|What: Aspen and Superman chat on a more personal level while trying not to worry about the possible WMDs that are loose.|
The United States Government is on high alert after yesterday's news. Evidence of 3 weapons of enriched uranium was found along with testimony by a man who claimed to be a pirate of some sort, points towards a conspiracy in an attack against the Blue. The United States Navy assured Aspen they are doing everything they can in conjunction with the Blue forces. Ironic that this episode has pushed the new allies closer together.
Speaking of allies, Aspen was encouraged to begin looking for a home and had taken Superman up on the offer to view the Justice League grounds. She has a while before she goes on active duty; given some time to get her feet wet so to speak.
After a tour of the military base turned superhero headquarters, the pair end up in the Observation deck, looking out over the evening and a massive field.
"I know you must be very worried." Superman says to her.
Aspen has changed into jeans and a T-shirt, making her look a little out of place amidst the uniforms and Superman's flashy attire but Aspen's still "surface dweller" enough to feel a bit underdressed at times when everyone else is dressed head-to-toe. She rests her palms on the railing, leaning forward a bit as she looks out over the field. "I hate waiting." She admits. "And being raised on the surface isn't the only reason I got this position. My... degree of power is what made Blue Sun come looking for me. Some of the Blue look at me like... I don't know. Like I'm some kind of savior." She grimaces at that. Clearly not a role she relishes. "I feel like by doing nothing, I'm letting them down, even though logic tells me I can't search the whole damned ocean myself."
Superman nods to her solemnly, "I know the feeling. It's a heavy burden that weighs on you day and night. No matter what you do it's not enough. And you get to thinking silly, trivial thoughts that don't even matter like whether they care about you as a person or more as an entity of importance." He exhales. "Maybe I'm just projecting. But you're right. You can't search the whole ocean by yourself. And I can't tell you whether or not that guy at the lab was even telling the truth. He could just be trying to get under your skin." But there is, indeed, pretty damning evidence. Even Superman's words don't sit right with him.
Aspen turns her head enough to look back at Superman, listening as he speaks. She chuckles a bit as he exhales. "No.. that sounds about right." She admits. "Blue Sun saw me as a tool. They didn't care about me as a person, just what my abilities could get them. Sometimes I think the Council sees me that way too, to some extent. I'm not *Aspen* to them." There's a long, quiet moment and then she nods. "Maybe. Hopefully it's nothing as bad as he suggested. But he knew about the Blue. And they've got the enriched uranium. No matter how you slice it, it's bad."
Superman asks her questions; questions he usually doesn't ask other heroes. Most of the time he has to be the strong one; the undivided leader and beacon of hope. "How do you cope with it? I mean, how do you balance the needs of your people against the expectations of leadership? Are you ever afraid that you've lost yourself somewhere in there?" As she speaks about the matter at hand, he nods. "If it makes you feel any better I have a direct line from Finch in my belt. If he sees anything, I'll be there in seconds. I know that's not everything, but the safety of the Blue is my number one concern at the moment." He takes a look at the clock, "Well, that and a meeting I have with the Justice League later. Dinner party held by Zatanna Zatarra, the magician."
Aspen turns so that she can lean back against the railing, tucking some of the hair that blows by her face behind one ear. "Surfing." She grins and looks away almost bashfully. "No, no, really. Surfing." She says, knowing she's going to get the hairy eyeball, and goes on to explain. "It gives me a... sense of perspective? It's just me and the ocean. It's quiet, except for the crash of the waves and when I'm riding everything else falls away and it's me and then ocean. Like we're one being in perfect harmony. No worries, no obligations, just that sense of rightness and perfection." A pause. "It goes a long way. Makes me feel powerful and insignificant all at the same time. It's amazing, how in letting go of yourself? You find it too." She gives a slight nod at the news about Finch. There's no wisecrack about him going to a dinner party while her people's lives are in danger, instead she gives a small grin. "The dinner entertainment should be incredible."
Surfing? Instead of giving an eyeball, hairy or otherwise, Superman seems genuinely intrigued. "For me I spend time alone at my headquarters. I call it the Fortress of Solitude. I never thought about surfing, to be honest. Not many people know this but I grew up kind of landlocked. I can't recall ever having been surfing." He chuckles at her joke, "Well it's funny you should say that. One of the things I'm going to talk about is offering you membership with us. I think we could use someone with your skills; someone so knowledgeable and powerful over three quarters of the planet's surface." His words are nonchalant, as if this were of course going to be the course of events.
"I could teach you. It helps if that floating thing you do isn't always-on." Aspen does point out. "I don't know if it'll give you the same moment of Zen it does for me but..." She gives a shake of her head. "I can't imagine that. I mean, now I really just couldn't do it but... I guess even not remembering, the ocean's always been a part of me." The offer turns amusement into surprise. "Isn't the JLA a US thing?" And she's obviously got allegiances to the Blue.
"I'd very much like that, Aspen. I mean, if the lessons aren't too expensive." Superman smiles faintly toward her and shakes his head, "Well, technically it's a US thing, but technically you're also a United States citizen. Besides, we have a Russian and a Martian on our team so we're pretty cosmopolitan." He smiles at her, "Talk to the Blue. They may think it's a good idea. The relations between our nations are likely to be a lot better after the last 24 hours, don't you think?"
"You don't look like you've got room for a wallet in that outfit." Aspen teases Superman. "I'll have to figure out some alternate form of payment." The smile lingers as she thinks about his statement on the JLA and gives a slow nod. "True. They haven't tried to revoke my citizenship or anything and if there's something I could help with of course I would." The last bit gets a slow sigh. "That's likely going to depend on the outcome. But it's good to see them working together, and not pointing figures and assigning blame."
"The outcome will be success, Aspen. I guarantee it." Superman reaches out to put his hand on her shoulder. "I promise you. No harm will come to your cities." As for the surfing bit he tilts his head, grins, and blushes, "Well, let me know what you have in mind and I'm sure we'll be able to negotiate a compromise."
Aspen puts her hand over his as he lays it on her shoulder to give it a squeeze in thanks. Seeing Superman blush actually gets a laugh from her, one of those like sunlight dancing on water that makes her eyes sparkle. "He blushes!" She teases him. "If nothing else, I'll hit you up for really authentic takeout from India and China or something." That's right, have a favor from the most famous superhero on the planet? Have him get you moo goo gai pan.
Superman says, a bit bashfully, "Well it seems as though I'll be getting off pretty easy in that event." He nods a few times as the idea bounces in his head. "I am one heck of a delivery man. Maybe I got the wrong job."
"Do not underestimate my love of Indian food." Aspen says oh-so-seriously, though the dancing eyes kind of ruin that whole effect. She puts her hands on the railing and hops up to sit on the edge, her back to the drop. She's got Superman here, he can save her if she falls! Not to mention she's got great balance. And can turn into water before she'd go splat. "So tell me more about your League." She gestures to the building before her. "It's certainly impressive, and definitely not a group that I'd expect the military to be backing. By all appearances you have some very independent thinkers."
"Well," Superman responds as he joins by her side, facing the other direction--towards the view of the field, Metropolis in the background, and the Delaware Bay behind that. "The President was't looking for "Yes Men." He's looking for people to be kept safe. After the recent attacks on some of our biggest cities, it became clear to him that he needs a strong, semi-independent response. Frankly, the government was no longer able to assure the public’s safety." Wait...but they can assure the safety of the Blue?
"They didn't have any kind of tactical response to threats on that level that wouldn't have considerable collateral damage." Aspen guesses. Hey, her adopted dad is Navy! "And my bet is that a lot of those that have joined would have been doing what they could to help already. So at least this way the government can take some of the credit. And their endorsement and support isn't insignificant." She adds as a bit of hasty assurance she isn't just trying to paint the JLA as a political ploy.
"Well," Superman responds, "Really our problem...Our failure during the attacks...was that we didn't work well as a team. Heroes from all over the eastern sea board were fighting side by side with no coordination. That's the real thing I think President Abbott is trying to alleviate. I know many people think this thing is a political thing, but I know the President...pretty well. I believe him."
Aspen gives a nod of her head. "It's a good idea. Given the paranoia and general well, discontent and American propensity to distrust and assign blame, I'm not surprised at the worries and suspicion." She looks over and gives him a sort of lopsided smile. "I love my country, but sometimes we're exceptionally pig-headed." A slow, deep breath then. "If the President didn't think he could assure the safety of his own people, what makes you so confident that we'll be able to stop this attack on mine?"
"Because he didn't have the information before it happened. What happened during those attacks was a response. It was a reaction. Here we're being proactive." Superman looks to her, "If you'd like...right after the meeting tonight, I'll personally comb the seas." He'd actually sort of planned on doing that anyhow.
Aspen gives a nod at his response, her expression thoughtful but not skeptical. At the offer she gives a faint smile. "Needle in a haystack." She points out. "And I see it's gone from 'dinner party' to 'meeting'."
"Well, I didn't want you to think I was having dinner with Zatanna Zatarra without any real /purpose," Superman says with a wink. "It's a needle in a haystack, certainly. But if you want me to check, I will."
"It's Zatanna Zatarra. I think the purpose for dinner with her is pretty clear." Aspen says with one of her easy grins. The repeated offer has her looking thoughtful, even as the smile lingers. "If you don't have other things that you'd be doing, things where you'd be making a clear difference, I'd appreciate it. But I'm not going to ask you to spend your time on something that's not likely to find anything if there's real good you could be doing instead. Not just for my peace of mind."
"Well, I wouldn't have any problem if you'd like to join us, perhaps. You, me, Zee and about a dozen of our closest friends," Superman responds with a smile. "I'll do it, Aspen. I'll look. It might end up preventing something very terrible from happening."
"That sounds really, really..." Aspen starts, looking almost intent. It doesn't last long. "Awkward." She finishes, expression melting into a light laugh. "OK. So. I admit I have a question." She looks over to him again, her feet lightly kicking back and forth. "How weird is it to be called 'Superman'? I mean, don't get me wrong but it just.... if it were me I'd feel really pretentious."
Superman laughs a bit. "Superman isn't really my name. It's more of..." He exhales. "It's an identity, really. A shield. Is it pompous? Sure. But it was given to me because the crest of my family looks remarkably similar to an 'S'. Lois Lane gave it to me." Superman seems to darken a bit as he says the name. "They have to call me something, I suppose."
"I didn't think it was." Aspen admits. "And I remember the article. Is that what this is?" She leans in a bit closer, one hand coming up to reach out towards the 'S' outline before she catches herself, her hand stopping as she leans back. "Sorry." She says with a shake of her head. "Sometimes my scientist's curiosity runs away with me and I do awkward things." Like invade people's personal space! "Family crest hmm? Sounds like some weighty history there. These days, not many people are that attached to family insignia." Noting the dip in his mood she ducks her head a bit. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to tread into uncomfortable territory."
"It's okay. She's in my past now," Superman says with a faint smile. "Yeah, this suit was fashioned for me by my family, as was the white one you saw earlier. It's a long story, I'll have to tell you some time." Superman looks down at her as she runs her hand on his crest, "Don't be. Are you sure you won't accompany me this evening?"
"Well, be glad that their taste in fashion didn't run to speedos." Aspen ducks her head with a grin. "Blue clothing is very practical for living underwater and no one thinks twice about it but I still feel a bit silly walking around on land in what is essentially an armored bikini." Like he probably didn't feel weird in a skin-tight bodysuit? The repeated offer has her biting her lower lip, grinning. "I would... but I have a meeting with the Council. They're at about seven hours behind us, so of course what's convenient for them..." Puts it smack dap in the middle of her evening.
"Yeah, I'm more of a normal trunk sort of guy. Speedos should be outlawed. Unfortunately, we live in a democracy." Superman smiles and nods, "I understand. Another time, maybe."
The soft breeze teases Aspen's hair out into a dark banner. "I'd like that." She looks away from him then, over her shoulder and out over the field and the water beyond that. "I'd like that a lot."
"Maybe we can go surfing. I'm not sure you'd care for my place much. It gets pretty cold there." Superman chuckles, "As far as your uniform, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Have you seen what kids wear these days? I mean, my cousin...left to her own devices...."
Aspen looks back over, brows arched as she tries not to grin. "Did you have to help dress her?" A tilt of her head, the wind blowing some of her hair across her face. "I practically lived on the beach and the pool, otherwise I'd probably feel a bit more awkward." One brow arches at the mention of cold. "I snowboard too, but it sounds like you go there more for the sitting kind of contemplation." A pause. "Maybe pacing."
Superman nods and responds wryly, "A bit of pacing. Some contemplation. Some sitting. Staring. If I were another hero, maybe some brooding, but that's not really my style." At the topic of Supergirl, he chuckles, "Well, she definitely needs to be guided sometimes."
Aspen's shoulders shiver a bit with repressed laughter. "There are worse things to do with one's time...." She trails off, the look she gives him amused and teasing. "But if you start navel-gazing know that you're headed into dangerous territory, mister."
Superman pauses for a moment, looks confused, and snaps his head in a shake as he tries to make sense. "Did that...Did that have a double meaning?" he asks, not really trying to be flirtatious.
Aspen's brow furrows at that, looking confused. And then her brows go up and her eyes get wide and a blush touches her cheeks beneath the tan. "OH! No, no, I meant like, your own navel. It's a.... saying.." She's blushing brighter now and ducks her head, her dark hair falling about and hiding her face. "Ohhh, shoot me now." She mumbles.
"Ohgood" Superman says as he begins to laugh, "I mean. I'd like to think I've done a good job maintaining eye contact, given the circumstances."
Aspen's hands come up, palms out in a defensive manner. "No, no, you're fine. Totally fine, I didn't mean to imply anythingLIKEthatohI'msoembarassed." She takes a deep breath. Clears her throat. "I just meant, you know, with the staring and doing nothing and you know what I'm just gonna stop right there."
Superman laughs and shakes his head, "Well...on that note...I have to prepare for tonight's dinner or meeting, or whatever you wanna call it. You know how to find me if you'd....well...if you'd like to ...discuss the Justice League. I mean, after you talk with the council and everything." Right.
Aspen has her lower lip caught between her teeth and she bobs her head in perhaps a too-fast nod. "I will.. definitely do that." She assures him, expression easing back into her usual smile. "Enjoy your evening and... good luck." With the searching afterwards.
Superman nods, regaining most of his composure. "Thanks. I'll let you know what I find after I check on the Blue tonight."