I spent the better part of the night organizing my information, so I could write my story.  There were two stories that would go out. The first one had already hit the evening edition.  It was all about what happened at the museum.   I gave an eyewitness account of everything that I saw and incorporating the information that some of the other bystanders that were there.  I was able to give a firsthand account of what happened inside of the museum.  What happened outside I had to lean on what I was being told by the individuals that were where in the area and took cover nearby.

Together there was a well written article that went out on the evening edition and online.  The press conference brought another element into the story. It was my first press conference, so I was nervous about how it would go.  I had to provide information to the online edition to make sure that the Planet’s site was updated as information came in.  The full story would go out online with it also being covered   in tomorrow’s edition.

I found the conference enlightening. It took only a few hours to get everything together and for me to exit the building, but the moment I did I looked across the street and a car waiting for me.  The window rolled down and a familiar face was on the side of it.

”Get in.”

I could say no, but it didn’t sound like I was being given a choice in the matter and I know that it wasn’t coming from Aaron.  Walking to the back seat I slip inside, because this was my Uber driver that I didn’t request.  Fastening the seat belt I leaned back against the seat taking a deep breath.

“On a scale of one to ten how bad is it?”

Aaron didn’t look back at me he kept his eyes on the road as the car moved down the highway.

“I’m going to go with an eight borderline nine.”

“Really?  You’re not overselling it a bit?”  That got me silence which was something that would annoy most people, but I was used to it.  You grow accustomed it to it when dealing with the Coles.  True Aaron wasn’t Joshua, but it didn’t stop him picking up several of his habits.

“Right then.”  So where were we going. I could ask, but I pretty much knew that I wouldn’t get too many questions answered. It was a bit more than an hour before we arrived at our destination.  The car continued going until it came to a stop and the door opened.

”Come on.”

Walking from the car onto the airstrip I headed to the plane that was waiting for us.   Did we always have to do this?”  The cabin door opened, and the staircase came down. Climbing them I stepped inside and Joshua was already shutting the door behind me.

”Take a seat. Wheels up now.” The first was for me the latter was for Joshua.  I walked into the main cabin which was anything but normal.  Taking a seat I strapped myself in and waited for the plane to take off. Didn’t really matter where we were going, but I knew the deal.  Joshua didn’t like standing around.  He preferred to be moving, always moving, whether it was on the ground, the air or on water he had to be moving.

“So, your first press conference?”

I looked over at him, taking a deep breath.

“Yes.”  I thought performed well.

”Let’s take a look shall we?”  Joshua said as he looked across from after we were air born.  He turned to the screen which was a replay of the press conference. He skipped ahead until he reached the Wonder Woman portion.

“What do you think?”

Okay not the question I thought he might ask.

“I’ve only head reports.  I haven’t seen her action.  I can’t assess her fighting style.  She’s the daughter of Zeus.”

”You believe her?”

“Why wouldn’t I? Wouldn’t be the first time and we both know magic is real.  You do possess the key.  Are you worried?”

”She would make for a powerful ally.”

The moment we reach cruising altitude I undo my seat belt.

“Wait so I’m supposed to go on a recruiting drive?  This is an internal Atlantean affair.  I’m not going to involve outsiders.”   I know the way that it sounded.  It’s not like that.  “It will only complicate matters.   That’s not my mission.  I haven’t finished my assessment.  Involving outsiders, landwalkers could…it would send the wrong message.  Especially given my presence here.  I was sent to observe.”

Why does this have to be so frustrating.

“You’re beyond that.  We both know that.  What happened to everything you said before?  During rehab?”   I was in bad shape. I said a lot of things and Joshua knows it.  Let me organize me thoughts.

“They’re attempting to build a collation.  Bringing them into this matter would help no one.  Not me. Not them.  There are still things to determine there.  There’s no indication what the American government will do.  I suspect right now they are giving them enough rope to hang themselves with. There will be a reckoning and it’s unclear who will initiate it.”

That much is clear. Whether it was her intentions or not a gauntlet was tossed down before the government.   This group is free from their strings. They are independent and given everything I learned while living among the surface dwellers I know that Luthor’s administration will not entertain this for long. If they cannot control this group, then they will not allow it to continue to exist.

“The ocean has been quiet, silent.  With Orin’s…” I fix my lips to say and I can’t.  All this time and I still can’t say it. “With him gone Orm has retreated to the depths.  We’ve given them no problems to come after us to make demands.  I have no idea what communications have occurred between Atlantis and the US government.  I rather not complicate matters. It’s too soon to know how this will shake out.”

I liked a lot of what was said, but we don’t live in a vacuum.  “Our governments are no friends of ours, Joshua you know this.  This group is untested, and they have challenges of their own to overcome.  You were the one that told me that I shouldn’t act recklessly.  I should learn more about the surface world determine who I can trust and who I can’t.  I will not jeopardize something that’s in its infancy to further my own goals. I know what’s at stake.” That should never be forgotten.

”Okay, then tell me why this happened?”Joshua pauses the conference at the moment I step forward to introduce myself and ask not one but several questions.

”Use the Planet to learn to see what the world is like. Attend college to get an idea of what new young minds are thinking.   Live in Metropolis to experience life outside of school and work. These are the things that we wanted, that your father wanted he wanted you to make an honest assessment,”  Joshua reminded me.

”Orm monitors surface communications. Black Manta monitors all communications.  Your hair is different.  Your face, altered slightly, but you voice.  It’s cadence its tone.  There was only so much that can be done.  You wanted to be able to move about freely. I agreed. I encouraged it, but you weren’t supposed to be in front of cameras.  These are mistakes you can’t afford. We can’t afford.” 

Not now he wanted to say, but he left it unsaid.

”If you’re not ready to reveal yourself to the world in any capacity you can’t allow yourself to be placed in situations where you could be exposed.”

Honestly, it was only a matter of time.  I can’t live like Joshua.  I can’t constantly be on the move.  One day I will return home and undo all that Orm and Manta have done. I restore Atlantis to the place it once was, but until then I will learn all I need to know about the surface world.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  It is a beautiful world.  It reminds me of the one that I left behind, the one that I can no longer return not now.  Still, if nothing changes then I will always talk about returning being at some point instead of something better.

”And don’t think I haven’t noticed the reports about a mysterious stranger assisting in disasters at sea.”

“I don’t, but I have noticed that you haven’t stopped me.“ It is the way I choose to honor my father.  I also can’t be my father.  I have to see for myself with my own eyes, before I make any move to be more than I am here.   He didn’t trust the people he worked enough to tell them that he needed their aid.  He needed more than the Others, but the older generation didn’t trust one another they kept each other at arms-length.  It was easy to divide wasn’t whole.   He always thought he would have time, but time is promised to no one.

Borrowed time is all we have and eventually it runs out.

“I did my job.  I was given an assignment and I believe I did it well. I was competent asking questions that I believe the Planet readers wanted answers to. I let the world know what this group, what Wonder Woman is attempting to achieve.  She is attempting to bring hope into a world that was on the edge, on the brink of teetering into hopelessness and that needed to be communicated to world, to everyone that was watching.   There are people willing to stand for what’s right for everyone without strings, without monitors.” I took a deep breath.

“They have a chance to do it right and whether or not I’m a part of that will be my decision and mine alone.”

I know he’s worried and he’s showing his concern the only way he knows how.  Joshua wasn’t known for his hugs, more for showing me how to break a person’s arm in at least three different places.  Knowing who to talk to and how to talk to them to get what you wanted. He had a set of skills that went beyond pep talks over cocoa.  That wasn’t his style.

“If we’re finished I would like to go back.  I have a meeting with Mister White in the morning.  He’s going to assess my performance.  I would like to get a swim in before it gets too late.”