Amanda Waller unlocked the door to her DC apartment and entered. It had been a hellish, long day. On a news blog run by Clark Kent and Cat Grant the CCTV feed of how they treated Superman when they captured him was uploaded and running for everyone to see. It was an embarrassment and now Senators and congressmen were calling for explanations and scapegoats and her number was on their rolodex. The one positive about this was she somehow was erased from the tape so that only Luthor and General Lane were clearly seen on the feed.
Amanda took off her leather overcoat and hung it up in the hall closet. She could handle this crisis and much more. You didn't become Director of A.R.G.U.S. at thirty-four unless you were capable of handling more than some flack over denying and alien his civil rights. For a moment she stared in the mirror in the front hall. Yes, she was attractive and sexual appealing. She'd used those gifts when she needed to use them, but it was her will and willingness to do anything to get the job done that were her true strengths.
Turning away from the mirror, she walked into the living room and turned on the TV, which was on a cable news channel. Currently, Clark Kent was being accosted by reporters outside of his apartment.
"Who is your source?" asked a reporter.
"My source is to remain anonymous," answered Kent.
"Do you know Superman?" asked another.
"No, but I'd like to interview him. He seems like a swell guy," smiled Kent.
She muted the TV.
"How the hell did that idiot get the feed?" she asked the empty room.
"Me," answered Batman, who then stepped out of the shadows of her apartment.
"I should have known it was you," she spat. "Why don't you mind your own business?"
Amanda turned and faced the Dark Knight. For a moment she instinctively went for the sidearm that she wore on her hip, but she stopped herself. Batman stood there unmoving waiting for her to make up her mind on how she was going to handle this.
"The same could be said about you," rasped Batman.
"What do you want?" she asked.
"To settle this matter involving Superman," he answered.
"Fine. Hand him over to us and let us deal with him," she said.
"You're not General Lane, Amanda. You're not paranoid. You wanted Superman to be under your control, or to exam him and create a clone to be under your control. It's over, Waller. It's time to deal," growled Batman. "I kept you off the tape, but there is a tape with you visible on it. What will it be?"
She let out a long stream of air from her lungs then she sat down on the sofa. Batman didn't let up when he had you on the ropes and she was on the ropes.
"What do you want?" she asked.
"Throw your support behind accepting Superman. Get the government to clear him," said Batman.
"Because he's doesn't mean harm. He's actually trying to do good, Waller, so let him," said Batman.
"No, not him, Batman. Why you? Why are you helping him?" she asked.
"It's personal," growled Batman.
Amanda knew she didn't have much choice. The government was already headed in the direction of bringing charges up on General Lane and maybe even prosecuting Lex Luthor. It was a good deal.
"It's a good deal," she said. "I'll take it."
"Don't try to double cross me," said Batman.
"I'm not a fool," countered Waller.
Batman walked over to a window, opened it, took out his grappling gun, fired, and then disappeared. Waller sunk into the sofa.
"I need a drink," she mumbled.
Although they were dressed in civilian clothes, two Amazon warriors stood guard over a corner booth in chic DC restaurant. The lunch crowd stared at the two beautiful women, but even more so they stared at the woman seated in the booth. The even more stunningly beautiful Princess Diana, dressed in a black suit sans tiara but with her famed bracelets, sat having lunch with Steve Trevor.
"I'm glad you have bodyguards finally. I know you are Wonder Woman, but as an ambassador you are a target," said Trevor.
"I don't need Nala or Adina to protect myself, but it's my mother's orders that when I am acting as ambassador I must have guards," Diana explained.
Steve played with his salad, as Diana tucked right in and ate. She noticed his lack of appetite which was unusual. Ever since he crashed landed on Themyscira, he had a healthy appetite.
"What is wrong?" she asked.
"A.R.G.U.S. is going through some upheaval because of the Superman incident. Luthor has lost several major government contracts which have been transferred over to Wayne Industries and General Lane is being forced to retire," said Steve. "On top of that Amanda Waller has become Superman's biggest supporter. She is in favor of changing his status and giving him the same treatment we give the Justice League, even though he is a single individual who we haven't vetted. I'm a little confused and slightly worried."
Superman was no longer going to be a fugitive. Diana thought this fair. She also thought he might make an excellent new member of the league. When she was on duty, she'd have to bring it up with the Black Canary.
"Worried about what?" asked Diana.
"What Amanda Waller is up to," he replied. "She doesn't do anything without it benefitting her somehow. Maybe she wants to offer Superman a position in the new meta team she is starting."
"She is starting a team of metas?" asked Diana with concern.
She knew that Amanda Waller didn't trust the Justice League and was always looking for ways to have a counter to them.
"Yeah, she is calling it Checkmate. It's meant to be a counter to the Justice League. So far she has recruited The Peacemaker, Huntress, Captain Atom, and the Blue Beetle," he said.
"Ted Kord is Justice League," said Diana.
"Not that Blue Beetle. This one is an eighteen year old in armor powered by a symbiotic scarab of alien origin," explained Steve.
"And she wants Superman for this Checkmate?" asked Diana.
"Yeah, she does. She wants Superman to lead the group," sighed Steve. "I don't like it."
"Neither do I," stated Diana.
Clark smiled as he wrote about Lex Luthor losing government contracts to Bruce Wayne. He was sitting around his apartment in jeans and a red Metropolis U hoodie writing this latest entry into his opinion section, when he heard the familiar heartbeat of Cat Grant coming down the hall. He grabbed his glasses, mussed up his hair, and then waited for Cat to knock. On cue she knocked and he got up and opened the door.
"Cat, this is a surprise," he said.
"I came to celebrate," she smiled then held up a brown paper bag. "In here are deli sandwiches and pieces of cheesecake."
"Yummy," he said. "What are we celebrating?"
"Success, Clark. Over the last three days we have doubled our advertisers. At this rate we'll be able to rent offices and hire people. I'm really happy about this, Clark," she said as he let her into his place.
Cat headed right over to his sofa and sat down. Clark went into the kitchen and started to make some coffee. When he returned Cat had the sandwiches and cheesecake laid out on the coffee table. He sat down on the sofa leaving a space in the middle.
"So, do I have to put these new advertisers up on our site?" he asked.
"Yup," she smiled as she bit into a turkey and Muenster cheese sandwich.
Clark picked up his corned beef and Swiss cheese and took a big bite. There was a hint of spicy mustard on it, which he liked. It was strange how well Cat knew him. He wondered why. She liked flashy men, men with substantive bank accounts, and this version of Clark Kent was far from that kind of man. Yet, Cat left the Daily Planet to join him in this venture. It was very odd.
Again, Clark heard a familiar heartbeat coming down the hall. It was Lois Lane and she was with a male. The kettle started to whistle, just as there was a knock at the door.
"Cat, could you grab the kettle and pour the water into the French press," he said.
She got up and headed into the kitchen, while Clark went to the door and opened it. Standing there was Lois Lane. Her violet eyes were blazing with anger and her lips twisted in a frown. Behind her was Jonathan Carroll, her boyfriend. In slow motion he saw Lois' hand coming up to slap him in the face. He knew that if she connected with that slap to his face that she'd break her hand, so as gently as he could he grabbed her wrist to stop her.
"You bastard," she spat. "Because of you my father had been forcibly retired."
"You approve of what he did to Superman," counter Superman.
"No, but he has served this country faithfully. He deserved better than to be exposed and ridiculed," snapped Lois.
Cat came out of the kitchen and stood there and stared as Lois glared at Clark.
"What would you have done, Lois, if you received that tape? Would you have used it as news, Lois?" he asked her.
"I probably would have, Clark, but I would have always warned my friend if it affected them," she said. "I would have given them warning."
"I'm sorry for that, Lois," he said softly.
"You should be, Clark," she said coldly then looked at her boyfriend. "Let's go."
They waked down the hall. Clark shut the door.
"I guess the Daily Planet is a burned bridge," remarked Cat.
"Yeah, I guess it is."
Wonder Woman flew to the Hall of Justice landing at the front doors then entering. Walking through security, the scanners and x-ray machines checked for anomalies and biometrics. She kept going saying hello to the civilians who worked for the Justice League in different capacities until she got to what was called the Heroes Zone by civilians. Putting in her code, the security door opened and Wonder Woman entered the areas of the Hall restricted to members.
She noticed Nightwing talking up Katana, which showed that Batman's partner liked women with an edge just like Batman. Nightwing noticed Wonder Woman and broke off his conversation and approached Wonder Woman.
"Diana," he started, "I heard that you are sponsoring Cassandra for the league."
"I believe Wonder Girl would make an excellent junior member," she said.
"I do, too," grinned Nightwing.
"Then what is it you need to know, Nightwing?" she asked.
"When is she coming in for testing?" he asked.
His grin turned into a big smile then he said, "I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
Nightwing headed off in a different direction leaving Diana frowning. When she talked to Cassandra she needed to warn her about fraternizing with certain members. Wonder Women kept walking to the monitoring room.
When she entered the monitoring room, Mister Terrific along with John Stewart and Mister Miracle stood in the middle of the room checking all the satellite and CCTV feeds that the Hall was connected to. She walked up to them, as Mister Terrific checked a console.
"It looks like Sakurajima is ready for a serious eruption," said Mister Terrific. "According to the seismic data this is going to be more than ash. I'd say that Kagoshima City is in danger."
"Let's get a team together," said John Stewart. "I'll go."
"I'm in," added Wonder Woman.
"I'll contact the Flash and Simon Baz to join you," said Mister Terrific.
"Let's see if we can protect the city by containing the lava flow," said John.
While the Flash, Red Tornado, Zatanna, and Simon Baz evacuated the city, Wonder and John Stewart hovered near the volcano trying to decide how to handle Sakurajima once it blew and it was close to eruption. John's idea was to dig a trench leading to direct the lava flow into the ocean. They were about to discuss how to do this when a red and blue blur zipped past them and entered the mouth of the volcano.
"What was that?" asked John Stewart.
"Superman," answered Mister Terrific in his earpiece.
"He entered the volcano," John Stewart said to himself.
Diana stared at the volcano and wondered what kind of man would fly into lava. Suddenly, Superman punched a hole in the side of the volcano then he and lava exited the hole. Superman then proceeded to lead the lava by digging a trench leading the lava into the ocean. The city was safe, as the lava flowed out of the side of the volcano.
Wonder Woman watched as Superman exited the water and hovered half a mile away from them. He stared at the volcano then he looked over at them.
"I wonder if I should talk to him," said John Stewart.
Before he could even start to fly towards him, Superman rocketed away. Wonder Woman stared until he was gone. She still thought he'd make a good member of the league. Diana thought about approaching Bruce again to set up another meeting with Superman.
"He must be made of tough stuff to fly into lava," said John Stewart.
"Yes, he must be," mused Diana.
A smile formed on her lips as she thought about the possibility of testing herself against Superman sparring. Yes, she would like that.