Klee – Senecio
It was 10 in the morning on a beautiful, cloudless day as the private jet touched down. As he glanced out the window, Dick had to admit it felt good to be back home. The trip hadn't worked out quite the way he envisioned it, but the final results were what he'd hoped they'd be so he chalked it up as a win. There had been several tense moments. Koriand'r coming back and drawing the attention away from him had allowed Dick to make it back to his room before the authorities arrived. He had been held for questioning, as his alibi of being drunk and falling asleep on the floor raised a few eyebrows. Thankfully a large check arrived to cover any 'damages' and the authorities graciously allowed him to leave. Proving once again money talks and bullshit rots away in some foreign prison.
The trip had created more questions in Dick's mind than answers. Who exactly was the guy floating outside the window, Mr. Kent? What was his connection to Kori? They seemed hostile to each other, but her hostility seemed to have a much longer history to it than his did. Dick had an inkling of who Lynch was and that only raise more concerns about why Kori would be dealing with him. Why were they trying to trap the guy Kent and why were they in New Gammora in the first place? Those questions were going to have to wait though. Kori had taken off after drawing all the attention away from Dick, so when he'd see her again he wasn't sure. His immediate concern was getting back into Gotham, hopefully unseen. He knew it was a long shot but he figured he'd given himself the best chance.
Knowing Bruce, he would have been out late last night, so by arriving early Dick might slip in before he got up. Oh, Bruce would find him, Dick had no doubt about that, but when was the key. It was also a sunny day, which just symbolically should help. There had been no communications from Gotham to the plane, so their arrival was smooth. They taxied to the private hanger and stopped. The door open outwards and became a staircase for departing. Dick slipped on his sunglasses and took a deep breath. As he stepped to the door, he saw the car sitting right in front of it. Sitting on the hood with his arms crossed in front of him was Bruce Wayne. He wasn't smiling. Several thoughts went through Dick's mind, but one word seemed to encapsulate all of them.
Tarzana – California
Clark was staying in one of the cheap motels along the Sunset Strip north of Hollywood. It was his first time in Los Angeles so he did some of the touristy things, but he was also considering his next move. It had been a gamble trying to make a deal with Lynch, but Clark wasn't going to beat himself up over the attempt. He knew it was a long shot from the beginning, but it seemed worth the risk. The disappointment and anger he felt towards Koriand'r had only been added to by her calling him a Kryptonian. How she knew that and what else she might know about his people was something he would need to find out eventually.
By now Lynch knew his plan hadn't worked so he would be expecting Clark to do something to retaliate. For once Lynch was right, Clark was going to retaliate, just not the way Lynch likely suspected he would. Clark's first thought was to drop in on Lynch's house, literally. As satisfying as smashing a gaping hole from the roof to the basement might be, Lynch probably had insurance. It was also the sort of thing that could be labeled an act of terrorism and that would put Clark on more lists not less. He still believed Lynch was the only one a deal might be possible with. Waller and the military were out of the question. What he needed to do was show Lynch how big of a mistake he'd made, to hurt him where it hurt the most, publicity. People in Lynch's business hate the spotlight especially when it comes to all their dirty little secret projects.
Lucky Clark had an eidetic memory so everything he read in the files on Lynch he remembered. He found an old IBM Selectric typewriter at a flea market and carried it back to his motel room. Another quick trip to Wal-Mart and he had some paper, although they no longer sell typing paper specifically. It's apparently gone the way of the guys with pagers on their belts. Clark had never thought about writing, so his first attempts ended up in the wastebasket. He bought the big pack of paper, so he had plenty to spare.
He found he was putting too much into it, too many details of different events for it to have a straightforward narrative that would have the impact he wanted. It took most of the night and the following day, but he finally felt like he had written what he wanted. He narrowed his focus down to one incident in Lynch's colorful career. Clark gave a broad overview of the topic and then filled in the details. It was a story about civilians being targeted, American civilians overseas. They hadn't been given due process of law like every citizen is supposed to they were targeted and killed on Lynch's orders. The ones killed weren't choirboys and probably had been involved in illegal activities but that wasn't the point. They were tried and convicted with out a trial or a jury and that supposedly wasn't how it should work. Truth and Justice were supposed to be the American Way, so hopefully Clark's story would see if that were true.
Now the only problem was where to send it to. Clark looked at all the obvious choices but there was no guarantee they would print it. Yes, he had the supporting documentation but you only had to look at the Edward Snowden case to see how swiftly the government came down on the reporter and paper that published his stuff. Most news outlets would probably be hesitant to publish something like the story, so Clark looked for alternative places. He found one surprisingly in Metropolis run by two old acquaintances. The LoCat Report was a side project for two of the reporters at the Daily Planet, Lois Lane and Cat Grant. It was mostly set up along the lines of the Drudge Report with links to news stories on other sites, but they were also using the Huffington Post model and allowing unpaid writers to publish. Clark sat back and smiled at the irony, the daughter of one of his pursuers publishing a story condemning one of his other pursuers. It had a nice symmetry to it in his mind.
Now there was just the matter of how to sign in. Clark wasn't going to use his own name. He went through he usual ones, concern citizen, Good Samaritan, etc, but none of those seemed right. It was a jab at Lynch and Clark wanted him to know it. It was then he hit n the idea of a symbol. Digging through the few possessions he had Clark pulled out one of the few items other than the crystals the Kents had taken from his space ship. It looked like a stylized S, but the little Clark knew about his origins told him it was actually the symbol for his family's house, the house of El. Using it as a stamp, he made the mark on the bottom of the story and then slipped the paper into the envelope.
Kori had informed Lynch that the mission had been a failure. He'd not taken it well, but that wasn't really her concern. She returned to the secluded tropical island where her ship was and she spent most of her time hoping to forget the whole incident. She felt guilty over how she'd acted towards Richard, especially since he'd only come to help her. She would have apologized on New Gammora, but she assumed the less contact he had with her the better for him as far as the authorities went. That still left the matter of the Kryptonian, Mr. Kent. Kori knew she hadn't handle that well.
The problem was that while she had a difficult history with her people, she was still a Tamaran and proud of it. She had absorbed the stories like everyone else on her planet including the ones about the Kryptonians. In a way it would be as if you lived in another country besides the United States. Your people and country probably have a long and noble history that you're rightly proud of. So imagine what it would be like if you found out most Americans couldn't pick your country out on a map and really didn't give a shit about you, your people or your country. You'd be a little pissed.
(Side note – most Americans can't pick out the United States on a map either.)
Even without meeting one, you'd have a pretty dim view of them. So all that cultural baggage was there even before Kori met Clark. It was bound not turn out well. She told herself she should just let it go, but her mind kept returning to it. Reluctantly, Kori had to admit what bothered her was how she acted. She had let all those prejudices learned in childhood affect her. As an outsider on Earth she had faced the same sort of attitudes and should have known better. Yes, she still believed Kryptonians were arrogant, but that didn't mean she had to be too. She was Tamaran and they were better than that. She should have taken the high road. Kori vowed the next time she saw the Kryptonian things would go differently and she was sure there would be a next time. He might be able to hide from the humans, but she wasn't human, she was Tamaran.
The offices of the LoCat Report consisted of the spare bedroom in Jimmy Olsen's apartment. An ex-boyfriend of Cat's had set it all up the templates for them, so they only had to plug in the latest contain. The idea had grown out of a conversation about how the print industry was changing and if you didn't have digital footprint you were falling behind in the game. It was also a place where they could publish stories the paper hadn't wanted to run. For a small fee, Jimmy did most of the grunt work like updating the links daily. They had developed a small following on-line but it was really just a side project from their real jobs at the Daily Planet. Usually they just gave Jimmy the new links at work, but today Cat had picked up the mail from their P. O. Box and they were going through it in Jimmy's apartment. Lois was currently venting about a story of hers Perry had killed for the Planet, while Cat sorted the mail.
"It's just not fair, that was a front page story,' Lois complained. "It was obvious to anyone with half a brain who was bankrolling that operation, but would Perry run with it? No!"
Cat opened an envelop and pulled out the contains.
"Eww, gross, more photoshopped pictures of that girl from the Harry Potter movies,' Cat complained. "Here you go Jimmy."
Lois stopped mid-sentence and gave them both a look.
"He's got a thing for her,' Cat explained. "Part of our deal is he gets any pictures of her that come in."
"Please tell me you're not building a wall of creep dedicated to her are you, Jimmy?" Lois asked.
"What? No! I just think she's attractive and classy, that's all.' Jimmy said in his defense.
"You're not fiddling with your 'wand' when you look at them are you?"
"Lois, some times you can ask too many questions,' Cat offered as she continued to open the mail. 'What Jimmy does with those pictures after we leave is none of our business. I would emphasize after we leave though."
"You realize you're making me out to be some pervert, don't you?" Jimmy complained. "I think she's pretty, that's all. Now you're both tainted something that was pure."
"You do have a wall of creep, don't you?" Lois asked
Cat had opened another large envelope while Jimmy and Lois continued their discussion.
"Lo,' Cat said barely above a whisper as she looked at the contains of the envelope.
"The tainting something pure really has a weird vibe, is all I'm saying,' Lois said to Jimmy. "If you want to rub one out to some chick's picture that's your business but the whole pure thing kicks it over into Creepville."
"Lois." Cat said a little louder.
"You're doing it again, Lois,' Jimmy replied. "Can't a guy acknowledge he finds someone attractive and like looking at her picture when he's by himself without it being creepy?'
"No,' Lois replied.
"LOIS!" Cat shouted this time.
Cat held out the article that had come in the package for Lois to read.
"It's big, really big, Lois,' Cat said. "I'm not even a news reporter and I know it's big."
Lois did a quick scan of the article and her eyes widened the more she read. She got the gist of it and then flipped to the last page to see who it was by. All she saw was a symbol, so she reached for the envelope Cat was still holding for a return address.
"It doesn't say who it's from? Or by for that matter,' Lois mused.
"I think the symbol is supposed to be like a signature,' Cat offered.
"A stylized S?" Lois replied. "Who's it from the Shadow?"
"Maybe it's like when Prince changed his name to just a symbol,' Jimmy suggested.
"Yeah, cause that worked out so well,' Cat replied. "So do you think it's legit?"
"I'll have to check these sources, but just from a quick glance it looks real,' Lois said.
"So you want to run with it on tomorrow's LoCat Report front page?" Jimmy asked.
Lois looked at Jimmy and then at Cat.
"Maybe we should take it to the Planet,' she suggested. "I mean we all do work there. This is big news, we should consider giving the first rights."
"No,' Cat replied. "If the symbol person wanted it in the Daily Planet they would have sent it there instead of to us. Whoever sent this wanted it published on the LoCat Report."
"I guess,' Lois admitted. "How about we put it up and then give it to the Planet too?"
"Only after we get the exclusive first look, Cat offered. "That's how we grow this business and maybe actually start making money off this."
"I like that idea,' Jimmy chimed in. "You two making money so you could actually pay me a real salary, let's go with that."
"We're not cutting into your 'alone' time are we?" Lois sarcastically asked.