Anansi and Freedom Beast

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

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FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER
I personally think that Justice League Unlimited was cut from cartoon network way too soon and believe that there was potential in continuing the stories. So, this is it, right here, the Justice League Unlimited series continued from where they left off.

(By continuing the series, I will open the door to using more of the DC Universe characters, including but not limited to: Teen Titans, Doom Patrol, Global Guardians, and other such less known teams, heroes, and villains.)

"Can't you do something?" Nuru asked, wide-eyed. He was looking right at Arjana, and was not whispering. Their classmates had heard his question, and undoubtedly they were asking themselves how she could help. Arjana shook her head, her mouth open with disbelief.
How could he have asked her such a question, in front of everyone? She understood he was afraid, but to such an extent to almost reveal her secret? That was uncalled for. She did not want her classmates to know she was a meta-human, that she had special powers. It was none of their business, and she wanted to avoid the stares or publicity that often came with superpowers. She gave Nuru a death stare as she thought about all the unwanted attention she would garner if their classmates knew her secret. Maybe he would like if I exposed his secret, she thought to herself.
Nuru had powers too. Really creepy, supernatural, dark abilities. When he had first showed them to her, Arjana was afraid. He felt her fear, and they had not spoken for an entire month after that. But that was more than a year ago. It had taken a fire at their apartment complex for them to start talking again. And since then, they worked together to strengthen their abilities. They had rescued abused and abandoned animals, stopped a hunting party of poachers from killing an endangered lion, and even located a missing kid that had been trapped in an abandon building. But none of that could have prepared them for an alien invasion.
Arjana, Nuru, and the rest of their class had gathered together, hiding amongst some shrubbery, when the attack had begun nearly twenty minutes earlier. The morning had begun with a class field trip to The National Zoological Gardens. It had been educational, yet fun; anything to get out of the classroom for a bit. But, halfway through the day, the winged invaders began blotting out the sky. People ran around in a panic as some of the invaders would occasionally swoop in low, grab up folks, and then take back to the skies. No one knew what awaited those taken off into the horizon, and Arjana had not wanted to know.
Overhead, a group of the winged invaders soared by, their hand weapons unleashing awful energy. Nuru trembled, his eyes shining bright blue. "Arjana! Are you sure you can’t do anything?"
"Stop it Nuru," Arjana grunted.
"What?" He followed her gaze, and looked back at their classmates. "You serious?" he spat, spinning back to Arjana. "So what if they find out! We’re going to die?"
"Want them to know about you?" Arjana said it so quickly she was shocked.
Nuru just dropped his head, his lips limp. Was there tears forming in his eyes? Arjana apologized, but murmurs began rushing through their classmates. They began worrying less about the horrible invaders, and more about what secrets were being hidden. Typical.
Arjana thought about if she should just tell them, but the words got caught in her throat. An explosion nearby, and the screams of those caught in it, drew all their attention back to the real problem. As the classmates watched the invaders drag bodies from the flames, Arjana stooped next to Nuru. "I’m sorry. It just came out."
"I deserved it. I panicked and put the spotlight on you."
Arjana wanted to agree, but that would do more damage than good she decided. Instead, she said, "I don’t understand what you wanted me to do anyhow. Have the spider monkeys attack those things flying around with laser guns?"
"No," Nuru gasped. "I thought, maybe, you could control them too."
Control monstrous invaders? True, Arjana had the superpower of being able to not only communicate with animals, but to also make them do what she wanted. That had been how they found the lost kid: she commanded all the stray dogs and cats in a three-block radius to seek out the child. Her mind had leapt out and attached itself to any, and every pair of eyes that was available. After one hour, a stray dog found the kid underneath some rubble. Nuru used his powers to move the rubble away. Arjana had been glad that the kid was unconscious, because the little lost girl might have been even more afraid if she had seen Nuru do his thing.
"I actually did try that," Arjana finally said, looking back out at the invaders swarming around like locust. "But their minds, are so strange. It’s like a blank slate, but then again, a constant throbbing, hum of drastic commitment and obedience." She looked at Nuru. He had no idea what she was trying to say. Honestly, she could not figure it out either.
Then it dawned on her, "it’s like when I tried to make the fire ants leave Guifi alone." Three months ago, an exchange student from Guam had visited, staying with Arjana and her family. One day after classes, as she, Nuru, and Guifi were walking home, a whole nest of fire ants came out of nowhere and attacked the neighborhood. Arjana had tried to control them but found their hive mind too intense and chaotic to control. She could command dozens of dogs and cats to find a lost girl at one time, but attempting to control thousands of busy organic drones in a frenzy was too much.
"These things’ minds," Arjana continued, "are like insects: hive mentality. But on a whole different level. I can’t do anything with them." She stared into Nuru’s blue eyes, which were no longer shining. She had never seen them lack intensity. He was overcome with fear, shame, and disappointment. "I’m sorry," was all Arjana could say.
"Don’t be," Nuru sighed. "I shouldn’t have even asked."
"Look!" one of their classmates shrieked, as she pointed to the nearby lion house. Arjana and Nuru looked up, and coming toward them all were a group of the invaders. They had been found. Arjana wanted to beg Nuru to do his thing, but didn’t. It would be his choice alone, without her influence. At the moment though, she really wished she could control humans, then she’d make Nuru save the day.
As the group of invaders came galloping toward them all, Arjana decided to try one more time. She tried to rip open their minds so she could control them, maybe use some to fight other invaders. But their minds just were not animal in nature. They seemed almost robotic; just hive-mind, bland programming, leaving them completely and utterly obedient to their master alone. It caused her a huge headache.
Arjana shook her head, "I just can’t do anything." She dropped to her knees, holding her head. Please Nuru, she thought, just save us. I know you can.
Before she could say anything else, a giant lion leaped down in front of them all. Not a normal lion though; it had a horn on its forehead, was as big as a school bus, and the skin seemed more like that of a rhino.
Arjana slipped inside the giant creature's mind, hoping it was not another alien. She reeled back from the shock. "It's a lion! AND a black rhino!" she said to Nuru. "But how?" she knew he could not answer her.
Hurdling from a nearby roof, and landing atop the giant lion-rhino, was a man barely dressed; a scarlet loincloth the only fabric on the muscled body. He wore a strange helmet and spoke with an accent. "This creature is with me."
The large beast and odd man charged at the invaders. The students all watched in amazement as the beast and man barreled through the invaders like bowling pins. The invaders fired their weapons and the beast cried out in pain, but continued the fight. Arjana had heard of a hero from South Africa that could not only control animals, but also merge them. She had thought it a media trick by the government to promote the Global Guardians. But maybe the hero was real, and maybe this was him?
Arjana stood and watched in awe as the man and beast fought the invaders. But there were so many. They could not do it alone. Soon the invaders would swallow up the man and beast, like millions of fire ants taking down a buffalo. She sighed heavily, turned to her classmates, and then shouted, "forget secrets and protecting identities."
All eyes were on her! Oh man, she thought. What am I doing? Arjana had never felt such influence, even when commanding dozens of strays. And that was something special indeed, since behind her a giant lion-rhino, ridden by a half-naked man, was fighting for all their lives against alien invaders. She stared at their wide eyes, trying to find the words. She looked over at Nuru, whose eyes were intense again.
"There are a bunch of people in the world with superpowers," she began. She turned back to the rest of the class. "And I’m one of them. If you have powers, help me get rid of these monstrous, winged invaders. This is our planet and we need to fight back!"
She had never felt so relieved before. Arjana smiled, turned back to the invaders that were overwhelming the odd beast, and charged. Suddenly, stampeding behind her lead, were all the animals freed from the zoo enclosures when the invaders attacked. She was in total control. The animals followed her command, and did so well. They scratched, bit, tore, and slashed at the invaders. Lemurs, lions, leopards, giraffe, snakes, spider monkeys, parrots, ravens, and all other sorts of mammals, reptiles, and birds fought alongside Arjana. She was their fearless commander, they, her army. It was not much, but it was something.
Nuru shook his head, and then sighed. "She's right," he whispered, to no one in particular. Then, he stretched his arms wide and began chanting. Soon, he was consumed by mist the color of cerise. And as the mist dissipated Nuru was no longer there, replaced by a hunched-over, massive, cloaked creature, a long wooden mallet in-hand. Its fingers were long and furry, ending in sharp claws. Hooved feet fell beneath the tapered cloak. The classmates shuddered at its face: nothing more than a skull with unnatural, glowing, electric blue eyes. And there were fangs; large, pointy, black fangs. The creature charged the invaders, the mallet whipping about. It was a wild scene.

* * *

At that exact moment, rushing through the zoo gates, pass fleeing parents and children, was a staff-wielding superhero in all black. It was Anansi the Spider, and he had heard that the invading Parademons was attacking the South African famous tourist attraction. Knowing that the Global Guardians could more than sufficiently handle the invaders downtown, Anansi left downtown to assist the patrons of the zoo. It was a truly bizarre scene when he arrived.
There were some odd creatures dispatching Parademons left and right: an enormous lion with pachyderm skin and horn, a half-naked man, a furry troll wielding a mallet, dozens of zoo animals, and a teenage girl. Anansi recognized the half-naked man as Freedom Beast. But the other two? He had no idea who they were. New Global Guardians members, he thought. Maybe he had not been needed after-all. Anansi smiled and jumped into the battle anyhow. It would be fun, at least, to meet new metahumans.
Anansi swung his staff, mystical energies pouring from it. The energy surrounded a pack of Parademons that had broken off from the main group. The creatures seemed confused as they slashed at snakes that did not die, but rather, multiplied. The alien monsters squirmed on the ground, as if they were buried beneath immortal serpents.
Anansi turned to another pack of Parademons that seemed very interested in the troll. The wild creature swung at the Parademons, their bodies turning into ash as the wooden mallet made contact. Dark Magic! Anansi was impressed with the skill that the troll displayed with using it, never once accidentally hitting any of the zoo animals or the teenage girl.
The girl! What was she doing in the battle? She did not seem to have any special powers, yet she fought, and hard too. Anansi was impressed, but afraid for her life. He rushed over, prepared to save the child. Quickly, he realized that she was no damsel in distress. As a Parademon slashed at her back, a leopard leapt up in defense, clawing the Parademon. Soon, a group of birds swung in low and began pecking at the alien. Anansi watched as the girl pet the leopard, thanking it for the save, and then commanded it back into the fight. She is controlling them? Anansi thought. Now it made sense; the animals had seemed to be quite organized and focused on targets. Was it more magic? Anansi was beginning to like how the battle unraveled.

* * *

The giant lion-rhino hybrid groaned with discomfort as one of the winged attackers stabbed it with an energy-lance. But before Dominic Mndawe could strike down the winged attacker, a man shrouded in dazzling energy burst upon the scene, swiping at the air and attackers with a staff. The man was dressed in black, even his gaucho hat. Dominic quickly recognized him as the African Trickster known as Anansi the Spider.
Dominic had heard stories of the great illusionist, and was not impressed. A man who used deception could not justly call themselves a superhero. It seemed wrong. But then again, politics were full of such irony and contradiction.
Even when in mask and costume, Dominic still did not think of himself as a superhero. At heart, he would always be a political activist doing what he could to counter injustices and corruption. But ever since that day when Mike Maxwell retired as B’Wana Beast, Dominic has had the responsibility of being a masked superhero, which sometimes distracted him from his mission of dismantling Apartheid in South Africa. Today, thousands of brutal, winged creatures descended upon the Earth from the cosmos, obeying their vile despot ruler. An invasion by alien hostiles was one of those distractions which required Dominic’s super-heroic attention.
He heard the lion-rhino squeal out again as more attackers lunged at it with their weapons. Very soon the elixir would ware off and the fused beast would become a mere lion and rhino again. Hopefully it would be unharmed, and the animals could return to the African Savanna. But the winged attackers would have to be dealt with first.
He raced towards the lion-rhino, dropping attacker after attacker with his incredible strength. Just as he reached the hybrid beast, the elixir finally wore off, returning the animals to their natural state. They were frightened but Dominic calmed them, and commanded them to leave the zoo, to flee into the savanna. Instead, the lion and rhino attacked a gathering group of the winged attackers. The lion slashed with its great big paws, and used its teeth to make the aliens think twice about using an energy lance upon it ever again. And the Black Rhino did what it does best: it mowed down two dozen of the attackers, their armor cracking and buckling to the weight, speed, and strength of the pachyderm.
Strangely enough, the lion and rhino were not the only animals fighting against the aliens. It was in Dominic’s lengthy experience that such an aggressive and violent incident would frighten away animals, both wild and domesticated, not draw them into the fracas. Apparently though, the destruction of Earth at the whim of a mad despot from the stars, was a strong enough motive to instinctively bring the animals of the zoo together, in organized fashion no less, to dispatch the hostiles.
It made no sense and Dominic felt it was wrong. But what could have been causing the animals to fight so ferociously against the aliens? He had not been controlling them. He was not even sure if he could command so many at one single time. As the thought passed his mind, it was then that he noticed the trickster again.
Dominic watched as the trickster hurled himself over an alien, landing unto another, his staff crashing down hard unto its head. There was a sickening crunch sound. Nearby, one of the invaders cried out, sounding something like a howling rooster. It was beyond eerie, and Dominic wished to never again hear such a sound.
An energy beam crackled across the ground, burning stone and grass. The trickster had rolled away just in time. Now, the superhero was advancing upon the invader. There was mystical energies flowing around him. Magic, Dominic thought, I hate it! Even though his own abilities were based within the magical realm, he could not stand the chaos of it. He hated the unknowns about how and why the powers worked the way they had. He hated not knowing where the energies stemmed from.
In the heat of combat, Dominic found himself gone astray in perplexing thought, as if transfixed within a daydream. An invader bashed him in the back of the head, bringing him back to his senses swiftly. Another invader slashed at him with its claws, while yet another tried to run its energy lance through his belly. Several had surrounded him, all watery-mouthed, their sickening, crooked, misshapen teeth showing.
Dominic swiveled on his back leg, spinning and swinging mightily with his left. He connected with the jaw of one of the attackers and it fell hard. Another tried to advance on him, but was countered by a cloaked creature swinging a great hammer. The figure was large, fast, and powerful. With a single swipe of the hammer, four of the winged attackers vanished in a puff of ash and fire. The cloaked figure turned toward Dominic, revealing a grinning skeletal face with burning blue eyes. Dominic jerked with surprise.
A demon, Dominic thought. Demons and aliens are attacking Africa? Dominic prepared himself for conflict with this cloaked demon. Though in a fighting stance, he wished that the creature would return to battling the aliens. If a fight between them must occur, Dominic felt it could wait until after the invasion was stopped.
As if the demon heard his thoughts, it reeled backward into the crowd of winged attackers, continually swiping at them. It dispatched them so easily. Black magic? Dominic wondered. Whatever the demon used as its power source, he would have to worry about it later. At that moment, he noticed that a teenage girl was being surrounded by a horde of the venomous aliens.
Dominic jumped over a charging alien, landing next to the teenage girl. He punched an invader as it leapt, and then swung his leg around to catch another in the head as it grabbed for the girl. He then used a variation of the fireman carry to toss one of the winged attackers into the ravine of one of the animal exhibits. He heard the invader hit the stone bottom some forty feet down. It was a croc-pit, and by now, the invader was finding out how well its armor would hold up against the powerful jaws of an African crocodile.
Dominic grabbed the teenage girl by the shoulder. "Go, run!"
She shrugged him off, screaming no. A spider-monkey leapt from a nearby branch and unto Dominic’s face. Its little fist went to pounding away at his skull. "Stop!" Dominic ordered. The primate immediately obeyed, sliding down off his face and unto the concrete. For a moment the little monkey seemed confused. It looked around in a panic and seemed like it would flee. Then, a haze fell over its eyes, replacing fear and uncertainty with determination. The little furry brows frowned, and the spider-monkey jumped back into the tree, ran across its branches, and then flipped off a branch it to land on one of the invaders. The winged attacker clawed at its own face in an attempt to rid itself of the pesky annoyance.
"I’m going nowhere," the teenage girl grunted. "These aliens need to know that none of us Earthlings are giving up the planet!"
The girl said something else to him, but Dominic could not hear it due to an elephant thundering by, leaving a mess of broken bone and shattered armor. He watched a moment as the teenage girl directed combat-traffic, the animals of the zoo her loyal and fearless, obedient soldiers. She was controlling them all!
It had not been the trickster, as he first thought. It was this young girl. A child with unmistakable animal-control abilities was using every animal in the zoo at her disposable; and doing a great job at it. Dominic was surprised at how in command the teenage girl was of her superpowers and emotions. It was an impressive feat for such a young person to be so focused in the presence of oblivion. Yet, there the girl was, summoning wild animals to battle at her side, against vicious unsurmountable odds.
But the numbers game brought Dominic back to the conflict. Like innumerable locusts feasting upon the fields of a nation, these winged attackers would eventually overwhelm him, the girl, the demon, and the trickster. They would then overrun those who had not been able to escape the zoo. There were too many, and no matter how many fell, there were two more to take its place. It was nonsense.
Suddenly, there was an intense white glare, blinding everyone. Using his enhanced senses Dominic focused his sight, and where the glow emanated from, there was a figure, hanging in mid-air. As the light dissipated, he saw that it was a man of stone defying gravity.
Now what?

* * *

The Parademons shrilled as they saw their worst fears manifested: Darkseid hovering over them, infuriated and disappointed at their failure. The Parademons fell to the ground, hands in the air. They were pleading for mercy. Darkseid bellowed his rage and his eyes glowed bright red. The Parademons screeched with terror and flew off. All of them!
It was another of Anansi’s great illusions of course. If Darkseid had actually been there, they’d all been blasted by his horrible Omega Vision. But, to the dimwitted Parademons, the illusion was very real, and very threatening.
Anansi removed his gaucho hat, wiped his brow, and sighed. Exhausted, he slumped down to the ground, looking up as the Parademons fled. "That was intense," he said.
"You could have done that from the start!" the mallet-wielding troll bellowed. The teenage girl stepped up next to it, placing her hand on its back. Noticeably, the troll relaxed. Did she control it too? What was the limits of her ability?
"You did well," Freedom Beast said, reaching down and offering Anansi his hand, pulling the attention away from the other two heroes.
Anansi looked up, "Freedom Beast!" Anansi accepted his hand, pulling himself up. "This is why you left downtown?"
"You did the same."
Anansi smiled. "Well, guessing like you, I knew that my help was needed elsewhere."
Freedom Beast returned the smile. "I must admit though, I had not expected such fearsome assistance." He made a motioning gesture to the teenage girl and troll. The two of them stood, side by side, in front of a group of students.
Anansi noticed the fear in all their young eyes, as they peered at the two young heroes. But they had not seen heroes who had just rescued them, they saw more monsters. He heard some of the students whispering about keeping secrets, and then realized, the girl that had controlled the animals and the troll must have been part of that class. They were students who bravely fought the Parademons at the risk of exposing themselves to judgmental teens.
Teenagers were the worst.
Anansi looked at Freedom Beast, who nodded. It was an unspoken agreement.

* * *

Dominic walked toward the students, a great big grin on his face. "You both did very well," he said to the two students who had bravely exposed their secrets. The African Trickster stepped next to the demon, placing a hand on his shoulder. An added smile helped him relax.
"Ruhanga and Guruhi," Dominic continued. "We could not have done this without you. You do the junior league of Global Guardians proud." The African Trickster snickered. The names just blurted out of Dominic’s mouth. They were the name of African Deities, and the powers seemed to coincide. Dominic was not good with the whole improve thing.
The two teens gawked at him, unsure of what to say. The African Trickster replied for them, "We must go, the Global Guardians may need our help downtown."
Dominic looked back to the crowd of students. Their fear seemed to be passing, being replaced with star-struck awe, jealousy, and excitement. It had worked. Maybe. The minds of teenagers were very complex and misleading. But, seeing your fellow classmates as superhero sidekicks must have been far better than seeing them as monsters and freaks.
Suddenly, the group of students surrounded their classmates, congratulating them on a job well done, asking how long they had their superpowers, wanting to know if they could give them abilities too. Dominic shook his head in wonder. How fast they can change allegiance, he thought, its mind numbing. There were cheers, laughter, and questions. But the world was under attack from alien invasion and these teens with superpowers could help.
"Like the Trickster says," Dominic interrupted, "we must get downtown. Let’s go!"
The teen and demon looked at one another, then over to their smiling classmates, then back toward Dominic and the African Trickster. They nodded and fell behind the two superheroes, leaving the zoo, running towards downtown. There was a world to save, and these teens had found their role in doing so.


Submitted: September 01, 2022

© Copyright 2022 CENTAURI ADAMS. All rights reserved.

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