Metropolis 2017 – Another Door Opens
Updating the characters to include some Arrow regulars.
Kara quickly flew towards the Daily Planet, diving out of a cloud bank to conceal her flight. Though most of Metropolis's denizens had grown used to the benevolent aliens frequently dotting the skies above them, the people could still be distracted by them and cause accidents. Kara landed lightly on the rooftop next to Clark. "What's up? Supergirl asked excitedly.
Meanwhile, Lois Lane had been digging through the public information about the recent Carlyle City explosion. The Feds had gotten to the inspectors from the Bureau of Explosives and Firearms, and the local fire department of Carlyle City early. The investigators had whitewashed the details of the explosion for the hyperactive media outlets. They all supported the theory of a main line natural gas explosion. The so called experts all agreed on the cause. Lois wouldn't buy it.
"Nope this is too clean!" She wondered aloud. "It all fits too neatly. Everyone is on the same page from the BEF to the CCFD. This smacks of a cover up." Lois muttered. "Do you think that there's more to it?" A female voice said from behind her. Kara Zor El Kent, alias Linda Lee Danvers, stood beside Lois's cubicle.
Lois was working on her follow up article. "I can't be sure, kiddo, but my instinct tells me that this is a press release put out by the Feds. This sounds like a cock and bull story. There's got to be more to it. We all saw how devastating that explosion was. The blast left a block wide crater. Sixty eight people were killed in an affluent area. How does that even happen? That subdivision was brand new."
Linda sat on Lois's desk as Clark walked in. "Have you seen this, Clark?" Lois waved a copy of the Carlyle City Beacon daily newspaper in Superman's face. "I will if you let me read it." Clark quipped as he took the paper from her. He read through it at super speed. "This is terrible!" He maligned. "We did so much work to rescue those poor people." Kara said so quietly that only Clark could hear her.
Lois also leafed through the latest photographs from the disaster site that had been released on the internet. "Clark, doesn't something strike you as odd after you glanced through the wreckage?" She glared at the on line pictures. Superman peered into the aerial photos listed beneath the written story using his hyper vision, as Kara called up Jimmy's pictures of the blast site. They knew that his photos were never altered. Jimmy had sent the digital photographs straight to Kara's SMART phone.
"What's your guess, Lo'?" Clark asked. He knew that he could trust Lois's assessments of the articles. "The pictures all show the blast radiating out from the exact center of the block." Lois pointed to the internet images. "Most gas lines connect to houses on a grid. What are the chances that the explosion would take out the entire block? I suppose a main line could have erupted, but then wouldn't the houses have exploded seconds apart from one another, following the lines into the homes?"
"Oh no! You hit it, Lois! I think you're exactly right. Jimmy's pictures verify the explosion's radius." Kara jumped in excitedly. "That makes sense." Clark agreed as he pushed up fake black rimmed glasses. "Where was the tour bus at the time of the explosion?" He asked as Lois's nimble fingers flew across the keyboard while she searched for that specific time window. Suddenly she paled and stopped.
"The bus was at the exact center of the block." Lois confirmed angrily. "A bomb!" Clark and Lois chorused. "The drive by media has been feeding us a line." Lois added cynically. "This was no ordinary accidental gas line explosion! It was a terrorist attack or a preplanned hit! Perry's got to hear this!" She said as she quickly leapt up from her chair and stalked over to Perry's office. Kara and Clark continued to super speed through the information, and they came up with the same conclusion, an attack.
Lois knocked briefly before entering Perry's office. "Hey Chief! We have a headline story here!" She announced as Perry wheeled his chair around to face her. "Lay it on me, Lo'!" Perry exclaimed. Lois related her story and their theories about Carlyle City. Perry listened intensely. "It makes sense as you describe it, Lo'. How can we prove it? Like you assumed, I bet the Feds whitewashed the whole story and conveniently lost any evidence that someone might have to contradict them."
"We have Linda and Jimmy's unaltered photographs of the blast site. Any idiot investigator could see what we did, especially if they have a trained investigative eye." Lois nearly shouted. "This stinks to high heaven, Perry! We're probably looking at a Watergate style cover up and scandal here. If the Feds went out of their way to spread disinformation like this, I bet the scandal goes very high up!"
"If it were simply terrorists that blew Carlyle City's block to hell, why cover it up? We all lived through nine eleven, and countless terrorist attacks around the world since then. It's not as if anybody with a brain would be shocked." Lois pointed out. "Why bury the lead? Why not warn the public about the attack and let everyone know that the Department of Domestic Security is on top of the terrorists?"
"I know, Lo. This doesn't smell right." Perry agreed. "This attack is right in Metropolis's backyard. If there is a terrorist cell operating locally, why not get the word out to the general public? We always get lectured by the Feds and DDS to remain vigilant, and assist in the investigation if necessary, to say nothing of being more aware of our surroundings." He added.
"Hmmm, What if this was a hit, not a terror attack?" Lois guessed. "A hit? Do you mean like an old style Mafia hit?" Perry was skeptical. "I don't know, Lo' that seems like overkill. Why not just use a sniper to take out whoever their target was? Why annihilate a whole block?" Lois folded her arms across her chest. "True. Don't forget about the tour bus that just happened to be at the center of the block."
"Unfortunately, we need a list of the casualties' names to determine if someone was targeted." Lois began to think more like an investigator than a reporter. "The Feds closed the case up, Lo'. We'll have to find alternate sources of information. We can track down the deceased's relatives to see if they'll talk. That assumes that the Feds haven't shut them all down." Perry pointed out.
"We're on it, Chief. Clark and I will chase down leads, and we can use some logistical help from the new hire, Linda Lee Danvers. It will be a good learning experience for her. We'll also need Jimmy to follow up on the victims via photographs and video statements." Lois made a quick list in her head of all the routes to take. "You got it, Lo'. I'll commit those resources to you if you'll run with the ball on this." Perry confirmed. "You know that I hate sports analogies, Chief, but we'll have to run this over the finish line." Lois concluded.
"That's my girl!" Perry praised. "I'll notify the bigwigs about a budget increase. We'll hire some temps to pick up the slack. I'll give Cat Grant your puff pieces. She's been kind of robotic lately. I think that she needs a new challenge." Lois nodded. "I'll meet with Cat and send her what I'm working on now."
Meanwhile, Clark and Kara continued to investigate the photos and recalled the bomb blast scene. They had been so busy saving people and prying the remains from the wreckage, that they hadn't been paying attention to any details about the carnage. They hadn't even realized that the bus was the center of the explosion. "We need to be more observant." Clark complained aloud to Linda.
As Lois left Perry's office, her SMART phone rang. It was her cousin Chloe. "Hey Chlo' what's up?" She headed straight back to Clark and Kara. "Got it cuz!" Lois waved to Linda and Clark. "We have the greenlight to pursue our leads on the Carlyle City Catastrophe. We also have a meeting with Chloe and Ollie." Lois informed them. "Let's head over to the WB ASAP." They had devised the code for Watchtower Base some time ago to keep any nosy coworkers out of the conversation.
They hated to be so paranoid, but Lois decided to use abbreviations for everything she and Clark and Kara would discuss inside the office, and out within the general public. She had called the abbreviations government speak, since her father, General Sam Lane always referred to semisecret plans that he'd made as BS or bureaucratic speech. Lois found the acronyms amusing. Her personal favorite was Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or WTF in Army tech speak. Kara had been a little slow to catch on.
After their shift was done, Clark, Lois, and Kara hopped in a cab, mostly to keep up appearances, and instructed the driver to take them to a tavern called The Green Door, which just happened to be across the street from the clock tower Watchtower Base. Oliver had purchased and recently opened the old Green Door Tavern as an investment, and a very simple cover for their operations. The tavern literally had a pair of green doors as its entrance. Oliver's younger sister, Thea, had graduated from college and was now running the Green Door as its manager and also doubling as Oliver's assistant at Queen Industries.
Many of the dysfunctional superheroes had already visited the Green Door Tavern in their common everyday alter ego disguises. It also gave Thea and Oliver a legitimate income. After letting the cab go on its way, Lois entered the tavern alone, as Kara and Clark instantly zipped away and sped across the street and up the clock tower's eight story staircases. Since the recent Kandorian attack and the assault by Darkseid's minions, Metropolis had invested in hundreds of cameras, nearly on every busy street corner. Crime rates had plummeted after Superman and Supergirl's initial appearances.
The cameras that kept watch on the clock tower and Green Door Tavern had been conveniently installed by Queen Industries as a gift to the city. Naturally, the camera hookup was patched directly into Metropolis's security grid. Chloe had already upgraded the Watchtower encryption to account for all of that. Chloe could turn the cameras on or off at will, by flipping a simple switch.
A slim, blonde haired woman in her early twenties, tended the Green Door Tavern's fully stocked bar. Lois casually strolled up to the woodgrain bar and sat on a comfortable bar stool. The bartender was relatively new to the tavern. She had no idea who Lois was.
"Good evening, what can I get you?" The bartender asked Lois pleasantly. "Ooh, how about a green apple martini, dry?" Lois smiled brightly. "Coming right up." The bartender quickly busied herself mixing the drink. Thea Queen came into the barroom from a staircase situated just below ground level.
"Evening, Sara. How's our stock looking?" She asked the bartender, who was shaking the martini mixer in a very professional manner. "Evening, boss. As of this morning we were fully stocked." Sara responded as she artfully poured Lois's drink into a green tinted martini glass. "Great. Thanks." Thea replied.
"Would you like some olives?" Sara inquired as she placed the glass before Lois. "Just a couple, thanks." Lois answered. Sara finished her order and went about the business of cleaning the pristine bar top. Thea took a seat next to Lois. "Are you here for my bro?" She asked as Lois sipped her martini.
"Sure. By the way, I'm Lois Lane." She informed the younger Queen. Lois extended a hand and Thea took it. "I remember you now." Thea began excitedly. "Didn't you used to date Ollie?" She grilled. Of course this was all a charade for any legit customers' benefit. Thea already knew about the ragtag band of crime-fighters that Ollie had been busily trying to assemble. Lois was a bit embarrassed. "Yes, that's true. We did date for a while, but ultimately it didn't work out, and we've both moved on."
Sara pretended to ignore Lois, but there was no doubt that she was listening to every word. "If I had a thousand dollars for every girl that Ollie dated!" Thea teased. Lois laughed loudly as Clark and Kara walked into the bar in full disguise. For effect, Clark pushed the fake glasses higher on the bridge of his nose. Kara, dressed as overly conservative Linda Lee Danvers, followed him in.
Lois excused herself from Thea and joined Clark and Kara at a cocktail table nearest to the staircase that led downstairs. Chloe had reassured them that the Green Door Tavern was completely safe and free from electronic listening devices. Sara quickly left the bar and went to the table to take the new customers' orders. "What would you like to drink? Would anyone like some snacks?" She asked eagerly.
"I'll have a house beer." Clark replied. "I'll have the same." Kara added. "We'll just have some pretzels." Lois responded after the others agreed. Sara left them alone. "What's the plan, hon?" Lois asked. "Ollie has an insider source within the Federal Bureau of Firearms and Explosives that says the Feds hushed everything up referring to the Carlyle City catastrophe. FBFE sealed the evidence that the investigators found. The Feds say that they're protecting themselves from potential victim lawsuits." Clark stated.
"Bingo!" Lois exclaimed, swirling her fist in the air. "Dad was right. This smacks of a cover up. I get that the Department of Domestic Security would want to be careful about any press releases, but Ollie's insider scoop confirms that whatever happened out there was more than just CYA! If DDS wants the event to go away, not use it as a propaganda point showing that they are on top of things, something smells. Are the Green Bean and his merry miscreants going to help us out?"
Sara was just returning with the beers and pretzels. "Can I freshen that up for you?" She asked Lois, who had already downed half of her martini. "Oh? Sure. Thanks, Sara." Lois replied. "You don't mind if we call you Sara, do you?" She questioned the cheery server.
"That's my name!" Sara snickered as she took Lois's martini glass and headed back to the bar. By now, the legit customers were filing into the Green Door for after work happy hour drinks, so they would have to be careful with their discussion.
Also, two more cocktail waitresses and a male bartender were just coming on shift. Clark waited for the area to clear before answering Lois. "Ollie seems to think that the Carlyle City disaster was a planned terrorist attack." He said dramatically. "Whoa! What orifice did he pull that one out of?" Lois asked cynically, cracking Kara up. "Chloe agrees." Clark continued. "As we suspected, the whole exploding bus problem was overkill for a simple hit job. Chloe and a new assistant, Felicity Smoak, are digging up the passenger list for the riders on the tour bus, as well as researching the neighborhood residents."
"Where is Oliver getting all of this new help from?" Kara asked suspiciously. "Is he that confident in all of their background checks? Does this Felicity have any…powers?" She glanced at Sara who was approaching the table with Lois's drink. "Is there anything else?" Sara asked dutifully. "No. We're good. Thanks Sara." Lois spoke for everyone, and Sara returned to the bar to regroup with her crew.
"I met Felicity briefly, and she seems nice." Clark added cautiously. "I guess her superpower is cyber warfare." Lois's eyebrows rose. "She's a gifted geek? For Chloe to ask for more help must mean that they're into something bigger than smacking bad guys' heads together. I suppose shooting arrows at the derelicts could get boring." She remarked cynically.
"I just hope that Oliver is not in over his head." Kara commented. "Here's the kicker." Clark teased. "According to Chloe and Felicity, Who do you suppose the primary suspects are behind the Carlyle City destruction event?" Lois scowled. "M12?" She snapped. "Exactly!" Clark confirmed. "Wow!" Lois's eyes lit up. "The plot thickens." She added dramatically. Kara scowled, adjusting her fake black glasses.
"Unfortunately, our mission to protect Earth also means protecting humans from themselves." Clark commented with disdain. "We just barely stopped Lex and Lionel from causing any number of disasters. At least they were generally motivated by greed. We have no idea what motivates M12."