[We're due for another Interlude while I work out Lois' snooping activities on Themyscira! Hopefully this might give a glimpse of things to come! Amanda Waller and Dr. Fenderbrake are played respectively by Angela Basset and Udo Kier! Can you guess who the "Sleeping God" is?]
In a conference room hundreds of feet below the desert floor, its precise location unknown to the CIA, MI5, or the heads of State of the most advanced nations of the world, Amanda Waller and Dr. Fenderbrake watched a large flatscreen TV that was displaying a news conference. The red-clad superhero known everywhere as the Flash was taking questions from the press demanding to know the reasons for the recent and unexplained absence of the Justice League. To the only two observers in the room, they both had the unspoken thought that Flash, who was supposed to have the ability to doing anything at the speed of light including thinking, looked somewhat flustered at the questions being thrown at him from the assembled reporters.
"Flash, why hasn't Superman been seen in months?"
"Or Wonder Woman?"
"Has anything happened to them? Are they dead?"
"Flash, there's been rumors that Superman and Wonder Woman are an 'item.' Can you confirm this?"
"Are they on their honeymoon? Can you tell us where? Can you give us the name of the hotel they are staying at?"
"And where's the Batman?"
"Did he go with them?"
Flash raised his red-gloved hands, as if trying to ward them off. "I can assure you that both Superman and Wonder Woman are fine, they're just currently on a research sabbatical right now. I really can't comment on their personal lives…"
"Can you tell us where they are?"
"No, they both ask that you respect their privacy…"
"Then you are confirming they are together?"
"No, I mean…I can't say they are together in that sense…"
"Flash, Batman hasn't been seen in Gotham City for months, and crime has increased by 20% in his absence. Is he on this 'sabbatical' too? Are you saying that Wonder Woman and Batman are an 'item' instead of her and Superman?'"
"No! There are no 'items!' Look, the Justice League understands your concerns. We are working to increase our members to help…"
"Then this means that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were ousted from the Justice League? Are they going to set up a rival organization of metahumans?"
"Flash, what drove them from the League? Was it a love triangle?"
Amanda Waller switched the broadcast off, grimacing in disgust.
"You would think that the Justice League would know enough by now to engage a trained PR person for these things." Dr. Fenderbrake remarked drily.
"I'm more concerned with the fact that the whereabouts of three of their major members is essentially unknown," Waller replied testily. "I don't like it."
"Perhaps if things go on as they are, we won't have a Justice League to worry about," Fenderbrake added. "Perhaps they will all go on this so-called 'sabbatical."
Waller snorted derisively. "A sabbatical, what nonsense! Something is up."
"You are most concerned about Superman and Wonder Woman."
It was not a question. The gray-haired physician knew that his superior was gravely concerned about the possibility that these two powerful beings did indeed start an intimate relationship…and what might emerge from that relationship and its implications for the human race.
The African-American woman nodded. "They are the two most dangerous beings on the planet. We've been lax in not monitoring them more closely."
"Since they have not been seen in any other parts of the world, there are only three possibilities as to their location. Either they are at the Fortress of Solitude…."
"Which we also have failed to find, despite our most advanced drones." Waller clenched her fist in impotent anger.
"Or off planet. This is possible but unlikely, given that Wonder Woman is not an extraterrestial."
"And the third possibility?"
"That they are both are in Wonder Woman's home, the island of Themyscira."
Waller thought a moment. "Let's say they are in either Superman's hideout or Themyscira. Why would they be there for so long, out of sight?"
"I believe you have guessed the most likely reason, as I have. They've begun to have offspring."
Waller had; she just wanted confirmation from another source. "Then what we've feared has finally come to pass."
Dr. Fenderbrake adjusted his white lab coat. "The question that faces us now is, what shall we do? I assume you already have a contingency plan for this event?"
Waller nodded. "We must waste no time. I will brief the CoC immediately, although without hard 'proof' that useless politician will continue to dither as usual. In the meantime we must put our plan into effect."
Dr. Fenderbrake nodded curtly, but before he could go Waller added,
"One more thing, Doc: I want you to find Steve Trevor. We need him. We can make it an official military recall if necessary, but I would prefer not, given that it would involve too many other fingers in the pie."
Fenderbrake looked surprised, and slightly irritated. "For what purpose?"
"Dammit, isn't it obvious? He's been to Themyscira, and I don't buy that he doesn't know the way back, despite his prior denials. We need his assistance."
"He's declined to help us before. What makes you think he will now?"
"Superman is clearly Wonder Woman's lover. It was partly due to him that his relationship to her - and his military career - collapsed. We'll play on his natural jealousies and his resentments. He will help us, if only for the petty reasons of revenge...which we can offer him the opportunity for. It's been my experience that most of these old military career men are ultra-sensitive to any slight to their ego like that. Besides, I've been informed he's fallen on hard times. Apparently he's crashing a sofa with his sister up north, living off his pension and working in some community theater as a janitor." The tone of her voice suggested she felt mixed contempt and pity at Trevor's situation.
"We'll offer him a substantial financial package as well. If appeals to his pride don't work, then money will."
He nodded."I will make all the necessary arrangements."
Waller picked up her cell phone, her cue for him to be on his way.
Dr. Fenderbrake exited the bunker, emerging into the bright orange sunlight of a late afternoon in the Mojave Desert; the structures around him resembled the facilities of a new solar-energy project, which was the cover for the activities underground. He got into his car, a nondescript late-model Toyota (there were millions like it) and drove off towards his home, located in one of the better populated subdivisions near the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow, California. His modest house was, like his car, one of many like it for miles around. Nothing unusual about that, either.
He thought about Amanda Waller's plans and then about Steve Trevor. He had never met the man personally, but he knew someone who had. He entered his home office, a place not even the Mexican maid he'd hired to clean once a week ever entered. He entered in a Skype request, and waited. He didn't have to wait long. Soon his old friend appeared on his computer screen.
"Doc!" Robardin smiled at the computer screen. He appeared to be in the den of his home; Fenderbrake could see the framed certificates and plaques on the walls testifying to his longtime military service. "Long time no see. What's the occasion?"
"Waller's on the warpath," Fenderbrake said. "She wants to see Steve Trevor."
"That might be difficult right now," Robardin replied. "We're about to put on the final production of our play."
Fenderbrake's eyes narrowed. "The French play?"
"What else? We've run through a few preliminary productions. Soon we will offer the premiere."
"You've involved Trevor in this?"
"Of course. He is to wear the Pallid Mask."
Fenderbrake leaned back in his high-backed leather chair, steepling his fingers under his chin and said nothing. Robardin knew from their years' long association that this body language meant that he was quite concerned. The old Special Operations soldier laughed.
"You don't agree with my casting choice?"
"Why did Trevor agree to this? Does he know?"
"He knows who he was, and what he has become. Remember our days at the VA Hospice? He knows he has the chance to become so much more than some old geezer rambling on over half-remembered war stories at the VFW bar."
"You told him about Delta Green?"
"Only the bare bones. He was...intrigued," Robardin gave Fenderbrake a knowing look. "What did you tell Waller?"
"Nothing. She still thinks Justice League of America is a go."
Robardin sneered. "Did you see the press conference with that Flash idiot?"
"That's where I just came from, with Waller."
"There is no better time to reveal this magnificent drama to the world. Don't you feel it, Doc? The ennui, the decay in our society. These fools have no more business running the world than the schizophrenic hordes on the streets!"
Fenderbrake ignored his rant. "Waller thinks Superman and Wonder Woman are on Themyscira. She wants Trevor to lead her there. That's why she wants him back at A.R.G.U.S."
"Ah...Themyscira. Yes. That could be the thing, it is ideal! The new place for Carcosa. The Queen will return to her rightful place in the world."
"So, that is your intention," Fenderbrake leaned forward, and his voice lowered, slightly menacingly. "This world belongs to the Sleeping God. It always has, and it always will. It is His Will for us to hold it for him."
Robardin only laughed dismissively, as if he'd been told an amusing bon mot. "You still hold onto that! The Sleeping God is indisposed and is likely to remain so for tens upon tens of more millennia. No, the Sleeping God will not rise anytime soon, whatever you might wish. But now, now conditions are ripe for the King."
For the first time, Fenderbrake looked slightly alarmed.
"The Magnum Innominandum? You would-?"
"Yes. I would, and I will. You are welcome to tell Ms. Waller she is welcome to attend the premier of our play. It will be held in a few weeks' time. You too, old friend."
"What of Trevor?"
Robardin smiled, a death's head look. "Ah yes, Trevor. I will let him know Ms. Waller will be expecting him. I'm sure he will enjoy remaking their acquaintance."
With that, the Skype connection cut off. Fenderbrake sat back again and thought a moment. He knew where his allegiance lay, and it was not with the Pallid Mask. It was time to clue in Waller as to recent developments. Who knew, perhaps this would work to all their advantage, in some way. In either case, it would be the Justice League on whom the fallout would descend.