A Siren’s Call: Homefront
September 22, 15:43 PST
“So what did Tornado think?”
“He said Batman would generally expect the team to solve its own problems, but that the final decision is mine.”
Jenna frowned, staring at her phone’s call screen in contemplation. It had been two weeks since Sportsmaster hinted at the fact that the team had a mole. Jenna, unfortunately, hadn’t been much help seeing as she was down with a bad cold for almost half of that time. And being a person with the ability to create sonic waves with her voice, of course she had the worst luck ever and had contracted laryngitis on top of it all.
She was finally at the point of no longer being contagious and where she could hold conversations without losing her voice. So she would be able to return to the Cave and be with her teammates, but it would take longer for her power to return to its full strength. The last thing she wanted was to push her luck.
“Are you going to tell him? Batman, I mean,” she asked Kaldur, voice sounding raspy.
“I have yet to decide. I still do not know if we should trust what Sportsmaster said, but…”
“But if it’s true, we really need to nip it in the bud,” Jenna finished. She then sighed. “I really don’t want him to be telling the truth. I trust the team wholeheartedly. I don’t know how I’d feel to find out someone’s been giving intel to our enemies.”
“Neither do I. But we must not let our biases distract us from what’s plainly there.”
Jenna huffed, leaning back against the headboard of her bed. “I hate it, but you’re right.”
There was a slight lull in the conversation before Kaldur decided to change the subject. “Will you be returning to the Cave soon?” He wasn’t the only one to ask that. Most of the team, Dick and Artemis especially, had been texting her in the past few days, missing their friend’s presence.
“Tonight, hopefully. Apparently, Dinah’s out on a date with Ollie and I do not want to be home in case they decide to come here,” Jenna said, a grimace on her face.
“Red Tornado left for the Watchtower to cover Green Arrow’s monitor duty, and as I believe Red Tornado put it, he had a ‘hot date’.”
A cough cut off Jenna’s laugh. “Ugh, now I really don’t want to stay at home tonight.” She coughed a couple more times before it settled.
“Are you sure you will be feeling well enough?” Kaldur inquired.
“I should be okay. I haven’t been using my powers at all and minimizing conversation when possible. Besides, I’m getting bored,” Jenna joked.
“Then I will see you tonight?”
“Yeah, see you later.”
The call disconnected and Jenna sighed. Her throat was feeling scratchy again. She grabbed a lozenge from the small pile formed on her bedside table as she opened up a textbook on her bed. She internally groaned as she began to look over the equations. No rest for the wicked…
Siren dropped down from the rooftops, using the fire escape landings to swing to the ground. She landed beside the old blue police box tucked away that stood as a cover for a Zeta-Tube.
After a quick glance to ensure no one was around, she opened the door, stepping inside.
Upon entering the Cave, she assumed either her teammates would be in the room, or at the very least the room would be empty, which would send Siren to search the lounge where the team usually were on a night they hung out until Batman came to them with a mission. Siren hadn’t been in the loop about missions since she had been sick, so she wasn’t sure if they would be going anywhere that night.
Except that wasn’t the case at all.
Siren gasped once the bright light dimmed and she saw that the entire room was shrouded in thick smoke. Panic quickly settled in as the situation was very much not normal.
Worry for her teammates immediately tightened her chest, making it difficult to breathe. “Aqualad? Superboy? Kid!” With no immediate response, she tried the other method. “Miss Martian, can you hear me?”
Before there was even time to wait for a response, there was an explosion as a stream of fire came from somewhere behind the smoke. Aimed directly at Siren.
She dove to the ground, somersaulting out of the way. Eyes searching the area the fire came from, she could just barely make out something standing in the smoke. Siren subconsciously took in a breath, but the moment the familiar sensation in her vocal cords rose and the first sound left her mouth, her throat seized, feeling as if it was on fire much like the room she was standing in.
Shit, shit, shit, shit!
Siren racked her brain quickly, trying to decide on her next move before another fireball could be shot at her.
“Recognized: Robin, B-zero-one.” No!
“Robin, move!” Siren shrieked, lunging for her teammate that appeared just as a stream of fire flew at the Tubes.
She tackled the unsuspecting kid down and rolled them both out of the way. Once out of the way, they were both up on their feet in an instant.
“What’s going on?” Robin demanded as the two of them ran along the edge of the room.
“Do you think I would be standing here if I knew?!” Siren cried out. “We need to go get help!” She made the move to push Robin toward the hallway that led further into the Cave, but he stopped her. “Wait, Artemis is-”
“Recognized: Artemis, B-zero-eight.”
As Artemis appeared, there was another explosion nearby that made Siren automatically duck. It was Robin who called out a warning, forcing Artemis to dodge an incoming fireball.
Robin and Siren quickly joined her side, with Robin throwing disks into the smoke in hopes that a retaliating explosion would catch whoever was responsible.
Artemis wasted no time in firing arrows, forcing Siren to stay behind but close to avoid any stray fireballs. It was at the moment Siren felt utterly useless. She silently cursed the cold she had been recovering from…and the fact that she usually never kept any type of long-range weapons on her person.
A stream of fire forced the three heroes to split, Siren refusing to move far from Artemis’s cover fire.
“Who are we fighting?!” Artemis cried out, aiming her arrows as she noticed the unknown figures drawing closer. It turned out to be at least two people, but nothing about their shape and size gave away who might be attacking.
“Sorry, I didn’t have time to ask for their names before they started trying to kill me!” Siren snapped.
Robin backed up closer to her. “Doesn’t matter, we’re sitting ducks by these Tubes. Head for the exit!”
The three of them raced for the hallway, but just as they left the room, a huge wave came crashing toward them.
“Or not,” Robin sighed.
Siren did a 180 turn, trying to outrun the water, but to no avail. She could hear Artemis’ and Robin’s cries barely a second before the water hit her in the back. The current was too strong, sending the heroes straight back into the main room and into a wall.
The water subsided, leaving Siren gasping for air as she dropped to the ground. She was on her feet immediately, heading back for the hallway.
“Where’s the rest of the team?”
Siren glanced over her shoulder at Robin briefly to respond while she also checked to make sure Artemis was close behind. “Dunno. I didn’t get any response when I called out to them once I arrived, then I got too busy trying not to die by fire.” Looking past Artemis, she saw a tornado made of fire following them and gaining ground. “We need to lose this thing.”
“The showers!” Robin called out, making Siren quickly swerve to enter the room she was about to pass by.
They passed by the neat rows of gym equipment, most of which Siren would find herself and either Aqualad or Artemis a couple of times a week. She shook her head, not wanting herself to get distracted with drifting thoughts.
“Robin to Team,” Robin suddenly said. Siren quickly looked over to see he had his hand up to his ear, attempting to make contact with their teammates. “Come in. Aqualad!”
A blast from the door knocked the three of them on their feet, but they were quick to get back up and running. Siren could feel the heat on her back, but she didn’t dare look behind her to judge how close the fire was. She just kept moving, gaining a bit more energy to go faster as she was not interested in being burnt.
Robin made a turn, leading Artemis and Siren into one of the locker rooms. They just barely dodged the fire as they ran for the showers.
“Robin to BatCave. Override R-G-four.” As Robin spoke into his comm, Siren ran to one side, turning on the shower heads at full blast. “Cave calling Justice League. H-O-J-slash-Watchtower. B-zero-one. Priority: Red.”
Robin looked at Siren. “Comm is down. Locked.” He looked back at the tornado that hovered by the entrance as they backed away. “At least the water’s helping.”
A loud groaning coming from the walls made Siren freeze up. The room began to shake as the shower handles and heads started to shoot out of the walls, the sudden increase of water pressure becoming too much for the piping to handle. The room was filled with water in mere seconds.
“Or not,” Robin sighed before his head was forced underwater like the others.
Quickly thinking, he swam toward one of the walls, placing a bomb. It detonated, destroying the wall and sending Robin, Artemis, and Siren sprawling into the hallway as the water escaped. Siren inhaled a deep breath once she was able to, groaning to herself. She had a feeling that trying not to drown was going to be a recurring theme.
There was still no sign of their teammates as they came into the lounge which caused the sick feeling in Siren’s stomach to grow.
“We need to get lost,” Robin said when they came to a stop.
“I second that,” Siren muttered. She scanned the room for a way to escape and hide without easily being followed.
“The air vent!” Artemis exclaimed.
“Good, go!” Robin agreed, spurring the girls forward.
Siren quickly made her way over to the stove, helping Artemis with the vent cover. Once it was off, she looked back at Robin who had stayed by the control panel in the wall. Although she knew what he was doing, Artemis was confused. “What are you-”
“Downloading Cave blueprints,” Robin quickly explained. “Could come in-” He cut himself off as they could hear the sound of metal footsteps approaching too fast for Siren’s liking. “Go. Go!” Robin hissed.
Siren was right behind Artemis as they climbed up into the air vent. She remained silent as they crawled through the ventilation system, feeling her throat begin to tighten again. She sighed internally. She was definitely not healthy enough to be stuck in the situation they were in. She half expected that if the team had to go on a mission, she’d be backup or at the very least be able to refrain from using her powers. How was she supposed to do that when they were fighting against unknown, seemingly superpowered enemies? Siren was good at long-range attacks, but not when her weapon was out of commission.
Oh god. Siren’s throat definitely tightened but for another reason. Where was the rest of their team? What if the enemy had full control of the Cave? What if their teammates were hurt…or worse?
“Go left,” Robin said from behind Siren. She followed directions, turning at the intersection they came up to. Robin made the turn just in time as a stream of fire shot past, just barely missing his heels. He let out a breath. “Too close.”
Siren slowed down just enough for her to reach out and grab Robin by the shoulder. She lightly pulled him past her so that he was slightly in front of her.
“What are you-”
“If you think I’d be comfortable with the idea of either of you having more of a chance of getting hurt, you’ve got another thing coming. Keep moving,” Siren grunted, continuing to crawl.
Robin looked at her for a moment, leaving her unable to fully note his expression behind the mask, but he kept moving.
“Take the first right,” Robin called to Artemis who was still taking the lead before checking his blueprints again. “There should be a vent cover in front of you.”
Indeed there was. Artemis pulled it open revealing a tube that dropped straight down. Robin didn’t say where it led to, so she slid down first, followed by Robin then Siren. They slid a good several feet before the ventilation shaft curved and leveled out. There was a vent cover directly ahead of them which Artemis kicked out.
Shortly after the vent cover clattered to the floor, the teenagers dropped onto a landing in the boiler room.
“Where to next?” Siren asked.
Robin checked his computer. “This way.” He ran down the steps onto the second landing.
They were halfway across when an explosion from the vents made them flinch. Siren whirled around, watching as a figure surrounded by fire looked around before lifting their hands, setting everything in the room on fire. As the fire quickly surrounded them, the three heroes changed route, jumping over the railing and in between machinery.
Siren flattened herself against the side of one machine, peeking around the corner to see if she could spot the enemy hunting them down. A beeping interrupted her search, drawing her attention to a temperature gauge. The once fully green bars were rapidly turning red as the glass began to crack under the pressure of the extreme heat building up inside the container.
“That’s not good,” Robin groaned.
Robin took off, leaving Artemis and Siren to follow under steam pipes that began to burst. It was then that the enemy spotted them, shooting bursts of fire down on them. It just barely missed them, but it was creating a blockade, forcing the heroes to keep moving.
The trio paused behind another piece of machinery as Robin rechecked the blueprints. Siren scanned the area, spotting another vent cover in the floor. She and Artemis ran toward it.
“I know that other access tunnel is around here somewhere,” Robin muttered, too focused on the map to see what the girls were doing.
“You mean this one?” Artemis asked, holding the cover open. Siren dropped down into it first and waited as Robin and Artemis dropped down behind her shortly before an explosion sounded from where they came from. Courtesy of Robin no doubt.
“Hold on,” Robin called out to Artemis who had moved past Siren leaning against the tunnel wall. Robin moved over to the control panel beside Siren’s head, prying it open and plugging in his computer. Siren’s chest heaved as she waited, clear exhaustion written over her face.
“You alright?” Artemis asked, looking over her worriedly.
Siren nodded, closing her eyes briefly as her head rolled back against the wall. “Guess I’m not one hundred percent better like I thought. I wasn’t really prepared to be running for my life tonight.” Siren sighed, raising her head back up to look over at Robin. “What’re you doing?”
“Locking out Cave’s motion and heat sensors to prevent the enemy from tracking us.”
“And I ask again: who is the enemy?” Artemis questioned, a frown on her face.
“Let’s find out,” Robin said, looking back down at his computer. “Downloading Cave security footage…there.”
Siren leaned forward to where she could view the four camera angles available. Her heart wrenched when she saw Aqualad, Superboy, Miss Martian, and Kid Flash on the screen. God, she hoped her friends were okay.
“Torque wrench.” Miss Martian levitated the tool from the toolbox nearby into Kid Flash’s hand. “Thank you, Green Cheeks.”
In spite of everything, Siren couldn’t help but roll her eyes.
“I have been meaning to ask,” Aqualad spoke up. “Any problem juggling school work with your responsibilities here?”
Superboy’s response was short and to the point. A simple ‘no’.
“Juggling’s just one of my many talents,” Kid Flash said boastfully. “Socket wrench.”
Miss Martian levitated the tool over to KF. “Daily cheerleading practice has presented a challenge.” She quickly looked over at Aqualad. “Oh, but my first loyalty is always to the team. This team, not the Bumblebees,” she added.
“Artemis starts school today. Do you think she will have trouble maintaining her loyalties?”
Siren bit her tongue to maintain a neutral expression as she watched on in silence. She understood why Kaldur brought it up. It didn’t mean she hated the thought any less.
“Nah she’ll manage alright. I mean, how much more hostile and annoying can-”
Siren inhaled sharply as an explosion on screen knocked her teammates off their feet just as the camera went out.
“What happened?” Artemis asked, shocked.
“Explosion took out the camera,” Robin explained. “I’ll find another angle.” His fingers were nearly a blur as he pulled up another angle where they could see three jets of water shoot out of the river mouth, simultaneously attacking their teammates while filling the room and taking out the second camera.
Robin zoomed in on the third camera angle where they could see their teammates recover, jumping straight into action to fight whoever had attacked them. They were visible only for a moment before the water took that camera out as well.
The final camera showed that Superboy and Kid Flash were nowhere to be seen as Miss Martian and Aqualad sought higher ground. They both stopped, spotting something or someone off-screen before a fiery explosion took out the camera.
“That’s it. All four are dead,” Robin sighed. Artemis gave him a devastating look as Siren punched him hard in the collarbone. “The cameras! I- I meant the cameras,” he quickly corrected himself, but his tone was nervous. “I’m sure the others are okay. Just give me a sec to find the fastest route to the hangar.”
Artemis slumped against the wall across from Siren as she leaned back herself. “Yeah, they’re fine,” Artemis said. “They’ve all got superpowers. They can handle anything.” Although she didn’t sound so convinced.
Siren closed her eyes, sighing. Even if she had her power back in full force, she wasn’t sure she’d even know how to tackle the situation. She was still learning. Black Canary was eight years older than her, she’d had much longer to perfect her skill. Siren? She was getting there, but she still had a long way to go in strength and in confidence.
Not to mention control. Even if she had the full strength that her sister, and once upon a time her mom, had years to perfect, control was what was most important. Otherwise, she could seriously harm, or possibly even kill, others who were caught in the blast. Maybe it seemed like she could handle anything, but that thought sometimes scared her.
“We need to get to the library,” Robin spoke up, breaking Siren free from her thoughts. “This way.”
Siren moved to her hands and feet, crawling behind Robin until they reached a moveable panel in the tunnel wall. Robin pulled it open, revealing it to be above the library’s second level. Siren stepped out onto the top of the bookcase then dropped down to the floor.
“There’s a secret passage behind one of these bookcases,” Robin said, jumping over the railing.
“Seriously? Cliché much?” Artemis said in a hushed tone.
“You should see the BatCave.”
Siren snorted. She knew what he was talking about. She’d been to Wayne Manor often and had seen some of the secret entrances and passages.
A sound coming from the library entrance made the trio jump, whirling around to check their surroundings. They moved behind a bookcase, Robin and Artemis armed, as they listened to the metal footsteps walking toward them. Siren glanced through the open space of the bookcase, eyes narrowing. She could barely make out a single masculine figure coming closer.
“Robin, Siren, Artemis.”
Siren frowned. That voice was familiar, but she wasn’t going to trust it just yet.
“It’s Red Tornado!” Artemis whispered excitedly, rushing out before Siren or Robin could stop her. Siren could see her happy expression quickly turn into one of shock and fear. She dove out alongside Robin, catching a glimpse of the red and yellow robot before rolling under the table as Robin grabbed Artemis and did the same.
“Yes on the Red, no on the Tornado!” Robin snapped.
They bolted out from under the table just as the robot destroyed it in a single blow. They went straight for the exit, but before they had the chance to leave, another robot with a more feminine figure cut them off. They had seconds to duck before it shot fire straight out of its hands.
Siren quickly followed Robin’s lead in scaling a nearby bookcase to get to higher ground.
“Who- what are they?” Artemis asked to which neither Robin nor Siren responded.
The fire climbing up the wooden bookcases set off the sprinklers in the ceiling, giving the masculine robot access to its power. Artemis tried to hold the robots off as Robin and Siren dropped in between bookcases, searching for the secret passage. A loud thud caught Siren’s attention. She turned, watching as the rows of bookcases began to fall like dominoes.
“Any day now, Rob!” she cried out, throat burning as her voice rose in panic.
Just as Artemis dropped down beside her, Robin pulled on a red book with a golden crown on the spine. A switch activated, making the bookcase sink into the ground. At that moment, the bookcase behind them fell, forcing them to jump into the passage to escape.
“Did you know Tornado had…siblings?” Artemis asked the other two as they ran down the corridor.
“No,” was Robin’s response while Siren remained silent in thought.
They reached an interaction, pausing just long enough to get their bearings. As Robin moved to continue down one of the hallways, Artemis grabbed his arm. “So now what?” She looked between him and Siren. “Red Tornado is one of the powerhouses of the League. How are we supposed to take down two of him?”
Robin gave a wry grin. “They do seem pretty user-unfriendly,” he said lightheartedly, trying to keep the situation calm.
“Don’t joke,” Artemis snapped. “They-”
“Attention, Robin. Attention, Siren. Attention, Artemis.” Siren glanced up at the ceiling as a voice came over the speaker system. “You have exactly ten minutes to surrender or the lives of your teammates will be extinguished.”
Siren’s jaw tightened as she glared up at the ceiling. She did not take the threat of her team lightly. However, she was still partly relieved to know that they were indeed still alive.
Siren looked between her two teammates who had exchanged glances during the announcement. “Now we go save our friends.”
The three heroes moved with a stronger urgency. Now that they had a countdown, they couldn’t afford any delays or their friends’ lives would be on the line.
“We can access the hangar from here,” Robin spoke up after they left the secret passage and moved back through the halls of the Cave.
The sound of water crashing against the walls made Siren reluctantly turn around. She could hear Artemis gasp at the same time as she cursed under her breath. The hallway they were in was narrow, providing no way to escape the fresh wave heading their way.
“Will you please stop saying that?!” Artemis yelled at Robin as they turned around to book it down the hall in poor attempts to outrun the water.
The water engulfing them disoriented Siren for a moment before she got her bearings and turned so she was upright. Swimming over to the wall, she hoisted her leg up so that she could open her bag to retrieve her rebreather. She shoved it into her mouth, taking a deep breath as she grabbed a couple of items that had escaped from the water flow.
Siren turned around, having to dodge Robin’s cape that he abandoned as he went to share his own rebreather with Artemis. Robin was looking down the hall to find a way out of the situation and Artemis was busy trying to get her breath so they didn’t notice Siren’s muffed shout of warning. Because at that moment, the robot that controlled water came barreling down the hall and grabbed Artemis by the ankle.
Shocked, she let out a cry and lost the rebreather as the robot drug her back the way it came. Robin shot forward, grabbing one of Artemis’s arrows that got loose to use it as a weapon, shoving it into the robot’s eye. Robin wrapped his arm around Artemis, firing his grappling hook into the wall at the end of the hallway. Siren quickly followed his lead, the three of them propelling forward. As they reached the end, she could hear the sound of explosions behind them but refused to look back.
Reaching the next interaction, the heroes hurriedly made their way around the corner and through the entrance of the hangar. Siren had her rebreather still, but Robin and Artemis were without means to breathe so they didn’t have much time to spare. They entered the hangar, immediately breaking through the surface of the water as Robin and Artemis gasped for air. But they didn’t have a chance to relax.
A cry from somewhere in the room caught their attention. Siren looked up, seeing a fireball raining down on them, forcing them to dive again. Siren grit her teeth down over the rebreather, kicking her legs hard to get far enough underwater to avoid the blasts. This was not how I wanted tonight to go.
Siren watched as Robin and Artemis started resurfacing so she followed. Either they knew or it was pure luck, but the trio came up for air beside a trapped Kid Flash and Superboy.
“You guys okay?” Robin asked as Siren moved closer to the boys, checking them over for any visible injuries.
“Forget us,” Superboy said, lightly shaking his head to refuse Siren’s hand that reached out to him. “Help M’Gann!”
Siren followed his line of sight past the Sphere that was stuck in the wall, up to the upper level where a cage made of fire contained a weak Aqualad cradled an unresponsive Miss Martian. Suddenly, Siren couldn’t breathe even above water.
“Kaldur, are you okay?” Siren called out after taking out her rebreather. “Is M’Gann-“ She didn’t want to finish her sentence.
“She is unconscious,” Aqualad called out, unable to hide the weakness and pain in his voice. “I fear she- we cannot survive much longer.” Siren lifted a hand to cover her mouth in fear.
Her moment to worry was cut short as the feminine robot found them, shooting another fireball at the uncaptured teenagers. Siren shoved her rebreather back in, diving underwater to avoid being hit.
She knew they had to find dry ground to make it as fair of a fight as it could get. She took the lead, heading straight for the steps toward the elevators. When the three of them resurfaced, the masculine robot was right behind them, coming up from the water with an eye socket that sparked from the damage Robin inflicted.
Siren’s hands balled into fists as the robot slowly drew near. The sound of footsteps came from above where she saw the other had appeared. They were cornered by the machines.
“I’m almost out of arrows,” Artemis warned.
Time for a plan. Siren reached out, grabbing Robin’s shoulder. She leaned in close to whisper in his ear. “I have an idea, but think of a way to stay in contact with Kid fast. We’ll need his brains.” At his barely noticeable nod, Siren turned toward Artemis. “Distract her!” she commanded.
Siren backed up to prepare to jump. Despite distractions, they’d have to go back in the water. As Artemis shot at one robot, Robin threw two disks at the other. They bounced off, flying in separate directions. Both robots were unfazed, shooting streams of their respective elements at the heroes leaving them with no choice but to take a dive.
They opened the first vent they could find, swimming into the ventilation shaft once more. As soon as they found a vertical shaft, they went up to find air. Upon breaking the surface, Artemis and Robin fought to get oxygen back into their lungs. Meanwhile Siren spit out her rebreather as she climbed out of the water. She made room for her teammates as they recovered.
“Six minutes,” came a voice from the intercoms. They were running out of time. It was now or never.
“What do we do now?” Artemis asked, sounding panicky.
“We save them,” was Robin’s solemn answer. “That’s how it works.”
Artemis didn’t seem to like that. “Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to work, but those robots already took out four of our superpowered friends.”
“You seem distraught,” Robin said, trying to raise spirits.
“Distraught?” Artemis snapped. “M’Gann is dying, two of us have no powers and the other can’t use her power, and I’m down to my last arrow”-she pulled it out for emphasis-“of course I’m distraught!”
“Well get traught or get. dead.”
Robin’s sudden outburst made Siren jump, but it snapped some sense into Artemis. She looked at the two of them during the silence that followed.
“How can you be so calm?” she asked desperately, following as Robin began to crawl.
“Practice. I’ve been doing this since I was nine.”
“What good is that now? What chance do we have against unrelenting machines?”
“I might have an idea that will solve our little problem,” Siren spoke up.
Robin froze, realization dawning on him. “Oh, duh. They’re machines,” he turned to Artemis and Siren. “And one electromagnetic pulse will shut down any machine within range.” He looked directly at Siren.
“Precisely,” she confirmed.
Artemis grinned widely. “Great!” Then her face dropped. “Except either of you better have an emp emitter in your utility belt or pouch because I know I don’t have one in my quiver.”
Siren laughed for the first time that night. “Nope.”
“I’m fresh out,” Robin agreed. “But I’m betting we can make one.” He and Siren exchanged grins.
Siren reached out, leaning into Robin’s ear as she pressed a button on his comm. “What do you think, Kid? Think we’ve got a shot?”
Siren could barely make out the ‘totally!’ that came from Robin’s ear before they got a five-minute warning over the intercom. The Boy Wonder quickly pressed some buttons on his wrist before Siren could hear the speedster’s voice through her own comm.
“-if we had more time.”
“Hey, we may not have your super speed, but we’ve got your big brain. We can do this,” Siren said with renewed confidence.
“Alright. Head for the med lab.”
Robin had the map pulled up in an instant, leading the two girls through the ventilation system for a while before he came to a loose panel in the wall. Siren crawled out, rising to full height with a quiet grumble. My back is going to hurt for weeks after this is over.
“We’re here, Kid. What do we need?” Siren asked, striding forward.
“X-Ray machine.” They found the equipment they were looking for and Robin opened it up. “You’ll find a small vacuum tube called a vircator that converts high energy pulses. Reprogram the unit’s microwave conversion from X-Rays to EMPs with a cascading energy vector directed outward.” Robin made quick work of the reprogramming then removed the vircator from the machine.
“A ripple effect!” Robin exclaimed. “Like dropping a stone in a pond.”
“A stone with ten to the twelfth power wattage, yeah,” Kid Flash joked.
Siren snorted. “That’s a big ass stone.”
“So I’ll need to hook it up to the Cave’s main generator,” Robin decided, examining the blueprints of said machine.
“Which is where?”
Siren looked at Artemis when she spoke up. “That’s the problem. It’s in the hangar. We’re going to have to go about this stealthily or it could be game over.”
“We’ll need a distraction to give me time to set it up,” Robin added. “KF, can you and Superboy handle that?”
“You got it.”
Robin, Siren, and Artemis made their way back into the vents, beelining in the direction of the hangar as they tried to ignore the four-minute warning. The water had risen since their first escape, proving they didn’t have much time left. Siren let out a deep exhale. It was okay. They were almost there. They could do it.
“Okay, make with the distraction,” Robin said in a hushed voice.
“Hey, Red Tomato!” KF yelled out. “Who’s your girlfriend? Red Onion?”
The corner of Siren’s mouth turned up. God, she loved that goof.
“Yeah, and by the way, worst death trap ever! We can escape any time we want,” Superboy pitched in.
Okay, it was go time. The trio quickly moved to the other side of the hangar entrance where the generator was closer.
“Cover me,” Robin hissed, placing a grapple line on the wall.
“Be careful,” Siren whispered to him as Artemis notched her last arrow.
“-we don’t breathe air!”
Siren looked back out to where her teammates were trapped. At least the robots seemed distracted. So far, so good.
“And Miss Martian? I can’t believe you’re buying her act!”
“Rerouting power now,” Robin said through the comms. There was a long silence, but nothing was happening. “It’s not working. Circuit’s incomplete.”
Dammit. Siren looked away as she started riffling through her bag.
“I need something conductible,” Robin said what Siren was already thinking. “A piece of metal or-”
“Robin, look out!” Artemis’ scream jolted Siren who whipped her head up in time to see a wave crash onto the platform Robin once stood.
“No!” she cried out.
Artemis aimed for their enemies, but a fireball startled her, throwing the arrow’s trajectory off. Siren pivoted, dragging Artemis out of the way. “Move! Back to the vents!”
The girls ran, climbing back up through the opening in the vents. They moved fast, knowing that they would be pursued. They reached an intersection just as Artemis tackled Siren out of the way from a blast that caught up to them.
Siren kept moving, but her mind was reeling. What now? They were running out of time and another teammate was just captured. Their chances of coming out alive were slim and it scared her.
Artemis paused as they passed a gash in the vents, providing visibility of the hangar. Looking out, Siren saw a column of water rise toward the robots. But it wasn’t empty.
Siren let out a shaky breath when she saw the youngest member of their team floating inside the column. His body was limp and his mouth was gaped open. Please, no. Don’t be dead. Siren screwed her eyes shut, hanging her head. There had to be a way to bounce back from this. But how?
Siren blinked as she heard quiet sobbing behind her, reminding her that she wasn’t alone. Turning around, she saw Artemis hunched against the wall, hugging her knees to her chest.
“Hey, no, Artemis, look at me,” Siren said, moving beside her. She placed a hand on her friend’s knee, forcing her to look up. “I know that it’s not easy to, but you have to keep calm. Hysterics will get us nowhere.”
Artemis seemed to calm just enough to start moving again. “But what are we going to do?” she asked tearfully. “If we surrender, we’ll just die with the others. Should we try to get out of the Cave? Call the League?”
Siren’s jaw tensed as they crawled through the vents. “Even if we get out, what does that mean for our teammates? We leave them to die?”
“I-” Artemis’ response was cut off as her path suddenly sloped downward, making her slide down into the room.
“Are you okay?” Siren called as she heard the thud of Artemis landing in whatever room was below.
There was a loud sigh. “Fine.”
“Well, heads up, I’m coming down.” Siren moved so that she would slide down feet first, letting gravity pull her down into the room with Artemis. Turned out that the room was Kid Flash’s souvenir room.
“Three minutes.” The warning made Siren grit her teeth. There was no time left. The choice was either to surrender and possibly die or hide and let her friends die. Neither option sat well with her.
Siren opened her mouth to speak only to pause when she noticed Artemis. The girl was standing stoically in front of KF’s souvenirs, directly in front of Cheshire’s mask. As the silence drew out and Artemis hadn’t turned around, Siren frowned.
“Artemis?” she prodded gently. “You okay?”
“Fine.” Artemis was quick to assure. “I just…yeah, fine.”
“You know you can trust me, right?”
Artemis’ shoulders stiffened as Siren looked on with a concerned look. Siren was sincere. She never wanted to push her friend to talk about her private life, but she also didn’t want Artemis to think that she was alone and couldn’t confide in anyone. Green Arrow and Batman might know everything, but it was different when it was a mentor compared to a teammate. But Siren would never force her. She felt Artemis would tell her on her own when she was ready.
Time was up. There were no more chances now. Siren wearily closed her eyes.
“I have an idea.”
Siren looked up, watching Artemis carefully. In her hand was the arrow used to save Kid Flash from Amazo…the arrow Artemis shot herself…an arrow with a metal tip.
“What do you say we go and surrender?”
Artemis’ smirk made Siren smile.
The elevator doors opened, revealing both Siren and Artemis. They slowly moved toward the robots that waited.
“We surrender. Stop the clock,” Artemis called out, holding her bow out in a placating position.
Siren quickly scanned the room with her eyes, noting Robin unconscious off to the side and a very weak Aqualad laying beside Miss Martian. Her brow furrowed in worry as they made eye contact.
The girls stopped in front of the robots, one holding out a hand to accept Artemis’ bow. Though Artemis made a move to hand it over, she jumped onto the robot’s outstretched hand, kicking it in the face then moved to jump on the other as well. Once she had gained enough height, Artemis fired the arrow straight at the generator with perfect aim.
When Artemis dropped behind Siren, the older girl forced a scream out from her throat as best as she could. Even when weak, it generated enough force to push the robots back, feet dragging across the floor, until the arrow could reach its mark. Pain ripped through Siren’s throat so she immediately stopped, collapsing to the ground. She didn’t have to worry though because, at that moment, the EMP turned on, firing a pulse that shut down all the machines within the room in an instant.
It was over.
Siren stumbled to her feet, gasping for air as she ran to the edge of the landing. “Wally, Conner, you two okay?”
“We’re fine. Kaldur, how’s M’Gann?” Superboy worriedly asked.
Siren turned around to where her other friends lay. Aqualad shakily rose on one arm as he looked down at Miss Martian. “She breathes. I believe she will recover,” he declared. “What of Robin?”
Artemis had run over to check on him, abandoning her bow as she dropped to her knees. There was a tense silence, but as she laid her hands on him, he began coughing up water. “He- he’s breathing too,” she said, relieved.
Siren was kneeling by Aqualad’s side in an instant, helping him gingerly sit up. “And how’s our team leader?” she asked softly, halfheartedly teasing as she rested a cautious hand on his upper back.
“I will be okay,” he gently assured, meeting Siren’s eyes. “You should not have strained yourself though.”
Siren shrugged. “If I had been able to use it sooner, it might not have taken so long to defeat them. I was scared for you all so I had to try something.”
A small groan interrupted their conversation. Miss Martian began to stir, waking up once her body had been able to begin cooling down. The girl opened her eyes, looking up and noticing both Aqualad and Siren beside her.
“Take it easy, sweetie,” Siren said, laying a hand on her shoulder to keep her from sitting up right away. “Let yourself recover.”
“What happened?” Miss Martian asked, making both of her friends chuckle.
The team grouped back up with KF and Superboy, having brought the disabled robots to the first level to keep an eye on them while they took time to recuperate. Siren wasn’t sure she’d want them to leave her sight after everything.
“Figured my only shot was to ‘surrender’, pretend to drown before I actually did,” Robin explained, recounting what had happened when he was captured. “Blacked out though.” He shrugged, making the hand that rested on his shoulder move as well.
“You didn’t have to go and scare me like that though,” Siren teased, squeezing Robin’s shoulder. “I’m glad you’re okay. All of you.”
Siren smiled over at Artemis, but the archer was distracted with the laser cutter they retrieved to try and cut Kid and Superboy free.
“M’Gann…” Superboy looked at her with concern as Aqualad was supporting her weight. He reached out with the hand that was somehow free.
Miss Martian easily took it and squeezed, giving him a reassuring smile. “I’ll be fine,” she said weakly.
Siren looked between the two of them as they were in their own little world. It’s about time. She smiled fondly.
KF was getting impatient, being stuck in the metal for so long. “Will you quit playing with that thing and cut us free already?”
“It’s not working, genius,” Artemis said with a deadpan look. “EMP shuts down all machines, remember?”
“All machines present at the time.” Siren turned toward the voice to see Red Tornado had finally returned, flying over to the team. “What has occurred?”
“Had a little visit from your…family,” Robin grumbled, looking over his shoulder at the two robots.
“Your extremely nasty family,” Artemis added.
“I was not aware I had relations.” Red Tornado moved to examine the bots.
“Where have you been?” Superboy demanded to know.
“Monitor duty on the Watchtower.” Thanks a lot, Oliver. Siren didn’t really hate him for it though. He couldn’t have known. “When it became clear that Cave communications were down, I attempted to investigate, but your Zeta-Tubes were also nonfunctional.” Red Tornado knelt beside the other robots. “I transported to Providence and proceeded here,” he continued.
“Maybe we should invest in installing closer Zeta-Tubes,” Siren muttered.
A mechanical whirring caught Siren’s attention as the Sphere freed itself from the wall.
“Hey, boy,” Superboy greeted as it came up to the Kryptonian.
Artemis jumped as the cutter in her hand turned on, firing out a red laser.
“The pulse has worn off!” Siren’s, Robin’s, and Kid Flash’s voices all overlapped as they looked at the unresponsive robots with panic.
Things moved in quick succession barely giving Siren time to register what was going on until it was too late.
Red Tornado reached out to touch one of the robot’s hands, an electrical current passing between them. Both of their eyes lit up red as Red Tornado rounded on the team. Rising in the air, he created vacuums from his fists, instantly sucking the air out of the room.
Siren quickly grew lightheaded, dropping her hand from Robin’s shoulder to clutch at her throat. She stumbled, falling to her knees as her vision tilted, going dark.
Siren’s eyes snapped open as she took in a huge breath. Okay, good, she could breathe again.
Blinking a few times to clear her vision, she found Black Canary leaning over her.
“Hi,” Siren mumbled, slowly sitting up from her position on the floor. Her throat felt like it was on fire. She looked around to see most of her teammates awake, surrounded by members of the League, all of their mentors, as well as Superman and Captain Atom. Flash and Atom were in the process of freeing KF and Superboy from their confines.
“Are you okay?” Canary asked, resting a hand on her sister’s back.
Siren groaned. “I’ll be fine. I’ll never take oxygen for granted ever again, that’s for sure.” She looked off to the side to see Artemis was coming to.
“She’s alright,” Superman, who had been checking on her, called out. He helped the girl stand. “What happened here?”
“What happened?” Artemis echoed. “The Reds happened. Tornado and his-” She just then realized the robots were no longer in the room. “Wait. Where are they?”
“Gone,” Robin said, turning to face her. “All three of them. Gone.”
Siren frowned, risking a glance toward Aqualad. He seemed to sense her watching him and returned the look. One thing stood out in her mind: Tornado’s attack couldn’t be a coincidence.
Been enjoying the fic so far? Have any questions about Siren? My asks are open!