“OHHHHH!!!! I get it! You think you’re too good for my help!” the smiling man said with an insanity in his voice. He sat with his left arm over a chair as he addressed the room full of these stinking tin trash cans, twiddling his knife in his other hand.
“We have no use for your plan. Daleks are supreme! Daleks are supreme!” The leader of the Daleks yelled out to a chorus of echoes from his constituents. Why were these things always yelling, the Joker wondered. It just made them seem a bit desperate.
“Oh, right. You’re so supreme that you’ve been beaten countless time by an idiot in a blue box!” The Joker challenged.
“Heresy! Heresy! The Daleks do not lose!” Again with the yelling. This one wasn’t the leader but one of his immediate subordinates on the bench.
“Well, it’s just as well. It’s not like I need you to take care of my little problem. Me and my friends have defeated our little infestation more times than you all have breathed. You do breathe, right?” It was a little white lie the Joker felt comfortable telling them. “Just saying, with my help- and that of my friends of course- we would take care of the problem wham, bam, thank you ma’am!” The Joker let out a blood curdling laugh.
“How can you do this! Explain! Explain!” The Leader shouted.
“I was going to before I was so rudely interrupted. Apparently manners aren’t that big of a ‘thing’ with you guys. I mean, that is why you called me in front of this little tribunal, isn’t it. You wanted to test me out. To see if I really had the mettle to deliver on my deal. Look, it’s simple really. There just aren’t enough of my compatriots to take care of our little problem once and for all. With numbers and firepower like yours they wouldn’t stand a chance. Then, once that’s done, I ask my cohorts- uh, very, very nicely of course- to jump over to this Universe. You’re problem is you’re always being out-witted by that bimbo in a box. With our combined might and intelligence, he wouldn’t stand a chance.” The Joker said in a grand monologue, circling the chamber and really delivering those lines like a Shakespearean actor. It was one of those times he impressed even himself.
“The Daleks could easily take care of your problem. How can the Daleks be assured of your dominance. What have you to offer to us. Tell us! Tell us!” The Leader bellowed.
“Well, off the top of my head, a bald man with an intellect unmatched in my world, a skinny ugly fellow who prays on fear- the stronger the fear the better his weapons- with a legion of people just like him, a big ole fat-ass with an armada of flying bat…thingy’s who devours planets and a giant computer who…well devours planets. That was a lot more anti-climactic than I would have hoped. But hey, two’s better than one, am I right!” The Joker laughed again. He wasn’t entirely sure that he could convince Lex, Sinestro, Darkseid and Braniac. But this offer was just too juicy.
“But what do you bring to us?”
“The sheer fact, which can be scientifically and medically proven, that I am absolutely, 100% insane. Unrefined, unfiltered, unmitigated insanity.” The Joker gave them a queer smile. “And that makes me unpredictable, which is exactly what you trash bins need!”
“And the arrangement is only as follows: we help you control your planet, you help us control our Universe? Is that correct?” The lead Dalek said, more slowly.
“And nothing else. You get to keep all of your new Universe, I get to keep all of my world.”
The Daleks turned their little flashlight eyes to one another, a moment of silent consideration being pondered. “The Daleks will agree to this offer.”
They had fallen right into his plans. “Daleks are supreme.” The Joker said in his low, whispery voice.
“Daleks are supreme! Daleks are supreme!” This cry continued through the halls of the Dalek mother ship, an incessant racket from each pathetic little trash can.
Chapter One: The Darkest Day
“Report: Green Lantern 2814 Hal Jordan. Sector remains quiet. Turning in for the moment to attend to other duties.” Hal Jordan said to his ring as he approached the Watchtower. He had been away for nearly three weeks making a detailed sweep of his sector and was glad to be returning to his home turf. The worst he had come across during those weeks a near trade-lane infringement by Talkorian merchants that was easily sorted out.
The Watchtower boomed before him in all of its majesty, floating above the good Earth, an omnipresent guardian never off the clock. If we was right, the Flash would be manning the main console tonight, with Martian Manhunter on reserve. Speaking of which, there was an artifact from J’onn’s home planet he wanted to ask about, some kind of weird tube with what appeared to be the dried remnants of a liquid in it. It bore ceremonial markings and had obviously been handled with some deference. Maybe it would be of interest to him.
Hal touched the earpiece in his right ear. “Green Lantern here. Anybody awake this time of night?” He joked.
“Come on, Hal, I’ve had 48 cups of coffee. I’m more wired than that Cyborg kid.” Wally West shot back.
“Ouch, careful with that joke- it’s antique, Flash. How’s everything?”
“Quiet as Batman. I had a little row with Captain Cold a week or so back, but that’s about it. I’m picking you up on radar now.” Wally responded.
“Well you’ll have to tell me all about it when I get in. By the way, tell J’onn I’ve got a little present for him.” Hal said.
“Ooh! Did you get me anything?” Wally said excitedly.
“My unending respect and undying friendship?” Hal responded.
“No, I mean anything good! I’ve been wanting to get the guys at S.T.A.R. Labs some…” With that Wally broke off due to an alarm sounding on the quantum continuum array.
“Flash, I’m getting some strange readings from my ring, are…”Hal started.
“He is. I detected it too. The sound of a million screaming voices.” Manhunter said as he walked into the control room.
“Yeah it seems to be coming from about halfway between the asteroid belt and Earth. Hold on, I’ll try and get it on visual.” Wally said.
“Yeah, I’m gonna go check it out.” Hal said as he power up his ring and accelerated in the direction of the disturbance.
“I’m coming with you.” Manhunter said in his usual, solemn way.
“You too be careful. I’ll contact the others, let ‘em know we got something.” Wally said as his hands worked light speed magic on the console. “Okay, all of them except Bats and Supes have responded.”
“They’re probably tied up at the moment.” Manhunter said, a ways behind Hal.
“Okay guys I’m at the coordinates. I’m getting some sound. That’s impossible, there’s no sound in space!” Hal said.
“Switch on your earpieces camera, give me a visual.” Wally said.
“Done. Can you see it?” Hal asked.
“Hold on, there seems to be some kind of gravitational interference.” Wally informed Hal “Whoa! Big time interference. Hal, you better get outta there. My readings showing some weird stuff like you’re…”
“Fluctuating in and out of the continuum. I sense it too, Hal.” Manhunter finished.
“Alright guys, I’ll just describe it to you. It’s like the stars at these coordinates are spinning, crazy fast, faster than you flash.” Hal reported. “Okay, there’s something I haven’t seen before. It’s opening. There’s a lot of lightning…shit!” Hal exclaimed.
“GL, get outta there, come back to the Watchtower, you too Manhunter!’ Wally ordered. “The rest of the team is on their way, we can sort this out then.”
“Roger that. I…damn it! I can seem to move. Okay guys, this is really, really weird. It’s like space is opening up in front of me.” Hal said, a marked measure of fear in his voice. “I’m gonna try and seal it up. Damn it! My constructs aren’t working. I…hold on…”
“Hal get out of there!” Wally commanded. “That’s an order!”
“Green Lantern, I’m coming for you, stay where you are.” Manhunter said.
“No, J’onn you get back here too! We don’t know what we’re up against here…” Wally started.
“I don’t think that annoying little hyena’s ever been more right. Come to think of it, I don’t know if he’s ever been right.” A moment of silence passed as a voice they were oh so familiar with beamed in their ears. “Oh, what…didn’t you fellas miss me?” The laugh…that…cackle!
“Joker. What are you up to?” Manhunter asked.
“Oh, you know…killing, joking around, pining for the sweet embrace of death…any number of things that are more interesting than you, Mars boy! Oh, by the way, did I tell you I’ve made some new friends?” The Joker prodded.
“Guys, okay guys this is really weird and I’m starting to freak out a little. It’s like there’s this vortex…oh god….oh god I can see everything….OH GOD!!!! GUYS THEY’RE COMING RIGHT AT ME!!! THERE’S SO MANY OF THEM!!!! HELP!!!!!” Lanterns voice had turned a shrill scream towards the end, right before the static came over his ear piece.
“Lantern! Lantern! GL! Hal!” Wally yelled. “Respond!”
“Oh, it’s kind of hard to respond when you’re dead, don’t you think. It’s funny how even such a strong will can be broken at the sight of a million million death machines flying at you and you can’t even move. No little green bubble…no little green man!” The Joker laughed.
“He can’t be dead! He just can’t!” Wally exclaimed.
Over the static of Hal’s earpiece came that unnervingly calming voice. “Report: Green Lantern Number 2814, deceased.”
“You’re lucky you punks are young are young and inexperienced. I took pity and only broke one of your arms.” Batman said as he finished tying up the last crook. “You guys are small time crooks, so there’s still time to change.” He grabbed one by the shirt collar. “But if I catch any one of you punks so much as sneezing in a way that I don’t like, I’ll break every bone in your body.” He walked calmly back to his Batmobile, throwing over his shoulder as he left one of the guns the crooks had on him. “The police will be here in 3 minutes and 15 seconds. I’d be working on your confessions, if I was you.” With that he hopped and floored all 1300 horses running under hits hood.
“It’s been quiet in Gotham lately. Too quiet.” He thought to himself.
“Something bothering you, Master Bruce?” Alfred said over the intercom.
“It’s obvious isn’t it? That massive breakout at Arkham two months ago and the crime numbers haven’t even fidgeted. All I’ve been doing these past couple of weeks is chasing down petty criminals and beating Gotham PD to their arrests. None of it linked, in any way. No Joker, no Penguin, No Two-Face…nothing.”
“Perhaps you’ve finally succeeded in scaring them away, Master Bruce.” Alfred offered, which drew an ironic smile from Bruce.
“Not likely, Alfred.”
“Well, it was worth a shot anyways. One would think you’d be enjoying this relative time off. I would hazard a guess that you’ve almost gotten half of a full night’s sleep for all of the past two weeks, sir. It is good for your health, you know.” Alfred was always good at offering advice, but something just didn’t seem right to Bruce.
“I get enough sleep, Alfred. It’s the criminals that seem to not need it. Except lately. I’ve tried to connect all of these guys in some way, but nothing sticks. I just don’t get it, Alfred.” Bruce said with frustration.
“I know, sir. Just be vigilant, as you always are. I’m sure some more significant crime will turn up somewhere. Or perhaps your friends in the Justice League will come calling.” Alfred said, sounding hopeful, which was strange considering what he was saying.
“You’re hearts in the right place, Alfred, as always. But they haven’t needed me in over two…” Bruce was interrupted by a flashing blue light on his heads up display.
“Can I inquire as to whether to expect you soon, Master Bruce?” Alfred asked.
“I don’t think so, Alfred. Dick just activated his homing beacon. I’m gonna meet him at the Docks. Don’t wait up for me, Alfred.” Bruce instructed.
“Don’t tell me what to do sir.” With that Bruce punched off the communicator. It was strange that Dick had activated his homing beacon instead of contacting him directly. Something was off.
The Batmobile careened through the streets of Gotham, it’s 15 cylinders firing in perfect unison as I glided soundlessly on the streets. Gotham was a war zone, in Batman’s eyes. Every encounter with every villain replayed itself as he drove her streets. Thousands of times he had cheated death only to encounter it again a week or so later. His bones, though not so old, were starting to grow weary.
He pulled to s top outside of the storage building where Dick’s beacon had been located and hopped out of his ride, striding smoothly inside, expecting to see Dick with his hands full of scumbags and lowlifes. Instead he was greeted by something he didn’t expect- the Bat Family and Superman.
“Bruce, it took you long enough.” Superman said in his usual condescending manner. “Come on, we’ve no time to lose. Take my arm.”
“Wait, what’s going on?” Batman inquired.
“You didn’t get the message from the Watchtower?” Superman asked.
“What message?” Batman said blankly.
Superman took on a grave face, as the rest of them stared down at the dank, cold cement floor. “Lantern’s dead.”
“What!” Batman exclaimed.
“Something nullified his rings powers and he died. We’re not sure how. But he was screaming. According to Manhunter, it was like nothing he’d ever seen before.” Superman explained.
“Something that nullified a power ring that neither Hal nor J’onn had ever seen before? We might have our work cut out for us.” Batman said, using his casual voice to hide the fear he felt.
“It gets worse.” Nightwing chimed in. “They heard a voice coming from the other end of the space-time disturbance they were investigating. It was…”
“The Joker.” Batman growled.
“Yeah. J’onn saw what he was bringing with him through whatever that space-time disturbance was.” Nightwing continued.
“And?” Batman asked.
“He said it was the largest, most powerful force he had ever come across.” Superman finished.
“Have the other members been summoned?”
“Flash was on duty and Manhunter made it back safe. At the speed the force is moving they should be in striking distance of Earth within 2 days. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl are there.” Superman informed Bruce.
“Good. Dick, you’re in charge in Gotham till I…” Batman started to bark out orders.
“Bruce, he’s asked me to come along.” Nightwing interjected. “He’s asked all of us to come along; me, Red Hood, Red Robing, Bat Woman, Bat-Girl. The Titans are on their way up, as is Green Arrow and a few others.”
Batman looked at Superman. “Bruce, this fleet is huge. Based on the scanners…there’s a billion billion ships of unknown origin baring down on our planet now being lead by a madman. We’re gonna need all the help we can get. Even Aquaman is offering his help.”
Batman thought for a moment. “We need to get to the Watchtower as quickly as possible. I have an idea.”
“Right then! So where to next! The ringed moon, Calufrax Minor? Or how bout a visit to old Cleopatra, eh? Gotta warn you though, she’s got a bit of a body image issue. Or I know, the Great Canadian Empire of the 55th Century! Everybody get’s maple syrup rations and free healthcare. Sounds, ridiculous, I know, but there you have it!” The Doctor said excitedly as he tore into the TARDIS control room.
“Honestly, Doctor, all that time in 1969 and I’m ready to go just about anywhere.” Martha Jones admitted.
“Right then, Culfrax Minor it is! They have got a chocolate milkshake that is out of this world! No, no…that’s the wrong axiom for this. Of course it’s out of this world, it’s actually, physically out of this world.” The Doctor stopped for a moment and looked at Martha, who was giving him a funny look. “I’m babbling, aren’t I?” She nodded her head. “Okay, well, we’ll just…” The Doctor bounced around the console, twisting nobs, pushing buttons and pulling levers. Martha had convinced herself that about 90% of it was for show. Suddenly, The Doctor stopped and bounced back to his read-out screen. “Oh that’s no good.”
“What’s not good?” Martha asked, her arms folded as she made her way to the read-out screen.
“That’s not good at all.” He stood with his mouth agape in that adorable way he does as he took out his brainy specs and put them on.
“Doctor, what is it?” Martha asked.
“Martha, did you ever have a bully in school?” He asked.
“Yeah, Jenny Petuli. She had a one month streak of putting gum in my hair.” Martha remarked.
“And there were days when she wasn’t at school. She was sick or something.” The Doctor lead.
“Yeah, of course.”
“And you could feel it in your bones. Like a relief.” The Doctor said.
“You have no idea.” Martha shot back.
“Well, whatever the opposite of that feeling is, it’s exactly what I’m feeling right now.” He said gravely.
“Why, Doctor. What is it?” She asked impatiently.
“There’s no more Daleks.” He responded.
“Well, yeah. We beat them in New York, remember?” She reminded him.
“No, no, no. Not just now. You see I’ve set the TARDIS data core to inform me if there’s any significant changes in the course of history. According to the TARDIS…the Daleks have never existed.” He said, scratching the back of his head. “Funny thing is, though, the effects of their existence are still there. All the planets they destroyed…all gone still.”
“Well, it’s strange, it’s like all the Daleks in history have been plucked out and just, well…vanished. Lemme see if I can localize the point in space-time this originated from.” The Doctor leaned over his console, quietly pressing a few buttons. “Got it.” He put his hand on a lever and gave Martha a smile. “Martha the Brave, are you ready to be bold?”
“Tell you what Doctor, I’ll be brave and you be bold.” She laughed back.
“Very well, then: The Brave and The Bold, once more into the fray.” He yelled as he threw the TARDIS into gear.
Sparks flew from the console as the TARDIS jumped an hurled, sending the Doctor and Martha in every direction. “Hang on! Hang on! Something’s happening!”
“Well I can see that!” Martha shouted.
“Just…just hang on to something while I get her stable…” The Doctor knocked about a few levers and nobs until he gave up. “Ah it’s no use…it’s like she can’t make out where she is in space or time…she’s throwing a tantrum! Hang on!” With that the TARDIS gave a mighty heave, sending the Doctor flying backwards and Martha hurdling over the railing she was clutching too. “Okay, okay…I think I’ve got it…just…there…and….walla!” The Doctor threw a switch and the shaking stopped. “Oh, I’m good. That’s twice now- twice!- I’ve done a transdimentional inter-brain quantum jump that should’ve torn us to smeetherings. Wow!” He exclaimed.
“Doctor, where are we!” Martha shouted at him.
“Well all I know is we’re in a different Universe, though I’m not sure which one. Hopefully not Pete’s. Got an…well, a loose end that’s not really tied up there. Anyways…nope, definitely not Pete’s world. We’re about halfway between the Earth and the Moon.” The Doctor rambled, looking over his readout screen. “Oh no.” He said gravely.
“Let me see.” Martha charged up and hipped the Doctor out of the way. He stood behind her, bearing his face down with his fingers in disbelief.
“What are all those red dots?” Martha asked.
“Those, Martha, are Daleks. All of them. Every single Dalek that has ever existed or will exist, pouring into this Universe with their sights set on one goal- the Earth. But why? It’s doesn’t make any sense!” The Doctor responded.
“Maybe they would know.” Martha replied.
“Those people in that big satellite over there.” She pointed. What the Doctor saw amazed him- a giant satellite, the biggest he’d ever seen, in low orbit around the Earth. But that’s not the part that amazed him the most. Flying around the satellite, seemingly preparing it for the battle to come, was some idiot in a blue jumpsuit and a red cape.
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