Steve finished debriefing the newly organized team, letting them know of their number one priority: support, investigate and possibly combat any superhuman that posed a threat to National Security. Their first mission, however, would be to track down who or whatever had attacked Oliver Queen and left him for dead in Kielder Forest. Each member had a purpose and/or reason for being there, including Hannah. The group followed her down a hallway that led to the armory.
“So… what’s her story…?” curiosity had gotten the best of Selina as she silently asked Steve. He gave her a small smirk.
“First of all, she can hear you…” his smirk turned into a snicker as her eyes widened, “She’s… Amanda’s niece…” he finished.
“No way; she’s Director Waller’s niece?” it was Cisco’s turn to widen his eyes. Steve only nodded.
“As I said before, she was born without a larynx so she’s unable to speak. But that somehow enhanced the rest of her senses… immensely.”
“Hmm. So… she has superhuman hearing, smell, touch, sight and taste…?” Courtney studied the woman who led them down the hall.
“Yes. It’s pointless to whisper in front of her, she can see normally in pitch black darkness and she can smell things that we, well, us non-superhumans wouldn’t normally smell… which is how she knew that Hawkman was injured. If her sense of touch is as sensitive as the rest of her senses, I haven’t noticed; I’m pretty sure that she’s had time to hone the skill down as far as not being overly sensitive to touch. She also knows every martial art known to man so she’s a highly skilled fighter; something that will be a plus to this team…” he admitted.
“I can see one fault, though. She’s… really shy. Like… abnormally shy…” Cisco pointed out. It made Steve sigh and nod.
“Amanda made sure that she was highly sheltered; didn’t want her overexposed to the rest of the world, given her powers.”
“Hmph; some aunt…” Cisco mumbled. The group finally stopped in front of what looked like a Dutch split door, something that looked out of place for the A.R.G.U.S. headquarters. Hannah unlocked and opened the door, exposing an unexpected massive armory.
“I know that you may have a weapon of some sort already on you but it’s still Hannah’s job to assign weapons of her choosing…”
“Of her choosing? How can she do that? How would she know what to give someone?” Courtney asked.
“Well… you’ll see; just watch…” Steve said nothing more. Cisco shrugged and was about to follow the mute woman inside until she abruptly closed the bottom portion of the door, “Oh… no one’s ever been allowed in; that’s her armory…” he continued. Cisco studied the woman who kept her head slightly down, her fingers making a nervous, abstract tattoo on the shelf that separated the two.
“Uh… not to say that you can’t do your job but… I’d like to make some suggestions for my weapon of choice…” he cut himself off when she suddenly leaned towards him and sniffed. Hannah quickly turned, disappearing inside her armory. Moments later, she returned with a navy blue velvet cloth with a matching hard case. She carefully unfolded the cloth, revealing what she had chosen for the young man, “…… Um… sticks…? Yeah; not what I was hoping for…”
“They are called Escrimas. They’re used in Filipino-styled martial arts.” J’onn corrected. He glanced at the two sets of weapons and nodded his approval, “The craftsmanship is impeccable; I have never seen this style before. They look heavier than your normal rattan-made ones…” he put his gaze quickly on the woman as a slight smile and blush appeared on her half-hidden face, “You… you made them…” he suddenly realized.
“She makes the majority of the weapons here, especially the fighting sticks.” the former colonel answered for her. Hannah gave the men a slight nod before giving Cisco his weapons.
“Thanks… guess a lesson in martial arts is next…” he half joked. When Hannah gave him another nod, he stared at her blankly, “… Seriously?” he was answered with another nod of her head. Hannah quickly grabbed Cisco’s wrist, as if she had remembered something. She hastily pointed to a small button that was located on the side of wooden weapons. He looked at them and then back at her with a smirk, “Oh… a surprise?” he half whispered. A smile formed across her lips but disappeared as she nodded. He grabbed his Escrimas, trying hard not to smile at her secret announcement.
Tatsu found herself next in line although she knew that the mute woman would turn her away; she already had her weapon of choice: Soultaker, a mystical sword that was able to entrap the souls of whoever it cut down… including her late husband’s. She wasn’t surprised that the woman leaned towards her and sniffed; Tatsu knew that it was her way of sensing whatever she needed to sense. What surprised her was that Hannah gave her a nod and disappeared into her armory. It took her longer to come back than it had with Cisco and Tatsu could do nothing but stare in slight awe as the woman returned with an array of weapons, from the basic sai to shurikens. Tatsu marveled at the weapons before her.
“I don’t understand. Are you telling me to choose…?” she asked. Hannah immediately shook her head and waved her hand over all of the weapons, “Oh… thank you.” she nodded as Hannah put them in a case and handed it to the young woman.
It was Courtney’s turn to approach Hannah; she did so with a smile on her face. When she saw that Tatsu had received weapons, she was absolutely positive that Hannah would retrieve one for her. However, Hannah immediately shook her head and pointed to her Cosmic Staff. She slightly flinched when Courtney frowned a bit and gave her a courtesy sniff. Courtney was amazed at what happened; the timid woman stared at her, giving her a rare view of her chestnut brown eyes. Her expression was that of slight sorrow, she could tell, but Hannah managed to give the young lady a nod. Before Courtney could leave, Hannah produced a somewhat worn out golden brown teddy bear. Hannah pushed it towards her, looking more at the stuffed animal. The teenager looked on in confusion at first; was she giving her a stuffed animal? Courtney had taken note of Hannah’s demeanor and gasped at the realization.
“Oh… oh, no Hannah. This is yours; I can’t take this…” she tried to explain. Hannah shook her head, taking out a small notepad and pencil from her satchel.
You need it more than I do
Courtney read the note and reluctantly took the bear, astonished that the woman was able to sense something like that. She gave her a warm smile and nodded.
“Not much of a weapon… unless there’s some 007 stuff going on here…”
“She can also give you things that will eventually come in handy…” Steve stopped himself from rolling his eyes at Selina’s tone. Amanda appeared in the hallway, checking up more on her niece than on the rest of the newly formed group.
“How is she doing?”
“Well… she gave Stargirl her teddy bear…”
“Wait… what? She’s… had that bear since she was little…” she gave her niece a curious look. When she realized who Steve said the bear was given to, Amanda hid her smirk and nodded, “Hmm…” she knew that the young lady had trouble sleeping. Her thoughts were quickly interrupted and she tensed up as the Martian approached her niece; she was quickly reminded of how Hannah reacted in front of him earlier.
He knew that while the others had received items of importance, there was nothing in her armory that she would assign him; he simply wanted to see what her assessment of him was. The Martian had to admit that he was impressed with her from the moment he looked at her; with his own super senses, he could tell that hers were nearly on par. He didn’t need Steve to mention about her fighting skills; the way she prepared to strike Katar hadn’t gone unnoticed by him! J’onn saw that the only thing that hindered her wasn’t the fact that she was unable to speak; it was her being overly sheltered.
Hannah froze in her spot as the Martian approached her and her eyes widened in his presence. Almost in fear, she dropped her gaze, not daring to look at him again.
“Any suggestions for myself…?” he simply asked her, ignoring her fear. He was used to it, after making the decision to embrace his Martian roots more in his appearance. He was glad that she slowly looked up at him, finally leaning in to sniff the air around him.
“He’s scaring her to death…” Selina noticed. Not that she had blamed the woman; anyone who had no problem taking on the rest of the founding members of the Justice League by themselves was someone not to be messed with!
However, the mood had changed suddenly as Hannah’s eyes widened at J’onn. He could tell that her initial fear was erased and was replaced with a bit of overexcitement. The group was able to see her entire face as her brown eyes filled with awe. Hannah opened the bottom portion of the door and immediately grabbed the Martian by his wrist, startling him.
“Whoa, wait; what is she doing?” Cisco pondered.
“… She’s… taking him inside the armory…” Amanda’s eyes widened as Hannah pulled J’onn inside. She turned her attention towards the group, “No one’s ever gone in there… ever; she won’t even let me in!” she rushed towards the door. It prompted Hannah to stop dead in her tracks to turn and look at her aunt. With a stern look on her face and determination in her eyes, she shook her head and signaled for Amanda to stop. Amanda threw her hands up, “Okay… okay; I won’t move! I’ll stay put right here…” she assured. Hannah gave her a strict nod and continued to pull J’onn through the depths of the armory. It was larger than he had expected, more like a miniature warehouse. The two rounded a corner and stopped in front of what looked like a workstation, equipped with three large steel desks and several rolling tool chests. Just as sudden as her excitement appeared, her shyness returned as she quickly stepped away and sat on the floor cross-legged with her head down. J’onn just looked at her as she pointed towards one of the tool chests.
“My weapon of choice is in there…?” he asked and she quickly nodded. He followed her aim to the smaller of the tool chests, the one with only three drawers. There was something that oddly pulled him towards the middle drawer; he approached the box and slowly opened the drawer. Inside, he found what anybody else would’ve thought was an old medallion. However, he knew exactly what it was before even picking it up. J’onn marveled at the manmade intricate designs engraved throughout the metal. Flipping the pendant over revealed a delicate sketch of his home planet, Mars.
Hannah had become brave enough to lift her head to see what the Martian was doing, her heart pounding as he studied the necklace. When he quickly turned to look at the woman, she immediately put her head back down.
“Where… did you get this…?” he tried to keep his tone friendly, the pendant was made entirely of Martian metal. He waited patiently as she scribbled on her notepad; it made him suddenly wonder why she wouldn’t simply communicate with him through telepathy.
I found it. All I knew was that I wanted to make something out of it and decided on a necklace
“You ‘found’ it? Where?” he still attempted to keep his tone smooth however the urgency in his voice was present enough to make her shake slightly as she wrote.
Bottom level of the building. I didn’t want Aunt Amanda to find out; I’m not allowed down there. I hid it and made it here; that’s why no one’s allowed here. They would take it away. *But it’s mine* it belongs to you
“… You knew it was Martian…” he asked and she immediately nodded. He traced the outline of the planet she had sculpted on the surface, “That’s why you marked it as so.” he almost mumbled. It had been centuries since he came across common Martian metal. Although it was common, he knew that it was one of the most durable elements in the galaxy; how she managed to weld it down to a simple pendant impressed him highly. The thought also made him wonder if it was just a simple gesture of a gift, “What will it do if I wear it?”
It makes you immune to everything
The note made him pause, almost holding his breath; did she know about his weakness, the one that hindered and annoyed him greatly? And how did this simple metal, one that was found all over his planet when it was full of life, was able to make him immune to it?
“Everything? Including… fire…?”
It makes you immune to everything
Her emphasis on the last word was enough to make him slightly smile. He had grown a slight tolerance to fire and flames but no matter what he had tried, the fact of the matter was that the element that was found almost everywhere on Earth could still affect him negatively. J’onn realized a theory; that because the metal was out of its home element, it would have some sort of powers for him… including immunity to his and every other Martian’s weakness.
He stared at the woman who still remained in her meek position and frowned.
“Stand up.” he commanded. Just as he thought, she did so without hesitation; it was enough to make him sigh, “Look at me.” his voice remained without a menacing tone. When her brown eyes met his red ones, he softened his look, “I don’t want you passive in my presence… ever. I am not above you, you are not inferior to me. And you have no reason to be afraid of me unless you give me a reason to strike fear into you… which I know you will never do. Do you understand?” he asked. Her eyes glistened for a moment as she reluctantly nodded. Hannah’s attention went down to his hand that held the pendant. Her eyes widened as he held his hand in front of her; she shoved his hand back towards him, shaking her head franticly. As she tried to reach for her pad and pencil, her reactions were enough to make him produce a full smile and a slight laugh, “I’m not giving it back to you… I would like for you to place it on me…” his words shocked her. J’onn handed her the medallion and bent down for her to place it around his neck. Timidly she did so and was yet again looking into his eyes, “Thank you. I will consider this a gift and not a weapon.” he tucked it underneath his collar that supported his cape, “We will keep it between the two of us.” he assured. She gave him a full smile, something that he had not seen since meeting the woman; J’onn knew that his gesture made her genuinely happy.
While he was satisfied to see her happy, something else still bothered him.
“Hannah… I will teach you sign language. It will be a better way to communicate rather than writing everything out.” he decided not to dwell more on why she hadn’t spoken to him via telepathy… as well as why she had no thoughts whatsoever for him to work with.
Amanda and the others quickly backed away from the entrance when they saw the Martian approaching them, Hannah almost right on his heels. She no longer held her head down but looked up at him, as though she was simply marveled by his presence. As he walked past the group, they all looked at him with puzzled looks.
“Well? What did she give you?” Steve had to break his silence.
“… That is our secret… right, Hannah?” J’onn didn’t bother to look at Steve but right at Hannah as she started to close and lock up her armory. She stopped just to glance back at him, a radiant smile plastered on her face as she nodded. Both Steve and Amanda gave the Martian a slight bewildered glance; what did he do to her?
After Steve, Hannah and J’onn left the infirmary to check on Oliver, the three met up with the other members to further discuss what J’onn found out when he probed the Green Arrow’s mind. As Steve started to assign which members would go to investigate in the forest and which ones would stay, Hannah lit up and quickly made her way into a medical supply closet. Amanda took notice and huffed.
“Hannah…” she tried but the mute woman was too busy preparing her satchel of medical supplies. She took a moment to glance at each individual (noticeably sneering at Katar) and decided on the supplies to take. When she finished, she rejoined the group, proudly holding the strap of her bag tightly, “Hannah… no.” Amanda’s words made her crinkle her brow, “You’re not going…” she told her softly. She at first shook her head and then gave her aunt a quick nod, pointing at each member and then patting her bag. Amanda huffed, “You know that you can’t go.”
“Has she ever left this building?” the thought had occurred to J’onn, who kept his gaze on Hannah; tears immediately filled the woman’s eyes.
“No. Now, Hannah… come on; don’t start with that!” Amanda scolded as she saw a few tears quickly drop from Hannah’s eyes. The mute woman bit her lip and put her head down, immediately making herself busy by fiddling with her fingers, “We’ve been through this before. I told you that this was a bad idea, Trevor! Hannah… when they get back, then you can tend to th…”
“She’s coming with us.” the Martian demanded, receiving shocked looks from everyone. Amanda glared at him.
“Now, hold on…”
“With her abilities, she would be of better help out in the field. This is why Steve enlisted her; for this mission, it would be useless for her to stay here. Go get your weapon, Hannah.” he kindly ordered. She looked up at him, a huge grin appearing on her face as she wiped at her tears and nodded. What surprised the director even more was that her niece didn’t even look her way as she rushed past her to retrieve her weapon from the armory. She gave the Martian another scornful look.
“You are not the decision-maker for this group! You don’t have the right to…”
“You don’t have the right to keep her locked away as if she’s some sort of lab experiment. She is a human being and she should be treated as such. She doesn’t pose a threat to the outside world. If you are really worried about her safety… don’t be. I will make sure of her safety, if it will make you feel better.” he made the decision. He slightly understood the reason for the director’s overprotectiveness of her niece. However, it was the discovery that the woman had never left the building that surprised… and slightly irritated him.
Amanda narrowed her eyes at the Martian before giving out a huff and turning away. Steve sighed as he looked at J’onn.
“Are you sure about this…?”
“She was able to sense my presence even though I was invisible. If anything… she may be able to better protect us…” he explained, not bothering to look at the man. He put his attention towards the mute woman as she finally made her way back to the group, a large wooden staff in her hand.
“What is with her and sticks…?” Cisco asked. Amanda approached her niece, giving her a stern look.
“I don’t like this at all and you know this, Hannah…” she tried to reprimand. Her eyes softened as she saw her niece’s eyes moisten once more and sighed, “Be safe… please.” she nodded. Hannah gave her a slight smile and nod before making her way besides the Martian. Amanda took note of the scene; she had never seen the woman take so quickly to someone: the thought made her slowly begin to trust the Martian.
J’onn looked down at Hannah as she started to fasten her staff tightly to her back. He immediately grabbed her Bo, examining it.
“Your craftsmanship is impeccable…” he noted. Completely flustered, Hannah gave him a quick nod and looked away.
*This phrase is supposed to be strike-through. Unfortunately, Movellas doesn't have that option...