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Justice League/Hercules: Lord Of The Dark Side (MF,voy)
by The Fan ([email protected])

Ancient Greece

Hades sat on his throne. He was the Lord of the Underworld. Once, he was
one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Now, he was a shadow of his
former self. He had been defeated by his enemies, Zeus and his son, Hercules.
The Dark Lord had come very close to destroying his foes. Zeus and the rest
of the Olympian Gods had been defeated by the Titans. Hades had come close to
being the ruler of the universe. Then, Hercules came and fought against the
Titans. Hercules won. Hercules was the Hero Without Fear. He saved the
Olympian Gods. He was invincible. He was the Champion.

Thanks to Hercules, Hades was banished to the dark realm. He didn't care
for the world of the living anyway but he didn't like being confined or
restricted in his movements. Hades was one of the most powerful gods. He
was almost the equal of Zeus in raw power. Unfortunately, almost didn't
cut it. Hades wanted revenge for the humiliation he suffered. He wanted
to make those who hurt him pay. But how? He had lost his army. Hercules
and Zeus had defeated the Titans. Hades couldn't do the job by himself.
He needed help. A plan formed in his mind. He summoned one of his minions.
Before him appeared Thanatos. Thanatos had the appearance of a tall,
black-haired young man with pale white skin and dark eyes. He wore a black
and red costume. He wasn't a young man. He wasn't human. He was almost as
old as Hades himself. Thanatos was the god of Death. One of the dark ones
allied with Hades. Thanatos had a passionate hatred of Zeus. The Thunderer
limited the powers of Death in the world of the living.

"What is thy bidding, my master?" Thanatos asked.

"I have a job for you." Hades answered. Thanatos looked at him. "I want you
to go and bring me a worthy new Apprentice."

Thanatos blinked. "It will be done, my master."

Hades smiled. "Good. Good." he said.

Thanatos walked out of the vast hall which served as the Throne Room of
Hades.

Thanatos left the Underworld. The god of Death looked at the world of the
living. He smiled. So many souls to collect, so little time. Thanatos wanted
to take them all. Unfortunately, Zeus opposed him. The King of the Gods liked
the humans and did not want to rule a kingdom of corpses. Thanatos didn't
know what the fuss was about. After all, why did a god care about humans?
Thanatos knew why. He looked at two of the most bothersome humans in the
world. Hercules and his girlfriend, Megara. Hercules was only half human. He
was sired by Zeus after all. That explained the superhuman strength he had.
Megara was only human. She was a tall, beautiful brunette. The person
Hercules loved. Thanatos wanted to take them both. It would be easy to take
Megara. It would be impossible to take Hercules. Taking him would mean having
to explain to the irate Thunderer why his favorite son had died prematurely.
Hercules wasn't easy to kill. He had superhuman strength. Also, his body was
invulnerable. Yeah, he wasn't easy to kill but Death could find a way. Death
always found a way. Only the gods were immune to death. Only them.

Thanatos watched them. Hercules was in the bedroom with his darling
girlfriend, the lovely Megara. They were looking into each other's eyes
lovingly. Thanatos watched with interest. He had a pretty good idea what they
wanted to do. They kissed and started undressing each other. Thanatos turned
invisible and came into the room.

Hercules stood naked before Megara. The nude Megara looked at Hercules. They
smiled at each other. They kissed again and Hercules drew his beloved down
into their bed. They started making love. Thanatos watched. Megara climbed on
top of Hercules. Hercules placed his hands upon her hips. She lowered herself
onto his member. He thrust into her. She gasped. She moaned. He grunted and
thrust even harder, moving his manhood deep inside her. Megara went wild and
started riding him like a matador riding a bull. Hercules bucked underneath
her. They went at it like this for a long time. When they were done, they lay
in each other's arms, a content expression on both of their faces.

Thanatos shook his head. Humans. They were barely more than animals. Death is
what they deserved. All of them. Including the Son of Zeus. The god of Death
walked out of the room. He took to the air. He flew around all day. In this
manner, he watched the whole world. Men and women. Animals and plants. Demons
and angels. Gods and monsters. All of them. Not once did he see anything or
anyone worthy of becoming Master Hades's next Apprentice.

Once, Hades had a promising Apprentice. A Giant known as Typhon. Zeus
destroyed him. Typhon had been great. An exceptionally powerful being with
enough raw power to challenge the ng of the Gods. Typhon had succeeded in
wounding Zeus in combat. The Thunderer fell. The god Hermes has to come to
the rescue of Zeus, the god of Thunder. The Olympians had been very afraid.
But Typhon had fallen. Hades found another Apprentice. Hecate, the goddess
of Vengeance. Hecate had been a powerful goddess. Hades trained her.
Unfortunately, she didn't have enough power to defeat Zeus. Once again, the
King of the Gods prevailed. Hades went to the Fates and they told him that
the only being capable of defeating Zeus would have to be a Champion of the
Light who turned to Darkness. Hades found an Apprentice in Erebus, one of
the Primal Ones. Erebus learned the dark arts and challenged Zeus. Like all
of his predecessors, he was defeated. Hades was running out of patience.

Thanatos wanted to see Hades succeed in destroying Zeus and the Olympian
Gods. If he succeeded, he would grant Thanatos free reign over the planet
Earth. Thanatos would destroy all the humans and torture their souls for
all eternity. This was Thanatos's fondest desire and as long as Zeus sat
on the Throne, it wasn't going to be fulfilled. Hades was running out of
patience. None of his Apprentices ever measured up. Erebus was too...
primal. Typhon was too... old. Hecate... too undisciplined. Hades needed
someone powerful. Someone whou was once a champion but would willingly
embrace the dark side. Thanatos would find him that Apprentice.

The god of Death opened up a portal through space and time, he headed for
the 21st century...



Metropolis

The city of Metropolis watched as the robotic army of Metallo took on the
Justice League of America. Metallo was one of the world's most powerful
superhumans. He had become a very great threat to national and even global
security. He attacked Metropolis with his army of killer robots.
Unfortunately, Superman and his amazing friends were there...

The Man of Steel flew toward a truck-sized humanoid robot. The machine was
relentlessly pursuing a bunch of young men. It was firing at them with its
automated weapon. Superman used his Heat vision to strike the metallic
monster and burn it to ash. "Take that !" Superman said.

The young men the machine had been chasing stopped. "Thanks, Superman." One
of them said.

Superman smiled. "You're welcome, sir."

With that, the Man of Steel took off. He went back to helping his fellow
superheroes. He watched a streak of red and gold....moving super-fast and
tackling many robots. That was the Flash. "Need a hand?" Superman asked.

"Nah." said the Flash. "I'm totally cool, dude. Got it under control."

Superman sighed. He went into the skies, where Green Lantern, Hawk-girl and
Wonder Woman were fighting some metallic monster the size of an airplane.

"Watch out, GL!" Hawk-girl cried as the gigantic flying robot struck the
Green Lantern with his Laser beams.

Green Lantern grimaced and used his ring's power to erect an emerald force
field around himself and his friends. The laser beams struck the green force
field and harmlessly bounced off. "Thanks." Green Lantern said to Hawk-girl.

Hawk-girl grinned and then leapt toward the robot, spreading her wings wide
and striking at the thing with her hammer-like weapon. The mace struck the
robot and it lashed out with a metallic arm. Hawk-girl tried to dodge it but
she wasn't fast enough.

"Hawk-girl!" Green Lantern shouted.

"No!" Wonder Woman cried.

The two Justice Leaguers flew toward the robot, desperate to save their
friend but they weren't fast enough... out of nowhere came a flash of red and
blue. Superman stepped into the blow. The robot's metallic arm struck him
instead of Hawk-girl and was crushed. The Man of Steel blasted the robot out
of the sky with his Heat vision. "That took care of him." said Superman.
He looked at Hawk-girl. "You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah." said Hawk-girl.

Green Lantern flew toward them. "Are you alright?" he asked.

"Yeah, let's get back to work." she said.

"Cool." Superman looked at Wonder Woman.

"What is it, Kal?" Wonder Woman asked.

"I think Bruce needs our help." said Superman.

They flew down into the city. The robots of Metallo swarmed all over town.
Batman and the Martian Manhunter fought against them. They were helped by the
Metropolis police and some U.S. Army people. The good guys seemed seriously
outnumbered in that battle. Outnumbered, until Superman and Wonder Woman came
to the rescue. They waded into the robots. In just a few moments, Earth's
mightiest heroes reduced the powerful robotic army into scrap metal. They
were cheered by the Metropolitans as they landed on the ground.

"Thanks, Superman." said Dan Turpin, chief of police of Metropolis.

"He had help, you know." said Wonder Woman.

Dan Turpin grimaced. "Thanks, ma'am." he said.

Wonder Woman smiled. Superman looked at Batman and the Manhunter. The Dark
Knight and the last Martian looked tired and beat but alive. They were
survivors.

"Where were you?" Manhunter asked.

"Detained." said Wonder Woman.

Batman looked at Superman. "Whatever." he said.

The quartet of heroes turned to see a menacing metallic figure stalking
toward them. The police officers and armed citizens opened fire on the
metallic thing. No bullet seemed to be able to stop the damn thing.

"Another robot?" asked Wonder Woman. She moved to attack it.

Superman stopped her. "No, it's one of Metallo's robotic bodyguards." He
scanned the thing with his X-ray vision. "It's got a bomb inside it."

Wonder Woman gasped. "We must stop it."

Dan Turpin shouted to the men and women he commanded. "Run for cover, there's
a bomb inside that thing." He ran.

"I can stop it." said Wonder Woman.

Superman shook his head. "It's a miniaturized Hydrogen bomb with ten times
the power of an ordinary one." He said. "It could destroy the city." The Man
of Steel moved at super speed and seized the robotic bodyguard.

"Kal, wait, I can help you!" Wonder Woman shouted.

Superman turned and looked at her. "I can't risk you." he said.

Batman looked at Superman and nodded gravely. He took off into the air
while struggling against the metal-sheathed entity. Superman soared into
the heavens, trying to ignore the robot's super-strong grip as it tried
to pry itself free of his hold. He flew far above the city. He flew higher
and higher into the atmosphere. The robot's bomb had already started its
countdown. It was about to explode. Superman was worried. He was stronger
than anything living on planet Earth, he could fly and his body was
invulnerable. He was still by no means indestructible. A Hydrogen bomb had
the power to stun him, hurt him, maybe even kill him. He was a superhuman,
not a god. He couldn't allow the bomb to detonate in Metropolis. Millions
would die if he did. He went higher and higher until he found himself
outside the Earth's atmosphere. The Hydrogen bomb harmlessly detonated in
the vacuum of space. Superman watched it. A soundless, strangely beautiful
explosion in space. He smiled, then went back to Earth.

Superman returned to the city of Metropolis. Safe and sound. He was greeted
by his fellow Justice Leaguers.

"You made it." said Wonder Woman.

"Was there ever any doubt?" Superman asked, grinning.

"Nope." said the Flash.

"The hero saves the day again." said Hawk-girl.

"Old habit." said Green Lantern.

"You did well." said Batman. The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel exchanged a
look.

"Thanks." said Superman.

Superman looked at the city of Metropolis. Buildings were destroyed. People
had died. He wondered how many such assaults by super-villains could the city
survive? Metropolitans were used to brightly-attired superheroes duking it
out with super-powered bad guys and bad girls on a daily basis. Superman
dreaded that the day would come when he wasn't tough enough to save his city.
He had already battled Darkseid and the dark gods of the planet Apokolips to
prevent an alien invasion of Earth. He had faced the nomadic man-stalking
humanoid hunters known as the Predators. He even faced the Aliens and their
horrifying Hive Queen. So far, he had prevailed against these awesome forces.

Unfortunately, he knew that he was running out of luck. He looked at his
fellow JLA members. Wonder Woman was a princess among the Amazons of the
Island of Themyscira. The Flash had recently become one of the
Inter-Dimensional Guardians of the Universe. The Green Lantern was one of
the Cosmic Protectors. Hawk-Girl was a respected heiress from an alien
world. Jonn Jonz, the Martian Manhunter once shared the rulership of the
red planet. Superman was the only one of his kind. He was alone in the
world. Truly alone. He was the last of the race of Krypton. It was once
believed that Jonn Jonz, the Martian Manhunter was the last of the Green
Martians but that assumption was false. Jonn Jonz had recently discovered
a small colony world inhabited by a few thousand Green Martians that
escaped the destruction of all life on Mars eons ago. He was no longer
alone. Superman was alone and always would be.

Recently, he had told his secret to one woman. Lois Lane. The woman Clark
Kent loved. She had been shocked. It took her some time to accept that the
mild-mannered reporter was actually a super-powered alien being from another
world. Clark Kent was definitely more than meets the eye. Clark Kent and
Lois Lane had feelings for each other but...they both led complicated lives.
Lois Lane was an award-winning reporter. Clark Kent was an alien pretending
to be human. Superman was a superhero and an icon for truth, justice and the
American way. Complex lives...the only thing they had in common was their
love. Superman wanted to go see Lois. Fortunately, she was out of town when
the robots of Metallo attacked. Superman knew that she'd be trying to come
back to Metropolis. He flew back to the apartment where she lived. He didn't
find her. At least not right away, instead he found her body just lying
there...and let out a guttural scream. It seemed that Lois Lane had been the
victim of something not even Superman could stop: she was dying due to a
mystery fatal illness.

"NOOOOOOOOO!!!"

The god of Death had been watching the Last Son of Krypton ever since he
first came to the twenty first century from ancient times. Thanatos looked
at Clark Kent and liked what he saw. The iconic superhero was reduced to a
bawling punk by the sight of the nearly lifeless body of the woman he loved.
He clutched her body desperately in his arms. He kept kissing her and
mumbling her name over and over. Thanatos materialized before the Man of
Steel. "It must really hurt." Thanatos said.

Clark Kent/Superman looked at him. "Who are you?" he asked.

"I am Death." said Thanatos. "I have come to you with a proposal."

Superman rose to his full height, Lois's body in his arms and looked at
Thanatos defiantly. "You won't take her." he said.

Thanatos smiled. "I will make you a deal." he said.

"Not interested." Superman said. He looked at Lois and smiled sadly, his
handsome face full of tears. "I have nothing worth living for."

Thanatos shook his head. "Sure you do. If you do what I say, Lois Lane will
live." he said.

Superman looked at him. "Prove it." he said.

Thanatos smiled and gently touched Lois Lane's forehead. A strange light
escaped from his hand and went into the body. Lois's body moved... she was
breathing!

"Lois, she's alive!" Superman exclaimed.

Thanatos shook his head. Lois Lane stopped breathing and once more became a
lifeless corpse.

"Nooooooooo!!!" Superman roared. He grasped Thanatos by the collar and
actually lifted the god of Death from the floor. "Bring her back !" He
screamed.

Thanatos laughed. "I am a god and thereby immortal. Nothing you can do can
hurt me."

Superman wasn't impressed. He flew Lois Lane's body to the hospital. The
doctors took care of her. She was in a coma due to a mystery illness. There
was no cure. They said that she could die within a few months. Superman felt
desperate. Thanatos appeared before him once more.

"If you do what I say, then I will let your lady live once more. I am Death,
after all. I can do that."

Superman hesitated. He looked at Lois Lane. He loved her. He would do
anything for her. He lowered his head. "What do I have to do ?" he asked.

Thanatos smiled. "Come with me." he said.

The Last Son of Krypton and the God of Death vanished in a flash...



Elsewhere...

Hades had been impatiently watching Thanatos's progress. He had approved of
the choice the god of Death had made. This hero had much anger inside him.
Hades smiled. Anger was a path to the dark side. Hades should know, he was
a Dark Lord after all. Hades waited for his darkest ally, Thanatos, to bring
before him the being who would become his next Apprentice. He smiled as
Thanatos and Superman materialized before him in the Underworld.

"Greetings, Superman." said Hades.

Superman looked around. Once second he had been in Lois Lane's apartment, the
next he was in a vast hall shrouded in darkness. He was reasonably sure that
he wasn't on Earth anymore.

"Welcome to my humble home."

"Who are you?" Superman asked. He looked at a dark figure that sat on a
throne.

Thanatos glared at Superman. "Lord Hades." he said. "He is your Master now."

Superman glared at Hades. "Can he truly save Lois?" He asked.

Hades smiled. Superman was so...naive. "Of course not." he said calmly.

Superman looked at Thanatos with such fury that the god of Death flinched.
"Liar!" Superman looked at Hades.

"Who can, then?" he asked.

Hades smiled. "The power to save people from death is an ability found only
in the dark side." he said. "If you join me and become my Apprentice, you can
achieve this power."

Superman stared at Hades. His mind reeled from what he heard. He could
actually save Lois Lane from death? "What do I have to do to learn this
power?" he asked.

Hades smiled. He looked at Thanatos. "This one is a liar and a deceiver. I
have no more use for him. Destroy him."

Thanatos looked up at Hades, the Dark Lord whom he had considered to be his
Master for so long. "Had Hades actually said to kill him?"

Superman looked at Thanatos. He wasn't happy. His eyes blazed with fury.
With a hatred the likes of which the universe had never seen, he attacked
Thanatos. The god of Death defended himself with a sword of fire as Superman
attacked him. Superman blasted Thanatos with his heat vision and rained
superhuman blows on him. Thanatos was immortal but not indestructible. The
strength of Superman was greater than that of the Titans. Thanatos had an
advantage over Superman. Thanatos was immortal. He also had magical powers.
Superman was not immortal. He was only a very powerful superhuman. Still, he
attacked with rage worthy of a fury. Thanatos was surprised by that rage.
Hades laughed and clapped his hands as Superman beat the god of Death to a
pulp.

Thanatos lay on the floor of the Underworld, bruised and broken, begging
for mercy. He looked up at Hades. "Master, you promised to make me your
apprentice if I served you well." he said.

Hades smiled nastily. He looked at Thanatos coldly. He scoffed. Enraged,
Thanatos rose and struck at Superman. Superman relentlessly drove him down
once more. Thanatos finally understood. Hades never intended to make Thanatos
his new Apprentice. The other Apprentices, Typhon, Hecate, they weren't
really Hades's students. Hades simply used them. Hades had always wanted a
champion of the light to convert to the dark side and become an invincible
machine of destruction.

Typhon and Hecate were forces of evil. No light inside them. Superman had
always been a do-gooder. Even when enraged, he radiated with light...Thanatos
stared...light that was rapidly turning into darkness. Superman was a being
with a lot of rage and hatred inside him. He kept it inside and didn't let it
show but it was nevertheless there. All that anger and hate was bubbling to
the surface. Hades could sense it. He loved it.

Thanatos was the god of Death. He collected the souls of the living and
brought them into the realm of death. He wasn't the savage killer that
Superman was becoming. He had lost all that rage and passion eons ago.
That's why he was useless to Hades. Thanatos glared at Superman. Superman
was a human-like being powered by the sun. So how come his powers were
increasing even while in the darkest spot in the universe? He was like a
bright light...becoming darkness...darkness...light...dark-light...
darkness...shines...bright. Thanatos could feel Superman's power increasing.
He was half-Dark Lord already and didn't know it...hmm.

"Finish him!" Hades commanded.

Superman looked at Thanatos. Thanatos looked at Superman. Superman had become
a very dark power. He had the power to kill even the gods. The power of the
light converted into darkness. He killed Thanatos in a single blow. The god
of Death lay still. Crimson energies flowed from his slain body into that of
Superman. Superman felt himself getting more powerful. He looked at the dead
body of Thanatos, the god of Death was...dead. Hades laughed.

Superman hesitated. He looked at Hades. "What have I done?" he asked.

"You've done well." Hades said. Hades looked at Superman. "Do you feel your
power growing?" he asked.

"Yes, Master." said Superman.

Hades looked at Superman. Dark Lord to superhero. "It is your will to forever
join the Forces of Darkness and become my Apprentice?"

Superman looked at Hades. The god of the Underworld had the power to save
Lois Lane. Nothing else mattered. "Yes, Master." he said.

"Good." said Hades."You are now my Apprentice. You were the greatest of all
heroes. You will be the darkest of all among those who walk in darkness." He
touched Superman's forehead, and a dark power surged from Master to newly
ordained Apprentice. "Henceforth, your name shall be Destroyer." said Hades.

Superman is gone. Gone is the boy from Krypton who was raised by human
parents in Kansas. Gone is Kal-El of Krypton or Clark Kent of Smallville.
Gone is Superman of Metropolis. The only thing that remains is the Destroyer.
A Destroyer now kneeling at the feet of the Throne of Hades, god of the
Underworld. The Destroyer looked at his Master. "What is your will, Master?"
he asked.

"Destroy our enemies." said Lord Hades. "Bring Peace to the universe."

The Destroyer rose. "Yes, Master." he said.

"Follow me." said Hades.

The Destroyer followed his Master. Hades led his new Apprentice to the
darkest parts of the Underworld. He opened a portal to a pocket-dimension.
The Destroyer looked inside and saw a multitude of horrors and monsters.
"What are they ?" he asked.

"Your new army." said Hades. "Lead them against our enemies."

The Destroyer nodded. "Thy will be done, my Master."



Olympus

The Justice League members were gathered at the WatchTower. Almost all of
them were there. There were some other superheroes there as well. Batman.
Wonder Woman. Plastic Man. The Flash. Orion, the Dog of War. The Martian
Manhunter. Hawk-girl. Power Girl. Big Barda. Catwoman. The Huntress.
Nightwing. Black Canary. SuperBoy. The world's greatest superheroes were
celebrating a moment of reprieve. For the moment, the planet was safe....of
course, everyone wondered where Superman was. Sadly, the Man of Steel was
nowhere to be found.

During the little get-together, Wonder Woman was greeted by a strange man
who had simply appeared inside the WatchTower out of nowhere. He was not
exactly a man. His name was Hermes, god of Travels and Messenger of the
Olympian Gods. The heroes were quite shocked to see him. He told Diana
Prince aka Wonder Woman that the Olympian gods had need of her services.
Diana was surprised but opted to go at once. Almost all of the other
remaining superheroes and superheroines volunteered to go with her and
Hermes agreed. Indeed, it seemed that whatever mission the gods had in
mind, a lot of power was gonna be needed. The superheroes at the WatchTower
left the Tower not because they were eager for a new mission but because
most beings in the universe are curious about the gods and would find
meeting them to be...fascinating, to say the least. Thus, the various
superheroes found themselves transported to Mount Olympus, Home of the
Olympian Gods.

The heroes were transported to Olympus by ways of Hermes's magic. At
first, they didn't know where they were. It seemed that they were inside a
magnificent city the likes of which they had never seen. There were thousands
of people there. They didn't look like ordinary people. These people were
dressed in beautiful and colorful attire, and they were tall and beautiful,
both the women and the men. The superheroes knew at once that they were in
presence of the gods and goddesses of Olympus. Wonder Woman had been on
Olympus before but the place's splendor still took her breath away. Hermes
led her and the other superheroes into the Palace of Lord Zeus.

They were ushered into the Hall of the Thunderer himself. Zeus, King of the
Gods sat on his throne. He had the appearance of a tall, handsome man in his
early forties. Besides him sat a beautiful woman around the same age. Hera,
the Queen of the Gods. Wonder Woman humbly knelt before them, then she asked
why she had been summoned. Zeus rose from his throne and glared at her.

"Hades is planning something." Zeus said.

"All of our forces must be focused on defending Mount Olympus."

Wonder Woman could not believe her ears. Was Lord Zeus actually afraid of
something? Zeus was immortal. He was a god. He was one of the most powerful
gods. Heck, he was the strongest pagan god in the world! What could he be
afraid of? Wonder Woman looked past him at some of the gathered deities. She
recognized some of them. Pan, the god of Panic. Hephaestus, the god of the
Forge. Athena, the goddess of Wisdom. Artemis, the goddess of the Hunt. Ares,
the god of War. Aphrodite, the goddess of Love. Wonder Woman knew all of them
to be incredibly powerful. What could be such a great threat?

Wonder Woman watched two people approach. She smiled. Instantly, she
recognized her longtime friend, Hercules, and his girlfriend, Megara.
Hercules, the Son of Zeus who once saved the gods from the Titans.
Hercules, who had given up godhood for a life on Earth with the woman
who loved him.

"Hello, Diana." Hercules said.

Diana Prince, also known as Wonder Woman, clasped hands with the mighty
Hercules. "How are you doing, Herc?" she asked.

Hercules grinned. "Fine." Megara cleared her throat. Hercules scratched his
head and then introduced Megara to Wonder Woman. "This here lady is the love
of my life." Hercules said proudly.

Megara smiled. "He's so great." she said, as she shook hands with Wonder
Woman.

Wonder Woman returned her smile. Apparently, Hercules was now taken. For
some reason, watching Hercules with Megara reminded Diana Prince of Clark
Kent/Superman and Lois Lane. Dynamic couples...hmm.

"What's the story?" Wonder Woman asked Hercules.

"It seems that the forces of darkness have a new champion." said Hercules.

"Who?" Wonder Woman asked.

"We don't know." said Hercules. "Word is that he's the replacement of
Thanatos."

"Oh."

The superheroes of the modern world enjoyed themselves on the festivities of
Mount Olympus for two whole days. During those days, Wonder Woman consulted
with Ares, Hercules and Athena to form a combat plan. Most of the Olympian
gods weren't fighters. Ares was a fighter. So was Athena. Hephaestus wasn't.
Not really. Hercules wasn't a god but he was stronger than most gods. He was
also a really good military planner. Wonder Woman liked that about him. She
only wished that Superman was there. She was sure that he would really like
Hercules. The two of them were so alike. Strong, confident, sweet and a
little bit shy. Also, stronger than anything that lived. Hmm. Wonder Woman
watched Hercules and Megara. Long ago, when Hercules was a teenager, he had
a "thing" with Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. They dated but didn't get too
far. Hercules was called by his father Zeus to help fight the Giants and
Wonder Woman was defending the Amazon Nation against the Demons of Hades.
They just didn't have time. Now that she was back, he was engaged to someone
else. How cute! Diana Prince suddenly snapped out of her reverie. She heard
the impossibly loud sound of a huge gong. "What is it?" she asked Hermes.

"We're under attack!" said the god of Travels.

Wonder Woman took off into the air. She joined the combat-ready Olympians.
Ares, god of War stood in a chariot pulled by winged horses. Athena carried
her shield and sword. Artemis had a bow and a quiver of arrows. Hephaestus
had self-replenishing huge goblets of molten metal. Vertumme had a spear.
Pomona had a sword. This was rather strange. Although all of the Olympians
were immortal beings with wondrous powers, they weren't exactly disciplined
or skilled fighters. Sure, they couldn't be killed but damn ! Wonder Woman
shook her head. There were a few good fighters among the gods. Athena was
lethal. Artemis was decidedly scary. Ares was a skilled fighter. Hercules,
the only demi-god present was a great warrior. The rest of the fighting force
was made up of Justice League members and other superheroes.

Wonder Woman and Ares rallied the troops. All of them were ready, even eager
for battle. Ready to defend Mount Olympus from underwordly invaders. Zeus
maintained the magical force field that prevented all non-friendly entities
from entering Olympus. The force field was very powerful. Still, the gods
and goddesses of Olympus wouldn't simply kick back and let themselves be put
under siege. No way. They'd rather fight. Something Wonder Woman agreed
wholeheartedly with. She and Ares led the Olympian Defense Army outside of
the Gates of Olympus. What she saw outside amazed her...

There were a few dozen gods in the Olympian Defense Army and perhaps a
hundred superheroes. The opposing force that awaited them outside was far
more numerous. Wonder Woman gasped. She could see strange creatures as far
as the eye could see, and beyond. Monsters of all type. Some of them she
recognized. Most, she didn't. There were many demons and strange creatures
out there. Monsters. All kinds of horrors. The stuff of nightmares. But
that wasn't what chilled her to the bone. She looked and saw a somewhat
familiar figure leading them. A warrior clad in black and red armor. He
stood at the head of the monstrous yet orderly and well-trained army. He
seemed confident. He had every reason to be. There were hundreds of thousands
of strange monsters and other powerful creatures out there. All arranged in
battalions and platoons. A well-prepared, orderly, effective, disciplined
fighting force.

The Olympian Defense Army was severely outnumbered. The Destroyer of the Dark
Army stepped forward. A blast of energy shot out of his arm and struck the
force field which protected Mount Olympus. Wonder Woman smiled. That guy
wasn't so tough if he thought his power could withstand that of Zeus the
Thunderer...her jaw almost dropped when the energy field protecting Olympus
shimmered, and simply vanished. From high Olympus Wonder Woman heard Zeus's
cry of anger, shock and fury. She looked at the Destroyer of the Dark Army.
His troops hooped and hollered, echoing his success at breaching the
supposedly unbreakable walls of Mount Olympus. For the first time in her
life, Wonder Woman felt worried...this was a battle that she might not win!

The Destroyer of the Dark Army surged forward, leading his troops. Wonder
Woman readied her sword, and went out to challenge them with her own troops
following her lead. Two armies clashed. Darkness and light. Heroes on both
sides fought. Darkness shone bright...

As Wonder Woman clashed with the dark forces, she wondered as to the identity
of the Champion of Hades, the new Lord of the Dark Side. She watched her
friend Hercules attack him, flanked by Artemis, goddess of the Hunt. Artemis
let her arrows fly at the Destroyer, but they bounced harmlessly off him.
Wonder Woman gasped. She hadn't seen the likes of this since....Superman.
Artemis leapt forward, brandishing a broadsword. She attacked the Destroyer.
The Destroyer blasted her across the battle field with red-hot beams that
shot from his eyes. Hercules attacked. The Destroyer clashed with the Son of
Zeus. Wonder Woman watched while battling a huge ogre. The two adversaries
seemed to be a match in raw strength. The Destroyer took to the air and
Hercules waited, sword in hand. The Destroyer came back at full force,
clashing with the young demi-god. The shock of two super-strong foes clashing
reverberated across the battle field and almost knocked Wonder Woman off her
feet. She steadied herself and beheaded her foe. The ogre fell. Wonder Woman
watched the struggle. Finally, Hercules fell. "Noooooooo!" Wonder Woman
cried.

The Destroyer stood over the fallen Son of Zeus. Hercules had been defeated.
The Destroyer bent down and snatched a lock of hair from the seemingly
lifeless body of Hercules. Hercules did not move. He seemed to be...no. It
couldn't be. The Destroyer held the trophy in his arms and bellowed a deep
roar of victory. Fueled by rage and grief for the loss of Hercules, Wonder
Woman charged. The Destroyer saw her coming. Red beams blasted her away.
Wonder Woman grimaced against the pain and stood. She hurled her
indestructible shield at the Destroyer. He caught it in mid-air and simply
crumpled it in his hands. Wonder Woman's eyes widened in shock. Just who was
the mysterious Destroyer? He looked at her as she advanced toward him.

"Today the reign of the Olympians end, Amazon." he said. "Today I will bring
the gods down and offer their corpses to my Master, along with yours."

Wonder Woman flinched. "Who are you ?" she asked.

The Destroyer removed his helmet. The shock that Wonder Woman felt when she
finally saw his face was...immeasurable.

"No!" she said.

Wonder Woman looked into the familiar face of her friend. The man she had
trusted and admired for so long. The man she had secretly loved for years and
lost to the charms of another woman. The man she regretted losing because her
Amazon duties forbade her from having male companionship. Her best friend.
Her lover. Her companion in times of need. "Superman?" she asked hesitantly.

He shook his head. His eyes glowed a fiery red. "I am the Destroyer!" He
shouted as his Heat vision blasted her across the battle field once more.

To be continued...

    

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