Tomorrow's News, Today

February 13, 2016:

Carol Danvers sits down for a job interview with Laura Loken, meta-obsessed journalist and undercover deity.

Daily Planet Building, Metropolis

It's the one with the globe on it.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Superman


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Carol Danvers sits at her desk, inside her office, on the southeast corner of one of the uppermost floors of the Daily Planet building. She is tapping and clicking through emails and documents on her desktop, and readying materials on her StarkPad. Many would find it hard to imagine Captain Marvel, international - and indeed intergalactic - superheroine, former fighter pilot, soldier, intelligence operative and more, sitting behind a desk at a newspaper. But it's all about the evolution of Carol's life outside the uniform. All of life can't be about punching and blasting problems until they give up, and Carol has built a life and a reputation for herself as a top-notch journalist, and that has led to a stint now as one of the top-tier editors for the Daily Planet, one of the top-tier news organizations in the world.

It helps that Carol has never had a problem getting up at the crack of dawn and hitting the ground running.

"Excuse me, Ms. Danvers." a voice inquires over the interoffice intercom through the phone system.

The blonde turns and glances at the phone, then taps the button. "Yes, Wendy?"

"Ms. Loken is here for your seven-AM."

Carol nods imperceptibly, and checks to be sure the documents she wanted are on the tablet, then taps the intercom key again. "Alright, Wendy. Why don't you ask her what she wants to drink, and then bring her that and me my third coffee, and we'll get this show on the road."

Outside the office, the young brunette sitting as gatekeeper at the desk outside Carol's office stands and approaches the woman who has just arrived and taken her seat. "Ms. Loken? Good morning. I'm Wendy, Ms. Danvers' assistant. She's almost ready to see you. Would you like anything to drink, Ma'am? Coffee or tea? Water? Juice?"


For some time now, the God of Mischief has found himself in an unusual place, with his brother nearly as much a disappointment to Shining Asgard as he, and his fellow gods just about willing to spend a few minutes in his presence before drawing arms. Grudges die hard when they're given a few hundred(or thousand) years to fester; he's still scarce in the halls of Asgard, for everyone's sake. Similarly, there are enough denizens of Vanaheim, Jotunheim, and most of the other realms nestled in the World Tree that Loki tends not to limit his time in them.

Luckily, Midgard tends to have a shorter memory on average, and so he's taken to spending his time exploring, playing with, and studying it and its fascinatingly short-lived denizens. Compared to the long, bloody, but ultimately predictable cycles of Asgardian history, the— still bloody, but rather more mercurial movements of Midgard's civilization offer the god a constantly moving target— one more readily studied from within, rather than as an observer from on high.

After coming across a cable news channel some months ago and proceeding to watch for several days straight while alternating between faint amusement and embarassment, a lightbulb went off.

Which led, ultimately, to 7 AM at the Daily Planet. Laura Loken - a tall, dark-haired woman in her early 30s clad in a green pantsuit with a black blouse - looks up from her phone to flash Wendy a smile and reply, "No, that'll be quite alright. I came prepared."

She reaches beneath her seat to fetch a Sun Doller Coffee cup that— must have been tucked out of Wendy's line of sight and takes a small sip, just so the brunette can see how prepared she is.

"Thank you, though, Ms. Danvers' assistant; your passion for good service is admirable."


"Alright, Ma'am." Wendy replies, only slightly off-put by the odd wording and actions of the other woman. Who brings their own coffee to a job interview? But Wendy doesn't voice her feelings, but instead heads for the coffee maker nearby and preps a mug. Once it is ready, she heads back to gather Laura, and then opens the door to Carol's office.

"Ms. Danvers, this is Laura Loken." Wendy offers, as she makes her way to the desk and sets Carol's mug down on the coaster there, taking away the mug already in place and emptied.

The tall blonde in the midnight blue pantsuit stands, offering her hand across the desk. "Ms. Loken. Please, come in, have a seat. It's good to meet you." Carol gestures towards one of the chairs arrayed in front of her desk, and then steps around it, StarkPad in hand and slides her coffee cup on its coaster around to another of the chairs in front. Apparently, she feels no need to establish 'desk dominance'.


Laura follows Wendy's lead until she's stretching her hand across the desk and shaking with a gentle grip. "Ms. Danvers. Lovely to meet you, too," she says while taking the seat indicated for her. Her eyebrow only arches a little when Carol proceeds to take one nearby; it's flat again once she's had a sip of coffee and set her cup on the desk. Or on a coaster, if there's one readily in reach.

"From pilot to author to editor— a woman of many talents," she continues, almost as if she's gearing up to get the interview started by asking ''Carol'' something. She tacks on, "I'm honored, of course," a moment later with a broadening smile instead, though.

A brown briefcase - she must have set it down before the handshake - is hauled up from beneath her chair so that she can fetch a copy of her resume from within. Carol should have ready access to it on her StarkPad, along with samples from the Jump City Express, the Keystone City Telegraph, and the articles published in a smattering of online publications. They're all, in some way, about vigilante heroes, with the newspaper pieces taking more of a traditional approach to reporting on happenings in their cities and profiling a couple of unknowns, and the online pieces taking more of a tabloid-friendly approach to the subject. There is at least one set of blind items included, there.

"Thank you for meeting me. You must be a busy woman."


Carol watches the other woman and sips her own coffee, letting Laura lead, since that seems to be what she wants to do. "I do the best I can at everything I attempt." she demurs, smiling. "But I still put on my slacks one leg at a time, just like everyone else." Well, not precisely true, but then again 'Laura' probably doesn't do it that way either. Not that Carol realizes that.

"You're right. I am busy. But I take time to do the things that need doing. And interviewing you is one of those things." Carol responds. "I am curious: What's the draw for you? You have to be at least as aware as every other journalist out there about the shrinking footprint of the traditional news organizations. Why the Daily Planet, Laura?"

Of course, the Daily Planet isn't like many of those other papers. The Planet has had a digital existence for far longer, and is much better invested - some would say divested - in other media platforms, including television, radio, and the internet. And as /the/ paper of record for all things Superman, they haven't hesitated to monetize those other news streams.


"Well," Laura replies, a thin and knowing smile spreading across her lips, "of all the 'traditional' news organizations, the Daily Planet's among the best equipped to etch out space for itself in the next great new news medium, isn't it? Its willingness to adapt to the shifting landscape of information dissemination has served to give it several footprints. And I find that fascinating: the old dog who doesn't see any reason why it can't attend a night course or two."

Apparently, she's done her homework! Or a few minutes of Googling, same difference.

As her legs cross, she continues, "I write about the things that happen today to determine the course of tomorrow: how, then, could I be satisfied with anything less than a byline from a publication with the same dedication to looking forward?"

Laura reaches for her coffee, takes a moment to savor a sip from it, then tacks, "Also, I'm an enormous fan of Superman," on in a mirthfully confidential whisper, accompanied by a broader smile. "What was it that drew ''you'' here, Ms. Danvers? How long did you have your eye on the Planet before you found yourself running it?"


Too true, of course, and Carol acknowledges that. "Well, the adage is generally 'adapt or die'. And the Planet has been doing its best to work on the former, and avoid the latter. I'm glad that you can see the appeal in that." And obviously Laura's efforts on multiple media fronts will have made her a more attractive candidate than someone who is too paper-focused.

"We've noticed your interest in the 'capes' set." Carol offers, smiling at Laura. "We don't have a problem with that, around here. As I'm sure you're aware." She taps on her StarkPad, leafing through the other woman's resume and her previous materials. "We actually accepted your application, and are having this meeting, specifically because of your interests. We are considering adding a new dedicated column, focusing on metahuman activities and personalities."

Feeling almost as if she is being interviewed as well, Carol still lets herself open up, rather than shutting Laura down. She actually tries to answer the question. "To be honest, I never had my eye on the Planet. I respected the paper, and its media empire, and what it stood for. But I got into the author thing simply because I had something to say. When the Planet took an interest in that, and invited me to join up here … it took some adjusting. But it has proven to be an exceptional avenue for me. And I've ended up working with some of the greatest minds in journalism today." Amongst them, if asked, would be Perry White, Clark Kent, and Lois Lane. Especially Lane.


Sample headlines include:

  • 'Monkey Queen: Behind The Cloud'
  • '19 Times Ambassador Diana's Hair Was More Wonderful Than Any Mortal Woman's'
  • 'Review: Jump City's Own Repertory-X Presents: Brothers'

"They do provide a fairly visceral glimpse of our future, one way or another," Laura replies, looking a bit relieved thanks to Carol's assurances. "And a link to our past, for that matter— gods and monsters for the modern day. I'm thrilled to hear that the Planet is looking to dedicate more space to exploring them." She starts to say something else - possibly something hopeful about her chances of joining the team, given the way she seems to shift from eager to reticence back to eagerness as she seals her lips shut. Her resume is solid, at least: a degree from a decent, if not amazing school; the aforementioned work experience; former editors listed as references.

"I have every confidence that you, Mr. White, and the rest of the editorial staff are prepared to elevate the field," she optimistically adds.


Carol considers Laura carefully, as she continues to flip through items on the StarkPad. She queries Laura about a few of her articles, questioning how she obtained her details, what other sources she had to back up her work, and what kind of editing each piece was subject to after she wrote it. It's all pretty standard interview fare, and Carol is calm and methodical about it.

Eventually, however, Carol does come back around to the concept they discussed earlier. "I'm glad that you feel that we at the Planet can do well with this new venture. But I think you can also agree that the staff we have now are all already focused on exactly the kinds of stories they need to be pursuing. There's no one we have who would be quite as well suited to pursue this angle exclusively. But your work history and interests would seem to dovetail quite nicely, here."

Enough sunshine up the backside, Carol gets down to some brass tacks. "So. Let's assume we offered you the job with a compensation package you could accept, even if it didn't thrill you beyond all reason. Tell me what you'd do first? Give me an idea of your first several series and articles. How would you go about securing the sources you need to make this venture a success?"


Laura's answers are fairly standard in turn. She cultivated relationships with people in Jump and Keystone Cities - bartenders, cops, tailors, military surplus purveyors, sidekicks, and so forth - who could and would feed her the occasional tip or corroborate rumors about her preferred subject matter; she tracked down witnesses; she spent a weekend in a mask and costume running lines with Repertory-X.

And it's all true— minus a few details, anyway. Like how the superpowered bar brawl whose aftermath she covered in one piece was the product of too much ale from the halls of Svartalfheim, or how she got the Monkey Queen to share her method for growing the perfect bean year 'round by winning a hopelessly rigged dice game.

"We're only a couple months away from the anniversary of James Pershing's death," she somberly notes once Carol's questions turn towards the future, "I'd like to speak with some members of the Justice League - past and present - and take the temperature on the collective attitudes towards them, both from the perspectives of the people they protect and their peers in the heroic community." She pauses for a sip of coffee without taking her eyes from Carol.

"Bottom up, I think," she notes once the cup is down. "The hopefuls, the rivals, the admirers. The bystanders. There are nightclubs, online communities; I don't have any illusions of landing an interview with Superman on day one, but I'm quite confident in my ability to find someone with something interesting to say about him and his larger impact. So it goes for the others."


Carol listens. There will be more questions, and they follow soon after, regarding her education, and where she sees herself in five years. Things like that. But it should be pretty clear to a nigh-immortal godling masquerading as a mortal woman journalist that the hook is set; Carol has bought the line, at least thus far, and is quite prepared to consider making an offer to Laura. There will be other interviews, with other potential candidates. And Laura is likely to be called in for another interview with higher-ups in the editorial staff, including - quite likely - Perry White himself. But in the end, most of that is just formalities.

Laura Loken will very soon be the latest addition to the reporting staff of the Daily Planet.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License