The group, minus Stargirl made their way into the Kielder Forest in search for clues about exactly who or what hunted the Green Arrow down. J’onn shared what he had found out during his mental probe; the marksman had gone undercover to find out more about who he had only called the Secret Society; the reason he was overwhelmed so easily was because he went on the mission without his signature customized arrows. Had A.R.G.U.S. not received his nearly incoherent distress call, the Green Arrow would had perished in those woods.
As they silently made their way through the forest, the group was mostly glad that Hannah took the lead, quickly sniffing out a trail of what the others felt was possibly Oliver’s blood scent. What they didn’t know was that Hannah was attempting to control her overexcitement. What she really wanted to do was simply take in everything that was surrounding them. This was the first time she had ever left the A.R.G.U.S. building and was thrilled to be able to finally feel the things she had only read about. She occasionally bent down and did what the others thought was a quick scan of the area; little did they know that the movement was unnecessary: the mute woman was simply enjoying running her hand through the grass.
The one person that she had slightly underestimated was the Martian, who had taken his place in the rear of the group. Although he still was unable to go through her mind, he knew that she was multitasking; tracking the faint pungent odor of blood as well as the other various smells and sounds she had yet to experience until that moment. He studied her intensely, actually enjoying the fact that she didn’t become as overwhelmed as her aunt figured she would be. J’onn would always question Amanda Waller’s tactics; this was definitely no different. He would had understood if the woman simply wasn’t comfortable letting her highly sensitive niece venture outside of the large building; keeping her highly sheltered altogether was something that completely puzzled the Martian.
His own senses perked up as Hannah abruptly stopped; he knew that she had sensed that something was wrong: he could feel it as well. She held her arm out to cease the group’s movements as she crouched down, studying the immediate area with intensity.
“Is something wrong, Hannah?” J’onn ignored her request and appeared beside her. She didn’t look back at anyone as she slowly nodded, grasping her Bo tightly. J’onn looked back to clarify Hannah’s command however he found that they were missing a couple of members.
“Hmm… is Katana and Catwoman watching our rear…?” Steve wondered aloud; the two women were right behind him during the trek. It was at that moment that Hannah truly wished she had a voice; she could’ve warned the others that they were surrounded.
A golden lariat found its way around Steve’s neck before anyone could respond, forcing him to drop to his knees.
“You shouldn’t be here…” Wonder Woman warned the group as she forcefully placed her boot to Steve’s back. Batman and Superman immediately flanked her sides, staring at the group.
“… The Justice League… here?!” Vibe asked. Hannah glared at the three as she removed her Bo from her back. She was quickly stopped by J’onn who held his arm out. Hannah gave him a confused look as he shook his head at the three Justice League members.
“They’re not who they seem to be…” he informed her. It was enough for Hannah to study the three in depth. He was right, she realized. They looked like Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman; Hannah had seen more than her fair share of photos to know what they looked like! She saw the immediate problem with the ones a few feet in front of her; their bodies were metallic-looking. They weren’t human… at all.
She wanted to help out the others as the androids immediately attacked her group. However, Hannah could do nothing but watch and flinch in fear; the sounds of metal clanging piercing her ears. She didn’t know what to do, if the Martian Manhunter wanted her to help; he had stopped her potential attack moments ago. She took that as a sign to stand down and let the others fight. It didn’t feel right to her as she watched Cisco and J’onn become overwhelmed. Hannah made the decision to help Steve, who clawed at the rope tightly around his throat.
No sooner had she removed the rope from his neck, she was overcome with a sensation. Without looking, Hannah rolled out of the way just as Batman delivered a heavy swing. She winced as the sound of metal echoed throughout the forest but recovered to aim her Bo at his knees. She was glad that the blow was strong enough to bring him to his knees. Hannah stepped back and swung at his head, her eyes widening as the move was hard enough to decapitate the android. She looked on in wonder at the sparks flying from the ruptured wires. She didn’t know how to feel about what just happened; she knew that it wasn’t human but the fact that she had destroyed something started her adrenaline to rise. Was this how it felt to end a life, she wondered.
Her thoughts were interrupted as she felt a strong hand wrap around her throat. Not thinking, Hannah kicked back with all her might and Superman released his death grip on her. She thought back at how she defeated the Batman android as well as the quickening and deadening sound of her heart racing. Hannah made the quick decision to deliver the same blow to Superman’s head.
She was stunned as he grabbed her Bo in mid-swing, snatching it out of her grasp. Her eyes widened as he threw it to the side and began to stalk her, his eyes glowing red. She began to immediately back away; without her weapon, she knew that she was powerless against a machine. She knew what he was preparing to do, she knew all about Superman’s red beams. She was going to have to dodge them, she mentally prepared herself. The red glow started to expand from his pupils and just as Hannah prepared to run, a green spiked arm emerged from the robot’s stomach. The red glare left his eyes as he twitched, collapsing on the ground. The Martian glared at the android as loose wires and sparks appeared in the hole he made. J’onn put his attention towards Hannah as he threw her staff at her.
“Are you okay?” he asked. She greeted him with a shaky, slow nod. Hannah’s eyes widened but before he could react, she launched herself towards J’onn, pushing him out the way. He turned and saw that Hannah quickly blocked Wonder Woman’s sword with her staff. She huffed and showed how strong she was, pushing down on Hannah’s staff. The mute woman planted her feet to keep herself steady. J’onn got up to help until Wonder Woman suddenly exploded as Katar’s mace thundered down on her. He glanced down at Hannah for a moment before he narrowed his eyes and turned away.
The remaining members eventually found Katana and Catwoman in deep pits as they continued their trek through the forest. Unable to find any other clues, Steve ordered the group to head back to A.R.G.U.S. headquarters. While the others rested, Steve and Hannah were called to Amanda’s office. He began his report on their findings even though there weren’t many answers to give her. Amanda nodded idly but kept her attention on her niece. She stood to the left of him although slightly behind as she nervously intertwined her fingers. Amanda bit her lip as she also noticed that her clothes were rumpled and dirtied; she had to fight as well.
“How did she do?” Amanda interrupted Steve’s debriefing. He huffed but then smiled; he had wondered how long it would take for the director to ask what she really wanted to know!
“As you can see, she’s fine. She did real well, Amanda. She actually… took care of the Batman android by herself.” he knew that response would make Amanda’s eyes widen. He chuckled when she looked at her niece in utter amusement but sighed as the mute woman continued to wring her fingers. He should’ve known better but he wanted to make her feel more at ease, or at least to get her to stop with her nervous twitch; Steve placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. Hannah flinched but never looked up.
“J’onn did what he said he would? He watched out for her?”
“It wasn’t his fault; he was somewhat preoccupied. He was there for her when she needed him. And, honestly? She returned the favor.”
“Huh!” Amanda was amazed and relieved about how well Hannah had done in the field; she completely forgot about the fail of the mission, “Hannah…” she was glad that Hannah finally stopped messing with her fingers and slightly looked at her, “I’m very proud of you. Would… would you like to be in the field more often?” her question surprised both Hannah and Steve. A smile immediately crept on Hannah’s face, something that Amanda admitted that she never saw much of.
Hannah had known for sure that her aunt would immediately forbid her to go on any other missions and was extremely nervous as she stood there. She would force Hannah to write down her feelings; she would probably become upset that even for a second, Hannah was scared and confused. But then the look on everyone’s faces as they defeated the androids; that was something that Hannah liked. She also enjoyed being outside, away from the building; she definitely wanted to experience that feeling once more!
Seeing as though her aunt didn’t ask about how she felt, Hannah enthusiastically nodded. Amanda sighed but gave her a small smile.
“You know that I’m against this. But… as long as you show that you can protect yourself as well as the others…” her words were cut short as Hannah nodded once more. She removed her Bo from her strap and thrusted it towards Amanda, causing Steve to fully laugh. A full smile formed on Amanda’s lips, “Okay, okay! And as long as you have a protector… you’re allowed to go on more missions.” she continued. Hannah took the two by surprise as she lit up. She hurried around the desk and gave her aunt a huge hug.
“Wow… think you just made her decade!” Steve couldn’t help but to smile at the sight. As Hannah made her way back to the front of the desk, he noticed that she paused for a moment and glanced towards her left. A slow but noticeable blush appeared on her face as she immediately drew her head back down, still smiling. Steve was glad that Amanda hadn’t caught on but willed himself to listen before she excused herself, leaving the two alone in the room. He studied Hannah for a moment before shaking his head.
“I really don’t want to pry and ask what you said to her but…”
“If you really must know, I told her that I was extremely proud of her myself and am glad for her safety.” J’onn suddenly appeared. Hannah popped her head up to look at him with a worried look. She grabbed a pen and paper from the desk, writing quickly. She handed the paper to the Martian.
Are you okay?
J’onn chuckled at the note and looked at her.
“I am fine. I am a bit worried that I was unable to sense Tatsu or Selina. My telepathy seemed… blocked…” he gave her a look.
“That was weird. That means that whoever or whatever that was out there was using something more powerful than the anti-mind reading program we have here.”
“So, you do know that it doesn’t work on me.”
“Figured as much…” Steve shrugged. Hannah reached for another piece of paper but was stopped by J’onn as he placed his hand on top of the sheets of paper.
“Maybe it is time for me to teach you some basic sign language.” he gave her a simple look. She could do nothing but nod and give him a smile.