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DC: System Shock (COMPLETED)

Well, if I had plans for a wild adventure, this wasn’t what I had in mind. One moment I’m crashing on the couch, thumbing through my dog-eared DC Comics collection, and the next... Boom! I’m smack dab in the middle of Metropolis, and let me tell you, it's not the Metropolis you see on postcards. Imagine, the skyscrapers you dream about from movies and comics, now they're crumbling. Flashing lights and explosions paint the skyline. No, it's not some fancy holographic display; this is real, alarmingly real. There I was, regular old me, standing in all my awkwardness in a city under siege by god-knows-what-and-who. Superman is up there, cape fluttering and all, throwing down with these ominous-looking entities. And me? I'm over here, equal parts stunned and terrified. As debris rains down like a disaster movie on steroids, I’m diving for cover behind a partially collapsed building. The dusty, shredded pages of my comic collection flutter around me, a stark contrast to this gritty, chaotic reality. Then, out of nowhere, this shimmering interface pops up, hanging in the air like a neon sign in Times Square. It’s like some cosmic computer screen offering me options like I’m about to pick a new phone plan. I poke at it because what else do you do when you’re yanked from your comfy world and dropped into a super-powered showdown? The thing offers guidance, quests, and, get this, points. Points! Like I’m suddenly part of some cosmic rewards program. So here I am, taking cover, trying not to stick out like a sore thumb in my jeans and old band t-shirt, while navigating an interface that might as well be from a sci-fi flick. “Welcome to the Universal Network System,” it says. And I’m thinking, “Yeah, thanks for the warm welcome, but can I get a ticket back to my couch?”

Wicked132 · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
97 Chs

Naive Optimism #11

In the heart of the stadium, I stood, eyebrow raised, eyeing the eclectic assembly of robots. I use the term "army" loosely; it was more of a robotic menagerie than a disciplined force. Humanoid bots rubbed shoulders with insectoid counterparts, while animalistic constructs mingled with those resembling creatures from myth and odd, abstract shapes straight out of an advanced math book—utter chaos.

If Zhaphody hadn't spilled the beans about the system's hand in this Metropolis invasion, the rampant disarray of these metallic intruders would've been clue enough. Chaos seemed to be the system's calling card, after all. Before I could delve into the existential ramifications of it all, Livewire's voice cut through the metallic cacophony.

"Look sharp, genius. The super jerk is here," she declared, and I instinctively turned my gaze skyward. There he was, the Man of Steel himself, cape billowing as he descended with the grace that never failed to impress. 

You'd think I'd be more blasé about it after everything that had transpired, but come on—it's Superman. There's a reason his slow descent never gets old. It's like a scene lifted straight from the pages of a DC comic.

Superman wasted no time, his gaze fixed on Livewire as he expressed gratitude. "Thank you for your assistance, Miss Willis. Your intervention prevented many casualties," he acknowledged, trailing off at the end of his sentence. 

"But I have to ask, what prompted this sudden change of heart?" Superman's inquiry maintained a sense of genuine curiosity rather than suspicion or judgment. Classic Boy Scout. 

Livewire responded with a sneer. "It's Livewire now, pal! Better get that through your thick skull!" she corrected, quickly regaining her usual smirk. "I was all set to find and zap you to death once I broke free..." Her eyes locked onto Superman's, electric arcs dancing around her body. 

The girl had balls of steel, and she wasn't holding back. 

"My new friend here convinced me otherwise," she added, throwing a nod in my direction. Leave the talking to me. Well done.

Superman shifted his attention to me, his eyes conducting a thorough inspection. "You're the young man who was lying on the street during the battle," he observed, a blend of amusement and confusion on his features. 

"I can't quite put my finger on it, but you seem slightly different..." His narrowed eyes hinted at a suspicion. 

If I had to wager a guess, the change he detected likely originated from my enhanced persuasion ability, subtly altering my posture and demeanor. Couldn't let him catch on to that secret.

"It's probably the shoes," I deflected, gesturing casually toward my new pair of kicks. That prompted a smile from the Man of Steel. "Name's Micah Foster... you could say I'm Livewire's manager," I introduced myself.

Superman nodded at me. "Then I must thank you as well for helping Miss Leslie see reason," he said, sounding genuinely grateful. "However, despite my personal reservations, she remains a convicted criminal and must be returned to jail," he added, turning back to Livewire with a regretful look. Livewire's expression instantly twisted into a rage at those words.

"The hell I am!" she exclaimed, arcs of electricity dancing along her body. "If you want to take me back to the big house, you better be ready to drag me there kicking and screaming, super jerk!" She added, lowering her posture and widening her arms, clearly ready for a fight.

Before Superman could reply, I stepped forward and placed my arm on Livewire's shoulder, a smile on my face. "Of course... she'll even willingly turn herself into the authorities," I said, and the electricity immediately vanished from Livewire's body, and she turned to me with a bewildered look.

"I am?" she said, staring at me dumbly.

"Absolutely. How else could we consider negotiating a lighter sentence or a pardon for you if you're on the run?" I said with a sigh. "Not to worry, though. You won't spend more than a month in the big house, especially since Superman here is going to vouch for you," I added, and it was now Superman's turn to look confused.

I didn't give Superman a chance to express his confusion; instead, I seized the moment. "I know I'm throwing a curveball here, but Livewire is genuinely aiming for a fresh start, maybe even considering a new talk show or something," I calmly proposed, giving Livewire's shoulder a reassuring squeeze. She nodded, seemingly deep in thought.

Superman managed a bittersweet smile. "Do you understand the weight of what you're asking?" he inquired, casting me a reproachful look.

"I do. If you vouch for her, and she goes back to her old ways... well, you'd take the fall, and your reputation might take a hit," I responded with a determined nod. 

"On the flip side, if Livewire seizes this second chance to pursue an honest life..." I let my sentence trail off intentionally. "Just think about the countless individuals like her who become criminals simply because they think they can't be anything else... a single redemption just might be the nudge they need to see things from another perspective..."

Admittedly, I felt a bit uneasy laying out these terms. Superman had been my hero since childhood, and now, I found myself placing him in a tough spot—choosing between potentially tarnishing his own integrity and redeeming a notorious criminal. 

But in reality, there wasn't much of a choice. Superman had only one way to respond. True to form, his smile transformed into genuine agreement.

"So be it," he said with a nod. "Will you turn yourself in, or would you prefer I accompany you, Miss Leslie?" Superman directed his gaze toward Livewire.

That's Superman for you. I wouldn't have dared to make such a request with anyone else, but Superman embodied naive optimism, always seeking the good even in the most villainous individuals, except when it came to Darkseid and Brainiac, but that's completely different. 

My choice of words might seem like an insult or an attempt at mockery, but I meant "naive optimism" in the best possible way. The Man of Steel is called the symbol of hope for a reason, you know?

I turned to glance at Livewire, and her expression was nothing short of priceless. The way she regarded Superman as if he were some kind of fool almost tempted a chuckle from me, but I managed to suppress it. 

The entire charade had been in motion since the beginning—Livewire's feigned outrage, her surprise at my assertion that she'd willingly surrender, all of it planned to showcase my ability to influence her and increase the weight of my word with Superman. 

However, I could tell she was experiencing real shock right about now, and it wasn't surprising. She probably wouldn't trust herself as much as Superman was trusting her right now. 

I couldn't blame her since Supes had that effect on people. But she seemed to be taking an unusually long time to process the situation, prompting me to clear my throat and snap her out of her daze.

"I've got a pair of perfectly working feet..." Livewire retorted with a scoff. "I'll shimmy back into my cozy cell, but don't get it twisted—I ain't caving because I'm scared of you, jerk man," she added, transforming into an arc of electricity and entering the nearest electricity pole, much to both my and Superman's amusement.

As she disappeared, a notification popped up in my vision. 

[Livewire's alignment has changed from (villainous) to (sly)]

Another prompt swiftly followed. 

[You have been rewarded 150 points]

'Jackpot... looks like I was right...' I mused, standing there, thoughts of exploring the system's shop already dancing in my head.

Still, Superman's presence snapped me back to reality. "Thanks for your help. And I'm really sorry for putting you in such a tough spot..." I said, mixing genuine gratitude with a touch of apology.

"No need to worry, young man," Superman replied, his smile practically carrying its own superhero theme tune. "I do what I do not for applause or adoration, but because it's the right thing..." He said, and I could basically hear the heroic music playing in the background as he spoke. 

'Classic Superman,' I thought, silently fanboying.

"Now then... I'm sure you have many things to do, and so do I, so I won't hold you here," Superman said, releasing me from my superhero chat. 

I nodded in agreement, eager to get out of here before I started fanboying for real or spilling my secrets. I turned away with a satisfied smile, ready to explore the possibilities in the system's shop.

But just as I thought I was in the clear, another voice rang out in the stadium, putting my triumphant exit on pause. "Please wait a minute, young man..."

...

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