Artemis, Raven, Kole, and Starfire made certain Doctor Psycho arrived safely at the mental hospital for care. The four women strolled away from the clinic deep in their own individual thoughts.
Starfire turned to Artemis. “That horrid little man hated Diana so much. They battled before.”
Donna nodded. “Yes, they did. It makes me wonder what has become of her other foes with her gone. Nubia does not seem as active outside the JLA, nor does she base herself in D.C. like Diana did. The Cheetah has reformed. Silver Swan did, too, or so I heard. Still, there were plenty of others. For that matter, Steve Trevor himself vanished along with the robot plane. Paula said she could only detect that both had somehow crossed over to other worlds before the Crisis ended such travel.”
Kole said, “Wonder Woman! It’s amazing to think that she was — is your sister. I had her poster during the days when Lynda Carter played her on TV, not that the made-up secret identity they gave her of Lucille Lawful was accurate. Of course, they had to do something with her, and the money all went to charity.”
Raven frowned. “I also wonder how the infant Diana is doing. Surely she is frightfully vulnerable to her former foes.”
On Paradise Island, the baby Diana was cradled gently in the arms of a tall, reddish-blonde warrior woman who had posed as one of the Amazons for some time now. She had even thwarted the attempt of Mars to abduct the baby. Now she did so herself for an entirely different mistress.
“Come, little princess. I need to use you to redeem myself for past humiliations. You’ll buy my way back into Granny’s favor. Yes, you will,” she cooed.
She vanished in a technological wonder called a Boom Tube, and Diana found paradise lost to her cries for now.
Queen Hippolyta raced across the palace halls in search of her missing baby. The blonde beauty showed worry on her flawless features, but more than concern, she displayed anger and determination. She would find her child no matter what the cost. Her Amazons had joined her in frantic search, but so sudden, so silent, and so swift had been the abduction that no traces could be found.
Paula Von Gunta, the chief scientist of the Amazon nation, frowned in dismay. She hated to reveal what her investigation had uncovered. She approached Hippolyta as the queen of the Amazons was strapping on a gleaming sword.
“Majesty, I detected energy traces — something foreign, something known as Element X. The infant princess, my dear Diana, was teleported away via a device called a Boom Tube. They are related to the science of the dark tyrant Darkseid. One of his minions named Knockout posed as one of us to gain access to Diana,” said the shapely blonde.
“Then I’ll storm the gates of Apokolips and take back my child from that fiend!” declared Hippolyta. She rushed off to the armory as Paula smiled oddly.
The blonde’s features shifted and revealed a woman known as Callisto. She served Mars, god of war. Her efforts to steal Diana had been stopped by the selfsame Knockout.
She departed in a magical flash and bowed to Mars in his war-ravaged realm. “Great Mars, I have alerted the Amazons to Darkseid’s scheme. Thus is he repaid for his effrontery toward your own person,” she cooed.
Mars grinned an evil smile. “Excellent. Let Hippolyta and her brood wage war upon that craggy-faced whelp. To better teach him the true god of war cannot be trifled with thusly.”
Later, in her room at Titans Tower, Lilith gazed intently into Azrael’s dark eyes. She concentrated, and flames that gave no heat flickered around them.
She sighed. “No use. My empathic powers reveal nothing about your past. Your origins are as dark and mysterious as once were my own. When I was in Kentucky with the Clays, I little dreamt that my true mother was a Titan out of myth. What can be your own secret past, my love?”
Azrael kissed her and said, “It matters little as long as my future is with you.”
She smiled and drew him closer.
In another part of the Tower, Raven hesitated before knocking on Roy Harper’s door. She wore a pink floor length dress. “Roy, may I disturb you a moment?” she asked.
He grinned and bounced little Lian Harper on one knee. “Raven, you look great. A hot babe like you is never a disturbance to this guy,” he said.
Raven blushed. “Am I indeed a hot babe?”
He said, “Sure. Now that you’ve stopped dressing like Morticia, you could give Donna a run for her money. Come in and see Lian.”
Raven smiled and entered. She sat next to Harper and played with his bright and active baby.
Roy mused, She is really something. Maybe I’d better give her some serious consideration, romance-wise.
Raven smiled again as she picked up on his interest. She was doing nothing with her powers to increase his natural attraction. It pleased the shy woman immensely.
Garfield Logan sighed as he showed Cyborg a pile of papers. “Dayton’s getting better. We’re bonding, as they say on Hallmark cards, but he’s keeping a firm reign on my Titan time table. I get the tutors to OK it before I rejoin the team,” he said as he perched on Cyborg’s shoulder in the form of a bird.
“Man, I do hope you’re potty-trained. Take me a week to shine this chrome,” he joked. He was very pleased to see his friend again. They had been apart too long due to Dayton’s health problems.
A message buzzed across the screen of the computer.
“Oh man, trouble in doll land,” said Changeling as he saw the signal from Paradise Isle.
It was a determined and steely Queen Hippolyta who spoke to her daughter Artemis. Artemis, Starfire, Kole, and Raven had arrived immediately after the initial message from Paradise Isle. Hippolyta looked every inch the warrior queen of myth in her silvery armor and gleaming helm. She had explained the situation, and a worried Artemis replied with concern evident on her lovely face and in her tone.
“Mother, we’ll get Diana back. Don’t worry. If necessary, we’ll even call in Nubia and Diana’s friends in the League,” she said.
Hippolyta shook her head, sending her blonde curls cascading. “I have taken that step, but Nubia is on a case with the Martian Manhunter. I decided not to involve the others. I left no message. I hope to achieve our goal personally.”
Raven said, “But, Queen Hippolyta, surely you cannot leave Paradise Isle.”
She said, “I would risk even the disfavor of our goddesses to safeguard my child.”
Lilith said, “That will not be a problem. I have communed with Aphrodite, and she grants you full permission to accompany us to Apokolips.”
Hippolyta frowned as she gazed at the girl in the short tunic. “You speak so readily to the goddess of love?” she asked.
Lilith nodded. “I am an Olympian now. She is kin of a sort.”
Gar grinned. “Lilith’s quite a woman.”
Cyborg elbowed him. “Yeah, she is at that, so get your eyes off her hemline.”
Arsenal said, “Look, Hippy, join us, and we’ll get this show on the road.”
Hippolyta ignored his manner and said, “Bring me to you, if you may, Lilith.”
Lilith smiled. “Certainly.”
Kole Weathers huddled close to Jericho and whispered, “Joe, I know Lilith is OK, if a bit eccentric, but I really dread another encounter with so-called gods. The Titaness Thia had me as her personal plaything for years. I could not stand to end up like that again. These beings from Apokolips sound even worse than Thia.”
Jericho hugged her and signed earnestly. “Don’t think that way. We’ll be together, and I won’t let anything happen to you. I’m not going to lose you again, after what happened during the Crisis,” he signed.
She smiled and hoped his words bespoke his feelings for her, even if he had asked for time when she had made her impromptu proposal.
Artemis felt a bit odd as her regal mother paced restlessly in Titans Tower. She knew Hippolyta as only a daughter can know her mother, but it was a bit daunting to see her so much given over to warrior queen mode. This side was new to Donna, even after their last battle against the Titans of myth.
Raven wondered about what awaited them in Apokolips. She had her suspicions and expected dark emotions like none she had experienced since her time with Brother Blood. Still, while once she might have worried that such darkness would overwhelm her, the cleansed empath now felt ready to bring her own light to any darkness.
Arsenal eyed her approvingly as they gathered together. He, the Flash, Artemis, Raven, Starfire, Kole, Jericho, Changeling, Cyborg, Lilith, and Queen Hippolyta made an impressive group.
Suddenly, Azrael swooped down from outside. “Wait! You must not leave without me,” he cried.
He had been reluctant to even allow Lilith to depart briefly to bring Hippolyta back from Paradise Isle. Now the winged youth rushed closer to scoop her Lilith in his arms. “I could not let another tragedy separate us, my love. I remain at your side as always,” he said.
Garfield Logan shook his head. He saw that Azrael’s ardor had cooled little, if at all. The alien youth was devoted or obsessed with the leggy Olympian. Gar thought about Jillian and wondered if he would ever feel as strongly for the wacky socialite as Azrael felt for Lilith or even as he had felt for the mad and dead Tara.
Cyborg knew that expression and nudged the green-hued teen. “OK, salad-head, before we go, do you need to make a stop at the little shape-shifter’s room?” he joked.
“Nope, but what if I do? Are you gonna make Lilith turn herself around and bring us right back home?” quipped his friend.
The Flash said, “The baby was taken by one of Darkseid’s Female Furies. They are trained killers with super-powers and no regard for life. I got this data from the JLA files, and we can expect a real battle from them.”
Arsenal said, “Quit worrying, speed freak. We can get in and out before they know what hit them.”
“Perhaps some precautions are needed,” said Artemis.
They made rapid plans, and in a sudden flash, they were gone.
Deep in the Atlantic Ocean, Garth (Aqualad) and Ulla Påske (Mermaid) waited as an Atlantean shipment of vitally needed resources made its way from one city state to another. It was dull but necessary work, since the Crisis on Infinite Earths had left some parts of the undersea realm in damaged condition. This way, no one would starve due to ruined agricultural areas. King Vulko, ruler of the Atlantean city-state of Poseidonis, had made wise choices.
He and the beautiful blonde had been contacted by Artemis before she departed. He knew where his friends were headed, and he hoped they would return safely. If not, he would go after them with Nightwing and other former Titans.
It was a trip he hoped would not be necessary.