DC Elseworlds

Unrelated stories that take place in a setting besides Star Wars...

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Kytross
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DC Elseworlds

Post by Kytross » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:39 pm

OOC: This thread is rated PG-13 for language, violence and adult situations. Reader discretion is advised.

I am looking for comments and criticism. Please post and let me know what you like and don't like.

Thanks.
Last edited by Kytross on Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky

Kytross
Posts: 669
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:42 pm
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Re: DC Elseworlds

Post by Kytross » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:14 pm

OOC:

A DC Comics Elseworlds story. The premise is that its an alternate world. Some heroes are now villains, some men are now women, et cetera and vice versa.

What you're going to need to know about the world:

Meta-humans emerged about ten years ago, not making a big public splash until five years ago. The Man of Steel, or simply Steel, an ex-army ballistics and nano-engineer named John Henry Irons, who wears a suit of armor he made himself, is the most prominent hero in the world and one of the most powerful. He is based out of Metropolis, Delaware and funded directly by Luthorcorp. Lex Luthor is one of the wealthiest men in the world and while he is not above a shady deal or two he is not an evil megalomaniac simply because there is no Superman to fuel his hatred and rage. In fact, he is one of the greatest philanthropists of all times. Across the bay and connected by a ferry is Gotham, New Jersey where the only 'hero' there is known as the Bat. Most people outside of Gotham consider the Bat to be an urban legend. Residents of Gotham know better, if only because the insane criminal masterminds, whom the police are defenseless against, keep getting mysteriously stopped. I have a character concept for the Bat but don't want to reveal it publicly just yet.

The other big, powerful characters haven't been heard from yet. Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Arrow haven't made their presence known. Abin Sur is still Green Lantern, no human has yet worn the ring. The Martians were not killed by plague. Green Martians are still living a fairly peaceful existence. They are members of the civilizations of the 27 Known Galaxies and their Manhunters have earned a reputation as unshakable bounty hunters, helping various policing agencies throughout the cosmos capture criminals. The White Martians, well, what's left of them, are trapped in the Phantom Zone. The accidents that created Captain Atom and Firestorm haven't happened yet.

I haven't decided Krypton's fate but Kal-El was sent to Earth in an act of desperation by his father Jor-El because he was convinced the planet was on the verge of destruction. He was not found by Jonothan and Martha Kent, and did not land in Kansas. Instead Kal-El's ship landed in Delaware Bay. He was discovered by a deep sea diver, treasure hunter and amateur archaeologist who was convinced that the craft was a birthing pod from the lost city of Atlantis and that Kal-El was an Atlantean baby that had been in suspended animation for a few thousand years. He took pictures and the ship was realistic enough that the National Enquirer did a story. That brought the child to the attention of the New Jersey Department of Child Services who investigated and prosecuted, putting the amateur archaeologist in Belle Reve Sanitarium and Kal-El in an orphanage in Metropolis. After a record search turns up no results the staff at the orphanage rename him Calvin Hobbes, after Calvin & Hobbes from the comic strip. So he was called Calvin, or Cal for short.

From a young age Calvin ran away frequently and lived by himself on the streets for weeks at a time. Often times he would take the ferry across the bay to Gotham, where no one knew him. Living on the streets Calvin learned to steal, to hide from cops, and to navigate the darker part of society, especially in crime alley and Suicide Slums. He was brought back to the orphanage by the police on more then one occasion, sometimes after being arrested and discharged. If he was in Gotham he was taken to their state run facility. It was here he met and befriended another young orphan named Selina Kyle. His powers began to manifest shortly after the onset of puberty. The first meta-humans had begun to surface and they were not getting favorable press coverage. Calvin assumed he was a meta-human and didn't want to be labeled a freak so he hid his abilities as best he could. Currently Calvin is 18 and no longer a ward of the state. He has not yet learned about all of his powers, specifically heat vision, super cold breath and flight elude him. I'm running with the concept of all Kryptonians naturally having a wider vision in the electromagnetic spectrum so Kal-El has been able to see x-rays his entire life, which is one of the reasons he always felt different. Calvin Hobbes is alone in the world, living in an abandoned building in Metropolis.
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky

Kytross
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Re: DC Elseworlds

Post by Kytross » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:15 pm

Even in the cool of the night a ski mask and gloves were too warm to be worn in Metropolis in the middle of June. For a criminal they were essential for disguising your identity from the police. The gloves eliminated your fingerprints, the mask hid your face and they both reduced the amount of DNA you might leave at a crime scene: hair follicles, dead skin, and fingernails. The police generally only gathered DNA evidence for murders or assault cases. Violence wasn't on his planned docket tonight, but Calvin wasn't taking any chances, so he was wearing a ski mask and baseball batting gloves, in addition to a long-sleeve, black turtleneck and black cargo pants. He looked like a criminal. One of his fists embedded in an ATM and the other clutching a bag half-full of cash made him look more like a criminal.

Calvin pulled out a fistful of dollars and shoved it in the bag. His hand moving back into the ATM. He felt something slam into his back and Calvin was shoved forward into the wall and the ATM.

“I'm bringing you in punk,” a deep voice rumbled behind him. Calvin sighed. He leaned back, easily pushing whoever it was off of him, and turned around. It was a man in a suit of armor with a large metal “S” embossed on his breastplate. And a cape. He was actually wearing a red cape. A flowing red cape. And he was carrying a sledgehammer. The ironclad man shook his head back and forth. “I knew you were strong,” he rumbled at Calvin, “You punched through an ATM. But you don't stand a chance against me. Do you know who I am?”

Calvin raised an eyebrow, which barely showed under his ski mask. “I was going to go with Lancelot, but the “S” is throwing me off. Santa Clause maybe?”

The armored man laughed, a deep bass rumbling that echoed around the street. He shifted his weight, bringing his hammer up into a striking position. “I'm the Man of Steel. The Metropolis Marvel. The world's mightiest mortal. This armor was forged at the molecular level and is completely indestructible. It enhances my strength beyond that of anyone on Earth. You don't stand a chance. Surrender and you'll just have the robbery charge against you.”

Calvin put the bag down at his feet and cracked his knuckles. He rolled his head, and then fixed his stare at the eye sockets in the Man of Steel's helmet/mask. Calvin smiled. “What robbery charge? I'm not armed. This is theft, which is a misdemeanor, not a felony. I wasn't resisting arrest and I wasn't threatening to harm anyone. So your use of force a minute ago, that's assault. That is a felony.” Calvin brought his hands up, open palms toward the Man of Steel. “Now I'll make you a deal. I'll forget the assault charges if you turn around and walk away.”

The Metropolis Marvel stood there, not moving, contemplating the situation. After a moment he spoke. “It sounds like you've been in a courtroom before. You've got a pretty extensive knowledge of the legal system.”

“If you're trying to imply that I'm a lawyer, I'm flattered.,” Calvin replied.

“That wasn't quite what I meant. I'm still taking you in punk.” The Man of Steel took one hand off his hammer to gesture at Calvin. “Put your hands on your head and turn around.”

“Yeah right.” Calvin bent down and picked up the bag of money. “You're not a cop. At best you're just a citizen, like me. Which means you can't detain me for a misdemeanor, only for a felony. You'll excuse me while I finish emptying this ATM.” Calvin started to turn back to the ATM but he saw the Man of Steel start to swing his sledgehammer. Calvin reversed his turn and caught the head of the hammer with his free hand, effortlessly stopping the swing of the world's mightiest mortal.

The Man of Steel stared for a moment then tried to rip the hammer out of Calvin's hand. Calvin held it tight. “That's impossible,” the Man of Steel declared.

“No that's assault with intent to kill,” Calvin replied. He closed his hand into a fist, crushing the 'indestructible' sledgehammer's head into dust.

“That's impossible!” the Man of Steel yelled.

“You keep saying that word. I don't think it means what you think it means,” Calvin said in a very bad Spanish accent. He stepped forward and put his hand on the Man of Steel's chest, curling his fingers into the breastplate and peeling it open like it were made of paper, exposing his chest. Calvin dropped the money bag and grabbed the Man of Steel's helmet by the facemask with his free hand. “Heh, what do you know. The Man of Steel is a black man.” Calvin canted his head to the left and asked, “Did you vote for Obama?”

“Let go of me!” the Man of Steel roared and swung his fist at Calvin. He connected, Calvin not moving in the slightest and a vibration shaking through the Man of Steel's armor.

“I want to see the face of my attacker.” Calvin moved his other hand to the Man of Steel's neck, holding him as he carefully peeled open the armored helmet, revealing a bald black man that looked quite a bit like Steve Harris from the TV show, The Practice. Calvin gasped. “It's you!”

The Man of Steel furrowed his brow. “You know me?”

Calvin grinned. “Nah, I'm just messing with you.” He gave the Man of Steel a little push, knocking him on his ass, then Calvin bent at the knee and picked up his bag. He zipped it closed and hefted it over a shoulder. “Well, I'll see ya around.” Calvin waved and then ran off so fast it looked like he disappeared.

The Man of Steel sat there for a moment just staring. Finally he said, “Holy shit,” and then stood up. He closed his eyes and activated his jet boots, lifting into the air.

“I'm going to need new armor.”

----------------------------

The music had a powerful bass line. That was the first thing Calvin noticed as he walked up to the Ace of Clubs. It was the premier bar or nightclub in Metropolis. Calvin wasn't sure, exactly what it was classified as. He was only 18 and truthfully he shouldn't be here. But the money he'd gotten from the ATM had bought him a nice new suit, a fake ID, and a membership to a gym that let Calvin get a nice hot shower. And now he was going to enjoy his newfound wealth at the coolest place in town. So he walked up to the end of the line and stood in it. Part of him was growing impatient waiting to get in, and part of him was nervous, afraid of not fitting in with the scene inside.

After about an hour Calvin had made his way to the front of the line. The bouncer looked Calvin up and down. Standing at six foot three and built like a bodybuilder, Calvin was probably the biggest guy in line, about the same size as the bouncer. “You're a big one,” the bouncer said.

Calvin nodded. “Yup.”

The bouncer looked him over. “You here to cause trouble?”

Calvin blinked then deadpanned, “Yes. Yes, I am. That's why I waited in line for an hour. Not to get into the hottest club in Metropolis where the most beautiful women hang out. Not to see and be seen by society's elite. No, I'm going to pay an outrageous cover and ten times what drinks are worth to get drunk and get into a brawl long enough to get banned for life.”

“Getting uppity with me isn't going to get you into the club,” the bouncer retorted.

“You're a big guy, you know how it is. If I fart too loud people think I'm gonna get mad and break somebody. If I get a little sarcastic, hey, it happens.” Calvin shrugged. “I don't start fights though.” Calvin grinned at him. “I've finished a few though.”

The bouncer laughed. “Yeah, I know that feeling. Ok, fifty bucks gets you in the door.”

Calvin's jaw dropped, but he recovered, pulling a gangster's roll out of his pocket and pealing off three twenties and handed it to him. The bouncer started to make change and Calvin held up his hand. “It's ok. Keep it.” The bouncer nodded and let Calvin walk into the Ace of Clubs.

Calvin took two steps into the club and stopped, touching his ears. His hearing, like everything about him, had become more then meta-human in the last few years. His hearing was now hyper-human or super-human, or some greater classification. It didn't hurt to be in a loud environment, anymore then it hurt catching the Man of Steel's hammer, but Calvin liked to take a moment to adjust. He could use his hearing for echolocation and when he thought of it Calvin liked to keep a mental sonar up. After getting jumped by the Man of Steel it seemed extra important to not get snuck up on. Though all things considered that had gone rather well. He even got the Man of Steel's face on the ATM security camera. Calvin wasn't sure if he was going to try and recover the video or if he was just going to let it go and see what happens.

He walked all the way into the club and stopped again. The place was a mass of flashing lights and bodies writhing on the dance floor. He blinked, instantly counting all the people in the place. Calvin shook his head. He had no idea how he did that. But there were over twice as many girls as there were guys. Nice ratio.

Calvin made his way to the bar and sat down. He figured the bartender would come right over, but no. There were three of them and none of them paid Calvin the slightest bit of attention. He waited twenty minutes and then pulled out his gangster roll. Finally someone noticed him and it was still another ten minutes before they came over and asked what he'd have. It was a female bartender and like every other woman there, she wasn't dressed in much, just a baseball cap, and a leather bikini top with chaps and cowboy boots.

“How about a Bud?” Calvin asked.

The bartender laughed at him. “This is a classy place, we don't have domestic beers.” Calvin looked for all the world like a deer in the headlights. “First time here, cutie? I'll get you something special.” She turned around and Calvin enjoyed watching her work. She really was just wearing chaps and a micro thong. That took some balls. Of course, it was extra nice to be able to see under her clothes. She turned around and had a drink in her hands and put it on the table in front of Calvin. “Now be careful big boy...” Calvin picked the drink up and downed it, setting the cup back down on the bar. The bartender bit her bottom lip and grinned. “Damn, hot stuff can down his drinks can't he?”

Calvin shrugged. “Why, was that supposed to be strong?”

She giggled and shook her head. “Strong? That was a mostly vodka screwdriver.”

Calvin nodded. “I'm good to go again.”

“Already?” The bartender looked him up and down, licking her lips. “That's a fast recovery time. You must have a lot of stamina.”

He caught her eye and held it. “That's right.”

She nodded. “You know, I have a break in half-an-hour.”

“I'll be here,” Calvin replied, letting her see him look her up and down. “I'll definitely be right here.”

---------------------------------

Under normal circumstances a gunshot would get the attention of everyone in the room. In the Ace of Clubs, with everything going at full tilt, no one would hear a thing. Calvin heard the click as the hammer was being drawn back. The bartender was turning to deliver a plate of tortillas to the person next to him. Calvin grabbed the plate from her, dumped the food on the bar, brought the plate back behind his head as he turned toward the sound of the gun, and sent the plate flying with a hammer throw all in less then a second. The plate slammed into the barrel of the pistol sending the gun flying. Calvin turned back to the bartender and smiled, wondering why the hell he'd just done that. He didn't know the guy, or the situation. Maybe the guy deserved to be shot, how could Calvin know. And why, why would he interfere in something that had nothing to do with him? Minding other people's business wasn't how you stayed safe on the streets, or anywhere Calvin knew of.

The bartender was not smiling. In fact, she was pissed. “What the fuck did you do that for? Just because you're pretty doesn't mean you get to do shit like that.”

Calvin nodded. “Fair enough. Let me pay for that.” He pulled out his gangster's roll and put two twenties on the bar. “That cover it?”

The bartender glared at him. “So you're another spoiled rich guy who thinks he can buy his way out of anything?”

“Uh,” Calvin stalled for time. “I just want another drink.”

The bartender pursed her lips and leaned in, whispering in Calvin's ear, “Maybe next you can buy me out of this top?”

Calvin turned his head, their lips millimeters apart. “I'd love to.” Calvin leaned in and their lips pressed together.

She broke the kiss a half-second later. “I have a job to do.” The corners of her cheeks moved up slightly and Calvin noticed her pupils were fully dilated. She bit her bottom lip and turned away shaking her head. With his hearing Calvin couldn't help but smile when she murmured, “Great kiss.”

Calvin saw two men walk up to the end of the bar close to where the shooting almost took place. They shoved a few people out of the way. The female bartender immediately walked over to them. Calvin, feeling a bit jealous and scared, looked at them. Finding both men were carrying concealed pistols he decided to listen in. They wanted to know who threw the plate. The bartender girl didn't hesitate she turned and pointed at Calvin. In that instant Calvin was prepared to run, at full speed, out of the club and out of the borough of New Troy back to the abandoned tenement he was squatting in the borough of Hob's Bay, right in the middle of Suicide Slums. He could be there in an instant. He was that fast. But Calvin stopped himself. He wasn't hiding anymore. Not since he got hit by that Mac truck and walked away just fine. He had no reason to be scared of a couple pistols. At least, Calvin hoped not.

The two men walked over to him, tapping Calvin on the shoulder. He spun his barstool so he faced them. “You need to come with us,” The one on the left said.

Calvin nodded, but didn't move. “Aren't you supposed to show me a badge first or something?”

The one on the right grabbed Calvin's shoulder. When the thug yanked on his suit jacket Calvin chose to let the man pull him from his stool. “This way,” the thug said, “Mr. Mannheim wants to talk to you.” They marched him over to an area of the club furnished with leather chairs. Two men were sitting across from each other. One was a skinny man, slumped in his chair with a welt growing around one of his closed eyes and his head leaning to one side. He was breathing though, so that was a plus. This was the guy who'd drawn the gun Calvin had hit with the plate. His holster was empty now. Sitting across from him was a man of obvious Italian descent, his dark black hair slicked back, a thick mustache, olive skin, and a black, expensive suit with a burgundy shirt and a black tie. This man had a gun as well, in a shoulder holster, a very large caliber revolver. Calvin didn't know much about guns, but it was easily the largest pistol in the room.

“This is the guy Mr. Mannheim.” The same thug who held Calvin by the shoulder let him go and gave him a little shove. Calvin stepped forward, regaining his balance.

Mr. Mannheim looked him up and down. “You threw the plate?”

Calvin nodded. “Yeah, I'm a regular Marty McFly.”

Mr. Mannheim let out a sharp bark of a laugh. “That's a good one. You're a pretty funny guy.”

Calvin blinked. He wasn't expecting a compliment. “Thank you. I was going to perform at the Funnybone, but they only hire Jews, Canadians, and Rednecks.”

Mr. Mannheim laughed again. “You are a funny guy. You want to perform at the Funnybone I can make that happen. Hell, for a guy who saved my life I can have you headlining this weekend.”

Calvin shook his head. “Nah, I was just kidding Mr. Mannheim. I don't want to be a comedian.”

“Call me Bruno.” Mr. Mannheim tapped his fingers together and nodded twice. “Fair enough. What do you want?”

“I don't know.” Calvin shrugged. “Peace on Earth and goodwill toward man?”

The thug slapped Calvin on the back of his head. “Show him respect.”

Bruno stood and punched the thug with a right cross, knocking him to the ground. The thug looked up at him. Bruno pointed at Calvin. “He saved my life. Which is your job. You show him respect.”

“Really Bruno, it's alright,” Calvin said, “I just want to go back to the bar and flirt with the bartender.”

Bruno turned and smiled at him. “Girls? I can get you girls. Have you ever been with two girls at once? How about 5? 10?”

Calvin's eyes went wide and his jaw dropped. He'd never been all the way with one girl let alone 10. He closed his mouth and blinked, thinking things over. Finally he sighed and shook his head. “I don't want a girl like that Bruno. How about a car? I don't have a car right now.”

Bruno smiled. “I like that. Shows everyone that if they take care of me, I take care of them. I'll have a Ferrari at your house tomorrow. Red, convertible, all the tricks. Give Guido your address.” Bruno pointed to the thug that hadn't said anything to Calvin yet.

Calvin cringed. “Ah, yeah, I don't really have an address right now. I'm kind of in a transitional phase.”

Bruno slapped him on the shoulder. “Then you stay with me. Guido, set him up in my penthouse at the Luthor Hotel for the week. Deliver the Ferrari there.” Guido nodded. Bruno took Calvin's hand and looked him in the eye. “Thank you.”

“You're welcome.” Calvin said, and meant it.

“Take him back to the bar Guido, make sure he's taken care of.”

Guido nodded. He tapped Calvin on the shoulder and motioned to follow him. They walked back to the bar. There was someone sitting in Calvin's seat. Guido tapped the guy on the shoulder. He turned to look at Guido and Guido pointed his thumb, indicating that he wanted the guy to move.

The guy put his hand up. “I'm waiting for my drink.”

Guido grabbed the guy's thumb and bent it backwards, forcing him out of the seat and onto the ground. Guido dropped to one knee and slapped the guy hard on the side of the face. He said something in a low, gravelly voice and Calvin listened in. “You can get your drink, but you don't touch my friend here.” Guido opened his suit jacket and showed his gun to the guy on the ground. “You understand?” The guy nodded. “Good.” Guido stood and leaned in toward Calvin. “What's your name?”

“Calvin. Calvin Hobbes.” Calvin blinked. He should have given Guido an alias.

Guido pulled a notepad out and wrote down his name. “Stop by the front desk of the Luthor anytime tonight and give them your name. They will take care of you.” Calvin nodded. Guido turned to the bar. When none of the bartenders came to him after a second he slammed his fist on the bar. All three bartenders turned and upon recognizing him they rushed over. “This is Calvin.” Guido pointed his thumb over his shoulder. “He is to be treated with respect.” Guido sniffed. “Take care of him.” The bartenders nodded. Guido turned and walked away.

Calvin sat down. His female bartender smiled at him. “So, you're the big man now?”

“Appears to be.” Calvin shrugged.

“So what can I get you?” she asked.

“Another screwdriver, and maybe a tortilla plate.” Calvin locked eyes with the girl. “And let me know when you go on break.

-------------------------------------

“That was a pretty good night,” Calvin said to the bartender as he walked with her, hand-in-hand, from the Ace of Clubs to the Luthor Hotel. It was four in the morning. She was wearing his suit coat to stay warm, her purse swinging on her far shoulder. “I, uh, especially liked your break.”

The girl smiled at him. “Yeah. Well, if we had more the ten minutes it could have been a lot more fun.” She winked at him.

Calvin felt himself blush. “Hey, we've got all night for more.” Calvin looked away from her. “Besides, I liked making out.”

The female bartender grinned and grabbed Calvin by the tie, pulling him into an alley. “How about a preview of coming events?”

Calvin let himself get drug into the alley. “Maybe we should just go to the hotel first.” She pushed him up against the wall and pressed her body up against him, letting him feel her near naked form crammed up against him, her breasts in particular could be felt mashed against his rock-hard, chiseled abs. She had to stand on her tip-toes to kiss him, her tongue actively exploring his mouth. Calvin's hands moved to her back, running up under his suit jacket, caressing over her bare back, careful not to undo the strap of her leather bra, holding him tighter to her. He was lost in her touch, his eyes closed his entire world was focused on this moment, this kiss. She tasted like smoke and sweet tequila. Her hair smelled like peaches. Her body was warm and soft under his touch and with his great strength Calvin had to be careful to not lose control. Eventually she broke he kiss and Calvin grinned at her. “Or we can wait on the hotel.”

“Give me your money!” Calvin looked up and there was a pistol pointed at him with a thug attached to it. The gangbanger was dressed in a ripped t-shirt with a large skull and crossbones, a red bandanna around his arm and tattered jeans. “Give me your money!” the punk repeated.

Calvin weighed the situation. He didn't want to reveal his identity to anyone, but he didn't want the girl to get hurt either. It would be easy enough to get more money. There were over a thousand ATMs in Metropolis, and more in Gotham across the bay. Or he could just open up a bank vault, but that would get serious attention from the cops. Besides, he hadn't taken everything with him tonight, most of his money was still in the abandoned tenement he was squatting in. Calvin was about to reach into his pocket and give the thug his bankroll when the bartender walked away from him, lit a cigarette and wrapped her arm around the thug's free hand. “He's got a couple thousand on him Kevin. I say you waste him and we go see Leroy and get some X.”

Kevin's hand slipped down and grabbed her ass. Calvin felt his temperature rise. They kissed and that clenched it. This was all a set-up. Calvin changed his mind. He was going to beat the hell out of them.

“Forget it Celia,” Kevin said as they broke the kiss, “kill him and the cops get serious.” He turned to face Calvin. “Not that I won't if you give me any shit.”

Calvin glared at the girl, who must be named Celia. “It was all a set-up.”

She grinned. “Oh yeah, ever since you pulled out that bankroll. You may be hot shit with my boss but to me you're just another rich fuck who's about to give me his cash.”

Kevin sidestepped away from Celia. “He's friends with Bruno Mannheim?” His voice was panicky and for the first time his gun wavered.

“Yeah, so?” Celia asked.

Kevin backhanded her with his free hand. She staggered and dropped to her knees, her hand going to her mouth. “You stupid bitch!” Kevin brought the gun down to his side and addressed Calvin. “Hey, I don't need any shit with Bruno Mannheim. I'm sorry man. I didn't know.”

Calvin was a bit surprised but he didn't let it show. He had already realized Bruno was a gangster but he didn't know his influence extended to street punks. He stared down the punk until Kevin turned and ran. It took half a minute for Celia to turn and charge after him, calling out, “Kevin! Kevin, where am I gonna get my X! Kevin!”

Calvin shook his head and restarted his walk to the Luthor Hotel. She hadn't wanted him at all. She wasn't attracted to him. He should have known. His mind began to wander down the dark path toward depression. He told himself no one could ever love a freak like him, that he would never be able to hide it well enough, that he'd never be with a girl, let alone meet one that actually cared for him, that he would never know what it was like to be part of a family and he would always be alone.

He got to the Luthor without incident. There was no one at the desk, so Calvin walked up to it and rang the bell. After a few minutes Calvin decided to look through the wall and see if there was even someone back there. Calvin blushed. There were two people back there who really should be renting a room to do what they were doing. Calvin shook his head, looking away. It seemed like everyone in the world had someone besides him.

He took a deep breath and held it in as he counted to ten before he let it out slowly. Calvin glanced through the wall. They were still going at it. Calvin rang the bell anyway. They stopped. Calvin rang the bell again. The guy stepped away from the girl and pulled his pants up, rushing to the door. The guy was running his hand through his hair and Calvin could hear the girl giggle as the guy walked through the door. The guy had half-a-dozen sets of lipstick lips covering his face and neck and was wearing a name tag that read 'Ginger.' He smiled at Calvin and asked, “Can I help you?”

“Sure Ginger.” At Calvin's words the guy looked down and saw his name tag. He looked up at Calvin with a weak grin on his face. Calvin continued before the guy had a chance to explain. “You're supposed to have a room for me. Calvin Hobbes.”

“Certainly! Right away sir!” The guy hopped to it, running the name through the computer. It took about twenty seconds before his back went ramrod straight and he smiled at Calvin. “There seems to be a problem, you've reserved one of our customer's rooms.”

Calvin sighed. “Mr. Mannheim is letting me use his room. He said there wouldn't be any problems.”

The guy hit some keys on the keyboard. “There's nothing about that in here, and we don't do that at the Luthor Hotel, sir.”

“You know what? Fuck it, I've had a long night,” Calvin said, looking the kid in the eye, “Call your manager. Right now.”

“Sir, I am the manager. There is no one higher to talk to,” the guy replied.

Calvin felt himself getting angrier. “Call your hotel manager then.” His voice was steeled and low. He had a strong urge to take out all his frustrations on this punk behind the counter.

“He's at home in bed, sir.” The guy made the word 'sir' sound like he was saying 'asshole.'

Calvin glared at him. He then took a deep breath and let it out slowly. If he hit this guy he'd kill him. So Calvin needed to do something else. “Let me see your driver's license.”

The guy blinked. “What?”

Calvin leaned across the desk. “Your name ain't Ginger. And I don't trust you. So show me your license.”

“Mr. Hobbes?” Calvin turned to see who called him. It was a skinny Italian dressed in a nice suit. Calvin recognized him from the club. He walked up to the desk. “Is there a problem?”

“This guy says I don't have a reservation.” Calvin pointed at the guy behind the counter with his thumb.

The skinny Italian nodded and smiled at Calvin. “Let me handle this.” In one swift move he reached across the counter, wrapping the guy's tie around his hand and pulled down sharp and hard, slamming the guy's head into the counter. The Italian let go of the guy's tie. “Fuckface, go get Ginger.” The guy stood there for a moment, dazed. Then he turned and walked into the back room. The Italian turned to Calvin and offered his hand. “A pleasure to meet you Mr. Hobbes. I'm Gino. I work for Mr. Mannheim.”

Calvin shook Gino's hand. “Thank you Gino, I...” Calvin paused. “Just thanks.”

“Forget about it. You saved the boss's life, we don't forge about it.” Gino dug into his pocket and pulled out a Ferrari key chain with two keys on it. “This is for you.”

Calvin took the keys and put them in his pocket. “Thanks. How did you get a Ferrari in the middle of he night?”

“Mr. Mannheim owns a Ferrari dealership, so forget about it.” Gino grinned at him.

The door behind the desk opened and a redheaded girl walked out, the picture of decorum. Her name tag read 'Ginger.' “I'm sorry for the delay,” she said in an even, crisp tone, “How can I help you Gino?”

Gino looked her up and down and grinned at her. “This is Mr. Hobbes.”

Ginger turned to face Calvin and offered him her hand. “I apologize for the inconvenience Mr. Hobbes. I can assure you it won't happen again. As a means of apology Hotel Luthor would like to offer you a week's stay in one of our luxury suites.”

Before Calvin could answer Gino said, “Make it two weeks, in a penthouse, not including tonight, capice?”

Ginger looked at Gino; her words came fast and urgent. “He better not say anything about tonight.”

Gino smiled. “Why would he? Now give the boy a key so I can go home and get some sleep.”

Ginger slid a plastic card through a reader then handed it to Calvin. “You're all set Mr. Hobbes.”

“Thank you,”Calvin said, taking the card.

Gino reached into his suit jacket, causing Ginger to inhale sharply and hold her breath. Gino pulled out a business card and handed it to Calvin. “You need anything, day or night, you call that number, capice?”

“Capice,” Calvin said with a strong Brooklyn accent.

“There we go,” Gino said. “I'm gonna go get some sleep. I suggest you do the same.”

-------------------------------

Calvin didn't go to sleep. Once he made sure the penthouse was set Calvin took the elevator down to the garage. The Ferrari was beautiful. Classic red, rag top convertible. He looked forward to long drives with the top down, a pretty girl sitting next to him who cared about him; a girl who loved Calvin Hobbes for who he was. After a minute Calvin shook his head. Yeah right. Calvin might have superpowers but true love, that was the real fantasy. Better to love the one you're with.

He walked out of the garage and down the street to the end of the block, turned and walked until he found a street lamp out. When he was in complete darkness Calvin kicked in his superspeed and ran across the city, cutting across all seven boroughs in less the a second, ending up in his squatted apartment in Suicide Slums. He stripped out of his suit and changed into his criminal outfit from earlier in the evening. In a whirlwind he gathered up all of his belongings from the abandoned apartment into one big bag, including the rest of the ATM money. Moving faster then the eye could follow Calvin ran back to the Luthor Hotel, dropping his stuff off in the penthouse. Calvin looked around. Balcony, jacuzzi, mini-bar, king-sized bed, this would be perfect for now.

Calvin walked over to the mirror in the bathroom and adjusted the ski mask. He looked himself over once more, then nodded, having made a decision.

Gone in a blink, Calvin raced back to the ATM in Hob's Bay. He stopped short by 30 feet, stepping into the nearby shadows. There were three men standing by the ATM, two of them in police uniforms. One of the cops was emptying out the cash from the ATM into a duffel bag. The third man, the one not in a uniform, was squatting over the grass with a magnifying glass out. He was dressed in a suit, with a fedora and trenchcoat. The other uniformed officer was standing next to him, scribbling in a notebook. After a moment the regularly dressed fellow said, “Oh yeah, that's definitely the Man of Steel's footprint.”

“So he's the one who robbed the ATM?” the uniformed officer asked.

“Well he was definitely here,” the other fellow said, “But that doesn't mean he robbed the ATM. When we recover the video we'll know for sure.”

“Well if he did,” the officer said, “then we need to take him down.”

The fedora-capped man raised an eyebrow. “There's quite a bit of venom in your voice Turpin. I thought the cops liked having Steel's help.”

Daniel 'Terrible' Turpin spat then lit a cigarette. “Sure, when we've got something we can't handle yet, we'll accept the help of private citizens, or better yet, hire consultants like you, Sage, but we don't need vigilantes meting out justice on their own terms. And we really don't need another super-powered freak in Metropolis taking whatever they want, thinking they're above the law.”

Victor Sage nodded. “I can appreciate the sentiment Sergeant. And I'm glad to do what I can to help, I'm just a journalist. If you're looking to take out a meta-human you should be talking to scientists.”

Sergeant Turpin laughed. “Yeah, I'll pass that on to the commissioner. I'll tell you though, those pieces you've published the last few years brought this entire meta problem to light, and unlike those hysteria-inducing pieces in the Planet and the Gotham Gazette, you actually gave us some real information. You've been a great help to us Vic. You know more about these metas then anyone.”

Sage shook his head. “Well, not anyone, but I do what I can. I can tell you about any meta I've come across, what their powers are, and sometimes how to stop them. I can't tell you how most of the metas get their powers, or why some are good and some are evil, but I can find them easy enough. It's only the rare few, like the Batman, who actually attempt to cover their tracks. It's like they think they're invincible or something.”

Turpin nodded. “Yeah, well, you know what they say. Power corrupts.”

“It does.” Sage heaved a sigh. “Well one of the things the major stories got right is that this could be just the beginning. I've talked to the top scientists in the field, both of them, and there's reason to believe that the metas we've encountered aren't nearly at the peak of human potential.”

“What are you saying?” Sergeant Turpin asked. “These things are going to get stronger?”

“First of all, they aren't 'things,' Sergeant, they're people,” Sage corrected him, “Secondly, yes. Not necessarily the metas we've seen so far, but maybe the next generation. Who knows, in a thousand years all of humanity could have super powers.”

“Heh, be kind of silly calling ourselves meta-humans if we've all got powers,” Dan said. Then he turned to the other cop. “You almost done Lawton?”

Floyd Lawton turned to look at the two of them with a huge grin on his face. “When I joined the force I never thought I'd be emptying out an ATM.” He laughed. “I'm almost done with the cash, after that I need to break the lock to get to the hard drive. These older models aren't networked.” He turned back to the ATM. “Unless we want to wait for a tech from the company.”

“How long will that take?” Sage asked.

“They can have a guy here by six-thirty,” Sergeant Turpin said. “I say we go in.”

Sage shrugged. “Up to you. Six-thirty is only a couple hours away, and unlike the cash I don't think we're in danger of it being stolen.”

“And that's where you'd be wrong,” Calvin said as he stepped out of the shadows. “I'll take the hard drive and the cash if you don't mind.”

Sergeant Turpin turned toward him, drawing his pistol and aiming it at Calvin. “Stop right there.” Lawton turned a second later, dropped the bag and some cash, drawing his own bead on Calvin. Victor Sage took a step back, getting out of the way of the action.

Calvin kept walking towards them, his hands in the air. “I'm not armed, you should put the guns away. Maybe go to pepperspray.”

“Don't take another step!” Dan Turpin said, raising his voice.

“I have no intention of harming any of you. So if you fire, that's what, manslaughter?” Calvin asked then took a step forward, toward Lawton and the ATM behind him.

“Damnit,” Turpin said and shifted his gun to his left hand, drawing his pepperspray with his right and firing a continuous stream back and forth across Calvin's eyes.

Calvin let out a cry of pain, grabbed his face and bent at the waist, shouting, “My eyes! My eyes!”

Lawton scoffed, “Wow, that was easy.”

Turpin nodded. “He seemed a lot more confident then that.”

Calvin moved his hands from his face and grinned at Turpin. “That's because it didn't work.” Calvin stood and turned toward the reporter. “Don't bother adding me to your list of metas, Mr. Sage, you won't be seeing me again. That sack of cash will tide me over for quite awhile.”

Turpin dropped his pepperspray and brought his pistol back to bear. “Hands in the air!”

“Yeah right.” Calvin sighed. “Listen, I don't like holes in my clothes. How about you just hit me with a billy club a few times and then you can accept that you can't stop me, and I'll just grab the cash, and the hard drive, and be on my merry way?”

They stood there for a moment in a Mexican standoff until Calvin broke it by taking another step toward Lawton and the ATM. Officer Lawton pulled his trigger, firing a full metal jacketed, .45 caliber lead slug at Calvin. The bullet hit him square in the chest and bounced off. Calvin closed the distance between them and ripped the gun out of Lawton' hands, and put it in his pocket. Turpin shouted, “Drop the weapon!”

Calvin turned and pointed his finger at Sergeant Turpin. “He's not getting it back until he can play nice.” He turned to Lawton and said, “Please move aside.” Lawton didn't say anything, nor did he move, so Calvin reached out, lifted him by the shoulders and put him down a few feet away. He ripped the ATM open, located the hard drive, disconnected the wires and pulled it out. He dropped it in the police duffel bag with all the money in it. Calvin checked the ATM, there was only a few bills left. He reached in and grabbed those too.

Victor Sage finally spoke up. “Allow me to warn you, masked man, you're interfering with an ongoing police investigation. That's obstruction of justice.”

“Oh right, about that,” Calvin turned to face the two cops and their consultant. “I confess. I'm the one who broke into the ATM in the first place. The Man of Steel tried to stop me. When he attacked me, I crushed his indestructible hammer and ripped his indestructible suit apart. Talk about false advertising. So, in the process I got his face on the ATM camera. Now I was just going to let you guys find it and expose him, but I think I like the idea of finding out his identity myself so I can threaten him with exposure if he decides to come after me. You understand of course.”

“Of course,” Victor Sage said. “But having just told us all that, aren't you afraid that we'll hunt you down. Or that I'll write a story that will make you infamous across the country. We could even put a bounty on your head.”

“You know, I'm not, and I'll tell you why.” Calvin hefted the bag over his shoulder. “You don't have any evidence. I could have been lying about my encounter with the Man of Steel. I'm wearing gloves, so there's no fingerprints, and I'm wearing a mask, so you haven't seen my face. Now that I have the camera's hard drive there's no video. So there's no proof I exist, which is going to make it hard to publish a story about me, or make a case against me.”

“We'll find a way to stop you,” Turpin said, his gun never wavering.

Calvin shook his head. “No you won't. And do you want to know why?”

“Because you think you can't be stopped,” Turpin answered.

Calvin made a dismissive motion with his hand. “Nah, everyone can be stopped. No, you won't come after me 'cause I'm not worth your time. I broke into an ATM, and that's it. Oh you can trump up the charges, but really, that's all I did. You're gonna have murders and drug trafficking and robberies and whatnot to worry about. You're not going to spend any serious time on a guy who knocked over an ATM. You know it, and I know it. Well, I'm gonna get going, any other questions I can answer for you guys?”

“Yeah,” Victor said, “If you do show up again, what should we call you?”

“I don't really care,” Calvin said with a shrug, “Just don't call me late to supper.” Calvin tossed Lawton's gun on the ground at the officer’s feet. “I think this is yours.” He gave a jaunty wave then ran out at superspeed, effectively disappearing.

Turpin sighed and holstered his firearm. “Well that didn't go so well.”

“He gave me my gun back,” Lawton said, walking over and picking it up.

“Why keep it? What does it gain him?” Victor shook his head. “This guy's smart.”

“So what do we do?” Lawton asked.

“Well, he's incredibly strong, fast and invulnerable.” Sage shrugged. “Try not to piss him off.”

--------------------------------------

Calvin was almost out of the city. For the Ferarri's maiden voyage he planned to take the ferry across the bay to Gotham and then drive north to Atlantic City, rag top down of course. With his x-ray vision Calvin figured he'd make a killing playing poker. If he could get out of the city. He was stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic maybe two miles from the ferry. Everything was going along fine and then it all stopped. After about five minutes of waiting the Man of Steel flew by overhead.

“Holy shit, did you see that?” the cabbie next to Calvin asked. “One day you're gonna be an old fart telling your grandkids about the day you saw the Man of Steel fly overhead.”

Calvin gave a little laugh. “Maybe. By the time I've got grandkids I suspect we'll all be flying about in suits of armor. They'll be like cars.”

The cabbie laughed, his eyes still focused on the horizon, squinting as if he were trying to still see the Man of Steel. “I'd like to see that. I'd love to fly, you know?”

“Fly sure, it's the falling that I don't like,” Calvin said then sighed. “You know, if Steel's here then there's probably some meta-human he's going to fight and we'll hear all about it on the six o'clock news tonight.”

“Yeah, you're right.” The cabbie nodded. “I've been reading the Daily Planet. The only good meta is a dead meta.”

“I didn't say that,” Calvin said, feeling his voice rise as he got defensive. “I'm just saying-”

“Kill 'em all, 'cause they're too dangerous to live,” the cabbie honked his horn and shouted, “Kill the metas!” That set off a series of honking horns and a cacophony of shouts, mostly people telling each other to shut up, but a few were agreeing with the cabbie.

After things calmed down Calvin said to the cabbie, “C'mon, metas are just people like you and me.”

The cabbie looked him over and laughed. “Kid, you and me ain't nothing alike, and I'm not just saying that cause I drive a cab and you drive a million dollar car your Daddy probably bought you. Metas kill people, I don't kill people.”

“Not all metas kill people,” Calvin shot back.

“Well I don't see any of them building hospitals.” The cabbie shook his head. “Now the Man of Steel's got the right idea, he built a meta killing suit. That'll show 'em. I hope he kills them all.”

A cheer went up in front of them, Calvin and the cabbie both looking forward to see the Man of Steel flying over everyone carrying an ambulance. “What the hell is going on up there?” Calvin mumbled. He focused his eyes, using his telescopic vision combined with his x-ray vision. There was a restaurant on fire right near the ferry, a fried fish place. Calvin looked through the building. Everyone was out. He let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding and slid down in his seat. Everyone was safe.

“Man, what a hero!” the cabbie said, still looking in the direction the Man of Steel had flown. “Smashing the bad guys and bringing people to the hospital. Now that's a real hero, and he's a normal guy like me, not some damn, dirty meta-human.”

Calvin looked over at the cabbie. He was tempted to smack the guy upside the head. That would prove his point though, so Calvin just shook his head and turned up the radio. Some people were just assholes.

--------------------------------------

“Three cards,” the blonde to Calvin's left said.

He looked over at her. She didn't get her pair. Which meant his straight was the highest hand at the table. Calvin didn't smile, he kept himself as calm as possible and waited for his turn to bet. The guy with the three aces had bumped it the highest. Calvin wasn't sure how to bet to get the maximum amount of money in the pot, so he saw the other guy's bet and matched it when he raised. The blonde on his left saw the whole pot and tripled the current bet. Two people folded. The guy with three aces looked at his cards. Then he looked at his chips. Then he looked at his cards again. He sighed. He started picking up some chips and then put them back down. He looked at his cards again. He sighed again and started to put his cards down. Then he stopped, said “Screw it,” and threw the chips in to call.

The next guy was holding two pair and called without folderol. Calvin raised by the same amount as the blonde had and smiled at her. She was very attractive and wearing a low-cut, black dress with a long slit up the side. She smiled back at Calvin and tripled her previous bet. The guy with three aces groaned and threw his cards in the middle of the table. The two pair guy called and Calvin reraised, tripling the girl's previous bet. She smiled at Calvin again and said, “I think you're bluffing. I'm all-in,” pushing her chips toward the center of the table.

The guy with two-pair shook his head and said, “I think you're both bluffing, but that's too rich for my blood.” He tossed his cards into the center of the table.

Calvin grinned. “I'm not bluffing, I've actually got a straight.” He pushed his chips toward the center and flipped his cards over, revealing a straight from the jack. He smiled at the blonde in the slinky black dress. “Here's looking at you.”

She glared at Calvin and tossed her cards face down on the table. “Well.” She sighed and stood up. “I guess that's it for me tonight.” She smiled at Calvin and said, “Well played. Are you staying at the hotel tonight?”

Calvin nodded. “They put me up as a high-roller.”

She raised an eyebrow and bit her bottom lip. “I can see why. Maybe we'll run into each other later.”

Calvin couldn't help but smile. “I think I'd like that.”

She smiled and Calvin watched her walk away while the dealer pushed the pot over to his pile of chips and recouped the cards. Calvin shook his head and turned back to the table.

The guy with three aces grinned and said, “You hate to see her go, but you gotta love to watch her leave.”

The guy with two pair shook his head. “Never seen anyone lose that much money that gracefully.” He tossed his ante into the pot. “If I were you kid, I'd make sure not to run into her again.”

“Aw, come on,” Calvin grinned and tossed in his ante, “What's she gonna do?”

--------------------------------------

“Mr. Luthor will see you now,” the pretty redheaded secretary said.

John Henry Irons, dressed in a simple black business suit, stood to his full height of six foot five. He walked over toward the secretary and nodded his thanks. Opening the double doors to Luthor's office, John strode through carrying his briefcase. As usual, Luthor was standing by the window. His office was on the top floor in the tallest building in Metropolis and Lex never seemed to tire of the view. When John Henry Irons walked in Lex turned and smiled.

“Ah, John Henry, how good to see you again,” Luthor gestured to the chair across from his desk as he moved to his own chair. “What can Luthorcorp do for you today?”

John Henry didn't sit. “I'm going to need fifty million.” John Henry exhaled slowly. “Today if possible.”

To his credit Luthor wasn't fazed. “The best I can do is a week John.”

“Thank you,” John Henry said and finally sat. “What a week.”

Luthor smiled. “Tell me about it.”

“I ran across a new meta,” John Henry shook his head. “You're going to love this guy Lex.” He placed his briefcase on the desk, put in the combination, snapping the locks open. He reached in and tossed a large manila envelope across the desk to Luthor.

Luthor opened the envelope and pulled out a series of glossy photos. The top one was a shot of the Man of Steel's breastplate ripped apart. Luthor fixed John Henry with a stare. “Are you telling me a human being did this.”

John Henry nodded. “Yeah. He was dressed in a ski mask and robbing an ATM. I thought I was just bringing in a regular crook at first.” John Henry shook his head.

Luthor flipped through the photos. “I thought your armor was supposed to be indestructible.”

John Henry winced at that comment. “I know I said that. And up until now it was. I wrote it out in my reports that a centimeter of this stuff was stronger then a foot of tank armor steel, and that it increases multiplicatively for each centimeter you add, which is true. My armor was two inches thick. I never had a problem before yesterday.”

Luthor stopped and stared at one of the photos. “What the hell did he do to your hammer?”

John Henry hung his head in shame for a moment before he answered. “He crushed it into dust with one hand. One hand. After he stopped my swing with the same hand. I've got some ideas how to handle him, some weapon ideas, but I've never seen anything like this kid before.”

Luthor put the photos back in the envelope and put it in a drawer. “A kid you say?”

“Yeah, a real punk. I didn't get to see his face, but at most I'd say he's thirty.” John Henry exhaled slowly. “Knows the law pretty good, my guess is he's been in court a few times, and not as a lawyer. I'm lucky he didn't kill me. And he's a sarcastic little bastard too.”

Lex nodded. “And he was robbing ATMs?”

“Technically it was an act of burglary. He wasn't armed.” Lex raised an eyebrow. John Henry couldn't help but laugh. “Sorry, the kid pointed that out. And that burglary is a misdemeanor while robbery is a felony. You should meet this kid Lex, he's truly insufferable. One of these days someone is going to knock him down a peg or two and I want to be there to see it.”

"Once you hit a certain amount it becomes grand theft, a thousand dollars or so, it varies from state to state. Grand theft is a felony." Lex stood up. “You're absolutely right John, I should meet him. Find him for me and tell him I want to talk to him. Tell him to come to my office and tell Ms. Teschmacher that he's the world's biggest boyscout. That'll be the phrase that will let me know it's him.”

John Henry Irons stood. “Are you sure that's wise Lex? The kid's a crook.”

Lex's face was grew into a smile. “You said it yourself: he didn't hurt you, but he could have. He's just a kid, looking for money. I have money. And tell me John, wouldn't you like to have someone this powerful as an ally, helping you clean up the streets of Metropolis rather then as your enemy? If it costs a few million to get him on my side, well, I pay the quarterback of the Metropolis Sharks a lot more then that.”

John Henry shook his head. “I see where you're coming from Lex, but I think you're playing with fire with this one. We've got no way to stop him if he goes rogue.”

“That's why I have you John Henry Irons.” Luthor paused and looked away for a moment. “Find a way.”
Last edited by Kytross on Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

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Kytross
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Re: DC Elseworlds

Post by Kytross » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:16 pm

“Hey there stud, come here often?”

Calvin looked up and there was the blonde from earlier. Her black dress shimmered with every step. Calvin blinked. There was something in the dress that was particularly reflective in the ultraviolet spectrum. It was mesmerizing. It took him a moment but Calvin finally said, “Uh, first time actually.” He offered her his hand. “I'm Calvin.”

She took his hand and smiled. “Calvin?”

“Or Cal. Cal is cool.” Calvin winced as the blonde giggled. He shook it off and asked, “And your name?”

She smiled at him again. She had a beautiful smile. “Dinah.”

“Well Dinah, since I took all your money earlier, the least I can do is buy you dinner.” Calvin gestured to the seat opposite from him. He was sitting in one of the seven restaurants inside the Trump Taj Mahal. Calvin wasn't sure of the place's name, but it served Italian food, and he was in the mood for a big bowl of spaghetti. The meal, like his room, was comped.

Dinah sat down and smiled at him. “That was quite a hand you had there. I'm surprised you put so much money on the line with a straight to the Jack. I didn't peg you as an experienced gambler.”

Calvin wrapped some noodles around his fork and kind of shrugged. “I'm not really. Today's my first time in Atlantic City.”

Calvin took a bite of spaghetti. While he chewed Dinah called the waiter over and placed an order, some kind of shrimp something-or-other that Calvin had never heard of. Growing up in an orphanage didn't prepare you for the finer things in life. When the waiter left Dinah turned back to Calvin. “So Cal, how did you know I was bluffing? Did I have a tell?”

Calvin swallowed the mouthful of spaghetti he was chewing. “What's a tell?”

She smiled again, almost laughing. “I'll take that as a no.”

“No, seriously, what's a tell?”

Dinah shook her head. “In poker its any tic or gesture that you repeat without realizing it when you do certain things. For instance, when some people bluff they touch their face, or when someone has a good hand they might twirl their hair.”

“Oh.” Calvin thought about it for a moment. “No, you didn't have a tell, at least, I didn't notice one.”

“Then why did you keep raising the bet?” Dinah asked, dropping her smile, her eyebrows bunching. “How did you know I was bluffing?”

Calvin blinked. He wasn't going to tell her he could see her cards that's for sure. She might report him to the casino. Or worse, realize he could see through that dress she was wearing. So Calvin dropped back to his standard defense mechanism: sarcasm. “Well, I didn't want to tell you this, what with all the uproar about meta-humans-”

“I don't have a problem with metas Cal,” She cut him off, “In fact I know a few. What are you psychic?”

Calvin blinked. “Uh, yeah, that's what I was going to say.”

“Telepath or prophetic?” Dinah asked, her tone was formal and her words came quick, like a police detective grilling a suspect.

“Uh, what?” Calvin asked.

Dinah sighed. “Do you read minds or see the future?”

“Uh. Umm.” Calvin blinked. This joke was going too far.

“Answer me Calvin. What am I thinking right now?”

Calvin had enough. When he spoke it came out as a growl. “That you desperately want to go up to my room and get it on.”

“Well you're not a telepath,” Dinah said, disgust written all over her face.

Calvin stood, his voice very loud, but not quite a shout, “No, I'm not a telepath, or any kind of damn, dirty meta!” Every eye in the restaurant was looking at him. Calvin dropped his volume down a notch. “You lost a lot to me in poker. Congratulations. A lot of people lost a lot of money to me in poker today because I'm a damn good poker player!”

Dinah looked very nervous. Apparently she didn't like everyone looking at her. “Please sit down Cal.”

Calvin sat. “Now either accept the fact that I beat you fair and square or get the fuck out of here. I didn't come to the Trump Taj Mahal to get the second degree from you.”

Dinah looked scared. “Alright Cal, you beat me fair and square.”

“Fine!” Calvin looked away and downed his beer. “Was that so hard?”

“No.” Her voice was quiet, her whole body seemed to draw into itself in some form of contrition. “If I may, why did you tell me you're psychic then?”

“I was making a joke,” Calvin spat out. He closed his eyes and shook his head. When he spoke again his voice was quieter and seemed to have lost its invective. “And maybe I was teasing you a little. You're a beautiful woman Dinah, and I don't get a lot of beautiful women coming up to me to flirt.” His eyes met hers and he forced a smile. “Is it so hard to believe that I would try and flirt back a little?”

Dinah's body relaxed and she smiled back at Cal. “No, no it's not hard to believe at all.” She looked him over, a smile on her face. “How old are you Cal?”

“I just turned,” Calvin blushed. He was 18, but he couldn't say that, “twenty-one”

Dinah nodded. “That makes sense. It explains your cheap suit.”

“Cheap?” Calvin looked down at his suit. “This thing cost me almost a hundred dollars.”

Dinah giggled. “Calvin, my shoes cost more then that.” She paused and leaned in a little closer, leaning down at the same time, giving Calvin a very good view down her dress. “Tell me Cal, have you ever been with a woman?”

Calvin blushed furiously and pulled back a bit from the table. “I don't see how that's any of your business.”

Dinah locked eyes with him. “Why don't we go up to your room Cal?”

Calvin was stunned for a good twenty seconds. When he recovered he said. “Uh, sure. I mean, I'd like that. A lot. I'd like that a lot.”

Dinah nodded and stood. She reached over, taking his hand and walked him out of the restaurant, and over to the hotel part of the Taj Mahal in silence, letting him walk behind her, enjoying the sway of her ass back and forth, hypnotizing him. Dinah made sure they got an empty elevator and after he hit the button for his floor she pressed him up against the wall, her lips on his, her body pressed up against him. Calvin felt her mash her breasts against him, slipping her hands down to squeeze his ass, her crotch pressed up against his leg. Calvin gasped when Dinah began to rock her hips against him, her lips engulfing his again, not giving him a chance to catch his breath. Calvin wasn't sure where to put his hands, but Dinah didn't wait, she took his right hand and put it on her left breast, then took his left hand and put it on her ass, her hands going back to his ass, never breaking the kiss. The elevator dinged and Dinah broke the embrace, walking backwards out of the elevator, blowing Calvin a kiss.

Right then Calvin almost used his superspeed to pick her up, get to his room and lay her on the bed in less then a second, but he stopped himself. Instead he followed her to his room, opening the door for her gallantly. Dinah smiled at him as a thank you and walked over to the mini-bar, putting her mini-purse down. She turned to face him, leaning on the mini-bar as he closed and locked the door. “Have you ever had a Screaming Orgasm?”

Calvin blinked. “Uh, no. In fact, I'm not sure I have any condoms.”

Dinah giggled. “Oh silly boy. I meant the drink.”

“There's a drink called a 'Screaming Orgasm'?”

“Sit on the bed and I'll make us up a couple.”

Calvin wasn't going to argue with her. He sat on the bed while she mixed the drinks. After a minute Dinah came over and sat on his lap. She handed him his drink then ran her hand through his thick, clack hair.

“Go ahead slugger,” Dinah said, “tell me what you think.”

Calvin took a sip. He smiled. “Hey, that's very tasty. That could be the best drink I've ever had. What's in it?”

She gave him a kiss on the cheek and then smiled at him. “Finish it up. I want you nice and relaxed.”

Calvin smiled. “Oh, I'm relaxed.” He finished the drink and grinned at Dinah. “So what's in it?”

Dinah ran her fingers over his cheek. “Oh an ounce of Grey Goose, an ounce and a half of Bailey's and half an ounce of Kahlua.” She smiled at him. “And enough scopolamine to not quite kill you. Which is fitting for a bigoted asshole like you. So quickly, before the hallucinations start, tell me where my money is.”

Calvin blinked. “Well this is an unexpected turn of events.”

Dinah grabbed one of Calvin's lapels. “Where is my money?”

“Bigoted asshole?” Calvin's eyebrow lowered. “Where did that come from?”

“I'm meta-human, you prick.” Dinah stood and walked over to the mini-bar. She pulled a tiny pistol out of her bag and pointed it at Calvin. He blinked. He'd been so distracted looking at Dinah he hadn't considered looking at her purse. “This is a three-eighty. It has a shortened nine millimeter round and I've loaded it with a hollow point. One shot in the head will kill you. Now tell me where my money is.”

“It's in the casino vault. Where would you put five million dollars?” Calvin snorted. “You know I actually thought you liked me.”

Dinah waved her gun at Calvin. “Quickly, before you start to hallucinate, call the casino and tell them to bring the money up here.”

Calvin laughed. “Do you know Bruno Mannheim? From Metropolis?” Dinah's face lost all expression and she nodded. “I'm associated with Mr. Mannheim.”

“Fuck,” Dinah swore.

Calvin pointed his finger at her. “Bingo. Goodbye Dinah.”

Dinah put her pistol back in her purse. “I don't think so. Your muscles are far too relaxed to give me any trouble tonight. I'll sleep here and leave in the morning.” She sneered at him. “It's the least you can do after taking my money.” Calvin stood up. Dinah's jaw dropped. “That's impossible!”

“Get the hell out of here.” Calvin's voice was a low growl.

“Stay back,” Dinah said, “I'm warning you.” She started reaching for the pistol.

“Leave Dinah, forget you ever saw me and get the hell out!” Calvin took a step toward her.

Dinah's mouth opened, but no words came out. Instead she shrieked, a high frequency, high amplitude shriek that rattled the windows and shook the room. Calvin dropped his glass and grabbed his head. He wasn't hurt, but it took a moment for him to adjust to such a radical change. He wasn't ready for it. Calvin shook his head, and glared at her while she was still shrieking. When he took another step toward her. Dinah stopped shrieking. “That's impossible, you should be on the floor.”

Calvin reached out and grabbed Dinah by the back of her neck. He didn't crush her vertebrae or hurt her in any way. He lead her to the door, opened it and pushed her outside into the hall. Calvin glared at her, his eyes glowing red, saying, “I don't want to see you again,” and shut the door.

Calvin walked over to the bed and flopped himself down on it. He stretched out and stared at the ceiling. He closed his eyes, letting the emotions flow over him. Grabbing the clicker he turned the TV on and started flipping through channels. After a few minutes he shook his head and muttered, “What a bitch.”

-------------------------------

“Last thing on the agenda,” said Perry White, “is meta-humans.”

The editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet was a powerfully built man who's body had acquired a thin layer of paunch since he turned fifty. He was still a human dynamo that never seemed to stop moving. Even when reading copy he paced back and forth behind his desk. Addressing his reporters and editorial staff in the Planet's large conference room, Perry moved back and forth at the head of the table, stopping occasionally to make a point by slamming his hand on the table or pointing at specific reporters to draw attention to them.

“Lane!” he said, pointing to a beautiful young woman dressed conservatively with her hair up, “That was a decent piece on the fire Steel put out yesterday, but you should have gotten an interview.”

“I'm on it Chief,” Lane said.

No smile on her face, no excuse that no one else can get an interview with the Man of Steel, just grim determination. Perry liked that. It reminded him of himself. He'd taken a chance making her a reporter so young, but so far the only regret he had was that she couldn't spell to save her life. But the girl had a nose for news, one of the best he'd ever seen. Her instincts were better then most of his veteran reporters. Which brought him to his next point. “Lane, your idea to go undercover in Gotham to find out the identity of this Batman is still on hold.”

“Did you see today's front page of the Gazette?” Lois Lane asked as she held up a copy of their main competitor in Gotham. She tossed it on the conference table, a photo of a large blurry female figure that was definitely a woman in a cat costume cracking a whip took up most of the area above the fold. The headline read: Catwoman? “I think that ups the ante Chief.”

“There's still no proof that there even is a Batman,” Perry countered.

“Oh come on Perry,” Lois said, “ those crooks aren't delivering themselves to jail. If we get the story first, think of the scoop! We'd be the best selling paper on the planet!”

Perry scowled at her. “Lane, we already are the best selling paper on the planet.”

“Don't tell me you don't want to beat out every cable news channel, the big three networks and the drudge report again.” Now Lois was grinning at him. “This is the story Perry, I can feel it.”

Perry White shook his head. “Not enough money in the budget, and too many stories to cover here. Discussion's over.” Perry paced behind the table then turned on his troops. “Any meta rumor, any hint of a new meta bring it to me. Metas are selling papers people, so get out there and get me the news.

The conference room emptied except for Lois Lane and the new freelance photographer, Jimmy Olson. Perry shook his head. Lane would harangue him for at least another fifteen minutes trying to get him to relent. Olson probably just wanted to see if there was any photos Perry wanted. Perry figured he'd deal with the photographer first, it'd be quicker. “Sorry Jimmy, I can't think of any photos in particular I need, but go see Tommy in Sports, he might have a game he needs you to cover.”

“It's not about that Chief,” Jimmy said, not quite looking Perry in the eye.

The kid wanted an advance. The Planet didn't give freelancers advances, it was a good way to lose money. Perry sighed. “Well what is it then Jimmy?”

“I, uh, well, I was at the bar last night, you know, for trivia night?”

Jimmy still wasn't meeting Perry's eye, but what caught Perry's attention was the way Lois was looking at Jimmy with a predatory smile. Perry knew that smile. It was the same smile he had when he smelled a story. “Actually I don't know Jimmy. What happened at the bar?”

“I uh, well I kind of overheard a conversation.” The kid looked up at Perry, his eyes wide and his face flushed. “I wasn't eavesdropping or anything, I didn't mean to listen in or anything.”

Lois put her hand on Jimmy's shoulder and smiled at him. “Don't worry about it Kid.” It struck Perry as odd that Lois would call Jimmy a kid, he was actually a few years older then her. Then again Lois was far more worldly. “I do it all the time, got some of my best scoops that way.” Lane's predatory smile came back. “So what did you hear Jimmy?”

“Well,” Jimmy let out a long breath, “There was a cop there, a rookie named Lawton. Floyd Lawton. Uh, apparently he's on administrative hold. He shot someone two days ago in Hob's Bay and there's a board of inquiry to see if it was a good shooting.”

Perry heaved a sigh. It was nothing. “That's fairly standard procedure Jimmy.”

Lois cut in, “I don't remember a shooting in Hob's Bay in the last week.”

“Well that's the thing,” Jimmy swallowed, “The bullet bounced off the guy.”

Perry blinked. “The bullet bounced off? He wasn't just wearing body armor?”

Jimmy paused and looked away again. “I, uh, don't know. I wasn't about to ask, what with not trying to overhear the conversation.”

Perry shook his head. “You know Jimmy, as a reporter you make a great photographer.”

Lois slapped Perry lightly on the arm. “Back off Chief, he's not a reporter.” When she spoke to Jimmy her voice was softer, almost gentile. “Is there anything else?”

Jimmy nodded. “Yeah. Floyd said the guy picked him up like he didn't weigh nothing and he said that the guy said he had fought the Man of Steel and ripped up his armor.”

“Great shades of Elvis Jimmy,” Perry shook his head, “Steel saved everyone from that burning restaurant yesterday. He had on his armor, right Lois.”

Lois shook her head. “Jimmy, I want you to pull up our oldest photos of Steel, anything from the last month or so and the photos you took yesterday, have them on my desk by the time I get back.”

“Where are you going?” Perry asked her.

“I've got a scoop to investigate,” Lois said as she walked through the door of the conference room, “Forget Gotham, I think I found our new Meta right here.”

Perry shook his head. “Crazy broad,” he muttered and started toward the door himself. He had a paper to run.

“Uh, Chief?” Jimmy said.

Perry turned around and asked, “What is it kid?”

“Why does she want those photos of the Man of Steel?”

“Think about it Jimmy. If his suit got ripped to shreds by some new meta, how could the Man of Steel saves people the very next day?”

Jimmy nodded. “Uh, he has another suit?”

Perry nodded. “I think she thinks that he thinks he should keep the suit updated. If that's the case then all he has to do is put on an older suit of armor. If he did that there should be something we can spot in the photos.” He winked at the freelancer. “We'll make a reporter of you yet.”

--------------------------------

The phone was ringing. The only part of Gino's body that moved was his right arm, swatting at the nightstand until he got his cell phone, flipped it open and put it against his ear. “Hello?” he murmured into the phone.

“Gino you got to help me!”

Gino didn't recognize the voice but he knew that tone. As Bruno Mannheim's chief courier he listened to a lot of desperate men. “Who is this?”

“It's Calvin Hobbes.”

It took Gino a few seconds to remember that was the name of the guy who saved Bruno's life. “What's up,” he asked, his voice still raspy.

“I need a fake ID Gino.”

Gino shot up to a sitting position. This guy woke him up for a fake ID? Was he stupid? “What?”

“I'm in Atlantic City and I've won a fortune, but they spotted my fake ID at a club today and confiscated it. Now I can't claim my money without a new ID.”

“You woke me up for that?” Gino raised his voice. The girl laying in the bed next to him stirred and asked who was on the phone. Gino ignored her.

“I'll give you one thousand dollars for a fake ID today.”

Gino snorted. “Kid, that ain't worth my time.”

“Ten thousand.”

Gino blinked, but readily responded, “How much did you win?”

“A hundred thousand if you can get one in the next two hours.” Gino was silent a moment. Did the kid just offer him a hundred G's? “Two-hundred thousand.”

Gino's eyes went wide. “Done. I can meet you in Metropolis at the Luthor Hotel lobby in an hour or so.”

“The money's in the Trump Taj Mahal's vault.”

Gino chuckled. “That's even easier. Let me make a phone call. You can pick up your money in about half an hour, I'll tell them to expect you. Then meet me at the Luthor at-” Gino looked at his watch, “say noon with the money. I'll have a new ID for you. For an extra hundred G's I'll get you a birth certificate and a new social security number.”

“That sounds good, and thanks Gino, you saved my life.”

“Don't worry about it just bring the cash.” Gino hung up. The girl next to him asked him what was going on as he got up from the bed and started to put his pants on. “Forget about it. There's food in the fridge. Money's on the nightstand. You all set?” The girl nodded. Gino looked her over and blew her a kiss. “You're a wildcat, Selina.”

-------------------------------------

“Get photos of this Jimmy, I want a picture of the hole, make sure the reader can tell that this guy punched through the ATM okay?” Lois waited for Jimmy to nod his assent before she continued. “I also want photos of the inside, both the empty bill shoe and the wires that would normally connect up to the hard drive, do you know what wires those would be?”

Jimmy raised an eyebrow. “Do you know what wires they would be?”

Lois sighed as she shook her head at Jimmy then pointed her finger at him as she began her tirade. “I called you in on this Jimmy, if you start sassing me I will get another photog, so help me!”

Jimmy's jaw dropped as his brows furrowed. “It was my story!”

“Exactly! And you didn't know what to do with it! But I do, so do what I tell you and I'll get you on the front page!?” She sighed again and turned around, looking the scene over. There was a fine layer of sand on part of the sidewalk that she almost slipped on as she walked around. “We need a clue, something that pulls all of this together. Something that could definitively prove that the Man of Steel got his ass kicked.”

“You should just ask him.”

Lois spun on her heel and said, “Jimmy, I told you to get the-” Someone else was standing behind her. She was tall for a woman, over six foot, skinny, with long, jet black hair and dressed in an expensive, bright pink, silk suit and mini-skirt combo that looked like it had come straight from the film Legally Blonde. Lois noticed she was wearing four inch stiletto heels and her earrings were gaudy, dangly diamond encrusted pieces that probably cost more then Lois' car. The other girl had classic noble features of French and British aristocracy, hidden under a ridiculous amount of make-up that made her look like a prostitute. It only took Lois a moment to recognize her from the tabloids. “Brenda Wayne. What's Gotham's richest daughter doing here in Hob's Bay?”

Brenda tittered and shook her head slightly at Lois' honorific. “I'm looking for you Silly!” Brenda's voice was very high and seemed to barely constrain the giggle hidden underneath, waiting to burst forth.

“How did you know I was here?” Lois asked.

“Perry White,” Brenda ticked off the names on her fingers as she called them, her voice stressing the last syllable in something of a whine, “Metropolis Special Crime Unit, Dan Turpin, Victor Sage, then here.” Brenda smiled. “You know, if you answered, like, your cell, it would have saved me a lot of time.”

Lois nodded, forcing a smile. How Brenda picked up a valley girl accent living in Gotham was beyond Lois, but it grated on her. “You found me, Miss Wayne. What can I do for you?”

Brenda smiled, closing the distance between them, offering Lois her hand. “Brenda, please.”

Lois shook her hand. “What can I do for you Brenda?”

“Wayne Enterprises is, you know, starting a new charity project in Metropolis and in, like, Gotham and I am so excited about it! And I was thinking that you would be just perfect to write a story about it.” Her head tilted to one side, calling the smiling look on her face vapid was being generous.

“I don't do...” Lois let her sentence trail off as she looked at Brenda Wayne. Lois straightened her posture, bringing herself to her full height and her voice taking on a lecturing tone. “I'm an investigative journalist Miss Wayne-”

“Brenda”

Lois sighed. “I'm an investigative journalist Brenda, I don't generally do puff pieces for billionaires' new charity project.”

Brenda frowned and nodded. “Very well Miss Lane, I'm sorry to have wasted your time.” Brenda turned on her heel and started walking through a patch of sand on the sidewalk toward a black Ferrari parked on the street.

Lois blinked, Brenda's words reverberating in her head. A billionaire, easily the world's richest woman and arguably the world's richest person apologized for wasting the time of an investigative journalist. Even if Brenda spent most of her free time palling around with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, it should still be Lois apologizing to her. It occurred to Lois that Brenda Wayne spending her time to seek her out was something of an honor, and she hadn't even heard the billionaire out. Lois shook her head, disappointed in herself, and then ran after Brenda Wayne. “Wait! Wait Miss Wayne!”

Brenda turned on her heel again, a smile on her face. “Brenda.” She giggled, her head bobbing from side to side. “You keep calling me Miss Wayne! We are, like, never going to be BFF's if you don't stop that Lois. I mean, you know?”

Lois took a deep breath and tried to compose herself. “Brenda. What is this new charity?”

Brenda's jaw dropped and she let out an ear-piercing shriek. “Oh. Em. Gee! Does that mean you're going to write the article!” Brenda gasped, clasped her hands together and bit her bottom lip as she stamped her feet repeatedly. Lois noticed she held her weight on the tips of her toes, which required a good deal of balance.

Lois let out a long breath. “I might do it.”

Brenda let out another shriek and latched onto Lois in an embrace that lifted the reporter off the ground and spun her around. The billionaire definitely worked out. She let Lois go and squealed again, swinging her purse around and pulling out an iphone. “Ok, we need to talk over daiquiris. Can you be in London next Friday? You have to meet the prince, he would love to hear all about this! Oh and Courtney is playing, I so have tickets!”

Lois put her hand on Brenda's arm to steady herself. The girl was strong. “How about you just tell me now?”

“Oh, no, I need at least three daiquiris or mimosas before I can talk any business.” Brenda's face lit up. “Oooh!” she squealed, “we can go to the Ace of Clubs tonight! I haven't been there yet!”

“I'd really rather just talk about it now,” Lois said, trying not to show her disdain.

“Oh don't worry,” Brenda said with a tilt of her head. “I'll cover it. I don't mind. And after business we'll get smashed and pick out some hotties to escort us home!” Brenda turned and walked toward her car. She waved without looking back. “Laters!”

Lois shook her head. “What a ditz,” she muttered as she turned around. She caught Jimmy turning back toward the ATM a bit too late. Lois sighed. Now the whole newsroom would hear about her run in with Brenda Wayne. Lois blinked. Jimmy had his camera. “Jimmy, did you take pictures?” Lois demanded as soon as she got within talking distance. She didn't want to tip off Brenda Wayne who was still getting in her Italian coupe.

“Yeah,” Jimmy said with a waver in his voice, “I, uh, got the shot of the smashed ATM and if you look on the door you can see where his fingers curled around it when he ripped it open.”

He wasn't looking at Lois, which tipped her off that he was hiding something. “Delete the photos of me and Wayne talking Jimmy.”

He spun around and said in a loud voice, “Do you know how much I can get for shots like that?”

“A million dollars?” Lois sneered sarcastically.

Jimmy rolled his eyes. “Maybe a thousand bucks a shot. Maybe two if they're really good. Not at the Planet, but there's plenty of places that pay for stock photos of celebrities.”

“Forget it Jimmy,” Lois said.

“Forget it? Lo' I took over fifty shots! Even if they say half of them suck that's still twenty-five grand! That's rent for nearly two years, that's two more years I get to work on becoming a real photojournalist!” Jimmy shook his head. “Damn it Lois, its a brand new car. I guess you better call in that other photographer you were talking about.” He started to walk away.

“Why can't anything ever just come together for me?” Lois muttered as she shook her head, exhaling slowly. She turned around. “Fine Jimmy, but I don't want to be in them.”

Jimmy turned and grinned. “Consider yourself cropped. What else do you need shots of?”

Lois tossed her hands in the air. “I don't know Jimmy. The cops are keeping their mouths shut, I couldn't get anything out of Victor Sage despite being a fellow reporter and I came here hoping for something, anything that would prove the Man of Steel had been here, but I'm not finding anything.” Lois shook her head and spun around. “Nothing. I know there's a new meta out there, more powerful then anything we've seen before, but until I can get some evidence I can't prove anything, which means all I've got is a meta break in of an ATM and a shooting that went unreported.” She looked over at Jimmy. He was leaning on the ATM, brushing sand off the tip of his shoes. “I didn't peg you as the obsessive compulsive type.”

“What?” Jimmy asked as he stood up straight.

“Dusting sand off your shoes. Come on Jimmy, where'd you get those things, Walmart?” Lois turned around. “I don't think a bit of sand is going to ruin them.”

Jimmy chuckled. “Yeah, but I hate having sand in my shoes. This place is worse then the beach.”

“Heh, yeah, get your head back to reality Jimmy, we're about a twenty miles from Ocean City...” Lois gasped and turned around. “Jimmy, where's the nearest beach?”

He shrugged. “I don't know. I guess down the coast aways. Why?”

Lois bent down and picked up a pinch of sand between thumb and forefinger. “Go get me a ziplock bag from the car Jimmy.”

“Oh-kay.” Jimmy raised an eyebrow. “What's the big deal?”

“There's no sand in Metropolis, Luthor wouldn't allow it.” She shook her hand slightly. “Where did this sand come from Jimmy?” He shrugged and Lois shook her head. “Steel's hammer got crushed, you said it yourself. We'll take this to STAR labs and get it analyzed.”

Jimmy grinned and snapped a quick photo of her. “For posterity,” he said then turned and booked it to the car.

Lois smiled. Maybe, just maybe, things were coming together.
Last edited by Kytross on Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky

Kytross
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Re: DC Elseworlds

Post by Kytross » Sun May 15, 2011 12:19 pm

The Ace of Clubs was as loud tonight as it was the last time Calvin was here, but this time he didn't have to wait an hour to get in. He spotted Gino coming out of the men's room and walked over to the smaller man, proffering his hand. Gino took it with a smile.

“Calvin, you didn't tell me you were going to be here tonight.” Gino came to a halt, looking Calvin over. “You really need to buy a better suit.”

Calvin chuckled. “Well I can now, thanks to you. If I can ever return the favor, let me know.”

Gino dismissed him with a gesture. “Forget about it.” Gino slapped Calvin lightly on the shoulder with the back of his hand. “Hey Bruno's here tonight, you should say hello.”

Calvin blinked. “Uh, okay.” Calvin started to make a gesture and stopped. “Why?”

Gino shook his head and slapped Calvin on the front of his chest. “To pay your respects. Eh?” Gino glared at him but Calvin just stared at him. “Just come over and thank him for the Ferrari. If he sez he doesn't have time don't be offended, just vamoose. It don't mean nothing against you, just that he's busy.” Gino poked Calvin in the chest. “When Bruno's around you always stop to pay respect. Capische?”

Calvin nodded, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, I got it.

Gino's eyes turned to slits. His voice was harsh, demanding. “What. What is it?”

Calvin held back a laugh, the half smile still on his face. “It's nothing. I just feel like I stepped on the set of the Godfather part IV.”

Gino chuckled. “Francis Ford Coppola should be so lucky to do a film about Mr. Mannheim.”

“You know, something's bothering me Gino,” Calvin started.

“What now?” Gino's voice was quiet, his tone demanding.

“How does a guy named Mannheim become the head of the Metropolis Mafia? I mean Mannheim's a German name, right? Don't you have to be part Italian to be in the mob? At least, that's how it is in the movies...”

Gino cut Calvin off with a gesture. “What mafia?”

Calvin nodded. “Got it.”

“To answer your question: if a German man married an Italian woman who had a son who married an Italian woman who had a son who married an Italian woman who had a son, capische?”

That wasn't even a sentence, but Calvin understood so he nodded.

“Good,” Gino said as he started to turn but stopped. “I'll let Bruno know you're here.”

Calvin nodded. “I'll come with you.”

Gino poked him in the chest again, stopping him. Calvin was starting to get fed up. “No, you wait. I go. If Mr. Mannheim is free, than he will see you. If someone don't come for you, go home and fahgeddaboudit.”

Calvin nodded. Gino walked off toward the back of the club.

"What the hell is his problem?" Calvin asked himself as he watched Gino walk through a nondescript door. He could see through the wall, which was surprisingly thick, inside there were thirty or so men standing around the walls of the room with 12 men sitting down at a long table. Calvin shook his head, it wasn't any of his business and if it was mob related he really didn't want to know. Calvin turned toward the bar to get a drink. Then he saw the bartender from last the other night and Calvin gave that idea up. There were a dozen's dozen of the city's elite here at the Ace of Clubs. He'd find something else to do.
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky

Kytross
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Re: DC Elseworlds

Post by Kytross » Fri May 20, 2011 12:21 am

Lois sighed as she forced her way through the crowded club and made her way back to the table she shared with the richest woman in the world. So far the only story here was underage drinking. They'd let Lois in without checking her ID. Brenda Wayne had spent the last two hours talking about fashion and pointing out 'hunkies' as she put it. How did someone so vapid command one of the largest fortunes in the world? Lucius Fox, CEO of Wayne Enterprises, must really be the financial wizard everyone says he is.

If Lois was lucky she could possibly steer the conversation back to the charity project Brenda had been talking about at the busted ATM. Now the ATM was a real story, not a farce like this charity story, but once Perry had heard about Brenda approaching Lois to personally do an interview he'd chided her for not taking her up on the offer immediately. When she'd protested that she was a real journalist not some gossip columnist Perry had jumped down her throat so he'd have a better shot when he kicked her in the guts. “Reporters report the news,” and “A story is a story,” and “These days beggars can't be choosers,” and “I'm disappointed in you Lane.” Then it all became a blur as he went to town on her. He savaged her and ended with, “Don't make me regret hiring you Lane.”

Lois had been on the verge of tears, but she hadn't let one fall. She'd vowed to give Perry the best story he'd ever gotten. Except there just wasn't one here. Why would a billionaire invite a reporter out to a nightclub to tell her about a charity project and then not tell her about the damn thing? It didn't make any sense.

Lois broke through the crowd and saw the backside of a rather large man in a suit sitting at her table. Brenda was sitting on the opposite side of the table, facing towards Lois. The club was too loud for Lois to hear what Brenda was saying, but from her exaggerated motions it was fairly obvious Brenda was flirting with the man. Lois sighed as she approached the table. Now she'd never get the story.

Lois forced herself to smile; well, half smile, cocked her head to the side and came up to one of the other sides of the round table and sat herself down. “So Brenda I see you met someone,” Lois turned to face the man and got her first good look at his face. Her jaw dropped. “Calvin Hobbes?”

“Oh. Em. Gee,” Brenda said, putting her hand over her mouth. “Like, no way, that is un-poss-E-blay.”

Calvin squinted at her. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”

“Lois Lane,” Lois pointed to herself, “We went to Metro High together. I was a year ahead of you.”

Calvin shook his head. “I’m sorry, I really don’t remember you Miss Lane,” He paused, looking down for a split second then bringing his gaze up with a half smile, “but I wish I did.”

“This is such a coincidence. Like,” Brenda exhaled, letting out a gust of breath before a sharp intake, “do you think this calls for another round of drinks?”

“And some curly bacon cheddar cheese fries,” Calvin suggested. “I had some here the other night. Better then the nacho platter.” Calvin kind of shook his head and looked away, murmuring, “Probably the best part of the night.”

Lois blinked. Calvin being here made less sense then her being here did. Especially in that cheap suit. At least Lois had come here with Brenda. Everyone else here was probably of age and had a gross worth of over a million dollars. Maybe not a net worth but definitely a gross worth. How did little orphan Calvin get in here? Was he a bouncer? He was big enough to be a bouncer.

“Oh. Em. Gee,” Brenda said, leaning across the table to grab Calvin’s arm with both hands. He cocked his head and looked down at her hands then back at her. He was ostensibly asking her to let go of him non-verbally but Brenda seemed not to notice. “Were you here the night of the shooting?”

“What shooting?” Lois asked, suddenly finding herself interested in what Brenda had to say.

“Like, a couple nights ago my friend Stef, you probably know her as Lady Gaga, was in here incognito,” Brenda bit her bottom lip and grinned, her whole body wriggling, “and she said that someone almost shot Bruno Mannheim, who is like the owner of the Ace of Clubs and stuff, and like he would be dead, like, right now if some guy hadn’t thrown a plate across the room and, like, hit the shooter’s hand. Isn’t that so cool?”

“Bullshit,” Lois said, “It would take an Olympic discus thrower to throw a ceramic plate across a room this big. And he wouldn’t have that kind of accuracy.”

Brenda sighed. “Are you calling Lady Gaga a liar?”

“Well if the shoe fits,” Lois shot back.”

“It wasn’t across the room,” Calvin said, “It was just from the bar to where Bruno was sitting, maybe thirty-five feet.” Both of the girls turned to look at Calvin. “And I wasn’t aiming at the gun; I was aiming at the guy. I just got lucky.”

Brenda grinned. “So it was you?”

Lois whipped out her pad and started firing away. “How heavy was the plate? Did you know what the situation was before you intervened? How does it feel to save the life of a man alleged to be the most dangerous mobster since Al Capone? What happened to the shooter?”

Calvin blinked. “What’s with all the questions?”

Brenda waved her hands dismissively. “Oh don’t mind Lois,” she leaned closer to Calvin and said in a conspiratorial tone, “She’s a reporter.”

“Oh,” Calvin said. He looked up and to the left, then he chuckled and said, “Well fagedaboudit.”

Lois lowered one eyebrow. “What?”

Calvin’s voice became stern. “I didn’t see anything. I didn’t throw anything. I certainly didn’t tell a reporter anything. Nothing happened. Capische?”

“Then what was all that before about?” Lois asked.

Calvin shrugged. “I must have been lying to impress a beautiful girl.” He gestured toward Brenda. Brenda giggled and blushed.

Lois slammed her notepad down on the table. “That’s just great. The first decent story I come across tonight and my witness clams up!” She glared at Calvin. “That’s just like you Calvin. You were a pussy in high school so why did I think you’d have the guts to put your name on a story where you didn’t even do anything illegal?”

Calvin’s eyes narrowed and he raised one hand, pointing at Lois. Before he could reply Brenda interrupted. “Oh, that’s right, I was going to tell you all about my new, like, charity!” Calvin and Lois continued to glare at each other. Brenda hurriedly continued, grabbing Calvin by the forearm. “What do you think of Meta-humans Cal?”

Calvin and Lois both jerked their heads toward Brenda. “What?” they asked simultaneously.
Brenda grinned, blushing slightly. “You know, like people who can lift cars over their heads and, like, Steel, and stuff?”

“I’ve written a few articles on them,” Lois said.

“Yeah, you’re a regular Josef Mengele,” Calvin quipped.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Lois demanded.

Calvin shook his head. “Sorry, I meant Josef Goebbels. Is that better?”

“How could that be better?” Lois threw up her hands. “A Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi!”

“Well Mengele did experiments on the Jews, Goebbels used the media to whip the public into an anti-semetic frenzy.” Cal's tone was even, not getting excited. “Kind of like what you're doing to meta-humans.”

“How dare you-” Lois started.

Calvin cut her off. “I was about to ask you the same question.”

They were interrupted by their food and drinks arriving. Calvin and Lois were still glaring at each other, but both shut up until the waiter left.

“I'll have you know,” Lois began again as soon as the waiter left, “that I report the news. I don't make the metas break the law.”

“Well what about the people who want to be good citizens and not have to hide who they are?” Calvin asked.

Lois rolled her eyes. “What are you talking about?”

Calvin ate a bacon cheddar cheese curly fry before he answered. “Imagine you're a meta-human who can fly. You're not a particularly evil person-”

“No,” Lois interrupted, “but it's okay to call me a Nazi.”

Calvin continued, ignoring her comment, “and you just want to be able to fly to work, or wherever you're going. You don't want to commit crimes, you just want to be able to use your natural abilities to their fullest. Well thanks to Lois Lane and the Daily Planet you can't. People read your work and they hate their fellow man.”

“What do you mean 'fellow man,' I thought you were talking about met-” Lois paused in mid sentence. “Oh.”

“Jews. Jews in Germany. Nazi Germany. Joseph Goebbels.” Calvin shook his head. “Need I go on?”

“You were right about the fries,” Brenda said. Calvin and Lois turned to look at her. Brenda was chewing on one and pointing to the half-eaten plate. “I'm going to have to live in the gym to keep these off my thighs, but they are so good.”

"Yeah," Calvin said scooping up one of the fries, sipping his drink and not taking his eyes off Lois. She was simmering, shaking her head slightly back and forth as she processed what he had said. "The fries are alot better than the nacho platter."

Lois looked up at Calvin, glaring at him. "So what's your power Cal?"

"What?" Brenda asked, her jaw droppingas she turned to look at Lois. "You think Cool Cal here is a meta-human?"

"Its pretty obvious he's spent alot of time thinking about metas, and that was a pretty passionate defense you put up there Cal," She was staring at him hard, looking for any signs of him lying to her, a nervous wink, a shudder, any kind of facial tic. Lois Lane, the Daily Planet's pitbull smelled a story. Her teeth were sinking in and she wasn't about to let go. "Can you fly? Shoot lasers from your eyeballs? Super cool things with your breath? What is it that makes you special Cal?"

There was a long pause at the table as Lois stared down Calvin. In turn, Calvin didn't flinch. He sat there motionless staring back at her. After a full minute he sighed and said, "Your train of thought got derailed somewhere Lo. You don't need to have been a slave to be an abolitionist."

"That's true," Brenda said, "The Wayne family tradition is that we were a part of the underground railroad, and my family has been free since before the days of Clovis."

Lois would have been surprised at Brenda's startling, uncharacteristicly intelligent reference to the founder of France, if Lois had known who Clovis was. Skipping college cost Lois more references and clues than she realized. Lois ignored Brenda, focusing on Calvin. "That's not a denial, and it doesn't explain why you care so much about metas."

Calvin nodded, silently conceding the point. "Well in the spirit of the people's right to know, I was quoting Mr. Gardner from Metro High-"

"The gym teacher?" Lois asked, one eyebrow arching up.

Calvin nodded. "He taught my modern american history class. Boy did your name come up alot."

"Did my name come up at all?" Brenda asked earnestly.

"Why, are you famous?" Calvin asked.

Brenda giggled. "I guess not."

Lois figuratively jumped on Calvin again, "So why haven't you answered my question about powers? What are you trying to hide?"

Calvin laughed. "I'm not hiding anything, but your reaction to me changing the subject everytime you ask is priceless." Calvin leaned in a little closer, biting his bottom lip as he looked Lois up and down. "Has anyone ever told you that you're beautiful when you're angry?" He winked and blew her a kiss.

Lois stood up, knocking her chair over, her face turning red and pointing a finger at Calvin. Calvin was laughing hard, rocking back and forth in his seat.

"Maybe I should talk to this Mr. Gardner guy," Brenda said absentmindedly.

"What?" Lois demanded in a scream.

"I said you're beautiful when you're angry," Calvin said between guffaws.

Lois wheeled on him and shouted, "Not you, Pig!" She took a deep breath, picked up her chair to resettle herself in it and turned to Brenda, letting out the breath. She calmly said, "Why do you want to talk to Mr. Gardner?"

"Well, like, he seems to, like, get it, you know?" Brenda said.

Lois shook her head. "I'm sorry Brenda, get what exactly?"

"That, like, meta-humans are still human, duh," Brenda said, taking a sip of her drink, "They just get all this power and don't think about the consequences. See it all the time with rich kids. They spend all their money on coke and sports cars. It's, like, really sad and junk, and you can't deo anything about it. But metas just need, like, to find their place, in like, society. They need to use their powers, and stuff, in like business, and stuff."

Lois was scribbling notes without looking down at her notepad. "So that's what your charity is, meta-human job placement?"

"And training and stuff. Like, that fire girl that fought the Man of Steel that time-"

"Volcana," Lois said, interrupting Brenda, "and it was last week."

"Volcana? Seriously?" Brenda closed her eyes shook her head and sighed. "Like, ew. She needs a real name, and a better PR person. But she also needs training. Like Lex said, she could be a real, like, asset to metal industries and get a job as a furnace for delicate work in metal making factories."

"Metallurgy, foundries," Lois said as she glanced at her notepad. "Got it, go on."

Brenda shrugged. "That's pretty much it. If meta-humans have jobs and respect and get paid well then they won't be, like, fighting in the street and killing people and junk. People not getting killed is good, right?"

"Very good," Lois said as she scribbled down notes. She glanced down at her notepad and then asked, "You mentioned a Lex, is that Lex Luthor?"

Brenda nodded vigorously. "Oh yeah, like, Lex thinks its a great idea. Lexcorp is putting up fifty and Wayne Enterprises is putting up fifty and I'm matching it with one hundred from my own personal funds."

"Do you really think two hundred thousand dollars is going to be enough to get the ball rolling?" Lois asked.

"Silly goose," Brenda said dismissively waving a hand at Lois, "Not two hundred thousand, two hundred million."

"You're putting up one hundred million dollars of your own money?" Lois asked.

"You have one hundred million dollars of your own money?" Calvin asked.

Brenda giggled. "Of course! This is important! We're stopping crime, saving lives and making America a better place all at the same time! How could you not want to be a part of that?"

"And to think, my pick-up line was 'Buy you a drink?'" Calvin muttered.

Brenda reached across the table and patted his forearm reassuringly. "It was very cute."

"Thanks," Calvin said dejectedly.

"Ok," said Lois, getting Brenda's attention back, "So who's idea was it to start this charity? Yours or Lex?"

"Oh, this is a good story." Brenda turned toward Lois and leaned her elbow on the table. "I was having a little catillion at the manse and Commissioner Gordon was droning on and on about all the new cat girl. And after he explained he wasn't talking about naughty japanese cartoons I was like, duh! why don't you just hire metas to fight metas and he was all like, with what budget, and so I was like, well I'll hire you a meta, like how much are they? and he got all patronizing and stuff and was like, you can't solve this with money and I was like, you can solve anything with money, you know?"

Lois nodded. "Ok, so what happened after that?"

Brenda sighed. "Well I don't like Commissioner Gordon much anymore, because he was like all mean and everything so I was like, I'll show him, so I went over to Lucius Fox and I was all like, Commissioner Gordon says I can't hire a meta if I want to, and Lucius is awesome and never mean, so he was like, hire a meta to do what? and I was like, to fight crime, duh! And he was all like, well we shouldn't interfere with police business and junk and I was all like, well the police must need some interfering because they can't even catch a japanese cat girl pervert-whatever-thing, you know?"

"I do know, I wanted to do a story on that," Lois said, "but go on."

Brenda sighed. "So Lucius was like, well let me go talk to Jim, which is like Commissioner the jerk's real name and I was like I'm coming with you and I'm gonna buy me some metas even if Commissioner Jerkface says no, because this is America and you can buy anything here." Brenda stopped and took a deep breath, then continued in a rush. "So we talked and stuff and we came up with the charity idea, which is like even better than the buying metas to fight for me idea because, like, fighting is icky."

"So, how did Lex Luthor get involved?" Lois asked.

"Oh, like, you know, I don't know." Brenda ate another curly fry and said, "Lucius called me up and was all like, Lexcorp is donating like fifty million to the meta charity thing, and I was like, that's cool, and stuff, so I totally talked to Ollie and the Teds about it at a club in New York last week and they're all in too."

"Ollie and the Teds?" Lois asked.

"Olliver Queen, Ted Kord and Ted Knight, like, keep up Lois," Brenda said with a sigh.

Lois gritted her teeth and kept the disgust off her face. "Got it. So, anything else?"

Brenda nodded. "I have to pee. Come with?"

The thought of sharing a bathroom trip with the living barbie doll sent chills down Lois' spine. "Sorry, I've got to put these notes together while the story idea is fresh in my head."

"Ok, but no talking about me while I'm gone." Brenda blew Calvin a kiss before she disappeared into the crowded club.

Lois sat at the table, scribbling furiously on her notepad while Calvin finished the curly fries. After a few minutes she put down her pen, leaned back and rubbed her eyes. She glared over at Calvin while he ate the last bit of bacon. "You know, I didn't get any of those."

Calvin grinned, pulled out his gangster roll and slapped two hundreds on the table. "Order some more, I'm buying."

Lois' eyes went wide at the sight of all that cash in little orphan Calvin's hand. "Where'd you get all that money from?"

Calvin stared at her for a moment then asked, "What money?" He fanned out the gangster roll, holding it up for Lois to see he was carrying over ten thousand in cash, "This money?" In a heartbeat the cash was folded neatly and back in his pocket. "Don't worry about this money."

"You're infuriating."

"Thanks, I'm trying to be." Lois stuck her tongue out at him and Calvin laughed. "So," Calvin asked, "Am I witness to tomorrow's frontpage, above the fold?"

Lois scoffed. "Yeah, right. Front page of the city section, maybe, if the Man of Steel doesn't do anything in the next twenty-four hours."

"Are you sure about that?" Calvin asked.

Lois scowled. "What, are you a publisher now Cal? Is that how you made your money, Knowing what sells papers?”

“That and being incredibly good looking,” Calvin said, leaning back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head. “I was just wondering, what is it about this project that makes Luthor fifty million dollars worth of interested in it?”

“Luthor's always giving to noble causes Cal,” Lois said, “You live in Metropolis, you should know that.”

Calvin shook his head. “I guess being the daughter of a colonel does insulate you from the common folks.”

Lois glared at him and held her hand up, ticking off points on her fingers. “One, father is a general. Two, why are you so suspicious of Luthor and not Wayne? Three, I resent the implication. Four, you're not as sexy as you think you are. Five, if you don't remember me at all, how do you know about my father?”

“Wayne's about as bright as a nightlight. Do you see her as a mastermind of some nefarious plot?” Calvin played idly with the plate the bacon cheddar cheese fries had been served on. After a few seconds he looked up at Lois. “You keep asking questions about me, how would you like to hear a story?”

Lois raised one eyebrow. “If you promise it'll be more to the point than Brenda's story.”

“I'll make it short and sweet. Freshman year at Metro High, I was put into another foster family. Nice couple. He worked maintenance at one of Luthor's plants. Dies in an industrial accident. Luthor fought the insurance claim. They're still fighting it out in court. Meanwhile, little Calvin goes back to the group home and she loses the house, the car, everything. Luthor only gives when it makes Luthor look good.”

“What's their name?” Lois asked.

“I'll give you her phone number if you think you can help their case, not that she's the only person Luthor is screwing over. But the point of that story was not to trust Luthor.” Calvin leaned forward, almost conspiratorially. “Ask yourself, how does this charity benefit Luthor?”

“Cal, I'm not going to attack Luthor in the Daily Planet just to avenge an insurance claim.” Lois sighed. “You know, for a minute there I almost thought you had something.”

“And for a minute there I thought I wouldn't have to explain it to you. Why do you think those other rich guys are interested? If this charity works out Luthor will be able to hire meta-humans to do whatever he wants. Besides giving him a huge boost in industry, think what else you can do with your own army of meta-humans.” Calvin leaned back again, taking a long draught from his drink, giving Lois time to imagine the possibilities.

Eventually she shook her head. “I can't print that either. You're just speculating.”

“True enough.” Calvin put down his drink. “But if you write it just right and promote it hard enough you'll be doing the job of the fourth estate, shining light in the dark corners that foster corruption.”

“You've got a way with words Hobbes, I'll grant you that.” Lois scribbled something on her notepad. “I'll think about it.”

Calvin shrugged. “Can't ask for more than that.”

“Can't ask for more than what?” Brenda said as she sat back down at the table. “You two weren't talking about me were you?”

“Luthor actually. I think Lois has a crush o him,” Calvin teased.

“You're such an ass Hobbes,” Lois shot back.

“Oh you two,” Brenda laughed. “Oops, it looks like our drinks are empty! How did that happen?”

“And we need some more bacon ched-” Calvin stopped. He heard something, faint, but it sounded like... No, it couldn't be that. He stood, scanning through the crowd. “Oh no.”

“What's wrong?” the girls asked simultaneously.

Calvin dropped back into his seat, just sitting there, staring at the crowd of dancers. Tears were welling up in his eyes.

Lois put her hand on his shoulder. “Cal, what's wrong?”

“I,” he took a sharp breath and let it out, “I gotta go.” He stood up and walked out, a little off balance and a little too fast, wiping the tears from his eyes with his sleeve.

“What the hell was that all about?” Lois asked, watching Calvin leave.

“I have no idea,” Brenda responded. She was staring at the crowd where Calvin had been looking, and the wall behind the dancers and clubbers. The wall with a nondescript door in the middle of it.
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky

Kytross
Posts: 669
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:42 pm
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Re: DC Elseworlds

Post by Kytross » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:18 pm

“Here you go, Perry,” the bartender said, placing a plate with an open-faced, ½ pound cheeseburger with steak fries and a pickle spear in front of the middle-aged man. “Watch the plate, it’s hot.”

The editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet made eye contact with the bartender and said, “Thank you Sam.”

“Hey, gotta eat to get the news out, right?” The bartender pointed to Perry’s ¾ empty beer. “You want another?”

Perry looked at the amber liquid in the frosted glass mug, considering things. “Ah, one more won’t hurt.”

Sam smiled. “Coming right up.”

As the bartender walked away Perry picked up the ketchup and mustard and applied them liberally to his burger. He chopped the pickle spear up with his knife and placed pieces of pickle on his burger, threw a few steak fries on top and then put the bun with the onions, tomato and lettuce on top. He picked the burger up in both hands, bringing it to eye level. A rare smile came over Perry’s face. After fifty years on the earth, and over thirty years on the Planet, this was still one of the greatest small pleasure’s in life, a cheeseburger at a little hole-in-the wall bar in New Troy. It was three blocks away from the Daily Planet, which made it just close enough to walk to but far enough away that his reporters wouldn’t bother him here. Kuter’s Grille was probably the only place left on God’s green earth where Perry wouldn’t be disturbed.

Having thoroughly savored the moment Perry took a large bite of his burger. Excellent. Like always. Still chewing he washed down his bite with the rest of his beer. And Sam arrived with his second beer just in time. Excellent. Like always.

“Pour me one too.”

No, it couldn’t be. Just when he had a moment to himself, this guy had to sit down next to him. Perry was sure he knew who it was from the Darth Vader like bass, but he turned his head to confirm the identity of the man who was in the process off sitting at the bar stool next to him.

“John Henry Irons.” Perry acknowledged him in a monotone. So much for taking a break for work.

“Hello Perry,” the black man said, his voice rumbling. “How’s the old rag coming?”

Perry glared at him askance. “Old rag? The Daily Planet is the best selling newspaper in the world.”

“That doesn’t mean as much as it used to,” Irons said. The bartender put his draft in front of him. “Thank you Sam.”

“Apparently it means enough for you to search me out,” Perry shot back before taking another bite of his burger.

“I was just coming in here for a beer and maybe some dinner before I head home for the day.” John craned his head from left to right. He lifted his beer in a mock toast, put it to his lips and
drained half the mug. “Ahhh, I needed that.”

Perry finished chewing his bite and asked, “Tough day at Ironworks Lab?” Perry took another bite.

“It’s always a tough day.” Irons took another sip. “I’m a ballistics engineer in a world of superhumans. It’s just a matter of time before I become obsolete.”

“Oh? I thought you guys signed an exclusive deal with Luthorcorp?”

Irons turned and looked at him. “You know about that?”

Perry grinned. “I’m a newsman, it’s my job to know.”

Irons shrugged. “Fair enough.”

“What do you mean by becoming obsolete?” Perry asked.

Irons sighed and took another drink. “Arms sales are the largest percentage of the global economy, right?”

“Yup.”

“Well, which is a better force multiplier, a squad of special forces armed with AR-15’s or one meta-human who can shoot fire from their hands?”

“Like Volcana?” Perry asked.

“Exactly.” Irons had emptied his glass and sure enough Sam was there with another one. “Someone with money is going to figure out that meta-humans are the next step in warfare and I’m going to be out of a job.”

“Did I hear you talking about force multipliers again, Irons?” Both men turned to see Dan Turpin walking toward them. The police officer sat on the other side of Perry White.

“Again?” Perry asked.

“This is a frequent topic of conversation between the detective and I,” Irons said.

“I’ll just say this once, you bleeding-heart liberal, when one, just one, meta-human does something unselfish then you might have a point.” Turpin looked at the bartender. “What does a guy have to do to get a beer around here?”

“Coming right up!” Sam called from the other end of the bar.

Perry finished his burger. “So what’s your position Irons?”

“If you take the meta out of meta-human what are you left with?” Irons asked.

“Humans,” Perry replied.

“Here it comes,” Turpin muttered into his beer.

“And if power corrupts,” Irons continued as if he hadn’t been interrupted, “then meta powers…”

“Corrupt metaphorically?” Perry finished sarcastically.

Dan Turpin started laughing in the middle of taking a drink with messy results. Sam was right there with a stack of napkins for him.

Irons glared at Perry for a moment and then laughed and shook his head. “Something like that.”

“I get it,” Perry said, “Underneath all those freakish powers you think they’re still people, good or bad.”

“And they can use their power for good or bad,” Irons replied.

“I’m with Terrible Turpin on this one,” Perry said.

“Screw you,” Turpin said when Perry used his nickname, still soaking up beer with a napkin.

“I’m going to have to see it to believe it,” Perry finished.

“Well, the argument Dan and I have generally goes that the police should try different tactics with these metas instead of just trying to shoot them.” Irons shrugged.

“Until we all get suits like the Man of Steel we’re not really looking to take chances.” Turpin balled up the last of his wet napkins and put them on the bar. “This isn’t a hypothetical argument for me; I’ve faced down these freaks and let me tell you, we’re lucky when a .45 can stop one of them.”

“Think of the boon to society some of these metas could be,” Irons countered.

“This from the guy who just said power corrupts,” Perry quipped.

Irons glared at him. “The argument is more complicated than that.”

“Not to a cop,” Turpin countered, “especially after the week I had.”

“Are you saying you dealt with a meta this week?” Perry asked.

“And how,” Turpin said then drained what was left of his beer. He motioned to the bartender to get him another beer. “This punk kid. I don’t think he’s a serious threat but damn does he get under the skin.”

“Hold on Danny boy. Don’t you know who this is?” Irons pointed at Perry.

“Yeah, he’s the guy who’s kicking your ass in an argument.”

Irons’ eyes closed to slits. “Fair enough. Tell us about this meta.”

“God, will I ever.” Sam arrived with his beer. Dan thanked him and continued. “So at an ATM with one of my rookies. New kid named Lawton, one hell of a shot on the range. We were there with Vic Sage, the meta expert.”

“Wait, you mean the journalist Victor Sage?” Perry asked.

“That’s him,” Turpin said, taking another swig of beer. “Wrote some decent pieces on metas, not like that crap in the Planet.” Perry glared, Irons smiled and Turpin continued without noticing. “So we’re at the ATM, Vic confirmed the Man of Steel had been there from a foot print. Err, boot print. Whatever. Anyway this punk walks up to us wearing a ski mask and starts mouthing off about how he robbed the ATM and he’s there to take the video drive because the Man of Steel’s face is on it.”

“What?” Irons asked, his voice low.

Perry’s voice was not low. He pounced on Turpin’s comment. “Did you see it? Do you know who the Man of Steel is?”

Turpin laughed. “Nope, the punk got the video. Wish I did know. I don’t know if I’d buy him a beer or knock his ass out, probably both, but the snot-nosed brat shrugged off pepper-mace to the face and a .45 to the chest and didn’t even slow down.”

As Turpin was talking Calvin Hobbes walked into the bar. He sat one stool down from John Henry Irons and ordered tequila. Sam poured him a shot and told him it would be five bucks. Calvin pulled the gangster roll out of his pocket and dropped it on the bar, telling Sam to keep pouring until that runs out.

The other two men in the conversation were looking toward Turpin, so they had their backs to Calvin. For his part, Turpin didn’t notice, he just continued on with his story. “And the worst part? The punk was right. He said we would never catch him because robbing an ATM just wasn’t worth the time, that we were too busy. And he’s right. I hate it but he’s right. I’ve had a rape case and a homicide cross my desk since that night. I want to go after the punk but I don’t have the time.”

Calvin, who had knocked back his third shot turned to stare at Turpin. “Damn,” he said as he put his shot glass down.

“Why don’t we let that settle, see if you want some more in a little bit?” Sam said to Calvin. Calvin nodded, now focused on the three gentlemen sitting next to him. Sam walked off to tend to other customers. Calvin recognized Detective Turpin and while he didn’t know the black man’s name that was definitely the man inside the Man of Steel’s armor. The guy in the middle he didn’t know.

“Got any leads?” Perry asked.

“Sure,” Turpin said, “On the rape case the victim knows his assailant; just locking-down the evidence. On the homicide we’ve got tons of leads and we’re making progress. On the meta ATM robbery? Bupkis. No fingerprints, no DNA, and he took the hard drive for the only security camera in the area.” Turpin finally noticed Calvin staring at him. “What are you looking at?”

“Sorry,” Calvin said, “I couldn’t help overhearing. You’re a cop right?”

Turpin glared at him. “I’m a detective.”

Calvin nodded. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend. I must have missed the first part of the story, but I’d feel safer if the murderer and the rapist were in jail than someone who robbed an ATM.” Turpin started to glare again. “Look, let me buy you a drink to make it up to you.”

The idea seemed to pacify the off-duty detective. “Okay.”

Calvin peeled a twenty off his gangster roll and passed it down to Turpin, pulled off a second twenty and put it on the bar for Sam. “So, are you all cops. I mean detectives?”

Irons scoffed at the question. “No, I’m a scientist and an engineer.”

“Wow,” Calvin said. “That sounds cool.” He turned to Perry. “What do you do?”

Perry blushed a bit. “I’m editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet.” Perry turned to Turpin, whose jaw had dropped and said, “Thanks for that exclusive by the way. Lois Lane has been trying to get that story all day.”

“Damn,” Turpin said.

Irons chuckled. “I tried to warn you.”

“Screw you John Henry Irons,” Turpin retorted, “And you too Perry White.” Perry started to chuckle too. “I’m gonna be lucky if I don’t get suspended.”

“I’ll make sure you’re an anonymous source,” Perry said, “if you think that will help.”

“It might,” Turpin conceded, “Thanks. I won’t be telling stories in bars anymore.”

“You guys mind if I ask a hypothetical question?” Calvin asked, changing the subject.

Irons nodded. “I don’t mind, as long as I can give you a hypothetical answer.” Perry groaned his appreciation at John’s attempt at humor.

“Ah, okay.” Calvin took a moment, looking off in the distance, gathering his thoughts. “Let’s say you save someone’s life, right? Afterwards you find out they’re evil, like Goebbels or Mengele evil. Are you responsible for what they do after that? Propoganda and death camps and the whole nine yards.”

They all answered at about the same time. Turpin said no, Perry said yes and Irons said maybe. They argued back and forth between each other passionately and eventually loudly until Calvin cut them off.

“Well that helped,” Calvin muttered. He peeled off a hundred dollar bill, slapped it on the bar and walked out. They were still arguing when he left.
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky

Kytross
Posts: 669
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:42 pm
Contact:

What Calvin saw

Post by Kytross » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:52 am

Bruno Mannheim walked into the VIP room of the Ace of Clubs. The room had been emptied of the posh furniture and dim lighting and filled with a single long table and chairs. Each chair was filled by a man in a suit with a man or two standing behind them. He had heard them talking, murmurring as he entered the room, but once they saw him their conversations stopped until the only sound that could be heard was his shoes squeaking on the well polished floor.

Bruno walked to the head of the table. He stood there and looked down the table at the row of men on his right, then turned his head and looked at the men on his left. After a moment he smiled and spoke.

"Gentlemen. We are the heads of the gangs of Metropolis. And we have a problem. The Man of Steel."

A general murmur of assent filled the air, a few of the crime bosses started to give each other specific examples before Bruno silenced them. "Gentlemen. If we are to take this city back from that metallic menace then we have to pool resources. So today I am offering you the opportunity to join me."

More murmuring. No one seemed to like the idea of joining Bruno's organization, but that was as expected. This time Bruno let the grumbling die down before he spoke. "Gentlemen. What I am proposing is a true combining of our crews, a restructuring into one, efficient inter-gang. We would retain our individual enterprises but pool our cashflow together. The men in this room would decide what to do with that cash, a council of crime. First we deal with Steel. From there we pool resources, helping each other pull off bigger and better jobs."

Bruno finally sat, letting the others talk among themselves. The few questions he acknowledged were answered dismissively, with as few words as possible. He gave them about ten minutes to discuss his proposal then stood back up.

"Gentlemen. Time to choose. Who is with me?" Some shook their heads, others answered verbally and explicitly. No one was joining his inter-gang.

"Gentlemen. I'm sorry we couldn't come to an agreement." He extended his left arm, exposing a watch from under his coat sleeve. He bent his arm at the elbow, bringing it towards him. His right hand found his watch and there was an audible click.

The room filled with electricity. Lightning leapt up from the floor, arcing over everyone in the room. Everyone except Bruno Mannheim. Their convulsing bodies quickly became charred corpses, dropping to the floor when Bruno clicked his 'watch' again and the electricity stopped.

He walked out of the room, his rubber soled shoes squeaking the entire length of the floor.
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky

Kytross
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Re: DC Elseworlds

Post by Kytross » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:55 am

Calvin Hobbes was on autopilot. He had saved a man a few nights ago, and tonight he witnessed that same man murder a room full of people. The man who gave him the ferrari that Calvin had just driven back to the hotel room that was paid for by the same man.

Bruno Mannheim.

Calvin didn't make Bruno electrocute his enemies, but he still felt responsible. If only he hadn't thrown that nacho plate. But then he would feel awful for not saving Bruno. There had to be a right answer in here somewhere. A choice, a path, to make things right. There had to be some way to make sure no more people died because of him. Should he kill Bruno Mannheim? Could he kill someone?

Calvin snorted as he ran the key card over the reader and the light on the door handle to his hotel room turned green. He turned the handle and sighred. Of course he could kill Bruno. He was unbelievably strong and fast. Calvin could kill anyone he wnted. But taking another person's life, that wasn't something he had ever seriously considered doing. He wasn't sure he could do that. He wasn't sure if he wanted to do that. And two wrongs never made a right.

"Yeah, but three lefts do," Calvin said as he walked through the door and tossed his keys onto an end table. He flicked the lightswitch.

Could he keep staying here, knowing where the money was coming from that paid for this room? Could he even manage to stay here tonight, or would the guilt eat him alive? If not, where would he go?

The lights didn't go on.

Calvin stopped his train of thought and flicked the lightswitch again. Nothing. He flicked it again. Nothing.

"Calvin Hobbes," a deep, electronic voice boomed from the center of the room. Calvin looked up. He had been so caught up in his moral dilemna that he hadn't even looked in the room, nor did he keep up his radar. Even in the dark his supervision was more than up for the task of spotting the person standing in the middle of the room. Whatever the outfit was they were wearing, it significantly lowered their infrared profile, as well as their ultraviolet profile. However, Calvin saw far more of the electromagnetic spectrum than that. He quickly identified the utility belt full of gadgets, the armor plates in the suit and then the body underneath.

"Brenda?" Calvin asked in disbelief. "What are you doing in my hotel room? Especially dressed like... Is this some kind of kinky, rich person cosplay?"

"I am the Bat," came the rumbling electronic reply.

Calvin laughed. "You are whacked." He shook his head and sighed. "Look, tonight sucked, so why don't you come back tomorrow?"

For her part, Brenda didn't hesitate or seem thrown off. "You will answer for your crimes Calvin Hobbes, and you will tell me what I want to know."

Calvin chuckled. "Do you want to know my phone number, Little Miss Richie Rich?"

She was fast, faster than anyone Calvin had ever seen. That still didn't make her fast enough to land a punch on Calvin. He sidestepped her lunging punch, grabbed her wrist and wrapped it behind her back. Calvin checked to make sure he hadn't dislocated her shoulder. Calvin figured that would stop her. It didn't even slow her down. Brenda did some kind of judo flip thing that landed with a kick to the side of Calvin's face, then had her facing him, her wrist still locked in his grip. While Calvin was figuring out what to do next, Brenda kicked him in the knee.

"You can stop now," Calvin said. Brenda replied with a series of kicks to his knee. Calvin stood there unaffected. "If you kick me one more time..."

Brenda kicked him one more time. Calvin released his grip on her wrist, ripped off her mask and stripped off her utility belt, then tied her up in her cape, all in less than a second. He picked her up and tossed her on the couch. He stood over her and glared. "You still want to play dress-up Brenda? Are you still going to insist that you're the Bat? Or are you ready to talk like a human being?

"You're a meta-human," Brenda said, her voice no longer electronically enhanced, but not the flirty, bubbly lilt from the club either. It was cold, precise.

"Thank you Captain Obvious. Your valley girl accent is gone. It's a pretty effective facade for Gotham's Dark Knight."

"Does Bruno Mannheim know about your powers?" Brenda countered.

"Bruno can go to hell and so can you. You've got money, more money than I can even imagine, and you dress up to fight crime? Are you insane?" Calvin turned around, walked to a chair on the opposite side of the room and sat, facing her.

Brenda sighed and sat up, easily maneuvering despite being tied up. "Gotham has been completely corrupt since I was a kid. I tried to fix it from within the system, but that didn't work. So I work outside the system. I don't just take down mobsters and psychopaths I have been eliminating corrupt policeman and district attorneys."

Calvin's jaw dropped. "You're killing people?"

Brenda shook her head. "No. I beat them up. I put them in jail. I expose their corruption to the press. I do not kill. What about you Calvin. What are you doing with that meta strength of yours?"

"Mostly I'm trying to stay alive in the biggest city in the world." Calvin sighed. "Some days are better than others."

"And Bruno Mannheim? How does he figure into your life? Besides buying you a Ferrari and paying for a Lexxor Hotel room?"
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes!" - Except, apparently, that one.

"And Anarchy, I think we can agree, is only fun some of the time." - Ducky

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