Pep Talks and Press Junkets
Cassie: The flight from Coast City to Metropolis was quite uneventful. Actually, it was probably the most uneventful twenty minutes of my entire day, unless you count the very brief period of time that I spent at school this morning. Was that this morning? It feels like a week ago at this point. I actually expected to have maybe a little bit longer to sit down before the trip was completed, but clearly this journey was a better display of exactly how quickly this particular Invisible Jet can move. Long enough for us to learn the basics of using the phones we’d been given. Long enough for Wally to inquire about snacks, which were provided. Long enough for me to introduce myself to Alfred Pennyworth. Not long enough for a lot of other things, though. Like listening to the forty seven voice mails I have on my phone, now that I’m able to access them again. A streak from Conner, then Mom. Then Tim. Everything that had tried to filter in since I came back from Olympus.
I think we actually made it back to Metropolis faster than we took to enter the vault, and then get to Coast City. I don’t even want to guess how much it costs to fuel this thing, or the price tag to build it in the first place. I about choked when I found out how much the phone, which is now in a pile of transmuted jewelry at my house, had been. Maybe Tim can liquidate that and recoup some of the mini-fortune. I just didn’t bring them with me. Speaking of Tim…
Once we’ve landed, I send everyone off the plane. I need a minute to collect my thoughts, and my body still feels a little wobbly though not nearly as bad as it did before. Mostly, I just need a minute to talk to Batman. The plan, which was shared with everyone, had been to help clear up the wreckage some. To make sure there was no longer anything roaming around that shouldn’t be. And once the inevitable news crews gathered, I’d have my introductions to make. Officially. I’d be out to join them in a moment, but first?
Admittedly there could be an explanation in one of those many, many voice mails and texts I’ve gotten but I haven’t slogged through them yet. I’m not trying to look imposing. I’m only a couple inches over five feet, so there’s only so much imposing you can be without putting in the effort. Like flying, or scowling, or folding your arms. I’m just leaning against the back of the chair I vacated a moment ago to make ‘requests’ of my friends.
Dick: The Invisible Jet is a pricey ticket. It isn’t your standard fare, to be sure. One of the R&D planes that was originally being built for the military, as a high altitude recon and deployment carrier. It happens to be my understanding that Bruce was originally intending to use it for a group he was putting together, but with his passing Tim took some initiative. Purposing this jet for the squad that Wonder Woman is assembling made a lot of sense. Between the stealth technology and the capacity for high speed deployment? It makes a lot of sense actually. Logically, though you couldn’t prove it with the group on board right now, she’ll eventually be bringing people on board that can’t run or fly faster than the plane moves.
Then there are the communication devices that Tim had me pass out to the ‘Members’ of this little squad. They’re nearly indestructible. Compact. Light. Small. Visibly indistinct from virtually any other ‘smart phone’ on the market. Each one has a privacy up-link to the satellites that Wayne Enterprises has. Giving each person with one of the devices ready access, not just to one another, but to a veritable treasure trove of information and computing power. With the ability to ‘jack’ in to almost any signal on the planet, there’s also virtually no way for them to be cut off from the rest of the world.
Exactly how much was Tim spending on all of this? How was he hiding it from the share holders? Bruce could make money come and go with a snap of his fingers. I can’t even count the sheer amount of times he drug me to board meetings, just to learn that aspect of life. I’ve just never quite been the financial guru that Bruce or seemingly Tim is. Still, it leaves me to wonder how much my little Brother is doing. How similar he is to Bruce, that all of this would be happening with Damien or I even knowing about it.
The ‘Invisible Jet’ was designed for Troop Deployment. Cassie finds me in the room with the large mapping surface. Where the plans for that deployment would no doubt be worked out. It has afforded me an a place to study the new ‘Team,’ while reading the briefing material. Playing catch up is never fun, but doing it on the fly is even worse. I’m doing all of that, plus still worrying about the same things that kept me out of this costume in the first place.
In all of that? I hadn’t missed Tim’s notes about Cassandra Sandsmark. Smart. Deceptively aware of her surroundings for a blonde cheerleader. I’ll have to remember not to hold to the old sterotype with her. “While you were dealing with this crisis, Superman was busy. He made a trip to France, but on his way back he spent significant time in Coast City, investigating energy signatures that corespond to the same emerald energy we associate with the Green Lantern power rings. Then he made a trip to Gotham, where he confided in the Black Canary that his employers are moving against her friends. As a Warning to keep her quiet.”
“Tim put her in the line of fire, by using her as an Agent in the field to distract Superman in the first place. So he feels responsible and wants to help her deal with it,” gloved fingertips run across the controls on my gauntlet, insuring that the Jet is sealed momentarily, so that I can lift my hands as one to pull the cowl up and off. “My name is Richard Grayson. I’m one of the adopted sons of Bruce Wayne, Tim’s eldest brother. The original Robin and Nightwing, if you ever happen to read the news out of Bludhaven or Gotham.”
“This was my burden, but Tim picked it up when I wasn’t ready to. He does that a lot.”
Cassie: Virtually indestructible, barring a completely literal act of God that is. I’m definitely glad to have a phone again, but more than that I’m glad everyone else has one now, too. I’d assumed that Tim would have some sort of communications plan in the works already, part of the long game when he began to give me the files of other ‘like minded’ individuals. Not that he could have known that, not entirely. I think that maybe there’s a level of predicting what things will play out based on information you’ve got access to, but I’d definitely felt better after meeting them. Freddy’s so earnest it’d be hard to believe he wasn’t a good person, and Wally wanted nothing more than to get right back out there and help his city. Even with his own freedom and life in danger.
The Batman is a looming, ominous kind of figure. Much more intimidating without even trying than I am, for sure. But that’s part of the costume design I think. Batman was supposed to terrify people. That deserved it, anyway. My outfit’s not going to scare anyone. It’d probably need a whole lot more armor for that. Maybe some pointy weapons.
“…he was in Coast City? He must have left right before we arrived.”
Otherwise I don’t think we would have missed him. The timing was convenient. Clearly Conner’s been as busy as I have, today. The more concerning part is that he was in Gotham. Telling the ‘smoking hot blonde, with legs for days, and a lot of other really great attributes apparently, something that I didn’t know. I have to mentally refocus myself, for just a moment, before I let that ugly emotion in the pit of my stomach try and make something out of itself. Because I don’t actually have a reason to be jealous, something I’m very aware of. And I’m not telling Conner everything, so it stands to reason that’s the kind of information he can’t tell me without making it look bad.
“That’s not good. Is there anything we can do to help? I… mean. I want to help, but it might be a little soon I suppose.”
I’m not sure the rest of our foundations are secure enough yet for a direct move. I’m not sure what we did this morning to intervene for Flash was the smartest move either but..it had to be done. That stepping up of plans has just kind of been like…my whole day, today. He lifts the cowl up which surprises me a little, honestly and I do him the return courtesy. Finding the little tiny, hidden switch for the facial alteration technology and dropping the older features that I show the world in favor of the ones I was born with. I’m actually relieved nothing has happened to Tim directly, which had been my concern when Batman had shown up and I actually got to walk past him. Because Tim’s taller than me, but only by a little. His Batman suit made him taller than that, but not nearly as tall as his brother is.
“It’s really nice to meet you, Richard. I have read some. Admittedly most of it pretty recently. Is this going to be.. permanent then? Are you ready to pick it up?”
Dick :Another series of touches along the gauntlet of my left hand, changes the various holographic displays once more. Satellite imagery takes over the deployment screen. Giving Cassie a bird’s eye view of Superman’s flight path. He was concentrated in Metropolis for most of the day, with very little movement. Then he’d gone to Italy and back, then to France. His stop over in Coast City has a time-stamp that is mere minutes different from the change of Isis’ position in Metropolis. However the ‘Fates’ conspired, they did so perfectly. Superman went to France just in time to miss the invasion of the Museum. He left Coast City for Gotham, just in time to miss their arrival there.
“Although, the Green Lantern’s signature never moves. He was there the whole time, but did not interfere in the overall outcome of the situation. Seemingly, at least. I have my suspicions about why. That rainfall seemed to be spawning reanimated corpses. The Flash did an excellent job of keeping them off the Battle Field, but that was an enormous storm. Rain everywhere. Not one corpse made it in to the fight. I’ll need to take a closer look, but if my suspicions are correct? This new Green Lantern was dealing with the the outlying creatures. That speaks well for his intentions, as well as his awareness. His presence in Coast City would spark fury, so not getting involved directly? Means he helped you, without putting himself on television in Coast City.”
For the most part I’ve yet to move, but I’m watching Cassie for reactions. Closely. I wanted to see how she handled meeting me. How she took in my willingness to share my identity with her. To tell her the truth, without keeping secrets that I might not even had a reason to share. Tim has counselled me that Wonder Woman was integral to the overall plan, but I rarely do anything based purely on the perceptions of someone else. I like to form my own opinions, if only because for so long Bruce expected me to work solely upon his and I hated that.
Her question about the situation and the offer to help? Has me shaking my head quickly. “Not right now, no. I think what you’re already doing is help enough. Your path? Is a little more public than the one Black Canary is going to endeavor to take. What you’re doing? You, Wally and Freddy. There is nothing more important. You’re establishing trust again. Trust in people like you, to do what is best for everyone else.”
That’s why I’m here. Gotham needs a Batman, but Tim seems to think that so does Cassie and her team. Me? I’m actually not so sure. Just being on this plane with the three of them made me feel out of place. “My friends and family call me, Dick. As for being ready? Honestly, I think if you ask someone that question and they tell you yes? They’re either lying about being ready, trying to put on a brave face or shouldn’t be trusted to put this Cowl on in the first place. No one is or should be ready for this.”
“And it’s as permanent as anything like this can ever be when you’re putting on a costume and fighting crime with a bat-shaped boomerang.” The attempt at levity is to keep things light, because I never thought there would be a time when this suit wasn’t worn by Bruce. To me? That was permanent. I was wrong then, I don’t want to be wrong about it to someone else. Even if that isn’t what she’s asking, exactly. “Tim did something. Something I never thought could happen. He took Batman and made him a hero again, with you and the Flash. So when you need me? I’ll be there, but otherwise? Batman’s place is in Gotham.”
“Besides, you’ve already got a Robin on your shoulder. No need for Bats in your belfry too.”
Another joke and then the cowl is then lifted back up. Pulled down casually in to place and once more she’s alone in the room with Batman. I’m taller than Tim by far, so the tips make me look even larger still. In a room, on a plane, surrounded by electronics, holographic displays and a enormous bright map right in the center? Apparently it’s still possible to blend in to the shadows. There’s not even a sound as I come around the table, to approach where she is leaning. Now consumed by the cape, which is even longer than Tim’s was.
“Take your time. You’re going to be nervous. The press are going to push to ask questions, but remember that they’re there to see you. They’re suspicious. Especially of people like you. People with abilities. They fear what happened in Coast City, they fear what they saw happen at your Museum, but there is something more powerful than suspicion and fear. We all grew up with the stories. Greece and it’s Gods, became Rome and it’s Gods. That in turn became Knights in Shining Armor. Which gave way to Musketeers Three. Along the way, we Wondered and we Marveled. What’s out there? Are we alone? We spent out childhood wanting to see the stars, walk on the moon…. or fly. How many people wanted to leap small buildings? How many little boys wanted to be faster than a speeding bullet? Or Girls who wanted to be as powerful as a locomotive?”
“What does it feel like? When you’re out there. In the sky. The wind is whistling through your hair. There’s no one out there. No gravity holding you down. No tethers to pull you back to the ground. It’s Wonderous, isn’t it? The best feeling in the whole world. You’re living the dreams of every little boy and girl. Somewhere inside of those Reporters, is a little boy looking to be a Hero. A little girl looking to be just as strong or stronger than any little boy. If you can tap in to that, if you can find the wealth spring of imagination that still lives in them? You can win this ‘War’ without ever throwing a punch.”
Cassie: On one hand? It’s very neat to look at the information he’s showing me. I’ve seen Tim pull up all kinds of things. Remotely. Through my cell phone which was apparently also a mini-transformer. This is the kind of information that they’ve got access to there, and we’re really lucky they’re on our side. My side. On the other, though, I have to assume that this is also the kinds of thing that NOWHERE has. Satellites, energy tracking, heat signatures and all kinds of other things. By all accounts, there isn’t exactly a whole lot of other mes out there, but they knew what they were seeing enough to start looking. I had a few accidents, but not a lot, and none that were very public. Enough that Conner knew before we’d even met what exactly I was probably capable of. I remember vividly him discussing the threat levels. What I’d been at that moment, the ‘potential’ number that they’d assessed me.
“I wasn’t thinking. About what she might bring up. It was just the most uninhabited place I thought we could lure her to.”
I don’t like that I hadn’t thought of that, especially after what we’d had to deal with in Metropolis. I realize, having said that, that I probably don’t really need to explain myself to him. Or to anyone, really, because I know I’d made the best call in the moment. The doors only went to other museums, and such similar places. Those were all going to have people in or around them, trading one group of civilians for another. Maybe that’s not really my problem with the situation, though. Isis was a goddess. Osiris a god. I hadn’t thought through fully what she could do, and I’ve been studying mythology my whole life. I should know these things. I mean, if I don’t? Who will? Wally’s faster than me, Batman’s smarter and more connected, Freddy is wiser to go along with all the other powers he has, and Conner trumps me in every physical way, even before you factor in the tactile telekinesis and laser beams. What do they need me for? And why is this bothering me so much right now?
“Oh, okay. Um. Dick.”
I’m not sure if I’m comfortable calling him…Dick. I’m also pretty sure I just made myself blush a little as I muscle on through. I do take it for what it’s meant, though. He’s naming himself a friend, by giving me permission to call him like his other friends do. Which is good. Tim and I were friends long before I had any idea he knew about all of this. It made it easy to even consider the whole…thing. I’m asking people that don’t know me, or a thing about me, to do this thing.
“I think you’re right. About any of these suits. It’s more about willing, once you’ve got it on, than ready.”
I wasn’t ready. I mean, Conner and I had talked about it but that isn’t the same thing at all. He was ready, but he might also have qualified for Dick’s third option there. ‘Not trusted.’ He was also literally born, and bred, to do what he’s doing right now. But for someone and something else. I want Conner to be able to do those good things, of course, but only if that’s what he wants. It takes me a moment to really decide whether or not he’s joking. I don’t know him, or his sense of humor like I know Tim’s. I decide it’s one at his own expense, and crack a little bit of a smile. That turns into a soft laugh at the bats in the belfry joke.
“Maybe not. And I think Batman’s always been a hero. Just maybe to a smaller…subset of society. Definitely to the people in Gotham that needed him. Whoever ‘he’ happens to be that probably doesn’t change. I think that’s the best way to do it, though. I mean. You looking after Gotham. Flash in Central. Freddy in Fawcett. None of us can really be everywhere. I just want to make sure there can be lots of us that are everywhere.”
Without NOWHERE taking them off the board. But heroes to their own city. Someone that people can look to, or maybe count on in that moment when they’re hoping for help and don’t think anyone else is listening or looking. When Batman approaches me, I can’t help but stand up straight instead of continuing to prop my arms on the back of that chair. The looming. Or maybe it’s just the height difference and I don’t want to seem shorter than I already am. It takes me a moment to realize what he’s actually telling me. The advice that I’m getting. He’d probably know about the press, wouldn’t he? I’m sure he had to deal with them many times. I’ve done it once, directly. Conner’s a much better showboater than I am but again… born to literally do exactly what he’s doing.
The tension’s back in my face, I’m sure showing in the way it always does. A little wrinkle between my eyebrows as they pull together, but when he asks me what it feels like when I’m flying? It goes away. The smile’s back.
“You talk like someone who knows exactly the way it feels. It’s the best part. My favorite thing. Maybe the only thing I’d be sad to give up. It’s like there’s some giant piece of the world that’s just for you, mixed with your heart leaping into your throat and never settling back down again. And then walking is so… plain after.”
Which might also be one of the reasons that I do it so little, besides the whole secret identity thing. It’s hard to want to come back down. And I’m not sure that getting used to it is necessarily a good thing. Blowing out a puff of air, I straighten a little more.
“I’d like that. The not throwing a punch part. Thank you. That helps. A lot. I think I can do that.”
I just am going to have to give them a little more of me, and who I really am, than I had before.
Dick : “You weren’t thinking about how the mystical entity, you didn’t think even existed a couple years ago, could raise the dead? Or you weren’t thinking about how such a thing might impact the Newspaper, because you were more concerned about doing the right thing in the moment?”
Both are valid questions. Each are also questions that she should probably not be worrying about asking. Because they’re equally absurd to be pondering. Will people ask those questions? Undoubtedly so and Cassie Sandsmark or Wally West or Freddy Freeman are going to have to come up with answers that people will believe. Managing the truth is going to be important, because they’re going to want to be honest. While also being believable. For now though, it’s more important for her to know that those are not questions I was asking.
There’s a small, but very obvious shake of the head. “No. Batman was not always a Hero. You’re young, so maybe you don’t remember it but a few years ago Crime in Gotham got really out of control. Our special cases get housed in a place called Arkham Asylum. When the Earthquake hit Gotham, it breached the Asylum. The State declared a state of emergency. The Federal government deemed the Narrows, a part of the city where Arkham rests, to be a ‘No Man’s Land.’ All across the country, but especially in Gotham, they blamed the Batman. Lex Luthor won the White House, by riding the tidal wave of people who agreed with him about it. Batman’s presence, the Gotham Police empowering him, caused the criminal element to escalate. To rise up to meet that challenge. My father lived long enough to become the villain of his own story.”
“You and Tim took a step towards fixing that. You gave me hope. Which is what made me ready, Cassie. That’s why I know you can do the same for the rest of the world too. If you focus on who you are. As opposed to who they’re going to make you be, if you let them.”
Looming is natural when you wear this suit, but Bruce always went the extra mile if he needed to send a message. This isn’t the time for that. So a hand is slipping out from behind the cape, to lightly lay upon her shoulder. How many times did Bruce do this with me? God, it feels like only yesterday. Not the ten years it really has been. That feeling of Batman putting you squarely in his sights, but not for the purpose of frightening you. He never tried to scare me. Bruce would break you down, but only to build you up again stronger than ever. I wonder if I have to actually do the former to get to the latter?
I sure hope not. Because I’m doing a terrible job if it is. “Maybe not in the same way you experience it, but I was born to be in the air. Free from the gravity of any situation. Alone in your thoughts. Looking down, across the skyway at life as it goes on beneath you. There’s a harmony to it. You can’t find it anywhere else, but up there. In the air. It’s impossible to be up there, without learning to respect the height and fear the fall.”
“It gives you a perspective so few others can understand and it leaves you unsatisfied by being on the ground,” gently squeezing her shoulder, reassuringly, but at the same time nudging her to turn towards the plane’s doorway. “Sometimes I think about how easy it would be to just stay up there. Above it all. Out of the range of all the things that drag me back down in to the mire. Then I remember that perspective and I think about how selfish I’d be if I didn’t share it with others.”
A few paces away from the two of us, I see Alfred Pennyworth standing there. He’s prepping to open the door again, but is standing there holding what looks like a child’s lunchbox. ‘I’ve taken the liberty of organizing a press conference. Anonymously of course. Here. This is for the team. I’ve put some granola bars in there for Mr. Flash. There is also some cheer wine for the toast. Also, I thought you might like to know. The Daily Planet is reporting that ‘Superman’ showed up not long after you disappeared. He’s been cleaning up the disaster at your Mother’s Museum, quite earnestly according to the reports.”
“Now. Chin up. Back straight. Let me fix your hair. That-a-girl. Don’t forget to smile for the camera. Now, last bit of advice. When they ask you a silly question, like what keeps this top from being a super-heroine’s wardrobe malfunction? Look them straight in the eyes and say ‘Magic.’ That’s what I told the Queen to say when they kept asking about her ruddy crown, not falling off.”
When she turns again, she and the Butler are alone. I will be there. At the Press Conference. Standing there, along with the Flash and this Shazam fellow. For now though, I think it best if Cassandra was left with the Professional. Few people in the world could hope for a better mentor than Alfred Pennyworth. “They do that. It takes some getting used too. Terrible skill, if you ask me, but Master Bruce insisted on teaching the boys. They practiced it as children, whenever there was dishes to be done or laundry to be folded. Very unseemly.”
Cassie: “Both. Well…no, definitely both, but it was a whole lot more the second one one.”
Newspapers? Were the furthest thing from my head. I went from worried about my mother, to worried about everyone else, and that had basically been the stop-point of the thought process. Getting an angry, singleminded goddess out of a very populated city and into a space where the only people to hurt… well. Was me. And my friends. The latter I would have avoided if possible, and I guess I’m the one who took the worst of it. This time. So that’s something.
“That’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it? Of all of this.”
I may only be a seventeen year old girl, but I had a pretty firm grip on who I was and what I wanted to be. Then I got superpowers, and found out I wasn’t actually entirely who I thought I was. I was something else, too, and I could do other things. Learned the world wasn’t at all what I’d thought or expected. I think everyone gets that rug pulled out at some point, about the world and how it works. They just don’t always hear the words demi and goddess at the same time. I had to have some shoves to kick-start me again, but I know at least in the short term what I want to do. Because as long as NOWHERE is in place, doing what they do? Then no one elsegets to be who they are, instead of what they make them be. I’m not…so naive as to think that doesn’t mean liberties for the people who don’t have as good a heart as my friends out there do, but they should still get the chance to choose their path.
I find myself smiling up at Dick again, and more appreciative than I can really say of that encouragement from someone who doesn’t really know me, but still seems to believe that I can do this. It’s not that I doubt what I can do but… taking a giant crocodile bite is a whole lot easier than getting out there and trying to be a symbol of something that you’re not totally sure you’re the best rep for.
“To be totally fair, the falling part isn’t what I worry about. I’ve done that. I crashed in a pretty epic fashion the first time I went really high. It didn’t hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would. Just my ego. The fear is…what if I never get to feel that again? But. I’m pretty much invulnerable. I guess I maybe take a little different lesson from it…”
There was a poem that I always liked, that took on a whole different sort of meaning to me after my powers. I may even put it in that silly yearbook that everyone keeps insisting I’ll be glad that I have in twenty years when I want to look back on these ‘glory days’ of my senior year. What if I fall? Oh, but my darling…what if you -fly-? That’s what he’s talking about, though. No, everyone can’t fly like I can. Not everyone can do what any of us do, most can’t. But reality doesn’t stop kids from pretending they’re ponies, or dragons, or Ninja Turtles, or rock stars. And the world sure looks like a better place when you can imagine.
I’m left blinking at Alfred and what he’s holding, tilting my head at the inescapable thought of being sent off to your first day of school. Scared and unsure if the other kids are going to like you, or not, or if someone’s going to sit at the lunch table with you.. though it’s kind of an absurd thought for me to have. I didn’t go to school until last year and the other kids definitely weren’t nice to me. I try not to visibly cringe too much that the conference is already organized. Conner already being there and being helpful brings a bit of the smile back though.
“He always does like sucking up to my Mom.”
I’m a little flabbergasted at all the other fussing, though… I got a pretty good dose of electricity. God level. My hair has probably looked better first thing in the morning rolling out of bed than it does right now, and I can’t help laughing at his answer for the million dollar question.
“That’s not actually totally wrong… thank you Alfred. And Dick. I feel a lot be…”
-tter. He’s gone. I have so many questions. Namely about the vanishing though I actually assume he’s still here and I just can’t see him. Invisible Jet, that kind of thing. I’m not going to hunt, though. I’d also like to know more about Alfred Pennyworth and giving advice to the Queen. I assume England but… you never know with this bunch. So instead of any confusion, I just tsk softly at the chore ditching.
“That’s shameful. Even I have to do chores and I’m a goddess.”
If nothing else, I’m left with Alfred. Who is the beneficiary of a very gentle hug, though still very grateful. He seems more willing to take one than any of the other Waynes I’ve met. Then I’m off to face the firing squad. With my lunchbox full of snacks, and a hopeful outlook.
Chin up, back straight. Don’t forget to smile for the camera.
I don’t go straight there from the Invisible Jet. Not just because I need a minute to continue to psyche myself up or anything, I’d had a pretty good pep talk from both Batman and Alfred. Good advice. Some thoughts for perspective. And a lunch box. Part of the delay had been to deliver it to the area of the disaster zone with what I’ve learned is the tell tale streaks of red energy. Speed Force. Another few minutes spent making certain that any exhibit pieces that had strayed out of the doors of the building were being collected in one place, and with care, for the hopeful reassembly and return to use. While they are just things, many of them are irreplaceable and deserving of a little more respect than just waste or building materials.
So many things to see to. This doesn’t seem like it’s the job, but…I think it has to be. So much was made of the destruction left by powered people, the lack of responsibility they had for the aftermath and the people left in their wake. I definitely care about the museum, it’s been as much my home as the place I live the last two years. I think it’s important that they see that. Maybe even more important than anything I might directly say to the camera. Eventually it has to be time to go saysomething though. And I quickly discover that I’m glad Conner didn’t give me time to prep the last time. Hard to get worked up about what you don’t know is coming.
Back straight, chin up, I also don’t actually land. The tech I wear may change the way my face looks but it doesn’t make me taller. The inches that I’m hovering add that. Thanks for coming… I’m sorry that I was late… no. An apology implies that I owe them one for not taking time away from something more important sooner. Makes it look more like this was staged. Which it was, in a way. The important parts, Cassie. Which involves a bit of acting. Not something I’ve ever been very good at. Being a lot more serene, and in charge than I feel.
“I am sure you all understand that helping with recovery and clean-up is very important to me. But you have all said such generous things about me that I wanted to at least spend a few minutes together.”
There’s a smile like they’re in on some joke, with what has honestly been overall praise and good publicity for me since my debut. At the same time making it clear that if I’m held up here I’m being kept from a giant, superhero community service project. The little bit of laughter eases me a hair more, but I’m not letting my guard down. And of course there’s questions. So many questions. After a few moments of letting them shout them, I hold up a hand for silence.
“The attack tonight was an attempt to steal a relic that our hallowed museum held. We were to redirect the attack by luring the thief to Coast City, in the hopes of minimizing casualties and damage.”
The inevitable shouts of who ‘we’ could be were something that I was waiting for.
“I am indebted to my new friends, The Flash and Shazam, without whom there would have been much more damage, and risk of life. I could not have fought off this attack without them. They’re both tremendously gifted heroes, who served without a second thought of the risk. Risk to themselves physically. Risk to their loved ones. They only saw the need, heard the call, and answered. I can only hope that everyone give them the respect that they earned from me tonight. And I, Wonder Woman, Daughter of Zeus, would willingly and gladly fight at their side. Any time. Any place. As I know they would me.”
I may perhaps grow a little intense when talking about the ‘risks’ but then, that particular ‘message’ isn’t exactly only for the news outlets. They’re also getting another ‘fact’ about me, as to where I happen to come from. The shouts, the questions, only pick up once again, and many of them are things I’m not going to actually tell them. I don’t want to have to explain Gods possessing people, or what exactly was being stolen or why. Probably don’t need to inform anyone about Black Adam, and the diplomatic incident that might be.
“The attacker was subdued, and Flash, Shazam and myself insured that both thief and relic were turned over to the proper authorities, most able to take care of them. While we all hope that such a thing will not happen again, I’m personally comforted to know that now I can count on these two men to be there, should it do so. Now, I must get back to clean-up.”
There’s the question. I think that voice asking it sounds suspiciously British. Maybe I’m just hearing things. Still. Brings a bit of a smile to my face, as I start to fly off, turning in the air and letting myself feel the joy that always comes along with it. Maybe more importantly, letting them see what I usually only display up in the clouds with only Conner to watch. A smile, a wink as I twist in the air to change course. Totally unnecessary, I could have just steered my angle but this is more fun.
“Magic, of course!”
Jackson: This was a chance of a life time and he knew that there were people that were going to be clamoring to ask the same question and it would be a fight to be the first. Remember opening remarks. Recorder on, along with taking a few notes while Wonder Woman was speaking. I took down everything I could while the recorder got the rest. The shorthand lessons that Joshua helped with were coming in quite handy. So much so that I was already raising my hand when questions that were opened to the floor.
When acknowledge I led with would probably be an obvious question.
“Thank you Wonder Woman.” Always thank them for the acknowledgement. Don’t dive right into the question. They don’t know you so introduce yourself to them, which was especially important for me because it was my first press conference. Mister White was trusting with me a lot and I wasn’t going to let him down. “Jackson Hyde with the Daily Planet.” That caused everyone to turn in my direction. Who the %&$# is Jackson Hyde?
“First question. Can you divulge the nature of the relic? ” Why was it important for this individual to acquire it. Give a little context as to why they were searching for it. “Second question. Was this a solitary incident or do you expect there to be other assaults on other museums?” Should other cities be on guard for such thefts. “Third question…” Notice I didn’t say final. I know I’m pushing my luck and I haven’t even gotten into the other heroes.
“Was the relic itself dangerous and if so is it possible that other relics within the Metropolis Museum of Natural History pose a danger?” There’s no way to know if someone would find relics important enough to do this type of damage, but daughter of Zeus. Which I found interesting for various reasons, but right now I have to focus on what our readers will find important.
“Final question….” For the moment perhaps. “Is this a temporary association or this similar to the coalition of heroes that were gathered to deal with the Coast City incidents?” Incidents. “And if so is this separate from the activities of the D.E.O?”
Cassie: “Of course.”
Jackson Hyde, Daily Planet. From the reactions of everyone around him that’s a rather ‘shocking’ development, or maybe that’s confusion… it could be both I suppose. No one seems to know who he is, maybe that’s why I pay him a little more attention. Or maybe it’s because I was on the Daily Planet’s roof a little bit earlier tonight, at the call of what was supposed to be a Wonder Woman Signal. I’m not judging. Flash tried and he didn’t have any other way to find me. That’s fixed now. Fortunately.
“It was an Egyptian Amulet. A new acquisition to the Museum I’m told.”
Both things absolutely true.
“The piece has been moved, so I would not anticipate another attempt. As we saw tonight, the museum’s contents became quite dangerous, but the cause has been dealt with. I believe this was an attack related only to that one piece.”
The last question? That’s one I’ve got more answers for, and more details that I’m willing to go into. I didn’t exactly what to tell the world about God carrying amulets that possess people, and the power that might imply was available if only you stole the right piece from a collection.
“I will not speak for the others, but I will continue to fight alongside Shazam, Flash, Superman, and Batman as long as they need me to. They have earned my trust, loyalty, and protection in return for what they have offered me. And no, we are not affiliated with any organization currently. Government, or otherwise. Simply individuals, with a desire to help and protect, coming together to do together what we cannot do apart.”
Jacson: I keep my recorder going as the answers come. Egyptian. Interesting. I keep everything going. There are other reporters that want to get questions in so I can’t hog all of her time, but while I’m being a good cub reporter and getting the information down I neglect to turn completely away from the television questions that focused me for a moment and there’s a nearby microphone that catches my voice as well. “Thank you.”
Another reporter asks a few questions regarding this.
“Wonder Woman I have a question.” It was a reporter from GBS. “So this new psuedo team that you’re apart of are they registered with the government? Isn’t that what the current legislation dictates? Given what happened in Coast City is there some danger in working with unsanctioned heroes?”
Despite how it sounded I think it was something on everyone’s mind. I was curious to see how it would play out given some of the things I’ve read and learned.
Cassie: “Danger to whom? Myself? I did not inquire if they were registered or not before accepting their aid. There was not time, nor did I care. My concern, and I believe theirs as well, was only to save lives and stop the assault on our city. A choice I would make again.”
As for the part of the government, I already answered that question and would not do so again.
Jackson: People were till concerned. They were always going to be concerned that there could be another Coast City incident. The reporter from GBS attempted to get another question in, but another reporter jumped in with a few questions of their own. The questions were asked, but when I saw another opening I took it.
“Wonder Woman, Jackson Hyde for the Daily Planet again.” That’s right keep plugging the paper. I know I was getting scowls from some of the other reporters but I saw an opening again. “I understand that you will work with Flash, Shazam, Batman and Superman, but it sounds like you’re open to working with any meta human that is willing to do the same. Is this perhaps and open call to meta humans across the nation that there is a place for them? That they don’t have to be afraid to use their abilities to help and protect others.? That you would help keep them safe if they do or am I misunderstanding your intentions? ”
It was a lot to unpack there so I would leave it that.
Conner: Who runs late to their first outing as a Press Intern? This guy. It’s not my fault. I hadn’t actually planned to be here like this, I was intending to be here in Costume. Then some old dude for the Planet Called and told me that I needed to carry Jimmy Olsen’s camera bag. What the hell is that all about. I’d barely gotten there, when someone else recognized me. Ugh. One of the other reporters. Blonde Lady. Charming, but a little old for my tastes. She has all sorts of questions. Ranging from asking about my Dad, to talking about politics, to inquiring about the rumors of my playing College Ball.
I was considering eye lasering her when no one was looking, but then ‘Wonder Woman’ made her entrance and… wow. Cassie’s good at this. All the focus in the place is on her. No one seems to even be asking questions to Freddy, aka Shazam. Nor the guy with the growly stomach. This is a new vantage point, really. Down here on the floor, looking up there at the Hottest Girl in the world. Oh and her two Chums, too of course. It’s the blonde next to me, that kicks me in the shin finally that breaks the stupor.
Say your name, and who you work for, she whispers heatedly at me after I’ve yelped from being kicked.
“Uhm. Hi. Conner Luthor, intern for the Daily Planet.” All eyes on the Son of the President. Great Scott, this is awkward for once. “..uhm… well.. I think what the world really wants to know, no offense Mr. Hyde, but…”
“Are you single?”
Cassie: Variations on the same questions I already answered? Ignored. I may not look like I’m ignoring them, but that’s what I’m doing. See. I learned this little trick from my boyfriend where…well. There’s two tricks. Either he talks over and brushes past something he doesn’t want to acknowledge or answer, or he cocks his head to the side, much like I’m doing right now, and pretends like he’s hearing someone in distress somewhere. Or my Mom calling for dinner or…you get the point. Something besides what’s in front of him. Mind you, I don’t have super hearing like he does. But they don’t know that.
“Anyone who is willing to put their life, and freedoms, at risk to aid those around them that are in need? Is worthy of regard, support, respect and protection. Whether they have powers or not.”
There’s the head tilt again. Only this time, it’s for focusing on another Daily Planet rep, clearly they’re going for a shotgun technique here… or more likely Conner’s just decided to try and embarrass me. I’m not having it, no sir! Not right now. There’s an amused set of my mouth, my lips pursing together and to one side as I focus on this ‘lowly’ intern that happens to be the President Forever’s son, a fact that literally everyone standing here knows.
“Mr. Luthor? I’m busy.”
And with that, I shoot off into the air, back in the direction of the museum’s wreckage. There’s heavy pillars for me to lift.
Jackson: I had my recorder at the go when someone was pulling attention. Turning towards Conner I didn’t audibly groan, but my brow quirked. Really? I think I’ve seen him once. There were jokes around the office that his desk was starting to collect dust. I keep focused with the recorder ready to capture Wonder Woman’s answers when Mr. Luthor decides to toss out a ….is he trying to steal Cat Grant’s job.?
My brow arches at the question even as Wonder Woman provides a very interesting answer to mine while deflecting Conner, by exiting the press conference. Leaving the Chief of Police to provide some updates.
“Sounds like a ‘No Comment’,” the blonde chirps.
“Actually…” I start. “She didn’t say yes or no. It was pretty ambiguous and Wonder Woman’s reaction was curious, but I doubt anyone else noticed. They were too focused on the President’s son and Wonder Woman’s departure.
Conner: “Uh.. Can I quote you on that?”
The woman with the CatCo name badge is positively giggling at my handling of the whole thing. Of course, she’s probably also chittering about the way Mr. White is going to blow a gasket. Just great, I don’t even want this job and I’m about to get lectured for doing it all wrong. Oh, well. I give the gathered crowd a shrug, before I pick up the over-sized camera bag and sling it over my shoulder.
“… this looks like a job for… somebody else…”
Maybe I’ll let the secret service actually do their job for once. So as to keep Mr. White from harassing me. Lucky for me, Ms. Grant seems awfully helpful. Taking me by the arm in an effort to ‘help’ me escape the scrutiny of all the other reporters. People who might think to start bugging me about my Father’s plans, his politics or his views on this whole Wonder Woman thing.
Little do I know I’m in even bigger trouble with her, than I am with the rest of them. How is this hundred pound, soaking wet, nosey little thing pulling me around anyway? I’ve got super strength. Speaking of weird and unexplained… wow, Jackson Hyde’s lungs are sure odd. The rest of him isn’t bad looking though.
Secret Service to the Rescue! “Sorry, Jimmy, you’ll have to catch a cab. National Security and all that.”
Jackson: I finish with my notes as Conner is already making his exit. White still thinks he’s there as a plant for his father. Me I don’t know. Putting my things away I nod to Conner, because I’m pretty sure all of that is going to go over well with Mr. White. The other two heroes have vanished along with Wonder Woman. Interesting that she mentioned the Bat. Most of the time he sticks to Gotham, but there have reports about him outside of Gotham. Most recently in Central City where he, Flash and Wonder Woman were working together.
Perhaps the age of heroes isn’t over completely. Makes me wonder what kind of fall out there is going to be over this?
“You can Uber back with me, Jimmy.” If you like. Odd lungs indeed, but I was unaware that was being passively scanned.
Also speaking of fall out when I pulled out my phone I saw that I had 3 voicemails. Three isn’t a bad number. However, considering who the three were from I knew it couldn’t be good.
Earlier in the Living Room. A young man in his twenties stopped to see the beginning of the press conference in Metropolis.
“Wow she’s hot.” He couldn’t help it. Everyone tended to say that when they saw Wonder Woman. What concerned him is when he saw the first reporter.
“Thank you, Wonder Woman… Jackson Hyde with the Daily Planet.”
“Oh no…” Aaron muttered. “Grand…” He could barely get it otu.
“SON OF A BITCH WHAT DOES HE THINK HE’S DOING!” Joshua Cole said from behind his grandson.
Aaron decided it probably wouldnt’ be best if he said, “His job.”
“Granddad don’t…” Aaron’s words fell on deaf ears.
“Intern. Keep a low profile. Not have your face plastered over the networks!”