Money Isn't Everything

Scenes set in the "Young Justice" universe.

Money Isn't Everything

Postby Superboy » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:55 am

Conner hated... well, Conner had to admit to himself that he hated a lot of things. The act of using mass transit was new to the list, though. But, it was a necessity to keeping a low profile which itself was a necessity to visiting such a well known public figure such as the one and only Bruce Wayne. The disguise Batman wore on laundry day, or so it felt to the young not-quite a Kryptonian. Batman was more real that Bruce Wayne, but Bruce Wayne was the facet that had access to Wayne Enterprises and that was what Conner was there to talk about. There weren't many private corporations in the world with the breadth of resources that Conner imagined would be needed to fulfill his request, and of those that did exist the two most likely candidates were Wayne Enterprises and LexCorp. Obviously, only one of those two bore any actual chance of being approached by Conner.

It was that once again rehashed line of thinking that saw Conner stepping off a Gotham city bus in front of Wayne Enterprises for his appointment. It was an oddly formal affair, when Conner had asked Robin to relay a request for a private conversation to his mentor regarding Wayne Enterprises he'd genuinely expected to wake up hanging upside down from a balcony and staring at Batman. Getting a phone message from a secretary in Wayne Enterprises regarding a meeting with Bruce Wayne to talk about Conner's 'application' was a shock, and calling back to make that appointment was surreal. Conner knew Bruce Wayne -was- Batman, anybody on the Team who hung out with either of the Robins long enough figured out the connection. It was just a very understood rule that everybody politely assumed the information didn't connect. To have the fact dropped in his lap like that broke that understanding, and that it was being broken by the man himself... it gave Conner butterflies.

He strode up the steps toward the main visitor entrance, a look of honest trepidation on his face. The edifice was truly impressive, likely designed to inspire awe and it was an effective design indeed. Conner could only imagine what the experience would do to someone of his practical experience who -couldn't- smash the whole thing with their bare hands. Conner could and he was still more than a little awed himself. At the top of the steps, and the back of a very large courtyard, was the main entrance doors. The glass allowed him to see into the atrium where the security check point stood. Conner didn't miss a step, confident that he had little to worry about as none of his powers relied on materials or machines of any sort. It was, perhaps, a little naive of him but he didn't realize at the time. He walked in, holding the door for a couple of office workers who looked at him a little oddly but continued on without a word before he continued on to the check point.

Through the metal detectors he went, without an issue, and was passed over by the people making random additional security checks. From there he headed inward and realized he wasn't entirely certain where to go from there. Up, he presumed, but that wasn't a guarantee considering who he was there to see either. He glanced around until he spotted the elevator bank. He thought about just hopping aboard and trying his best until he realized what a ludicrous thought that was. Finally, Conner spotted a desk with a bank of ladies answering phones and speaking to the rare individual who stepped up to gain their attention. Conner strode over that way.

He was still several paces away when one of the ladies looked up, wearing her crisp skirt suit like a suit of plate armor, and smiled a practiced smile. "How can I help you?"

Conner rubbed the back of his neck as he stepped forward. "I'm here for a meeting, I have an appointment."

"Name, please."
"Uh, mine?"
"Yes." She smiled indulgently, likely already formulating how she would tell that little anecdote when next she reached the water cooler and it made Conner sigh at himself.
"Conner Kent," he said.
"Spell your last name please," she said even as she was typing his first name.
"K, E, N, T."

She was pretty robotic about it all, and who could blame her? She likely did that exact same thing a couple hundred times a day on average. Of course, on most days she didn't find herself about to give directions to the owner's office to what appeared to be somewhere between 16 and 22 years of age. Her eyes widened as she was looking at her screen and there was a long disconnect as Conner imagined her reading it two or three more times to be certain her eyes weren't messing with her. Her body heat went up too, he could see it, and he imagined it was stress related even as she looked at him with new eyes. "Just one moment, sir." Conner nodded slowly, the sir thing striking him as odd for its sudden appearance in the conversation.

He waited while the woman picked up her phone and hurriedly dialed an extension that she was reading on her screen. She spoke in hushed tones but Conner picked up every word. "His 3 o'clock is here." "Who is it?" "Some kid, college age maybe." "I'll be right there." The woman hung up the phone and gave Conner an indulgent smile, oblivious to fact that he'd heard her conversation. "If you'll wait just a moment, someone has been assigned to meet you here." Conner once again nodded, though his brows pulled together slightly. He was just about on the verge of asking where he should wait when a woman with jet black hair stepped up next to him. "Mr. Kent? My name is Selena. I'll be escorting you up to Mr. Wayne's office, to get you through the security precautions." She had a thin binder, essentially a hard-backed folder, emblazoned with a Wayne Enterprises logo held against her chest. It rather made Conner think of Guardian's shield, the way she held it between them.

She stepped back and indicated which direction they would be going and Conner walked along with her silently. Selena kept looking at him out of the corner of her eye but Conner pretended not to notice, though it was for the sake of not engaging her in conversation rather than any attempt to actually fool her into believing he had in fact not noticed. She was curious and he wasn't certain what to tell her, so he didn't invite the question. Though, a curious person was the last kind of employee Conner would have imagined working near Bruce Wayne if Bruce Wayne had anything to say about it. She hit the button for an elevator that was alone, away from the various elevator banks, and then swiped a card through a reader. The doors opened immediately and a very well appointed elevator car awaited them. They stepped in, the doors closed, and she hit one of the very few buttons that were obvious on the control panel. Up they went. It was a short ride and Conner registered the speed with which the elevator picked up momentum as greater than he'd expected. High speed. He wasn't surprised once he thought about it.

The doors opened up just a few moments later on a very large space that Selena preceded him into, Conner following. There were no chairs, no desk, and nothing else one might expect outside of an office. The best word Conner could come up with was antechamber, as it's only purpose seemed to be separating the office beyond the heavy double doors from the elevator. Selena paused just outside the elevator, her hand holding the doors from closing, and gestured toward the door. "He will see you now," she said as Conner exited the elevator. She stepped back into the conveyance and under her breath mumbled, "And that has got to be a new record." Conner merely raised an eyebrow to himself, not turning to look at her even after the doors had closed once more.
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Superboy » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:41 am

"Enter."

The word floated clearly through the door when Conner knocked, so Conner did as bid. Stepping through and quietly closing it behind himself he saw the back of the slickly dressed and dark haired man that was Bruce Wayne. Conner strode in confidently but as he moved forward his confidence waned slowly, every step getting a little slower until he hesitantly came to a stop in front of the desk. Bruce Wayne was facing the other direction, looking out the window that gave him a view of his empire. All of Gotham laid out before the person who owned the lion's share of it, who also happened to be the man who kept the owners of the remaining percentage in line every night.

"Join me, please."

Conner paused a moment but then slowly moved around the desk to stand beside the man, looking out over the impressive expanse of the city. There was some theatrics to this, Conner finally decided, but he also had to admit to himself that to the extent that he was aware it was also working. He looked over at the man who had invited him into this place, to look down on that view, and again the only word he could come up with was slick. His hair was dark, his features refined, and there was a hint of determination that no doubt came from deep within. Determination was one of the defining innate traits of Bruce Wayne, and that just made perfect sense to Conner.

"A friend told me that you wanted to talk to me about something. Something regarding Wayne Enterprises. This room is secure, care to elaborate?"

Conner rubbed the back of his neck and turned his eyes outward, seeing himself dimly reflected by the glass and realized that would make it much easier than looking the man in the eye and saying the things. It would be just like repeating it in the mirror like he'd done in his rehearsals. "I'm not a wordy guy, so I'll get straight to the point. I want to know everything there is to know about me, to see what went wrong and what went right. I know they didn't make me to be a pale shadow of Superman, so somewhere something is incomplete and I hate not knowing what that is. The control phrase, the Shields, and whatever else they've got on me is something worth fearing. I don't want to hurt my friends, I don't want to be surprised by a sudden expiration date, or any more of those conditioned commands. And..."

He took a deep breath before continuing. "If there is a way to reach my full Kryptonian potential, I want that too." Conner didn't know how that would be received but he certainly knew how it sounded. He wanted more power. Batman knew as much about Conner as anyone, probably more considering it was Batman he was thinking about there, and that meant he knew what the original purpose of Project Kr had been. The defeat and replacement of Superman. It was ingrained in Conner's mind by the G-Gnomes, programmed into his DNA by Cadmus, it was a innate part of him as much as anything could be. It was something to worry about and he couldn't help but feel it played a role in his relatively sparse social life amongst other Metas.

There was a long silence as Bruce Wayne stood absolutely still. He just continued to gaze out the window at Gotham below. Finally, the word came quietly. "Why?"

Conner answered immediately, it was the only way to ensure he didn't over think his way into a half truth or a lie in an attempt to please the questioner. "It's a part of me. I need it, and you know why. I can reason it off for you, but we both know it goes back to programming." Conner looked up into the sky and sighed. "Whether he likes it or not, and he apparently doesn't, I'm a Super. I can wallow in my current situation or I can strive to stand shoulder to shoulder with him and Kara. Then, even if I fail I will know I've spent my entire life trying. I'd rather die turning over stones without finding the goal than live my entire life one stone away from it."

Bruce remained silent for another long pause. It was unnerving but Conner let it continue uninterrupted, the heavens knew he'd spent a great deal of time in silence while -he- thought about it before deciding on the course of action that brought him to that place on that day. It just took him all back to that conversation with Canary after the events of the training program. The things he'd felt when he'd been able to experience what it was like to be Superman... and the sacrifices he'd made to get there.

"Do you have any idea what it would take to even begin to learn what you want to learn? Even before we would be able to consider altering anything to do with you."

"More than I've imagined. That's why I need you, specifically."
"You'd need more than just me, Conner."

"I can bring Artemis in, probably Kaldur and Nightwing too." Conner wasn't there because he thought Batman could leverage the Bat-family into the deal, he was there because Batman had the resources to make the science part of it all a reality. He wouldn't run scam on his friends through a second party for this. "I could... there's Black Canary... but I don't know if I could approach her without tipping the whole thing over if she doesn't respond well. Green Arrow would do it just for the adventure, though."

Bruce turned, an eyebrow raised. "You've thought about this more than I was giving you credit for."
"Thanks... I think."
"You still haven't realized the sheer scale of your requested undertaking though. Come."

Bruce moved to his desk and hit a control, causing a projector plate to descend a foot or so from the ceiling where it lit up. A picture of Conner appeared in the air beneath the plate. "We've got the incomplete second experiment of Project Kr, that's you. An excellent start but things get sticky after that. We'd need all the project data, current samples from all related subjects, and we'd be greatly helped if we could get our hands on any data generated since then. Superman is likely to be disinclined to volunteer his assistance, even passively, and we can just go ahead and assume we are going to have to take what we need from Luthor without his knowledge. Find Match, find the data from the project, get it someplace secure, and start making sense of it all. And that's assuming that LexCorp and Cadmus weren't shooting in the dark to begin with."

Conner stared at the images of the four beings, himself included, that floated there in the center of the room. It was daunting, intimidating, and screamed impossible. There was only one thing left to say. "Where do we begin?"

Bruce Wayne gave Conner a hard look that lasted but a breath before he went impassive again. It was a look that would have filtered quite expressively through the cowl that was his true face. It was nearly a full twenty seconds before Bruce responded. "You start figuring out what you're going to say to Artemis, Kaldur, and Nightwing. I'll let you know when and where to be for that meeting. I'm going to start working on logistics. Don't worry about Black Canary or Green Arrow right now, I'll have to coach you on the former and the latter can be handled without full disclosure."

Conner nodded as Bruce turned to face the holographic display. Conner took that as a dismissal and turned for the door. He'd have to find someplace quiet to think about his appeal to his friends. He wasn't going to lie to them, he cared about them too much to lead them blindly into something they might never knowingly do. He'd give them the chance to choose of their own free will. "Conner..." Conner stopped and turned to look at Bruce. "Why didn't you ask him first?" Bruce didn't have to say the name, they both knew who he was talking about.

"I asked to talk to him, privately, over six months ago. Turns out it's easier to get an appointment with billionaire owner of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne, than it is to get an interview with mid-level reporter Clark Kent." It was said flatly, without the venom that would have suffused the statement just a few short years ago. The tone said 'sad but true'.

Bruce nodded, and Conner left, but Bruce continued to stare at the door. When he heard the elevator doors open, and close again, he turned his eyes back to the holographic display. "His loss."
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Warlord » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:51 am

{{Two Weeks Later}}

It was almost like clock work, Bruce thought to himself as he heard the odd sound that accompanied the flight of one of the other founding members of the Justice League. He almost rolled his eyes as he heard the uptight tone of voice that came out of the individual he still hadn't looked up from his paper to regard. "We need to talk, Bruce." Bruce Wayne finished the paragraph he'd been on, practically feeling the increase in displeasure the wait was causing the other man, before setting the paper down to look up and regard Superman.

"To what do I owe the honor of such an 'official' visit?"
"You know what brings me here."
"Making a lot of assumptions right now..."

Superman snorted and gestured at a chair a couple down from where Bruce sat at the head of the table. "Please," Bruce responded. Superman seated himself and stared hard at the owner of the expansive Mansion. Bruce Wayne very casually stared back, for all the world as if there was no reason to worry over the as yet unspoken subject between them. It occurred to Kal-El that there was a very real chance there were more than a dozen such situations from the man behind the Batman's point of view and he, himself, was only aware of one.

"I got a call from my parents today, they told me a Wayne Enterprises envelope showed up at their house via special courier for Conner. A check, for a disproportionate amount of money considering it's addressed to an apparent 18 year old." His voice got harder the longer he talked, his eyes too.

Bruce immediately went to work on the real issue. What about Kon-El getting money from Wayne Enterprises -really- bothered Kal-El? It wasn't that Bruce Wayne was giving money to a member of the team, he'd done that more than once already from his complete support of the various Robins to the scholarship that had allowed Artemis to attend Gotham Academy. That couldn't be it. "We both know, as do your parents, that he is much more than an apparent 18 year old. He's actually 7, biologically 24 on the inside, etc."

"Quit playing games, Bruce." Superman said dangerously. Martha and Jonathan had worried Conner until he showed them the check, and it was an official payroll check from Wayne Enterprises including two weeks pay -and- a somewhat exorbitant amount under the heading 'finders fee'. "Why do you have Conner on your payroll, and what did he find that was worth -that- much."

Bruce crossed his legs under the table and rested his hands on his uppermost thigh. "I think this is the most interest I've ever seen you show in the boy. Wait, does he make more than you? Is this Clark's way of asking for a raise?" Bruce held up a hand to forestall the angry retort he saw forming on Superman's face. "I've put him on the payroll because he is now an employee of the special projects division of Wayne Enterprises. Even you have to realize that he, even more so than the other Team members, special issues that will affect his ability to get and keep a job. He works more than a couple of years at the same job, which is a big if considering the nature of their duties, and folks will be marveling at the fact that he doesn't age. A dangerous parallel to the same marveling the public will be doing at Superboy."

"That doesn't answer the questions, either of them."
"I'm not bound to please thee with my answers."
"The Merchant of Venice, very clever." Superman's tone said it was anything but.
"He needs an income, more than the League can justify giving him. We don't pay people to be heroes. He can work in Special Projects until he either finds something that suits him or he decides otherwise to handle such things for himself. Besides, given the fact that he's entered into another relationship within the Team..."

The look on Superman's face spoke volumes. "...another..."

The expression on Bruce Wayne's face judged hard. "Are you surprised at his entering another or unaware that he was in one previously? Only one of those options has any hope of being justified." The the silent reaction from Superman answered that question as well. "You aren't seriously sitting there, practically yelling at me that you had no idea he dated. You're not doing that. Do you not even read his reports? You can scan through dozens of them in seconds, he reported the end of his relationship with Miss Martian... you had no idea." The twitch that came when Bruce had named the significant other had ended that line of questioning.

"I... don't... he writes like I used to. It's... discomforting." Superman looked away, a sour expression on his face that said silently what he'd just put into words.

"Get over it. He has."

The two sentences slapped Kal-El like a Mr. Freeze/Bizarro team up, ice cold and Kryptonian strong. "Things... things have gotten better. It's been a slow process is all..."

"No, they just feel better for you. You're not growing into the roll he craved, thus easing his feelings and thereby easing those expectant looks he used to give you. The hopeful looks... no. He finally realized you were never going to be who he needed and filled the gap with others who were willing. Black Canary, the Kents, Artemis, and now me. I'm no expert on second chances but there's a very real possibility you've run out of them with the boy." Good ol'Batman, one could always rely on him to not pull punches.
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Warlord » Fri May 01, 2015 11:27 pm

Superman remained utterly silent for a long, long time. Bruce picked his paper back up and returned to reading the funnies, which he'd wrapped in the financial section. Had to keep people seeing what they expected to see and Superman was too busy turning the cogs to be trying to figure out what Bruce was reading with his cheat-ray vision. It took a while but Bruce finally grew tired of the other man ruminating in Bruce's house, and sighed as he set his paper back down. "Don't you have a fortress of solitude for this kind of soul searching? After the last conversation we had about the boy I'm a little surprised you're even remotely concerned with the check, or anything else to do with the boy's life. The only thing that jives is you not reading his reports, as eyerolling as that is."

Superman just sat there for a while longer and Bruce snorted. "This is about you." It wasn't a question. Batman had just stated a fact, pure and simple. Superman looked at him hard, focusing up with a denial ready on his lips but it died as a maskless Batman continued to stare at him. "You couldn't deal with him, and now you're realizing that it smudged your legend."

"I don't have a legend," Superman said, and made a pretty good go of it. Batman could only assume that on some level Clark believed it.

"No, you may believe that, and maybe nobody else puts it into words, but it's there. Superman, upright in everything. His 'white cape' completely unblemished. Untainted. Above the weaknesses of normal men. A 'super' man in all ways. Except..." Bruce gestured at the space between them to indicate the conversation that had taken place. "But it's time to admit to yourself that you dropped the ball. Conner wanted you in his life, wanted it so bad that he raged against everyone else to keep your place vacant for you. For so long. He put himself and others in danger... for you. You never took it, he's moved on... more than once now. The clean is stained, the unquestionable besmirched."

Superman looked sullen and Batman remained impassive to it. "Don't worry, it's small. A minor blemish, nothing that will make the rest of us doubt you... except when it comes to the boy. You can live in relief, however, that you are no longer responsible for him or his development as a member of the Team or the League should he ever take up his invite." Clark grew smaller and Batman couldn't decide if it was a matter of physical or social perception on his own part. It was something he'd have to think about later, because he hated mysteries. Especially about himself. "It's a shame too, because we could have always used another you. Seeing as even Superman can't be in two places at once."
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Warlord » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:04 pm

He deflected off an older Chevy, it was good and solid metal, before sliding to a stop on the road. The Croc was strong but he was no Mammoth. Conner coiled his body and sprung back to his feet. No, the only thing Croc had over Mammoth was being a bit faster. It was why Conner hadn't wasted any time picking himself up. Once he'd gotten the creature's attention it had been pretty dogged about trying to sink its teeth into him. He still got a chuckle out of the look in its eyes when that had produced exactly zero desirable effect, Kryptonians were non-edible apparently. But that still brought them back to the whole fast problem. Conner had no super speed outside what his pure strength could produce, which was why he'd just barely got his feet under him when Croc came barreling in again.

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Batman was vaguely aware that the news feeds were expounding upon how Superboy, the rarely seen and much speculated about 'youngest' member of the Super family, was doing a highly praised job of isolating a battle with the Croc to one intersection of Gotham. There was a great deal of speculation, their favorite pass time as mentioned when it came to Superboy, about why it seemed to be taking so long to defeat the Croc. They had never really caught on to the fact that Superboy wasn't everything Superman was just in a younger package. Batman smiled grimly as he watched the limousine parked in the private garage of an unlisted LexCorp facility. He'd triggered the alarm, breached a very secure lab, and then sat back and waited. Which was entirely why Superboy was handling the heavy lifting in Gotham...

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Conner used the metal door like a shield as Mr Freeze's weapon flashed out at him, it grew heavier as the ice built up and creeped around the edges of the door itself. He gritted his teeth against the cold burn of the ice while he waited for Nightwing to make his move. This was the second day of his filling in for Batman, though most of the filling in was being handled by the rest of the Bat family. Conner was offering muscle and, apparently, bait duty to the process. His durability made up for his lack of everything else that made Batman a threat to these villains, but his not being Batman and Batman apparently not being in town had called out all the crazies that usually stayed huddled in quiet basements while the Gotham Knight was around...

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Day three. It had taken three days for Lex to decide to actually make his appearance. The Limo left, then returned, and Batman watched Lex Luthor climb out as the door was held by the android bodyguard he kept around gussied up as some woman who wouldn't really give him the time of day if she were flesh and blood. He looked angry, and acted it as he made his way toward the elevator door without hesitation. His stride said heads were going to roll, and considering it was Lex Luthor that might mean literally. The doors opened, the doors closed, and the garage was silent once again. Zero hour was imminent...

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Robin landed the flying kick to the side of Bane's head, making him stumble sideways on the raised portion of the roof, and Artemis was on point with her bolo arrow. It detonated and wrapped around his ankles as they crossed during his sideways scramble. He tilted over sideways, falling off the raised portion of roof, and only had the time to widen his eyes before his trajectory was brutally altered by a Superboy powered uppercut. The noise he made as he twisted about after the punch landed was as good as a written surrender, signed with the thud of a completely limp body hitting the ground.

"Good work, handsome."
"Couldn't have done it without you, beautiful."
"It's like working with Dick and Barb all over again." Robin groaned as he walked away from the couple making eyes at each other.

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Batman pulled the camouflage netting off the Bat-jet and hit the button to start the engine cycle, he pulled the vial full of blood out of the compartment on his belt and held it up to the light. Luthor's blood, but Batman could already see there was something wrong with it. It was a large vial, they needed it, but it gave a long space for contrast and separation. And separating it was. Batman made a sound of displeasure to himself and replaced it in the compartment. There was something bigger than Superboy going on there, but the mission remained the same until the blood could be analyzed. And thorough was going to be an understatement.
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Warlord » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:04 pm

"Luthor is dying."
"Of what?"

The question was asked by Artemis, over the comm unit, as she and Superboy stared at through the monitor. Batman wasn't surprised that she turned out to be the curious one. Luthor had no connection to the boy and the boy disliked Luthor so much he was trying to literally excise the genetics that he shared with him. That was getting complicated, though. Well, maybe not, he thought as he checked Superboy's face. The young half-Kryptonian seemed to take the information in stride, not even bothering with a shrug. It was a non-issue to him. "Kryptonite poisoning. It's in his blood stream, in his skin cells, twined around his DNA. There is literally no way short of dissolution to get the two separated."

"He wouldn't survive that... oh..."
"Does it stop you from getting what we were after?"

Batman smirked, eye on the prize. He couldn't blame the kid for being driven, focused. It rather reminded him of himself and, in a very small way, reaffirmed his decision to adopt the boy as another protege. "Outside of his body, it's easy to separate. And he's likely only alive because of that fact. Dialysis, maybe twice daily." Luthor was a side issue, and so Batman pushed that data aside. "The problem, however, is that it allowed us to notice something else. Those shields you were using had an unintended side affect."

"No."

Batman looked up as Artemis willed there to be no problem with the man she loved. Also understandable. Conner was just staring at Batman, waiting, though his arm slid around Artemis' shoulders comfortingly. "It's not killing him, at least no so far as I can tell. Suppressing his Human DNA triggered something in his Kryptonian DNA, or allowed something. I think our mission might be... unnecessary."

"What do you mean? Unnecessary."
"Your human cells are replicating, like they are supposed to, but not at the rate they were. Your Kryptonian cells are outrunning them and... making up the difference. I think that you're becoming full Kryptonian."
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Warlord » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:49 am

Conner sat on the edge of the big open loading door for his barn loft apartment. The Kent farm was huge, the view vast, and Conner always meant to ask how the family had managed to come into possession of so much land -and- hold onto it all these generations. But the farm house was on the other side of the barn from where Conner was sitting. Martha was at the sink washing dishes and her husband was listening to the boxing match on the radio. Conner found the sport tedious to watch, especially after training with Canary, but listening to it was another matter. The men at ring side, announcing the fight, explained why America had fallen in love with a rarely exciting combat sport. The announcers spewed a kind of poetry that only got better when someone truly skilled and entertaining turned up. Like the one called Muhammed Ali.

Conner knew everything about Muhammed Ali. He knew everything about everything of a historical nature. If he ever got thrown back in time he'd swim like a fish. But entertaining those thoughts... he was just trying to avoid the real question. What did he want? Connor was becoming everything he wanted to be, albeit slowly, and he had Lex Luther to thank for that. Which was weird, and Lex probably hadn't even done it on purpose. This fact was discovered through the science of attempting to unlock his true potential, to become a full Kryptonian. Or at least as close to one as his DNA would allow him. It had all led him to a dilemma. Wait for the changes to take place, wait to see how far that carried him, or keep pushing.

The up shot to waiting was that nobody else would be put in any additional danger. They wouldn't have to keep manipulating Green Arrow (though the guy was clueless and happy to be playing with Gotham's heavy hitter in Batman). They wouldn't have to keep worrying about Canary deciding to out them, though she'd made no waves since turning down their attempt to recruit her into the effort. They wouldn't have to worry that Conner was going to spontaneously develop a power in the middle of some delicate endeavor and hurt someone. Waking up, opening his eyes to regard Artemis, and suddenly expressing heat vision was something that kept eating at the edges of mind. Worrying him.

On the other hand, pushing might get him further. It would certainly get him down the developmental path faster but Batman genuinely believed that the right key would carry him beyond what the slow genetic drift was capable of. Equilibrium wouldn't kick in until he was farther down the spectrum toward full Kryptonian. And, more importantly, there was a very real chance that they might discover the cure for Lex's Kryptonite poisoning. Who wanted to save a dedicated, conscientious villain? A proper hero didn't judge, they just saved the day and let the properly empowered authorities do their part afterward.

"You're going to save him." It wasn't a question, it was a simple statement of fact from Artemis. She was sitting beside him watching Conner agonize over a question that wasn't really a question.
"It's what we do," he replied simply. Conner clearly didn't know how to feel about it because he'd defaulted to not feeling anything about it at all.

Artemis leaned into his shoulder, shifting as he did so he could put his arm around her and pull her closer with her head ending up more on his chest. They'd been in various poses for hours... or, rather, she'd been in various poses. He'd been sitting there, hunched forward or leaned back, for hours in that way that only a super human could manage. Conner was probably doing more damage to the barn than it was doing to his legs just sitting there, considering she'd watched bullets and other more dangerous things ricochet right off him over the years. Not being anything like that durable herself, Artemis had been forced to shift around quite a bit but she'd always worked to maintain proximity to her boyfriend if not outright physical contact. She didn't even consider going home. In all honesty, she'd spent more of the last six months in that converted barn loft than she had in her own room.

"So... is it settled then?" She knew what he'd said but the tone of her voice when she asked still said it was okay if he hadn't really arrived at his final answer.

Conner stared off into the distance for a little while longer. Just a few seconds really, but it felt like a bit longer than that. He just listened to the world out there, even the things that humans were incapable of tuning into, before he finally came back to himself. "It's settled. I'm going to see what we can accomplish with Project Kr, and then I'm going to save Lex Luther's life."

"It's the right thing to do, and I'm proud of you."
"I'm gonna be extremely smug about it."
"Hell yes you are, not even Mother Teresa could have passed that up. Now, go put on your costume. I'm too relieved to sleep and the Terror Twins have been out for three days, they're definitely doing something illegal by now."
Warlord
 
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Warlord » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:17 pm

"Master Bruce, you have a guest."

Alfred's refined, upright, and always proper voice intoned into the bedroom. Batman opened his eyes as the closest thing he had in the world to family shuffled across the bedroom and opened the curtains just a crack. The unhurried manner in which the butler went about letting in that stream of daylight said it wasn't something that had the man worried. Batman became Bruce Wayne. "I'm sleeping, Alfred."

"So you are, sir. But it is now three in the afternoon, which I imagine you've already figured out from the angle of the light, and your guest is the kind of important that he can wear a cape. Without irony."

".... Great..." Bruce's tone said it was anything but. He rolled out of bed, babied his pulled muscles and bruises from the night before, and proceeded to get just about as dressed as he felt the situation deserved. Silk pajamas and his robe. "Show him into the dining room, I'll be there shortly."

"Heh, very clever sir. The site of his last defeat. I'll have your breakfast ready by the time you're done with him." And with that the older man moved away, out of the bedroom, and downstairs.

Bruce waited, standing still and staring at a point on the wall. A short, focusing effort that would make him the man that he had to be when dealing with his waiting guest. It also meant that said guest would know that he was being made to wait to no real purpose. He could see and hear Bruce's lack of movement. When sufficient time had passed he stood and went downstairs, strolling at an unhurried pace through the house until he arrived at the over sized dining room to regard Superman. Sitting there with a dark look on his face. "Who figured it out for you?" Bruce rather doubted anybody had but somebody had no doubt put the suspicion in his head. In classic Superman style, he'd then flown straight at the problem.

Bruce meandered into the room and sat down in the chair at the head of the table while being watched by Superman, still glaring, and his eyes oddly just off focus. "Tell me which ribs are fractured while you're at it." Bruce pulled the newspaper off the tabletop and checked the headlines while waiting for the man of steel to gather the courage to make the accusation he'd come there to make. Or, ask a question.

"What's going on Bruce? You're running a team off the books, Lex Luthor actually reported being assaulted, and while nobody's been able to connect you or your people to it we also know you weren't in Gotham or in any of the League facilities or at home during that time. I checked. Your protégées were working overtime in Gotham, along with Conner and Artemis, to cover your absence. What's your game, why are you running a black op?" Superman had gained steam as he'd gone on, laying out his investigation. Or, carefully not admitting that others had carried him the whole way through the process but acknowledging them with the use of 'we'. His confidence had run up as they'd gotten closer to the end of it all. The accusation wrapped in a question.

Bruce smiled, there was no longer any reason to keep the broad strokes hidden from Superman, or the rest of the league for that matter, and it would serve other purposes to let a couple of cats out of the bag. "Conner had some very real concerns about his biological realities. We started looking into it and found things to be concerned about. Conner isn't the type to leave something like that just floating out there, to put his friends and allies at risk because nobody knows what can happen. Long story short, the science demanded that we get some of the source material. Luther is dying by the way, but you'll be happy to know Conner decided to save him as soon as we figure out a way. Stand up kid you never had, there."

The silence was cut only by the sound of the newspaper being opened as Bruce pretended to read something that had begun on the front page. Superman was grappling with a bigger problem than he'd ever imagined when he'd come there. Thinking that maybe Batman had finally lost the tune, wandered off course, and was dragging other heroes with him. Instead, he was once again sitting in Wayne Manor looking like somebody had just back handed his ego. Because Batman had just told him that Superboy had grown up to be every bit of the man that he was, and maybe more, without any input from the Man of Steel. "He's fine, by the way. The things we learned, he's not got any more hardwired problematic triggers, no psychological controls, and his genetic issue is self-correcting. Since we don't expect you to want to help, we'll just wait it out until it's done."

"... why would you think I wouldn't want to help?"
"What would make us think you would?"
Warlord
 
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Warlord » Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:26 pm

She woke up slowly. She usually did when there wasn't an emergency pulling at them, they kept odd hours at the best of times. Even odder hours, since his treatments had started to yield results. Conner was growing more and more capable, but in fits and starts. It didn't matter, though. Whenever he made gains they were permanent. It was time, now that the concern of his full potential was handled. Time to follow through on another part of his life. Conner stood and moved to another part of his apartment, the section that was the kitchen. His space had once been a barn loft, and it was blatantly a single occupancy space set up in the studio apartment style. The only divided space he and his grandfather had built had been a bathroom and shower.

He finished plating the food he'd produced, a hardy country breakfast like his Grandmother still liked to make even after the passing of her husband. No matter how hard it was for Martha to get around, she still liked to make the effort. Conner smiled, he could hear her already puttering around the main house wondering aloud if she should go check on 'the kids'. He kept an ear out for her, just in case, but put the plates on the tray and returned to where Artemis was just starting to crack an eye and peer out from under the blanket cocoon she always created for herself when he wasn't right there beside her. "Happy anniversary," he said with a smile.

Artemis huffed, grumbled even, but in the way he'd come to associate with maintaining her general relationship with him. She was sarcastic a bit, playfully aloof expecting him to overcome it, and always willing to let him know when his programming was putting a little too much wind in the sails of his ego. It worked for them. They were also one hell of a crime fighting team. Artemis was incredible, she'd become so skilled at a variety of techniques that she'd even been tested as a meta-human by the League. Conner was blatantly not-human, so nobody ever asked how he was becoming ever more capable. Together, their soaring stock was making them stars. Not that he was worried about that sort of thing, not anymore. He just wanted to hear the blond in his bed pronounce judgment on his risky attempt to surprise her. "It's really strange how you don't sleep."

"You never seem to mind it before you go to sleep," he smiled back at her.
"I have uses for it then."

Her slow and languid smile was more than enough hint for even Conner to figure out exactly what she was talking about. He blushed, because she could still do that to him. She was the aggressor in that arena, he was an enthusiastic lad eager to please. As they always had been. "I was thinking of taking you out for the day, to be us." He changed the subject and used their personal terminology for taking a day off from being Tigress and Superboy. They could afford it, they still had Batman and Superman as the primaries in their chosen neck of the woods, but it was still relatively rare. And this was a special occasion. Artemis pushing herself up in bed and pushing a blond strand of hair behind her ear was more than enough to tell Conner he'd caught her attention.

Artemis was wearing one of his shirts, a favorite practice of hers whenever she thought she had the opportunity. Whether at her mother's place, where she still maintained a room for the convenience of helping out the still wheelchair bound woman, or at their barn loft apartment Artemis would quickly requisition the first shirt she found clean enough for her liking to replace her street clothes. Conner found it insanely endearing, and more than a little attractive, which brought a loving smile full into his features as he set the tray down so that it arched over her thighs. "Have you already eaten? I'll share." She gestured for him to sit by her knee, keen to have him close again. "Did you have anything specific in mind?"

Conner sat and snagged a half a piece of bacon, popping it in his mouth and chewing dutifully. He doubted she was fooled in the slightest. Artemis had realized his slowly declining appetite long before he'd even realized he'd missed a meal. A side effect of the gene-therapy, Lucius Fox had determined. The yellow sun of Earth provided full-blooded Kryptonians everything they required, apparently. Which meant Conner would get exceptionally hungry about once every two months or so, eat a meal big enough for six people, and then return to not caring about food in the slightest for about another two months. Or at least two months was where things were at currently. The time lapse between bouts of hunger was growing in fits and starts, just like his abilities.

But she seemed to accept his gesture. Just like Superman, it wouldn't harm Conner in the slightest to eat just like a normal human. Which left her question to be handled. "Well, it's been about two weeks since we saw your mother," He held up a hand to forestall the look that she started to put on. "I thought we might swing by there and drop her off a lunch from that nice little bistro she likes, then Zetatube over to Moscow and have 'dinner' at the Siberian Rose." It would already be a bit late in that part of Russia by the time they arrived but he'd made arrangements to insure things were open and operational. "And between the two meals, I think we should go shopping for something appropriate to wear."

He already had her hooked, the sparkle in her eyes at the idea of returning to that restaurant absolutely dazzling her. The details about shopping at first paused her enthusiasm and then she realized what he was offering her. The first and only time they'd eaten at the Siberian Rose had been as Superboy and Tigress, a thank you from the owner for getting him out of a spot of trouble with the new metahuman boss of the Russian mob at the time. It was a formal restaurant, extremely so, but they'd gotten waived in wearing their costumes. Conner had looked awkward and she'd felt more so sitting there wearing her bow... but the food had been as exquisite as the atmosphere and she'd marveled at the whole situation with the heartfelt desire to return as normal patrons.

Of course, that had been out of their pay range at the time. Or so she'd thought, not realizing at the time how much Conner made as an employee of the Special Projects division of Wayne Enterprises. When she'd found out it had been far enough separated that the two items hadn't connected until just then as Conner suggested it. Then... he was suggesting that he would be willing to dress up for her. A -huge concession from the Boy of Steel. He still wouldn't wear a proper costume, it was still t-shirts and fatigue pants over combat boots. He wore t-shirts and jeans over farm boots to work with Lucius under Wayne Enterprises HQ. It was almost as if he was allergic to having multiple buttons on his person. But there he was, perched on the edge of their bed, absently chewing bacon he wasn't interested in and offering to put on a suit for her. For their anniversary. Without being asked, hinted at, or cajoled.

She was going to have to handle that part of the day carefully or else it would backfire entirely.

But it was the gesture that really counted, even better if she actually got him to do it. She'd take it seriously, think it through, and only make him go through the process of fitting once. Sooth as necessary, distract with smiles and conversation, and it would be over before he had a chance to get annoyed enough to scrap the whole idea. New Gods, she loved that boy. "Okay, big guy. When do we leave!"

"Finish your breakfast, pack up whatever you might need to get ready, and I'll call your mom to make sure she cares for visitors. Don't want to interrupt any hot dates."
"Ew," she said casually as she batted him on the shoulder gently enough not to hurt her hand. But Artemis was already cataloging what makeup and hair devices she was going to want to take along and what her mother would already have handy. It was her turn to chew absently on a bite of bacon.
Warlord
 
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Re: Money Isn't Everything

Postby Warlord » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:35 am

"How did this seem like a good idea?"
"Don't be like that, love." Artemis gave him a bright smile from where she was standing by, fielding comments like the one that had just tumbled out of him. He was standing on a low platform wearing bits and pieces of a suit while the tailor measured, cut, and pinned the thing together. On her mother's advice they'd gone immediately to find a suitable shop, gotten started immediately with the measurements, made an appointment to come back for the final fitting. They'd done so and thus found themselves there. All in all, she felt like Conner was doing extremely well given his natural impatience with such things as the subtleties of suit fitting. The tailor had been extremely helpful, praising Conner's physique as perfect for the proper wearing of a suit and his iron bar upright posture ideal for a good hang.

"This is going perfect, I bet we're threatening the world record for the creation of a new suit." The tailor made a sound of confirmation, enough to participate in the conversation without risking interrupting or breaking his focus. Also meant he didn't have to take the needles out of his mouth to form words. Staying on target, getting the job done, and Conner didn't react which was probably for the best. Artemis was so happy that they'd gotten this far that she wouldn't make too much noise if he called it to a stop, but it was looking so hopeful for a completed project. She'd picked out, to the tailor's approval, a dark gray subtle pinstriped material and it was shaping up perfectly. Dinner would be like a fairytale at this rate.

"Look it up."
"What?"
"The record for suit completion, I don't have that one in my head."

Artemis was disinclined to do so but she didn't show it as she whipped out her phone. If it kept him interested in the moment she'd have checked newspaper microfilm down at the library.
Warlord
 
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