Superman Part 4 – Rough Justice
Laura Lake / Gold Wing and her BFF, Tim Servo have just returned from the mysterious Island of Tears, where they uncovered a covert group that appeared to be legit, but there was a huge amount of clandestine activity going on. Tim had busied himself studying the bright whitish blue crystals that they managed to bring back with them.
Gold Wing had received an urgent text from Chloe that outlined Jon and Oliver's big meeting with the other superheroes, specifically as a form of outreach to the mysterious and unpredictable Batman. She decided to grab her late father's Honda Gold Wing motorcycle and cruise out to the deserted VFW Hall where this secret meeting was to be held. Laura observed the Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl taking in the conference, and took a seat near them.
"We will be talking about ELLE, or Extinction Likely Level Events." Oliver began without preamble. "We plan on developing an Existential Threat Assessment Warning System." Jon added. "Queen Industries, partnering with Arizona's Worthington Co Automation Division, will sign contracts to build, institute, and monitor these systems. Some of you are already familiar with Watchtower." Oliver paused.
"The ETAWS will be Watchtower times a hundredfold. This next generation of Global Security is a private venture." Oliver continued, motioning for Tess to join them on stage. "By keeping this project private, we will be avoiding, and actually circumventing government involvement." Tess added. "Our goal is to go global in a very short period of time." She concluded, and stepped aside.
"Boy, Daddy would have a fit if he knew about this." Lois commented quietly to Clark. "It's a good thing that we're not telling him then." Clark replied cynically. "He may come around some day." Clark added. "Unfortunately, it won't be until we face a threat that no government can handle, like Darkseid, or even Zod and the Kandorians." Kara had heard them discussing that, and she shifted uneasily in her seat.
What if they turn against us? The Supergirl wondered silently. Meanwhile, Bruce cleared his throat and reluctantly raised his gauntleted hand. "Yes, Batman?" Diana asked with an unusually sweet tone in her voice. Both Nightwing and Batgirl gawked openly at Bruce, and then glanced at Diana.
"I may have a friend that can help." Batman growled through his voice box. "I know billionaire Bruce Wayne, and I can ask him if he wants to join in your ETAWS project. Word is that Wayne Industries already has a similar global security system in the pipeline. Would you be interested?"
"Yes. Definitely." Oliver said, decisively. "As long as he agrees to maintain the veil of secrecy." Batman nodded. "Mr. Wayne has confided in only me and two of his top technicians. I'll have him set up an appointment with you, Mr. Queen?" Oliver waved the okay. "Yes. Please."
"Thank you, Batman." Jon Jonz said and returned to the ELLE discussion. "As our group plans for the future, would we all agree that our primary responsibility is to protect planet Earth from threats within and without?" Jon baited them. "Now that we are all aware of the existence of extraterrestrials, it stands to reason that some of them may not be considered friendly." Oliver pointed out.
"Oliver always was the master of understatement." Lois quipped as Clark nodded in agreement. "I'd like to begin by covering the natural threats that man encounters every day." Jon continued. "These following ELLEs are common, and the most likely to occur. Natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, tornadoes, fires, or a disruption in the food supply chain are usually well handled."
"Yet, I believe that it should remain a paramount mission of our group to use our unique and extraordinary abilities to render immediate assistance, regardless of the usual authorities." Jon added. "Alone, we can do very little to help, but as a group we would be invaluable."
A chorus of 'yeahs' and claps made their way through the small VFW Hall. Even the usually reserved Batgirl politely applauded. "This sounds like something you'd hear at Gotham State University." She commented. "True, but aren't we too busy handling scumbags to go all global activist?" Dick countered sourly. Bruce gave them a stare to quiet them.
Gold Wing raised her leather clad hand. "Yes, Gold Wing?" Oliver was careful to respond to Laura without using her real name. "Arrow? What are you actually getting at?" She prodded. "I propose that we each take responsibility for a certain area of the country, and eventually some specific areas of the world." Oliver answered. "For example, Chloe and I will be returning to Star City." He dropped the bomb.
"We'll be responsible for Star City, and the regions that we can access quickly." Chloe piped in from the audience. "We're limited to how much ground we can cover without any superhuman abilities." Jon Jonz nodded, adding: "Each member of our league will be assigned areas based on their inherent powers, or lack thereof. Both cases can be helpful. Certain members would have far greater areas of responsibility."
"League?" Lois's outburst from the fourth row startled everyone. "That has a nice ring to it." The intrepid reporter commented cheerfully, writing some possibilities on a few pieces of paper that she'd brought with her. "A league sounds less threatening than an army, or some alphabet soup of government acronyms." Lois concluded as she continued to scribble.
Hawkman suddenly got up and flapped his wings lifting him onto the stage beside Oliver. Hawkgirl continued to stare menacingly at everyone in the hall. "Yes, Hawkman?" Jon asked coolly. "We should honor those before us that continued to be the light that opposes darkness in all its forms. I say that our group should have the word 'justice' within it, like the Justice Society of America from years past."
"Agreed." Clark shouted, forgetting that he wasn't the Blur. Lois elbowed him in the ribs. Naturally, he barely noticed. Oliver snickered. "Thank you for that resounding confirmation Mr. Kent." Arrow needled him as Clark reddened. Lois placed her head in her hands. Playing the inept, mild mannered reporter will probably be more difficult than we think, she silently mused.
Bruce noted both the reference to the JSA, and Kent's outburst. He was starting to get the bigger picture here. Simultaneously, the sharp young detectives, Barbara and Dick picked up on the reference. "Did you catch that, Batman?" Nightwing asked. Bruce calmly nodded and gestured for him to pay attention.
"We can have an immediate vote, if you'd like." Jon Jonz stated calmly. The murmurs from the unusual audience sounded positive, so Oliver nodded. "Okay, who thinks that Justice should be part of our group's eventual name? Show of hands please."
Everyone except Shayera, Batman, Batgirl, and Nightwing raised one hand. Barbara felt bad that she hadn't contributed to the vote or discussion, but she remained silent. "Very well, Justice something it will be." Oliver chuckled. "Do you object, Batman?" Jon Jonz pinned Bruce down. "No, Detective Jones, I'm just more interested in the overall purpose of this organization." Batman growled, sounding surly.
"Understandable." Jon Jonz remarked. "We will continue with the broader discussion on ELLEs." Lois risked a glance at Batman and spoke into Clark's ear. "Bat guy doesn't seem particularly impressed, honey. Maybe we should've invited the Blur instead." She observed. "I think that he'll come around. Maybe after next week, Batman will be more intrigued." Clark commented.
"We've already touched on natural disasters, and now we'd like to cover manmade disasters, or conflicts." Jon continued. Hawkman flew back to his seat next to Shayera. "Are you following all this, Hawkgirl?" He questioned his wife. "Yes, my king. I just wonder why we sit about and talk when there are wars to be won and battles to be fought." Shayera responded with a heavy Middle Eastern accent.
"All in good time, Shayera." Carter remarked. "Here on Earth, in this time, I am your husband, not your king." Naturally, both Kara and Clark had followed their quiet discussion, though they tried not to be obvious about it. That exchange would be worth following up on with the roguish Carter Hall.
"The most obvious threat to mankind in its present form would be a rogue launch of nuclear weapons by one country or terrorist state against another, resulting in World War III." Jon began icily. "On the one hand, we are of the mind that all nuclear weapons should be banned, yet on the other, I believe that nuclear powered energy is paramount to Earth's technological advances."
"Hence, the double edged sword." Oliver contributed. "Some of us here today may be powerful enough to physically restrain developers of nuclear weapons, and some likely powerful enough to destroy all nuclear weapons that one can find." Arrow let that observation hang in the air. "The problem with that is how much power should one being, or one league, have? We all have to consider that."
Clark raised his hand. "Yes, Mr. Kent?" Oliver was puzzled by his friend's action. "Do you mind if I say a few words?" Lois glared at him. "Honey, what are you doing? We're supposed to be observing." She chastised him. "Thank you." Clark said as he stood up and walked gingerly to the podium, deftly hopping up onto the stage. Jon and Oliver stared at him. "What's up, Boy Scout?" Oliver asked quietly.
Clark just nodded toward the audience. Lois ducked her head and glanced down. "If we form this League of Justice or whatever, we need to remember to stay morally sound, and not let the power trip get into our heads. Our greatest strength, and our greatest weakness, is our humanity." Clark made eye contact with everyone as quickly as he could. "A wise visitor once told that to me, and I found that it rings true."
"Nice." Batgirl smiled, and forgot that she was supposed to remain silent. "Doesn't this sound like our Humanities and Philosophy classes, Nightwing?" Dick nodded before answering. "It also reminds me of something your father might say, or Alfred." He added under a withering glare from Batman. "You guys aren't getting the whole idea behind secret identities, are you?" He growled at his young assistants.
"If we do this, we do it together." Clark continued his lecture. "Remember, we are on the same team regardless of whether we have superior abilities or not." The audience applauded as Clark paused, and then recalled that he was supposed to be an observer, and quickly vacated the stage area.
"Great speech, honey." Lois snapped. "You know that the Blur would've liked that." She added sarcastically. Clark reddened as Lois gently kissed his cheek. Kara slouched in her seat and sighed, wishing that she'd decided to come as Supergirl. Maybe next time, she mused silently. "Uh, thank you Mr. Kent." Oliver said cordially. "I guess that we all echo your sentiment."
Jon refocused the discussion, speaking on the manmade threats of biological and chemical warfare, country destabilization and unrest, small scale terrorism, worldwide riots, political corruption, and some new forms of weaponry, like the electromagnetic pulse weapon that could knock out an entire city, state, or country's electrical power, and concluded with a vicious cyber-attack that could bring down the world's financial market's computer system in favor of a new world order.
All of these disasters were manmade, and very prevalent in today's society. Courtney Whitmore had grown restless, and during a break made her way over to sit between Clark and Kara. Stargirl smiled at them, and said: "Boy, you guys are covering all the bases today, aren't you?"
Lois laughed. "You haven't seen anything, yet. Detective Jones is about to cover extraterrestrial threats next. Honey, could you zip off and get me some popcorn?" She teased Clark quietly. "Funny." He chuckled briefly.
The adventure continues in "The Last Daughter of Krypton"