"We thought that we knew everything about the world we live in, this island, Earth. We were wrong. Science had the answers to everything, didn't it? That which lies beyond our current understanding, nipping at our consciousness, would certainly be resolved one day, wouldn't it?" – Marcus Worthington, Chronicler of Days.
Two shadowy figures, one female the other male, walked barefoot slowly along the foggy beach of Lakeside City. It was just after dawn as the dim sunlight first peered above the massive, placid, lake. The waves lapped gently against the rocky, craggy beachhead.
The female was dressed in a simple, white, loosely fitting tunic, a gold sash tied tightly around her thin waist. The hem was angled upward, just above her knees. Her male companion wore an old, weathered, beige colored, pleated tunic that bottomed out just above his ankles. His golden colored sash reflected the morning sunlight outward from his body. He was about a foot taller than her.
Across the female's back, was strapped a bright silver broadsword. Its hilt was rimmed with gold. The sun caught it just right and it released a prism-like refraction of color all along the sandy beach. Just below the dress hem, twin jeweled daggers were visibly tied to each of her upper outer thighs.
The woman's hair was lengthy, curled, and of a brownish gold hue. The man's was sandy brown and cascaded down to his broad shoulders. "We should change into our disguises before the sunlight gets too bright. We may already be visible to the naked eye." She began. "Agreed." The man stated, as he shifted uneasily. "Mara, I cannot believe that we have returned." He remarked.
"It was His wish, Michael." Mara responded. "I guess that I just wondered why He'd send us back. Wasn't it He who provided them with free will in the first place?" He inquired. "Ours is not to question why, Michael." Mara gently rebuked him. "I know. Forgive my insolence." Michael backed down. "I'm just trying to understand the motivation." Mara shrugged, saying: "I realize that."
"Even the children with free will, the sons and daughters of Eve, must be corrected occasionally. Otherwise the equilibrium is thrown out of balance." Mara admitted. "As I understand it, the Evil Empire of the Scythe has grown too powerful. Its tentacles tear into the fabric of Eve's children's lives. It is as if the Pharaohs themselves have returned." Mara commented angrily.
"Are we sure they have not?" Michael asked rhetorically. "His sheep have been led astray." Mara remarked. "The flock must be winnowed." She added. "Sometimes, the weeds must be pulled to keep the garden growing fresh." Michael glanced at his companion in horror.
"Do you really think that culling the herd will stop its growing cancer?" He seemed skeptical. "Those that follow the light need fear nothing." Mara replied. "As for those who presume to sit in judgment of others, it is they who will have to worry." Michael nodded respectfully, done with the debate.
The odd couple reached the edge of the beachfront and began their ascent up the hillside towards the bright lights of Lakeside City's downtown business district. Commuters, drivers, and pedestrians scurried past the visitors, blissfully unaware of the impending conflict.
As the couple waited for the traffic to clear, they observed how society had changed. "Always in a hurry, they are." Michael remarked. He had magically changed his appearance. The tall, stocky, visitor was now clad in a common black tee shirt, blue jeans, gym shoes, and he wore a black leather jacket.
Mara closed her eyes and concentrated on the area surrounding them. To each other they appeared to look the same in their original tunics. Mara's outfit now consisted of a common black dress, conservatively cut, wrapping itself around her waspy figure like a second skin.
The dress was hemmed just above her knees, and lacked any other adornments, save for a silver and gold crucifix necklace that fit perfectly inside the top of her dress. Mara's long tan legs led down to simple black leather boots that were topped at about half her calf length.
Most young women enjoyed this style of boot, and most considered them fashionable. The visitors would do their best to fit in. The strangers watched with growing irritation as the cars, trucks, and buses zipped past them. Michael was losing his patience. "Will this noise and chaos never cease?" He complained. He snarled and raised his right hand as Mara cast him an angry glance.
Over in Starling City, Oliver and Chloe Sullivan-Queen watched the media frenzy over Superman and Supergirl from Oliver's penthouse apartment that looked out over the humid city. "I liked it better when we were all about being secretive." Chloe commented as she reclined on their black leather couch.
"We'll see how this works out for Clark and Kara." Oliver responded. "It didn't go particularly well for me when I came out into the public eye." Chloe nodded. "Or for me." She agreed. "The challenge for Clark and Kara is for each of them to become two different people, three if you count the Kryptonian connection." She continued. "Clark has some experience with duplicity, but Kara doesn't."
"For all of us to succeed, we need Clark and Kara to make this duality work." Oliver remarked. "I do like the Superman and Supergirl angle, though." Chloe chuckled. "They'd make great role models for the young folk. Maybe you can orchestrate a public relations marketing campaign for them."
"Queen Industries sponsors the super aliens?" Oliver laughed. "You know that just might work." He needled. "Think about it, Ollie." Chloe playfully brainstormed. "Superman and Supergirl websites, action figures, pajamas, movies, you name it." She joked. "The sky's the limit, literally!"
Oliver rubbed his recently goateed chin. "Obviously, I don't need the money, but maybe we can use some income to further our Justice League activities." Chloe grinned thinly. "You like that name, don't you?" She teased, cuddling in closer to him. "It kind of grows on you." Ollie admitted.
"It honors the JSA, Justice Society of America, from the last generation." Oliver considered. "Do you think that the others will go more public?" Chloe questioned. "That would be up to the individual." Ollie responded. "The new guy, Flash, seems to soak up all the publicity he can get."
"The Batman, Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl have been out in the public eye for years, yet no one really knows who they are, or who their financial backer is." Oliver continued. "They fight crime in Gotham City every day, and they seem to be doing alright. Jon Jonz said that they have a contact near the top of the Gotham City Police Department. He's been doing recon on them for a few years."
"Kara seems to love the limelight." Chloe observed. "In many ways, she's the opposite of Clark." Oliver nodded. "I just hope that they can handle all the attention that they'll garner now." He added. "I talked to Laura Lake the other day, and she enjoys flying under the radar, not literally, of course. "I've decided to assign her to Lakeside City." Chloe's eyebrows rose. "Really? Do you think she can handle it?"
Oliver shrugged. "She has to learn how to handle responsibility like the rest of us. I just can't help but wonder: what if Clark, Kara, Laura, or Diana decided to go rogue on us? There's no way that we can stop them." Chloe thought about that depressing scenario. "We know how to stop Clark and Kara, but we have no idea what weaknesses Laura or Diana have, if any."
"I guess we just have to trust them, and hope for the best." Oliver noted. "We have to have faith." Chloe added. "On that depressing note, isn't it time to turn off the TV?" She asked lustily. Oliver instantly flipped off the remote. The scene shifts to Metropolis, and the Daily Planet newsroom.
"Good morning, Mrs. Lane-Kent." A familiar voice said from beside Lois's cubicle. Before her, stood Agent Jack Johnson. "Well Agent Johnson, it seems like only yesterday." Lois gave him her standard trademark smartass comment. It had been only since yesterday that she and Clark had met the mysterious government agent. Lois still couldn't shake the feeling that she'd met him before.
"Indeed it has." Johnson playfully remarked. Lois sighed deeply. "What can I do for you today, Agent Johnson?" She asked with forced civility. "I spoke with Perry White, and he has authorized a paid meeting with you and Mr. Kent for me." Johnson explained in his patently calm, emotionless, voice.
"You did say paid?" Lois picked up on his nuanced invitation. "Yes. Mr. White has given his okay to pay you and Mr. Kent double time for this meeting." Johnson dangled the carrot. "Double time? Well what are we waiting for?" Lois echoed. "Clark will be here in three, two, one…" On cue, Clark entered the newsroom with two steaming hot cups of coffee.
"That's amazing!" Johnson praised. "Hardly." Lois deadpanned. "Clark is certainly one thing, and that's punctual." She smirked as Clark approached them and kissed her tenderly on the forehead. "Morning Lois!" he said, ignoring the trench coat wearing government agent. "Morning, honey." Lois gushed.
"Agent Johnson here says that Perry authorized paying us double to go to a meeting." Lois informed him excitedly. Clark immediately scowled. "What kind of a meeting?" His tone quickly soured. "Nothing formal, I assure you." Johnson downplayed. "It's just the three of us and a couple of hours of discussion." Lois winced. "Seriously? A couple of hours?" she whined.
"Yes. At double your current wages." Johnson stressed. "Fine." Clark sighed. "What exactly do we need to meet about?" As if he didn't already know. "Not here." Johnson said as his pale green eyes darted around the room, taking in every minute detail of the staff and surroundings.
"When?" Clark pressed as he continued to scowl. "As soon as you can." Johnson replied bluntly, adding: "That comes from Perry White directly. Two hours, and no more." He reiterated. "Well, we might just as well get it over with." Lois remarked. "Just let me put today's column to rest."
After proofreading and saving the story, Lois sent it to copy for placement in the paper and on line. Clark sipped the coffee, forgetting that it was boiling hot. Agent Johnson's eyebrows rose. He was observing the impossible right before his eyes. He committed the scene to memory.
Lois grabbed her cup and held it, allowing the steam to spew out into the room. Clark silently took another slug of the steaming coffee, and donned a fresh new scowl on his face. "Ready Agent Johnson?" Lois inquired. "Whenever you are." He responded pleasantly.
"Honey?" Lois asked Clark. "Ready?" When Johnson glanced at Clark for his response, Lois pressed a button on her ItPad, releasing a prerecorded text message to Chloe and Oliver. "Sure. Let's do it!" Clark replied reluctantly. "Where do we want to meet?" Lois directed Johnson's attention back to her.
"I have a local condo just a few blocks from here." Johnson explained. The enigmatic agent gestured for them to follow him. Lois grabbed her purse, and Clark's attitude continued to worsen. He considered all the things that could go wrong with this clandestine meeting.
What if this is a major government trap? Clark wondered silently. What if Lex Luthor had regained his memory and Johnson is on his payroll? What if one of the agents of Darkseid had gotten hold of some green or blue kryptonite? He ran through any number of nasty scenarios.
The three of them headed towards the elevator amid a dozen questioning stares from the newsroom staff. "At least they're not in handcuffs." Clark's superior hearing picked up the mutters. That was Jimmy Olsen commenting to Cat Grant in a hushed tone. "I'd like to get Superman in handcuffs." The amorous Cat Grant quipped, making young Olsen's face turn red.
"I thought you hated Superman and all the vigilante heroes?" Jimmy questioned her with a puzzled look. "A girl can change her mind, can't she?" Cat countered just as the elevator indicator light beeped and flashed on. Lois, Clark, and Johnson entered the elevator and headed down to the lobby.
Clark was uncharacteristically silent as he scowled once again behind Johnson's back. Lois simply rolled her eyes. It was a quick walk to Johnson's downtown condo. The government G-man was staying at a posh condo development mere steps away from Metropolis's hot shopping district.
They entered the condo and took the elevator up to the sixteenth floor. Johnson hadn't said much of anything since they began their walk. Clark immediately surveyed the condo with his x-ray vision, and was stunned to find several secret rooms throughout the length of Johnson's home.
Clearly, this was no ordinary G-man, and his suspicions grew as Johnson pressed a flat panel alongside the door to his condo. Immediately, an eye retina scanner appeared, and Johnson looked directly into it and awaited the access code to be verified. "Alpha Omega Three Seven B." he spoke distinctly into the panel and the door slid aside, allowing them to enter a small corridor.