A/N-Hello out there, to Justice League and Atlantis fans! Most of my notes here are for the Atlantis fans that may happen to stumble on this. First of all, I would ask all of you who have seen the second Atlantis movie-Milo's Return-to temporarily forget about it because (please don't kill me) I've never seen it, I just love the first one. :) Also, it'll be a while before the Atlantis characters show up. So you can kind of consider this an AU story, because Atlantis is still hidden…for now. Bwa ha ha! Finally, for all of the Justice League fans, I know that you may be thinking of Aquaman's Atlantis at this moment, but this story is dealing more with the sunken civilization of the Disney movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire, so don't be scratching your head thinking, "Gee! What about Aquaman's turf?" At this moment, just ignore the standard cannon, because I will address the issue in a later chapter. :) Whew! Now, let's get to the good stuff- please R&R!
A/N 2: While I know this is being published under gentlegiant1180, this was actually written by my very brilliant and clever sister, and I am posting this story for her. If you hae questions and comments, I will make sure she gets them! Enjoy!
Prologue: Let's Make a Deal
Lex Luthor had always been known to have a way with words. It had been a skill he had cultivated over the years-the ability to make people ignore the fact that he was a convicted felon simply by choosing the right words to say at the perfect time, and always saying them in a smooth, calming voice that radiated charm. Creating trust was powerful, in Luthor's opinion-it always meant he would be in control of a situation, and more importantly, in charge of the people.
Luthor was wondering when he'd have to use his talent again as he sat in a medium sized office of the J. Edgar Hoover Building, watching black-suited men and women pass through the narrow slit in the tan blinds over the windows. Right now, the office's main inhabitant was engrossed with a medium sized stack of paper piled on her desk. With her focus diverted, Luthor surreptitiously straightened the buttons on his immaculately pressed grey blazer and focused his eyes into a quick, knowing glance. He knew that he could not show any sign of imperfection today-he had known many morons over the years, but he knew that Amanda Waller was not one of them. He also knew that his somewhat…shady past would not be very appealing to her, since she mostly liked to play by the government rulebook. Even though we've shared common foes, he thought. For a moment, Luthor's thin lips curled into a small grimace, darkening his polished aura. Quickly, he rearranged his features back into a look of curious hope, and stole a small glance at Waller. Her head was still focused on the papers.
But a moment later, her eyes left the pages and met Luthor's head on. He saw that her long, thin eyebrows were knitted together, and she brought a slightly round brown palm up to her forehead.
"Lex, out of all the people in the world, you are one of the last that I would have been expecting to endorse a conspiracy theory," Waller said exasperatedly. "When you said you wanted to talk about alternate energy sources, I thought you wanted a government contract with Lexcorp so you could produce windmills, or promote clean coal technology, or do something useful…Instead, you give me this!" She waved the pack of paper in front of Luthor's face, and let it fall onto the desktop. Luthor watched as the bunch of photographs and drawings he had spent last night organizing spread lazily over the wooden table.
Casually, he gave her another look. Waller's chest was rising fast, straining against her purple blazer, and her penetrating, calculating brown eyes were narrowed with annoyance. "We're looking for a modern solution to environmental problems, not something suggested in cave drawings and ancient carvings!"
Luthor made sure he paused for a moment, letting Waller's displeasure with him create a pounding, unbroken tension in the small room. Making sure he kept the stare going, Luthor's fingers slid over the faded pictures, and he picked a few off the desk. The first showed an ancient stone tablet decorated with sideways figures standing on something that looked like a roof, watching a companion in what appeared to be a rudimentary form of an airplane.
"You have to put the evidence in the context of its time, Waller. This carving looks almost Mayan or Aztec in design, but they never had the power of flight, did they?" Luthor said. "Why would they make a record of something that had no use in their society? Perhaps it was a warning of the power At-"
"Perhaps they thought their gods rode planes?" Waller cocked an eyebrow up at him. Luthor retaliated by flashing a small, witty smile.
"Maybe, but maybe not. How else would you explain all of these other drawings-from other cultures?" He took the opportunity to flash the other various pictures in his hand at her. "Clearly, they all knew of one kingdom that possessed a power source that none of them could compete with-", He put a few fingers under his chin-"And that kingdom was Atlantis. Imagine what a power source like that could do for the country! We'd be untouchable!"
Waller leaned back in her chair. "Hmm…yes, Atlantis was certainly untouchable, especially after it managed to sink to the bottom of the sea, according to legend." She made sure to put a heavy emphasis on her last words. "A legend on which you want to co-finance an expedition with the United States! And for what, Lex? Just so we can look for a made up city for some mythical force that can save the environment and put the US on a pedestal? Where did you come up with this idea? Did you steal it from Aquaman?"
Luthor merely smirked. "Actually, I'm the second person to think of this," he said. As Waller looked at him in disbelief, he leaned down and pulled a second set of papers out of a briefcase near his feet. "Take a look at these."
Slowly, Waller took the sheets from his hands. She shot a quizzical glance down at them, but her eyes widened with mild curiosity as she read more.
"Preston B. Whitmore, the steel tycoon?"
"In 1914, he funneled a huge chunk of his money into some sort of secret expedition. At first, he stayed silent about it. But after the mission team returned, he revealed they had been looking for Atlantis. And they didn't come back completely empty handed."
Waller was now reading the papers with greater interest. "It says here that they just found a bunch of broken pottery…"
"That proves somebody was down there before," Luthor pointed out, "As those 'ancient carvings' would seem to prove." He fixed her with his intense cobalt eyes. "Our technology can find a lot more than anything made in 1914 ever could. What if that power source was right under their feet and they never even realized it? Do you want to pass up such an opportunity because you were stuck in the future? History rewards visionaries, Waller. You could be known as this century's Columbus."
Waller set the papers on her desk, but she did not look away from them. Luthor also saw her eyes flicker over the pictures of the pictures of the carvings. Her face began to relax, lighting up with some sort of inner delight, and Luthor exhaled when he saw her drum her fingertips on the desk.
She's in, he thought. Got her.
Even in the midst of his triumph, Luthor made sure he looked suitably humbled in front of Waller. By now, she was rummaging inside her desk, and she soon came back up with a pad of paper in her hands.
"You should have stayed in politics, Lex; you're way too persuasive for your own good," she said, shooting him the smallest of smirks. Luthor chuckled softly in response, but Waller was already scribbling madly on her yellow legal pad. "Alright, I'm going to have to make a few meetings so the government can secure its funds for the project, along with the essential equipment. And you're financing one half of the money?"
"Of course. There are just two other…items of business I'd like to discuss right now."
Waller's head shot up. Gently, she set her pen down and ran a hand through her short black hair. "Are you going to suggest that we look for Bigfoot, too?"
"Actually, it's pretty important. First of all,"-he pointed at the information about Preston Whitmore,-"Can you-?"
"Done." She picked up the files. "The classification of these documents is typical protocol, anyway. And the second thing?"
"This is very important, Waller. In my opinion, it could be critical to the success of the mission. Are you listening?"
Waller tilted her head, and in the light her eyes seemed to flash with the thought of victory.
"You've got my attention, Lex."
About twenty minutes later, the door to Waller's office opened, and Luthor stepped out into the world of the FBI. Turning down a hallway, he walked towards the bank of elevators. His walk was confident and fast, and he almost seemed to bounce as he strode past the faceless agents beside him. A few minutes later, he slid into an elevator, and as one hand pressed a button marked with the letter L, the other fished around the deep pockets of his pants. As the lift started to rise, he finally pulled out a thin black cell phone. He opened it, pressed speed dial, and brought the phone to his ear. It only rang once.
"Well?" A voice said calmly into his ear.
Luthor grinned; he saw the elevator doors open and reveal a beautiful day with the sunlight streaming out of the lobby windows.
"They've agreed-and they're bringing them in," he said back. Without waiting for a response, he shut the phone, and headed back into the sunshine. He was smiling; once again, he was in control.
End Note: Well, here we are…The game is (somewhat) afoot! Feel free to guess who Lex's mysterious phone buddy is-and don't forget to leave other comments!