Black Canary Sings

Black Canary Sings

 

Lance Laurel is attacked in the street and has his world turned upside down. Coping with this new mess would be a test of his abilities.

 

Author's Note: A Retroactive Continuity, or Retcon if you will, is the altering of previously known facts in order for the universe to conform to new story lines. This is mine. This is a retcon of the story of Black Canary and her origins. Detective Comics owns the character of Black Canary, and Lilith owns the copyright to Jade of the Green Lantern Corps.

Motorcycle picture credit taken from the Ducati website and it is a picture of Multistrada 1200 S. Unretouched image of Black Canary is taken from The Savvy Stylist.


The fist was a blur and would have connected with a lesser fighter, but Lance Laurel was able to get his forearm up in time to push it safely aside. Not too far aside, for Aikijitsu was all about minimal use of power to redirect the energy of the opponent in another direction.

Tai Chi and Aikijitsu had a lot in common, most often it was the art of gently helping your opponent into the nearest wall or floor.

As the fist passed by his torso, Lance grabbed the sleeve that the fist was attached to, and pulled gently. The center of gravity shifted, he twisted his hips slightly, pivoted on the ball of one foot, and the heel of the other, and redirected all the force from a horizontal strike, into a downward flip. His opponent was slightly stunned as he impacted the floor.

I know that the only impact he wanted was into my chest, but this is better for me.

The referee called the takedown, and the match stopped. The score was called out by the judges. Three points to one, declaring Lance the winner again.

Now if I can only continue this winning streak.

This was the last match of the Regional Quarter Finals. If he could get to the Finals, and win them, then he was going to National and had a chance to get on the Olympic team sometime in the next few years. If he could do that, he would be happy.

Not being accepted into the Academy was a bit of a blow to his ego, but the epilepsy that he had suffered from his whole life meant that if he went into a seizure while chasing a criminal, he could endanger everyone. His father had been understanding enough, it would have been nice to have a fourth generation Laurel serving in the NYPD. That hope was as gone as his childhood pet. Wishing would not bring that chance back to him. Medical records are just too permanent.

A Gold Medal would more than make up for everything. He would have done something that no one else in his family could have do, as he made his mark on the world. A Gold Medal would mean respect, and possibly enough of a reputation that he could get private investors when he opened his dojo.

My Teachers will be pleased, there's not anyone that I know of who teaches these arts all in one school.

Lance had been training most of his life. It started when he was 8 and being picked on by bigger boys. Getting hit hurt, and having his knees skinned for the fifth time in two weeks didn't help.

His father had been understanding. He encouraged his son to stand up for himself, but that only guaranteed that the bullying would escalate. He had no idea how he could stand up to boys who were easily twice his size and weight and not get creamed.

Finally, the entire situation came to a head when the bullies gave him a black eye, bruises everywhere and a bloody nose. After that his father took him to a Karate school nearby. Sensei Southern was confident that Lance could learn to defend himself with a little practice, despite the size difference.

The part that always bothered Lance was that he had to occasionally attack his opponent. He was more than willing to let someone who broke off the combat leave, only hurting them when they attacked. He detested taking the offense, but standard Okinawan karate practically mandated that he go on the offensive. Defensive skills were fine, but attack skills were just as important.

Despite hating it, he was very good at it. He was able to earn his first black belt in Isshin-ryu by the time he was 12. His sensei was wise enough to not promote him further until his body finished puberty and he stopped growing. In the mean time, Sensei taught him another art while they were waiting for everything to settle down.

Aikijitsu was perfect for the way he liked to fight. Close to Judo in form, but different in the philosophy and details, he was more likely to only hurt someone if they persisted in attacking him. Flips and throws, arm and joint locks to cause pain, and incapacitating blows were the core set of abilities needed in this style, and that suited him fine.

When he finished growing at the age of 16, he had earned his first dan in Aikijitsu as well. He was extremely pleased with himself, always cognizant of how much he owed his sensei. The physical bullying had mostly stopped, even if the mental bullying didn't. He wasn't one to attack someone for saying something to him, so he did his best to ignore the taunts and jeers hurled by others. Those kinds of things he told to his therapist.

When his application for the Police Academy had been rejected, he was devastated. He saw it as a failure in himself, and his father understood, but Lance thought he could see disappointment whenever he looked in his eyes.

His mother's mother had suggested that Lance come to England for a while, to try to get his bearings and to try to forget the problems he had been through. His parents had been enthusiastic about doing it, saying that it would expand his horizons and his experience. A passport later, and he landed in England to stay for a while with his grandmother.

Excitement soon turned to boredom, however. He was able to keep in training for a while, but just practicing what he knew wasn't enough to satisfy him. He still wanted to learn more. It wasn't until he stumbled upon a class called "Defendu" being taught to some military and police personnel that he decided to see what other styles he could take.

He joined that class and looked for others as well. Hapkido was taught nearby, and he took some Tai-chi in the park to keep loose and in shape. Tutoring future immigrants in American history, slang and monetary exchange allowed him to pay his teachers without asking grandmother for the money.

But three different martial arts classes and a full time job took its toll on him. Soon he had to drop the Tai-Chi simply because he didn't have any time to either practice or devote himself as he thought he should. The Defendu discipline wasn’t easy per se, but it did show him on the most efficient way joint locks and takedowns should work, that he had learned Aikijitsu made that part easier for him. It didn't take long for him to learn almost everything he could from his teacher, and he started helping train the other students.

Soon his tutoring job was a thing of the past, and he focused on instructing others in what he knew. He made sure that he was teaching the styles as he had been taught, and doing his best to not blend the teachings of one school with another. Sensei Butcher had encouraged him to make a blended form, using all his knowledge and experience. That was the point of Defendu after all. Take the most efficient and best parts of what he knew and use it to quickly and efficiently take down the opponent.

At 19, he spent a bit of time traveling around and finding other schools in England to teach him what they would, blending their way with what he knew. He didn't stay long in any place, working intensely for about three months with the instructors of Shito-Ryu, Escrima, Savate and Thai Kick-boxing, becoming immersed in their teachings and fighting style, eating sleeping dreaming each style all day and night.

When he had to take some time to replenish his funds, he did what he could to earn as much money as fast as possible to allow him to spend his entire time immersed in the fighting arts he was studying. He continued to travel around, learning where he could, working when he must.

Lance was very surprised to find that many of the people instructing him were willing to give him lessons for a severely reduced rate or free once they saw his level of dedication. They asked things like chores or instruction in other fighting styles that he knew as a means of recompense for their time and effort.

Eventually he made his way back to New York and devoted himself to studying Japanese Kenpo, or as they called it "Nihon Kenpo" to help his fist and hand strikes. He still didn't like attacking, but it was a requirement of the style. He resigned himself to doing what he could and simply do what was necessary.

To support himself, he took a job as a bike messenger, learning the back alleys and streets of Queens about as well as anyone could. He was part of a reputable company, one that would not take any jobs like delivering drugs around under the guise of a package. It kept him in very good shape as well. The only drawback was the pay a cheap apartment with four other messengers barely made rent manageable and there was no way they could fit another body and bike in the tiny space they called home.

New York was expensive at the best of times, and maintaining his bonded status was expensive as well. He still taught at the dojo of Sensei Southern that allowed him to get his lessons without paying out cash. He lived as frugally as he could, saving every cent that he didn't have to spend. He was living hand-to-mouth, and sometimes his hand didn't quite reach his mouth. That's when he had to swallow his pride and call his parents.

He sat down with his sensei and talked about his situation. All that Sensei could come up with was the suggestion that he open his own dojo. There were very few people who had as much experience as he did in the various arts, so he could ask a lot from his students, and in New York they could afford it. The drawback was the need for a national reputation, which meant competing in as many tournaments for the most exposure possible in the Martial Arts community.

They came up with a plan to have Lance start competing as often as possible in every available tournament, using the prize money to support himself. The state and regional Kumite gave the competitors exposure to the Martial Arts media and the various schools out there. It wasn't long until Black Belt Magazine had an interview with him as an up and coming star in the Martial Arts world.

He was floored the first time he was asked for his autograph. A kid, about 10, was at a tournament he was involved with, had seen him in Black Belt and recognized him as a "famous person", so he naturally asked for Lance's signature in a book. Lance saw himself 13 years ago in the eyes of this boy and signed the autograph book gladly.

Now, he would get two or three requests for his autograph at every tournament . While some of the lesser media magazines were doing interviews with him, Black Belt hadn't come back for a while. Lance wondered why.

Hopefully if I win this qualifying set of rounds, they will stop back by and I can express my goals. It would be nice if someone saw what I was trying to do and decided to help. But I'm not holding my breath either.

At 25. he was near the top of his game. Something would have to start happening soon in order to give him with a chance to compete in the Olympics. Without a Gold Medal, it would be much harder to open his own dojo. WITH a Gold Medal, he would make the jump from being a "name" in the Martial Arts world to being a "name" in the mundane world too. Most of the Olympic athletes that made it to the top of the podium in the Games would get all kinds of breaks and endorsement deals once the Games were over.

Full time competition was necessary to reach his dream.

He was garnering a reputation. People knew him as a fair fighter, an honorable person who didn't take blows that he didn't have to, who was willing to allow himself to be in danger rather than injure an opponent badly. He pulled his blows, making light contact to demonstrate his abilities. He COULD really hurt them if he wanted to, but wouldn’t seek to actually harm them for the long term. He overheard he wouldn't have much problem with winning Nationals if his epilepsy would stay away. Gee, thanks Black Belt!

He was medicated right now, but stressors could easily take his victory away. He’d already had one grand mal seizure during a competition. While the judges were willing to allow that it was terrible, they couldn't give him the victory in the match even though he was ahead in points. Their rationale was if it happened during a real combat, the people he was fighting wouldn't be merciful and walk away, they would continue to hit him while he was down.

That loss still hurt. It was the loss that he was the most upset about. To be disqualified for a condition that he didn't have any control over was humiliating. The rest of his losses (not that there were that many) were fair calls, but that one DQ still rankled.

He tried to put it out of his mind as he stepped to the locker room to change out of his gi. Today's matches were over. Only waiting for the results to be posted was left.

He showered and changed fairly quickly. He had a lot of practice in just sluicing off and getting clean clothing on. From the looks of things, the others were doing the same thing and a few came to congratulate him on his wins during the day. The totals were still unannounced, so their congratulations were odd to him, but he accepted them anyhow. Maybe they think I'm a shoe-in to win. Or maybe they are congratulating me on my match victories.

He made his way back out to await the results. It wasn't too much longer until the totals were computed and posted on the boards. To no one's surprise, his name was first. The top eight competitors would move on to the semi-finals, and he’d be back tomorrow to fight in the semi's and, if the fates were kind, the finals.

He was feeling very happy as he left the competition arena and joined some colleagues for a drink.

You know, I probably shouldn't have had that beer after the glass of Scotch. He had acquired a taste for a good smoky single malt Scotch while in England, and he could normally hold his liquor fairly well, tonight it went to his head. Idiot, I lost a lot of fluid and that made it hit my blood stream too fast, so now I'm more than loopy.

He weaved a bit on his way to the hotel room he had taken. He probably should have stayed in the hotel bar to drink, but the other guys wanted to see some naked girl flesh, so he had been talked into going to a strip club. Truth to tell, he didn't mind seeing some naked girl flesh either, but tonight it wasn’t as good as it should be.

He knew the symptoms, his body was gearing up for a flare of some sort. He had hoped the medication would keep that from happening, but if it happened, it happened.

The shoes hitting the pavement behind him alerted him to the people following him. He calmed himself and took a deep breath. He listened to the footfalls very intently and tried to estimate the number of people back there.

There's at least three people behind me. He looked out of the corner of his eye at the other side of the street. And there's at least four more on the other side. I'm going to get boxed in soon. Sure enough, three more people stepped out of an alley in front of him, cutting him off. He looked around and tried to see if there was any way to get into "civilization". He saw what looked to be a bar next to him which looked open. He grabbed the door and pulled it open to get inside.

The darkness hit him like a physical blow. Inside this bar, where there should have been people and music and drinks and safety, there was nothing. He heard his footsteps echo as he walked in.

He knew then that it was a trap, and he walked right into it.

Unsurprisingly, the door opened behind him and the lights came on. He saw three people fanning out and cutting him off from the door. Soon the rest of the group came in, and they started catcalling and jeering at him. Ten against one, not good odds, and no telling how many people are behind me in the back who were already here.

He resigned himself to a fight.

He could feel his heart speed up, and his breathing slowed down somewhat. The adrenaline started pumping and he had a preternatural clarity of thought. Everything was easy to see and he carefully plotted his escape.

Soon the thugs had surrounded him and were getting ready to charge in to beat the snot out of him. It had the hallmarks of a bad Kung-fu movie, but it was unlikely that they would dance in place while he attacked one person at a time, so he started moving acting instead of reacting, forcing them to go on the defensive.

Efficiency, was the key to surviving this. Hit them hard, hit to incapacitate moving through them to make the temporarily standing get in each other’s way. Path chosen, he charged through the line and broke the leg of the person he was moving past. From behind, he did a spinal strike to another person, not pulling the punch at all, and hoping to shatter a bone or two. Two down, many to go, another town and one more show....

They moved in, so he moved away and struck at another thug who was lagging behind. A broken arm later, he was in the clear once more, but still cut off from the door. This wasn't honorable fighting, it was cripple and escape. Eyes were gouged, throats collapsed and joints broken. He wanted these thugs down and unable to get up after he hit them.

Unfortunately, he was focused on the opponents that he failed to see the mirror that he thought was a corridor. He slammed into it at full speed and the wall behind brought him to a stop. Shards of glass fell all around him and cut him as they fell. His head hit the wall.

There were two people still up and his vision blurred. His muscles started twitching in that way he knew too well. He was starting to have a seizure.

NOT NOW! I can't have a siezure here and now. I cannot...

He fought the seizure with all his might and will, putting his body on automatic, hitting and reacting to the opponents that were in front of him. He knew that if he went down in here he was dead.

A door opened and there was noise of a street, cars honking and more. The seizure was building and he couldn't stop it. The world faded into nothingness...

"Honey, are you awake? Do you hear me?"

"Maybe she's permanently damaged? She hit pretty hard when she fell in the street."

"She was cut up pretty badly, but the EEG shows she's not in a coma. She should come out of it soon. If she's not awake now she will be."

There were hospital sounds around him. Doctors talking, nurses calling for aid. The beep of a heart monitor hit his ears and he tried to sit up.

Straps across his chest and around his wrists and ankles prevented him from moving very far.

"Easy honey, we had to restrain you so you didn't hurt yourself. Let me get the doctor and tell her you’re awake."

Lance nodded slightly and relaxed. He had been in this position many times in his life. Have a seizure, go to the hospital, have another seizure while in the hospital, get restrained so you don't hurt yourself. It was one of the things he had learned to live with. All it would take would be the doctor coming over and releasing him and holding him overnight for observation. He might even make the semi-finals if things happened fast enough.

He heard footsteps approach. "Well, young lady, you gave everyone quite a scare. Two grand mal seizures after you arrived here in the hospital as well as cuts all over your body. What the heck happened to you?"

Lance opened his eyes and took in the sight of the doctor bending over and undoing the restraints. "I was at a karate tournament, went out and had a couple drinks then got attacked by a gang of thugs for some reason." Something was... off. He couldn't put his finger on it just yet.

"Can you tell us your name?" The doctor's name tag declared her to be Dr. Johnson, trauma.

"Lance Laurel."

"Lance? That's an odd name for a girl. Why did your parents give you that name?"

It was then that Lance realized that he had breasts under the sheets. He looked down and the world went white again.

She heard "Code White" being yelled by this doctor as the shaking started.

When Lance came back to consciousness again, she was still restrained but in another room. She looked down at her own chest, and there was no way to mistake the mounds there for anything else. She rubbed her legs together experimentally, and noted that there was a lack of equipment down there as well, although apparently there was a catheter inside her.

She fumbled for the call button that should have been placed near her hand. When she found it she pressed it and asked the nurse to let the doctor know that she was awake. She hoped to get these restraints off and get out of here sometime soon. This was just too much to take in right now.

Laying there with little to do was boring, so she tried to remember what happened.

He remembered taking out all the gang members who apparently wanted to do him great bodily harm. He remembered feeling hot and cold at the same time, a sure sign of a seizure coming on. He remembered running outside and into the street so that he wasn't trapped inside to be killed at the gang's leisure. Then she remembered car horns, and then waking up here.

She must have gone into a Grand Mal seizure right there in the street. Apparently someone saw her and called the authorities who brought her to the hospital. How she got to be female was absolutely unknown.

"Ah, finally awake again. Good. Perhaps we can talk now. Try not to get a panic attack and go into another seizure, please?" the doctor asked.

Lance's voice sounded just as feminine as his chest looked. "What happened?"

The doctor recited a story that was pretty much what he had surmised on his own, but one detail was left out. "How did I end up female?"

The doctor looked surprised. "Do I have to explain the birds and bees to you? Or can we skip that?" At Lance's nod she continued. "You were found this way. You had on boy's clothing, but when you came in here and when you were put on the ambulance you were female. You mean, you weren't born this way?"

"No. My name is Lance Laurel and you can call my parents and ask them." He gave her his parent's phone number and she wrote it down.

"Well, if you weren't born a girl, we are going to have to run some tests. Let's get some blood and see if we can figure this out." She stepped out and came back in with a nurse who had the equipment to draw blood. While that was happening, Lance told them about the fight, the mirror and the Martial Arts tournament.

The doctor was nodding sagely. "That would explain all the bruises on your body. We thought you had been attacked by someone with rubber hoses."

"Well, that is closer to what actually DID happen than I like to think about. Those guys, they were trying to hurt me. I don't know if it was because they wanted to mug me or what, but I would like to find out. Having an empty building look like a well lit bar was a nice set-up, and it had me fooled. That takes planning and coordination."

The doctor looked impressed. "Pretty nice skullwork." she commented.

Lance blushed. "Well, my father is a cop and I was going to be a cop too, but the epilepsy made sure I couldn't pass the physical to get in. I think I had so many seizures tonight because of that, stress from the tournament, the attack and the booze I drank at the get together."

The doctor peered over her glasses. "You know that you aren't supposed to drink with the meds you are on, right? I mean, that's standard."

Lance nodded. "Yeah, but I was told that the dosage was low enough that I should be able to socially drink as long as I didn't go overboard. I had one Scotch on the Rocks, and one draft beer in the period of two hours, with snacks in there. It shouldn't have messed me up this badly. I admit I had a light buzz on, but that was all."

The nurse left with the blood sample. The doctor finished writing up the orders. "Well, we are going to run a lot of tests to see what happened. If you are on your meds and taking them faithfully, you shouldn't have had ANY seizures of any kind. Having four in one night is just too much.

"Now, get some sleep. You are worn out. The seizures do that to you, they take an insane amount of energy to carry through. I'm going to leave you restrained just in case, but the call button is here and the TV remote is here. The only thing you can't do is to scratch your nose."

Immediately his nose started to itch. "Great," he said while skewing his face up to try to relieve himself. "Thanks for mentioning that. Now my nose itches."

The doctor chuckled a bit and obligingly scratched his nose. She then left and he could hear orders being passed to the nurses.

The night passed slowly. TV on, news watched, then late-night infomercials. Eventually his mother and father showed up, but they were confused by the sex change themselves. While his parents tried to connect and comfort him, being in a strange body made it so that everyone was more awkward than loving. Eventually they left and he tried to get some sleep.

I guess if I'm a girl, I'm going to have to start thinking about myself as a girl and come up with a girl's name. Then there's getting the documents changed, getting a new birth certificate, heck, do my clothes even still fit?

These thoughts were going through her head as she drifted off to sleep.

The next day, the doctors still didn't know why she had had the seizures even with the meds. They had run all the tests, for just about everything they could think of, but it was still a mystery. It was towards noon that the doctor had finally given orders to remove the restraints, so at least she was able to feed herself, unlike at breakfast.

Her parents came back by, and they really did try to talk, but it was no good. They had a son named Lance Laurel, this girl that had the same mind as him was a question mark.

It wasn't until Lance was looking at the TV and saw news footage of a comic convention being interrupted by a giant ghost and a comic book character come to life drove it off that she realized that there might be some sort of connection. So when the doctor came back around later, she asked if it was possible that she had the metagene.

The doctor considered that, and ordered another blood draw to check. While she was resigned to the blood draw, she was missing the semi and finals for the tournament. All that work and effort, down the tubes. Now what was she going to do?

Days passed. People from the dojo came over to check on her. It was obvious that they were really uncomfortable, just as her parents had been uncomfortable. It wasn't long until they left.

Over and over in her head went the last day just before the attack. She kept dreaming the tournament and going over all the action in the matches she had. It kept playing back in her mind, and while she could continue as a female in the Arts, it just wasn't the same nor did females get the same amount of respect. She kept seeing missed opportunities.

Finally, she saw the doctor again while she was doing rounds.

"Well, we discovered that you do have the metagene. We had taken some samples of hair from the hairbrush your parents provided. We do have positive proof that you are you. So that should take care of the stuff that the government needs to be able to change your ID to female officially. Unfortunately, that doesn't help you right now. We aren't going to be able to change you back to male. When the metagene activated, it re-wrote the sex related gene strands of your DNA we can't do anything to change it back. I'm so sorry.

"Have you given any thought to what you want your new name to be?"

Lance thought for a bit. "Yes, actually I have. I figure if I reverse my name to Laurel Lance, that makes it a girl's name, right?"

"So you want everything to show Laurel as your first name? Are you sure about that?"

She thought again. "Well, I thought I could take the martial arts I know and make an acronym. The only one I can come up with that works right is Dinah. So maybe Dinah Laurel Lance? Do you think that's good?"

"That certainly does work and sounds more feminine. I'll make sure to update your hospital records.

"On the plus side, it looks as though the epilepsy is gone. I don't know why, but when your genetic code got re-written, it apparently cured it. The awakening seems to be finished which means no more seizures, nor more medicine. It appears that you didn't have epilepsy in the first place."

Dinah was really confused now. "What? But why? I mean, I have had seizures all my life."

The doctor held up her hand. "I know. Apparently the gene that was thought to be epilepsy was actually your metagene. It kept trying to spontaneously activate, your body would fight to stop it , which caused the seizures. That's why it was misdiagnosed. They were treating your symptoms, not the cause. Now that we know, we can take you off the meds and try to find out what you can do."

"Do?"

"Yeah, do. Apparently with the metagene comes some kind of metahuman ability. At least that is what’s been passed around the various databases the hospital has access to indicate. Like Giganta, that giant woman, or the girl from the comic convention the other day. They have claimed to be metahumans and apparently they gained powers when their metagene activated under stress. The current theory is the stress from the tournament, combined with the alcohol and fighting for your life forced your metagene to manifest itself."

Dinah thought back over her life, well, her previous life. She could see there was merit to what the doctor said. Every time that she had a seizure, there was some stressor that caused it. Perhaps that was the metagene trying to activate.

The doctor spent some time making sure that she was okay, had some more blood drawn and then left Dinah to her own devices. Hopefully if everything looked okay in the chemical levels test she had ordered, she could go home this afternoon. That would be really nice. At least I won't have any more holes in my hide. Bloody vampires.

For the rest of the day, Dinah lay there in the bed trying to think of how her life would be different. She asked for and received a pad of paper and a pen to make notes. She would need a whole new wardrobe. Then there was the various documents the government needed to keep track of her. She realized that she could actually get a driver's license now, since she wouldn't have a seizure in the middle of traffic and die or kill others. She would need a place to live.

That one she thought about, a long time. She loved her parents, and she had been living with them her entire life. She still had a bedroom at home. But she doubted that they would be able to cope with the change from male to female easily. Their discomfort they had already shown would keep bubbling and simmering and eventually it would boil over, there would be a fight and hard words. Best if she just moved now.

It took her a few seconds to notice that Jade, The Green Lantern, was standing in her room.

"Hi, I wanted to stop by and introduce myself. I'm Jade --"

"-- the Green Lantern. I've seen you on TV."

"Well, I've dropped in to make myself known to you and see if I can answer some questions."

"Can you give me a new life? My old one just crashed and burned around my ears."

Jade sighed. "I can see that, and I DO empathize. I had a life once, then this idiot ring decided to pick me to wield it and gave me no instruction on how to do it."

Dinah laughed a bit. "Okay, your sob story trumps mine. Still, I don't think that you can do much for me, unless you can make me male again, or rewind time?"

"No, I'm afraid that my powers, while pretty vast, don't lend themselves rewinding time or forcing a sex change. I've been asked about that before. Almost anything else I can do, but not that."

Dinah sighed. "Well, I can't think of anything that you can do for me. Some money so I can get a new wardrobe maybe, but that's all I can think about."

Jade nodded. "Now, that I can do something about." Her ring glowed for a moment. She extended her hand and gave Dinah a ring. "This will do a couple things. You can create constructs of light that look like clothes, instead of actually being clothing, and it will also act as a communication device. With it, you can contact me or anyone else who has one. That should take care of some of the clothing problems. I've been told that with some concentration, it will produce ACTUAL clothes, but I haven't seen it yet. It's not a permanent solution, but maybe it will help."

Dinah nodded and took the ring. She put it on her finger and it shrank until it fit. She noticed the logo on the front and twisted the ring around until that logo faced inside. "No offense, but I really don't want people thinking that I'm a Green Lantern."

Jade smiled. "None taken. I wish that I could get them to be the sigils or symbols that the users wanted, but no matter what I do it comes out with the Green Lantern symbol on it."

Dinah looked at it. "So to use this I just think about it? Let me try that..." Soon a green light shone, which turned darker and eventually became dark blue. Jade came over and looked at the ring.

"Oh, well done. You can use it to change itself. I guess no one tried it before." There where the Lantern Symbol had been was a stylized bird. Jade looked at Dinah again. "A bird?"

"Well, birds have been used as symbols for centuries. Besides, birds are seen as good omens in many cultures, and since I don't quite know what is going on yet..."

"...better to pick something neutral than to have to redefine everything later. Very wise."

Dinah looked down at the floor. "Is it true that everyone who has had the metagene activate has turned into some kind of super powered hero? Not that it's a deal breaker if that does happen, but I'd like to know what I can do."

Jade looked down at her ring. "Well, what metagene activated abilities does she have?"

My scans here are incomplete and would require a full medical scan on the ship, but there is indication that there is some sonic ability.

Dinah started a bit when she heard this. "Sonic ability? Like what?"

Unknown at this time.

"Fantastic. I can do something with sonics, but no one knows what. I don't even have a screwdriver. Guess I'll have to experiment later anyhow. Good that I have a starting point."

Jade nodded. "It is better than nothing. Is there anything else I can do for you?"

Dinah sighed. "Not anything I can think of. Thank you."

Jade nodded. "Don't forget, the ring also acts like a super secure cellphone, so if you need to contact me, just say so. I'm going to have to introduce you to everyone else soon." With that, Jade faded out of existence.

Dinah lay back on her hospital bed. It had been a long day. She closed her eyes and didn't know anything for a while.

Some time with a phonebook and a telephone found her some crash space for a little while with a coworker. A little while later, she called in some favors and made arrangements to get most of her belongings out of her parent's house where she had been staying while doing the tournament rounds. She figured a clean break from her parents was better than continually being a reminder that essentially Lance was gone and a daughter they didn’t know had taken his place.

She was sad about it, make no mistake, but it wasn't her fault that the metagene screwed up her whole life.

Boy was her life was screwed now.

It may be easy to say "Hi, I used to be Lance Laurel, but now I'm a girl and I want you to trust me while I train your children to be martial artists." It was highly doubtful that parents would actually be willing to put their children into classes with her now.

The last ten years of her life got flushed down the toilet.

She took the little bit of savings she had and started trying to think of ways to increase it. Investment with someone she trusted completely seemed to be the best option. She called Jade.

Connecting.

"Hi Dinah, what can I do for you?"

"Hey Jade. I got released from the hospital and I'm striking out on my own, but I only have about three thousand dollars in the bank. This day and age that's not going to go very far. Know anyone who can help me invest it to make more, who is trustworthy and won't waste it?"

"I think" [grunt] "I know just the person. I'll have to get her to contact you later" [bam] "I'm a little busy now."

"Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't know that you were in a fight! Oh crap..."

"Dinah, no worries. I could have refused your call. I'll get in touch with Giganta and have her girlfriend get in touch with you. Talk to you later!"

The connection dropped, and Dinah couldn't really find it in her heart to be upset at the speed in which it did. Keeping yourself in one piece is more important than a chatting on a call from a new friend.

So Dinah went up to the roof of the apartment building she was sharing and proceeded to work out. Katas, strikes, punches and kicks all came back just as easily as they would had she been in her old body. She did have to compensate somewhat for the shift in the center of her gravity, and she did have to be aware of her hair and her breasts, but all in all it didn't take that long to get a good workout.

Maybe while I have the time I should experiment with this ring. She thought of a gi, how it felt on her body, how it moved, and all those little details that most people wouldn't be conscious of, and suddenly it was on her.

She spent some time trying on different outfits, from T-shirts and jeans with hidden gussets so a kick didn't split her pants, to dresses and some extreme outfits like the Elegant Gothic Lolia she had seen online.

She was still playing around when she got a signal in her head that there was an incoming call on her ring. God that is so WEIRD!

It turned out to be Lena Thorul, Giganta's girlfriend. After explaining that she wanted advice to increase the money she had on hand to something that would allow her to live, Lena got excited.

"That's not problem, really, but you will have to trust me. I'm thinking that I could invest your money and basically do day-trading, increasing it and taking the profits, then buying something else, increasing that and taking those profits and so on until we have the money you need and want. But, you will have to give me all the money and trust me not to lose it. Do you think you can do that?"

Dinah thought it over for a while. "I guess I have no choice. If I want to do this, then I'm going to have to trust someone at some point."

Lena sighed. "Okay, then I think we have an agreement. I'll take a small percentage of the final total, say 5% or so, and you can have the rest back, or we can keep going as long as you want. I'll do all the investing and selling and so on. I'll do my best not to lose your money, but I can't say that there won't be losses at some point."

Dinah nodded. "I think I have enough in my checking account to actually get by for the next week or so, and I still have my job, even if I'm not the same guy anymore. This money was to start me out on a karate dojo at some point in the future."

"Oh, so you are going to need a lot of money. Well, let me see what I can do. Will you get in touch with your bank and get me signed on the account? I'll go ahead and start today if you want."

"That will be fine."

They finished talking and Dinah called her bank. After going through the entire rigmarole to verify her identity and get the accounts transferred to her new name, she added Lena on the account as an authorized user, able to make withdrawals and deposits as she needed to. She really hoped that Lena knew what she was doing.

The following week was spent getting used to her body, trying out different clothing and making sure she could fight in all the clothes she needed. If she was going to teach martial arts, she needed to be able to do whatever she needed to do in whatever she was wearing.

Armed with the new documents from Jade and the State, she had proof positive that she was Dinah Laurel Lance, female, born on the same dates and with the same social security number. Her parents were listed on her birth certificate, and while she continued to try to keep in touch with them, the trauma of losing their son was just too much for them. Dinah reluctantly stopped trying to talk to them. She went back to work, and found that she had a greater amount of stamina than she had before as Lance. She wasn't as out of breath when delivering packages as she had been before.

Each day brought something new as far as her new body was concerned. She had her first orgasm in the shower one morning. It wasn't deliberate, it just happened.

She had been sluicing down and pulled down the hand held shower head, to make sure she got clean everywhere. She held it up so it was pointing into her crotch, reasoning that it was important to make sure that was clean too.

Soon warmth was spreading through her crotch, a warmth that made her breath come in short gasps. Then came the screaming and finally the push over the edge. Towering crescendo of sensation, running from her crotch to her hard-enough-to-cut-diamonds nipples and back down faster and faster, until the sensation was just cycling through her body without her really being able to distinguish between one wave and another. She was so involved in what she was feeling that she couldn't think coherently enough to move the showerhead somewhere else.

When the water shut off and she realized what she had done. Her roommate just grinned and winked, turned the water completely off and left her to herself.

Her eyes were still unfocussed and it was hard to think, so she just sat down in the tub and shook for a few moments. Oh. My. God. Oh my God! Ohmigod. ohmigodohmigodohmigodohmigod OHMYGOD! Is that what it's like for women to orgasm? I can't stand up. That is so much more intense than anything men have, it's like an explosion in the brain. I can't stop shaking. I've totally lost control of my body with that, and that was just the water jet.

She finished washing up and stumbled out of the bathroom, wobbly and weak kneed. Her roommate was sitting at the desk pretending to read a magazine with a smirk on her face.

Dinah just wanted to lay down and let the room stop spinning.

A couple hours later she was sufficiently recovered to be able to stand up, but she was still ready to do it again. It was just so much. Sadly there were other things to do with her life instead of falling in love with her hand, again.

She grabbed clothes from the closet and pulled them on, not really noticing what she’d chosen. Her body and mind were on autopilot and she had to get to work.

That's how she missed seeing all the new cracks in the shower tiles.

It wasn't until she was cleaning up from work that she noticed all the small to midsized cracks in the tiles. It looked like someone had taken a hammer and broken the tiles from one central point outward. None of them were bad enough to destroy the tile, but it was obvious that something happened.

Did I do that? Did I fall against the wall or something this morning? No, I was facing this wall, not leaning back against it, so what happened? Could it be my 'power' or something? The ring did say it was sonic in nature, maybe the screams broke the shower.

If this was true, she was going to have to learn to keep her mouth shut.

She changed into a light leotard and tights, some low heeled boots and went up to the roof to work out.

She had been practicing in 2" heels to make sure that she could do everything without breaking her ankle or killing herself. It seemed that most super heroines had 5" stelettos and had no problem running and jumping in them, and it must be some secret woman thing, because SHE fell down the first time she tried to jump in heels that high. Two inch heels, however, gave her a bit of height and a small surface to kick with, both on the toe and the heel, and still let her retain her balance and the ability to run and jump. If she was going to be a super heroine, practicality was more important than satisfying the runways of Milan.

She was going to have to take some acrobatics and gymnastics courses sometime in the near future and invest in something more than a bicycle.

A few days later Lena got back in touch with her.

"Okay, here's what I did. I took your money and invested it into a fast-turnaround company. Once I had doubled the cash, I took your original 3 grand and put it back into the bank so that I was only playing with the profits, not the original amount.

"I won't bore you with all the details of the transactions, but within a week, I had it up to about $70 thou. Then I started speculating in the commodities futures and doing a bit more with the high risk investments.

"Bottom line, after three weeks, I have you up to $290 thousand and a couple surprises you might like."

"TWO HUNDRED NINETY THOUSAND DOLLARS???"

"Yeah, why is there a problem?"

"Oh my god Lena, you are amazing!"

"Well, don't thank me yet. As per our agreement, I'm taking $14,500 of it for my fee. So you really only have $275,500 plus your original $3000. Now, depending on how much you need right away, we can keep the money in various investments and you can have an income from the investments or we can keep plowing the money back into the market or we can cash it out and you can have a nice nest egg to spend on necessities."

"What do you advise, my financial wizard?"

"Smartest thing to do would be to take part of it out for immediate needs, and leave the rest in investments with the dividends going to a bank account that you can draw on as needed. "

Dinah though about that. "Sounds good, let's do it."

She could almost hear Lena's smile on the other end of the connection. "Anticipating that I already did it. A hundred grand is in a diversified portfolio that I think will get you good returns, somewhere around $3000 or so a month, give or take depending on the market. The rest is in a couple bank accounts in your name. All you have to do is to claim them and sign the paperwork.

"As for the 'surprises' I mentioned, I know you wanted to open a dojo. I had someone I know in the real estate industry in your local area looking around for a property that is zoned commercial and residential so you don't have to worry about living someplace different than where you work. The main paperwork is taken care of on an old restaurant space that's two level, the upper story can be converted into an apartment for you easily enough. It's not in the best area of town, but it's inexpensive enough to allow you to make payments from the dividends even if you don't work another day in your life."

Dinah was stunned. "Lena, how can I ever thank you? You have done all this for me and just saying 'thank you' doesn't seem to be enough."

She heard chuckling. "Well, I have to admit that I got something out of this too. First I invested my own money along with yours so I made a 1000% return on my 'nest egg' as well. So that's thanks enough for me. I also want you to give me Karate lessons when I'm in The Big Apple, so I hope you will train me when I'm there. That plus the fee I took is more than enough for me right now."

"Lena, you can have all the lessons I have to give when ever you want them. Anytime you want to show up, just let me know and I'll be there to teach you whatever."

"Good deal then. I'll talk to you later. I'm sending you an email with all the details for the bank accounts and the property. You'll have to sign the contracts so you own them, and they’re expecting you."

A few moments of chit chat later, they signed off. Dinah logged into her shared computer and checked the email and sure enough, there was an email from Lena with all the necessary information on it. She spent some time getting all the information she needed together, then she got on a bus and went to finish the financial details.

The bank tried to get her to move her investment funds over to them, but even at their best rate for anything, she could get a better income through the dividends than she could the interest at a bank. So she signed for the bank accounts, opened a safety deposit box to store her paperwork in, and put the original $3000 in there as an emergency stash.

She contacted the real estate broker and they went to look over Dinah's new property.

It was in a poorer part of town, but not the slums, just a section that had seen better times. It was a typical over/under shop with living space above and gates on the front doors. She looked it all over carefully. The kitchen was a mess, but most of that would be trashed anyhow. It could be turned into a changing area instead of a kitchen. The dining room could easily be turned into a mat space. She had no clue what to do with the huge refrigerator and freezer in the back. For now, she would hang on to it.

The living area was much better. A couple rooms, private toilet, living room and lounge area, all that was good. She'd have to pick up some second hand furniture to fill it out. The down payment had already been taken care of by Lena, paid out of the profits before she’d called Dinah. Literally all she had to do was sign her name and pick up the keys.

She spent some time before moving in looking around the neighborhood and realized that she was going to have to rethink her dojo. Walking down the street she saw dojo, dojo, mom and pop store, restaurant, dojo, cigarettes, grocery, dojo, dojo, and so on. There were fifteen different dojos within a five block area, and one more would saturate the area and probably sink her goal. She went back to her apartment and started thinking of alternatives.

While riding the bus she gazed out the windows. When the bus passed a Ducati dealership, she reached up, pulled the "stop" bell and got off at the next stop. She made it back to the dealership and started looking through their offerings.

Several hours later she had ordered a motorcycle. She and the dealer had spent time going over exactly what she wanted and how she needed it. A bike that was street legal would be a necessity, and she didn't really need all the racing options. With a deep sigh she decided a good touring bike was perfect. She picked and chose and talked to the dealer and finally negotiated a reasonable priced motorcycle for herself. The best part was she could take it up the loading dock to lock it up inside the store.

It set her back $20 grand, but it was cheaper to pay cash for it instead of having financing it. She was drunk on the ability to just write a check for what she wanted, and it certainly got her better service once word got around. Some of the options would take time, but it would be ready in a week and waiting for her at the dealership. She spent some time at an insurance company to get the insurance, then went to get her motorcycle driver's license and taking a couple classes on riding a cycle.

She had been working most of the day on her store, getting it ready. What for, she didn't know just yet. The living area still needed to be renovated to become hers. Phone hookups, power, water, internet and all those mundane things were done. She had managed to furnish the apartment with castoffs at the Salvation Army Store and Goodwill Store, but she splurged a bit and bought a new bed. The thought of sleeping on someone else’s mattresses just a bit too squicky for her.

She had the freezer section secured a bit. It had an outside door so that delivery trucks could bring the food directly into the freezer. Since she couldn't imagine using it for anything, she turned off all the cooling works and turned it into her garage. Her new bike was sitting in it now, maintenance stand down and looking beautiful. Thankfully the door couldn't be opened from the outside and a remote control system allowed the door to open and automatically close, then a short trip down a ramp to the alley and away she came and went.

It was really handy having a bike instead of a car. It took a bunch of the problems off her shoulders and worries away. The only problem was a constant chronic problem of life for New Yorkers, parking. She slipped through traffic easily riding it even downtown. Her biggest headache was finding secured parking wherever she went, the closer she could park to the security booth, the better. Lord knew that the cost of gasoline was a fraction of what it would be with a car.

While she was musing on the current state of her world, she heard a scream outside.

Crime in this area was intermittent. A drug deal down an alley, a couple gunshots were normal activity about once a week, but a woman screaming was odd enough that she grabbed her motorcycle jacket and took off outside to see what was wrong.

The doors closed behind her and locked, keeping her place safe. She tore off down the street toward the scream.

Soon she found it, three thugs looking to force some lady into sexual relations whether she wanted them or not. That's not happening anytime soon.

She wondered if she would be able to fight in what she was wearing, and with a thought changed it to a costume she had considered a couple times. She made sure to turn her hair blonde as well to mask who she was somewhat. Forget the little domino mask, that didn't hide anything.

She barreled into the first thug and sent him flying into the alley wall. He hit with a satisfying "oomph" and a crunch that said he wouldn't be coming at her at any point soon. One of the others had starting pulling his pants down looked up just in time to get the point of a boot under his chin, lifting him up and dropping him to the street.

The third guy who was holding the woman down with a knife to her throat got up and charged Dinah. She heard him coming and shifted her body so that his knife slid past her. That put his entire arm well within her reach and she took full advantage of it. She grabbed his wrist and hand, pulled back, twisted and he went down in a painful joint lock. She didn't let up the pressure, continuing it until it was past the human body ability to stand it going from pain to broken arm in just a few moments.

He screamed like the girl he was going to be, and she looked around to see if there was any one else coming. She stood back up and looked at the two other thugs who, were still conscious somehow. The guy with his pants down pulled them halfway up, and drew out a pistol.

She couldn't think of anything else to do. She kiaied him.

Normally that only put some extra oomph to a punch or kick, focusing the power in the body into the point of contact. It also worked to clear a solar-plexus punch to restore breathing. This time she was hoping to throw this guy off his game from surprise that she could close before he shot someone.

What happened next was as much a shock to her as to the thugs.

A high pitched sound came out of her mouth. It traveled in waves from her throat at her attacker, shattering the gun into its component parts. Barrel, firing pin, cylinder, bullets, handle and trigger all fractured and fell out of the kid's hand and on to the ground. His hands flew to his ears and he shrieked in pain. She could see that the brick behind the kid started spider-web fracturing. The last member was just starting to stand instead he grabbed his ears and dropped to the ground as well.

With all three assailants down, she looked at the lady they were attacking. She was unharmed (and thankfully hadn’t been raped as well) and had gratitude brimming over in her eyes.

Then the police arrived.

An hour later, several police reports, witness statements and three people carted off in a police car, she was standing nearly alone. The lady who was assaulted was home, the thugs were gone, and she could leave as well. But she decided to take a few minutes to look at the damage her voice had done to the building. She simply couldn't believe it.

The police said that the thugs were lucky, all they had were shattered eardrums and some blood running out of their eyes and nose. It seemed that her voice had burst blood vessels in their face and it could have killed them.

She was still trying to figure it out when Jade appeared.

"Looks like you got your power to manifest," she commented.

Dinah looked around. "Yeah, but I can't believe that I did that with the power of my voice. It's just too incredible."

Jade shrugged. "I got notification from my ring that something happened here involving sonics, so I came to check it out. I've been here about two minutes. Did you do this?" she asked indicating the brickwork.

"Apparently."

"Nicely done. Controled, focused, direct and you didn't destroy the building. Well done."

"Jade, I have NO clue what I did. I just yelled, as I do in EVERY sparring session and kata."

"Well, obviously something changed. Maybe I can help you out. I have a training area on the dark side of the moon, if you want to use it. Oxygen atmosphere and everything, and you probably won't screw anything up that can't be fixed. Plus, no one to hurt there."

"I think I better try it out before I kill someone."

Jade nodded. Next thing Dinah knew she was standing on the Moon and breathing normally.

She spent the next several days either on the Moon or in Jade's ship. Training was simply training, just like she had done most of her life. She settled on her fighting costume, a bustier that reminded Jade of the outfits worn by the Playboy Bunnies, just without the ears and tail. She had a leather bike jacket to cover her arms, although it was altered a bit to be more of a bolero jacket than motorcycle jacket. Gloves on the hands, fishnet tights, low heeled pirate boots and a choker, all in very dark blue completed her outfit.

She could move in it, she could fight with it, she could kick, run and dance in it without anything falling out or off. She could block with her forearms and the jacket took some of the damage, she could kick straight up without showing off her assets (unlike certain cheerleader pictures on the Internet), and she could do all the things she needed to do while fighting in those boots. She looked pretty good too.

Jade looked her over. "Nice costume. Decided on a name yet?"

Dinah nodded. "I think I'm going to go with 'Black Canary'. I know that the outfit isn't black, but it's close enough and the canary part incorporates the bird symbol and the fact that I can do that Canary Cry. Thanks, by the way, for your help in training that. It's going to take some time to get used to being able to shatter steel with my voice if I want to."

Jade nodded. "Just be careful. Don't want to kill anyone if you can help it. That's like an area of effect weapon instead of a gun."

"You're preaching to the choir. I really I need to get back home so I can make sure that my shop hasn't been destroyed."

Jade made preparations to leave. "Have you decided what you want to open there since it won't be a dojo? You said there were too many in the neighborhood already."

Dinah nodded. "I think I'm going to open a flower shop. Plants and flowers, there doesn't seem to be a neighborhood shop for that in the area, just little cart florists. Maybe do a Liza Doolittle thing." she said with a grin.

"Oh, that sound nice. If I can do anything just mention it."

"I could use a sign. Somehow I don't think that a florist named 'Shungtan Chinesse Restraunt' works too well."

Jade smiled. "Leave that to me."

Dinah hugged Jade once they got to the shop. While there wasn't any flowers in there yet, Dinah knew just how she was going to arrange everything. She would have to set up a practice area in the upstairs so that when Lena came over she could teach her.

Jade said goodbye and Dinah used the rest of the day to start making arrangements to open a flower shop later in the week. First thing she had to do was get the permits and order a cool box so flower bouquets could be displayed, then choose what flowers and plants to order. Once again Lena was a great help, directing her to the wholesale flower market (she had to get up at four AM to make sure she got the best deals on the freshest and most exotic flowers and plants available that day. Lena also advised her who she should go to so she could learn how to make arrangements.

Curiosity got the better of her and she went out to see what Jade had made the shop sign look like.

Old English script in brown on a bright green background greeted her as she stepped outside. There was an ivy motif about the sign which said "Sherwood Florist". Dinah's mouth dropped open and she started giggling.



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