DexCon Workshop fic 2006.
Dexcon Fic: All Along the (animated) Watchtower
Summary: Ever have just one of those days?
Traveling to alien planets had its perks.
The Kirwenians were so grateful for his help (and honestly, it hadn’t been that big a deal to divert the rogue comet away from their moon) that they’d insisted on giving him a thanks-gift. Clark wasn’t entirely comfortable accepting gratuities for such necessary and simple work, but the aliens had insisted and just the other week J’onn had made a big speech about respecting the customs of other cultures. The Kirwenians promised that it wasn’t anything overly valuable, just an expression of thanks, so Clark felt it was acceptable to take the offered reward just this once.
Besides, Lois would like the plant and its vibrant purple flowers would look great on her dining room table. Where he hoped he’d be invited for dinner...as long as she didn’t cook.
But he had duties and patrols across the planet before he saw her that evening, so after filing the mission report he left the plant in the Watchtower kitchen. The note read:
P.S. Yes, Batman, I did run it through all appropriate bioscans and protocols before bringing it on board.
Dull. Dull. Dull. You’d think that membership in the Justice League would be a twenty-four-hour-a-day thrill ride, but here Wally was up in the Watchtower, stuck on monitor duty for the next four hours, without an invading alien, world-conquering maniac, or grateful blonde in sight. And while the whole “being in a futuristic space station” thing sounded cool, after you got over the thrill, what it actually meant was that all the windows had the same view and there weren’t any convenience stores to grab snacks from.
Plus, that plant of Superman’s was taking up a lot of space in the kitchen, vines trailing all over the floor and everything, and the last thing he wanted to do was accidentally knock it over during yet another superspeed kitchen raid.
Wally sighed, watching the uneventful monitors and wishing for a disaster. Anything. He’d even take an attack by the Rainbow Raider. Or another revolution in Gorilla City. When the screens stayed stubbornly peaceful, however, he gave up. Clearly nothing was going to happen this shift. And the good thing about the Watchtower was its super-powerful ultra-cutting edge computer systems.
After all, what good was a supercomputer if you couldn’t use it to download the latest computer games? A few thousand rounds of Super Speed Speedball should see him through the rest of this eternally boring shift....
J’onn barely had a moment to say hello to Flash as he entered the Monitor Room. The speedster lived up to his name as he zoomed out the door with an incomprehensible greeting.
Sitting down at the computer station, J’onn shrugged and began his normal routine. A moment later, it became obvious why Wally had fled—the computer screens were filled with random bits of data and occasional images from the old Space Trek 1999 series. J’onn spent the next hour futilely trying to work on his standard duties while fighting with the computer.
The beep of the incoming comm was almost a relief, but seeing that the call was coming from the Office of Metahuman Affairs in Washington, DC quickly dampened his enthusiasm.
“May I be of assistance?”
“Well, I certainly hope so, after the damage you people caused yesterday. Frankly, I was appalled that your type of ‘assistance’ is allowed in our country without oversight, but since I don’t have the authority—”
J’onn blinked once at the sharp-faced, narrow-eyed woman glaring at him on the screen. “Ma’am, how may I help you?”
She blew out a breath in irritation and waved a large stack of forms in the air. “As you are apparently unaware, each time you ‘meta-humans’ operate on U.S. soil you must fill out the appropriate documentation. Particularly when you cause damage--as you did yesterday when that bird-woman of yours destroyed the outer walls of our storage facility at Langley! You must complete Forms 1004-F, 1004-G, 1005-R, 1005-T, and, most important, 1008-E--in triplicate, in addition to form 1001-A: Accidental Destruction of Property During Course of Super-Villain Altercation.”
Speechless for a moment, J’onn blinked once more and then finally nodded slowly. “Ma’am, I believe we have copies of these forms on hand. I will have them completed and sent to you.”
Looking only slightly mollified, the woman nodded briskly. “And remember, errors are unacceptable. Mistakes on any form will require the entire set to be completed again.”
J’onn nodded briskly in return and closed the transmission. He shook his head once, and hit the intercom to call for Hawkgirl. Her mess—her forms.
Shayera glared at the computer screen, half-considering smashing the whole system in with her mace, and settled for swearing at it in Thanagarian. Forms? For saving a government installation from a rogue Ivo-bot? In triplicate?! Granted there’d been more than a little bit of collateral damage, but that was how battles went, and even the Earth military should know that.
She’d known humans were crazy when she first came to this planet, but the depths of pointless bureaucracy they subjected themselves to was an exercise in purest idiocy, as far as she was concerned.
And besides, something was screwy with the computer, so she couldn’t fill out the forms even if she was inclined to.
Screw this. Shayera checked the team schedules and saw that Diana had an hour free in between diplomatic missions. Just enough time to come up to the Watchtower and spar. Grinning ferally, Hawkgirl placed the call.
John Stewart had great respect for his colleagues in the Justice League. He honestly did.
There were times—more than a few—that he might wish for just a little bit more professionalism and attention to detail from his teammates. For example, he understood all too well that Wally West was still green compared to the others—but you would think he’d have the plain common sense to not upload a computer virus to the Watchtower systems.
At least the others could be relied on to be more responsible. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl, for example, were usually models of—
He paused. What were they doing? He dropped his coffee onto the floor in shock as the two women began sparring in the middle of the corridor, and he jumped from his chair as Hawkgirl’s mace crashed into the ceiling.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? That’s a hallway, not a boxing ring,” he shouted over the comm, forgetting for a moment that he was addressing his teammates and not raw recruits. But dammit, they should know better.
Diana, at least, seemed to agree as she looked up toward the wall comm with a mildly apologetic expression. “We’ll move to a more appropriate arena,” she said, while next to her Hawkgirl just smirked.
There was clearly more to be said, but his coffee was pooling on the floor. He simply couldn’t deal with that smirk without coffee. Something about that woman....
Rubbing his head in frustration, he walked down to the kitchen for a replacement cup. Halfway down the corridor leading to the kitchen, he realized the décor had changed. As far as he was aware, no one used vines as wall decorations. As he approached the entrance, the problem became apparent—the alien plant Superman brought for Lois had grown wild and taken over the kitchen. Thick, thorny vines covered every inch of the kitchen, blocking the entranceway and dispersing a musky, slightly flowery odor through the hallway.
He stared at the vines for a long moment.
One: That was Clark’s gift for Lois.
Two: That was Clark’s problem to clean up.
Three: He still didn’t have any coffee.
John Stewart turned around and headed back for the Monitor Room. Maybe he could find some paperwork or something to help him relax.
Walking through the Watchtower corridors, it was clear something was not right. There was a strange, slightly jasmine odor emanating from the kitchens, and as Batman walked past, the door to the eastern hallway was slightly bent outward. Green Lantern had not mentioned anything out of the ordinary though—in fact, he’d seemed almost calm on the comm.
As Batman walked into the Monitor Room, Green Lantern was sorting a pile of paper into three neat stacks, and looked up to greet him with a wry grin.
“Problems?” Batman asked.
John shrugged. “I hope you’ve eaten because the kitchen is closed, the computer is down, and the eastern hallway is in need of major repairs. Other than that—quiet night.”
With that, John gathered up his papers—filled out in small, neat handwriting—and strolled out.
Raising an eyebrow, Bruce sat down at the computer station and hit a key. He looked at the gibberish appearing on the screen with a sigh, quickly deleted the offending code, and rebooted the system. Five minutes later, he was gazing at the security camera footage of the eastern hallway with something close to admiration. He noted an impressive dent on the ceiling that must have been from Hawkgirl’s mace, and the 2-foot slice in the floor from Diana’s tiara caused his mouth to twitch. That woman had the most impressive accessories.
He sent off the bill for the corridor repairs and then called up the view from the kitchen. A quick blast of freon from the vents killed the overgrown plant. Clark would just have to buy Lois roses like everyone else.
He pulled up the local server and sent out a memo to all Watchtower residents detailing more stringent security measures—particularly as related to bringing alien lifeforms or non-approved computer programs onto the station. Really—Wally should know better than to use any programs from Dayton Industries.
Glancing around the room and seeing everything back to normal on the monitors, he allowed himself a slightly smug smile...and pulled up a session of the now virus-free Super Speed Speedball, scoffing at Wally’s scores.
A quiet night, indeed.