|What: L.L. vs L.L. in yet another one of their infamous bouts of verbal sparring. Which LL's will win this match?|
Nothing will ever be the same. Or will they? Team Luthor is present and on the scene of the recent attack on S.T.A.R. Labs. They are moving about with purpose and vigor, dealing with whatever aftermath issues are still needing to be dealt with. Orders are being followed that are given from Officers and Government Officials that may be on the scene. It is truly a sight to see, with all those Team Luthor uniforms doing whatever it takes to make things all better.
Standing in the middle of all this controlled chaos is none other than the man himself: Lex Luthor. He's forgone his suit jacket, but the rest of him is still dressed to impeccably impress, along with the tie he's wearing that clearly is black and purple, with the words 'Strength In Numbers' word find style in a pile of numbers that covers the entire tie.
Lex Luthor has his sleeves rolled up as he's approached by Hope & Mercy that let him know that Daily Planet people have shown up. They have eyes everywhere, you see. And Lex Luthor is has already broken a sweat. Which will look really good on any pictures or footage that is grabbed of him. He grabs another wheelbarrow of debris and grunts as he moves with it to make his way over to where it is all being collected.
The Daily Planet staffer photographer sets to work, snapping those glossies Luthor's hoping for. Loads of Team Luthor uniforms and personnel, loads of LexCorp Logos, and more than a few of Lex himself, sleeves rolled up, sweet on his brow, pushing said wheelbarrow.
After seeing the photographers out of the DP Van, Lois surveys the area, her LiveScribe digital recording pen already on and recording as she uses the ink side to jot down a fwe notes about the state of things, before she makes her way toward Luthor and the pile of rubble.
"I was hoping I'd get you, Ms. Lane."
Lex Luthor speaks without missing a beat. He's too busy dumping the rubble into the pile. Probably will be used for scraps or something. Who knows. Lex Luthor is only concerned with the safety of Metropolis.
"I could never forgive myself is someone else got the story of the year." With a small grin, he sets the wheelbarrow down and finally turns to face Lois in his entirety to make sure that she feels the warm welcome of a man that wants to make Metropolis safe for all that live here.
Her dove gray blazer, buttoned perfectly over a rich violet satan blouse and patterned knee-skirt, does NOT look like it belongs amid the disaster. Lois perches carefully atop a broken slab of concrete in her deep purple high heels, a perfect and professional smile on her face. She meets his warm welcome with the sharply quirked brow of the press. This ain't no social visit, Lexie.
"What? Worried that Stark's turn around a few years ago stole the thunder out of your lastest medical breakthrough, Lex," Lois quips at the CEO with an easy grace of best frienemies for life. "I thought you weren't the jealous type," she adds with a smirk.
"You know, as well as I do, that I want what's best for Metropolis. If that means Stark Medical, then that means Stark Medical." Lex is not going to allow himself to be pulled into this game with her. Not right now. Not during his shining moment. He just keeps that smile on his face, though it does show some glimmer of concern as he watches her balance on that concrete slab. "Careful, Lois. Please." Lex Luthor sounds almost, well, concerned.
"If you're ready, I believe I have some time to discuss things with you before I head back inside. There's quite a bit of work still left to be done. Work that needs my supervision." Even his humbled state sounds a bit too egotistical to be completely genuine. Or is it so genuine that it only sounds egotistical?
"Everyone knows you want what's best for Metropolis, Lex. You /are/ Metropolis," Lois retorts, knowing he's not going to get baited but trying anyway. That's just how she is.
A breeze ruffles past, pulling at hair and skirt, seeming to try to knock of off balance, but Lois steady fastly refuses to go down. She does, though hold out her hand for Lex to take, to steady her and help her down, given that he's oh /so/ concerned about her safety.
"I'm /always/ ready for you, Lex," she replies warmly and with too much innocense to be completely genuine. "Where do you want me," she asks, matching his humility with a grin and a sly smirk.
"How true." Yes, Lex Luthor is not about to disagree with the fact that he is, in fact, Metropolis. Already, his smile is showing his remembrance of times before Superman when the people would chant his name and vow allegiance to LexCorp and the many things that company does for the city. It only takes him a moment to remember Superman took all that away from him and he frowns slightly, turning his attention back to this interview.
A hand is indeed held out to make sure Lois is back down and safely on the ground. "I've set up a rest area for the workers here." He nods off to where some LexCorp tents have been erected nearby. "We could do it there." It's actually somewhat difficult for him to let go of her hand. It lingers there for a moment, almost as if in a state of remembrance, before he finally pulls his fingers from hers.
That smile. It's truly a warm thing indeed, bringing back memories of lighter times... happier times almost. Lois steps lightly from the concrete slab, within arm's reach of the business man, chin tilted up to peer up into his face - into his slight frown. A cold shift, and Lois' eyes reharden. Turning to peer at the tents, Lois withdraws her hand from Lex's, steadfastly refusing to acknowledge any lingerings remembrances or inclinations from the past. They are different people now.
"Sure. The tent looks fine. Nice and semi-secluded. Perfect place for us to do our thing," Lois says, glancing over her shoulder and up at Luthor. "Nice tie, by the way."
"Thank you. I've had only a thousand of these made. For those that donate the most to the Strength In Numbers program. They get a tie, personally delivered, by me. Just a little incentive to make sure we all do our part." Lex Luthor is fine with starting the interview on his way over to the tents. Clearly, there is always a good place to converse around here. It's quiet, except for a handful of Team Luthor agents on break.
"I seem to recall most places being perfect for us to do our thing." Okay, Lex just /had/ to let that one slip as he takes a seat at one of the benches.
"Personally delivered! Remind me to donate," Lois retorts as she slips into the tent with Lex, lips smirking with a touch of sarcasm. It's Lex's next remark that has Lois coughing out a faint laugh.
"Yes, well, neither of us have much to be ashamed of, do we," Lois tries to fire back, her chin lifted defiantly as she settles onto a bench opposite the business man. The shift from bright daylight to shaded interior might make that light blush on her cheeks look only like she'd been out in the sun for a little bit. To further distract from it, Lois brandishes her pen at Lex, brings one knee up over the other, and opens her notepad.
"We've all heard LexCorp's official stance on the tragety that struck over the weekend, but what's Lex Luthor's more private reaction to this and the reports of a green monster being held in S.T.A.R Labs that may or may not have been part of the cause," Lois asks, game face back on.
"Your being here to cover this momentous event is donation enough, Ms. Lane." Lex has decided to shift back into a more professional mode for the duration of this interview. Can't have his personal feelings for what could've been or what may be again skew his responses. And then, just like he knew she would, Ms. Lane is hitting him with the hard hitter questions.
"To be honest, I was very angry when I heard about what S.T.A.R. Labs may or may not have, allegedly, been harboring within their walls. I was furious. I was mad that we, the public, the citizens of fair Metropolis, were not privy to the possible danger that we pass every day." Lex offers a small shrug, though, as if it were truly no big deal. "However, I do understand the need for secrecy. I would be a liar if I didn't agree that some things are just better left unsaid. And I pride myself on being an honest man. Perhaps, what should be focused on, is not what mistakes S.T.A.R. Labs may or may not have made but how we can learn from them and move forward in the coming months to make sure nothing of this nature is in danger of happening again."
"Is it LexCorps' intention, then, to make a better mousetrap, and make sure that the next time S.T.A.R. or LexCorp or any other high tech facility decides to give free room and board to a creature strong enough to knock the Supers around, the public won't catch wind of it so easily," Lois fires back. Her body leans forward at the question, pen held between them. Her violet eyes glitter faintly, one brow quirking, lips half grinning. This is a dance she's missed doing with Luthor for a while now. He's been keeping too low a profile as of late, and now that she's got him in the open....
"LexCorp does not and will not ever condone the capture or containment of any creatures that can pose a threat to the innocents of this nation in any way, shape or form." Lex is all smiles as he makes sure his answer comes with a firm tone. He may be enjoying this verbal jousting a bit too much himself. "I will say that, in the future, I hope companies like S.T.A.R. Labs handles these matters in a more delicate and professional manner. While I have no personal issue with cleaning up after them, there is only so much that LexCorp can do."
"So you're telling me that if LexCorp had the opportunity to capture or contain a Super, it wouldn't? What would LexCorps' response be," Lois counters, shoulders shifting. "Given that there's only so much LexCorp can do..." That grin on her face... Lois is enjoying the duel as well.
"Supers, as you call them, is a problem that must be dealt with by the proper authorities. LexCorp holds no claim over such things. Nor do we want to. Our focus is the betterment of mankind from beneath our vast umbrella. We only want what's best for the people of our great Nation." Lex flashes a smile. "However, if I were to ever encounter a hostile 'Super', I would properly defend myself until the authorities could arrive to take care of the issue in the proper way. As would any concerned citizen, I'm sure. Though, I don't see that being a problem anymore. Not with this Justice League of America being formed."
Lois smiles back, head shaking faintly at the man across from her. She leans forward a bit more, elbow on her knee. "So what's LexCorp's next move then, Mr. Luthor? Should we expect LexCorp assisting S.T.A.R. Labs in future endevours that require the sort of delicate and professional manner that you're known for," she backhands in reply, opting away from discussing the Justice League at the moment. The way her eyes narrowed at the words though, might clue the perceptive off that she's got an opinion on that particular subject.
"We don't have any moves, Ms. Lane. LexCorp will continue to do what we've always done: Help People. We are here to provide a service to the world and we will not let acts of this nature deter us from what we set out to do each day. LexCorp is building towards a Better Tomorrow. If S.T.A.R. Labs should ever want assistance from LexCorp in any significant way, I am sure they know how to contact me." Smile.
Lois quirks a brow at the first word out of Lex's mouth. Clearly, the femme reporter does not believe the words for a heartbeat. She smirks, wordlessly sharing that knowing doubt with her sparring partner. The way she sits back, face half turned away could speak volumes to the right person: Oh, well, since you don't have any moves to make, Lex... The expression shifts away as she straightens, head tilting the other direction as Lex continues.
"Will LexCorp assist this newly forming Justice League in ensuring security for your Better Tomorrow against similar events such as what happened here at S.T.A.R. and more recently at the White House, and if so how far will LexCorp go in providing that help" Lois asks, smiling quite professionally.
"I believe that it is in the best interest for the United States of America if LexCorp does not involve itself in any official capacity with a government sanctioned organization. While I cannot give a full opinion on this Justice League, based on what little knowledge we all have at this point, I will say that I always have and will continue to support our President and his decisions. If he feels that we need a band of superhumans to help protect us, then far be it for LexCorp to stand in the way of that." Lex keeps smiling. He really is enjoying this verbal tennis match. Even he sits up at this moment, leaning on his own elbows and steepling his fingers near his chin. "Besides, LexCorp has no official authority or jurisdiction. It would be wrong of me to use Team Luthor in such a way without proper authorization and the blessing of our Commander-in-Chief. No, LexCorp will remain unbiased and passive in the coming war. We will be here to protect those that are caught in the crossfire and ensure the safety of mankind."
Gotcha! Lois leans forward then, way forward, closing the gap between them to half-whisper, "What war?"
"I use war in the most figurative of terms, Ms. Lane." Lex leans back now, smiling as though he was hoping she would catch that bit. His arms now relaxed and spread against the table. "One can only assume that if we are taking up superhuman arms that those that caused this problem in the first place will do the same thing. It is of my personal opinion that collecting superhumans is, while not exactly in the best taste, something that some groups may consider to be a threat. If these groups choose to do the same, well, I'm afraid we may be in for more trouble than perhaps even Superman can handle." Lex lowers his gaze a bit at that, as if that were the worst thing that could happen. "I sincerely and genuinely hope that it does not end up like that, but history has shown us that even the smallest misunderstanding can lead, sadly, to devastation."
Lois's lips purse at that, and she mimicks Lex's lean, straightening up away from the man. Her hands too come to the table, setting the notepad and pen on the table, her fingers not overly far from Luthor's own hands. Her head tilts, chin inclining, at Lex's lowered gaze, as if not buying it.
"Which is why the Planet is always so grateful that LexCorp keeps an open and honest running dialog going," Lois says, a tough brightly, given the subject matter at hand. She's resetting her verbal footing, taking a moment to catch her mental breath before the next volley. WHo took that round's rally point?
"Captain America could definitely give us a somewhat unique insight on some parts of history. How excited was Lexcorp at his revival, and what do you feel that he's 'just another superhuman' being 'collected' by the government," she asks, more than obviously showing Lex the trap that a less than careful answer could pose any answering just a question about the Icon Himself.
"Captain America is a great man and I'm sure his contributions to society will be just a great as his legend is." Lex Luthor keeps it nice and simple when it comes to answering questions of a specific nature about specific people. He has known the Planet to take many of his phrases out of context and thus has decided to err on the side of caution in this particular instance. "Personally, I can't wait to meet him."
With his grin ever so attached to his face, Lex merely continues to look at Lois through all of these questions and subtextual banter. "And speaking of the Planet, I would like to take a moment to thank you and your photographer for coming down to talk to me about this and the incident. I'm sure the public will find all this to be both compelling and informative. Your ability to stay on topic is impressive, Ms. Lane." Ooooh. Sarcasm Attack, Level 7.
Drats! Parry successful. Lois chuckles at the sarcasm attack, and rolls it away with a roll of her right shoulder and a dip of her head toward it. Her eyes half-close at the motion, face half turning away so the she has to slide her eyes to the slide and peer through her eye lashes at Lex to keep looking at him.
"I go where the story takes me," she quips back, words carrying an off-handed manner of coyish playfulness. "You know how I am," she adds with a broad grin, before looking to her notepad in which she had written some question prompts on the way over. Random questions are what happens when Lois finds something compelling or has a half finished story on her computer she's working on. Always staying to the canned questions is neither Lois's style nor interesting. That she has to even look down to them is a point for Luthor.
"How long does LexCorp expect the clean and repairs to take? Everyone knows LexCorp is going to be here for as long as it does take, but I'm sure the families of S.T.A.R. employees would like to know when life can get back to 'normal'," Lois questions now, voice more gentle, less cutting and edged, as she lobs this softer question out there, serving up the next set of today's verbal tennis match of wits.
"Team Luthor will remove themselves the moment S.T.A.R. Labs no longer wants our assistance. We do not intend to over stay our welcome, but we do intend to make sure the safety of everyone is a priority. I would love nothing more than to send home every single S.T.A.R. Labs employee and let my team do anything and everything to secure their facility once again. I would love to give them that vacation. But I do not have that authority, nor should I." Lex offers a playful laugh. "I'm afraid I would abuse such a position of power to their benefit much too often."
Lois chuckles at that, unable to resist commenting, "Yes. You do love to abuse power, don't you?" Her eyes twinkle a bit at that, the smirk more than apparent. Her pen bobs lightly between her fingers, as a brow quirks at him. She flicks the tip of her tongue over her drying lips (from talking to much, honest!), and returns to the topic at hand.
"I know that those employees and families must truly thank you for being so quick to react to the disaster and to jump to their aid, but I'm certain that there is more than one business analysist out there reading a more sinister hint of corporate espionage into the actions of LexCorp. How would you like to deny that, if there indeed come formal - or not so formal - accussations of such?" And right back to the hard questions. Lois must have caught her breath.
"People are free to say or think whatever they like. That is what makes this country so great. I feel no need to defend my actions to help a fellow technological firm in my city to those that would dare try to tarnish my image with such accusations. As I'm sure the same can be said for Superman. I doubt he feels the need to prove that his punching out of street hoods and other violent mortals comes from a good place and a good heart." Once again, Lex smiles as he throws Superman into the mix. He's doing that quite a bit. Huh. "I have nothing but the best of intentions in mind."
Yes, yes he is, and using very similar language to a certain Spangly Wonder. It has Lois smiling and shaking her head. The soft chuckle and the way she sits back in her conveys it all. Game: Luthor. She quite obviously makes a tiny bit of a show in turning off her recording pen and setting it down on the table between them before looking up at him once more.
"Thank you, Mr. Luthor. I can still call you if I have follow up questions, can't I," she says, unable and unwilling to keep the broad and pleased grin from her face. Superman makes her weak in the knees to talk to. Wayne's so charming and off putting that it's hard to stay completely focused all the time. Worthington's a little too demure and ...well, for lack of a better way to put this: submissive. Cap's so honest and forthright that even the hard-edged questions, met to draw a reaction, end up bolstering and calming than providing a new angle of attack. It's Luthor, out of all the people she interviews, all the people who Lois tries to verbally spar with, that she enjoys doing so with this much intensity. Oh, yes, Lois truly does look forward to their 'interviews'.
Lex is fine with the way the interview ended. In fact, it was almost as if he wanted it to end like that. Considering the big ol' smile on his face. But he's up and adjusting his tie in that next moment, turning and preparing to get back to work. He only stops to look back over his shoulder. The gaze that he gives Lois is one that screams the honest to goodness truth: I Miss You. But then, in that same instant, it's almost as if he never gave her that look at all. Finally, he speaks after what seems like a moment slowed in time. "Please. Call." There's a moment of reality that drips off Lex Luthor in that next moment. "You don't understand what I go through when you don't."
With that emotional bomb dropped, Lex Luthor is back to work. Heading over to head into the building of S.T.A.R. Labs and check on his boys. There's work to be done.