|Interview with a Martian|
|What: J'onn J'onzz taps Lois Lane to help him track down Superman and deliver a message.|
The Daily Planet globe spins slowly, as it does unless there is a power outage. A symbol of global coverage but perhaps also of conspicuous consumption, telling the world they can spare the energy. And as happens not uncommonly, there is a tall figure in a cape silhouetted against it, the wind catching the cape and blowing it first around the figure's legs and then away from them. The way the lighting is, though, the figure is purely a silhouette, neither color nor facial features immediately visible. He also has his back to the roof exit, for now.
God, what a day! Lois had been on the phone for what seems like HOURS! Nothing really important, but she's hitting some deadends and it's more than a little frustrating. Seeking a place to gather her thoughts, she retreats to the rooftop.
She always loved the globe. The first time she saw it, she wanted to be near it. That she now works here and can visit any time she wants makes her quite happy. It is with the intent of seeking that joy, that simple pleasure, that has Lois Lane pushing open the door to the roof, and stepping out into the dimming evening sunlight.
GASP! "Superman," she asks of the silhouetted figure standing atop the globe. She shuts the door behind her, as her cheeks blush at the memory of their last encounter. He apologized, she served him noodles and said that her partner - that cornfed farmboy Kent - said he thought they were an item, and he.... flew away.
"Did everyone make it out of that burning building okay," she asks of the shadowed figure, moving toward him with out the slightest fear or concern. "Did you save the day, again?" She can't help but smile girlishly at that. A knight in shining armor!
The figure does not turn right away. "I'm afraid you are mistaken," comes a deep voice that is...emphatically not Superman's. Lower in tone and with a slight, odd, echo to it. Then the man turns...except that it is not a man. The eyes are what is most obvious, in the light here...solid red orbs with neither iris nor pupil nor white. It is also a little taller than Superman, although similar in bulk. And wearing rather a lot *less* than the Man of Steel sports.
Fear spikes down the reporter's spine at the voice. Okay, less fear and more embarassment! It was the glowing red eyes, right out of a horror movie, that chilled Lois' blood. She falls backward a step, cursing herself for forgetting her purse - and the 9 milimeter handgun contained therein - at her desk. "Who are," she asks, startled.
"The Martian Manhunter," the 'man' introduces. Which is probably about when the poor reporter will notice the green hue of his skin. It's...an...actual green man. "I had heard a rumor that this was a preferred...perch...from which Superman observes the city, and it was he I was hoping to find. Relax, though. I would not harm you." With a name like that?
He's green... like Orion slave girl Green. Lois' lips part, eyes still wide, though she halts her backwards retreat as the Manhunter explains his presence. "You're looking... for Superman," she asks, not at all calmed by the fact that he's come to her place of work to find the Man of Steel and follows it by saying she won't be harmed. Little red klaxons start ringing in her mind with the thought of, 'and i'm supposed to scream for you so he might come flying in?' "Well he's not here," is what she says aloud, faking bravado.
"I noticed that. In all honesty, I was about to leave when you showed up." Next time, perhaps, he should simply make himself invisible to random office workers. Or reporters. "I realize my mien can be somewhat...alarming." If she saw his natural form, she'd probably run screaming. Faster if she ever saw Alien.
Lois' mind works furiously. Martian.... space alien. Superman, Krypton, Space alien. "Are you really from Mars," asks the reporter, her adrenaline-fear fueling her mind and pushing her forward toward the 'danger'. A moth to a flame. A paperclip to a magnet. Irresistable.
A long moment, a soft sigh, and then, "Yes." A yes somehow instilled with layers of sorrow and regret. Regret for what, of course, might not be obvious. And he is well aware that the woman's curiosity is overcoming her fear. Good. It might help them get used to him...especially if she IS a reporter.
OMG! A real space alien. And her without her pen! Her heart races with a million questions, so many most of them just tumble past her mind without much clarity at all. The skilled reporter she is, however, Lois stalled until her mind and right itself to the best question to start this off. "Wow. Well, Welcome to Earth?" She chuckles nervously to herself, mind facepalming at the movie reference. "Umm... did you want to come inside? Or chat out here? Ah, what are you doing on Earth again, exactly?" DAH!!! She needs her pen! Her mind all but cries, 'Please say you'll come inside! Please say you'll give me an interview! I need something good to scoop Clark after that Totti mob piece. Rat-punk, stealing my story! And after I gave him Kyle...'
J'onn J'onzz hears, of course, every thought of that. "I could perhaps come inside, if you do not feel it would cause *too* much of a stir." He could also make sure nobody else notices him...but this young woman would most certainly notice *that*. He is not about to let her realize he is a telepath until a modicum of trust has been achieved.
"Nah! It's just the cleaning crew now. Everyone important's gone home," Lois quips with the wave of her hand at J'onn, barely refraining from reaching out, grabbing his wrist, and just HAULING him bodily after her. The urge is heavy in the air about her. For all that Lois can appear calm and composed, her tough exterior masking things, underneath is a boiling sea. Like a duck on a pond.
"I can get you something to drink, coffee or water... You can drink earth drinks, can't you? Have long have you been on our planet," she asks, mind leaping to the next four questions she -could- ask depending on the types of answers she gets.
"I have been here a couple of years, but I have...been hesitant to reveal myself. I was not sure how humans would react to me." A fair thought, that. "Men fear what they do not understand...and not just, I would admit, men of Earth." The Manhunter smiles, but it is not an expression that really suits him.
Leading the way, Lois does peek about the bull pen, just in case, before striding boldly and assuredly from the stairwell. "Well, I guess I can understand that," she remarks while her mind replies Kal's own admissions. 'I'll bet this one didn't have a nice Earth family to take him in.... not if it's onlybeena few years...'
"What's your favorite thing about Earth so far? Something you don't have on Mars," she asks, heading toward her desk - and her PEN! - then stops. "Wait... When I says Mars, I mean the Red Planet, one orbit further out. Are we talking about the same Mars? Cause that one's...."
"I was brought here across time as well as space." Again, those layers of sorrow, as many as an aged tree has rings. "As for..." His lips actually quirk. "I can think of a few things." Not revealing his weakness! Nope. Not yet. But the poor man...is he truly all that remains of his world?
That's when Paco, the janitor makes his way in, spots J'onn, and gawks. Lois looks over, rolls her eyes, and snatches up her purse. "Close your mouth, Paco! You're acting like you've never seen a cape-wearing flyboy before," she quips across the bullpen at the man, acting as if having a tall green skinned space alien in her office happened every single day.
Inwardly, Lois kicks herself. 'Okay, bad idea. He seemed sad and yet... liking a few... Was that a smirk? God, I hope this isn't going to turn into one of those bad soft core R rate Sci Fi flicks,' her mind is commenting to itself as she turns to him and motions him back toward the roof.
"Sorry about that. Tell you what? My office, nice as it is, sometimes isn't the best place," she says as she moves. 'Especially if Clark decides to magically appear at just the right time, as always!' She pulls the door open for him, holding it. "Let's head to my place" ('Please don't let this be a bad idea!') "I have some ice cream. You like ice cream? If you haven't had, you need to, and it'll end up on the top of your favorite Earth things. Promise!" ('And if you're a sick twisted perverted alien, hopefully Rocky Road is better than sex to martians and takes THAT off your list!')
"I thought that it was often considered inappropriate for Earthwomen to invite strange males into their homes." Sad and yet...it is as if he is trying his best to set the sadness to one side, perhaps so as not to inflict it on the woman. "I can assure you that you are safe on that front. And I *have* tried ice cream." From his tone, favorably.
"I'm a big girl, martian," Lois quips with a wink even as the hand on her purse tightens unconsciously. There's security in the motion. "You look like you're built like most Earth guys, and I know how to handle them when they get rowdy. I'm pretty sure you're not much different," she adds grinning and making her way to the roof. ('Steady girl. Don't scare him off.') "Besides! This is work," she comments turning to the roof edge before smiling at him. "Well, since you can fly, my place is..." She leans out over the edge and points. "...right over there. Give me a lift and I'll score you some Rocky Road. Best ice cream on the planet." ('Calmly. Calmly. Keep your hand on your piece and be ready to scream if he puts his hands somewhere funny... and then pray Superman's near by... or Supergirl... Either one. Lois... sometimes you're a damn fool, and someday it's gonna get you killed.')
J'onn J'onzz does scoop her up...but he's the perfect gentleman about it. "Very well, then. I will give you your story...and you will tell people I am not so scary, I hope?" Quid pro quo...if he has an agenda, he's just voiced a sensible one, one that is believable.
Surprise drifts through Lois as the gentleman's motions. ('Wow...') She blinks it away and smiles into J'onn's alien face, nodding. "I'll tell people the truth of the story you tell, and the quality of person I see before me. If that scares them..." She trails off a bit, mind thrilling at the prospect of flying again. The few times Superman's taken her up she's just swooned! "...then... I feel sorry for them, but... to be fair, people probably will get scared. I can't control that. I can only write the best piece I know how."
J'onn J'onzz touches down on the balcony. "I hope," he says softly, "This is the right place." Once getting confirmation, he'll set the reporter down. Oddly, Lois will not hear that any of her neighbors heard or saw anything. Discretion, thy name is J'onn.
Suddenly grateful she leaves the balcony door OPEN, Lois smiles and steps away from J'onn as he sets her down. She pulls open the door. "You did perfect," she says, looking behind her over her shoulder as she walks into the apartment and smack into the closed balcony curtains.
With a sputter, Lois detangles herself, arms flailing a bit, then yanks them open. The telepath would clearly hear the little black storm cloud that is her thoughts in that moment.
She composes herself quickly, however, and beckons J'onn inside. "Come in. Make yourself at home... unless by martian custom that means taking clothes off or eating my brain... and.. umm.. I'll go get the ice cream and we'll start this interview!" ('Eat your brain! God! Earth to Lois. You're making an idiot of yourself. It's okay! He probably doesn't get the reference anyway.')
"Ah. Yes. Part of why I have been worried about revealing myself is your tendency to cast Martians as the bad guys in your popular entertainment." He moves to sit down, adjusting the cape a little. "You have to understand that that might make one...nervous."
('Nope. He got the reference. Lois, you're a moron.') In the kitchen, Lois grimaces to herself while calling out. "Sorry about that!" Some plates and bowls clatter, freezer opens, closed, more shuffling, then Lois reappears with two bowls of rocky road.
In those few moments she was gone, J'onn may notice the collection of old movies, including that one title she referenced earlier. A smile and she offers a bowl. "Here ya go. I'm going to kick of my shoes, grab my voice recorder, and we'll get to talking," she says, smiling.
J'onn J'onzz accepts the bowl. And appears to have no problem eating Earth food...of course, it would have been hard for him to survive on the planet for two years if he did. Unless, of course, he eats electrical energy or something like that, of which there is no sign.
Lois watches him eat for a moment then does she said she would. Her shoes come off, her tush gets plopped onto a sofa, and her hand goes into her purse. No malicious intent, for she's growing calmer around the alien, rests in her action. Lois draws forth her mightly LiveScribe pen and small note pad. The paper is slightly digital, and has some notes on it when she opens it. Along the bottom of the page are control keys like record, play, pause, and the like. She actives her pen to record then speaks as she writes. "June 26, 8pm. Interview with a Martian. Lame title." Done writing the date and the word Mars on her paper, Lois sets the pen down, and turns to face J'onn.
"Let's start simply. What's your real name, and if it's something that's really hard for humans to pronounce, what's an acceptable approximation?"
"J'onn J'onzz is the closest most humans can get." It's not that bad...she could probably do it. He eats some more of his ice cream, although he does glance over the technology. Relatively primitive to him, but definitely progress in the right direction.
"John Johns," Lois asks, head tilting. "How do you spell that," she quips, hand moving for her pen. In the motion, that's all the thought she has.
"I can write down an acceptable transliteration if you wish." Dangerously close to his cover name, but then, he has no clue how long he can maintain that identity if he becomes public. As long as he can...he will...the discretion is valuable to him. He waits to see if she will trust him with her expensive stylus.
Lois seems willing to trust space aliens, now that the inital OMFG A RED EYED DEMON shock is gone. She holds out the pen and the pad to J'onn, then snickers mentally as she turns over the name in her head, fond of nick names. ('John Johns. John-John. Little John. Johnny John. Jonjon....') While the martian writes, the human noms a spoonful of ice cream. ('I wonder if Bruce'll come up and have ice cream. Yeah right! Cause that's the exact type of publicity we BOTH need right now. Well, he did say he'd invite me to Gotham.... ')
J'onn J'onzz writes down the name then hands the pen and tablet back once Lois has finished eating ice cream. Ice cream probably would not be good for the electronics, after all. His hands are fairly large, although not giant-sized. He's just...a big man. Of course, he might be petite by Martian standards.
('Wow. Big hands. Not as big as McCoy's. Boys got some huge mitts!')
Lois takes the pen and pad back to plop on the coffee table before resuming her ice cream. "Thanks, John. Can I call you John? Or Mr... um.. Johns?" ('Yes, that's SO much better. Did you think of calling Superman, Mr. Man? Moron!')
"John is fine." He does not expect her to get the pronunciation closer without, well, practice, although unlike some Martian words it is not beyond the reach of the human vocal system. Unfairly, he has no such problems with English. "So. What did you want to know?" There might be questions he refuses to answer, but those will come up as they come up.
('Either your stupidity was lost on him, or he's sweet enough not to comment.')
"Alright. First thing's first. What brings you to Earth? The ice cream?" She laughs brightly.
"I was brought here...the scientist who did so thought the device he found would allow him to communicate with extra-terrestrials. He got a little, as they say, more than he bargained for. A good man...and given the circumstances, I owe him a debt." Again, that hint of sorrow, of some deep past he does not wish to speak of. Nor does J'onn give the man's name.
"Any connection to Area 51?"
('Government conspiracies, Lo. Be careful! Dad'll fry your bacon if you tromp too hard!')
J'onn J'onzz laughs. "No. Absolutely no connection to that." He hopes. It would be horribly ironic if the greys were White Martians, but they certainly aren't the green kind. "And, also, I am not a little green man." He's a big green man. There's a difference.
Lois snerks at that, almost getting ice cream up her nose. "I'll say. You're..." ('taller than Super-') "...really tall." Lois smiles and recaps briefly to get her mind refocused on what's she's after and how she's goig to write this. He did, after all, ask for her help. Unlike another space alien she knows. hmph!
"So, you are from Mars, and someone ....a sceintist... teleported you here... and time traveled you. So, you're from.... the past, techinically.... meaning there ...was... life on- Oh god." Her eyes widen as the implication hits.
('You too?') A sudden sorrow wells up.
Him too? He is tempted to read her mind, to find out what that means, but it would be rude. He contents himself only with the surface thought and with the knowledge that somewhere on this world might be another who...understands. Yet, he would not wish that understanding on the worst imaginable of enemies. "There was. Once, Mars was as green as your world, but it faded. Only our technology maintained it as an inhabitable world and now my people are gone...and there is only the dust." For now is the part he does not say, the faint hope that Mars might live again...his people are gone, but the world could be restored, with the right knowledge. One day, he suspects, humans will walk those hills. None of that, though, the Martian speaks of. Only his...regrets.
"It wasn't war or famine or anything like that then? It just... ya'll stopped... taking care of it?" Even she doesn't want to believe that, mind trying to find the angle on this. ('Go Green? Recycle?')
Very softly. "It was a plague. And I fear that it may have been a weapon, for we did have enemies. I hope they too are gone...I would not wish their presence on the peoples of Earth...but I cannot be sure." Martians are, after all, hard to find, in the shadows of the world. "Yet, I am now most likely scaring you."
('War...') Lois shakes her head, setting her half eaten bowl aside to reach out and actually touch the martian on the knee. She's empathic when she wants to be, and there's a definte soft-heart beneath her tough as nails exterior. "No, John. You're not scaring me. And even you were, I'd still need to hear it," she says voice soft. "Are you here looking for... maybe... those enemies? To fight them if they try to destroy Earth in a smiliar fashion?"
"I could not fight them alone. Fortunately...I would not be alone if they tried anything with Earth. I have decided that I will not allow anything to happen to Earth or to humanity if it lies within my power to stop it. Which is part of why I was looking for Superman. I was hoping we could...compare notes." J'onn looks at his ice cream, then eats some more of it. "Perhaps become allies."
"I think you'll find him an eager ally," Lois says, hand withdrawing now. ('Especially since you're almost the same...') "He wants to protect the Earth too. He and his cousin, Supergirl. When I see him next... did you want me too... unless he reads this article first..." ('IF he reads... moron, of course he does!')
"I would appreciate at least the mention of my existence. I know little of him except his reputation, but what I do know is good." Almost the same? He catches that...interesting. The implication is that Superman is an offworlder. Yet he knows there are those with powers who are not...simply that it seems harder to find them. Thor and Sif too are not, in a sense, from Earth. A mystery he intends to unravel...later.
Lois is nodding quickly, mind shifitng gears on the piece smoothly. ('An impassioned plea. Not too thick. It'll frighten... unless I can convince him to mix the two stories. Both aliens. Both trying to protect Earth. Both the last of their kind. Yeah. Yeah. This could work....') She nodding as pieces click into place and she picks up her pen to jot a few things down in her writer's shorthand that makes little sense to anyone but herself. "I think I can do a little more than that, John. No, I'm definitely going to do a little more than that. Is there a way I'll be able to get a hold of you, for soem follow-up? A phone number, email address.... giant spotlight in the sky with the symbol for Mars on it?"
"Hrm. I do not have...easily accessible contact information," the Martian admits. "It would be easier, I think, to arrange a time and place to meet." Of course, he now knows where *she* lives, and could probably just call her desk if he needed her. He is going to have to do something about not having some kind of...hrm. Maybe a disposable cell would work. "I should fix that," he muses out loud. "It is, after all, rather unfair."
Lois chuckles at that, finishing her notes before sitting back to peer at him. "If you can hear like Superman can, I can always just fall out of an airplane for you," Lois teases, humor in her eyes as she says that.
Growing a bit more serious, Lois ponders. "Well, I don't have a Super Cell Number either, so I'll try toget a hold of him... somehow... How about we meet up in about a week? Stark is having his Expo in New York City in a few days. I'll be there, and we can meet up at... some place... around that event? Late at night, maybe? If I was able to get a hold of him, I'll try to have him with me, if not..."
J'onn J'onzz nods. "I would not mind...checking that out, discreetly. It might be interesting." Stark, from what he knows, is at the cutting edge of earth technology...he must have some pretty good headhunters. "And if not, then I am sure there is time to find him. I have not found any *urgent* threats. Not that I did not handle right away on my own, that is."
Lois nods to this, mind still writing its script on what she's going to SAY when she sees him. ('There's another alien! No, too forward. You're not alone! Wrong idea... So, I've met a martian. LAME!')
"Then I'll let you find me. I'll be there all week, and I'll be very publically visible. And if you feel the need to fly by and scoop me up, just give me a heads up it's you when you do it so I don't completely wig out."
J'onn J'onzz laughs. "Don't worry. You will know who it is if that happens." He probably wouldn't anyway...he has far more discreet ways of making contact. He hears her script, but manages not to actually smile. Except far deep inside. Superman is an alien. He does, truly, wonder what species he is, where he is from. And perhaps they will have some things in common.
Lois blushes a bit, moving to gag herself with a tiny spoonful of ice cream. ('Yeah.... awkward.... wow. Lolo, you're insane, you know that? Brilliant, best reporter in the world, but stupid crazy. Offering a martian to just scoop you up, no big deal. Girl! You gotta learn to THINK before you talk!')
"Thanks, John. I'd appreciate that. So... You're here to try to contact Superman, and become friends so the two of you can... form a... Super.... Friends... Club... or something?"
('Because super friends is so epically uncool, right? GOD!')
"I am thinking it is better for those of us who are trying to protect this planet to at least have some contact and be aware of each other's abilities. Given I already almost got zapped by somebody." His expression becomes wry. Of course, Thor was...just spoiling for a fight anyway. Mental note. Warn Superman about Thor.
"Zapped? Who? What? When?" The questions halt the rest of Lois's thought process, arresting her attention completely.
"Big blonde guy. Lightning powers, pretty strong. Fortunately, he's one of the good guys. He says he's the god Thor." And believes it, but J'onn is staying as neutral as possible on the man's claim of divine status. "Might want to mention him to Superman too. I think he would be a worthy ally...and a very dangerous enemy. Especially if his fiancee is not around to keep something of a leash on him." The Martian finishes his ice cream. "So...is there anything else?"
('Thor? Who the HELL is Thor?!') Lois blinks at the name, mind not able to find anything about the name. She's already moving to write the name down when J'onn mentions for her to mention him to her favorite space alien. ('Reseach Thor. Tell Superman.') She's still writing when he asks if there was more, and so she pauses, mind retracing its steps. ('Tell Superman about other alien, set up meeting at Stark Expo somehow, research Thor, find the angle to make this story work. They've got to be... angelic... helpful... not scary. Going to probably need pictures too. I'll have to set up a shoot with Jimmy. Won't HE be happy to shoot Superman! Rooftop of the Planet would be a good spot... or Centennial Park...')
"No, I think that's it for now. Hopefully by the next time we meet, I'll have something more."