Watchtower Confab

January 02, 2017:

Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, and Wonder Woman discuss CADMUS

Justice League Watchtower

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: CADMUS

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

* OOC Time: Mon Jan 02 13:18:12 2017 *

Watchtower station has been much busier of late than it was. The SHIELD and Star Labs techs are long gone, and life has returned more-or-less to normal, now that the station's full capabilities are operational again.

Diana has been manning the fort fairly consistently since she walked in and reappropriated it from outside control. She is currently standing in C&C, leaning over a small console near the door of the room, examining detailed reports of movement in and around the Terrigen Zones still present on the planet below. Those zones glow red against the greeny-blue projected orb over the large, central display console behind her. Her brows are creased in concentration, a thoughtful expression on her face.

Batman doesn't like the Watchtower.

It's too bright. To clean, too sterile. No good shadows to hide in or corners to lurk, unless one goes into the bowels of the industrial areas. Even then, general compliance requires what Batman deems an excess of lighting and lack of good places to lurk.

Concealing a limp from the excitement in Gotham just two nights prior, Batman ghosts through the Tower's halls, cloak utterly concealing even his feet from view. His balance is so sinuous that he almost looks like he coasts on bearings, much to the discomfort of some of the staff unaccustomed to his up-close presence.

"Diana," Batman remarks, as he comes into the room. One of the few people who get the courtesy of a polite greeting from him before they realize he's snuck in. His eyelenses, present even on the Tower, flicker to the map, then back to Diana.

"Any news?"

Look, out in space. It's a comet. It's a missile. It's..

Superman's breach of the station's perimeter was detected by station operations. So there would be little surprise when he arrives via the lift from the docking bay and steps onto the control deck. The Man of Steel gives a cordial wave to the support staff, "Afternoon everyone." He says and after exchanging glances he starts towards the center of the room.

The Batman's presence causes a faint tinge of worry in the draw of his brows. He would ask what is going on, but Bruce just did, so instead he just replies, "Good to see you both." with sincerity.

"Batman," Diana replies politely, straightening as he enters the nerve center of the station. "There's a build up happening in Hell's Gate, mostly around the CADMUS compound. I've traced several forays into the Jersey Mist Field from that outpost. I think they're prepping another." If anyone is likely to go into one of the Terrigen Zones to retrieve unopened cocoons, it's CADMUS. And that's something the Amazon has been tracking — as much for the sake of the poor victims in the cocoons as for anything CADMUS might do.

She glances over to Kal as he arrives and gives another smile. "Nice to see you again," she replies. No doubt her update to Bruce was enough for him, too.

"Hnnh." Batman examines the maps, then extends one dark-gloved hand to spin the globe on display, putting the icon on a rotation so he can examine Diana's map of activity.

"CADMUS is up to their old tricks again," Batman concludes, finally. "That's three excursions this week. They're either lucky, getting overly bold, or they know something we dont'." He withdraws his hand and his cloak falls over him again, leaving only the hard point of his chin and the angry slash of his mouth on display. "What do your intelligence assets say about their operations?"

Superman's lips draw themselves tight as he seems to peer through the glowing sphere Batman manipulates to look out onto the visible portion of Earth out the main window.

Silent and thoughtful as he listens to what intelligence has to say.

Diana knows that, over the past year, CADMUS has been working very hard at cleaning up their public image. But that Hell's Gate compound allows them to get away with things the rest of their divisions don't dare be seen attempting. (Which doesn't mean it doesn't happen, mind. They're just sneakier about it.)

"They publicly claim to be seeking a way to reverse or cure Terrigen mutations. But, my contacts believe they're actually looking for a way to harness the mutagentic properties of the mists to be able to create their own metas for their own purposes." Sounds like something CADMUS would do. "Failing that, they may try to indoctrinate anyone that does emerge from the cocoons into their ranks."

Hal is not often aroused from sleep when he finds himself in the Watchtower. Old tradition used to be they had someone playing Monitor Womb duty when there was plenty of them, them being the League and with it's reformation why not go that route again. At least that is the Green Lantern's excuse for being up here more often than not.

"I was just this close to yelling at Magnus robots again. They talk like gossipy old ladies, didja know that? Why would he make them do that? Or did he. Somethings wrong there." Present now the man stands at the entry way, arms folded across his chest. Blacks and greens, form fitted suit of an athletic tall man and a half smile, he may be talking to himself or to them without introduction but he has been paying attention to whats going on, "The Spooky Bat of Gotham and World's Most Famous Alien, a pleasure."
A handwave, "Go on Wonder Woman, I'm not trying to interrupt. Fly on the wall." Hal makes a zipper motion across his lips. He has been paying attention to the Terrigen issue quite closely despite his clumsy entrance.

"If it was anyone but CADMUS, I'd say leave them to it," Batman remarks in that low growl.

Hearing Hal Jordan making a quip at him, Batman turns and stares at the Green Lantern. Just a beat. You can't scare a Green Lantern, after all. But there's probably room in that stare, somewhere, to suggest that Batman is considering if Hal is combat effective with his kneecaps intact.

He focuses back on the display. "They may very well be doing that, Diana," Batman tells the woman. "It's a perfect cover for researching Terrigen mists. And anyone with negative results— or they lose control of— they'd want to be able to isolate, quarantine, and neutralize them."

His hand emerges and dances over the globe. "We need to start looking for CADMUS facilities that are either off the books or being used short-term to support additional workers. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out where all the cocoons are getting shipped to. Even CADMUS has to drive on the highway to ship anything economically."

"So, you think they're abducting people?" Superman says aloud at steely blue eyes going first to Wonder Woman and then to Batman, "For," a pause as if the next word was had a bitter taste, "Experimentation?"
The Batman's sterile summary of their operation draws objection.

"These are human lives," the Man of Steel says framing the victims that way, "Who has oversight of their operation?" To him there has to be some direct legal recourse that can be done amidst all of the cloak and dagger.

Looking over his shoulder at Hal he acknowledges the man with a half wave from his elbow.

Diana glances to Hal as he makes his inimitable presence known. A wry smile touches her lips and she says dryly, "Thank you, Hal." She doesn't really believe he'll just be a fly on the wall. Not his style.

She nods to Batman's assessment. "Good idea," she agrees. He's probably got better resources than she to track that, in any case.

She gives Kal a rueful grimace. "That's the problem," she tells him. "Their official activities are government sanctioned. And until we have direct evidence of illegal activities, our hands are tied from a legal perspective." She gives a roll of her shoulders, not quite a shrug. "The government is all for 'curing' the NuHumans, just as many would like to see metas and mutants 'cured' as well. The official line is that any victims of the mists would have the same rights as anyone else to decide for themselves if they want the cure, but… the reality is that CADMUS is looking into how the mists work. I will be entirely surprised if they actually follow the official line and only the official line." The woman always hopes for the best in people. But, she's nobody's fool.

"Well then… " Hal trails off and pushes away from the doorway to stride over and join the other three. "We're watching them. I think its just a patience game now, they'll screw up or we'll see something slip loose. I mean, they have a reputation, no matter how they try to scrub clean it's still that same dirty… " A pause and consideration of his company forces yet another smile to appear on Hal's features, "Do we have any contact with the InHumans and possible sanctuaries? What is going on outside of the Cadmus threat with these NuHumans?" He has to pause at that last word, making sure its properly coined. Even glancing at Diana to double-check. He's been away, Earth and it's current events are still being caught up on and A LOT has happened.

"They're also citizens being victimized by their own government. If I was alone, I would deal with it myself. As a League member, we have no business telling governments how to treat their citizenry," Batman tells Superman, not looking back over his shoulder. "The fact that they're metahumans being potentially armed as weapons against standing civil authorities is my only concern. If you're struggling with human rights, there's a border war in Pakistan that needs attention."

His gloves dance over the controls. "CADMUS has historically been an organization operating with nothing more than enlightened self-interest as a goal," Batman remarks to the others, still looking at the globe. "The fact that they're allied with the government is at best a nicety they're pursuing for the sake of funding. I've suspected for a long time that CADMUS has someone else pulling the strings. Arming metahumans privately would confirm some of those suspicions."

Superman raises both of his hands to chest-level and turns his palms outward to deflect Diana's rueful grimace, "I understand," he replies without agitation, "I'm just saying that since their official activities are government sanctioned then those governments should have some sort of project oversight. They may be exercising that authority but they also may not be exercising it everywhere they should be. If we know they have some sort-of laboratory I feel like we're obligated to let right people know. So that we're sure victims are making informed choices."

"You're right," Superman replies to Batman, "except that the difference between Pakistan and CADMUS is we're not standing on information that might be important to the people who are deciding who to arm and how to legally intervene."

"I've said my piece," Superman then says hands falling to his sides, "If the League thinks the best course of action is to wait then we wait."

Looking to Hal Jordan, the Man of Steel corrects himself, "Right. We have patience."

"I have no problem with approaching the government to express our concerns," Diana tells Kal. She has no problem following the rule of law. But, she also has no problem intervening. "I would suggest, however, that we do so through indirect channels to start." She believes in being forthright, but she's not yet prepared to tip the JLA's hand on this if it can be avoided. "If that fails, we may need to make a more direct request." And follow it up with a little 'oversight' of their own.

Her lips purse faintly. "I do have contacts I can approach." She may not be much in contact with Steve Trevor, lately, but she could probably reach out to Etta Candy and filter something through her.

Her attention shifts to Hal. "I'm not aware with any contacts with the InHumans, but that may be worth pursuing as well. If anyone is likely to understand what we're up against, they are."

In the end, though, "I agree with you, Batman. If CADMUS is, in fact, intending to make its own army of metahumans, I think the government could have a real problem."

One it may not know how to handle.

"Glad to see Dracula is caught up on world affairs in any case." Hal chuckles, "My idea of wait is never wait though Superman, I figure one of you Big Damn Heroes can put on a show for the press. Maybe let the world know we're here and we're going to help these NuHumans out. We're the Justice League, right?" A slight nod to Diana, "More contacts than I got, if we need I can try to reach out to the InHumans… Man, this could get confusing and when hasn't the government had it's fingers dipped in Cadmus? Like seriously."

Batman looks completley unruffled as Hal gets his jibes in, finally finishing his work and turning around to face everyone— a looming shadow with only all-white eyes and an omnipresent scowl. "Reckless and inadvisable," Batman tells Hal. "That will inform CADMUS very clearly that we're on to them, /and/ encourage them to bury their activties, or halt them altogether until they think we're no longer paying attention. 'Let your plans be as the night; let your action be like lightning,'" Batman says, clearly quoting some obscure military text.

"If you're only looking to reassure everyone, you could project a green nightlight into the sky."

"You both make a good point," Superman then says, "In a way I think it's more suspicious if those who openly support equality stay silent. The humanitarian piece should be separate from the league."

He says nothing to Green nightlights.

Diana seems to take the jibing between Bruce and Hal in stride. Somehow, she's just not surprised those two don't mesh. Only if it looks like it may come to blows will she step in to separate them. Unless, of course, they become unhelpful before that point. "The fact is, Superman," Diana says, "Hell's Gate is well within Metropolis' bounds. If you want to say something, as Metropolis' protector, that is your choice." And not one she would criticize him for. No single one of them speaks for the League as a whole unless there's a JLA logo around them. Though, true, that could still tip CADMUS off. Any hero's attention will make them cagey.

"Alright. Here's what I propose: I will seek out my contacts with the government to quietly investigate what's being done on that end to protect the rights of the Terrigen victims. Batman, if you can track CADMUS' shipping and related activities and let us know what you find, that will cover that side of things. Lantern, why don't you seek out the InHumans and see what can come of that? And Superman, why don't you be the public voice of equality and concern over recent developments? See if you can't drum up some sort of groundswell of support." True, it'll likely send CADMUS underground, but she's expecting that fight, anyway.

Unlike Clark, Hal does say something about nightlight. He can't resist. "Works for Gotham, right, Gomez? I'm just happy to see you have a sense of humor in there somewhere."
"But this isn't just a Cadmus concern though, I get it, they got a history of ugly and are the immediate threat with the obvious build up and all but the Terrigen Mists is global. We got other badguys out there, these people, poor terrified citizens need reassurance." A finger juts out at Batman, "How would you feel if your parents were turned in to giant cocoons, about to go all Human Fly but maybe, just maybe they'll wake up safe only to find out while they were under Terrigen Mistification whatever, they've been shipped to Black Marketeers in Madripoor? I can't imagine you would be okay with that. Assuming you weren't just hatched and dumped in the sand."

Hal exhales as Diana speaks, "Right, by our own methods, this needs to be done in the Light and people need a beacon of hope. Not a shadow war. They have to know help is out there, in the sky, in this Watchtower… " Trailing off he resigns himself to an arms folded stance again, nodding in agreement, "Good, a solid plan. I can go with that." Now to find Inhumans… maybe he didn't think that through all the way.

Kal-El smiles thoughtfully at Diana's plan and gives a nod of simple understanding, "I'll put some pressure on Hell's Gate and keep an eye out for trouble. You're right, of course," he admits, "I'm probably the least alarming presence - at this point." He's super-great patsy.

"Please let me know if you need me for anything else."

"I've been monitoring CADMUS for the last year," Batman tells Diana. "There are dormant payloads of hacking software already loaded into their systems. I've been waiting for the proper opportunity to use them. I'll have their network compromised before the week is out," he assures the crew. Meeting done— Batman leaves on a decisive note, not bothering to say farewell. He does, however, stare at Hal, and there's a perception that the air cools just a little at the comment about 'parents'.

"I'm not out to make people feel good about themselves. I'm here to do a job… Green Nightlight," Batman says, the faintest of irony in his tone. Almost. Enough to make someone chew on the words a bit to see if they're reading it right.

He doesn't /sound/ like he's joking.

And then he skulks out of the room, a broody mass of coiling shadow.

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