He Is Superman

March 18, 2017:

Batman summons members of the League to discuss the presence of a new Superman, and the absence of the prior.

Watchtower Station - The Final Frontier

It's larger than a space station has any right to be, with corridors stretching beyond to labs, to living quarters, to mission critical systems, to the command center. Wandering through the corridors at all hours of night and day, techs and scientists.

The most technically advanced space station orbiting Earth, Watchtower Station is an advanced operational station funded and maintained by anonymous donors and the UN, and used by the Justice League. This is a -high- security location.

Current Day: The status of the Watchtower Station is being brought back to life after a year of being emptied and unused.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

An odd message had gone out to the Justice League's more senior members. Hal, Carol— Diana. Copied to those who couldn't be there, but had a right to know such things. From Batman, which explained the lack of any real detail.

'Top priority. Hall of Justice. Come at once.' -Batman.

A strange and enigmatic missive, but hardly the sort of thing that's atypical from Batman. Never unwarranted, of course. Batman would waste people's time on anything that wasn't a serious emergency.

But typical nonetheless.

He and Superman wait in the secure conference room at the heart of the Hall of Justice, where the League's leaders would periodically meet to discuss issues affecting the entirety of the teams. Batman stands at the head of the table, behind a chair— quiet, unreadable, though at least the screens over his sharp blue eyes are withdrawn. Some minor measure of trust extended to at least the people in -this- room. His cloak doesn't completely obscure him, either. Small things, but enough to make a subtle statement about the trust he offers his fellow teammates. He waits patiently for everyone to file in, saying nothing and announcing nothing until the last are in the room and the door is locked shut.


Diana is not long in coming. Although she comes from the embassy in New York, the flight to Metropolis doesn't take her long. She enters the boardroom and raises a hand in greeting. "Batman. Superman. Hello." She'd ask what the crisis is — because such a message from Batman usually precedes some sort of crisis — but she knows there's little point before the whole of the gathering has come. "It's' good to see you." She's also curious as to why he'd call a meeting at the Hall instead of the Watchtower, if there's a crisis brewing. The Watchtower has much more comprehensive systems.


Superman sets at his own chair, flowing red cape draped over the back of his own chair to keep it from dragging on the floor, or him setting on it. His fist rests against his chin, the expression on his face a contemplative one. He looks down towards the table, though with him he could just as easily be watching the microbes move about across the surface of the table, or a mugging in Bejing. Deep trapped within his own thoughts he says nothing.


Hal Jordan is present. An attempt to get hired on to Valley Aircraft today met with absolute failure so hes in a somewhat quiet and somber mood as opposed to his usual. A summons usually means something is up, he'll wait with as much patience as he can muster.

Leaning unobtrusively against the wall by the door with arms folded across his chest the black, white and green costumed Lantern is stifling a yawn, he made it in just a a minute or two before Wonder Woman.


The message goes out, and Captain Marvel is not too long in responding. It helps this one directs to a meet in Metropolis, and Carol works in Metropolis. With Clark, whom she has not seen in a few hours. But he was headed out on a story. so she's not worried about that right now … until she clears through security at the Hall and enters the room to find Superman sitting in here. The blonde offers a nod to each of the men already here … and waits. Because Dark and Gloomy should start this off, rather than her interfering. He usually comes to the point promptly.


"Hodor! Hodor!" Sure. Batman says 'Jump', they're supposed to say how high, right? Part of him wanted to skip the meeting. That would sho him! Then Barry got that niggle of a conscious. More like Spoiler probably got onto him for being a brat. Flash runs late. He barely suqeeze past the door before it closes tight and secures, locking them in. And he has the decency to blush at least for a moment. It happens. Well.. a lot. You can't be the fastest man alive and be on time or early all the time. But he does arrive finally as he finishes off an apple and tosses it away. "Had a thing. Sorry." he says as he moves to take a seat, giving a finger wiggle to everyone as he's the last one into the room. "Hi."


Once everyone's inside, Batman closes the door— and then seals it. Only a senior team override could open the door, a rare security precaution to take. A keen eye would observe that the recording devices around the room have been disabled as well. Whatever Batman intends to share is clearly meant to be limited to this group, and this alone. Batman stares around, making eye contact with each in turn, then speaks in his low, gravelly baritone.

"You're about to hear some upsetting news," he says. "I cannot vouch for the details of the story you're about to hear. I leave it to you to make your own opinions and draw your own conclusions," he tells them. "I am not going to prejudice or inform them either way. But you have a right to hear it, and to see the data analysis I've conducted." He looks at the Man of Steel. "Superman," he says, with a short nod— then seats himself, resting his gauntlets on the table with a faint crinkle of leather as fingers wrap around knuckles. A few taps on the computer bring up two images— Superman, side by side with… Superman.

But as Superman starts to speak, various tidbits start to scroll along, comparing and contrasting the two images. Some of the information is densely scientific, almost baroque, but other observations are written in Batman's short, terse style, providing context for the story Superman proceeds to tell.


"Friends," Superman starts coming to a stand when Batman gives the go. His voice somewhat heavy as he speaks. "For each of you it's been mere moments since last we spoke, but for me it's been a lifetime." He pauses for a moment, placing his hands behind his back as he walks up to the projection. "For some of you this is a first meeting on my end."

"My name is Kal-L, and while I may look like the man you used to know, the truth of the matter is that I'm not the Superman you might remember." He takes a moment to look each of them in the eye, completely serious and respectful a somewhat somber tone in his voice. "I was born, around 1908, at least that's what my birth certificate says." A light smile. "I've been active as superman since 1939, with a retirement lasting from the late 1970's to the year 2000, when an intergalactic force attacked and wiped metropolis off the face of the planet, killing Supergirl, and my Son, Superboy." Just going right into it off the bat, (No pun intended) getting the important details out of the way. "What followed was a bloody war which lasted 17 years and took the lives of billions."


Diana arches a brow as she takes her seat, noting the disinclination both Batman and Superman show toward courteous greeting. She expects that from Batman; not so much from Kal-El. She reserves further comment, however, until she hears what more is to be said.

As the explanation comes forth, her singular arched brow becomes dual, mild surprise and curiosity taking over her face. The expression fades into thoughtfulness, however, as she continues to listen. It is better, she decides, to let the whole story come out before making anything resembling a judgment.


Carol Danvers is similarly silent, but intent. This would explain many of the things she has observed as 'off' recently. But the thing that occurs to her to wonder, as she waits to see if it will be addressed, is this: where or when is their Superman? Nothing against this one, but it's worth wondering. He was her friend, after all.


This is the first time he's met this Superman. "Well, if it's anything like what happened to me.." Flash says as he breaks out a candy bar to snack on, "You'll eventually be fine!" he says with a shrug of his shoulders. "All the pictures I saw of me from the past were blonde. Which I'm soooo.. not."


"So you're some sort of doppleganger, breacher or D-Bee?" Hal whispers sidelong to whoever is closest to him, doesn't matter who. "Thats short for Dimensional Being. I heard someone using it once and it sounded swanky." Speaking u pa little Green Lantern adds, "Which, yeah, Flash has a point, hes got the same bag going on. We have others out there like that too… just, I mean, never a Superman as far as I recall. Maybe. And if you're not the originals, where are our originals?" Hal is fairly certain he is the guy of this dimension at least. If not, his parents have some explaining to do.


Batman's face is carefully emotionless. Not a sign or signal of what he thinks, until the same question is asked several times— 'Where is -our- Superman?-

"I've reviewed sensor analysis of the area in question during Kal-L's arrival," Batman explains, bringing more data up. "A massive burst of wide-spectrum radiation at the time of his arrival, consistent with a temporal, chronometric, or dimensional anomaly."

"If this world's Superman had died somehow, the released energy would have had the force of several nuclear weapons. Energy cannot be created or destroyed— but it can be transferred."

"This provides a few possibilities. A dimensional shift may have swapped 'our' Superman for this one requires the least amount of strategic doubt. Either these two Superman swapped places, or 'merged' somehow, but… it seems unlikely that the Superman of this world exists in any way we can meaningfully determine or locate," he says, with a tone of dire finality.

Small wonder he was short on niceties when everyone showed up.


"The only thing I know for certain is, he's not where I came from." Superman speaks with a somewhat grim expression and tone of voice. "Because there's nothing left back there," The implications clear in his statement. "Not even atoms." There's a slight smirk that shows on his face when Barry speaks up, however, something that makes him feel a bit his old self, after all he was supposed to be a symbol for hope, not dower and depressed.


Captain Marvel listens. She does her best to keep her face impassive. And still she doesn't say anything, because what she would say would not be helpful. Good thing there are no telepaths in the room. The CCA would not be happy with Carol's thoughts right now.


Like the rest, Diana shares the concern over their Kal-El… not to mention Barry Allen. But, since this universe's Barry Allen seems to have effectively merged with the other… "So, there is a chance that our Kal-El could have… could be merging with…" She looks at Superman, so as not to be speaking about him in third-person without acknowledging him. "Kal-L?" She regards Kal-L, and a sympathetic expression comes to her eye as she grasps the meaning of his words. "Your universe is gone? I'm sorry…"


"Thats just a theory. How much science do we have that can actually prove if its right or wrong?" Hal tosses out. He isn't just one to buy this much science can be figured out like that. "Too many variables right? I mean, I'm no egghead who says they're not like just… being capenapped or something?" He shuts up a moment, "Yeah, man, sorry about your universe and kids. Sounds rough." He can only imagine what he would do if he lost all of his loved ones or even just a city alone of people under his protection let alone everything.


"Well, as I'm a physics major.. give me time, I can probably figure something out. There's also a girl that can punch holes to other dimensions.." Flash starts to say, pretty well integrated and converged with this Earth. Everything that he was seems to be here now. "..but if you have nothing to come back to, well.." he shrugs.


Batman spreads his fingers minutely at Diana. "'Merged' is perhaps not the right word. Overlapped. This— individual, has all the moral traits I would associate with Superman. But he profoundly lacks his specific mannerisms, vocal inflections, and a number of other factors that identify 'someone' socially and culturally. I've run camera footage of him through heuristic personality analysis software. Those programs confirm my hypothesis."

He turns his stare to Hal. "I'm not 'guessing'," he says, bluntly. "You're welcome to review the data and make your own determination from an informed perspective."

"As I said. I can say with a high degree of certainty that the Superman of this world was not destroyed. I can say with high probability that this individual is a close personality approximation of Superman. The details of his story— the collapse of his world, the war— again, all I can say is that it seems he -believes- those facts to be true."

"This raises a question that the League must addrress," he says, looking around the room. "For all intents and purposes, this -is- Superman. There are two options for how to handle this. The pragmatic one seems to be… business as usual. Keep this information compartmentalized at the highest levels. Kal-L will have to take over the role of this world's Superman. This continuity helps reduce the chance that our enemies will try to test themselves against him."

He falls quiet, then, leaving his words to echo around the room— calm as a weather report, even as he suggests Superman masquerade as a man functionally dead.


Superman falls back silent, standing on the spot. He doesn't say another word for some time choosing just to look around at the familiar and yet completely different faces which surround him. He can't help the uncanny valley feeling as he catches those glimpses which spark memories of times gone by.


Diana inhales a slow breath at Batman's final assessment. "That," she says thoughtfully, "I think is a decision better left to Kal-L." She regards Superman, and pushes up out of her chair. In this world, she is the leader of the League. It is not a triumvirate. Both Superman and Batman previously gave up their positions, and while they both eventually returned, it was not to united leadership, but as senior members. And although what she says now she says simply as Wonder Woman, not the head of the League, her rising is that of a leader nonetheless. "What do you want to do, Superman? It is, perhaps, unfair to ask you to assume an identity you're not entirely familiar with. We will not be the only ones to notice there is something 'different' about you. How do you want to play this. I would like to hear that before 'we' make our decision." Because, she's really not sure the decision is theirs to make. Rather, their decision is whether or not to support his.


"Little bit of column A, little bit of column B. I dunno, this all sounds too Twilight Zone to me." Hal recuses himself from saying much more, he just lets Di and the others take point on it. He's better off when its time to play the hero gig, not the additional fluff in between. A shift of one foot to the other and he gets more cozy holding the wall up. "I do foresee this kinda thing opening up a new can of worms. We're getting a growing influx of 'other' anymore. If this Superman is the real deal elsewhere, he'll be the real deal for me too." He pauses, "At least until we find out where our Superman went."


"I'll be honest. I want to find the Superman who was here before this one showed up." Captain Marvel comments. "Which is no rub on this one. He's been doing the best he can in a messy situation, near as we can tell. And if he has the same moral fiber as the one we know better, he's welcome to be here and do what he can to help out. But I've been the one left to languish without backup or support. I never want to do that to someone else." And the world could use two Supermen, given as much as needs fixing around here. Right?


As someone that's been through this, Flash considers for a moment. "The way I see it.. this world is unique in one way." Barry says as he stands up and gets out a whiteboard. He draws a quick Earth. "This is us." he says. He draws another one. His hand blurring. "Mine." Another. "Superman's." There's several more drawn.

"It seems that someone from one of these worlds comes in from their homes…" he says as he draws, moving one world into another. "It seems that the two worlds.. merge. Converge into one. It picks up some things from one world and not from the other. For instance, noone on this world knew I had a team in Central City. Now it's more well known, and not just because I said anything on it. I kept that quiet on purpose." he explains as he moves to sit on the counter. "For all we know, he could be our Superman, the two of them merged into one. After all, that's what happened to me. I barely remember where I came from, but I know almost everything of this world's Flash, as if it was natural all this time."


Superman takes it all in, allowing for the others to speak their minds, share their stances on the whole thing. He leans back against the wall behind him, a single hand resting down on his chin, while he thinks. Cool blue eyes take one last look around the room before he finally speaks up again.

"I understand where each of you is coming from on this, and I have every intention on finding my counterpart, presuming he's still out there somewhere." He pauses for a deep breath. "However, if what Flash says is true, then it doesn't seem I have much choice one way or the other on the matter." Pushing himself back up to a stand regaining some of his confidence in wanting to reassure the others he adds. "Never the less, I will do everything in my power to hold down the fort, and do well on the name superman, until we know for certain what happened with the native version of myself from this place." He gives a smile of pure white teeth. "And THAT you can count on."


Batman falls quiet while Diana asks the most important question of all, and then listens carefully to Superman's response— though he doesn't quite look at the man, until it's all said and done and a feeling of declaration rings in the air.

He lets Superman have his moment before looking to Barry. "You may well be right, Flash," Batman tells the younger man, nodding slightly. "It's a situation that may ultimately be self correcting. It is also one I will monitor and investigate in any case— whether it proves out your theory, or provokes a new hypothesis."

Carol Danvers gets a look and a short nod, as well. "Two Supermen would be a formidable tactical asset for the League. And as you've all seem to make up your mind, I'll tell you my thoughts, he says, rising upwards. "This is not, perhaps, the Superman of this Earth. But speaking to him— reading him with every trick and tool I've learned over my years. This is not -our- Superman, but— he is certainly -a- Superman."

"And I think it a safe measure to give him the benefit of the doubt, particularly among the senior members."

He looks around the room, then looks at Diana. "That concludes the purpose of this meeting," he informs the ensemble.


Diana nods, now. "Good enough," for her, anyway. "We'll aid you in your search," she tells Kal-L. "And," here she glances to Flash, "yes, we should start to investigate this 'dimensional convergence' your theory suggests. Reach out to others with compatible knowledge; speak to Dr. Strange and Ozymandias to see if there is perhaps a mystical source as well. There may be nothing we can ultimately do about it. It may indeed be, as Batman surmises, self-correcting. But, if people are being displaced and there is something we can do about it, we should." That's what they're here for, right?


Hal pushes himself off the wall and makes for the door, "I got a fiesta burrito with my name on it. Kal-L, hit me up sometime or if you need an update on space and beyond, actually not so much the beyond just space. Rest of you, you know the drill." Using the opening he takes it and slips on out of the meeting. He'll run his own tests but he doesn't really consider himself an expert in this kinda thing, the Power Ring will be able to figure out certain things but it's extent of knowledge in dimensions and time? Hal is clueless.


"The only other question is, what about Superman's other life. His civilian life." Captain Marvel inquires. "I'm just asking, are you going to take that over, too? Sorry, but it matters."


"…seems the meeting's done.. and sure, Princess. I mean.. I just run real fast." Barry offers with a shrug of his shoulders, downplaying his role in all of this. "But if you can find others that can prove or disprove it.. I'm all for helping." he says, quieting as other questions are presented.


"That, Captain Marvel, is as Princess Diana said— a question for Superman," Batman gravels. And with that somewhat ominous remark, he moves to take his leave from the room as well.

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