|Around the World in Eighty Blinks - The Party|
|What: While The Flash, Impulse and Superman race around the globe, the charity party side of the race is in full swing at the Daily Planet building in Metropolis.|
It's been a lovely charity event so far with a middle floor of the Time-Life building rented out and filled with a huge buffet line. There are also people dispensing various forms of liquid refreshment, from Lime-aid to the strong stuff.
The heroes were late to the even, naturally, but all arrived just in time to hear the starting gun, which just went off. All three heroes have departed the starting line, and coverage of their race has begun.
It's a pretty packed crowd that's gathered, and there are informal betting pools and wagers being made all over the place as to who will win.
A fan of supers, mutants and specials he may not be, but that doesn't dissuade Justin Hammer from making an appearance. He had made a pretty sizable contribution to the charity, which will make a lovely tax write-off, and is now making his way through the crowd. He loves events like this, taking any opportunity to potentially network and make himself known, and he winds through the crowded room keeping an eye out for anyone he might possibly know. He's in a dark grey three piece suit, as usual, and has a glass with some sort of mixed drink in it.
The first leg of their journies are all a matter of record now, with Superman touching down in Africa, Impulse heading south toward South America and the Flash running mostly across the Gulf of Mexico has made it to Rio already! The announcer leans forward in excitement. "There's a picture of Impulse at the Alamo! Look at 'em go!"
Justin looks up from one of the buffet tables to peer at the television when the announcer gives the latest update. He tries to puzzle out the actual rules of the race, since he missed that part, and all three contestants seem to be taking wildly different paths. Well, whatever works for them, he supposes.
The announcers recap that the goal of each speedster is to get photographed once at each continent as the goals of the race and that they all had North America in the bag, and Superman and FLash both with one extra continent. But North America is also the finish line. The commentators are arguing about wether or not they need to get photographed again on North America or not or just needed to cross the finish line.
The TV's put up "realtime maps" tracking each hero as they make their way around the world. Their website must be getting a ton of traffic today.
/Well, that makes a lot more sense,/ Justin thinks as he catches the recap of the rules. After finding a couple small deserts and putting them on a plate he moves away from the tables and back into the crowd at large again. He greets a couple folks, fellow business types, and stops to talk briefly with a reporter he's spoken with before on a couple of occasions.
The announcers put up another update, tracking Impulses trail along South America, Flash's quick appearance on Antarctica. Superman is reported to be in Spain.
The crowd is buzzing like it does at events like these. People are either deeply invested and screaming their heads off close to the TV's or they're behaving like it's no big deal and watching from their tables.
Superman's trail turns toward's Israel, and Flash's line zooms through South Africa, while Impulses heads toward Antarctica.
Hammer definitely isn't one of the ones that's deeply invested, having avoided the wager pools, but he is at least interested. The idea that these three can move with such uncanny speed is interesting, though more than a little disconcerting. Perhaps it's more an interest in what they're capable of, and how to defend against it, that draws Justin in.
Impulse breaks from Antarctica, aiming for Australia instead of Africa, a questionable route for him to take, but he's feeling very confident, apparently.
Superman is flying mostly, through Israel and out past the Arabian Peninsula, heading toward Australia.
The Flash has stopped for a photo at the Pyramids and the Parthenon and Jordan, and is in close pursuit of Superman. The viewers numbers continue to climb.
Justin pauses in his superficial conversation with a stock broker that he's spoken with at a couple other events when the announcer says that Flash is at the pyramids. He chuckles, watching the footage for several moments before offering a few comments to the other man he was speaking to in regards to the race.
She's saved up for this...she could probably have got in anyway had she come in costume, but Marissa Sometimes is here as herself. She's wearing a plain black sheath dress, cross back, the kind of thing that looks good even if you did get it off the rack, plain black heels and small silver studs in her ears. Needless to say, the drink she's holding is sparkling apple cider, not anything alcoholic. Ah well. She's watching the race, right now, with slight amusement. Sometimes she slightly envies those with more...spectacular...powers.
A few more phrases are exchanged, and then Hammer walks away from the broker he had been talking to. He continues to wander through the crowd, a mixed drink in his right hand. He's since finished the food he had and has ditched the plate, and is just mingling, making sure people know he is here. His path takes him toward the heroine, though he doesn't recognize her immediately. Sure, he's seen her, but he isn't familiar enough with her work to know her instantly.
The party on the third floor was in full swing. The race is nearing it's conclusion. Superman touches down in the Australian Outback before bounding back into the sky again, and making his way toward North America.
Impulses' path carries him to France, allowing him to hit both India and Egypt along the way!
The Flash has hit Sydney and is reported to be blazing across the Pacific even as we report this!
"Mr. Hammer," Marissa greets as he approaches, recalling...well, let's just say, she's not impressed by the reputation of his company, so she's studiously polite, taking a sip from her sparkling cider. Not being rude, no, but not exactly greeting him enthusiastically.
After he hits the water north of Brazil, Superman turns it into overdrive. A cone that spreads out past his legs gets wider and wider as he increases speed along the home stretch. He flies over Florida, then the rest of the south eastern seaboard. His teeth grit as he lays it all on the line.
She's been having a busy day, frankly, but every day at the Planet is a busy one. Lois Lane, star reporter, is hustling from the break room to her cubicle and talking on her bluetooth: "I don't CARE what his assistant says. He's definitely in. ...You know, I'd rather not, but it looks that way. And you can tell her from me that if she takes that supercilious tone with me again, I'll come down there myself and give her a piece of my mind." It's a different mood from the few minutes she spent staring dreamily out the window before.
Justin cracks a smile when the young woman greets him. Of course, he takes it as an invitation for a conversation, skipping over the lack of enthusiasm. "Good afternoon," he offers to her, trying to place where he's seen her before. "You seem familiar, you frequent events like this often?" His tone carries his usual cocky air, and he has a very light New York accent.
Crossing the State of California is easy and just like that he's practically flying alongside the Grand Canyon and through the rockies, rather than across them, saving precious nano-seconds.
Flash starts to pour on the speed and races across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and then straight northwest toward Metropolis, up through Arkansaw, Tennesse, Kentucky, West Virgina, Pennsylvania and thein on toward Metropolis. It's coming down to a photo finish here.
"Not as often as I'd like." Joy. Can't get rid of him, would make her look bad if she actively avoided him. Instead, she reaches to shake hands. "Marissa Sometimes." He's likely to remember the name. It's not exactly a common or easily forgotten last name.
A quick pic at the Eiffel Tower, and then Impulse's blasting across the Atlantic, full speed, and sending up a huge spray of water hundreds of feed in the air and dousing the deck of a nearby cruise ship.
Moments later, he blasts across New York Harbor and into Metropolis, making his final approach to the Daily Planet Building.
Superman crossed Virginia, then Maryland, and up through New Jersey. As Metropolis comes into view, he sees streaks out of the corner of his eye. This is going to be close!!!
Flash races toward the finish line. He spots some kids playing near a light fire barrel in an alley in the Bronx, playing far to rough and sidetracks over to stop the kicked can of flamables.
Flash scoops them up and slams them into a dumpster and shuts the lid, starving the incipent blaze of oxygen before bearing back toward the finish line. There it was, the finish line just ahead!
Finally a click. Lois hangs up after thanking whoever was on the other line, swigging her afternoon coffee. Leaded, of course. Only wusses and people careful about their health don't drink caffeinated coffee after lunch. She glances over the tops of the cubicles and pauses -- is /that/ Justin Hammer? Isn't that /interesting/. She wheels around and makes a beeline in his direction, dark eyebrows perked.
"Sometimes?" Hammer asks as he shakes the young heroine's hand, "Daughter of the Arizona governor, right?" Of course he would remember that connection before the whole hero thing, given the fact he prides himself on his political connections. After the greetings are finished he takes a drink from the glass he has with him and glances toward the television coverage of the race. "It's starting to wrap up, I think."
"Unless you ask him," Marissa says, wryly. She was rather dramatically disowned...but some people still see her as the Governor's Daughter. She glances at the screens. "They're pretty close." And there's a journalist, plus chair, heading right for them.
A two-fer. What on /Earth/ were these people doing at the Planet? Marissa Sometimes and Justin Hammer. Lois put on one of those fifty-kilowatt smiles and extended her hand. To Marissa first, naturally, then Justin. "Good afternoon! Lois Lane. You must be Marissa Sometimes -- but your codename's Mend, is that right? And how could I not recognize Justin Hammer? What brings you to the Planet?"
A more observant person might have stopped to, say, help some kids in a back alley, like The Flash did. However, Impulse's strong suit isn't paying attention--it's just that he's great at opening the throttle wide open and sprinting like there's no tomorrow. (Which may be an ironic metaphor, considering that he's from the future.)
Regardless, when The Flash stops off, Impulse obliviously rips ahead, cresting even with Superman for a long instant, just before he surges one last time, drawing on near-endless reserves of youthful energy, to leap across the finish line, moving so fast that he has to run up the side of the Planet building and run a few quick laps around its famous globe before finally sliding to a stop on the building's front steps, fists raised high in the air in triumph.
Superman can't help but smile as Impulse overtakes him at the last moment. When he finishes, Superman skids to a stop down the street, sliding with both of his feet and an outstretched hand. As the dust settles, he returns to the finish line and gives a nod up towards Impulse before he makes his way towards Lois Lane.
The CEO is too busy watching the television and talking with Marissa to notice Lois Lane's attention. Not that he'll be upset that the reporter has taken interest in him, of course. Glancing to the girl, Justin says offhandedly, "That's right, things aren't so hot between you two. Always a shame to see trouble in families." As expected, he doesn't sound overly sincere or invested in the words. "Heck of a race, wonder how they're gonna judge it. I mean, they've been having a devil of a time trying to just get television footage. Don't think a photo finish is gonna work."
When the reporter draws up to Hammer and the teen hero, Justin turns his attention fully toward her. He offers one of his classic smiles, the kind you just can't quite trust. "Miss Lane, a pleasure," he offers, taking the reporter's hand and shaking it. "The party, of course! I must say, you guys put out quite a spread for this charity event. All for a good cause, I know, so it's worth it."
Marissa Sometimes laughs a little bit. "It IS a pretty good party." She used to attend these things all the time. Now she...well, this is the first one she's managed in a while. "And...good point. Ordinary people have no chance of keeping up." She does wonder what it's like to live life in that...well...fast lane.
Party. Lois looks blank for a moment. She's still in the same skirt-suit she wore to work, after all. Because she's still at work. She's /regularly/ here until all hours. She blinks a few times, then glances past Justin at the laden buffet table and all the people dressed to the nines. "Oh. I thought it was someone's birthday -- isn't it someone's..." She clears her throat, setting down her mug of coffee and pulling the earpiece off her head to tuck into her jacket pocket. "Good, isn't it?" she says, clearing her throat and catching the monitors just as the race ends. She starts applauding along with the rest, cheering when she sees Superman cross the line. Of course.
Flash skids to a halt just over the finish line, coming in dead last. By miliseconds that only a camera could catch. He is even seen turning and giving the camera a wink as he crosses the finish line.
He pauses to pat Bart on the shoulder. "Congratulations kid... Don't let it go to your head."
He looks around for the inevitable press of press, then donors and then maybe he'd be able to raid the buffet. "You're the star of the moment, Impulse, make the most of it."
As he makes his way back towards the finish line, Superman is bombarded by flashbulbs and commotion with a host of reporters looking for a comment. "No, no, I'm not upset I lost. Those guys are really fast. I thought I had them with a decent strategy, but in the end the faster man-or kid-won." The Man of Steel laughs, as do some of the reporters. "The money is going to a great cause and I'm just happy to say that both of these gentlemen are on our side."
"What are you going to do next, Superman?"
"Ice my knees."
"Would you consider a rematch someday?"
"Only if I get a head start."
Justin actually focuses on the television as the three competitors cross the finish line. He claps, nodding toward the teen hero and the reporter as the race finishes up. "What a show, what a show," he offers. "Man, those guys really know how to race. Puts the Indy car races to shame, doesn't it?" He motions toward the televisions as he talks, never really seeming to sit still.
"The kid won." Marissa grins a bit. "But I'd say they all did. It's always fun to watch the people with really spectacular powers." Sure, she's a heroine, but most of the time she relies on gadgets.
Lois is kind of disappointed she's not down there with the reporters asking questions, but she'll learn to live with dsappointment. She chuckles at Superman's answers, momentarily ignoring the people she was just talking to. "Sure does," she murmurs to Justin. "But that's why it's a charity event. People'll pay good money to see this. As long as it's a success."
Impulse beams brightly at the media attention and doubly so from The Flash's words of praise. "Hey, it's all just for fun, right? Oh, and, y'know. Charity. I just never got to race anyone so FAST before! It was SO SPROCKING COOL!" He can barely seem to contain his excitement, practically vibrating in place from the intensity of the moment.
The Flash waves to the crowd and starts answering questions as he pauses to wipe his forehead at the Brawndo drink station one last time and says, "Congratulations to my competitors for a race well run, and big props to Impulse, let's hear it for today's younger generation!" He applauds and guides reporters eyes over to him.
"Why did you lose, Flash, Aren't you supposed to be the fastest man alive?"
"I might be the fastest man, but the fastest boy just may be a hair faster. I might have to strap on my track shoes for him next time. Perhaps a straight line race around the equator? To the moon and back on treadmills? I'm up for any challenge!"
"What exactly has prompted your move to Gotham?"
"Personal reasons. A change of scenery was in order."
"Is it true that you and Wonder Woman are romantically involved?"
"Before that crazy rumor starts, no, we're not involved."
"How do you think you served your cause by coming in last today, Flash?"
"Uhm, I think we did fine, we raised a lot of money today and that money will be used for education, increased donations to food banks on local levels. One program that I think Superman and I both agree on is the Farm to Table initiative. We think we can increase the amount of food available to food banks just by making sure that the farms and other production facilities donate rather than destroy unmarketable product."
Then he's at the reception line, standing there and greeting donors and shaking them by the hand, and standing for a jillion photographs.
Justin grins widely. "If even just a handful of these fine folks," he motions toward the room with his right hand, "Contributed the way /I/ did, it'll be raging success." There's a bit of blatant boasting in his words. He glances between Marissa and Lois, though his focus is far more on the reporter. "Oh, Miss Lane, while I have you here. I think I might have a story for you. That is, if you're not too busy to do a bit of a human interest piece."
Superman nods towards the Flash. "All of the different programs under the Flash Foundation are phenomenal. Hopefully someday we'll be able to eradicate hunger across the globe." Superman chuckles at some of the questions asked by the press in regards to the Flashes personal life, and one in particular beckons him to look back upwards towards the Daily Planet. He answers a few more questions that are mundane in detail, and lifts off with a wave. "Well, Flash and Impulse, until next time."
"Not /usually/ my area, Mr. Hammer. Or can I call you Justin?" Another blazing smile from Lois. "Let me know what it is, though, and I'll give it a thought. Or if it's not for me, I'll send it along to someone who can do it." Like Clark, maybe. He needs to build up a bit more before he gets a Pulitzer.
Flash guides Impulse over to the donor's recieving line to shake hands with the first fifty people. It doesn't take as long as it sounds though. He'd leave the rest to Impulse. Who was probably already bored and thinking about his next great adventure. Kids these days, he thought to himself.
He manages to avoid the rest of the reporters as he zooms through the crowd at super speed to hit the buffet at least once, possibly twice before he takes his place in line.
There aren't many people in front of Justin, as only 15 other people beat his donation to the event, so his place in line is pretty much anywhere he wants it to be, given that he's younger than half the other bidders.
Probably best in line he could manage without shoving an old lady into her next hip-replacement, he could probably swing sixth in line, along with whomever he wanted to bring along.
"Justin is just fine, Miss Lane," Justin says with a broad grin. "I'm going to tour a firehouse, see what it's really like for the people who are out there, saving lives and risking everything for the rest of us. Just between you and me," he drops his tone conspiratorially, "I'm looking at starting a couple of civilian projects to help them out." He gives a bit of a wink, then looks toward the line that's formed to meet the competitors in the race. "Hey, would you two ladies like to join me in meeting today's guests of honor? As a donor I get a good spot in line."
Gosh. Seeing how the other half lives. How very. Lois nods slowly, praying that Perry doesn't put her on that story. "Yeah? That's fantastic," she enthuses. "Advanced fire suppressants? Protective gear? It's definitely a worthy cause..." And she was actually going to weasel her way into the line anyway, but this just gives her the best opportunity. "That's very kind of you. Thanks very much."
Marissa Sometimes laughs. "I've already met Superman...but not the other two." Hammer doesn't seem quite as bad as his reputation might suggest. Or he's just being nice to the pretty girls. One way or the other. "But I have a lot of respect for firemen."
Hammer is being pretty well behaved, though he's still acting a bit pretentious. Holding his hand out toward the line, he steps aside to let both Marissa and Lois walk ahead of him. "After you, ladies," he says with an incline of his head. He'll follow both of them to the line, and when they arrive he'll do his best to work his way as far toward the front as he can.
Flash guides Impulse to the line as well, in his place in front as winner of the race. It gets boring fast but Flash keeps leaning over and whispering to him very quickly to sit up straight and pay attention with an occasional super speed nudge or gibb-style smack to the back of his head.
"A pleasure, thanks you for coming and thank you so much for your support." Flash says this in slow time knowing that these people would be the future lifeblood of this Foundation and he'd be able to get a lot of good work done through it as a consequence. Finally, it's Justin and Lois's and Marissa's turn to greet the heroes.
"Mr. Hammer, thank you so much for your generous check. We're very glad to have your support sir. Miss Lane, you're looking very professional today. Don't quote me on that." He glances over to Marissa. "I'm sure I haven't had the pleasure to meet you, Miss. I'm the Flash," he says, offering his hand to Marissa after pressing the flesh with Justin.
"Marissa Sometimes." She's being off duty, although it would be a surprise if Flash hadn't heard the name and didn't know she was connected to the Titans. Still, she's in ordinary (pretty) girl clothes right now.
"It's a real pleasure to see you again, Flash." Lois smiles brightly and extends a hand to shake. "What have you been up to lately? Apart from a really fantastic race, I mean. Work with the JLA? Charity work outside there?"
Hammer shakes hand with, and congratulates, Impulse. He then turns to the Flash, and smiles, shaking the man's hand. "My pleasure, we may have to talk about future events," he says before Flash moves on to Lois and Marissa.
Flash says, "Marissa, a pleasure to meet you at last. I've heard about your association with some mutual friends of ours!" His handshake is quick and firm. "Mr. Hammer, we must certainly do that. Just call the foundation with a time you'd like to set up to talk and where you'll be at that time and I'll come find you, unless duty calls."
"Lois! Asking me such questions! I haven't been fighting crime for six months and you start with my affiliation with the JLA? Honestly, I don't know what my status is with the Justice League at the moment. I had thought I was retiring for good six months ago, but I couldn't just sit on the couch when I saw so much going on that needed help in our country Miss Lane. Do you know how many children go to sleep hungry in this country Miss Lane? I bet you do. It's too darn many. As for this and my future endeavors Lois, call the foundation and set a time, I'll be happy to give you an exclusive."