|Hey, Kid...wanna run a team?|
|What: Superman snags Nightwing for a chat with the President of the United States. No candy was involved.|
There's a sticky feel to the air as it's one of those hot nights, those hot and humid nights that make you feel gross just moving. Like you're swimming, swimming upstream in a flowage of sewer waste that makes up Gotham's underbelly. An underbelly with bedsores and insect bites you can't scratch.
There's been a skirmish. Light most tangles that pit Nightwing against common thuggery, it doesn't work out so well for the latter. There's thuds of varying degrees and screams that eventually turn into whimpers. Just as he's finishing in the alleyway, a limousine pulls up to the side alleyway, not far from Nightwing.
"Mister Nightwing," comes an oddly friendly voice that seems well out of place for a town like this. "If possible, I'd like to speak with you."
From your vantage point, you can't see within the limousine yet.
Nightwing has called Gotham's Finest to come and clean up the mess and is ready to move onto the next set of thugs who seem to think that now is a perfect time to be doing nefarious deeds. At least it doesn't also smell of Elephant poop. The limousine pulling into the alley causes him to pause, one hand going to an escrima stick and another going to a smoke bomb -- limos after these sorts of attacks generally mean 'mobsters'. The voice from the limo isn't recognized, for he replies, "Sorry, man. I was always taught never to get into cars with strangers."
The car door opens and a man recognizable the world over pokes his head out. He wears a red cape over his shoulders and a blue tunic. If there was any doubt, the spitcurl on his forehead erases it. "I know we haven't met, but I like to think I'm not a stranger to anyone in this country. It will really only take a few moments of your time, sir, which I know is very valuable."
Nightwing has at least seen the other man's image enough to recognize him. He looks from the man to the limo and, remembering what Robin said about the 'Supers', he inclines his head up at the taller, bulkier man, "Why do we have to talk in the car?" Although, with the cops coming, he does need to get out of the area. "If you want privacy, the top of the church there," he points to a steeple a couple of blocks away. "Unless you're afraid of heights?" A test, perhaps, to be sure this is the real 'Superman'?
Superman smiles, "Because I have an audio link in here with the President of the United States. It's wired into the computer in the limo. If you'd like, I'll meet you up there, but then I'm going to have to ask you to come back down again so we can have our conference call." Superman exits the car gently, holding his hand up to show Nightwing he's not going to attack (gotta watch out for these Bat types. Paranoid bunch. Heck. This town is a paranoid bunch.) Slowly he begins to levitate.
That was not something that Nightwing expected. How often does someone utter the phrase, 'Audio link with the President of the United States' and how often has it been uttered to him? "The President of the United States wants to talk to me?" his immediate instinct is then to demand, 'I didn't do it!' but he holds that in check. Noting the offered hand and the levitation, he finally gives a single now, "All right. But if this is some sort of trick..."
"If it was a trick..." Superman begins, but then decides better just to leave it. No reason to get into that tit for tat. He lands, slides into the far end of the limosuine and leads the door open for the young hero.
Nightwing keeps his hand on the smoke bomb...just in case...as he slides into the limousine after Superman. He still looks quite dubious about the whole thing, but his interest has, at least, been piqued.
As soon as Nightwing gets comfortable, the hologram of the face of President Wash Abbott appears from the middle console and the limosuine slowly begins to drive away from the alleyway. "Good evening Nightwing. You're a difficult man to get a hold of, but I assume that's just sort of the role you have to play given how you spend your nights. Our discussion will be brief. As you may or may not know the Justice League of America and the Titans of Tomorrow are two teams of superheroes the government has created in response to the recent attacks on your city and others on the East Coast. The Titans are group of younger heroes whose aim is to learn their trade, serve as an auxilary group to the Justice League, and act on the behalf of the the interests of the United States against the forces of evil that other, more traditional forces, could not otherwise conduct. Both Superman and I have reviewed assorted documents kept by the agencies of the United States that deal with such things: FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security. Because of your effectiveness, we weren't able to find much on you...probably by design. But what we did find we were interested in talking to you about."
Nightwing does his best to contain his surprise at this speech and stays silent while the President speaks. He glances over to Superman briefly before he answers, "I'm aware of the Justice League and of this 'Titans of Tomorrow' group." At least, as much as he chooses to be. "Just -what- did you find out about me?"
"Only rumors, really," Superman says as he interjects. "People believe you to possess an excellent fighting skill, acrobatics, and the like. But from witness accounts of those you've put in jail, we tried to do a makeshift assessment. What the President is getting at, Nightwing, is that we don't just want you for the Titans. We want you to lead the Titans."
"So you get to read the FBI files too?" Nightwing looks to Superman, "Pretty sweet deal if you ask me." There might be a trace of irony in those words. "Witness accounts?" He looks back to the hologram of the President, "I heard Supergirl was going to be leading the group."
Superman makes a face, getting Nightwing's point; reading between the lines easily. Sensing that, Abbott handles the question, "Supergirl is a fantastic hero and capable of a great many things, Nightwing. But she simply does not have the leadership skills, nor the wisdom you seem to possess. She makes sense for a lot of reasons, but the best choice for leadership is you, son."
The hand moves then and Nightwing actually flicks on a small recording device. Bat-Utility belts for the win. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that please?" It's said with a completely straight face and no hint of anything other than honesty. However, this is going to be something that Batman will have to hear.
"I said," repeats President Abbott, "The clear choice for leadership is you. You have a way with people, even those who you put away, that endears the respect we're looking for." Superman smiles and nods at Nightwing, "It's a big decision. We realize that. We'll have to know soon. You can reach the President's Chief of Staff at the number on this card and let him know your decision. We must know by Saturday." Superman purses his lips and hands Nightwing the business card. It is plain, with only a phone number listed on it.
The card is taken and looked at briefly before Nightwing tucks it into one of the hidden pockets of his costume, "What would this entail? Besides being in charge of teenage hero-types?" Might as well start there while he has the big guy himself on the phone...and the other big guy in the limo next to him.
Superman explains, "Well, the issue facing the country right now is what we found out about a few weeks ago. Some forces are so dangerous that normal military operations cannot protect our country. When that happens, the Justice League and the Titans are called in. So that's mission number one. As the leader, it would be your vision on how that needs to occur. As we speak, crews work around the clock at construction a tower in Delaware Bay for your headquarters."
"Delaware Bay?" Oof, that's a trek...but they couldn't be staying in Gotham. "But now the crews are going to know where that tower is located, how to get in and out, and what all is in there." Nightwing can't help but point that out, "Who is to say someone won't bribe them with a large sum of money for that information?"
"Delaware Bay, right. We felt it was strategically located between Gotham and Metropolis and acts as a buffer from DC to the East." The President's bottom lip comes out and he nods a few times as if considering Nightwing's point, "Nothing more than what wont stop them from doing the same thing to the Presidency, Nightwing. It's the same risk."
Being hunted by the Secret Service is a pretty big threat. Being hunted by angry, vigilante/superpowered teens might be even more of an incentive to keep one's mouth shut. "So, how would this work?" Nightwing continues to ask the questions that come up, "We wait for you to give us orders?"
"No, not necessarily," Superman shakes his head slowly trying to explain it. "In some ways the Titans will be their very own group. They will stand on their own. I don't want to give the impression that they're less or inferior. I guess factually, the Justice League would 'outrank' the Titans, but you would be actively working on your own. Participating in your own investigations. Every so often we would meet to compare notes, but I'd like to think you and whoever the League chooses as their leader will work in a symbiotic relationship. In many ways we're hoping that the group of young heroes that join the Titans will eventually become members of the League."
Nightwing leans forward some, not that the hologram would really notice or care, but he turns to address Superman, "That's not really my question. How would the Titans get these 'investigations'? Are they sanctioned to open some on their own or do they need to go through bureaucratic red tape in order to get something done? What's the level of autonomy? And secrecy?"
"Well, you'll get leads by the CIA and other groups, for sure. The Justice League will have a military liasion at the base. For the Titans we were thinking of something similar. As far as what level of autonomy, I would say 'high'. Secrecy depends on the situation. Knowing you, and your clan's love for secrecy, we would trust your discretion," responds Superman.
"Wait, you're going to have a military liaison in the Titans?" That gets another frown, "
"Absolutely," says the President. "It's how we're to get messages to you. It's precisely the same situation with the Justice League."
"Wait, you're going to have a military liaison in the Titans?" That gets another frown, "How does that work with the high level of autonomy and secrecy that the Titans will have, according to you," Nightwing addresses both the President and Superman. "What's wrong with an email or a text? I'm not sure I like the idea of having a Military Mole about."
"It's part of the deal, Nightwing. They're not there to watch over you. They're there to serve you. The Justice League itself, based on a military base has a garrisson of troops and squadron of jets at its disposal."
"Part and parcel of being government sanctioned," Nightwing sort of answers himself. "I get it. I don't like it, but I get it." He looks between the 'two' in the limo, "I need to think about it. I can let you know by Saturday. There's a lot to consider. How would recruitment work? Will you be kidnapping more folks in limos?"
Superman laughs, "Well, we'll have a list of people for you to approve, of course. But a lot of the recruitment would be handled by you." The limo comes to a stop and the door unlocks, "But kidnapping them will be your job."
"Well, that sounds promising, at least." Humor? From a Bat? Nightwing notes the doors unlocking, "It was a pleasure talking with you, Mr. President, and I will give you my decision before Saturday." He then looks at Superman, "Do I get the limo for the kidnappings?"
Superman chuckles, "I'll see what I can do. You break it you buy it." He nods to the younger hero, "Take care. We'll see you soon."