A Long Homecoming

March 24, 2018:

Being smuggled out of Afghanistan, Lois Lane and Tommy Monaghan connect. A little.

Somewhere Europe Bound


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman


Mood Music: [*\# ]

Fade In…

Log Commenced: 24-Mar-18 01:50PM EST


It's not exactly the best quarters, but Lois couldn't have expected much. Tommy Monaghan was a rough contact back in the States, a nasty customer who happened to have a lighter side and a soft spot for nosy journalists. When Lois went undercover in Afghanistan, she hadn't wanted to rely on being saved by caped men from the sky. It would blow her cover and create a big, noisy mess.

So here she is now, getting shuttled out of the country in the back of a freight train going through the mountains and heading into Eastern Europe. It smells of livestock and coal, the old train rattling on the tracks as it goes along.

"Don't let the smelly digs fool ya, Scoop, this is an expensive train. There's about six million in opium, heading to be refined, hiding underneath the coffee grounds in car number 7. Ain't nobody about to stop this train - too many bribes been paid to make it clean all the way to Prague."


It was a long and hard road to be sure; most of the time she was spent hiding, telephone calls and shady meetings at night in secure facilities searching for the next big break. The big break turned out to be huge. The heroine game was alive and well, and yet this time it had nothing to do with the US or the government powers within. It was all international. A small faction of people selling any and all to the highest bidder, collecting foreign monies to build a quiet power house. In fact, their goal was to create their own soverign nation with hopes, in close to twenty years, to put their children, or their childrens children into power to quote.. rule the world.. unquote.

It was nasty business. And people never knew about it.

The process of getting the hell out of Afghan was tedious at best. Many nights were spent without a lick of food or good, clean water. Most of it was spent throwing up. Some of it was spent being up all night and yet Lois didn't bat an eye.

"It's ironic." She manages to say over the racket, though he wasn't that far away from where she hunched, tucked deep within a burka that possibly costed twenty bucks US dollars.. "..the same people I came here to investigate are the same owners of this train." She pointed out. Which meant that she knew. Heroine, Opium. It's all almost the same.

"Aka, someone else is trying to undercut the powers that be by pushing opium to the next fool that lines up to buy it. It's a smart play, smart contingency plan. You do realize that I'm going to blow this entire operation open, right? Not that I'm going to use your name, but you may want to stay clear of me and whomever hired you for a while."


Tommy Monaghan shrugs, "I'm not real fond of this kind of shit. I grew up in the neighborhoods where it sells. Plenty of kids in the orphanage with me got that way because their parents couldn't keep a needle out of their arm. And plenty others got buried back behind the church because they did the same," he says. He lights a cigarette, drawing long and offering the pack in case Lois wants to partake.

"But you know it's like stompin' ants, right? You get this bunch, just gonna be a lot of others scurryin' over the spot and pickin' up whatever they left behind. Don't get me wrong, I got no love for 'em, but you make a lot of enemies your way."


"My sister got into a little bit of it. Naturally if you run in my circles that little bit would turn you into some sort of monster." Literally. Little Lane turned into a bug. But that was neither here nor there. "We have this neighborhood in Metropolis, could say it's like yours on base description. People don't bother, cops barely bother, love Superman to the moon and back (as a friend, she means), but he doesn't look that way. People don't cry out to the sky anymore because what's the point?"

She tugs down her burka just a little, then reaches for the cigarette. It's been -years-, but the smell of the nicotine as soon as he lights it made her want one. "I'm aware. Trust me, I'm public enemy number one depending on who you talk to. Nothing new, really." She wiggles the cigarette, waiting for a light. "You gotta start somewhere, right? I'm not Batman, not Superman, not Wonder Woman.. but you know what? They're going to hurt."

Believe it.


Tommy Monaghan nods, "Nothin' against those folks, but they mostly fight, like, aliens or giant monsters or robots or shit like that. Now, I come from Gotham and the Bat, well, he deals plenty in these kind. But he's also, y'know, a huge fucking dick who don't play nice with nobody except his precious pets," he says.

He blows smoke carefully as the doors rattle, the chains in place keeping the doors shut as they travel through chill mountain passes. "Say what ya will about the mob, but most of the gangsters I know at least keep mokes what work for 'em off the junk. A lot of them are old school types and the ones that ain't, well, they get fed to the wolves fast enough."


"But don't you think that both of those are fucked up philosophies?" She asks, taking a big draw of her cigarette. Letting out the air with a slow breath has her eyes closing, her head thumping back against the wooden slat of the train, her fingers growing slack as she allows the nicotine to poison her yet again.

And goddamn, that headrush feels good.

"Aliens and giant monsters.." She says quietly. "In a way, we could argue that monsters and aliens are doing what's in their base instinct. Being predators, then becoming prey. Now the mob, for the most part are what they are, yet you would think that they would take care of their own?"

Lois points out, in her own fucked up brain how odd that sounded. "Sounds odd, right? But if you think about it, why not find other ways to make money that aren't harmful and quick. Put it back into the community. Flip that community into something safe and grand and move on to the next. Eh?"


Tommy Monaghan shrugs, "Cause they get territorial and they get lazy. Easier to keep workin' the neighborhood you know and sit on top of the throne, gettin' your ring kissed by the bishop and the city councilman, slippin' green to the cops to keep 'em off your back. You move on, you gotta do it all over again. Sounds like a lotta work. An' we criminal types usually ain't that fond o' work, if you ain't noticed," he says.

"I dunno nothin' about monsters and aliens, really, except some of 'em are real nasty and they bite," he says, remembering all too well that strange thing that fed on his spine and changed him into the dark-eyed creature he is now.


"Well, I'm coming back." Lois says with confidence. "Not like I'm the end all of things but, if those guys want to at least keep what they earn, they're going to have to get off of their asses and work. I'll come for them, and the uncorrupted police right after. So they should at least savor the laziness."

Ayep. Tommy was feeding her tons of information, enough to get the tip of her pen scratching on the paper as soon as she gets home.

Her head tilts a bit at his comment, the cigarette tucked in between her lips as she tilts her head a certain way to get a good look at him. "How do you know that they bite?"


Tommy Monaghan snorts, "You're gonna have to get me a little more drunk before you get that story outta me. Luckily for you, I got the proper social lubricant for that," he says. He reaches down into his blanket and pulls out a bottle of whiskey, unscrewing the top and taking a long sip from it. He winces and then passes it over as he chains a second cigarette off the first.

"You do what you do. I ain't gonna lose any sleep for the bosses you take down. There's always work for my kinda scum and never a shortage o' people payin'. Of course, my particular rules make it a bit tougher fer me, but so be it."


"I'm alright with that." Lois confesses. She doesn't ask for another cigarette, no. The one she holds was still being nursed and smoked at a snails pace. It was cold, but the distraction was helping, and a reach of the liquor with a shaky hand causes her to take a sip, unwincingly handing it right back.

"Does your particular rule allow you to rescue do-gooding damsels in distress?" She asks. "Right now, you're practically doing a public service. Being a hero. Helping the weak."


Tommy Monaghan has his eyes hidden behind his cheap sunglasses, the flare of the cherry glowing orange-embers in the blackened lenses. "My rules are mostly just that I can do what I want. But I don't wanna kill folks not in the game, you know what I mean? Used to say women and children but, well, plenty of women just as nasty as me these days. Truth is, there's plenty of contracts out for other pros and it's more fun to fight against people that know how to fight back," he says.


"Hey. At least that makes you better than most." She wasn't going to take another drink, its not like she had to stay sharp in this situation, but it was clear that those gears were working. "Fight against the pros who hold the contract or fight against the pros who's -on- the contract?"

Is this turning into an interview?


"Depends on the contract," he answers quickly. "Don't go mistaking me for a white knight, scoop. I've put bullets in plenty of heads and not all of 'em deserved it," he says. "Most, yeah, but I never get too particular if I'm picking between my hide and somebody else. First and foremost, I gotta make sure I make it out alive and then I can get particular about my criteria after."


"Oh oh, I'm not saying that you're a white knight at all. I'm just saying that it makes you better than most. Surface talk and sincere." Both hands were up now, not that she needed them, though they slap back upon the blanket as she pushes herself upright to shift her position. Her ass was starting to hurt. "But that does at least mean that you do your research. Right? Like you get the name of the person, figure out where they live and what they do on the daily, then.." Both fingers lift, pinching her pointer and middle finger together with her thumb as the trigger, which is pulled.


Tommy Monaghan smirks, "Somethin' like that. Or I got people to do that for me, people I trust," he says. "Truth is, around Gotham, I know most of the names and the reputations. Exotic stuff like this, well, yeah, I gotta do a little extra pokin' around to make sure I'm not doin' dirty," he says.

"But even followin' my rules, I got plenty o' blood on my hands. A lot of so-called heroes don't see me any different than the ones I pop."


"Ah. You operate out of Gotham." Which pretty much tells it. Gothamites have that smell about them. "That entire city is just an Underworld waiting to happen." She quiets down then, allowing her eyes to close as her body rocks against the movements of the train. "Why do you do what you do?" She asks out of nowhere. "You could save a lot of souls with those skills."


"Ain't like I did a lot of pickin'. I did what I did. Army worked for a while, until it didn't. I never had a head for school or the patience for a trade. I ain't gonna bust my ass workin' in some garage for a mook with a greasy gut and a bald spot," he says. "Killin' is all I've ever really been good at. Turns out it pays pretty good, too."


There was a story there, but there wasn't a sense in upsetting him when he's her ticket back to London, and essentially, Metropolis. A bundle of hay (how retro) was pulled apart and tucked against the ground, making a makeshift mound for her to lay upon as she tries to settle in the best she could. No mention of her own military training, or if she's ever had to shoot someone while she was away. No mention of what she's learned or anything else.. for that matter.

"Well. I hope my rescue is paying more than whatever bounty is probably on my head, cause.. I'm about to sleep. Two days of being awake twenty-four-seven is not my cuppa' tea."

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