Synopsis: Dr. Light arrives in Metropolis to meet with Koriand’r for a debriefing regarding her encounter with Lobo.
LIGHT: Arthur Light was not where he wanted to be. He was not in his lab running the experiment that he spent weeks preparing for, nor was he sitting outside somewhere enjoying the rather agreeable weather that had descended into the area. Instead he was in the kitchen…toiling. Toiling over a few things as he attempted to compose his next masterpiece.
It was the most that he could do with the things that he had brought with him. He glanced out the window and could see the nearby waterfront in the distance and further the LexCorp tower dominating the New Troy skyline, but rather than meet there Arthur selected a different location. Far from being off the beaten path it was far from where he normally was when he was in the area. He was in a brownstone that had been recently restored the last five years. It still had its charmed, but it was all a part of a project in the Old City to restore several brownstones and other select buildings in the air.
It was well furnished and well stocked, but the food that Arthur worked with were items that he brought with him. He had stopped at a local farmer’s market to gather the items he wanted. He was going to be here for several days it seemed as there were a pair of debriefings that needed to occur before he could resume his normal activities.
Events had occurred the necessitated his arrival into fair Metropolis. Sadly, he wasn’t here to take M’gann, Conner and Raven out to dinner. He was here for a debriefing. Though he could have purchased something to eat he rather do something with his hands.
There were multiple events unfolding around them. Conner and M’gann were in Kahndaq along with Fairchild. M’gann made a brief appearance to Gotham to assist with the bit of business that occurred there. It reminded Arthur of the potential growing problem they could face. Losing Jones was indeed a blow. He could have been deployed in this situation to provide similar clean up assistance as M’gann, but there was no use crying over spilt milk over that no matter how hard they attempt to locate him. It was not Arthur’s concern.
No his concern should be arriving shortly to the neighborhood. It was true they were surrounded by families and local businesses in the area, but that was the idea. There were some areas of safety that were isolated and some that were right in the middle of things. Arthur opted to this after Conner made it clear that Koriand’r would not be allowed into his penthouse given what happened in Gotham. That bit of business was most concerning.
The amount of destruction that occurred was troubling. Though the public was unaware of the true events those that were knew this could hurt the status quo if this was not handled immediately. Light knew his part in this. He knew that something could have happened, but this? This brought back memories of a world that most believed was behind them.
Still he was looking forward to the debriefing. He was sure that Koriand’r would fill in the details. Regrettably, a cost benefit analysis was already in progress. In all things, Arthur had to put Earth first.
KORIAND’R: After some tweaking and reworking she had gotten the image device back online. It had taken a beating in the short and brief battle. The last thing she had wanted to do was make even of a worse impression with Nowhere by also breaking their expensive devices. It provided a little cover, a little anonymity on the travels to the meeting spot. Her report was lacking some details. She deemed it unnecessary for Nowhere to have a grip of information beyond what she had already provided.
She was concerned they would dig too deep, that they would get themselves in over their head. Even with all of the people and resources they had, it didn’t seem like a safe idea. She also felt like a lot of this was her problem, her burden. She had burdened them enough by begging for sanctuary, by insisting that she could be a model citizen if she were permitted to roam freely. Some of the damage that was created was her fault, she was responsible for it, even if she wasn’t responsible for the circumstances. She hadn’t anticipated that a hunter would have come this far after her. Maybe she had underestimated the weight of her worth to her enemies, even dead.
She had been chewing on her bottom lip as she approached the door. Her green eyes occasionally darting around. No explosions, no shots fired, nothing that would disturb the peace around the area. At least, yet.
She was quiet when she arrived, nervous. Bruises had healed but the pain of regret was still there. She had hours to think over the whole situation. There were things she should have done differently. There were actions she could have taken to minimize the damage and potential loss of life.
Even stepping out from the protection of M’Gann’s home was a risk. This put her out in the open and she had been easily found, disguise or not.
“Dr. Light…I’m sorry I took so long. I was attempting to avoid more populated areas that would be at risk. I am sure you found my report insufficient.”
There was probably a lot he wasn’t happy with and the princess from Tamaran could only guess at them.
LIGHT: The problem with their guest is that he had disappeared, but disappearing did not automatically mean that he had left, and even if he had left it did not mean that he would not return. The damage had been done. The entire situation needed to be re-evaluated. However, when Kori stepped into the brownstone she would not find Light fuming, he wasn’t even pacing. He was finishing what he had started doing. He finished making lunch.
“Hello, Koriand’r. Fine day we’re having wouldn’t you say. If you wouldn’t mind could you retrieve the medium bowl with the foil covering,” he asked while he took the bowl he had in his hand which was filled with dazzling and brilliant colors. He had made a home made fruit salad. He thought something refreshing would be nice. Inside the refrigerator was a shrimp and crab meat pasta salad. He went with something the leaned a bit Italian mostly because of the seasoning and dressing.
He set the bowl down in the next room on the table before returning to retrieve, plates and utensils and once again for glasses and a carafe of ie water. Setting it down on the table he looked around deciding that everything looked well enough. Walking over towards one of the chairs he pulled it out for Kori with warm smile.
“The care you took is appreciated. I’m sure you did your best.” When she took her seat he moved to retrieve a plate. “Which would you like pasta salad, fruit salad or both,” he asked.
“Your report? Oh, I haven’t read it yet. I thought it best to get the unabridged version from you directly.”
KORIAND’R: The mood she encountered was not one she had expected but she diligently followed orders, fetching the bowl. Was this lunch? Some kind of formal lunch meeting? She was confused, an auburn brow raising as she followed him into the room and finally got a good look at the dishes. Food on this planet was amazing, though anything was better than the protein packed gruel she had eaten for years while she was in the care of her captors.
“Oh…everything, please,” a hint of excitement escaped her lips but she quickly quieted herself.
She didn’t speak again until she was seated. Was this a trap? Was she in trouble? Maybe they’re going to drug her and lock her away. That would be dangerous too. They shouldn’t do that.
“The man that found me is a bounty hunter. I’ve somehow managed to gain a considerable price for my head back where I come from. He would not say who or why. He knew Tamaranian. He is not Tamaranian though. I suppose…maybe it would be easier if you asked me the questions. I am not sure I have a solution for this without causing more harm to this planet and its people.”
LIGHT: Light went to work gathering up some of the pasta salad and placing it into into the shallow dish. He retrieved a bowl to add some of the fruit salad to it. Looking over at her he offered a smile that gave away nothing but the warm that it was offered with. He moved around to set the items down before pouring a glass of water into one of the classes.
He poured another and proceeded to get some food for himself listening to each of the words she chose to share with him. “You are a princess. They usual fetch a nice price for someone that wants to be reunited with them. However, this seemed less like a reunion. There are a ways to subdue your target. Yes, you put up considerable resistance, but was he dispatched to retrieve or was this a kill order, Kori?”
He glanced over at her considering what he said. “I take it he doesn’t posses your ability to acquire languages as swiftly as you do? Then again how much do we know about this individual? How much do we know about anyone?” Only what their willing to share.
KORIAND’R: “It was a kill order. He may have been intrigued or distracted. He had many opportunities to follow the order through if he had really wanted to.”
She had a difficult time attempting to figure out the man’s motives. The times their skin had come into contact she had gotten quite a mess of mixed messages. He was persuadable though, but it may only go as far as extending her life just a little bit longer before he finished the job. She had already run several possible scenarios through her thoughts in the time between the attack and this meeting. Most did not end well and she had witnessed how difficult it may be to kill him with her own eyes.
“He said something about Czarnia…”
She paused for the moment while she was trying to collect her memories. She had not yet finished her full education when she was taken from Tamaran. She did have quite a bit of knowledge for diplomatic reasons but the tale of that planet was more of a scary story that was told to children to frighten them. Perhaps it was told to instill appreciation for what they had and how well they had it.
While she rolled through her thoughts she began poking at the food, taking a few small bites. There were times she was so voraciously hungry she could just shovel it all into her mouth but she was attempting to be polite and restrain herself.
“…which is impossible because that planet’s people have been wiped out. He kept referring to himself as ‘The Main Man’. I do not understand this title. There was some mention of clones. Not much of this makes sense to me. My people did not deal with Bounty Hunters so I am woefully unequipped with the education to assist with this. I only worry that there will be more. It was no small offering for my head, many may be persuaded by greed to collect.”
LIGHT: “Where there’s one kill order there may be another,” he said in a matter of fact tone. She had to be thinking if she wasn’t then she should. “I don’t believe our Czarnian friend has given up on his job. Additionally it seems that either has or has been given the means to find you. Anything is easy to locate when you know what you are looking for. There are no other Tamaranian’s on Earth, so you stand out from all other beings on the planet given your unique status.”
Pressing his fork into his food he Light glanced over at Kori waiting to see what she would say. “I deal with the impossible daily so I tend to believe anything is possible. It doesn’t matter if he is authentic or not the fact of the matter is that you are in his sights and no matter his behavior it sounds like we have a problem. A problem that we knew would make itself known one way or another. You escaped your captors. Perhaps you are far more valuable than you realize or perhaps there is some information that is missing.” Information that has yet to be disclosed.
“Let me ask you something, Kori.” He took another bite of his food before washing it down with some water.
“The experiments that were performed on you. What do you think they were for?” He looked over at Kori waiting for her answer. She herself told him that the Daem were horrible individuals. They took specimens to test their endurance and their skills as warriors. Those that survived then went through genetic modification. To what end? Curiosity? Perhaps, but surely it was not the end of it. There were other things to consider.
KORIAND’R: Kori was working a bit of logic while Dr. Light talked. If she kept her mouth full, she wouldn’t need to answer anything too quickly. She kept a steady pace on the meal in front of her. She had so few vices and indulging in Earth food had been one of the more enjoyable ones during her stay here.
She hadn’t gotten to those details before, she knew the answers but didn’t want to alarm the organization with a threat that was far off in space and well away from this planet.
She gulped down her mouth full of food before speaking, “The Daem…are dying. They are sick or they are weak. Each new generation weaker than the last. Good host bodies are difficult to find, those durable enough to survive the toll that it takes as they are psionically bonded.”
She frowned, “Or…attempting to breed in other species into the bloodline may produce stronger heirs. There are different school of thought on the solution to this, I may have only overheard some of them and may be recalling details inaccurately. Genetic manipulation is one of those angles. Testing those subjects against others and experiments ensures only the strongest will make it to the next levels. I did not make it that far. I don’t think I would be here right now if I did. I did retain some of the abilities, a result of the experiments. When I touch someone I can also feel what they feel and sometimes even see flashes of things. That man was not lying.”
She had decided she liked the red fruits the best at that moment, taking another bite before continuing on.
“He will come back, he will follow through with his bounty if he is able. He will also destroy anything in his path to complete it. Hiding me will only bring harm to those around me. Damien could have been in that room with me and he could have been dead. He could have a lock on me right at this very moment. This is not an acceptable risk to this planet, I am taking this very personally and I feel responsible for the damage done already.”
LIGHT: Light had all day, all night and the next. He would take all the time he needed to acquire the information that he was after. He was quite concerned about what it meant for the planet. If the “Main Man” took Damien’s head in exchange it would be a done deal. As much as he wanted to smile about the bit of information that was shared without even prompting the good doctor would, but instead he stayed on task. This wasn’t the time for him to lose focus instead he considered everything she said as he continued with the cost benefit analysis.
“They’re dying.” Isn’t that always how it is he thought. “Interesting.” He filed that away as something that could be utilized, but it also brought to mind reasons.
“So, tell me if I’m wrong in my statements or assumptions. The Czarnian was sent to kill you. There was no need to retrieve you. Only kill? Did he say that the Daem hired him or he chose not to disclose who his client was?” There were things that he wanted to be certain about. “I ask, because this could the Daem cleaning up their mess. Of course it makes a much larger mess given what’s occurred. Should it matter to them? A race that has conquered others? I’m not sure. If anything if they are responsible for his appearance here then it means that they don’t care what happens as long as is the job is done, but I can’t help but be perplexed by their reasoning. Who would they fear that they would send someone else to act on their behalf. Even more someone who is all about the bullhorn.”
Pressing his fork into his food once again he glanced over at Koriand’r tilting his head to the side. “Do you think the Daem are responsible for his presence here? Do you think it’s possible that they may come here themselves? There are individuals here that could prove enticing to them. M’gann. Conner. Wonder Woman. My others that they may want to take for their testing and genetic modifications. Many others. The Czarnian could share this information with them if he’s an enterprising individual.” That was a source of concern.
KORIAND’R: “I attempted to ask but he did not reveal who took out the contract. If my escape nulled the arrangement they had made with my planet…and that thought shakes me to my core. If it did, it could have been taken on by the monarchy. If it was the Daem, I’m unsure of what their motivations are. It could have been someone else as well, an escaped royal. My death would ultimately secure the throne in the event that something happened to my sister. There are many reasons and many possibilities. It’s larger than a simple cleaning up, there are many political ramifications as well.”
It was not something she liked to put her mind to a lot. She preferred not to think of home, to think of what it was like and what it could have been like. Every time she did, it made her heart ache. She had no place there anymore. She didn’t really feel like she had a place anywhere right now.
“If the Daem came here….you’re thinking too narrowly. My friends would not be targets. The entire planet would be one. I doubt the Hunter would share unless they offered him something in return. His greed is assured, as well as his other appetites.”
LIGHT: “Most of the individuals on our planet are quite unremarkable for the type of characteristics that the Daem are looking for. Honestly if they’re looking for someone who’s durable I would think they would turn their eye to our unwelcomed guest before they would look any normal human, but that aside.” Because there is something to what she said. They would come for the entire planet. The entire planet was never far from Light’s thoughts.
“From what you’ve said the others would be the resources to be mined. Most of the other beings on this planet would be in the way. Something of no consequence so, it makes me wonder why give up Tamaran? From what I gather you were able to survive the endurance tests. You were able to survive contests with other warriors. Would these not be common traits among all of your people? Yet a cease fire was negotiated, and you were given away not as a hostage, but a test subject? Surely, they could have taken more. They held all the cards unless your sister mombilized heavy resistance.”
KORIAND’R: “Resources. Tamaran is rich in other resources. Maintaining the planet in a peaceful state means that it is able to produce more resources for trade. Not all of my people are trained as warriors. Most are not. My sister is older than me, more mature and trained and sadly not quite capable of all of the abilities I have. Taking me as hostage ensured the obedience of my sister. I do not see the interchangeability between the two terms. They were free to do with me as they wished, as long as they did not kill me.”
She took a heavy breath before continuing, “My people could barely fight back. So many died. Perhaps the attacks revealed the weakness of the planet, it did not make the planet useless to them though.”
LIGHT: “Wouldn’t the death of your people ensure their obedience? Your sister. The older sister. The more mature sister. The one who perhaps being groomed to rule? When you’re parents were killed why did they stop there?” There was something there that did not track with Light. It seemed that the Daem had the advantage one not press it and do everything that they wanted. Perhaps they didn’t have the numbers.
“They were the superior force and you said it yourself. That my view was far to narrow. That the planet would be in jeopardy. Not just the individuals I named and ones like them. Trade and resources. Were they using your resources for trade? Are they still using your resources for trade?” He wanted to get a little more.
“Forgive me if this makes you uncomfortable Kori, but you have to understand. I need to know how much danger my world is in. I need to know what comes next. Invasion? And for you? Considering everything you escape. You broke the contract that existed between your sister and the the Daem? What does that mean for Tamaran? Will they return and finish what they started? They’re hostage has escaped. ” There was another important question that should be asked, but instead Light let that sink in for a moment.
“Two planets now hang in the balance. Should the Czarnian fail what next? Who will be sent to collect on your bounty? Tamaran is no longer safe or is it a case of, “You lost her. We did nothing wrong. It’s all on you?” I doubt the Daem will accept those terms.”
KORIAND’R: “I…I do not know. I have not been in contact with my people in almost an Earth decade…”
Dr. Light just had to put her own dark thoughts into reality by speaking them. Those were all possibilities she had considered but she had been so disconnected from Tamaran and the whole situation that she wasn’t really aware of what was going on beyond this planet. She did not know the motivations of The Daem, their reasoning for making that arrangement.
She carefully set the fork down against the plate before the force of strength in her hand bent it into an unusable state. She was upset, she was visibly suffering from it now and she was attempting to remain calm and collected.
“I can go with him. It would save billions if not maybe more….”
It seemed the most reasonable thing to do. Fighting would cause more damage and raise the risks. It would be pointless to keep going on with the resistance.
“Or…I can attempt to negotiate. I don’t know anymore. I don’t know what to do. All of this feels like it was my fault and it’s so terribly unfair. I was a child but I am no longer one now and I should be more responsible.”
The hot tears still bit at her cheeks, with a heavy sniff she attempted to wipe them away and pretend like her eyes didn’t start leaking on her from the intense emotion she was feeling.
“The Hunter is a considerable foe, redirected, he may be a powerful ally.”
LIGHT: It was not the tears that moved Light. Everyone cries. They always cry. There are always years, but he had to look beyond the tears to the reality that something that could be quite inevitable had been accelerated by Kori’s presence on the planet not to mention his decision not to have her taken in and handled through normal channels. There was no time for him to begin second guessing himself, but there was one thing certain this could not be washed away with tears or hope filled promises.
“Well, as someone once told me you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. What’d done is done. Negotiation with the “Main Man” involves him completing the contract or probably asking for something we are not willing to provide. At most it would only delay what is now a certainty.” He pressed his fork into his food. “Everything we did has repercussions. You made a decision. I made a decision and now those decisions will have to be dealt with.” Skepticism was Arthur’s bread and butter and while he knew how he would handle the inquiry and there was another individual he needed to speak with there was still information that he needed to acquire.
“Going with him guarantees nothing. It may serve to make matters worse. There are too many unknowns and I do not care for unknowns. Especially when it comes to the safety of people under my care. Whether it is the Daem their bounty hunter or another we are once again on the radar and this will need to be dealt with.” Either through official channels or unofficial channels. There is some concern as to why she would not seek to reunite with her people was a cause for concern, but Arthur would not push the matter.
There were things that she was either unwilling to share. Unwilling to consider or a bit of both and though he could push he may not achieve his desired goals instead he pressed his fork into his fruit before placing it into his mouth. Enjoying the flavor he closed his eyes considering all that has been shared.
“It’s quite difficult, because we don’t know how you were tracked. Perhaps there is something that can be crafted to mask your life signs. Then again depending on what Daem have done to you something could be in your blood. I’m afraid we will have to have you examined Kori, thoroughly to determine exactly what sets you apart.” Devoting resources to something that could be easily rectified as handing her over. That was probably going to cause a bit of trouble.
Light wondered M’gann was able to acquire any information from the assailant. “I want you to remain at M’ganns. I will need to decide how I want to proceed. I caution you not to do anything rash. All the things I said had to be said, because I wanted us to be clear about the situation, Kori. I wanted us to know what the stakes were. I know this is not an idea situation, but it’ s not ideal for anyone involved.” Again Earth comes first and this is definitely under the purview of another there for Light will need call in a favor.
Her eyes grew large, as if the unpleasant memories of other examinations had flooded her mind. At least it had stopped the tears but it had ignited something else instead.
“…If you want blood, I can give you blood. Please, I could not handle much more. I don’t care how many stickers and lollipops there are!”
There were few things that she reacted to in panic. Even the situation she was facing was something she could deal with, or at least attempt to deal with head-on. A visit to the Doctor? An examination? She wanted to flee at mere mention of it.
LIGHT: “Yes, but…” He considered it. “If and I do mean if I am able to get a former….” He considered it for a moment. “There’s a certain individual that may be able to assist us without there having to be anything invasive done.” He had to consider it. “It’s possible, but I have to see we’re on speaking terms. It depends.”
On the time of day. If Mercury is in retrograde. Among other items. “Like I said. Try not to do anything rash. I will reach out to him and we will take it from there.” If Alan’s agreeable then it will involve going into Gotham. That can easily be addressed by anyone that asks. Alan’s had impromptu visits all the time. Why should this be any different?