"The Brains of the Operation": On the island of Gageo-Do, Matron briefs Dick Grayson on a group called The AWOL - made up of deserters from various criminal organizations. The island itself was once a prison island, and it is
Appearing in "The Brains of the Operation"
- The AWOL
- Security Nanocytes
- The Fist of Cain
- Mr. Minos
- Dr. Poppy Ashmore
- Mother Machine (Mentioned only)
- Batman (On a TV or computer screen)
- Cyborg (On a TV or computer screen)
- The Flash (On a TV or computer screen)
- Aquaman (On a TV or computer screen)
- Green Arrow (On a TV or computer screen)
- Batwoman (On a TV or computer screen)
- Batgirl (On a TV or computer screen)
- Red Robin (On a TV or computer screen)
- Martian Manhunter (On a TV or computer screen)
- Hypnos Implants
Synopsis for "The Brains of the Operation"
On the island of Gageo-Do, Matron briefs Dick Grayson on a group called The AWOL - made up of deserters from various criminal organizations. The island itself was once a prison island, and it is likely that they are using the rumours of radioactivity in the ruins of the prison to mask their activity. However, as they are attacked by a zombie whale with legs, Matron adds that the security nanocytes from the prison are still active and lacking human hosts, since Mother Machine destroyed it. As such, they are bonding with the next deadliest creatures they can find. Despite Dick's saving her from the whale, Matron's attention is on the ruins of the prison in the valley ahead of them, where it is clear that they are already too late, and The AWOL have been killed - by multiple assailants, all using different fighting styles. Unfortunately, this means they may have trouble finding the paragon's brain they were tasked with locating. It may have been stolen by a third party. Fortunately, one of the men is still alive. Using her Hypnos, Matron enters the man's mind to interrogate him.
Meanwhile, at Spyral HQ, Dr. Poppy Ashmore nearly interrupts Mister Minos in a meeting, but he manipulates her mind to forget it, and returns to his mysterious guests, Spyder. The entities are so powerful as to be able to erase memories, and they offer him the chance to remove the memories that cause him pain. Despite having given up his dname and his identity, he insists that he retain his pain - because that's all that's left of who he is.
While Matron interrogates the man, Dick spots something strange off to the side and investigates, only to be grabbed by Midnighter, who had been watching. He drags Dick through a portal to a place called the God Garden, where man-made monsters are kept. He explains that he holds a grudge against Dick for getting in his way in Russia. Annoyed, Dick responds that he has a mission that's more important than settling a score with a chest-thumping goth club bouncer. Lives are at stake if dangerous people have got a hold on the paragon brain. Midnighter responds that Dick prevented him from keeping superhuman experiments out of the hands of dangerous people at Spyral. In the mean time, he has done his research, and learned every one of Nightwing's moves. Gritting his teeth, Dick wonders if he studied Robin's moves at all, and uses his older, less finessed acrobatic style to pin Midnighter. Pushed to this point, Dick decides its time at last to use his Hypnos on Midnighter, but his attempt fails, and the Hypnos is disabled by Midnighter's own special device.
In the meantime, Matron has seen all the horrors of her prisoner's life, and it has given her post-mental integration trauma. Unfortunately, Dick is gone, and she needs him to talk her down. Mister Minos calls in demanding a report, and uncomfortably, she reports that she has learned what the Fist of Cain intends to do with the Paragon Brain. They're going to fill it with hatred, and then unleash a psychic attack at the Tel-Aviv Rally for Peace. With it, they will manipulate peaceful people into killing each other by the thousands.
Midnighter claims that with the tech at the God Garden, he will be able to reverse engineer the Hypnos technology, and trace its signal back to Spyral HQ, to recover the Paragon organs stolen frmo him - and then drop them off the edge of the Multiverse. He intends to bring down every last Spyral agent, starting with Dick. Before he delivers a final punch, he asks for any last words to deliver to Matron. Dick responds with the word "Tsuchigumo" - a subliminal post-hypnotic trigger that causes Hypnos implants to emit a shock to the brain. Having stolen the Hypnos, Midnighter collapses in pain. After knocking Midnighter unconscious, Dick is surprised by an old woman who invites him to walk with her in the garden. She apologizes for the Midnighter's behaviour, adding that she already knows about Dick's mission to recover the Paragon organs. After all, the Paragon itself was created from the DNA of the earth-bound gods to destroy her. The Fist of Cain is preparing to see thousands of people murdered with the Paragon brain. And whatever Dick thinks he needs to do there, she needs him here to save the God Garden.
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