4601/Stepford Journalism

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Stepford Journalism
Date of Scene: 04 January 2021
Location: A coffeeshop on the first floor of the Daily Planet building
Synopsis: No description
Cast of Characters: Lois Lane, Terry O'Neil

Lois Lane has posed:
It's a perfectly normal time of the morning, actually just about the start of a normal work day, and the normal people of the Daily Planet are lined up for their normal coffee and scones. That is to say, Lois Lane is generally not one of the normal people in this line, but she is today. It's too early for Lois. Maybe she's made a new years resolution? Either way, she's standing towards the back of the line, idly poking at a phone as she waits behind the the other reporters worshipping at the caffiene god in the coffeeshop that rests on the first floor of the Planet's building.

She looks different. A bit nicer, really. Her normal bellbottoms and wild shirts have been replaced by an elegant pair of dark leggings, a Tommy Hilfigger designer sweater dress, knee high gray suede boots, and her hair is up in a neat little bun at the crest of her head. She's taking some detailed notes on her phone, apparently getting the start of the work day while she waits for her turn.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry is one of The Abnormal Ones at the Planet. How abnormal exactly has become clearer over the last few weeks after revealing his identity to the world. Nevertheless, just like everybody else who isn't independently wealthy, he has the nine to five. And if there's one thing that makes the nine to five bearable in the early hours of the morning, it's that cup of coffee.

He doesn't recognize Lois. Not at first. Seeing her from behind, he chalks her up as another marketing exec getting her coffee. It isn't until she turns her head just enough that he catches the recognizable profile that he blinks and stares.

It's not polite to stare, but Terry isn't exactly working on all cylinders. In fact, he looks very, very tired- paler than usual (if that's possible) and bags under the eyes that hint at a potentially sleepless night. So it is without finessse or tact that he asks, surprised, "Miss Lane is that actually /you/?"

Lois Lane has posed:
The put together, slightly stuffed-shirt looking reporter arches a brow, looking across her shoulder to a voice she doesn't immediately recognize. But that's alright, there are many adjustments to be made in this place. A fully pleasant, respectful smile comes across her artfully made up features as she looks back to him. "Of course it is. You'd think the whole world forgot what coffee was over the holidays, this line is *awful*."

She then cracks a more encouraging smile, not even bothering to try and guess at the man's name. He'll hopefully let it drop at some point, or she'll have more hunting to do. "You have a good new year? You look like...crap." Shit. The word she should be using is shit, but Lois seems a bit more classy than that at the moment. Besides, who swears in front of their colleagues?

Terry O'Neil has posed:
There is something absolutely unnerving about Lois Lane avoiding a swear word. It's as unnatural as Garfield (the orange one) passing on Lasagna (come to think of it, the green one as well.) "Yeah..." the redhead says with a little hesitation, "Didn't get enough sleep. Some troubling stuff..." he glances at her put-togetherness and it just really isn't-

His brow furrows for a second. Wait. Could Lois be interviewing t work at another newspaper? As unlikely as that scenario is, how else can he explain... this? "I'm afraid the Impulse copy is going to be late. He hasn't authorized the read-through yet, but there's been some things going on which might have made it... slower. But I've been thinking up an idea that I think you might like. It has some... risk to it. Actually, it's pretty dangerous..." but that's how Lois flies, right?

Lois Lane has posed:
"...Dangerous? I mean, how dangerous? You know I'll always listen, but I wouldn't want you to be hurt just for a story..." Lois' expression melts into a bit of a frown that looks *genuinely concerned*. Like she might be legit worried for him and wary about this dangerous concept. She really seems to have turned over a new leaf this year, something far more professional than she used to be.

The line creeps forward and at least one other reporter does a double take at the two, as he gets his coffee and passes. He gives Terry a questioning 'What the HELL is up with Lois?' look but doesn't pause in his retreat back upstairs. It's just a weird sight all around.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry stops for a moment, and tries to catch his footing again when hit by /that/. The redhead frowns, finding this strangeness a lot more awakening than coffee right now. All six cylinders slowly coming to life. "Um... I was thinking of going undercover at Arkham Asylum. I've had some reports of some really ... strange stuff going on in there, and the word is that you can't trust the inspections because..."

He trails off, and then he just has to ask. "I'm sorry... did something happen over the holidays?" Did Lois discover religion? Did she become a Jehova's Witness?

Lois Lane has posed:
It's that questioning that tells her, somehow, she's not nailed exactly how her counterpart would be in this universe. Lois keeps a smooth, svelte smile in place, her expression now doing it's very best to be reassuring. She gives him a little laugh, "No, nothing bad. I just... I decided this year I should turn over a new leaf. Really get things together, you know? You, the staff of the planet, Clark...You all deserve my very best. So I'm going to give it. I guess you could call it a new year's resolution? It just takes the holidays and really looking at the world around you to appreciate what you have. And I'm going to do that."

Those words all seem mostly earnest. It's a well practiced lie or the truth, really. Her smile remains in place and the look of gentle reassurance never leaves her well made up features.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Normaly Terry would be ecstatic for Lois. Turning a new leaf is important, and Lois leads a hard life with her reporting alone- the drinking and the other stuff doesn't help. At times he's felt concerned, but they weren't so close as to allow him to express that concern.

However, if Terry were a storybook character, right now he would be the Nun in "Madeline", running down countless stairs chanting 'something is not right!'.

"Clark's really going to appreciate that," Terry says, returning the smile. If it doesn't look like there's energy behind it, he can always excuse the fact that he's tired, for he looks that way. "I'm really not at my best right now, but... you know, we didn't really get to get together for our usual New Year's get-together. My boyfriend and I are getting a new place- you rememer Nick, right?- and we thought we could do a little housewarming?"

Two lies, Terry thought. At this point, after last night, he found himself getting paranoid all over the place. Two lies that might help him re-establish his sense of reality.

But maybe Lois /did/ go straight-edge. Who was he to say it wasn't impossible, being who he was. What he was?

Not impossible. Merely extremely, extremely unlikely.

Lois Lane has posed:
The older woman gives him another smile at the loss of New Years, "Of course, I'd love to make up for New Years. And... Nick's your guy now? You two are happy? That's all that matters. Let me know where and when. You know where to find me." She gives him a warm wink, something that is almost an echo of who she used to be, teasing and sarcastic, but it's only a moment.

Then the line is moving again and she's actually called forward. One more little, cheery wave is given to him before she puts in for a soy milk latte with a double shot of espresso and skinny peppermint syrup. It's the most refined, basic white girl order Lois Lane has ever made and is about as unnerving as everything else this morning.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Sure thing! I'll send you a message. I have to go and interview Nick Lytton for his gallery piece," that was a total lie, but he did not want to spend one more minute here than he had to, "And then I'll be back by the offices." No he won't. At least, he thinks to himself, she doesn't know his name.

Or does she?

"Terry!" calls the barista.


He takes his drink, which is coffee as black as you can get it without it becoming Vanta, and he comes to the conclusion that no cackling villain, no armament of doom and no eldritch horror from outside of the veil was as unnerving, as unsettling, and as completely /wrong/ as this Lois Lane is.

What's more. He had to find a way to get this info to Superman as soon as possible. Which meant Kara.

Looks like he was going back to the tower... like it or not.

"Take care of yourself- see you soon!"

He had to count his steps and pace himself to resist the urge of running for his life out of that cafe.