Hope Returns

October 26, 2018:

Superman returns from deep space, and is given a grand welcome by Superboy, Fairchild, Power Girl, and Starfire!

//Watchtower Station : JLA - 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.

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

Observation Deck:
The observation deck is one of the best views in all the Milky Way Galaxy.
The stars, obviously the Earth, Sun and planets beyond are all visible from
beyond it's plasteel dome. At the very center of the deck is the central
elevator shaft that connects all other locations throughout the Watchtower.

Around the perimeter are control panels that monitor various functions
throughout the sentinel-satellite. This acts as a secondary monitoring womb
where 3D projections can readily access the PEMS/Planetary Emergency Monitor
System.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Wonder Woman Batman Magik

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's been sometime since Superman has surfaced. It was likely one of those times where he just needed to go and clear his head…be away from an adoring public, superhero work, and yes, even his teammates, brothers, and sisters in the Justice League. Because even Big Boy Blue needs a break.

However, if anyone was on the comms on the Watchtower, and was watching through the giant open window that provided a beautiful display of earth? Well….

There he is.

"Superman to Watchtower, mind opening the doors for an old friend?" If anyone was looking closely, Kal seems to have grown a very light beard, but otherwise looks exactly the same as the flew straight into the Watchtower, floating just a foot off the ground before finally landing. Ah, it was good to be back in business officially. "Anybody home?"

*

+MEET: Starfire has arrived via +meet.

*

Tonight happens to see another Kryptonian up on watch duty. The blonde reaches out and taps one of the controls. "Kal!! It's Kara! Welcome home!" Power Girl says, and she taps the keys to open the hatches. "Can't believe you're back!"

*

+MEET: Superboy has arrived via +meet.

*

Caitlin's not on monitor duty— in fact she's been nose to the grindstone with regards to the invasion of New York. But there is equipment on board that's useful to the relief services, including some machinery and items in deep storage that are potentially useful to her ongoing attempts to harass the demons and slow their incursion.

Having taken a Javelin up, she is in the Tower's main control room checking out inventory items one by one when she hears Karen squealing excitement. Caitlin glances up from the monitor and a bright smile crosses her face at the sight of (a bearded!) Superman hovering outside the hull. "Oh my gosh! Kal-El is back!" she remarks, a largely un-necessary expression of excitement.

*

Karen Starr says, "Err..call /Kon/."

*

Starfire spends most of her time on Earth with the Titans, living in their oddly-shaped tower and eating their delicious pizza with the mustard on top. These are the true pleasures of the third planet of the Sol system! However, she has duties with the League as well, particularly as another alien representative. And beyond that, well, there are times when as much as she enjoys her new planet, she needs to be away from it. The station provides a good opportunity for this.

Or rather, its general environs. Sometimes, its just space itself that calls.

And sometimes, she just wants to sunbathe on the light side of the moon. Indeed, even as the famous hero speeds toward the floating station, his impressive vision might pick up the… unique sight of a tall, orange woman laying on the (relatively) nearby lunar surface. She's rather comically immitating the precise mannerism of a human woman laying on the beach, towel included, laying on her stomach with her costume top undone. It's probably good that it's Kal and not Hal, eh? Picking things up on her League communicator, though, she looks up in the direction of the satellite, sits up, stretches out. "Have I slept through my monitor shift?"

*

As the doors open, Superman flies right through, where he will most likely see Kara waiting there. "Sorry I'm late! Needed to take care of a few things. I hope you didn't miss me too much…" he chuckles very softly before he hears all the excitement! Even from the very few actual crew members of the Watchtower.

Superman's a face nobody thought they would see today. Well, he never thought he'd get the celebrity treatment from his teammates.

He did catch the rather unique sight of Starfire sunbathing on the moon. But, it's probably not something he hasn't seem before. But, he's finally in the Watchtower, taking a gander around and inhaling deeply. "I miss this place. I missed all of you. So…what'd I miss?"

*

Kara replies to Kori "You did. But don't worry about it. I'd be more upset if I missed this!" And then, there's a white blur as the superheroine zips from her chair over to Kal. "I missed you something awful." To the world, he's Earth's mightiest hero. But to her, he's still her little cousin. "Even if you need a shave something terribly. And, demon attack in New York, currently. It's bad." Her expression goes a little more serious.

*

Caitlin pauses her work and moves at a more sedate pace to join Kara and Kal-El, and when Kara finishes embracing her cousin she offers him a bright smile and a hug as well. "Welcome back!" she tells the Man of Steel. "We missed you also. Things have been a little, uh… nutty," she admits. "New York's not terribly safe for anyone wearing the S-shield. Demons everywhere. And a few of us— Diana, myself, Donna— we took a trip with Thor to the End of the Universe. I've only been back a few weeks myself. How was deep space?"

*

"Oh, my greatest apologies!" declares Koriand'r, still over the communicator. "I shall return immediately to resume my post." She takes her duties very seriously! Er, well, mostly very seriously, when she's not catching a needed break on the moon. Roused from her slacking off, she soon makes to return. And fortunately she's considerably faster in space, making the the trip back while the kryptonian family members are exchanging their loving greetings. Someone might see her sail past on a viewscreen or out a window, before she finds one of the airlocks and lets herself in.

Inside, it takes her a little longer to make it back to the control room, space towel and all. "Oh, greetings friend Kal. It has been some time - and yes, Earth is facing some difficulties, or at least our home city. Oddly it does not seem spread much beyond that."

*

Demon attack in New York, indeed. It's bad, but they're good! Unending struggle, balance and freedom, something something justice. A second blue-and-red streak follows Kal-El in, picking up on the turn of events on a return pass from recharging (yet again) in the direct rays of that lovely, yellow daystar.

Kon plucks blue-lensed red metallic shades from his eyes and tucks them away with a flourish, spreading a grin to the others that does a pretty good job at not giving away just how -exhausted- he is, power levels notwithstanding.

"Welcome back Big Blue." Superboy offers quite sincerely, lurking in the slightly larger, near-mirror-image hero's wake, booted feet scarcely touching the ground. "Don't worry— I picked up your slack." All of it. Beyond the improbably bluster is more than a nugget of truth; Kon has been torn up, smacked down, and scorched by magic and demonic claw more in the last few weeks than in… well, probably most of his existence combined, otherwise.

His injuries, apart from a fading slice down one side of his face, hidden beneath the resilient, sleekly armored super-suit and iconic 'S' shield. He stands proud, unflinching, ready for more despite it all— kinda like someone else.

*

Superman sees that white blur as clear as day when she comes on over, and Kal tries to swoop up his cousin in the BIGGEST HUG he can think of without breaking someone and he holds her super tight! "I do need to shave…do I not look good with a beard? I was always thinking about trying out the new look but…I think you're right, I look better clean shaven." he laughs a bit, then to Caitlin!

"Hello, Caitlin. How have things been? Still making yourself at home with the League?" always putting people first. Such was Kal's way. Buuut then demons enter the conversation and he just looks confused.

"Woah, demons?" he takes a small sigh. "I'm sorry I left you guys alone to deal with problems like this. I just needed time to myself to figure stuff out." he looks to Caitlin once more. "Deep space was nice. Surprisingly quiet, if you'd believe it." a fatherly wink before suddenly, there's Starfire!

Laughing a bit, he shakes his head. "Slacking off on moniter duty, Kori? tsk tsk tsk." he crosses his arms over that S-shield on his chest and his smile betrays his words. "Between you and me, I get bored too. It's okay."

Then….

"Kon!" he smiles to his clone/son/little brother/it's-extremely-complicated-but-they-have-a-positive-relationship-guy! Superman approaches him, and he chuckles. "Wow, you got tall. I knew I left this place in good hands." he tries to ruffle Kon's hair. "

No kidding…mirror image.

*

"Best I can," Caitlin tells Superman, nodding. She winces as something buzzes in her earpiece, and steps aside to use her communicator. "Fairchild. Yeah. No— oh. Oh! Okay." She gives Kon a quick hug in greeting as he steps up, and then Kori too for good measure. "I'm sorry. I'm on a deadline to get this stuff shipped earthside on the next cargo run. I have to go. Welcome back, Kal!" she tells Superman, smiling again. "I hope I can say hi for longer soon."

She mouths an apology to Karen, brow furrowed, and with a quick farewell for her allied Titans she scoots back to the control area to finish her work.

*

Kara looks back, and shakes her head. "No, you don't." Kryptonian men weren't really rocking the beards. But she nods. "I'm honestly not sure how to handle the demons. Magic is not my thing. But it'll be nice. Hey, Kori. Did the space-tan go well?"

*

"Oh yes, it felt wonderful," Starfire answers Kara. "But I did not intend to be derelict in my duties!" This is added with some concern, even embarassment by that shortcoming. "However, it was very comfortable out there. With all that has been going on, I have also felt quite drained, and it is good to come up here where the atmosphere does not intefere." She's definitely on the same page as the kryptonians (and half of a kryptonian) when it comes to the marvels of a yellow sun!

Squeezing Caitlin when she steps over, she then glances past her with some surprise as Kon pops up there in his… whatever's shadow. "Oh, you are also here, Conner. Is this like the 'take your child to work day'?" And then she quickly holds up her hands. "Apologies! I am practicing making the jokes! But we do not see you up here often."

*

"Luckily, hitting them really hard still works." Kon-El is an -expert- in this art. Demonslayer extraordinaire. Ow. Cait gets a one-armed hug, the other socking Kal playfully in the gut as Superboy's hair is well and truly tousled. It whips right back into form, as if slicked back and up, instants later though. Via, you all guessed it, TACTILE TELEKINESIS. It's another fine art he's perfecting.

"Most of 'em /hate/ heat-vision, too." Something about the concentrated fury of the sun itself doesn't appeal to creatures of evil shadow, go fig. There's a ghost of a frown at Kori's needling, but it vanishes super-quick. "Probably a good idea— you need the practice." Bam. Pure winning.

*

Kal looks to Kara with a bit of a chuckle. "Well…I always do appreciate your honesty." he sighs. "Well, punching them works." he often says at the same time as Kon says that hitting them hard works. Hah! They are….too similar for their own good. Though Kon is perhaps much more brash…

Regardless, he seems to tilt his head as Starfire is apparently a little too into her own tanning experience than help solve the situation. Though her quip does make Superman laugh! "Not bad, not bad. That was pretty good! Though, I really should have it called to a vote. Well, I should see if I can get my chair back before I even offer such a thing to Batman and Wonder Woman." Kal sighs. He was gone for the better half of five months.

But! He looks to Kon with a bit of a chuckle at the gut punch, which did effectively nothing. but it was supposed to do nothing! "Honestly…it really is good to see you all. Lets hit those demons hard. Though there are so many demon lords that I can't know which one's causing all of this."

*

Kara grins at Kon. "Yeah, and apparently gets you carved up like a turkey." She nods towards the scar on his face. A space-suit might hide the cut, but not from X-Ray Vision. "You holding up okay?" Very big-sister tones there.

After that, she answers Kal. "Right. But those just stop individual demons." Kara shakes her head. "We need a way to cut off this problem at the source, and that's what I don't have the experience with. We need some more magical heavy hitters, and I've had little luck reaching most.

*

Here there is confusion in Starfire's expression: Kon tells Kori that her jokes need considerable improvement, but the Man of Steel himself is seen to laugh! The latter of which causes her to beam in a smile, although she glances between them both, unsure. "I am certain you are right, friend Conner. I am still inexperienced in many of Earth's ways, and no doubt there is always room for improvement." The worst thing is that she sounds seriously grateful, taking his return 'burn' for serious critique. It only goes to show that it's a little easier to make jokes (no doubt taking many unfortunate lessons from television and… Cassie) than it is to actually undertand them.

Finally, though, she glances around and does some simple math. "Perhaps I am being the third wheel now, yes? Even though we are four in number. I am certain you all have much catching up to do. And I must repay the monitor shift I have shamefully neglected. Friend Kara, might I take over your duties in recompense? Then you shall can be free to spend time with your family." In any case, she's soon off to handle whatever spacey things soon after that.

*

[Starfire returns to OOC Land.]

*

"I'm good, Kara. Promise." It's not entirely true, but it also doesn't matter, does it? Some things are bigger than any one of them, and that's something that's only been more prominent in his attitude since his earliest days out of the tank. It probably needed some amplification then, now? Now he's as stubborn as Rocky in I and II, demanding 15 rounds whether he can still see straight or not. It is what it is— they do what they have to. It's a hero thing.

In this moment, Kon actually has some actionable-ish intel to share, and he passes over the levity and concern alike to share it. "Far as we can tell, it's this… blonde girl." Kon doesn't hide his puzzlement at this, or the conflicted feelings. "She said the demons… maybe others… messed her up real good." She didn't spell it out, and Superboy isn't inclined to explore the likelihoods -now-. The weight of the words hangs heavy enough in the air.

"The Titans took her down, and Zee messed her up pretty good. I think. I don't know that it'll stick— if it had, the invasion probably would have shifted more— but…" Kon-El sighs heavily, his features set firmly, almost sternly. He's getting better at the whole 'Superman' thing.

"I think -that- part of the problem demands something more nuanced than just smacking her down." For all the death, for all the chaos, one thing is clear: Conner has ample /sympathy/ for Illyana. He just doesn't know exactly how to help. "There's gotta be something left to reach." There is always hope. It says so on his chest.

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