2:30 AM. Janurary 1st. 2019
Millenium City (Wait, where is that?)
Jason Graves dragged the massive cable across the expanse of the long-abandoned theatre before settling it into place by the exposed electrical main. That would have been easier if Tank had been here to help, but the big guy was… Well, better to not think about it. Better to not think about any of them. Jason and Ditch were the only ones left, and they had long since realized they had no chance of standing up to Umbra and his army. The undefined being of darkness had swept across the city nearly a year before, and form there had expanded to the rest of the world. Now everything was under an eternal pall of midnight, and anyone who resisted was either killed, or enthralled.The last remaining pair of free heroes knew they were next. They needed to get out. Their world was a lost cause.
Jason snapped himself out of his memories and brought himself back to the task at hand. Reaching into his backpack, he pulled out a bundle of wire connectors from beside the plastic carrier swaddled in old clothes. “Sorry Ellie.” He murmured, turning to the electrical main. “Give me a few minutes, and we’ll be out of here and you’ll be safe.” Turning away from his backpack, Jason set to work hooking up the huge cable to the electrical grid.
After several agonizing minutes of work, Jason straightened up and slung his backpack over his shoulder again. “Okay Ditch!” He called out into the next room. “We’re hooked up, get ready to go!”
Jason paused for a moment before swearing under his breath. Ditch could get caught up in her work, but with how paranoid the both of them had become, would she really ignore him right now? He reached down to his neck and tugged up the purple handkerchief that was always tied there, concealing his lower face. Turn Back, the energy vampire reached behind himself and touched the exposed wiring, feeling the spark leap to his fingers as he drained off some excess power.
Stepping forward, the powered-up vigilante siphoned his new energy into his legs, brilliant blue sparks arcing as the grounded themselves and causing his form to leap forward in a burst of unnatural speed. In a matter of seconds he was through the door and beelining for the machine by the far wall, blazing past the shadowed figures that had just finished choking the life out of his last ally.
“Get him!” The red-skinned demonic woman called, pointing as he went past. Jason just managed to avoid her swinging claws, knowing from experience that that was the only thing that could bypass his powers.
“Don’t you move, any of you!” Turn Back yelled, glaring at the trio. The demoness snarled at him, causing regret to fill his heart. The hulking brute of a man to her left glanced at her before sneering at TB. The shadowy Reaper simply chuckled harshly.
“I mean it.” Jason continued. “You don’t need to catch me. You know the collars won’t work anyway, that’s why Umbra wants me dead. But that doesn’t matter. I’m leaving. I’m never coming back. He’s won, with all of you. Just… For old times sake, let me go…”
The trio almost seemed taken aback by this. “Ditch did
say the same thing…” Reaper whispered, earning a sharp look from Demoness.
“‘Sides, if that thing’s ready to go” Rumbled Tank, glaring critically at Turn Back. “I don’t think we’re quick enough to stop him.” This earned another scornful gaze from Demoness.
Turn Back raised his hand, earning the glares and suspicion from all three of his former allies. “Whoa whoa, take it easy. I just wanted to say they’re right. You’re smart, Dee. You can take this deal. Besides… I just wanted to get you talking.” He said with a grin before his upraised hand connected with the exposed leads. Electricity surged through Jason’s body and the machine in turn, the shitty Tesla coils arcing and providing a barrier that the dark trio couldn’t cross. Lights flared and popped, and from what Ditch had explained, Jason knew what was happening. He was draining the power from the whole city. Cycling it through the machine which matched his biometric signature. It was a door and he was the key. Siphoning energy from everywhere around…
Including Umbra’s control collars.
Jason knew he had only a moment left before this machine either blew up and took them all with it, or it actually goddamn worked and ripped him away from his own world. He looked out through the arcing spears of light and grinned at the astonished and freed faces of his friends and family. Girard. Zoey. And Emma…
“You know how he works now! You have the advantage! You can do it!” He cried, before…
8:00 PM, January 1st, 2026
Upper East Side, Gotham City, New Jersey
Streets full of people and light and color, things Jason hadn’t seen in almost a year. He could almost have cried with joy, but something was wrong. There was a pall over the crowd, a sense of dread. Following the gazed of some nearby groups, Jason’s eyes were drawn to a TV set in a store window. A white-faced, multicolor-haired woman was speaking. Spouting things, some nonsense about the animal nature of Man and the need to express yourself?
And then she got started talking about the rules of ‘the game’. How there’d only be a certain number of winners. The survivors. The ones who gave in to instinct. And the rest were sheep and cattle to be slaughtered.
To their credit, the people on the streets resisted the commands the TV lady was giving. But then the gang showed up and started beating compliance into people. Turn Back had taken action at that point, beating the snot out of the anarchists and leading some people to safety. But He had no idea how big this problem was, and he knew he’d have other problems very soon.
So that was how Jason found himself breaking into a closed down public library, busting open the electrical panel, and using his body as a conduit for the second time that night to power the router, computer, and eventually the printer. He needed to get information. Where he was, what this world was about, any familiar events or faces… And he’d found them. Now he just had to contact them...
11:15 PM. January 1st. 2026
Gotham City Police Department
Jason stared at the double doors of the police station with intensity. He'd never liked the cop shops back home, and this strange new city didn't fill him with confidence. But... If Jaina was in charge here, how bad could it be? Walking up the granite steps, Jason pushed open the doors and stepped inside.
Immediately, Jason was bombarded by the sounds of chaos. Phones ringing off their hooks, people talking over each other, rushed footsteps and calls for assistance. They were likely busy tonight, what with the fucking battle royale taking place across the city. But he only needed one person. Snaking through the crowd, Jason made his way towards the Comissioners office before being stopped by the suspicious gaze of an older cop sitting at the desk out front.
"Uh, hey there." Jason said lamely. "I need to see Commissioner Jasper?"
A loud guffaw immediately emerged from the officer, the thick bristles of his moustache moving with the air.
"Skipping a few levels there, lad," The man chuckled. "Ah, I needed that... listen, unless someone's been murdered right outside the station you ain't seeing anyone, least of all the Commissioner. Or did you not see the news?" A large, meaty hand was waved towards a small television set nestled in the top right of the room, no doubt for those waiting. Splayed across the screen was images of destruction and anarchy, a very obvious sign of who
was at work tonight.
"Come back tomorrow. Or in a week from now. And get ready to see a detective instead." The officer chuckled again, looking down at what was directly in front of him. "Hehe, the commissioner..."
Jason's temper flared, this
was exactly why he hated the police. He'd hoped Jaina would have been able to change things, but some things are just too ingrained... "Yeah, I have seen the news actually." Jason said, lowering his voice and leaning down over the desk. "I kinda just came
from over there, and I didn't see many of your boys out there. I need to talk to Jaina Jasper. You need to tell her I'm here. Tell her..." Jason paused for a split second, wondering what could convince his old flame to come out and see him face to face. "Tell her I'm an old friend of Jason Graves. I need to talk to her about his murder. She'll want to see me."
There was a pause then, the edges of the moustache tilting downwards as the man lifted his head. For a long moment he just stared at Jason, looking him over. After a moment he sighed, leaning back in his chair and rubbing at his forehead.
"I know that case. It's been closed for years." The officer lifted his head, looking over the man in front of him with a more critical eye. "... You said you came from the Upper East Side, where all this is happening, though? Look, lad, maybe I can get a detective to talk to you but there are people being killed by that maniac right now
. You gotta think, compared to that whatever you have can wait, can't it?"
Jason had tuned out the officer halfway through his diatribe. He didn't want to talk to a detective, that wouldn't do anybody any good. He had done everything he could out in the riot on his way out, but there was only so much even he could do. But if he could get some help, connect with the people in the universe who were his friends, maybe he could do something then...
"Listen to me." He said softly, setting down his backpack on the desk and tipping it over. He gently removed a plastic carrier with a small lizard inside before digging around in the pockets of an old pair of jeans. "You say that case was closed? 'Solved' because the guys who did it got what was coming to them, right?" There it was. Jason pulled out his wallet and grabbed the printout of his own obituary, complete with a photo and set them both on the desk in front of the glorified secretary, opening the wallet to show off his ID.
"Tell me what the hell happens to a murder case when the victim shows back up alive?""It sounds like a case of fraud."
"Commissioner!" The man behind the front desk sat up straight, nervously pulling at his moustache.
Approaching from the side came the quick gait of the highest cop in the city, the short-haired blonde's uniform impeccably pressed even in this trying time, hands clasped behind her back, gaze sharp. Even when she stopped, putting her appraising eye on Jason all that met him was a wall of impassiveness.
Except for a brief flicker of something in her green eyes."Commissioner Jaina Jasper. You're looking for me, I presume?"
Jason's icey blue eyes met Jasper's gaze, and a flicker of a smile crossed his face. It was all he could do to keep from throwing himself at her, but he had to remember. She didn't know him. Not this version of him. And he didn't know this version of her. But hopefully, given enough time...
"Yes Commissioner Jasper, I am. I apologize for the intrusion, but I thought you might be interested in what I have to say about Jason Graves, given your history with the case. Was I right, or would you like to cuff me?" He asked playfully, chancing a wink at the older woman.
The Commissioner's face remained impassive, though after a long moment there was the slightest quirk at the edge of her lips - bittersweet though it was.
"Commissioner, should I...?" The front desk cop trailed off as the woman shook her head, abruptly turning her back."I can spare a few minutes, Carter. You, come with me."
"Yes, thank you so much for your help Carter!" Jason said in a sing-son voice as he grabbed his things and followed behind Jasper.
It didn't take long to move to the office overlooking the pit of officers almost climbing over themselves in the chaos that Anarkee was causing in the Upper East Side. The office itself was a stark contrast to the put together Commissioner, papers on the floor and absolutely covering her desk, a large map of Gotham on it and drawn on with frantic scribbles. The heavy door closed behind Jason as they entered, a click of some sort of lock sounding out.
Jaina circled behind her desk, sitting and gesturing to the pair of plush chairs before her on the opposite side. "Forgive the lack of formalities, but I am in the middle of a crisis currently. So, you are...?"
She trailed off purposefully, though her sharp eyes took him in, no doubt already predicting his answer.
Jason took in the office, noting with mild amusement what would look to anyone else like the ravings of a madwoman. "Yeah, you never did clean up your free weights either." He mused and a sly smile, sinking into a chair across the desk from Jaina. He paused for a moment, the exhaustion of his... Day? Week? No, year. The exhaustion of the past year catching up to him. "Oof..."
"I am who I said I am. Jason Graves." He said with a shrug and a smile. He leaned forward and laid the printed obituary on Jasper's desk. "Just... Not this one. I come from somewhere else. Some alternate dimension or world or universe or whatever. One where I was the only survivor. Everyone else was gone. You were gone. I was alone. I built a machine which took me... Here, I guess? Dropped me in the middle of a riot. I fought my way out. I found this place."
Jason paused, scanning Jaina's face for any hint of emotion. "... I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm not him. I'm sorry I kind of lied to get in here. I just don't know what else to do. I don't want to be alone anymore."
Silence descended in the office.
Jaina, elbows on the desk and leaning against her folded hands, just examined Jason. Taking in every detail about him. Every little mannerism, every familiar detail, even just the voice she hadn't heard in years
. Finally a deep sigh exited her lips, raising a hand to rub at her forehead."If you had shown up six years ago I would've thought you insane. As it is in the current day..."
She shrugged slightly. "I still can't take you on your word. I'm sure at least some of my officers are out there pissing themselves thinking you're some ploy of Anarkee's-"
Here she paused, casting a sharp gaze at Jason before continuing. more thoughtfully. After a moment she opened her desk, retrieving a small plastic container holding a swab."I'm sure you wouldn't mind proving who you are?"
Jaina commented, holding out the container.
Jason shrugged again, reaching out for the container. "Hell, I don't blame you. I sound like a goddamn crazy person. All I have is my word, and some DNA." He said with a grin before swabbing the inside of his cheeck and dropping the swab back into the container and setting it on the desk.
"... Oh, and also my lizard Ellie, but she's understandably not up for visitors right now."
"As for 'Anarkee', if that's that crazy white-faced bitch on the TV, fuck all that bullshit. Shit's crazy, Jai." He said with a chuckle, leaning back in his chair."I'm aware,"
Was the short response as Jaina retrieved the swab. Rather than get up to bring it to the labs the Commissioner pulled out a drawer on her desk. Nestled inside was a laptop which she flipped open, still inside. A small touch of a hidden trigger had a compartment near the touch pad opening, and the swab was promptly deposited.
Being friends with Gotham's resident vigilante had perks, not that anyone would know."So, Mister Graves..."
Before she could even finish a sentence the computer was already pinging a confirmed match. Odd. Jaina's eyes darted down, taking in the results. One match, one familial match, and with them two pictures displayed with names prominently above.
A sharp inhale echoed in the room as Jaina looked from one pair of blue eyes into the other, identical in every way - right down to their DNA."... Jason..."