly non-ideal situation.

"Dunno," is his answer to Spider-Man's question about what happened, having caught the solvent and starting to apply it to the webbing. Surely it shouldn't be able to restrain the Man of Steel. He should've been able to just tear right through it. "I don't think he really intended to come visit like this."

He knows that the Tower's computer systems are clean: Whatever might still exist of Jane Foster's supernaturally endowed computer virus was kept contained for research purposes, not on the system. Though he's been trying to figure out just how that was interacting with the nanomachines in the man who so recently blew up in this very room. At the moment, at least, those thoughts are pretty far from his mind.

"We've got you, Superman," he assures the Man of Tomorrow as they start to melt away the webbing, with Spider-Man positioned to use his own superhuman strength to catch the Kryptonian. Fortunately, thanks to a great deal of training, he doesn't enter any kind of panic over the idea that Superman is depending on someone else to save him. "Once we get him loose we need to take him to the medbay," he confirms at least part of Spider-Man's suggestion; another facility that was, fortunately, nearby. "Zee, when we do, I need you to make sunlight."


It's not quite spinach…


Zee, when we do, I need you to make sunlight.



Solvent, spells, and sharp edges make quick work of Silk’s webbing.

The Titans cut the Man of Steel free and he falls gently into the waiting grasp of Spider-Man. Comparatively, Superman has almost a half foot and likely seventy pounds on the wall-crawler whose super-strength is more than sufficient to cradle the Kryptonian but it’s certainly an odd juxtaposition.

Superman feels feverish at the touch and his skin has turned and unnatural shade of white as the space beneath his eyes begins to yellow from jaundice. Blue eyes flicker feverishly about before honing in upon the mask of the wall crawler, “My back,” he whispers coarsely, “kryptonite.” Concurrent with this Peter Parker can feel a warm wetness upon the arm that supports the Man of Steel’s lower back.

Struggling like an infant against the wall-crawler’s grasp reaches blindly towards blurring shapes, “Robin,” he states voice tightening despite his condition, “If /she/ comes make it,”

He seems to search for the other ‘Zee’, “Red…,” long pause, “sun light.”


Sunlight, spinach. They both start with 's,' and so, Spider-Man just counts that as a win.

It says something, really, about how much weird things he's had to experience in such a comparatively short amount of time that as Red Robin gives out his orders, he just takes his instructions to the magically-inclined Zatanna with a well-in-stride, "Yeah, Zatanna, make some sunlight, because that's not, like, got really disturbing implications or anything," as he reaches out to catch Superman before he can collapse.

For him, it's some remarkable progress.

Less well in stride is him grappling with the fact that he is essentially bridal carrying the Man Of Steel who is practically a good six inches taller than he is and bigger to boot. So he just sort of — slowly, s l o w l y carry the Kryptonian towards the medbay, clearing his throat in the process.

"This is, far and away, one of the most awkward things I have ever done in my entire life. I am so, so sorry. Please don't die in my arms, please don't die in my arms, please don't die in my arms-"

He really doesn't know if he'd be capable of forgiving himself if the God Damn Superman died on him while he was cracking wise.

But for all his chatter, Peter Parker is exceedingly careful in handling the Kryptonian hero as he feels something warm and wet stain itself against his forearm. He knows what that means, and combined with Superman's word, it paints a pretty clear picture of what's happened.

"It's his back," he utters to Zatanna and Red Robin. "Lower back — I think someone stabbed something with…" Kryptonite.

This feels like a very 'oh, crap' moment.

Which might be why he is very quick, but very careful, to lay out the man when they reach the medbay, intent to rest him on his side. He can't see the red on his suit that well, but he knows it's blood decorating his forearm now — and he knows if there's something in there, they're going to have to get it out.


Zee, when we do, I need you to make sunlight.

"Alright." Her reply is both decisive and instantaneous - a single word that succinctly reflects her trust in Batman's protege and the formidable brainpower trapped within his cowl. She takes a few steps away to make room for Spider-man to cradle the Man of Steel in his arms, though the mumbled words from the latter cause her to furrow her brows slightly. "…kryptonite?"

Yeah, Zatanna, make some sunlight.

"The both of you make it sound so easy," the witch remarks wryly, angling a look towards the bird and the spider. Look, she's new at this, okay? And she's never met Superman before.

Still, she's not about to just reach in there and yank it out - the guy needs a clean space if they're going to cut him open, a sterile environment and someone who knows how to perform that kind of procedure. She is a magician, not a surgeon and she doesn't know if Superman is the kind of metahuman that can regenerate. Do nigh-near invulnerable people regenerate? Does kryptonite work on every metahuman?

All questions for later.

She is already moving for the door, though, along with her two friends.

By the time they reach medbay, she'll let Red and Spider-man wrangle Superman while she keys up the necessary systems for diagnosis, surgery and repair. There could be something else that's wrong with him other than kryptonite, it can't hurt to be careful.


Bart Allen arrives from Ground Level - Titans Tower.


Being the former protege of the Dark Knight comes with a lot of perks. One of them, which is admittedly pretty situational, is knowing more about Kryptonians than most. There aren't a lot of things that could injure Superman like that under typical conditions, for all that the world keeps producing strange new wrinkles; between the blood that had been obvious in the lab, and more obvious when Spider-Man is helping Superman towards the medbay, and the Man of Steel's own words…

And what he says about this mysterious 'she' and 'red sunlight'…

No, first things first. He's not having Superman die in Titans Tower.

"Okay, lay him on his front, we don't have time to waste," he tells Spider-Man, while Nurse Zatanna (a costume idea he's never going to suggest to her because he likes not being turned into a ferret) starts the medbay computer up. Already, the Red Knight is going for the surgical tools. Usually, shrapnel or other small foreign objects aren't handled like you would in a movie: Nine times out of ten it's better to, say, leave a bullet or a bit of metal in the patient rather than risk doing more damage taking them out. In this case, though, the foreign material is the problem. "Spider-Man, I need you to hold him down. Superman, just hang in there."

Yes, of course Red Robin can do basic surgery. Who do you think trained him? But he's working against the clock, even if the kryptonite has weakened Superman's vast physical abilities enough to be able to do the work. Scalpels, tweezers, forceps, the whole lot. No time to sterilise anything, but once Superman is up and running a little Earth infection would probably get squashed instantly.

"Nobody here's squeamish about blood, right?" he asks, as he starts searching for any fragments of kryptonite large enough to be removed.


Superman is deposited facedown upon the steel medical table.

The movement of his crimson cape reveals a blue-alien patterned fabric which is black from blood flow. A thorough examination would reveal a two-inch slit in the fabric over his right kidney and a deep surgical wound which seems to ooze a surge of dark red fluid in time with each rapid heartbeat.

The medical systems powering up heralds the descent of a sophisticated scanner that slowly extends a scanning ball comprised of interwoven hexagons. It spins three-quarters left. Two-quarters right. Back and forth with an efficient whir. Heart rate. Blood Pressure.

The med-display reads:
DIAGNOSIS: Organ failure attributed to cellular necrosis.
CAUSE: Kryptonite Septicema
TREATMENT: Removal of Kryptonite particulate.

“Auugh,” Superman cries out in terrible pain as surgical tools are inserted into his wound his uncomfortable thrashing somewhat subdued by the proportional-spider-strength of Peter Parker. Weak as he appears to be his reflexive movement is a challenge to control.

As Robin gets into the wound he can see glittering green fragments some of which are large enough to tweeze free but other appear to be so tiny – the size of glitter; making manual removal of those pieces quite difficult and a skilled surgeon might wonder how much of these tiny particles has been picked up by his blood stream.

Yet, as the larger pieces are pulled free the nearby display begins to tick upward low blood pressure seemingly fighting towards normalcy.


Nobody's squeamish here about blood, right?

There's a look at Tim from Zatanna once she's queued up the needed diagnostic programs.

With the scanning light beaming down on Superman and moving up and down his body, her pale stare moves towards the computer screens, reviewing the readout quietly. "Red, I think we better hurry," she says. "The computer's telling me a bunch of medical terms and neither of them sound good. Organ failure due to cellular necrosis caused by kryptonite septicema." She doesn't bother reading out the treatment, because Batman's protege already knows what they need to do to get Superman in working order again.

With that done, she steps away from the computer and towards the head of the table. She'll let Peter and Tim work, with the former holding him up, and the latter performing a quick surgery. But she doesn't put out the light show yet. She doesn't know if it will help or hinder the process and it might make Tim's job harder when it comes to removing the thing.

Though once Red Robin is finished yanking the kryptonite from Superman's back, that is when she conjures up some sunlight, using the obelisk from the back pocket of her black jeans to channel it directly into the Man of Steel's body.


"Guuuuys, there's like. A trail out here what did you do no-"

Impulse at least sounds concerned as he steps into the medbay, and given that he hadn't been at the Tower at all five minutes ago, it's likely that he's just arrived, in his usual fashion. His eyes grow wide behind his goggles as he sees and hears that cry in pain and takes in just who it was that's been leaking out there. This shouldn't be a thing. Superman's like. Well, Superman.

"Whoa-! Uh-" He clamps his own hands over his mouth as he realizes he might be interrupting a very delicate procedure. When did Robin ever…. No, that's a dumb question.


+MEET: Faora has arrived via +meet.


As it happens, Red Robin is absolutely wondering how much of that particulate kryptonite has been absorbed into Superman's system. But he doesn't have the technology here, nor the personal expertise to really deal with that eventuality. This is the worst kind of battlefield triage, for all that they're surrounded by millions of dollars of advanced medical equipment: This is on a relative scale a bare step up from leeches and balancing the humours. The magically-generated sunlight will help, he hopes, but…

Bloodstained tools, motes of green glittering in red, fill a surgical steel tray as the former Boy Wonder uses everything at his disposal, his mask's vision systems magnifying, enhancing; the irony here is that if Superboy were around, his senses would be an enormous boon to the task… But the presence of the kryptonite would be a danger to the clone. So…

"Okay… Okay, I think I've gotten everything I can," he says finally, getting the tray away from Superman and putting it behind a lead shield. "Good work Spider-Man, Zee. Hey Impulse," he adds, acknowledging the speedster's presence now that he's done what he can. "This is basically just first aid. He's probably gonna need more than we can provide here, just in case. Maybe the Justice League…"

They have all sorts of crazy stuff the Titans don't have access to, he knows. He definitely doesn't know that from ever hacking their computers. That would be wrong.


At first Red Robin’s delicate tools moves through Kryptonian tissue as they would a wounded human; flesh viscous and pliable as heartbeats constantly obstruct his workspace with the oozing of oxygenated blood.

Then, Tim would note subtle resistance as more of the particulate is removed..

Then, as preternatural sunlight cascades upon Superman..

Kryptonian flesh becomes rubbery to Red Robin’s tools as if his muscle and skin were trying to push the instruments away from the wound. Blood blackens, thickening, and growing gooey as it tries to coagulate mid-operation.

The Man of Steel exhales as the discomfort of the tools in his back is suddenly less pronounced. The return of even meager invulnerability deadening him to the discomfort of routine operation as if under the effect of profound local-anesthesia. Whatever the increased difficulty Red Robin is now experiencing the Man of Steel seems far more relaxed.

The particulate disappears behind a leaden shields..

Upon the monitor, his vitals continue towards normalcy.

Turning his head to one side he can barely feel the cool metal of the surgical table through his cheek. The sensation evokes a tired smile for the relief it provides to the warmth of his feverish skin, “Thank you,” he whispers with some labor, “all,” eyes close for a long moment and then he asks them, “Is everyone, okay?”

“The explosion,” he clarifies with blue eyes that open but seem to stare without focus into the middle-distance, “was anyone hurt?”


And just like that, Zatanna Zatara makes like.

You know, kind of like God did.

"Never gonna get over that," declares Spider-Man, quite resolutely stubborn on this fact. Magic. What a bag of nonsense, thinks the young man who got his powers from a radioactive spider-bite.

It's a testament to how -strong- Superman really is that even weakened as he is now, it is still a bit of a struggle for Peter to keep him in place — especially without hurting him any further. He doesn't really know how vulnerable the Man of Steel is in this state. He didn't even know the Man of Steel could BE this vulnerable. It's humbling, in its own way, and it keeps the normally chatty Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man relatively quiet to allow Red Robin to focus on his work.

"… What do you think did this to him?" the masked vigilante finally says, lenses whirling down towards a squint as he eyes Superman beneath them like some approximation of concern. "Who could — y'know — I mean, look at him. He's Superman. Superman." He italicizes this, because it's very important to emphasize. "Who could do this to him?"

The answer, he knows, regardless of identity:

Someone very very dangerous.

Which is just about when Impulse shows up. Spider-Man's lenses shutter a bit, almost like a blink. Awkward silence passes.

"Uh. Heeeeeeeeeey. Mind the blood."

"Good news though! He's not dead! I think!"

Which Superman helpfully confirms, a second later, voicing — concern, for them, of all things.

"H-hey, dude, we're all fine, you just focus on — y'know — not being dead. You gotta rest. Or do some Kryptonian bacta tank thing. Do Kryptonians have bacta tanks? Is it okay for me to be talking about Star Wars with you? Is that offensive? Oh my god you almost bled to death, I'll shut up now."


Never gonna get over that.

"I knew you guys kept me around for a reason," Zatanna deadpans, though that doesn't last - too expressive, sometimes, for her own good. There's a grin that curls up on her mouth after that.

But the webslinger's questions are sound and at a glance down at the bloodied kryptonite shards that Red Robin has dug out of the man and towards the now-rapidly sealing hole on the man's back, a hand lifts up to scratch lightly at the back of her neck.


It's not even a joke. The young magic user knows very little about the Last Son of Krypton.

With Bart appearing in a blink of an eye (or faster than). "Hey Impulse," she says. "I restocked the fridge." Nevermind that the young speedster has just stumbled in mid-surgery with all the blood; as far as she knows, though, Bart's appetite is legendary.

Now that the emergency is over, she finally takes the time to take a look on the man on the medical table, letting it all settle and the longer she stays silent, the more visibly awed she becomes. Everyone has heard of Superman. She doesn't know much, but all she knows, however minute, are good things. Like Captain America. It's just…

…and if she wasn't floored before, he…

…the explosion. Was anyone hurt…?

The man nearly died before her eyes from organ failure due to his glowing green alien Achilles Heel and that is the first thing he asks.

"They used a boy," she blurts out, because something about him compels her to tell him the absolute dirty truth of it. "We don't know who they are yet. But aside from him….everyone is okay and alive."


There's little enough that Impulse can do here, and standing by watching just makes him anxious, even when all he can really see is Robin hunched over Superman's form while Spider-Man holds the big guy down as best he can. Even Zee's got something to do.

It might seem long enough for the others, but it's nearly an eternity for Bart as he watches the blips on the monitors, although they start to even out into something less like ripples in a pond and more towards sufficiently seismic activity. Oh good. He wasn't worried at all or anything.

Heeeeeeeeeey. Mind the blood. A second look would see that said blood's disappeared, Bart having decided there was something he could do, and it'd save anyone else (or him) some messy accident. The creak of the waste receptacle lid and sound of the sink is like an afterthought, a mop sliding precariously where it's been stood off to the side to dry, and Impulse is wiping his hands off on a paper towel as Superman sits up with Spider-Man's relieved exclamation.

"Nice job, you guys," he says, smiling crookedly. They work pretty fast, a sure compliment coming from a speedster! Restocked fridge? How long will that last? Nevertheless, it's always appreciated. Nodding at his friends, amber eyes then blink at the more senior hero in their company.

It takes him a moment to figure out what explosion he's talking about, but even then, that had been an event that Impulse had missed. But he'd heard- well, read about what had happened from Red Rob's report, and seen the mess up in the lab. His expression is grim as Zatanna speaks.


Blackagar arrives from Long Island.


"Plus Wonder Girl didn't want to come last alphabetically," is the offhanded remark from Red Robin when Zatanna gets deadpan about the reasons they keep her around. Cracking jokes could be a good sign or a bad one: It could be that things have gone well enough that he's relaxing a little… Or it could mean that things are going abysmally wrong and the only way to deal with that is with avoidant behaviour. Although things would have to be really bad for somebody like him to get avoidant.

With Superman seemingly on the mend, and the retrieved, bloodied fragments of kryptonite (unlikely to just wind up in the trash) carefully put behind a lead barrier to reduce their dangerous radioactive emissions, the vigilante takes the opportunity to wash the blood off of his gloves with the medbay's sink.

Of course, the Man of Steel's first concern is for others. Nobody who'd had any interactions with him would ever really expect anything else, but… Well, it always has an effect on people, right? Like getting Zatanna to blurt out what had happened when the Tower's forensics lab was destroyed.

"What Zatanna said," Red Robin affirms. "He was some kind of… Test subject or something. Whoever had altered him seems to have set him off to cover their tracks." He doesn't think it was a targeted attack, there's too much that could've gone wrong there. No, more likely the whole thing was an accident, they were able to track him, and weren't about to let the Titans or anyone else study him. "Unfortunately we couldn't save him, but we got everyone else out in time."

A brief glance towards Zatanna there, before he turns back to the others. "Uh, what you got caught up in was our teammate's makeshift cover for the hole in the wall. But what about you, Superman? Who attacked you?"


Superman’s head rolls slightly more to one side such that he’s staring at the web-head, “Empire,” he barely tries to smile in a manner that’s an attempt at reassurance, “great movie.” One might imagine a young Clark Kent cira 1980s confused about his place in the universe enthusiastically watching VHS tapes in the floor of a Smallville living room hoping they might provide some clue as to his true identity.

‘They used a boy..’ Zatanna says, ‘…aside from him everyone is okay, and alive.’

He exhales sharply but doesn’t try to turn, “I’m sorry,” he says to the pain he assumes they must feel for the loss of human life, “but I’m glad you’re okay.” He shifts slightly at the shoulders sending his arms off the side of his table and his fingers twitch as if searching for sensation, “Glad you brought him here,” the Man of Steel says, “off of the street.”

“I’m proud of you.”

That stated his eyes close again, “Faora-Ul,” he responds to Tim, “Kryptonian. Soldier. Not sure how..,” voice trails, “..why she’s here. Dangerous but,” his brow knots above closed eyes, “driven by purpose.” He seems to hesitate for a long moment, “Can’t remember..” as if the Kryptonite and the near-organ-failure had given him a bit of short-term amnesia.

“Alert the League. I need to rest for a…,” long pause, "moment."


Black Bolt seems to arrive far too late, flying at supersonic speeds until he arrives at the Tower. His face telling the whole story as it's plastered with concern. He makes the expression that he came as fast as he could. But it seems he was already too late.

His eyes fall on the seemingly dazed Man of Steel, and Black Bolt tilts his head at the man, this being the first time he's met him. The S on the chest easily an identifier for arguably the world's greatest hero. Eyes move them to Robin, signing at the fellow.

<Is he alright?>

Though there's a few faces he hasn't met yet…like Spiderman and Zatanna, which he bows his head softly to the both of them.

He has not said a single word.


"Yeah, right?? With the Walkers and everything! I kinda always wanted to do that. Anyone know any giant supervillains? Could I borrow them? Like… just for a second."

He's going to be sad if they're all in super-prison, or something. Spider-Man would jokingly suggest breaking them out, but… he's sure that's the exact moment JJJ would reveal he's somehow bugged the entire Tower just waiting for Spider-Man to slip up even once and reveal his true, diabolical nature.

It's no less plausible to him than someone making sunlight, at least.

But his joking words subside, for a moment, as Superman and the others start to talk about what happened to the medbay. The mask helps hide his expression, and whatever he might be thinking, but body language tells a tale all its own: the way he looks away, the way his weight shifts, the way he rubs at his forearm.


He wasn't fast enough.

"… dunno who did that to him, or why, but we're gonna find out," is all he says of the matter, his voice restrained. Sobered.

He has to make up for what happened, somehow.

But as Superman speaks of what happened to him, Spider-Man quiets once more. His head tilts. "An evil Superman. Superwoman. Sorry. That's just — that's awesome. Great. Super. No pun intended. But if it was, it'd be a good one, right? If I meant for that to be a pun? Because it could be if you guys wanted it to be-"

I need to rest for a…… moment.

"Oh. Uh. Yeah. We'll do that. Just get some sleep!" Wow. Superman sleeps. That's weird. Not as weird as 'Superman almost died,' but even so —

"So this is su-" no you already went to that well, think of something else- "-well. Swell. This is just swell." And so enters Black Bolt.

"Oh god the evil Kryptonian is here!" shouts Spider-Man, almost by kneejerk reflex, hopping aside with hands upraised in a combat-ready stance until he realizes just who he's looking at. "… oh. Uhhhh. Hey… Silent Movie Man." Sure. Close enough.

"We should probably, like — let him rest. Does he — do we have to — you don't think he's the type who needs a lullaby or anything, do you, because I'm not really sure how my singing voice is-"


She recognizes Blackagar from the files - Tim has probably memorized them from top to bottom, but given that Zatanna can't boast the same prodigious intellect and photographic memory, she settles for names and faces. The slight dip of his head earns him a faint, but ultimately distracted smile from the witch, considering most of her attention is taken up by the titan in the room.

…and that is saying something, considering the group's name.

And just like that, the Man of Steel homes in on precisely the one thing that has made that entire situation a little better to balance out the loss of life - taking the man off the streets before other innocents could be destroyed by the blast. She knows that every casualty, innocent or otherwise, is one that Tim and Peter take very hard - sometimes brutally hard. And her demeanor softens when the battered veteran tries to assure them that they've done what they could. It is humbling, in a way, especially for the likes of them - young capes, most of whom are struggling under the shadow of their betters.

But when he asks them to alert the League, there's a glance at Tim from the magic user. "I'll leave that to you, fearless leader," she says, keeping her voice light. Though really, she wouldn't even know how, but she's certain that specific communications array is somewhere in the Tower.

Zatanna tables her questions about Faora-Ul, though there was a surprised look passing over her eyes at that when she's told that her offhand suggestion as to who could have done this to him was accurate. But that brings an entirely new set of problems there too, doesn't it? Someone as strong, fast, multi-powered and nigh-near invisible as Superman running around, stabbing their heroes with alien artifacs? Apprehension simmers of her pale features briefly.

Finally, after a brief shake of her head, she steps up. "The medbay's kind of cold," she says, taking up the role as a gracious hostess and offering the man a hand. "We have rooms at the dorm with actual beds and a view and stuff, you'll probably have an easier time resting there. And really big windows." He needs sun, right?

There's a glance at the rest, but with the offer delivered, she'll help the man to his feet - if he needs it - to take him to more comfortable confines.


Guilt, yes. Made all the worse because of a moment of cold calculation.

It was triage, and Red Robin knows it. If he hadn't made the choice he had there - if he hadn't evacuated the room, and instead let them try to work until the last possible moment, what would've happened? Could Ms. Marvel have survived it?

There's that tiny sense of doubt, like a worm eating away at an apple from the inside, that maybe, maybe they could've saved the as-yet unidentified victim if they'd kept working. Instead, he'd ordered them out. Instead, he'd cut off the doomed man's hand to free Zatanna.

But knowing better doesn't make the doubt any weaker. It doesn't make that choice any less of a scar. And, well, maybe it shouldn't.

Maybe it's better that it doesn't.

"He will be," Red Robin answers the silent question from Black Bolt, nodding. "Like the man says, he just needs some rest. You guys help Zatanna get Superman to one of the rooms, I'll finish cleaning up here and then contact the Justice League about what happened."

The fact of another Kryptonian, this one clearly an enemy judging by her choice to stab Superman in the back, draws Red Robin's mind back to the kryptonite traces. Traces which, not long after the others have left the medbay, will be safely stored away.

Just in case.


Folding his arms, Impulse tries to keep from tapping his foot in that anxious way he tends to when he's made to stand still for too long, but he's at least got other things to focus on to keep him from having to make such a conscious effort.

He hadn't been there when the explosion had occurred, but his thoughts are about parallel to Spider-Man's. A lot of if's and guilt that comes and goes as he consistently has to talk himself around the whole thing. You can't be everywhere. Those who were here, did what they could. Things could have been a lot worse, but the problem's far from resolved.

The direction of the conversation shifts with the news of someone capable of doing harm to Superman. More things without real answers. More things yet unresolved. "Aw, grife," he mutters, running a hand through his busy brown hair.

The movement at the door draws his attention, amber eyes flicking behind his yellow-tinted goggles at Black Bolt. He's not sure how he'd gotten word or if someone had said something, or maybe he saw the blood trail just before Impulse had cleaned up? but at least the answer that can be given to him is a positive one, as per Superman's response. Robin does so anyway, and glancing back towards their team leader, Impulse nods.

"You got it," he salutes, starting over. Helping Superman. So weird.

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