H E R O E S He caught the spinning batarang smoothly. The final thug lay limp and unconscious on the floor of the warehouse before him, his arm strewn haphazardly across the chest of one of his eight comrades. With a grin, the Batman folded up the batarang, letting the suit's prep mechanism pull it back into a ready position, close at hand. The HUD showed him his heart rate, an accuracy breakdown, and an incoming communication. He took the initiative on it. "How's that, old man?" He stretched as he spoke, his lean, wiry frame echoed in the angular full-face cowl. The response came in over his earpiece, the voice gravelly and low. "Tt. I was faster in my day." The Batman smiled. "Better training, huh?" "Of course. All the training. Better than an old man. Now get back to the briefing room." The lights in the warehouse came up. Uniformed medics filed in, slowly reviving and checking on the thugs - or rather, the volunteers. The Batman smiled, and stepped off the training floor and into a lift. *** The Watchtower's science labs were abuzz with activity. Old Stark had picked up some odd action in the Earth's gravity well and had been monitoring it for two days straight. Aided by his exoskeleton, Stark puttered around the labs, grilling those under his watch - his minions, he liked to call them. He ran a hand through his white hair, a constant reminder of his age. At least he wasn't bitter about it like Wayne, and he had twenty years on the guy. "Mr. Stark?" He glanced up. One of the techs was bringing a datapad over. He sat up straight in his chair. "What've you got for me?" The tech hurriedly handed the data to Stark. As he read it over, his eyes widened. Not good. *** The Batman stood in the League's conference room, listening to his superiors - his comrades. Seated at the big table was the old man - his mentor and predecessor - and the Kryptonian himself. "So, Terry. What do you think?" Said Kal-El with a smile. The Batman - Terry - was awestruck. "You want me - me - in the League?" The old man nodded. "We certainly do. You're ready." Terry beamed with pride. "Then I'm in! Of course I'm in, how could I not-" The alarms went off. Terry froze. *** Stark briefed them quickly. "Minovsky interference has been rapidly building these past few days, so we looked into it. Massive electromagnetic disturbances in space/time have been detected, originating from Earth - naturally. I mean, when aren't we threatened?" The old man scowled. "Tt. So what does it mean? Obviously we're under attack - surely not Lensherr?" Stark frowned. "I was afraid you'd think that. He's been dead, what, twenty years now?" The old man groaned. "It's one of these situations, isn't it? Fantastic." Kal-El crossed his arms. There was an unspoken understanding between the three men, and Terry struggled to keep up. Who was Lensherr? And what was "one of these situations?" He cleared his throat. "Um, so - what's the plan?" Kal-El chuckled. "Never thought I'd hear the Batman say that." "The plan is," said Stark, "you're going back. Forty years back." "…in time?" The old man stood. "And so am I." "You can't have two Batmen back then, let alone three!" The old man scowled at Stark. "There's a precedent. Kent knows. I'll use the suit. I'll be the Iron Bat." *** They assembled on the transport pad. Terry was visibly nervous; Rachel Summers and the old man joined him, ready for transport, along with Steven Rasputin. Stark's voice came over from the nearby control room. Techs were hurrying around, scrambling to work as he spoke. "You'll have to work fast. We're already seeing the effects of temporal disruption here - I'll keep it simple, timelines are splitting at an unknown point approximately forty years ago. This does not bode well, obviously. Go back, find what's causing this, and stop it before it tears a hole in space/time." He flicked a few switches. "And just…if you meet me, just - Rachel, you especially - do not be charmed." And with a crack, they were gone.