ARTHUR: It was a relatively quiet trip. Arthur contacted Kori to let her know that they were going to be going a trip. He didn’t say where they were going only that they would be out of pocket for a bit. She was to dress comfortably for the car ride, because there would be no flying. He would be driving them to their destination.
He advised that they would arrive bright and early for their road trip. Not that it would take long, but he wanted to get an early start. There were things to do, and people to see. His request had been granted and he was about to waist anyone’s time. Of course, earlier meant that he would arrive after rush hour. No reason for them to have to deal with that. Not one to honk for someone to come out he stepped out and rang the doorbell.
Once Kori was ready he escorted her to the car opened the door and let her get in. He was back in the driver’s seat and they would be on their way to destinations unknown…actually Gotham. Outside of Gotham actually, but Kori didn’t know that not until they were well on their way. Arthur said nothing he kept a stoic face as he drove. Perhaps he had something or some things on his mind difficult to say as they drove. Either way outside of NPR coming from the speakers not much else was offered beyond pleasantries.
KORIAND’R: There had been an ominous mention of something during their last meeting. Something about an examination, a thought that troubled her and made her anxious. That anxiety was almost palpable on the ride there but she remained quiet, looking out the window and watching the world whiz by at an almost painfully slow pace. Flying would have been faster. These vehicles were not good for this planet’s environment and the reliance these humans had on them was startling. Then again, they couldn’t fly. A journey more than a couple of miles on foot was probably troublesome and tiring for most of the citizens here. At least they were not employing animals to pull them around or ride on them to carry them about from one place to another. She still didn’t understand why cars had ‘horsepower’ when there were no horses inside at all. She looked. She was disappointed to find that there were no tiny horses under the hood.
The road signs were the only indication of where they were going. She wasn’t familiar with where the roads went and she knew general destinations and landmarks to go by from up in the air. The first sign that said ‘Gotham’ made her draw in a sharp breath.
“Really? After what happened? They don’t want me there, they don’t even like super powered people there.”
Perhaps because the more criminal and heroic elements of the city seemed to have some psychological issues they needed to work through. Some more than others. They seemed to embrace this though, embraced those oddities and weaknesses. She hadn’t really gotten a chance to learn more. She was just so careful and made her choices carefully so she didn’t disrupt the careful balance of things and upset people like…Dr Light.
“Are we going to see Red Hood? He was probably concerned about me.”
ARTHUR: There was a lot on Arthur’s mind. The things that had been shared. The things that were not shared. To say he had a lot on his mind was an understatement, but it did not show. If anything it seemed like any other day when he encounter others. He engaged them in conversation and went about his business. Arthur was not known to be a ball of energy. He was rather subdued. When it became obvious what their destination was he opted not to answer the question. Really? Did it matter that Gotham was their intended destination? Yes, there had been a great deal of damage that had occurred here, but it had been handled.
Arthur would not go as far to say that he was puzzled, but he was curious. Curious about a great many things, but he kept his eyes on the road while traveling. Opting not to pull into the city he continued along the highway, past the city proper heading towards the outskirts. One might thing he was heading to Wayne Manor instead their destination was another Manor one where the grounds weren’t as well as maintained, but it seemed to have an order all its known, order out of chaos. Out of the city there was a tangle of green that seemed to be teaming with life.
Through the gates they went as Arthur pulled the vehicle up towards the entrance he stopped the glancing over towards Koriand’r.
“No, we’re not going to see the Red Hood.” However, they had arrived at their destination. “I thought it best to consult another regarding our situation.” He fastened his seat belt after shutting off the car. “They’ve agreed to the meeting. ” Opening the door, he slipped out of the car waiting for Kori to join him. “I’m afraid I will not be allowed inside. “However, you are expected.” It is best that he did not join her inside. Plausible deniability.
“I can escort you to the door.” Which he did. The manor was large, but not massive. It had a very peculiar air about it. If it felt like they were being watched perhaps they were, by who Arthur wouldn’t be able to tell her. However, there was something wild and untamed about it much like the wild growth that surrounded the structure.
Upon reaching the door he reached out to ring the bell.
KORIAND’R: “All of this secrecy is troubling me,” she said softly. Maybe it was better that she didn’t know exactly what she was walking into. If she had known, would she have gone? Only Dr. Light knew the answer to that question.
This house was not like the others she had seen. The grounds were not as well maintained, like things were allowed to grow wild and untamed. In a way it was appealing, she liked the idea of allowing things to grow unhindered. Some of it brought back memories of the gardens she had visited when she was a child and back on her home planet. Though the climate here was much cooler and the plants were less colorful and full of foliage.
She remained close to Dr. Light as they approached the manor. Despite being stronger, faster and capable of firing devastating rays of energy, she was still susceptible to her emotions. She did her best to keep a strong face on but her eyes kept wandering and darting about.
She thought about asking who they were seeing but more than likely it wouldn’t have been a name she would recognize. She could only get an idea from how the grounds were. Either someone didn’t care to tend to the grounds or they just simply preferred it this way.
ARTHUR: All of the secrecy was troubling her. Interesting, but it was true. He wasn’t being very forthcoming. Unfortunately for Koriand’r that was anot about to change. Instead he offered a nod acknowledging her discomfort. It is all that he could offer her at the moment.
He was about to say something more when the locks on the door undid themselves and the door slid open slowly creaking loudly as it did.
“Enter Koriand’r of Tamaran. We have been expecting you.” The voice was loud but not overbearing, but as the door continued t to open there was no one there. Until there was there was a flickering bit of light which caught Arthur’s attention given that it wasn’t what he expected, but he didn’t let on too much.
The little flickering bit of light danced around in the air zipping around both Light and Kori before settling back into the door way.
“He will guide you to where you need to be, Princess of Tamaran.”
KORIAND’R: A more serious look was cast at Dr. Light. The voices were ominous and the fact they knew her title and where she hailed from was a bit disturbing. Whoever ‘they’ was. She had never laid her green eyes harshly on him but at this moment she did for a very brief moment. It was an unspoken promise that there would be some problems in his future if harm came to her.
She took a deep breath and took a slow step forward to follow the little light creature. She was almost waiting for the doors to close behind her, just like those horror films.
There were just so many questions, how did they know about her? What were they? Why do they have a bouncing light doorman?
LIGHT/GREEN LANTERN: Light was unfazed by the serious look that was leveled his way, though he was more than a bit curious. He knew this was not one person’s style. People believed his associate to be a tad eccentric, but dramatic. He wasn’t sure if that’s the way he would describe his colleague. Watching Koriand’r take those brave steps forward across the threshold Arthur waited and a few seconds later the door did just that it closed on its own. Or at least it appeared that way to anyone that was looking.
The flickering light moved away from the door into the foyer. It danced around Kori before sliding through the air moving slow enough for her to keep up as it moved past the grand stair case it was heading elsewhere zipping down the hall before stopping to make sure that their guest was still with them. If she lingered too long there were a few pulses followed by a high pitch tone to get her attention. It was his way of saying, “This way! This way! Follow me!”
When Kori caught up it moved down the hall towards the room of requirement…well in this case a very large room that was filled with books. It was a library. There were other rooms that could have been selected, but perhaps it was the best place to start. The room was filled with light and there were books that lined every wall and it even had a stair case that went to a second level where there were more shelves that lined the walls. It was something out of a classic movie, including the individual that stood at the railing dressed in a black cloak.
“Welcome, Koriand’r. Welcome to the Mansion of the Emerald Grove. I am one of its guardians. I have been told you came to this world in search of sanctuary. Now that sanctuary is threatened. Your past has refused to stay where you placed it. It has followed you here to your chosen refuge. Tell me. Why have you come? Is it protection that you need? What dangers have followed you from your homeworld?”
The voice was slightly distorted, but could be made out clearly, but it did not sound human in the least.
KORIAND’R: “I came to seek refuge, away from a life of slavery. My right to freedom and control over my own destiny.”
She considered the questions very carefully, her eyes never leaving the figure. Did she need protection? That was a very good question. She had been able to fight off nearly every foe thrown her direction. It was only in numbers that they even had a chance of defeating her. Not even the bounty hunter concerned her too much. She was more concerned about the damage he would do in order to get to her though. It was the people around her that needed more protecting. It was a funny twist of fate in that way.
“I have nowhere else to go, Stranger. I may have…endangered my people by escaping my situation. A bounty hunter was employed to kill me. There was an arm of a dangerous race that had interest in me. Their resources would be poorly spent sending a ship here…not to devalue myself but I do not see it worth their investment.”
She took a deep breath before continuing, attempting to be as honest and and clear about her intentions as she could be.
“I did not wish to bring harm to those on this planet. I feel as if the consequences of my actions are causing the very thing I feared bringing upon these people. I made an oath when I arrived that I would protect them and I would do my best to embrace this planet as my own..for I have no other to call my home. If I continue as I am, more threats may come to me…more innocent people caught in the fire.”
She chewed on her bottom lip for a moment. Maybe she didn’t need a guardian to explain what she must do, she already had thoughts and there were pieces in play that could assist her. Should she return? Should she go back to the mess she left and clean it up before it haunted her once more?
GREEN LANTERN: “Tell, me Princess of Tamaran. Does Tamaran have no allies you could turn to? No one that could help you liberate your people and planet? Were you comfortable with leaving your former life behind? Surely it must have crossed your mind the danger your courted when you chose to escape? Your actions would have consequences. Your people. Those that came in contact with. Surely the specter of your past would haunt your footsteps no matter where you went. Yet you selected a world that may be ill prepared for the consequences of these actions.”
The figure pushed off the railing walking towards the stairs.
“There must have been someone that you could have reached out to to aid you against this tyrannical force of miscreants.” The cloaked figured stopped. “Does Tamaran stand alone in the dark against the villainy of the Daemonites? Do they run rampant unchecked by no one? I was told that there was a force dedicated to upholding order across the galaxy. Did they not come to your aid? Did you not think to seek them out?”
He began to walk down the steps stopping at the middle of them as he looked upon Koriand’r. “I have heard your tale. What brought you here. Why you stand here before me. Yet I find myself concerned that there are pieces missing. I find myself perplexed as to why a bounty hunter a Czarnian origin would be dispatched to kill you. Why would he want to kill you? A failed experiment as you have described it. As Mister Spock would say, that is…”
Removing the hood Green Lantern revealed his face, masked face. “…quite illogical.”
KORIAND’R: “There were not Lanterns there to stop what happened. No one heard the cries of my dying people when they invaded. No one came to aid my mother and father when they were slaughtered. No one came to aid when the tears of a child princess stained her dress as she was unwillingly taken away.”
She was getting angry with the questions. She answered them the best she could but with each passing word she found herself angrier and irritated with the entire situation. She brought her hand to her collarbone very quickly, turning the image off that disguised her as human so that this man could see the pure fury that was in her eyes and the fire that ignited among the strands of her red hair.
“I was a CHILD. I was innocent. I grew up with those creatures, my skills and my body were honed to their desires.
What else was I supposed to do? I didn’t find a Lantern until I came to this planet.”
She snorted dismissively as he mentioned the bounty hunter, “Well, he failed. I attempted to ask him but he would give no answers. I do not know what is going on with Tamaran, at all. I have not known a thing since I stepped foot off that planet. If I could find that pest I would blast the answers out of him myself.”
There was an abrupt silence when the figure removed the cloak. She wanted to scream at him but at least the shock had caused her to loosen her fists.
She was still angry, it was very difficult for her to shift her mood so suddenly. At least she went from a boil to a simmer but her eyes were narrowed at the Lantern.
“…was not funny at all.”
KORIAND’R: “I have already considered those options. I am aware of how the organization handles ‘threats’. I was spending my time attempting to find another solution. I find sunbathing very useful for thinking.”
Though the only she had considered wouldn’t have been very nice but it certainly would have involved the bounty hunter, as he is the only one with something resembling space craft capable of travel.
Had it really come to this though? Even Dr Light was out of options for her? The only option seemed to point…wherever that fool was.
“He is capable of regenerating from devastating attacks. I’m not sure how strong he is but the chain and the bike seem to be his best tools. He was essentially grounded when the bike was blasted. However, it too seemed capable of repairing itself. I don’t know anything about Czarnians beyond the fact that they are essentially extinct. I suppose anything can be brought back with cloning.”
For a moment she thought she had misheard what he had said, neutralize sounded a lot like ‘neuter’ for a brief moment. Either way, the fact stood that he was a problem.
“More will come. I doubt he was boasting about the sizable bounty. I want to end this before it becomes worse. So…”
She feared the answer to this question, there were very few ideas jumbling in her head and there was nothing brute force was going to be able to do in this particular situation. She may have to use more subtle skills.
“…any ideas on neutralizing my bounty hunter problem? I was considering resorting to negotiations that may appeal to him.”
She didn’t really want to get into the details of what that particularly meant but she knew what the hunter had a fondness for, though it may only be a distraction at best.
GREEN LANTERN: “Doesn’t that sound like a terrible waste of resources to keep sending someone after you time and time again? Not to mention the amount of damage it will cause?” Perhaps it’s time to stop playing defense and go on the offense. You were meeting the Czarnian head on. Sounds like he was looking for a fight. Also, from everything I’ve gathered he doesn’t sound like one that will keep his mouth shut. Big bounty. Alien warrior princess.” Kyle shook his head. “Also discretion doesn’t sound like his cup of tea. You know not when there are buildings exploding and the sort. That could be a way in.” That is if they talk with other individuals.
“What I’m getting at if there will be others that means a couple of things. We have a total Han Solo – Bobba Fett situation going on. Empire Strikes Back. Recommended viewing.” He had to throw that in. “However, that means that despite the fact he wants the big score he may not be the only person on their way. They could be arriving any time to do what needs to be done. So we have decisions that we need to make. Staying planet side while potentially full of allies puts innocent civilians at risk and even if you do a death match beat down and either end it for them or send them packing their going to keep coming. That’s a total no win scenario for anyone. Total Kobyashi Maru.” No one wants that.
“There for we need to find out who’s sending these bounty hunters after you and why and that’s going to involve information gathering. If this Czarnian bounty hunter won’t give up the information some one will. Something be a secret not if there’s going to be a whole host of bounty hunters coming our way. However, this does mean that our immediate problem needs to be handled. We need a plan and we can’t come up with a proper plan if we have a Czarnian on our back.”
Which is problematic. “I don’t know what we can offer him outside of a complementary kick in the ass. I’m pretty sure asking or telling him to leave will be laughable at best. If that was possible problem would already be solved.” He pursed his lips. “I can do a bit of research see what I can find out about Czarnian’s, but I also think it would best if you stay here at least for the time being. You were tracked to Gotham and probably can be tracked no matter where you go, but I believe the manor can offer a bit of protection.” Maybe. He should really confirm that with Alan. Kyle was 90% sure.
“Also, it will give us a chance to come up with a plan and just as important train together.” Find out how they work as a team. The thing that always goes down how fast is trying to work together and not knowing how to work as a team. Kyle watched enough ani..read enough man….read enough to know that. Additionally, it would give him a chance to figure a few things out.
KORIAND’R: The princess was left blinking several times. There were names and things mentioned that she had no clue what they meant. One sounded vaguely Japanese but it wasn’t a language she had yet absorbed into her vocabulary but she had heard it spoken enough to know of its origin. Half of what he said made sense but she was lacking the context of some of the situation.
She was safe where she was too. Raven had good shielding up, she was very skilled even if she was quiet and a bit dark. Kori didn’t have feelings for her one way or another but it felt safe there.
“I…wasn’t going to ask nicely. I was planning on seducing him. He has a weakness and a fondness for women. I could easily use that to my advantage and perhaps he’ll even speak more about this bounty. If I can isolate him somewhere there isn’t an immediate threat to the citizens nearby, this may be possible. Though if we keep waiting, he may grow impatient and start blasting away again. He may take the safety of this planet hostage until I am given up. This other plan would cut him off before it got to that point. Or…he kills me. Or…I am taken back to Tamaran. Either way, the threat is removed from this planet. I will fight until I cannot fight anymore. This is my way.”
She shrugged. It wasn’t an ideal situation but she didn’t have strong feelings about it either way. Sex was just sex, when it was more intimate that was when things tended to get mixed up and scary. It was easier with detachment. It was what she was familiar with.
GREEN LANTERN: Sex and violence. Apparently, that was the way the world heck the galaxy worked. Who knew? Probably everyone. Kyle didn’t know if it was an epiphany or some type of cruel joke. There were dozens of thoughts that ran through his mind as Kori laid out what she wanted to do.
It was a plan to which Kyle could offer one response.
“That’s the very definition of asking nicely.”
Kyle didn’t balk, but seriously how was that not asking nicely? Anyone? Anyone?
“Ok let’s logic bomb this. Game?” She said it right?
“Let the logic bombing commence. The bounty hunger is seduced. You get the information that you’re looking for. What then? I mean was sex on the list of things that he would take in exchange for your life?” Fair question.
“If so. Well, that solves that problem. If not, is there a follow up to neutralize him after you get everything you need out of him? And to clarify neutralize him to the point that he is no longer a problem.” He thought it was a fair question. Unless she’s like Zoe from American Horror Story Coven, and it’s death by “V” Kyle didn’t see that solving the problem completely. All’s fair in logic bombing.
“Second question. What are you going to do with the information after you’ve gotten it from him? Does it change your predicament?”
KORIAND’R: “I didn’t expect that to work so easily. So, no. It’s a tool, not an end game. He has a lust for destruction as well, he could be turned towards a more appropriate target. That would also be a win. Maybe they’re only paying him so handsomely so he won’t turn on the deal. Imagine how rich he could get off of destroying them and taking the loot?”
It was very much a pirate angle, if they were already promising him a good fat sum, they probably had more to offer if they were split open with his bare hands. Part of her was pleased with the thought of being able to orchestrate such a chain of events but things didn’t always work so simply.
“I’m not sure, it depends on the information. I have considered that I may have to leave, regardless. If it’s something only I must address and fix, it would be better done with at least one powerful ally beside me. I will report anything I find, of course. If that sector is assigned to someone, perhaps they will see fit to aide me as well.”
There was a problem in this though, she didn’t know who was behind the bounty. If the Daem were involved there was a lot of unknowns about them and how far spread their influence was. If it was from Tamaran? If it was from one of her own people? It was also a complicated situation. If her leaving negated the arrangement then they were probably already under attack.
“…I need information. There is only one man with the truth of what is going on. That is completely and utterly unavoidable.”
GREEN LANTERN: The red flags were up all over the place, but, he did so Kyle listened as this was laid out. It gave him a moment to take it all in “Okay, assuming that you are successful with this plan of action you want to then suggestion to the bounty hunter that an even bigger bounty awaits if he turns on the individual or individuals that hired him?” He was restating to make sure that he heard that part correctly. He needed to make sure he heard that.
“Negotiating to bribe him is one thing with something you have is one thing. Negotiating with him for something you don’t have just on a promise is another. That can go wrong many different ways, no matter his proclivities. Sure he likes violence, but is that enough of a lure to turn him off his original bounty. I mean what happens when they make a better deal?” It happens. “Someone flips once they’ll flip again.” At least that’s a possibility that should be considered.
“I mean if he wants a challenge and he enjoys violence well, one thing to consider is that if there are more coming why not hire him to take out his competition. Like all of his competition. If the Daem hired him apparently they have resources that outstrip his competitors unless they have something of value he wants. I guess it does come back to if he was to take that type of deal what do you have or could you potentially have that would be of some value to him to take that job for you. I guess I’m just a bit iffy on turning on the person that hired you. It’s bad for busisness though someone could just as easily say you get what you pay for.”
Also, it would be nice to have a backup plan.
“I can’t say what the other Lanterns will and won’t do, but my offer to help you stands, but I have to take it a step at a time. There are too many pieces on the board right now and equal amounts of unknown.” He said honestly.
“The immediate problem needs to be handled.” Frankly without it coming back in the third act to bite them in the ass.
KORIAND’R: Everything I had was confiscated…then later destroyed and burned when he attacked.”
The wreckage was in the custody of Nowhere though but she doubted there was much left to bribe with. They had probably already destroyed it to prevent it being taken or possibly reverse-engineered.
“X’hal, I only have hope and faith. It’s all I’ve had for many years. I know in the sense of logic that doesn’t really amount to much but when things are desperate…sometimes it’s the only things that count.”
There weren’t a lot of options left and there were fewer contingencies. If they removed the Hunter’s tools…he’d only be slightly more manageable. It was a matter of taking them and destroying them utterly and completely that was the very difficult and potentially disastrous part. That would leave them both stranded and without options though.
She winced as she pushed her hair from her face and rubbed at her temple with her fingertips.
“If that fails, he kills me. That will satisfy his bounty and possibly end the conflict. It is not the option I want but it is a very real possible outcome.”
GREEN LANTERN: “Well, that’s very fatalist of you,” he said regarding the last statement. “Hope and faith are good, but a good solid plan is even better.” And that they were severely lacking in. They also should have a plan, B, C and D, but Kyle would start with A once he could get his thinking cap on.
“There are some things to consider, but there’s also some things that you need to think over, as well. Specifically, how far you’re willing to trust people, because from where I’m standing there’s there’s a severe lack of trust.” That was Kyle’s truth, and no one could tell him different as of right now.
“It may be the nature of your situation, and if it puts me out of line then it puts me out of line. As my friend…closest person I have to a best friend told me once, I can only be me. I can’t be the Green Lantern people want me to be. I have to be the Green Lantern I need to be me. The Green Lantern they need me to be and need and want don’t always go hand in hand.”
What does that mean? Hard truths.
“Fighting until you can’t fight any more isn’t a real option. It’s nice way to get dead and frankly it’s a pretty shitty thing to do to your people. You can’t help them if you’re dead.
“You are their Princess, aren’t you? That means that they look up to you, that they have some affection for you unless they don’t care? That’s not the situation is it?” Again, was it out of line? Maybe? However, there was just something about it that rubbed Kyle the wrong way. Maybe he was a little naive ok a lot naive about things, but things weren’t adding up.
“As far as getting killed or being willing to be taken back to Tamaran I don’t know. If that were the case, you wouldn’t have come here. You would’ve resigned yourself to that fate long ago.” It was frank, it was honest, it was the only way Kyle knew how to be at the moment, because…he had his reasons.
“You would’ve gone there instead of coming here or you would have attempted to figure out how to rectify the situation that you currently find yourself in. So, before I find myself trying to solve the unlogic puzzle that’s sitting here in front of me how about you tell me what’s really going on Tamaran that you don’t want to talk about?” Or whatever it is that she’s playing close to vest, because it’s obvious.
“Because A. As stated before you’re a princess. That means you have some modicum of responsibility and/or authority.” At least that’s the way Kyle saw it. Unless she’s a princess in name only.
“So, you should give a damn about your people. Which I think you do. However, you didn’t come here and say, “my planet is under attack I need your help to save it, you came and sought sanctuary. Maybe it was everything that happened I don’t know. Still those were the choices that you made. Decisions that have and will follow you no matter where you go.”
“Which brings me to B. You’re willing to get pissed off about some things, but not the right things as I see it. It confuses the hell out of me, and probably frustrates the hell out of others, but I can’t speak for them.“ The entire getting upset about being questioned the way she was. Who wouldn’t question her like that?
“Last but not least there’s C. You put this planet in jeopardy knowing full well what could and would happen, and seemed a-ok about it, because you had a nice place to chill. So, was earth a pit stop on your getaway tour? Did you really think you could out run what you’re trying to run away from? The Daem is just one part of it.”
“If we’re going to do something about this then we need to be focused and free of surprises and right now this isn’t as they say isn’t passing muster.” And no one has time for that.
“If are you going to get angry, throw a fit, and toss in some tears to boot then do so. I’ll sit and let that play out.
“I want to help you, but I feel like I’m operating partially in the dark. There’s pieces here and there that offered up, but there are other pieces that are missing at least that’s what it feels like.”
KORIAND’R: She inhaled deeply. She was trying not to be grim and dark about the potential outcomes. It didn’t suit her and darkness wasn’t something she could wear very well. She’d rather be happy, or disguise as much as she can with some optimism and finding joy in the little things.
She finally felt calm enough to sit without breaking the furniture, or setting it ablaze or any number of things she wanted to do when she was angry. It wouldn’t have been right, not when she was a guest in this man’s home and it had put Dr. Light out of his way to bring her here as well. She’d be letting two men down.
“My sister is their queen, she was put into that position during the invasion and not very long after my parents had died. The terms were quite simple, my sister Komand’r would serve as queen and I would be exiled, taken into the care of the invaders. Never to return to my home. Returning would put the safety of my people and my sister at risk, it may even negate any agreements my sister may have made to make sure our people were looked after. So, my family may be respected and I may be fondly remembered as the sweet young princess…but I fear any return may cause a great deal of problems.”
It wasn’t so simple when there were agreements that were signed. Oaths that were required to be honored.
“I didn’t have anywhere else to go, except as far away as I could. So, I don’t know if someone put the bounty to ensure I never return to my home planet. It could also be an effort to clean up any research that was performed on me. Perhaps someone doesn’t want me falling into the wrong hands. There seems to be a great deal of concern or fear on part of whomever created the bounty. They don’t want me around, they don’t want me alive and they don’t seem to like that I am here either. I do not know anymore without going straight to the Hunter, the Czarnian.”
There were other problems but at least the calmness had allowed her to think things through. What was it that frightened someone so much that they would pay many riches for her to be gone? Knowing what that is would be like possessing some intangible power.
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle watched, but said nothing. Ordinarily he was game from plenty of things, but at the moment he had to play the “straight” man to all of this. It was a lot and he could allow himself to be overwhelmed or delight in the fact that he was standing across from a rea- life alien, again, but he couldn’t. That had to be set aside by the fact that a great deal of harm came to people, a building was destroyed and there was an intergalactic bounty hunter on the loose looking for a princess.
This was the stuff comics were made from him. Who was he kidding? This was the stuff that cool ass anime were made off, but again he couldn’t bask in that. No. No. No. He had to be the Space Cop. Yay! At least that is what was passing through his mind at the moment while Koriand’r spoke about what amounted to very limited information.
Nothing about that sounded right in the least. Kyle had seen enough episodes of Game of Thrones to know how things like that worked out.
However, they would get back to that.
“Let’s do a little information sharing here. What do you know about the Czarnians? Like do you know how they died out? Do you know what they were like? What we’re dealing with here? I know. I know. I ask a lot of questions, but this is where we head into the realm of the unknown. At the moment we control neither the vertical or the horizontal. So, let’s find out what we do control.”
KORIAND’R: “I don’t know much, admittedly. I had a lot of lessons and a lot of stories were told to me but sometimes stories are tales of caution and twisted somewhat.”
She was feeling a little frustrated, she was trying to be as honest as she could manage and be forthcoming with what information she knew. It was hard when her learning was halted by her own world’s changing events. Her education had become much more brutal and out of necessity for survival.
“Czarnia used to be a thriving planet, much like Krypton. A very proud species. Something went horribly wrong. I’m not sure if it was a virus that preyed on their genetic weakness or some other kind of weapon altogether, but they were all eradicated. The entire species was gone with the exception of one. The Last Czarnian, or so the stories have said. Some say he was responsible for what happened, others say he was just lucky and was the only one immune. If that is true…then what the Hunter said was very confusing. He said something about clones. Many other races have the technology to do such a thing. It’s possible if they had the source material, I guess. I didn’t get a chance to ask more questions. I was being electrocuted and it was very unpleasant.”
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle thought about what he should share. Would it help the situation or make the situation more confusing? Clones. Should it matter? Did it matter? However, if it was possible that they were dealing with a clone it would be interesting. Kyle find himself curious about this, but decided to set it aside. Whether this individual was a clone or not it was after Koriand’r and given the fact that she was currently residing on Earth it placed the planet in jeopardy. It could quickly become a battlefield, or a bargaining chip and Kyle rather avoid either of those possibilities. He was determined to make sure that was not an option.
Koriand’r’s frustration was the least of his concerns at the moment, because she was currently was the epitome of frustration. Whether it was intentional or not she was not being as forthcoming as Kyle believed she could, because he didn’t think for a moment she was naive, far from it. Every so then he saw glimpses of the person that he wanted to get to know. Not the bubbling individual that spun tales of woe that made as about much sense as a Klingon saying Kahless skipped in fields in flowers hand in hand with a Romulan.
This was definitely two plus two equals five situation and right now there was only one person that could correct the equation.
“So, it’s possible that we can be dealing with an actual Czarnian or a clone of one?” Makes you wonder who’s churning out clones and what that could mean.
And she wants to use her powers of seduction to pump him for information. Then what? There was no real follow through there. More like hopeful humpings and potential for a bad plan of action afterwards.
“What I know of the last Czarnian is that he doesn’t roll over on his contracts. It’s part of his code. Maybe that’s a rumor. If he’s a clone, then maybe that didn’t make it through the process. Who knows, but we could be dealing with either or.” That’s the way he saw it.
“That aside, when he decides to make his next move I would prefer it to be away from earth. Alien battlefields don’t make for friendship bracelets and ice cream parties. Usually they you strapped to table and cut open. Additionally, there’s no telling if there isn’t another bounty hunter waiting in the wings.” Home court advantage only goes so far and based what he knew the amount of destruction that the Czarnian could cause would devastate the planet and if he was a clone who’s to say there aren’t more waiting to take his place and finish the job. Though this is a bit of an odd situation giving his best bud was cloned and engineered himself.
“So, how do we want to handle this? Step 1 is to remove Earth from the equation. Step 2 is to acquire information and neutralize threats. Step 3 is how do we stop this from becoming a common occurrence meaning that whatever business is going on at home will have to be handled or you’ll be running and fighting until the end of time and that’s no way to live. If there are cards to lay out on the table then lay them out. You no longer have the luxury to pick and choose, because I suspect you value life over death. If you wanted death you wouldn’t have fought back. You would have ended a long time ago.”
KORIAND’R: “I am without a craft that could handle space travel. What I arrived with was confiscated and it was hardly in flying shape. Physically I couldn’t handle the lack of atmosphere very long. I am strong, but I am not that strong. You could…your ring grants you the ability to do so? I’m assuming. Forgive me if I’m wrong. Do I just…go to Tamaran? I risk breaking the treaty, this would put my people at risk. Doing nothing would put the people of Earth at risk.”
The Lantern was right about her not wanting death. It was the reason she fought, it was the reason she endured. That and she didn’t want what happened to her and her people to happen to anyone else. Enduring everything had made her a hardened warrior and she hid that behind an armor of positivity and aloofness. She didn’t like peeling that armor back, it felt vulnerable. These people didn’t want an alien that had murdered so many in an effort to survive. They didn’t want a warrior that had been trained and changed to be some kind of weapon. She had seen that in how they treated Damien and in a way she and him were so very similar in that shared darkness.
“The Czarnian could be used. He has the information but he’s choosing not to share it right now. Clone or not, he’s a formidable opponent that not many would want to cross. Without pulling you out of your jurisdiction, without pulling others from their other missions and responsibility…he’s the only tool we have if he can only be turned the right direction. Or he won’t and then we’ll need to figure out how to throw him at the star you call The Sun.”
If the Lantern was looking for a peek into her brutality, there it was. She wasn’t above absolutely burning every atom of his body. Still, more may come.
“I don’t know what else to do. In the end, I’m the problem, I’m the focus of this. Do I turn myself back over to the Daem? It’s not death, it would cease any hardships for either problem. They would have to deal with whoever made the contract themselves. Their problem. The odds are not great.”
GREEN LANTERN: “You already broke the treaty when you escaped.” He said it before and he said it again. “Standing here right on this ground not in the “care” of the Daem mean that the treaty is null and void. The treaty that you refer to is predicated on the idea that you would remain in the care. Unless there is something that I misunderstanding? You have violated said treated by making your escape.” He arched his brow.
“Before we go any further. Before we say anything else tell me what is the difference between you escaping and you going home? The treaty went up into smoke when you escaped.” He generated a story book and sent a rocket ship through it. “You’re blowing holes through you’re own cover story. So shall we start again from beginning or shall we continue from the middle of this half-truth, half fiction word dance you want me to engage in?”
KORIAND’R: The truth hurt. The truth she was attempting to deny all this time was thrown right in her face and it hurt worse than a slap. She needed to be told that, it took hearing it from someone else, someone who was angry and frustrated at her for it to really sink in. When it hit, she shrunk back into the couch and pulled her knees up to her chest. It was like feeling helpless again. She was a prisoner to her actions and the consequences that had rippled across the cosmos.
She broke the treaty. It didn’t matter what the reasons were or what she was trying to escape. It was a very simple chain of events, she escaped and this put Tamaran in a bad position. If the bounty had come from Tamaran like the Czarnian said, it was highly possible it came directly from royal decree. This more than likely meant that her beloved sister, Komand’r, issued the order herself. Another truth that was painful and it made her a little angry as well.
“Then I broke it. I brought this on myself and to my people. It is my responsibility to set things right but I will not surrender myself to such torment again. I feel…I feel like breaking things until it is fixed. I may even need to come against my own sister, the queen. This is not what heroes do. Does this make me a horrible person, Lantern? Does this make me as bad as they are?”
Those green eyes were wide when she looked to the man. She was out of tears to cry over her situation and it didn’t feel like it was appropriate. Still, she was nearly overwhelmed by everything she felt in this very moment. It didn’t feel like there was a ‘right’ solution.
GREEN LANTERN: “I’m less concerned about whether or not this means you’re a hero. I’m more concerned about what you want to do about this. Your actions have consequences and it’s time to deal with them. I could sit, get you something to drink and we can commiserate about what a shitty deal you got. I could say that someone in a similar situation probably would make the same choice over and over again. I don’t know. I can’t deal in hypotheticals. I have to play the cards that have been dealt as do you.” There was no way around that.
“That said if we’re working under the assumption that your sister has decided that you’re not worth the salt of your tears then we have a place to start from. This is not about whether or not you’re a hero it’s about what your survival means to you? I mean if I go big picture. I can say. Well, if one person is the cost for my planets survival than by all means let’s do this, but at what cost? Honestly, truthfully, hasn’t that struck you as odd that your planet came under attack. Your parents killed and it all stops because this deal is struck. The planet’s survival comes down to one single person being placed into the care into the aggressors. They get you and everything’s good now? Wars are usually fought over something for something. Not just because some group wants one person unless there’s something you’re not sharing or something that you’re not aware of. Theft and plunder of resources I get. Oppression I get.” Those were things that people have fought over before. A single person out of an entire planet?
“This I don’t quite get, but let’s start. What do you know about your sister? What kind of leader is she? She handed you over to the people who murdered her parents. She gave you up to stop a war. For the good of the planet. It sells well, but no festering anger or hate for the Daem? Now she or someone within her government have sent a bounty hunter after you?” He paused for a second.
“To what? Prove to the Daem that you are no friend of Tamaran? I mean…let’s think about this for a second. If this is coming from Tamaran a planet that lost a war it sounds like they’ve recovered quite well. Well enough to hire a bounty hunter and from the sounds of it he doesn’t come cheap. They can set this in motion so quickly. Doesn’t that strike you as odd?” It felt odd.
“What do you know if anything about the arrangement that was established after your were handed over. Did the Daem pack up and head to parts for unknown or did they maintain contact with Tamaran?” She may not know, but Kyle was trying to figure out what was what. He was also trying to figure out motives.
“Let’s not forget that if the Czarnian fails there are going to be more bounty hunters. As bounty hunters fail then the price will go up. How many coffers does Tamaran have to offer up? Is this the legacy you want for your homeworld? Where does it end? Say the bounty hunter kills you, succeeds in ending your life what happens then? It’s not like this a clause in the treaty is it? In the event you escape then you die. All is forgiven and the Daem forgives Tamaran? Doubtful. Do they get someone to take in your place and they become the tribute? The fate of a world rests on one person’s forced sacrifice?”
KORIAND’R: “Taking hostage is common practice to gain political leverage. Sometimes it’s not aggressive at all, some royals taken as wards instead and raised with different families to create bonds and ties. It’s not the strength of a marriage bond but it’s a show of good will between two families. Taking me may have had the effect of making my sister compliant to their demands, I don’t know what has happened since. They could have reshaped the entire political structure of the kingdom in my absence. I’m not just one person, I’m a symbol of my people, I’m a princess, I hold…held…power and influence.”
Talking this out sort of helped things make sense to her. She had to withdraw herself from her emotions about her sister to see it.
“I’m a threat, Lantern. If I am free, I am also free to disrupt whatever they have established. If my sister is out of the picture, I am next in line to rule. I don’t know if this is being done to get in the favor of the Daem again. I honestly don’t know what would make me so valuable otherwise. What they did to me made me much stronger, it unlocked power in me that was considered very dangerous. I could have easily struck a hole in the hull of their ship with a powerful blast.”
She lifts her head to give him a slight glare, “I’m not dying. It wouldn’t set things right, the next bully race would just come along and start the whole cycle all over again. Maybe not soon but perhaps the same thing would happen to my sister that happened to my parents.”
She didn’t have all the answers to these questions, the fact she didn’t was very frustrating.
“…Dr Light mentioned seeing a doctor, a medical one to see if there was something uniquely tied to me. I am not thrilled by the idea, I am absolutely nearly paralyzed with fright at the thought, but perhaps it would answer some questions.”
GREEN LANTERN: “That I’m familiar with, but you weren’t taken hostage, you were handed over. They didn’t come in and snatch you. Your sister passed you over and usually when something like that happens it occurs because the individual that was the aggressor needed to be put in check to ensure they wouldn’t be foolish to do that again. At least that’s would make more sense.”
He looked over at her. “Which would suggest that the people of Tamaran put up some type of resistance at some point. See, we keep going in circles about this and you keep telling me you were given to the Daem, but from what I understand the Daem were individuals that were causing great harm to Tamaran, so before I move forward again. Did Tamaran get conquered or did they put up resistance and get dealt a decisive blow that caused you to be taken as their “ward”? They didn’t need to stop anything if they were winning? They wouldn’t need you to keep the planet in check. They already murdered the ruling class. So, can you expand on the events with the Daem, beause otherwise I’m going to get stuck here and continue to wonder how this come to pass and have thoughts that maybe I shouldn’t have about motivations.”
He shrugged “There is always going to be someone that thinks that they can push people around. That they can do whatever they want, but see that’s the thing. If the Daem are the bullies and they were winning was it some type of situation where they were like. Alright we kicked you around enough we’re going to let you have your queen, but to remind you we’re in charge we’re going to take her sister and we’re going to what? See that’s where you lose me. They bully you for what? Resources? Then decide to take you and go off and what bully another planet? Beyond having you whatever checks do they have? They have all the upper hands here. Did they really need you to remind a defeated people who was in charge?”
KORIAND’R: “There was a lot of destruction. Many people died. We were up against weaponry that destroyed what defenses we had. I did not witness much, my sister and I were protected by the guard for as long as they were able to. I do not know how to answer these questions as I am not sure and like I’ve said before, I was a child. It was some time ago. I also do not know the details of the arrangement. My life after those events was very different and a lot of information was kept from me. I spent a lot of time in cells and labs, drugged or in too much pain to really be completely coherent of what was going on around me.”
She wanted to know the answers to those questions too but she had no way of truly knowing at the moment. The only one with a small bit of information was the one hunting her.
“The Hunter may know what I do not.”
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle took in the information that was provide and let it sit for a moment. There were things that he could say and do that could help and hinder. There were dozens of thoughts running through his mind, but he knew better than to get away from him. He should be overwhelmed, but he wasn’t. From the moment he started speaking he spoke with one thought on his mind. There were innocent lives at stake here. There were situations that he would never be able to control or assert some influence over, this was not one of them. He was taking part in this and why he may not win ever little battle here he could to make sure that his points were made, understood, and not set aside.
Whether people wanted him to or not he had been entrusted with the office a Green Lantern, it wasn’t about trying be the best it was about doing what was best. He could make it a numbers game, but the fact of the matter was this was not a problem that the people of earth needed to take on, nor should they. This was something that needed to be handled away from Earth and probably as far away from the sector as possible.
There were far too many unknowns, but that would not prevent him from doing what he felt was necessary to try to bring this to resolution. This could not and would not stop at Lobo. While he was a threat, a major one, he was one of potentially many. If he could be handled, then it would begin a never ending line of bounty hunters. This had to be stopped at the source.
“Alright. That’s fair, but as for Light’s Doctor that’s why you are here. He came to speak to my mentor about another option. This is us finding another option. This is us trying to prevent it from being a situation where you would be subjected to any type of procedure that was similar to the ones you endured already. This is us trying to figure out where to start.”
Sliding his hands to the arms of the chair that he sat in he pressed himself up to his feet so he could address one of their concerns. “As far determining what was done to you I could give it a go. There’s no guarantee that I would immediately find anything.” It all depended on what information his ring had access to. He could do a scan similar to the one he did on Conner. There should be away to detect changes that were made.
“A passive scan should be able to do the trick.” Kyle didn’t need to speak he merely needed to think it. He could keep chugging along, but Koriand’r might want a moment. “Though, I would be poor host if I didn’t give a chance to rest some and let you have a meal.” Give them both a chance to take in what had been shared and discussed.
KORIAND’R: “There is a chance it may reveal something, perhaps something I do not know. It may or may not help but it is all we can do this very moment. Confronting the Hunter is the next step. I do not have the ability to do that off the planet without the appropriate craft and appropriate permissions to leave. Something about the network they have orbiting the planet. That is completely in Nowhere’s hands. I do not expect them to grant me any favors, I am not in a good place with them.”
She wasn’t very hungry, she could eat until near bursting most days but her appetite was absent at the moment. She didn’t feel as if she had the luxury of time to eat and rest. The sooner this was dealt with, the better. If it meant going off planet, then that is what it meant.
“There are places on this planet that are barely inhabited by people, some barely habitable to most lifeforms. I could lure the Hunter there. Either way, this can not be avoided. At worst, I may be able to convince him to take me there alive. I will figure out how to deal with it from there. If I am not here, the threat to this planet is lessened. It’s not ideal but it’s all I have given the options.”
She shook her head at the offer of his hospitality, “Thank you. We have much work to do.”
GREEN LANTERN: “Then I’ll do the scan, but I’m going to veto the meeting with the bounty hunter here on the planet. Even if you go somewhere uninhabited it doesn’t mean that someone won’t be watching. Like I said Earth needs to be removed from the equation. If that means we leave the planet then we leave the planet.” Fights happen yes but the moment this takes a turn for the worse and someone catches wind of it it will make things incredibly difficult going forward.
“Put yourself in my shoes in anyone on Earth’s shoes. Would you want that going down on your planet? If it could be avoided? We have an individual that possibility caused the destruction of his entire species. An entire species. I’m not say one or two Czarnian’s and entire species. They were once a peaceful race and then things took a turn for the worst and he is either directly responsible or indirectly responsible. Whether it is true or not that is not a risk I’m willing to take. It is an unacceptable risk.”
There were other reasons why Kyle wanted him off planet. “His regenerative abilities are off the charts. His mere presence…” A chill ran through him as he considered. The possibilities. What if NOWHERE got their hands on a sample just enough to create some last resort type of weapon. What if he was turned against Conner, Wonder Woman, any metahuman that got out of line. What if they made dozens of them them that they could control. What if they behaved as the original. Was this a game of hypotheticals? Yes. However, given the rumors, what he gathered from Conner, and various bits of rhetoric if something wasn’t recovered from the Mariposa this Lantern in training would rather avoid gifting them with anything of that sort.
“The risk is too high. As for not being permitted to leave. Let me worry about that.” Among other things. They would have to figure out where this meeting and/or confrontation would take place. He didn’t care if he sounded or was behaving like an alarmist, but this wasn’t the time for him to go conservative when it came to risk.
“Let’s get the scan completed.” With a thought visor glasses appeared over his eyes they were tinted green and appeared to be a single piece that spanned across his eyes. They began as outlines that quickly were filled in as if they were bring drawn out of air. To Kori they looked like nothing more than high tech specs, but Kyle there was a HUD that gave him various readouts that were projected in front of him. They could be made visible to Kori, he was making sure everything is working order which it was.
“I’m going to need you to stand up so I scan you.”
ALAN: … and then…
Everything around the two turns green, just seconds before the spirits all around them begin to take shape. Little ghostly elements of the green spawning to life. Small impish creatures. With blue-white eyes, white hair, and smurf-like skin tones. Kyle has seen the figments of his Mentor’s before. They don’t normally have any other coloration but that of the green, similar to his own constructs. This is different. One by one their eyes turn toward Kyle and Koriand’r. Each of the impish creatures seems to have the ability to look through you with those thousand yard stares.
Except that their shapes are suddenly dispersed by…
“…. times up, Lantern. If you’re going, you’re going now. They’re coming,” Alan Scott isn’t wearing his mussed up old three piece suit, his hair isn’t loosely kept and for perhaps the very first time he doesn’t seem even the slightest bit inebriated. “If you’re both here when they get here. She’s going in a Cage and you’re going back to your Mother, without the Ring.”
“Make a choice. Right now. What do you stand for, Kyle?”
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle was in the middle of completing his scan which provided him with useful information, but noting that seemed to speak of the Daemonites. He was about to speak when the ring decided to convey some important information.
[Warning: This deals with a banished sector, please return to your central battery and await instructions.] The scan stopped and the construct disappeared.
That was not good. Definitely not good. Just then the images began to appear, they seemed to be fading into reality out of nothingness the green images, but as they came into focus he saw the eyes, eyes he had seen before. This had gone from bad to worse it seemed as Kyle took a deep breath and within in a flash they were gone and…Alan?
Was that really him? He didn’t have time to can’t his head to the side because even when they were training Alan still did it with a smoking jacket on and a drink in his hand. They’re coming. He didn’t need to be told who they were given the eyes that had gazed upon him. He had a choice to make. Hadn’t he already made it?
Saying it is one thing doing something about it is another and right now he wasn’t going to surrender the ring. Not because of something that needed to be done. He knew that there would be consequences, but if they were going to come and reclaim the ring then it was going to have to be done for something more than a simple scan.
“I think both know answer to that. I was given a ring to help keep the peace. To do what needs to be done to protect others. To help restore order. I chose to help those that need help. That’s never going to change.” It was time for them to go. They really can’t be the Guardians of the Universe less one Sector. That’s really not what they call themselves right? They say Guardians of the Universe. They are empowered to help keep order. Things have gone wrong and now it’s on his doorstep. He has no time to argue that point doubtful that they would listen.
“Time to go Princess. My superiors are coming to try repo my ring and put you in the clink.” And that’s not happening. Time to stay a step ahead as long as they can.
KORIAND’R: Kori shot up on the couch. She was on her feet, hands balled in fists and standing far taller than everyone in the room because she was actually standing on the couch itself. It was the quickest reaction she could have. The room went green and there were very strange figures and suddenly, two Lanterns. Were there two here?! How was that even possible and was this planet in that much of a threat that they needed both here?
She was shocked, looking between the two of them. She wasn’t sure what happened exactly but there was certainly something happening.
“That is not going to happen, I don’t even want to know what a clink is.”
She was trying to picture what that might be in her head but she had trouble figuring out something that made sense. It seemed such a silly word and it was conjuring similar silly imagery.
“Then we go…”
Her eyes were on the other Lantern, perhaps considering whether or not he was going to stop them or hinder their escape from this incoming threat. She wasn’t even sure where they were going, out of their reach? To Tamaran? To some far corner of space where nothing was?
ALAN: POST MISSING
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle can feel his heart racing just a tad faster. Adrenalin was kicking in. He focused on what Alan was saying. Six or seven recharges at the most then he would be cut off. Then he would have to use Alan’s old Lantern to recharge his ring. Kyle closed his eyes for a moment and remembered what Ganthet told him in the prerecorded message. Kyle was the only one that could limit what he could do. If there was a enemy that stood before him it would be Kyle himself. That’s what he focused on. He understood the risks of charging up his ring with the Starheart Lantern, but if he didn’t try then Ganthet had every right to take the ring back.
“Got it. Ration my power. Last resort is your Lantern.” He took the Lantern from Alan nodding. “Lobo on the dark side of the moon.” He looked at Kori then back to Alan. “Thank you, Alan. I promise I won’t let either of you down. Thank you Starheart.” He didn’t have time to go on about anything. “I don’t know how long I’m going to be gone. My friend the one I was going to seek out Ted Kord for. Pass Ted’s name to him. Tell him I think he can help with his situation. He’ll know what I’m talking about.” His mom. She’ll be okay. She’s always okay.
“We have to go.” He held onto the Lantern his own was with him at all times. He made sure of that. It just wasn’t visible. He wasn’t sure if he could do the same with Alan’s lantern. He considered what he could make part of him thought Falcon, but he needed conserve his power.
Walking towards the door Kyle nodded. “I’ll make sure I keep my ears open for you.” Was he ready? Was he ever going to be ready? His mother told him that sometimes there was nothing to it, but to do it. This was one of those times.
The moment they stepped outside a construct began to appear before them. It was a interesting design. It was a shaped like a ‘T” with the end coming to the point and the top making the wings. The cockpit was spherical, but large enough for two. There was a gun that was along the bottom of the ship tip and the back of it appeared to have a booster of some kind. Anyone that was familiar with Cowboy Bepop would instantly recognize the Sword Fish II with some modifications.
Kyle got into the front when the cock pit opened. “Strap yourself in.” He told Kori as he did the same once she was inside. Once she was in the hatch closed. The craft roared to life and they were already lifting off, rocketing towards the sky. They needed a ship and now they had one. They were comfortable, but there would be no walking around or auto pilot, they were basically going to be hot rodding it.
“Our first destination. Darkside of the moon. Best to meet this head on. Agreed?”
KORIAND’R: Kori was a little annoyed, but she only allowed it to show a moment. She didn’t understand what was going on between the Lanterns, only that the Lantern she was dealing with was on a ration with his power. It was noted. She may need to do quite a bit of the heavy hitting if they encountered problems to avoid him using his own power. Everything was going so quickly, moving at such a pace that it seemed difficult to keep with but she adapted, she was quick to catch on. Some things weren’t worth questioning.
Part of her annoyance was the fact he could craft a space-worthy ship so easily. He could have just mentioned that it wasn’t a problem as she had indicated multiple times. She said nothing though, instead following his orders and settling into the cockpit quickly, the harness straps quickly clicking into place. This wasn’t her first rodeo with a quick escape and she doubted this would be her last. She just didn’t like that she had very little control over the situation at the moment.
“No. No stopping. Swing close enough for him to see us. He’s been stalking after me, he’ll continue to do so if he sees I’ve left. The faster we pull him away, the sooner we can get to our destination.”
Tamaran. Home. She wondered if it was even the same anymore, she had such fond memories of her home planet. Those words were not forgotten though, advice to not trust her sister no matter what she says. Perhaps time and their experiences had changed them both. She hoped it didn’t change Kom for the worst but there was no telling what happened in the years since Kori had been away. She only hoped her sister didn’t endure the torment she did. She didn’t deserve that. No one did.
“If he is able to catch up, we can deal with him then. Let him work for the prize…or his demise.”
Something had certainly changed over time. Kori felt a little bit like her old self at the moment, the personality she had to adopt for her survival, the darker edge she needed to claw through each day and each victory. Those passions she often wore on her sleeve were tossed aside for the moment and the gaze she had towards the unfamiliar evening sky was full of determination. It was time to end this, to find some closure and discover the true reasoning for the events that changed the course of her life so violently.
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?
Synopsis: Kyle is out discussing the pros and cons of been a Green Lantern to determine whether or not he should tell his mother. His discussion of one is interrupted by a high speeding Koriand’r aka Starfire. Kyle catches up with her and they proceed to make introductions.
KYLE: To say that things had gone from interesting to amazing would be an understatement. One moment I went from trying to learn more about who the previous Green Lantern to making a brand-new friend not only a new friend, we were totally going to be best buds. Superbuddies. That was totally going to be us, though I think I should find a better name than that. Oh yeah the Riggs and Murtaugh of superheroes.
Conner’s tip totally paid off. Alan is way awesome if not a little terrifying during training. I really did not expect a subway train to come barreling towards me like I was James Bond and anyone who’s met me knows that I’m anything but that, but it was good. I needed the sessions. Of course, that means that I’m totally going to be coming back for more. That was a promise, because how else am I going to make sure that I’m the best Green Lantern I can be. Me Kyle Rayner a Green Lantern that’s best buds with Superman.
Check me out.
Sailing through the air I stop for a moment taking stock in everything that’s happened. What are the pros of my life.
I’m the Green Lantern. I’m best buds with Superman. I have a kick ass mentor who was the original Green Lantern of Earth.
Lines slid across the air as white board or in this case a green board was created before my very eyes as I listed out the pros and if there are pros there have to be cons.
Previous Green Lantern right before me is responsible for really, really bad things. My mom could become a target if my secret is found out. Things aren’t the best for superheroes right now.
The words join the others that write themselves across the projected white board in front of me. Sometimes it helped to visualize it.
Did the pros out way the cons? That was the question. Right in this moment I could say yes. Still there was a lot for me to learn. However, at the moment I was still over the moment as I moved up into the air doing a corkscrew maneuver.
“I can be a soldier, I can be a king. I can be your president, gangster on the scene. I can be your hip-hop bulletproof vest. I can be the tattoo bleeding on your chest.”
Some things can’t be helped, and everyone knows that I like to sing and engage in seriously bad dancing when I think I can’t be seen. Besides up this high who can see me as I literally dance on air, or dance on cloud Mine.
“I can be a soldier, I can be a king. I can be your president, gangster on the scene. I can be your hip-hop bulletproof vest. I can be the tattoo bleeding on your chest.” I belt out again before I’m interrupted by…
[Inhabitant of Sector 2828 detected.]
The ring stated. My eyes glanced down towards it before turning left right then look up then down.
“Sector 2828? Inhabitant? Alien?”
[2000 feet. 1500 feet. 500 feet.]
WHOOSH! There he, she, it went and there was a contrail for me to
“Well, then.” Dusting myself off. “Pursuit time.”
iTunes. Internal tunes that is. “Boys Want to be Her – Peaches.”
“Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040. Motoslave.” A green version of Pris’s battle motorcycle was created by the ring. Slipping onto it I started it up, reved it and began my pursuit. I reigned it in by deciding against the flashing police light and siren, but pretty soon I caught up with the Sector 2828 Inhabitant.
I had a light generated helmet on that read MWPD across the front of it with the 2814 Precinct beneath it.
KORIAND’R: She wasn’t planning to swoop between buildings and cause a mass panic. Exploring in silence on the rooftops had become cumbersome and irritating. There wasn’t much interesting to see but she had taken away some notes. The real work could begin if and when that device could be designed for her. For some odd reason it had made her feel a little more at ease, the thought of being able to interact freely without anyone becoming freighted by her appearance or her origins was a very exciting one.
The snow heavy clouds above Gotham were softly glowing a warmish orange hue, each time Kori had dove into them or around them and above them, well out of sight and reach of the citizens below. Well, or so she thought. Someone was able to reach her and the flashing lights were caught from the corner of her eye. She could have sped off, gone faster, moved back to Metropolis and back to Conner where at least more predictable things happened.
She stopped. It was very sudden, very quick and her arms were crossed over her chest as she turned in the air to face the ‘sky police’.
“It is illegal to fly too?!”
KYLE: The helmet disappeared, but the mask remained as I slipped off the bike which disappeared the moment I moved away from it. Before my eyes a HUD displayed appeared along with lens over the eyes of my mask. The lens weren’t to hide my eyes, but they were scanning providing me with information that I would deem useful.
It had worked for Conner, why wouldn’t it work here. It was a massive scan it wouldn’t register, because there was no dramatic flash and sweep of light. Instead I was being feed information. The ring seemed to be aware of the individual, young woman. Don’t say girl, because that might be rude.
Information began to appear before my eyes. Tamaranean. Augmented. I glanced back towards Koriand’r as additional information was fed to me. It was a combination of the construct, and the information that was stored within the ring.
She was an alien.
“You were traveling awfully fast and flying on your own power can get you noticed by all kinds of people. Good, bad and well I would hate for it to be bad.” I say honestly while hovering there in the air. Did she know about the Lantern Corps? I wondered how I should address her.
Universal Greeting! No, no, don’t do that. Wait she spoke English. The ring wasn’t acting like a Tardis was it? Did it? Could it? OH MY GOD! What if it did have a translation matrix field.
Kyle. Back on track.
“I’m the Green Latern of Sector…” What did the ring say? 2828 Oh god that’s like Cleopatra 2525. Wait it was on the helmet. “…2814. The planet Earth is my home. If you come in peace. Welcome to earth visitor from Tamaran. If you have not come into peace well, let’s pretend you do, because if you don’t I’ll have to take you to jail and then you’ll tell your friends about how we’re locking up aliens left and right and really, that’s not what I want to happen. So, you come in peace right?”
I was having one of those moments wasn’t I?
“I also have a superpower. I know when people are lying to me.” Emma Swan for the win. Wait…Emma could never tell when people were lying to her? D’oh!
KORIAND’R: “You’re…a lantern,” her green eyes widened as her arms dropped to her sides. For a brief moment she was searching her memories, memories from what felt like an entirely different life. She had been told stories, she remembered the stories, but she had never met a Lantern in person. They didn’t need to come to her planet. Tamaran was peaceful and self-sufficient, there was no crisis that needed tending to until…well, the rest is history now.
“I do not lie, Green Lantern. I am also not a threat. My species is peaceful…” …until provoked, or forced to fight. Well, they were known for being passionate.
She frowned for a moment. She had felt like she had told everyone her story a hundred times over and at this point it was just emotionally exhausting.
“My name is Koriand’r, I am a refugee, visiting would be a massive understatement. My escape ship crashed into the bay, I was imprisoned for a very long time. Many earth years. My friends, they pulled me from the ship and are looking after me. Wonder Woman and Superman.”
She had hoped dropping their names may help clarify the situation, she had been here for a little while now. She opted to leave M’Gann out of the equation, it was an action did in kindness to keep her out of whatever mess this may bring on. The Lanterns were one organization and NOWHERE was something else entirely.
“I apologize, I was attempting to be discreet and it has been so long since I have flown.”
KYLE: She knew who a Lantern was. Seeing her eyes widen like that would have brought a smile to my face, but I’m supposed to be all official. Still. Green Lantern cred. I couldn’t help, but be jazzed about that, but at the same time she didn’t back away. So that was something. She’s not the only one that was making a bit of a display, but if I’m going to be the Green Lantern then I was going to be the Green Lantern. Lantern’s don’t skulk around in the dark. At least that’s not the feeling I got.
God or bad, rain or shine I was going to make sure that the people who needed to get my help received it.
Information was still coming across the HUD when I stopped it. The frown gave me pause, but I waited for her to explain how she came to be here. I’m sure there was more to the story, but it’s interesting that off all the places she could have crashed it was Earth. “I’m afraid that I’m not acquainted with Wonder Woman. I’ve wanted to meet her.” I may be a little curious. Conner was going to pick up macaroons for her from Paris. You just don’t do that for anyone.
“However, Superman is…” Total best bud. We’re so going to hang out and help make the world a better place. “…is a close colleague of mine.” Of mine. Maybe I should have swapped that around. Saying he’s good people would probably not be the way I want to go with that. Still, if she was being looked after by them I had to wonder.
“Apologies aren’t necessary, but Superman and Wonder Woman frequent Metropolis.” Not that it was far away and it hadn’t dawned on me that she meant Gotham Bay. “What brings you to Gotham?” Bigger question. Do they know she’s here and does she know about the unwritten rule.
The heroes here don’t like capes coming into their city. That’s more or less what Alan said. Then there was the bull horn. NO CAPES IN GOTHAM! Among other things. When he wants to hammer in a point he can be quite effective.
Flying’s the best. “I see. Hard to do so when there are so many rules and people potentially watching. I get that.” It’s pretty new for me. I wonder if she’s been flying for a while. Interesting.
KORIAND’R: “I was checking up on someone who was there when I landed. He was kind to me. He still is. I also understand my kind may not be welcome there. My decision to fly was on impulse, the clouds should have been concealing me.”
For a moment maybe there was just a rule that no fun was allowed. Somehow, she got on the radar of the Lantern this way. That couldn’t wholly me an awful thing, she wasn’t doing anything wrong and wasn’t planning to either, at least from her perspective.
“I set the course on the ship as far as it could go, to the most suitable inhabited planet. Do you know of The Daem? They were my captors. They invaded my planet and took me hostage, while my sister was left to rule and provide them with resources. It was not one of those honorable hostage situations. I was forced to fight to live, when I wasn’t fighting they were experimenting on me. If I disobeyed I was punished harshly. Failure was worse. I have….I….many perished at my hands, Lantern.”
There were tears in her eyes as her words began to choke up on her. She wasn’t sure why she had confessed to all of this, she couldn’t forgive herself, how could others forgive her? She could have let herself die but the cycle would have just gone on without her. She’d have just been another body thrown out the air-lock or preserved in their labs for study.
“I just want to do the right thing. I want to help others. I never want anyone to experience what I did.”
KYLE: Someone kind? Here? I thought for a moment who could have been here, but there were far too many people to consider not to mention I don’t know everyone.
“There are many ways to detect someone. Earth is a wonderful place with wonderful people, but things haven’t been easy over the last decade. There are some that chose not to trust. They choose to pull away and close themselves off to the wonders of the world, the galaxy…the universe. They rather focus on what’s happening here and only here and it’s easy to when you’re not aware.” When you don’t realize how truly vast the universe is. Perhaps it scares them because to consider its vastness they get caught up in feeling insignificant. A drop within a seemingly endless ocean. It’s possible.
I didn’t lose track of her words I was right there with her as she spoke of what happened. “The Daem? I can’t say that I am, but I can make it a point to learn about them.” They attacked her planet, took her hostage? Isn’t this something that Green Lanterns are supposed to stop? Don’t we stop bad things from happening? Is this what happens when light goes out in the universe where there are no Green Lanterns. Sector 2828 who was the Green Lantern of that Sector did…Jordan.
The thought off it caused my chest to tighten. The idea that what happened here could have rippled across all of space. That she could have been casualty of this. I pull it together, because I focus on what Alan and I spoke about. About what and Conner and spoke about. Living up to people who carried our mantles. Being who they were versus who we want to be.
“Experimenting.” My voice went low at the thought.
Experimenting. Making her fight. Making her a weapon. My fist clench at the thought. “I can’t say that I know what that’s like. I can only imagine, and people have told me I have a very, very, very vivid imagination. Also, my best friend went through…is going through something very similar.” I won’t let my buddy be someone’s weapon.
“People trying to control him. Make him do things that he doesn’t want to do. Sometimes…sometimes it’s a Kobyashi Maru,” I offer. “But…you broke away just like I’m going to help my friend break away so he can live the life he wants to. The one he deserves and show the world the person he can be. The hero he can be on his terms not theirs.” Not the puppet masters.
“I’m sorry for what’s happened. Even more I’m sorry that more was not do to aid you in your time in need.” Why? I want to know why, but I don’t want to get her caught up in that.
“The earth has laws many laws I can’t speak for everyone, but I can say that I meant it when I welcomed you to earth. Whether people want it or not I’m responsible for helping to protect earth and all its inhabitants, native and foreign and that includes you. You found the courage to escape our captors, Koriand’r. Take solace in that. You live. You’re free and if these Daem come looking something tells me that we will do the right thing. ”
That much was certain. “Superman and Wonder Woman will help you. If that is what you want is to help people they’ll help make it happen. Just be careful and also. It’s ok to be happy. To be free. Even though many have perished at your hand, your hand was forced. Weep for them if you must, but in the end the best you can do, the best you can hope for is to honor them. ”
KORIAND’R: “What’s a….Kobyashi Maru?”
Her head tilted to the side, it was not a term that was familiar to her, the language was not one she had absorbed yet and she felt like she should know it because the Lantern so easily let it out. The moment of confusion allowed herself to pull back together. His words were kind, reassuring. Mentally she was trying to wipe away those feelings of doubt, shame and guilt as she wiped the tears from her eyes. She was a warrior, warriors do not cry. It was one of the rare times she was allowed to and in a way it felt good to let a few tears loose.
“Yes, it felt like your friend’s situation. I am trying to be happy, Lantern. I am also making an effort to fit in, as much as I am able. I want to help the man in this city, I think I can. It would be a good opportunity for me to learn more about humans and how to blend into their culture. There is only so much the shows and movies can teach me, it’s not substitution for real situations. I enjoy very much interacting with others.”
KYLE: “Metaphor for a no-win scenario.” It slipped out, probably because I watched Star Trek II not so long ago. Still it was enough to give us both pause while I let the anger drain away and she wiped the tears away. I was angry, because it seemed like no matter what and no matter where someone was from the same things was happening. I can’t say that earth was the safest place, because I know that the same people that Conner was attempting to liberate himself from would be the same people that would see Koriand’r as a new resource to mine so to speak.
Still she was being looked out for by Conner and Wonder Woman. There was a tightrope that was being walked and it seemed that with each passing day it was being pulling tighter. Which meant that I needed to get in touch with Conner as soon as possible so we could meet with Kord and he could help do something about the suit.
However, I focused on the matter at hand. “Hmm. I see. ” I don’t recall see seeing any press conference about Koriand’r. “Given your status. I think you should talk to Wonder Woman and Superman about it. Make sure they know where you’re at. From what I can tell not everyone is aware of your presence and the last thing anyone wants is for there to be a misunderstanding.” And that could easily and quickly happen.
“Going back and forth between the two cities someone’s bound to notice. Just be careful.”
KORIAND’R: “They know where I’m at. Maybe not Superman but….”
She was imploring him with her gaze. He must have known something about NOWHERE and she was receiving a mixed bag of information about them. She wasn’t allowed to just roam the globe without some rules or someone watching over her. M’gann may have said she was leaving but she could be right beside them, observing and watching. Koriand’r hoped there was more trust than that between them though.
“I can use the public transportation when I am able to conceal myself more appropriately. I thought I would just, try not to show that I am stronger and faster and able to fire energy blasts from my hands. Just…blend in. Does that make any sense? I could try to pretend to be like them and I can use that to learn. I have so very much to learn about this planet and the people if I am to spend the rest of my days here.”
KYLE: It was possible that they knew where she was at, but at the same time they comprised of who exactly. Things like this could become problematic given everything that’s occurred involving aliens. Given everything that I’ve learned over a few short weeks I knew that there were some aliens that were bad news and some that weren’t. The same could be same about anyone really, but the majority of public had begun to accept a certain narrative that wasn’t helped by the Coast City incident. It’s one of the reasons that I was worried, because this could quickly go badly for everyone involved.
I knew what she was asking, and while I heard stories and I knew what Conner told me and what he inferred, but he was apart of that organization. If I said something it could undermine anything he and Wonder Woman were trying to do to help protect Kori and place her in far greater danger than she wanted to find herself in. Also, it sounded like she wanted some dirt.
This had a really ‘What’s the tea, sis’ vibe to it.
“Trust Superman and Wonder Woman.” It’s what I could say at best. “Learn what you can about Earth, Kori. There’s plenty of information out there. “ I didn’t want her to make a judgement based on my opinion. I knew there were unsavory elements in the government, but could I identify them all know. Also she could find allies within the system and it sounded like she had some already and I didn’t want to be the person that soured that by a few misplaced words.
Conceal herself? I understand why she would want to do that. I wonder if it was a suggestion she made or someone else made. I get why it would happen, but…I don’t know. There’s this part of me can see how that would make things easier, but I know I could see how it backfire.
“Take a step a day at a time. I think you’ll be able to figure out how much of who you are to reveal to the world. There’s only so much that you can conceal. There will always come a point when you have to choose between making the right choice for the moment versus the best choice for you. Sometimes it may happen so quickly that you might not even realized you’ve made it. I guess what I’m trying to say is to be authentic. Be the you that you want to be. You didn’t escape from one prison to become trapped in another.”
KORIAND’R: “That was exactly what I was trying to do, what I said to my friend. I don’t want to put myself in another situation where I’m a slave, where my freedom is stripped from me. I don’t even want the illusion of freedom, and I feel like that is what is being offered. I’m taking it slowly and being very cautious of my actions with…them.”
She didn’t even know how else to word it without outright saying the name and she was attempting to be subtle but subtlety didn’t always come easy for her. She was also trying to absorb as much information she could and that did mean interacting with some of the other ‘agents’. If she was better educated on the situation she could at least make a better decision on how to handle it. She tried not to think about the worst possible outcomes. They didn’t set well with her.
“Are you able to check with someone about Tamaran? To see if my sister is safe? She was crowned queen when I was taken, I have been very worried about her. It would soothe my spirit to know she’s okay.”
It was the closest she had gotten to admitting she was actually royalty to the Lantern. She tried not to advertise it otherwise, not that it could be used for any political gain at all. These people did not have the space travel technology even anywhere near where they would have to have it to find her planet.
“Please, let me know if I do something bad? I don’t want to create a problem, or make an existing problem worse.”
KYLE: It was the best that I could do at the moment. I didn’t want to jeopardize anything by saying too much. All of this had to be a bit overwhelming. A new world, alone, trying to figure out who she could trust. Figuring out if we could trust her. I didn’t sense that she was being deceitful. If I said anything that swayed her thoughts one way or another I could accidentally put her in a dangerous situation. If I told her to run, then Nowhere would be after her, and they wouldn’t stop until they had her in custody and what ever latitude that had given her could be snatched away. The only thing I could do is suggest that she be careful. Any more than than then I risk turning a delicate situation into a disastrous one.
However, given the fact that she was here gave me pause. Not anything I would say openly. No, better to share that with Conner. She’s new to the world, hasn’t been introduced and despite the fact she was high in the sky from what I gathered from Conner and Alan Nowhere isn’t someone to let something like this happen. The more I thought about the more I believed she was right that they knew where she was, but how far did that go and in what context.
I don’t want to go down the path of conspiracy, but you had to wonder what they were playing at if they were playing at anything and given the fact that I was working to help get Nowhere out of Conner’s hair I had to assume that they would use whatever means to get what they wanted.
However all of that was sidelined when she asked me about Tamaran and then her sister.
“I can see what I can do.” How do I tell her that in terms of Lantern’s I’m it. At least that’s what Ganthet said. I don’t know if I want to get into the fact that the previous Lantern went all Dark Side turned to Vader and decided to Order 66 the other Lanterns. I don’t know how successful he was in his efforts. “I can’t make any promises, but I can try.” That’s all I could promise for now.
“If that’s your way of asking if I’ll be your friend. I can do that. Friends help each other out.”
KORIAND’R: “I would be happy to help you in return. I tend to feel like I am imposing on all the kindness these days and I have very little to offer. Someday I will have more I can offer in return but right now I don’t have much. Does that make much sense? I suppose my clothes are all that I own and everything I had before was taken when I arrived. There wasn’t much. Those are just things though. I have skills I can offer but…”
Her lips twisted as she mentally reminded herself not to say too much, even to the Lantern. She didn’t know who she could trust just yet. He likely knew what she was probably capable of, if he had any data on her people at all. Unfortunately there were less tangible things that could be taken advantage of too. Her faith, her honor, her pride, all of those things had been chipped away at until there was very little remaining. She was just trying to gather up the pieces and pull it all together so she could function and slowly rebuild. Such weaknesses are things she would never admit to. Awful individuals could take advantage of it.
“I will be assistance to you if you are in need.”
KYLE: “You’re not imposing. I think if I found myself in your shoes, you would do the same.” This is it. This is a moment whether people believe it or not and it has little to do with me being Kyle Rayner, Green Lantern, it’s all Kyle Ryaner. I don’t know what will happen. Koriand’r can make Earth her home for years to come or she could eventually leave. What will she think of Earth? What would she tell other people? What would the other beings of the galaxy, the universe think of us.
Are we a closed off planet that looks to use, abuse any and everyone that crosses our path. Or will be spoken of kindly. I want the later. Sure, I don’t want to suffer fools or be foolish, but it doesn’t mean that we have to do things that will cast us in a negative light, because with as big and vast the universe is I think, I believe we can use all the friends we can because there come a time when we need to reach out to those that lay beyond the planet. Hope gets you far, but yo have to do more than hope you have to act.
We both were being guarded had to be, but it didn’t mean that I couldn’t start to foster good relations between myself and what will probably the first of many meetings. I’m a Green Lantern, threats can be anywhere from planestside to beyond. It’s the job right?
“Thank you and I will do the same.” That said. “I should let you get back home before people start to worry.”
KORIAND’R: “I suppose I must,” she wasn’t thrilled about going back and it was clear in her voice.
This night though, it was better than nothing. It was better than watching television all day and studying. It was that divine taste of freedom and hope and purpose she had been hoping for. She had even created something of a mission for herself, but she did want to get back and reflect on her thoughts, on what she had offered. She wasn’t even sure if she could help Damien and it wasn’t very fair to expect him to help her either.
“Thank you, Green Lantern. Travel well.”
The princess was capable of picking herself up from her thoughts and perking up enough to smile. There was plenty of time to dwell on her thoughts after she returned to M’Gann.
She offered the man a polite wave, pausing only to retrieve her cell phone and quickly tap out a message. She was checking in and planning to get back quickly before too many questions were asked. Kori would have to take a different approach the next time she wandered into Gotham.
LIGHT: Not much time had passed between Koriand’r’s arrival when the D.E.O and N.O.W.H.E.R.E protocols being initiated. Of course, there were ways to handle things, official ways, but whatever the reason Superman decided that he would bring the alien to his apartment. Definitely against protocols, but given the satellite footage that had been reviewed it was there were more questions than answers that emerged. There were several individuals that wanted to know why such restraint was used.
The woman should have been brought to one of their secure facilities, after action reports filed and debriefing began while she was interviewed. Instead she was doing anything but that. That did not sit well with several individuals that knew of her arrival. Already the internet was being scrubbed to remove any images that popped. Discussions of the matter was shut down. The official story that was a weather satellite’s orbit unexpectedly began to decay.
Superman sighting in Gotham was normal. Saving the day is what he does. Why wouldn’t he intercept the satellite to prevent it from doing any damage? Besides, that was for the public relations department to deal with. That wasn’t the job that Arthur Light was dispatched to complete. His job was to ascertain what the presence of the newest visitor to earth meant for the country and the rest of the planet, among other things.
When the black SUV pulled in front of the apartment building Light stepped out holding his hand up. He didn’t want the entire team to head inside. That would-be overkill, besides he needed their eyes out here. The local office had already been notified, and their agents had already been put in to position. Why, because there was more than Superman and Wonder Woman on site to welcome the alien to Earth there was another individual.
Red Hood. He was on the radar for a number of reasons. There was little that the Company didn’t know about it especially with events in Gotham. Still, that wasn’t his concern as long as this Red Hood decided to follow the code of his colleagues. However, that was doubtful, because most of the time they rarely did so themselves when it came to traveling in and out of the city of others.
Better to plan for the worst. Hoping for the best got you killed.
Not that Dr. Light would be accompanied alone. Far from it. There was only so much that people liked to share. It was better M’gann was involved more so than Raven. Things usually took a turn for the worse when she was involved usually because of patience wore thin. There were always ‘better’ ways to make someone talk. That was the mentality and that’s how she operated.
M’gann could be reasoned with, and besides what did he have to fear? They were all allies here. They knew which side they were on? Of course, they did. He looked back towards the others offering offered the barest of smiles before waiting for his companion for the evening to join him.
“We have work to do. Items to collect. I’m sure Conner’s aware of our arrival, but be a dear and let him know that we’re on our way up and to make the woman presentable. If you wouldn’t mind.” He could call up, but there was no guarantee that the phone would be answered.
There was another reason why Light requested M’gann’s presence beyond her obvious talents. She was unique and best suited to aid with the interview. Opening the door, he motioned for M’gann to step through.
M’GANN: “Presentable to whose standards?”
I could call, too. I’ve got Conner Luthor on speed-dial, much to the chagrin of basically everyone at the Earth School I’ve been attending. I’m not sure how necessary it actually is anymore, with the cover blown but that’s not a point I’ve actually brought up. I happen to like going to school. It lets me practice. And show off. But mostly practice. Despite the fact that my cell phone is a pretty permanent fixture in hand, and my not actually looking up from it at nearly any point on the ride over here, or even now as I’m climbing out of the car, and then into the building that houses Conner’s pent-house apartment (which he never actually uses, ordinarily).
Celebrity gossip sites. Fashion. News. My thumb’s slowed down considerably on the scroll speed now that I’m in view of anyone beyond Dr. Light. Phoning? Very mundane. Especially when you’re used to working on a field team and operating with a link between the members. There’s probably only one mind I can find faster than ‘Superman’s.’
Dr. Light’s coming. He said to make ‘the woman’ ‘presentable.’ Have you been being a bad boy? I thought you weren’t into aliens anymore.
CONNER: The Penthouse.
That kind of undersells what it actually is. The entire uppermost floor of LexCorp is the reality. The entire floor, which wasn’t built originally to be some sort of luxury suite. This building was put together originally as an office building, a science laboratory and was meant to be the monument to my father’s legacy. A palace in the center of Metropolis. It’s shining beacon. At some point Lex himself had the upper floor retrofit in to living quarters, so that he would never have to venture away from his labs. At least until he made the requisite move to the White House. President for Life is a bit of a downgrade for the record.
When I was created, I lived in a laboratory. Ensconced in a tube where I was virtually raised over the course of two years. The virtual training was a simulator. One that gave me fifteen years of virtual life. Simulated memories from my genetic donors. The backwater town, I suppose came from the original Superman. While the ‘do whatever I want’ attitude was from Lex. Until finally, I could handle being toyed with no further and staged a break out. One that cost Nowhere an entire Lab and decades of research. A costly learning experience for both sides. As I was also forced to realize that the real world doesn’t just reset every time I do something wrong. Nowhere learned that I’m a bit more than just a sockpuppet soldier. Which made me valuable enough to become my Father’s son. A publicity stunt -and- a soldier at the same time.
Enter the Penthouse. Which has once more been remodeled. Because my trust fund spent the first year of my freedom being spent on every single thing a boy might want to indulge in for fun. It’s spent the last year mostly unused, as I’ve been staying a little closer to Cassandra. Now it’s a place of learning and safety for Koriand’r. Who, contrary to Damien Wayne’s warning, has had nothing to fear about this destination. Except for perhaps growing fat from all the Cheesecake, Icecream, Binge Watching and Video Games we’ve done the last twenty four hours. Most of which was spent with her in need of Human Clothing. Which only got remedied when I was able to super-speed out and get her some of Cassie’s things.
How was I supposed to know one-size doesn’t fit all? Pfft.
We’re in the middle of Stranger Things season two when the ‘Call Comes In.’ That’s no ice cream headache that has me grasping my forehead and wincing. It’s telepathy. [ I’m still working on learning how to be a good boy, bad is really my basic setting. She’s extremely presentable, if you ask me, but if you insist…” ]
“Hey, Princess. We’re about to have company. Would you like to put some of those clothes on that I brought or…?” Despite anything I may or may not have just communicated to M’Gann, I’m all too happy to let Starfire do what she wants. If for no other reason than because it’ll annoy someone else. “My friend M’Gann is coming up to meet you and she’s bringing pet, Arthur.”
KORIAND’R: The clothing was very uncomfortable. She had a great deal of difficulty understanding why it was more ‘acceptable’ to wear so many garments. It certainly wasn’t tailored to her form, the pants were tight and slid down her hips when she walked. The top was tight around her breasts and it rubbed against her skin uncomfortably. The only appealing thing she saw about human clothing was in a magazine she had found in the apartment. The pieces the women wore were much smaller and far more decorative. Imagine her disgust when she learned they were undergarments and they were typically covered by more layers of clothing. Were humans that squishy? Were they incapable of protecting themselves against the elements? It was almost sad.
It had been a nice time though. She was able to heal and charge up in the sun, she even had a proper bath and felt more like herself again…whatever it was she could scrape together after the ordeal she had been through. Things would never be the same, she was no longer a child or a teenager and she grew up during those years under very harsh conditions. A weaker mind may have broken within months, she always fought against it, she always had hope. It was probably the best that Superman behaved himself. An unwelcome touch may have sent a wall crumbling. Her rage was a terrifying thing capable of a lot of destruction. She had identified with the young girl in the television program they had watched, the girl’s rage was similarly destructive.
“I don’t like them…they itch. These ‘jeans’ are rubbing me in places that is very uncomfortable and it’s making it difficult for me to focus.”
She’d rather keep watching the program even though she had been watching most of it curled up and eyes wide and in a near constant mode of suspense wondering what was going to happen to the children.
“A pet? Like Dart? Does she bring him everywhere? What does he eat?”
LIGHT: “We shall find out won’t we?” He wanted to know exactly who and what he was dealing with. It didn’t matter what the woman wear. It was more of an inquiry than anything as they stepped into the elevator. He glanced towards the phone that the M’gann was focused on. Not that it mattered. It’s what people did these days get lost in their phones, their possessions. It’s the way of the world isn’t it?
“Curious. Was Cassandra in school today?” He was genuinely curious. Reviewing the images, she was there and then she was gone. He was certain that something took place, what he doubted anyone give him an accurate account of what happened, but this was the job. This is what he was paid to do.
Pressing the button for the penthouse he took a step back waiting for the doors to close. Protocols. Yes. They must be followed they had to be followed, because those were the rules. A decision would need to be made about to handle the matter. If he followed the protocol, then that would mean removing her from the building to take her to one of the facilities that she may or may not return from.
He had been here before in a sense. Before the incident. It wasn’t something anyone could have anticipated. Light knew that a certain point the woman would want to leave the apartment. That she would want to see the world that lie beyond the walls. They always did. He also knew that the Director would want her brought in to be processed. She was new, she was different.
It wasn’t that he felt conflicted, but Light knew things were changing. The world wasn’t the same as it was before. It was much different. “I would make a bet, but it would be a sucker’s bet. I’m sure he’s called me your pet or lap dog.” Same difference. He knew how this went. It wouldn’t be the first time. It didn’t matter the doors were opening and there was someone new to meet.
For a moment it almost seemed like he would have said something else, that there was a question on the tip of the tongue, but he switched it at the last moment. Company many through and through? Perhaps. One never knew when Light was involved. He did his job well. Asked his questions, made his assessments and shuffled off to his lab.
He could be cold. He could be distant. He also could be quite jovial when given the chance. Right now, he decided to smile, why not? It was a pleasant evening wasn’t it.
“Showtime I suppose.”
M’GANN: [ Excuses, excuses. I -don’t- insist, just passing along the message. Like. What am I? A glorified, unignorable , intercom? ]
The sarcasm and exasperation doesn’t entirely play out convincing though. It doesn’t actually offend me to be asked. It means I’ve got an excuse to use the power I get to practice with the least. Not to say I get to use any of them, except for rearranging my appearance on a daily basis. I’m wearing the face of Kelsey, former Queen Bee of St. Mary’s, who now has to share the title with some competition. It’s the easiest one to stick to for public outings, and is usually the way I look when I’m inside of NOWHERE’s facilities. It makes people a lot more uncomfortable if I look like myself, for one thing. I don’t actually like doing that. Making people uncomfortable. Sometimes I have to, though.
“Uh huh. History test today. She never misses history tests. Definitely less excited than usual about practice after school.”
Definitely looking like someone had done something to make her not super happy, too. But that’s actually not a total rarity lately. Talk about #FirstWorldProblems, right? As to his question about what Conner’s called him or not? I just shrug my shoulders. I either don’t know, or don’t care to know, or possibly don’t care to share, but it’s more likely the first two. Of the three of us, I’m actually the most prone to actually be helpful on our team.
I don’t knock, once we’ve ridden the elevator up. He knows we’re coming. I told him we’re coming. There’s also a million levels of security that would have kept Dr. Light at least out, if he didn’t want him in. That implies permission, to me. Showtime indeed.
“Knock, knock! Ooh, Conner you made a new friend. You can call me Kelsey. So nice to meet you.”
With the Kelsey face? Often comes the Kelsey manners. I’m looking Starfire up, and then down, and then up again, with a look on my face that says I don’t mean any part of this is actually nice.
[ Did you seriously put her in Cassie’s clothes? I’m pretty sure those are her favorite jeans, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to castrate you. Can I have your apartment when you’re gone? ]
CONNER: “Yeah. It was a pain to get used to real clothing at first. In the V.R. I didn’t have to worry about something fitting, it just did. Never had to worry about it chafing because it simply didn’t. I mean, I’m more or less invulnerable. So it sounds silly to me that I’m agreeing with you about clothing, but it’s more about comfort with me than anything. I think it’s the same with all Humans. Comfort. It’s comfortable to wear them, for most people. It’s also comfortable not to have to see each other. I don’t mean me, Princess, I mean that, that’s what I think it comes down to for the other Humans. One of the good things about my creation, was the gene-splicing. I’m as close as to genetically perfect as a Human or Kryptnonian can be.”
“Plus, I see through almost everything. So, my reality is a lot closer to what you’d consider normal. I see people are they really are,” a little smile says I’m being nice, but the truth is that normally it allows me to confirm people’s inferiority. Starfire is not inferior. Neither is M’Gann, who happens to be one of the only people on the planet who’s clothing I can’t see through. Since she’s not actually wearing any. At least, not normally. “A little like Dart, yes. Mostly? He eats Hopes and Dreams. He won’t bite unless you ask him too though.”
Inside of the ‘Penthouse,’ is much like you’d expect it to be. A bachelor pad. Except this bachelor happens to have a bottomless bank account. Yes, that’s a Pink Maserati parked in a corner of the penthouse, with no viable method of getting outside. Somewhere around here is six foot tall transformer model of Optimus Prime. There’s one of those ‘Almost Real Sex Dolls’ somewhere around here with a remote control in every orifice. The entire floor is mostly open floor plan, with only a handful of actual ‘rooms’ that afford any sort of privacy.
There’s a second story, but that’s mostly a bedroom. That I’ve been tempted to sue that movie Shades of Grey for ripping off and calling it a ‘Play Room.’ Throw a couple parties. Invite hack-writers over to worship you. Get your intellectual property stolen. Such is the life of a Luthor.
“Oh. They’re here,” I’m up off the couch at the speed of light, there’s probably still a fritos bag fluttering in the air as Kelsey makes her entrance. The living room area is conspicuously clean. All of a sudden. “Koriand’r allow me to introduce you to Kelsey Stevens and Doc Light.”
[ “Shhhh. She walked around naked for the first few hours. This was the only thing I could find! It was either than or I took the naked alien girl shopping… and then you’d have had to mind wipe half the city. No you can’t have my apartment. If she castrates me, you’re going to have to teach me how to be Supergirl.” ]
KORIAND’R: “I’ve been modified as well…but I was not created like you. My conditioning was…different.”
Kori avoided getting into the details as much as she could but she had dropped a few hints here and there. If this is what she thinks it is, she may have to reveal more than she might be comfortable with. They want to make sure she is not a threat to their humans, she understands that. She’s just worried that this may lead to a less than comfortable situation, trading one prison for another.
“Hello friend Kelsey, hello Pet Doc Light. As Superman has said, I am Koriand’r of Tamaran.”
She stood a little straighter and tried not to pick at the clothing. She was guarded, whereas maybe five minutes before she had been perfectly relaxed settling into the plans that Superman had made to help her acclimate to the culture.
“I apologize for any inconvenience my arrival may have caused. I had not expected a hostile greeting. I didn’t know what to expect when I set course here, I was under duress when I made the decision. As I told Superman and Wonder Woman, I come seeking sanctuary.”
LIGHT: Most would marvel at the apartment that they were walking into. An entire in one of the most well-known towers in the city. This was more than money this was what wealth could provide, but for Light the only thing he focused upon was the woman that was standing before him. He studied her carefully, with a smile that was both warm and pleasant.
Her response receives a nod and slight sound of acknowledgement. Light hadn’t actually met the young woman. He was informed that his involvement would not be necessary, but it didn’t mean that he didn’t keep tabs. Difficult not to, given the televised statement she gave.
He kept his distance for Koriand’r. Given the way things were going the fact that she didn’t seemed to want to escape while change that? His intentions weren’t to create an environment where she would feel unwelcomed. Far from it. Conner offered her a place to stay somewhere where she wouldn’t have to be afraid or feel as if she couldn’t trust anyone. To come and shattered that, to force the protocol would create far more problems than they needed at the moment.
There was another cancer that they had to focus their attention upon. One that was growing and threatened to spread. Of course, that was something that he shouldn’t trouble himself with. He should focus on activities that he was more suited for. At least that is what he was told when brought his concerns to the assistant director.
However, this was neither the time of place for such things. While ‘Kelsey’ sized Koriand’r up Light took a step forward offering her his hand. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Koriand’r of Tamaran. Superman has shared with us your plight. That’s why we’ve come to determine how we can help you.” Light’s features remained the same as they were when the door open, warm and open. There was no ogling. No looking her up and down like a mean girl. If, anything, Light was concerned about her comfort level given that everything she was wearing was probably a size or two too small.
“I see. Perhaps we should get you some clothing that’s a tad more comfortable. I’m sure that Conner and Kelsey will be more than happy to take care of that for you while we talk.” There’s some boutiques in her somewhere that they can get a few things from isn’t there? The building was big enough to hold more than one and the good doctor was sure they would open up for Luthor’s son. It would be stupid of them not to.
“Unless, you object, Koriand’r. I just want to ask you a few questions. If that is okay?” Despite what most would think it was completely genuine. “And prefer to be called Doc Light.” Not really, but it’s probably the best that he would get from Conner.
“I’m very interested in how you came to be here. The organization that I represent is very interested as well. They’ve dispatched me to determine how you came to seek refuge on our planet. It will go a long way in determining how we might be able to help you.”
M’GANN: [ “Because you couldn’t just go to the store solo in the amount of time it just took you to clean your place. So you put the sexy alien in your girlfriend’s clothes. Sometimes you are Superdumb.” ]
Kelsey’s bitchy tones would probably have gone right along with those words, like peanut butter and bananas, but my mental voice is a lot more cheerful and amused, rather than judgmental. Conner’s my friend. Usually. The Supergirl comment still gets a very clear moment of surprise translated across the link though.
[ “What, you don’t know? I guess you’ve been busy with Naked Alien Netflix and Chill. -That- position’s already filled. And probably the only reason you’re getting away with adding to your harem right now.” ]
Because last night? This one may have crash landed in spectacular fashion but it was the take-off of another ‘S’ that had a whole lot more attention. I’m a lot more interested in Koriand’r of Tamaran than I might actually let on. Mentally, and certainly physically where I’ve got on a face of semi-disdainful disinterest. The truth is we don’t get terribly many aliens here on Earth. Not that aren’t invading, hostile, and therefor put down in an appropriate fashion. It’s almost an aside that I form a secondary link, this time between the Doctor, Conner, and myself. Running in tandem with the one between myself and Superman, and not to be confused with the casual listening I’m doing to Kori’s mind which I keep separate from the others. While checking my twitter feed. Or. Kelsey’s, I should say.
[ “Sincere. On all counts. No deception registered.” ]
“Ugh. I mean. I can. I guess.”
KORIAND’R: Conner had filled her in on their organization, on their purpose. This was their protocol, measures that must be taken and she was understanding of the need to keep their people safe. Her people might have done the same thing if they had been able to avoid invasion. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.
She did reach out to touch Doc Light’s hand, being gentle with her grip but she was curious as to what she may pick up from him. Her hands were always warm, like skin touched with the warm sun. What she felt coming from him was not hostile, nothing she needed to be terribly concerned about. She finally returned his introduction with a warm smile. He had passed her test and perhaps she may be comfortable enough now to share her story.
“I don’t really need more clothing. I prefer to go without,” they were words of a soft protest, she may not have a choice in this particular matter. Humans were just so….reserved.
“We may talk, Doc Light. Are you a good Doc? I don’t want to end up like the girl, though it would be highly improbable.”
She just assumed everyone knew what she was talking about, she had just seen the show with Conner and for all she knew, all Doctors were bad people that liked to experiment on others.
CONNER: [ “I don’t even buy my own clothes! How the hell would I even begin to know what to buy a … a… would you -look- at her? Cassie’d probably castrate me twice for anything -I- picked out for her to wear!” ]
Believe it or not, I’m not actually being rude to Arthur, when I put my hand up and give him a very stern shush signal. The look upon my face probably gives the intelligent man a signal of it’s own. The Martian before us, has just said something in to my head that brings everything about me to a complete and total halt. Was Kelsey teasing me? Was that her doing to me, what she used to do to Cassie at school? I’ve never had a tough time reading the Martian because her internal voice is one that always speaks more clearly of her moods.
I’ve got to actually lick my lips, because they’re dry, for the first time in my existence. A lot of things in this world I fail to understand, to grasp the nuance of. Emotions. Manners. Those are things I’ve been taught, but was also taught that ignoring them meant what? Someone was going to scowly face at me? Woe is me. But, M’Gann just said something I’ve caught on too quick. Now there’s only one important question and frankly it is far more important to me than Starfire -or- Doctor Light, in any way shape or form.
[ “Pretender, Kryptonian or New Clone?” ]
Three options. One means that I’ve got to have stern words with someone about the gimic I’ve infringed upon, being infringed upon. The other two? Those are far bigger, far more immediate issues. A true Kryptonian could mean that Nowhere, my Father and maybe even the world itself, is in great peril. If Nowhere has finally been able to replicate me? Then Cassie could be in trouble.
It’s almost an after-thought, that I answer one other thing even if I wasn’t asked. “She’s here because a vigilante in Gotham, wearing a red helmet. Tried to convince her that we were going to put her in a cage. Maybe even experiment on her. I saw his face, if you need to run facial recognition software.”
“I’ve assured the Princess that she will not be harmed, so long as she is here under the banner of peace. I even called my Father to make him aware of the diplomatic potential, that might be gained from such a scenario.” Head canting to the side, because I want to be very clear about what I’m explaining. Doctor Light, I’m certain, understands the principle of ‘Royal Hostage.’ “I was thinking of taking her and introducing her, personally. Publicly.”
KORIAND’R: “You said if I stayed with him I would bring harm to his family, that I would be hunted and his family may be hurt in the process. I do not wish to bring harm to him or his family. Why would you reveal his identity? That would most certainly bring harm to him. He was not hostile, he was trying to help,” her eyes narrowed at Conner. He wasn’t playing very fair. She knew that the masked man was a vigilante, she knew he may even be a criminal but he did seem to have his heart in the right place.
“He gave me his clothing so I would not be cold because he knew I was weakened…and damp.”
Kori was touched by the gesture and honored the kindness in her actions now, if she could even protect him. She didn’t have much ground to stand on at the moment.
LIGHT: Kelsey was wonderfully bitchy, but Arthur knew better. However, rather than push the matter he kept silent. The time wasn’t right, there were questions to be asked and hopefully answered. He needed to know what would happen as he discussed the situation. There were some things that couldn’t be avoided no matter how one may want him to.
Arthur had not uttered a word as the information flew between the two. There were several conversations taking place. He knew that M’gann and Conner were having a separate conversation while she included Light on a few pieces of information that she felt was relevant for him. The Supergirl that was something that he was not involved in, because he had been directed to Metropolis to speak with the second alien. Which came first didn’t matter, there was potentially a second alien, more than that a potential Kryptonian.
It was probably one of the reasons why the assistant director sent him here. Rather than discuss the matter he wanted Light out of his hair. No need to raise the alarm, it would be handled. In the only way N.O.W.H.E.R.E knew how to handle it.
He wasn’t at the point where he wanted to pinch the bridge of his nose, but he was getting there. There were some things that didn’t need to be shared openly. “I’m am the doctor that I need to be. Good. Bad. That depends on someone’s perspective. What I an offer you is truth, Koriand’r of Tamaran. I think that may better than Good or Bad.” Arthur could be many things, but right now he was being as diplomatic as his position would allow him. He did not have the luxury that others did. There was more to consider than himself.
“Your protector that attempted to aid you in Gotham also murdered someone earlier the same day. Took command of a cadre of warriors that have been terrorizing that city. He breaks our laws. Laws that have been established to protect the general population. He does not trust law enforcement to do the job it has been trained to do. He thinks himself above the law as judge, jury, and now executioner.”
That is her protector. “He is a threat to the people around. Does not concern himself with the overwhelming danger he places others or entire city in. His careless actions have consequences. Bystander, friend and family alike.” That is the way it is seen by the authorities.
“So, while you see him as a kind soul, I see someone that is quite selective who he shows his kindness to.”
“As for your well-being? Superman, Conner, is this world’s protector. He handles threats that most cannot. If he does not see you as a threat, then I do not see you as a threat. However, I am concerned.” Quite concerned.
“I believe you mean this world no harm, but it is your request for sanctuary that concerns me. It suggests that you need sanctuary from something or someone. That is why I wish to speak with you. I want to know how you came to be here and why you seek sanctuary.” He paused for a moment and decided to go a step further.
“Are you need of a place to stay or are you seeking safety from someone, Koriand’r? Should I be concerned for my world’s safety?” He needed to know what they were dealing with.
It was his turn to hold his hand up for a moment signaling Conner to let this play out. He heard what he said. He understood what Conner wanted to do. Would the others be pleased probably not, but at the same time he had to consider how this would be received by the public at large. That could place Koriand’r in danger. The world, this nation was still a bit gun shy when it came to aliens. If their new Tamaran friend was running from danger and that danger came here the public would quickly turn upon her.
Though there was a chance a possibility to remind people of their potential. Of how great they could be when given the chance.
[Let us here her story first.] He said to them both and for a moment there was almost a hint of a smile directed at Conner. Not malicious. Not threatening. Genuine pride.
He’s learning. He’s trying.
M’GANN: [ Oh, I’m looking. And she looks like six feet and more of ‘no win situation.’ Unless you dump Wondy, I guess. Then you could maybe -salvage- one with this one. ]
He isn’t really wrong. If he dressed Koriand’r in new things that fit her, that’d say he was looking close enough to know what would fit her. Putting her in his girlfriend’s clothes, which don’t fit at all, and probably without asking may still have been the slightly better option. It probably becomes more and more clear that we’re having a conversation no one else can hear, when my head cocks to the side about the same time Conner puts up the shushing finger. It’s one of the reasons the ever-present cell phone makes a good distraction. I might be finding that terribly interesting and not the boy in front of me.
[ “Not a clone. Or not one they knew about. Which means not one of -ours- or not one at all. No Kryptonian energy signature. But no meta signature either, despite clear possession of abilities.” ]
‘Business’ M’gann sounds a lot more formal, even in the mind’s voice, than anything else that comes from me. He’s not supposed to know about this, I think, or they probably would have pulled him out of his Alien Princess rescue. When clearly no one even made him aware of what went on last night while he was in Gotham. I probably shouldn’t be telling him. But I would want to know if another Martian appeared.
As for the rest? I really don’t have anything else to say. Aloof on the outside, or maybe just incredibly self-absorbed once I go back to my phone but I’m waiting. Doing the job that I’m actually here for. Doctor Light can ask all the questions he wants, the answers could always just be lies. I’m here to discover whether or not they are. They didn’t say that. But there’s really only two reasons that I’m sent out for something like this. Listening to thoughts? Or erasing them.
CONNER: “Kori, on your planet, do they let criminals run around freely doing as they please? Or are you intentionally being obtuse to the fact that he admitted to being a criminal.” The sigh I make is almost dramatic, because I feel that’s how she’s behaving and let me tell you… that’s a surefire sense of Irony. “He gave you his coat, because he was hoping to track some sort of bug that he planted on it. Out of some sort of misdirected sense of seeking intelligence for further terrorist-ish behavior.”
“To be both fair? I told you that if you went with him those things would happen, for sure. I did not say, at any time, that the Authorities would not pursue a Criminal. I neither stated, nor even implied, protection from prosecution of a criminal from this planet. You’re who I offered to protect.”
Ugh. I’m getting angry and it’s bleeding in to the discussion with Koriad’r. It isn’t even M’Gann’s fault, but she’s sure the messenger I want to punch in the face right now. Especially when she keeps right on going. Dump Wondy? Doctor Light might not be at the point of pinching the bridge of his nose, but I am. Because I can feel my eyes itching with that solar radiation that wants to be expelled. Except, I am learning. That won’t solve anything. Having a ‘temper tantrum’ as Doc Fairchild calls it, will serve no purpose at all. None. In fact it’ll just create more problems. Like having to replace ‘Original-Alien-Friend,’ who by very definition cannot be replaced as she was the original. That only happens once.
[ “You’re not wrong. Koriand’r is definitely a no win scenario for me. Apparently the Tamaranian people have some sort of tactile empathy. When she kissed me, in front of Cassie, she was able to empathically absorb our language.” ]
I’d been wanting to test a theory, but there hadn’t been any way of doing it. Could Kori pick up every language I knew from a single Kiss? If she could, then it’s safe to say she knows most Human Languages. Because that was part of my cultural training. If not, then it means I would need to kiss her repeatedly in order to teach them to her. If ever there was a job for Superman, let me tell you. That’s one I wouldn’t have turned down even six months ago.
Now? Now I’m finding myself a little jaded about the situation. Especially since there’s a whole different topic that has me more than a little worked up. [ “No signature. Yet she had powers. That’s starting to become a frequent occurrence. Tech that could do that would be expensive. -I- couldn’t afford it for Cassie. Any sort of Magic that could manage it would be Raven’s territory. Can you have her look in to it?
And, if there’s any connection to Gotham City. I need to know before the rest of them.” ]
With that? I find myself falling silent. Giving the ‘good Doctor’ what he’s asked for. For once in my life I’m happy to comply with shutting up. Casually motioning to the Doctor and Starfire for the two of them to make themselves at home on the sofa. “We’ll be right back. Proper clothing shall be attained…”
The words have barely even settled in their ears, before the wind kicks up in the pure speed with which I’ve grabbed M’Gann and darted away. Kelsey can pick out clothing. I’ll pay.
KORIAND’R: She had no words about the man in the red mask. She simply didn’t know the circumstances from before that event, didn’t know his past actions or deeds. That ignorance came back to bite her pride. She had been hoping for the best and her judgement was sorely wrong. The wind was blown out of her sails but there were more important matters to speak about. Adding to that, Conner made her feel quite horrible about it. It was enough to make her cheeks redden in embarrassment.
“I was not aware of the scope of his crimes. I am sorry, Conner. I should not have defended him.”
Kori took a deep breath and ran her fingers through her hair before she began. It was a long story, it wasn’t a pleasant one and she may be able to spare the details of some of the trials she went through.
“I am a Princess in my planet, second in line as heir to the throne….or was. Our planet was invaded by great warriors, my parents were killed. My sister was forced into the throne. She was able to negotiate some terms that allowed her to remain the figurehead of our people while the new masters were able to benefit from the resources of the planet. The terms were only achieved by exchanging me as a royal hostage…to ensure compliance. I was young, a…teenager at the time.”
Kori nodded firmly but her heart felt like it was sinking when she started getting to the next part.
“They collected aliens from many different worlds, putting them to test in various ways. They tortured me, to test my endurance. They put me to fight, to test my skills as a warrior. Those that could not fight or endure the experiments were simply allowed to perish. They only kept the strongest. Surviving all those tests, they moved on to genetic modifications. Not many survived those trials. So….simply put, it was awful. Ten years of this with my captors. I was finally able to formulate a plan to take one of their ships, I set the course as far away as I could get. The Daem are cruel masters, strong warriors and masterful scientists. I can not return home or they will surely destroy my people. I have endured their trials and may be considered valuable, much of what I can do is shaped by their skill. If they capture me, I would be put back to the labs, to the pits and maybe worse as punishment for my disobedience.”
She didn’t know all of the answers, she didn’t know if they could have tracked her or if they would consider her valuable enough to retrieve her from this planet. It wasn’t likely but she was not aware of what future plans they may have had for their Starfire. She crossed her arms across her body. She hated feeling vulnerable, weak and ignorant of the information that they may need to protect this planet.
“I am sorry. I wish I knew more to help you. I don’t know where else to go. I have no home and no place.”
LIGHT: The entire exchange has probably been a bit much for Koriand’r. Light’s eyes flicker between the Conner and M’gann. Something’s shifted and Light could guess what that was about. He could give three good guesses, but probably only needed one. He said nothing. He didn’t even intrude to project his thoughts.
‘He’ll know if you don’t trust him. He’ll know if you begin withholding information. You’re still trying to control him instead of helping to guide him. There are some things he has to figure out for himself. He needs support not a manager.’
Those were things that got Light sent back to his lab to work. To continue working for the betterment of humankind.
However, as whisks M’gann away Arthur turned his attention back to Koriand’r. “It’s alright, Koriand’r. You’re new to our world and our ways. It will take time to understand, to navigate our customs. Conner, just wants to do right by you. He in his own way is concerned. If you allowed you remain in Gotham you would have been in danger and he’s right. He’s sworn to uphold the laws of his nation to protect people. Now one of those people includes you.” It’s a simple as that.
Walking over towards one of the chairs in the room Arthur took a seat as Koriand’r began to explain how she came to be on Earth. Upon hearing her tale, he considered it for a moment. Though M’gann was out of the room she was probably near enough to let him know whether or not she was telling the truth. Yet, there was something about the sincerity in her voice. Either way he would have it confirmed. He could not and would not let logic slip away. It helped inform him of the choices that he should make.
He remained silent while she continued to recount what happened to her family and her people.
“No, you’ve said enough. You have nothing to be sorry for. I’m sorry for all that you’ve endured. I can’t imagine what it must have been like.” Except Light knew all too well what it sounded like. It was like looking into a bit of a mirror. He could understand why she would not want to be subjected to any tests or examinations. There would be concerns over potential contamination, but that would be handled.
“There is a potential that your enslavers may come looking for you.” That possibility is what concerned, Light. How could he square this? They were going to want his assessment and he knew all too well what could happen. This was more than your typical asylum case.
“Alright. This is what we’re going to do. You are going to remain here for the time being. However, no matter what Conner says wear clothing. Conner and Kelsey will return with clothing that is less ill-fitting that then the clothing you have on now. Clothing is very much a custom on our planet.” They could start there.
“Two, we will need to talk about these slavers. Any information you can provide would be beneficial. It will help you and it will help us.”
“Three, Conner, wants to introduce you to the world, but he will need to do so as Superman. Which means that he will probably introduce you as friend, who is an alien. A refugee who has found refuge on Earth. There is someone else I would like you to meet, but it is not for me to initiate that contact on their behalf. Someone who can probably help you acclimate to life on earth. I will contact them and hopefully they will be available. They are quite busy, but I think it would be mutually beneficial for you to meet one another.” Officially.
“Let’s start with one and two. Work towards three and see if I can get that introduction made.”
[That is if you’re up for it M’gann?]
M’GANN: Sympathy actually manages to crack the uberbitch exterior of the face I’m wearing, as we’re related this alien woman’s story of how she came to be here.
[ “Her story is truth. She did not mean any harm to this planet. She did not have anywhere else to go. She went as far away from her captors as she could possibly get.” ]
Relayed to both Conner and Doctor Light, though I would assume Conner’s already formed his own opinions. Probably judged Koriand’r’s truth for himself with his own abilities. Heart rate. Things like that. Though the stress of a crash landing on a strange planet could have tampered with those sort of reactions. He also might not have really cared. I don’t know that I entirely understand Conner lately, or the things he’s doing. And that’s not something I get to say very often.
[ “In -front- of Cassie? And then you spent the whole day with her after? Hmm… perhaps you’re very lucky that your girlfriend seemed very pre-occupied today. Yes. I will ask Raven what she thinks. The only sighting so far was in Metropolis, though.” ]
“Wait. What? We are?”
Speaking out loud again, though I’ve already been carted out the doorway before the other two likely get a chance to hear them. It’s not exactly as jarring an experience as it would be for most other people. But my senses and reaction times are so far advanced beyond ‘normal’ human ones. I’m also letting him do it at all, rather than simply shifting my form into intangibility.
[ “Would it help her to understand why we have to do this, and the good that we’re doing, if I showed her she’s not the only refugee? She is so….sad…” ]
An earnest question, fed again into Conner’s mind, though the link that I maintain between the rest of us brings me Doc Light’s words as well, even with distance.
[ “If you think that’s best, Doc. I do not mind.’ ]
KORIAND’R: She was internally panicking a little. Murder was bad here, they didn’t like murder. How many did she kill with her own hand? By her own power? She had lost count, it was such a necessity for survival, so many that were like her, ended by her own hands. She had even thought for a time that maybe, maybe she was doing them a favor. They wouldn’t have to endure the torture if she ended them. She wasn’t speaking about it but the tears were welling in her eyes.
“Th-they’re reptilian in nature. They’re genetic sciences are very advanced, they’ve been using aliens to improve their own species for a very long time. They used that skill to enhance my own natural abilities. They have almost a…hive mind state. A tiny portion of that was passed to me, I am able to absorb some information from touch, language mostly…that is a Tamaranian gift, however I can also feel what that person is feeling. I am able to harness the ultra-violet radiation from the stars, that was further improved by turning that energy into a weapon. My Starbolts. Uhm….they’ve adapted to take host bodies. Highest ranking taking the most powerful specimens. They enjoy war, they enjoy destruction, better resources help them be stronger. I do not know what they had intended for me. I’ve heard things but I do not care to share that unpleasantness.”
Clothing may be a small price to pay, she did not object to that. Perhaps they would allow her to enjoy her freedom from their cloth while in a private area away from the public.
“I am attempting to assimilate what I can from the culture here, Doc Light. Conner has been most helpful.”
LIGHT: [I think it would help. I think it would be good for both of you.] He shares. [All of you.]
M’gann’s telepathic confirmation absolves Light of any doubts that he had, but there were few and far between, but it’s almost troubling how it relates to the darker aspects of the organization that he’s involved with. In steels himself focused on the matter at hand. Light had to wonder how many times Conner will be allowed to play this card.
As she spoke he considered the species wondering if anyone had come across them before. He couldn’t say that he was familiar with them, but it wasn’t like Arthur was privy to everything. There were archives to consult, but at the same time given their warlike nature he knew that would not set well with the Director. Light would have to determine how best to address the matter with the assistant director. Perhaps it will get him a meeting with the Director. This may not be the last time that this happens. They all knew it happened before. It would continue to happen. They couldn’t let fear be the deciding factor nor could they slide everyone into a lab to take what they want.
That wasn’t the mandate. They needed to ensure that they were prepared.
“I understand. It doesn’t happen in a day, Koriand’r. You will need to give it time, but you’ve already made one friend.” Two if you counted the Gothamite. He did want facial recognition and the jacket.
“Let us help you and I assure you that you will make more and I believe we will be able to work out an agreement that will be mutually beneficial to everyone.”
CONNER: We’re not gone long. Apple Pay and an iPhone make shopping one of the few things that I can do at full speed. More precisely, I can do it at whatever speed that M’gann can process the sight of the whatever it is she’s picking out. Then we’re through the register before anyone even notices us. Other than seeing the transaction pulling through on the tiller tapes a few heart-beats after their hair rustles. Most of our time isn’t spent shopping for Yoga Pants and half-tees. It’s spent pausing in the elevator that carries us up and down the LexCorp building. During which time we’ve got a few moments to converse without my worrying over someone catching even a facial expression.
[ “If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any at all, Meggy. The thing is? You know better than anyone that I mask a lot of insecurity by imposing confidence, even when it’s not there. Because shit, I’m Superman or I’m a Luthor. It’s different with Cass, I -know- she’ll understand.That I was saving this girl, giving her a chance, that she probably wouldn’t have gotten a year ago. Especially, when she finds out that the girl was naked most of the time she’s been here and I haven’t touched her. Not like that, at least.” ]
Once the elevator dings? This is once again someone else’s show. Because M’Gann has agreed to Doctor Light’s plan. While I actually don’t like this particular plan, I can’t really say I see any fault in it. Giving Koriand’r a potential friend, a real friend, could be beneficial. Especially if it frees me to get out of here and make deal with the newly presented problem. A literal Supergirl? Ugh. On top of my super girl being pissy. M’Gann’s description of Cassie being distracted makes me think, not for the first time, that I should ask a serious question that’s fraught with danger. I’ve held off before but now…
[ “Uhm. So. I’ve heard, that girls have girl-problems sometimes. And so. Well. If Cassie’s a demigod… does that make her girl problems worse? Less frequent? Could I be dealing with a case of Godly Girl-Problems? Is that even a thing? Hey, Doc.You’re a Doctor right? Is this something you’ve studied? A friend of mine said the Gods couldn’t allow Demigods to exist, because… of bad things. Was it Demigoddess Girl-Problems? Is that what broke the Olympians?” ]
KORIAND’R: “I don’t want to be a freeloader. If I can help, I wish to. I am strong and gifted and I do not wish for my abilities to go to waste. It would be a shameful thing for a warrior to do.”
Her attention shifted when Kelsey and Conner came back, she greeted them with a warm smile.
“Doc Light, you are an honorable man. I have faith we can reach an agreement that will suit our needs.”
Starfire just hoped it allowed her to retain the liberties she had been enjoying since arriving. She did want to get out and explore but it may take time and small steps to get to that point. There was a plan formulated though and she was satisfied with that plan. There was only so much she could hope for as a guest on this planet.
M’GANN: I suppose that surprises me a little bit. It’s not as if the world knows there’s another alien on the planet. One that’s been here longer, unknown, than the one they think they know that patrols the skies. And Conner isn’t even completely foreign. He was born here. He’s half Kryptonian by nature, not nurture or culture. Much like Koriand’r, I was born on another planet. Raised there. Learned a different set of customs and traits and setbacks. That empathy alone has me picking out things that should be comfortable for the other girl. If we were shopping for say…Cassie… I would have gone the other route. I make my own ‘clothes,’ almost all of the time, so I know very well how uncomfortable wearing manufactured ones can be. Yoga pants are basically the best invention humans have had. Soft leggings… so stretchy. So comfy. So good at showing off a nice figure…
[ “She probably will. Though. Maybe leave out the naked part. At least until you’re sure she’s over the -kissing- part.” ]
I wasn’t exactly happy about Conner and his girlfriend. At first. But I spend a lot of time in this boy’s head, and it’s impossible not to notice that he’s as close to happy as he’d ever been the whole time I’ve known him. And I’ve known him his entire conscious, cognizant lifetime. That doesn’t mean I’m nice to her though. That’s not the part I’m supposed to be playing. Shifting my ‘clothes’ and appearance? Takes less time than it does for the elevator door to open. Reverting to my ‘natural’ form doesn’t take thought. It’s a subconscious default. Green skin, red hair and a different face entirely than the one I’d been wearing when we left. I just happen to wait to do it until Koriand’r can see me do it. A secret identity isn’t exactly the same thing to me, as it is to everyone else. I can make a new face anytime I want. Take over someone else’s. Know their minds so well that imitation is nearly perfect.
The demeanor is so altered that the rest might almost be secondary. Most people notice the skin before anything else though. Maybe she’ll kiss me, too, and then I can have a conversation in my native tongue for the first time in…a very long time.
[ “Maybe you should just ask her. But please. Show me the memory of her face after you do. It is possible your girlfriend is just having a bad week too, though. No…hormones or reproductive cycle issues to blame.” ]
“I am a refugee, too, Koriand’r. I would be lost if it weren’t for these people. I felt like you do. I wanted to help when I first came to Earth. And prevent the same mistakes here that befell my own world.”
ARTHUR: When the elevator opens and M’gann and Conner return Light is about to speak, but he finds himself presented with an interesting question.
[Not my area of expertise. Dr. Sandsmark would probably know better than I would. However, I suspect this is more of a girlfriend problem. Your girlfriend just happens to be a demigoddess. When, you have these situations that occur with Cassie reverse your roles. Whatever you did, ask yourself, ‘If Cassie did X how would I feel?’ and go from there.”]
That was as far as Light was willing to venture into Conner’s Creek.
“Alright then. It’s agreed. I think for the moment you should see what Conner and Kelsey have got for you and I will start to put in a few calls.” Which meant that he would make use of the den that probably never sees any use.
Nodding as M’Gann reveals her true nature to Koriand’r, Light takes this moment to excuse himself. He would be near if needed. “Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.”
There was work to be done on multiple fronts. Either way Light knew that he had to work quickly to avoid things getting escalated internally. The fact that Koriand’r was already willing to use her skills was promising.
— During Koriand’r and M’gann’s get to know you session —
While Light had adjurned to the den to make his initial and Conner had taken the moment to consider the possibility of another clone, Kryptonian or false Kryptonian, M’gaan and Koriand’r were given a chance to bond over being aliens in a strange world. Both could bond over their differences, similarities and provide M’gann and Koriand’r something that they desperately needed at this time, a friend that could relate to them.
Despite being aliens from different words, that was not the only thing that set them apart. M’gann was a far more familiar with the inner workings of N.O.W.H.E.R.E whereas Korand’r was not. That said there were some individuals that were more familiar with those experiences than most. One such individual was about to walk back into M’gann’s life…all their lives.
Light considered them to be one big happy something. That was always the thing, they never knew what quite to classify themselves ass. There was always a question mark as to what they were to one another. Colleagues? Teammates. An unfortunate group of people that circumstance and current legislation bound together in an unholy union? There was at least one person that would consider that to be the most accurate description.
[Ring. Ring. Can anyone join in, operator? Don’t worry this is a secure line just for me and you. Hello, M’gann. Shh. That’s right I’m shushing you, because I know your first instinct.] The voice was familiar. Too familiar.
[I’m somewhere. Doesn’t really matter wear. Perhaps passing through. Perhaps using a relay of some kind. Wouldn’t that be quite fascinating. Either way, I thought it would be nice if we caught up sometime. I’m working a project. You know how I love my projects. You know how ‘they’ loved my projects.]
There was the sound of clapping in her mind for a moment, like a happy child that found their favorite toy.
[Yes help that’s what I need and you’re just…oh what was he said. You’re the right Ma’aleca’andran, to help me. However, I need to be going before you start to be a bad Ma’aleca’andran and try and find me. We’ll be in touch. Promise also because I know how much you love your phone I’ll leave you with another clue. Professor Yana. Google it.]