Chapter 7.2 – Interlude 1
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Clark arrived back at the watchtower through the Zeta-tube in his Fortress, he didn’t really want to leave Kara’s side, but it had been two days and his computers were still busy analyzing her body, they also showed no signs of finishing.

Besides, even without the Zeta-tube network, he could be back at her side in a minute or two.

“Thanks for coming, Clark.” Bruce received him and they started walking towards the meeting room together. “How is she?”

“The computer is still looking over her situation, but it’s not good.” Clark covered his eyes with a hand and only felt Bruce’s hand patting him on the shoulder. “She’s not going to die, the Fortress has assured me she’ll heal… eventually.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“No Bruce, she just needs time.” Clark smiled at his friend’s support. “And how’s her friend, the orange girl?”

“That’s one of the things we need to discuss today.”

“Alright, let’s go then.”

They entered the League’s council room and the window towards the planet started to close, making sure they were secure and unobserved.

Clark looked around the room, both Lanterns were in attendance, Hawkman and Hawkwoman sat side by side, Arthur, Red Tornado, Barry, Diana, John, Captain Atom, Black Canary, Green Arrow and Zatara.

Only Captain Marvel was missing from the table.

“Are we starting without Marvel?” Clark asked.

“Captain Marvel chose not to attend this meeting. While it is no longer an emergency, he is helping with the rebuilding efforts at his city and trusts the rest of the League’s judgment.”

Nobody said anything else, making Clark raise an eyebrow, but he didn’t complain. If something happened to Metropolis, he’d probably skip a League meeting to help out too.

“Everyone is present,” Started Arthur and they all focused. “Our agenda today is… unusual, however no less important to the survival of the Justice League.”

“Please, take your seats.” Said Bruce and waited until they were all ready. “Let’s start with the less important news, Hal?”

“The Guardians have taken custody of Despero, according to them, there is still a chance he may regain his memories and powers, so they’ll have to keep an eye on him, but he’ll be raised as a normal child in the meantime.”

“Let’s hope turning our enemies into babies doesn’t become a habit then.” Diana said with a frown. Like Clark, she believed in second chances, but this may be going a little too far.

“Yeah, sheesh, I didn’t know Martians could do babalities man, that’s scary.” Barry said, drawing sighs from all around him. Even John seemed annoyed this time.

“Despero becoming a baby was a result of the backlash from his own power, not the Martian Rite I executed. Martians can NOT do babalities, whatever that is.”

“What about the ones who attacked Fawcett city?”

Turning on the hologram on the center of the table, Batman started showing images from Captain Marvel’s attackers.

“The team of super villains identified themselves as the Monster Society of Evil.”

“A little on the nose aren’t they?”

“Yes, but also incredibly dangerous, after the battle, we were able to apprehend Mr. Atom who many of you are familiar with and Oom the mighty, an alien serial killer who can match the upper levels of super strength and martial ability.”

“Evil Eye perished in the battle, but several members managed to escape, the Wicked Witch was wounded, but used magic to return to her plane. Ibac and Mr. Mind escaped together through some kind of teleporter, worse, we have reason to believe those were not all the members of the Society.”

“A shirtless dude and a worm don’t seem that dangerous to me.” Hal said, earning a glare from his partner and Zatara.

Now that Clark thought about it, Zatara had been glaring at everyone ever since the start of the meeting.

“The… shirtless dude, as you so eloquently put it, is empowered by the spirits of some of the worst men on Earth’s history.” Zatara said and started tapping his fingers at the table. “While he is weaker than Captain Marvel, and the actual host of the spirits hold them back, Ibac is still incredibly brutal and more than a match for most of the League.”

“As for the ‘worm’, it was a telepath as strong as John and capable of telekinesis powerful enough to shatter a building and throw Captain Marvel himself around. I am told the creature was able to hit a Kryptonian through several buildings too.”

Clark did not know that, Mr. Mind was it? He’d have to remember to thank the being for how it treated his wounded cousin.

“Regardless, the Monster Society of Evil shows that our villains are adapting, just as we have come together to face greater threats, they have come together to face us.” Bruce said. “I’ll be sending each of you a document with information about villains each of you usually face alone. It is not impossible such team ups may attempt to swap enemies in order to surprise you.”

Clark noticed the room starting to become disquiet, a tension growing at every member. He really didn’t think he was gonna like what this was about.

“Before we address the ‘elephant in the room’, we have one last problem to deal with.” Diana took control of the hologram and showed them an image of the orange girl who was his cousin’s friend. “This is Koriand’r, Princess of the planet Tamaran, she’s a refugee hoping to enlist the League’s help to free her people from enslavement.”

“Isn’t that within the Green Lanterns jurisdiction?” Arthur interjected. “The League was created to protect Earth, not some distant planet, especially not when there’s already a police force for such things.”

“The Green Lantern Corps are barred from entering the Vega system.” John Stewart explained. “Our rings refuse to explain why, but it is common knowledge the system has become a refuge for criminals and other, even worse, types.”

“What exactly does this Princess want?” Hawkman asked. “Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to get support from Thanagar.”

“For now, she only asks to be able to stay on Earth, but she’s looking for help with retaking her planet and repelling the forces of the Citadel.” Diana tapped a few keys and the console in front of them started receiving data. “The girl is a fierce warrior and has been staying with me while her friend recovers, this is all the information she has on the Vega system situation.”

Clark read it all and grimaced, it was worse than he thought.

Armies of cloned and brainwashed soldiers, a race of cannibalistic spiders, pirates, another race of amoral scientists, it was not a simple case of fighting once and being done with.

“Wow, what a shit show.” Barry said as he too finished reading and lay back in his chair. “So, when are we going?”

Everyone else was still on the first page, but they had finished the resume and could comment on the situation.

“Do we even have the right to interfere?” Red Tornado spoke for the first time, his voice impassive. “This is not an Earthly matter.”

“You all know I have a kingdom to govern. I can’t simply leave Earth to fight for another nation and abandon my own.” Arthur said. “More than that, the League has a policy of non interference, deciding who does or does not rule a planet is not in our charter.”

“Can we live with ourselves if we do nothing?” Clark finally asked, making them all lift their eyes from the data. “We don’t save people because a charter allows us to, we do it because we believe it’s the right thing to do, because it’s what we have been taught to do. Would we stop being heroes if the government declared our work illegal again tomorrow?”

That made them all stop to think for a few seconds, it was Bruce who finally broke the silence. “It is clear we need time to review the information we have just received, there will be no vote on this issue today.”

They all nodded in agreement, extending the League’s actions beyond Earth was something they all had to take time and think about and, while the situation on the Vega system was dire, it seemed to be stable for now.

“So, what’s this problem that’s got everyone on edge?” Clark finally asked.

“Captain Marvel.” Zatara said with an odd voice. “The 10 year old boy who has been lying to all of us and how he is part of the League.”

“Marvel does possess an adult body and the wisdom of Solomon.” Red Tornado said.

“Wisdom does not equal maturity.” countered Arthur with a frown.

“His lies about his situation are not exactly a good proof of character.” Diana sighed in frustration.

“Yes, because we all revealed our names and entire story to each other and came to work without masks.” Barry mocked. “Come on, some of us still haven’t revealed our actual names to each other, who knows, Captain Atom there may be a convicted murderer for all we know.”

“His age was exactly why I allowed Captain Marvel in the League.” Batman said from his seat causing everyone to turn to him.

“Wait, you knew?” Giovanni lost his cool and got up, his cane hitting the table. “You knew and still let a ten year old into the League? I tolerate your sidekicks because they at least have adult supervision, but to put a 10 year old on the League!”

“Why did we even allow him in the League? He was clearly immature and far too flippant about every situation.” Captain Atom complained.

“I allowed Marvel into the League for his own protection.” Bruce answered without cowering and in the same tone he always spoke. “The Captain’s situation is very different from one of our sidekicks, while our partners are getting training from us, they have no enemies of their own, no cities to protect or the experience to deal with it.”

“Captain Marvel was accepted in the League long after he had been active as an independent Hero. He had already gathered a collection of super villains who see him as an enemy, including the likes of Black Adam and Thaddeus Sivana. Refusing to allow him into the League would only endanger him more and leave him with no backup.”

“So that’s why the Captain was never dispatched alone huh, I always wondered about that.” Barry said, smashing his fist at his open palm as if he had solved a great mystery.

“We can’t allow him to continue in the League, his immaturity and lies are proof he doesn’t deserve to be here.”

The room descended into chaos as the League started arguing about the Captain’s situation, some complaining about him and pointing out his mistakes while others defending his inclusion.

“Enough.” Clark finally shouted, causing everyone to stop. “He’s ten years old.”

He looked around the room and let them all take this in.

“He’s a ten year old boy trying to be a hero. We are NOT blaming him for not revealing his age to us.” He took a moment to gather himself and looked down at the damage he did to the table, shaking his head he continued. “We are the responsible adults; it is our failing not his.”

They all seemed to finally realize just how young the boy was and Clark nodded, then turned to his old friend. “Who did this to him? I think I need to have a talk with whoever is responsible.”

“He draws his powers from the Wizard Shazam.” Batman answered, tapping a finger against the table. “I’ll send you the location later.”

With their tempers cooling down, the League took some more time to deliberate on things. In the end, they decided to keep the Captain, not only would it tarnish both the League and Captain Marvel’s names to have him kicked out, but the entire League agreed it would feel like too harsh a punishment for a little boy who was only trying to do what was right.

Despite that, since the Captain was a magical champion and most of his enemies were magical in nature, Giovanni would take him under his wing. To the public, the magical powerhouses would be teaming up, but Zatara was effectively taking the boy as his apprentice from now on.

The League would meet in a month to decide about Princess Koriand’r’s situation and, until then, the girl would be under Wonder Woman’s care on Themyscira. The Amazonians seemed to have really taken a shine to the young warrior.

With the meeting finished, Clark said his goodbyes and returned to the fortress as soon as he could. “Any change?”

“No, the Fortress is almost done analyzing her situation, but it should still take her a year for a full recovery.”

“When can I wake her up?”

“Now, if you wish to, but her wounds will still cause her pain. In another 4 days, the healing chamber should be able to heal her electrical burns and most obvious wounds completely.”

Sitting back at his chair, Clark leaned back and stretched. Technically, he didn’t need to be here for at least another four days, but he couldn’t bring himself to leave her side for very long.

He was still keeping an ear on what was going on in Metropolis, and the League would contact him if he was needed anywhere else but, until then, he’d stay by her side until she was better.

He felt something wet and cold touching his hand and looked down to see Krypto nudging his hand with his nose. Sitting down, his dog whined at him.

“Alright, come here boy.” Pulling the large dog into his lap, he waved a hand through his fur and started caressing his head. Krypto licked his face, causing him to laugh out loud and embrace the dog.

The dog’s support dispelled the last of the anger he had been holding and left only hope in its place. He had a cousin, he had a cousin and she was going to be okay.

With a wide smile on his face, Clark lifted Krypto by his front legs and put them on top of Kara’s medical pod’s glass. “Here, I want you to meet my cousin Kara, I really hope you’re gonna like her boy.”



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