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.]