4640/American Alien

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American Alien
Date of Scene: 07 January 2021
Location: Daily Planet Building - New Troy
Synopsis: Sinestro and Superman have soft pretzels while discussing the secret history of Krypton and the Green Latnern Corps.
Cast of Characters: Clark Kent, Thaal Sinestro

Clark Kent has posed:
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...

Well it's Superman, standing on a rooftrop over the Downtown square. He's frowning a bit at the Daily Planet building, hearing faint whispers of something throughout the city. But there's always faint whispers of something; one of the other Metropolis capes can handle things for a moment, or the Science Police. His hands twitch. A moment is fine. Clark presses his JLA communicator to the frequency Sinestro left them, watching with interest as the sound waves convert to the mysterious energy that charges a Green Lantern's ring.

"Hey Suuperman!" Someone shouts, "How's the weather up there!"

"I should've brought a coat!" Clark shouts back down, because street theater is a force that cannot be denied.

Thaal Sinestro has posed:
Sonic vibrations intensify at lightning speeds until - in a moment of cosmic sublimation - they blossom into undulating green waves. They, in turn, fold together half a heartbeat later, coalescing into an emerald tether stretching into the sky, over the horizon, fading out of visibility as it sheds unnecessary information--

Where a mere mortal might - might - catch green flickering at the corners of their perception like a glitch in the world, a Super one is treated to the slow-motion bloom of the impossible.

Just minutes later, the air thunders in the wake of a cold, green comet.

"There is no imminent danger," he states.

"No threat of civilian casualties."
"No criminals garbed in garish false bravado and toxic ambition."
"No impending natural disaster."

When he finally draws to a halt half a dozen feet above and behind Clark's post, the burning aura recedes enough to reveal a quirked black brow and slim, toned arms crossed over a taut chest outlined in black and green.

"To what, then, do I owe the pleasure of this... social call?" Sinestro wonders.

Clark Kent has posed:
It's kind of a relief, as Clark runs into alien superheroes...other, he amends, alien superheroes, that they all still have one thing in common.

"Gosh, we all sure do love to show off. Hi, Thaal." Clark says warmly, offering the glowing, godlike Green Lantern a friendly handshake. Superman looks vaguely amused as Sinestro deduces that this is in fact a social call. "Observant as ever. Please, come down. We'll grab a pretzel."

Clark hops off of the building, landing with a faint thud. There are a few claps, from the same people who were a little startled by the flash of green power and the strange alien weilding it. He's with Superman, Sinestro can almost feel the crowd deciding, so he must be okay.

"This is my favorite stand. Well, one of them." Superman winks, fishing five bucks out of his belt pouch. "You like mustard? I wanted to talk a few things over with you-and, I'll be honest, ask a favor."

Thaal Sinestro has posed:
After that 'we', there are lingering moments of silent appraisal before Sinestro finally takes Superman's hand, sharing the faint warmth of Oan energy along with a firm grip.

"ring--" he all but subvocalizes at the mention of a pretzel. His descent's a much more gradual and controlled thing, which means there's plenty of time to form an appropriately bemused, squint-eyed Look to cast in Clark's direction and find a smile, a wave-- something to soothe uncertain humans.

The Look, that's easy; it comes with a curiously mused, "Indulging in the simple pleasures of peasants and priests, eh?" and sweeps judgmentally from spit-curl to stand to squirt nozzles dripping with cheese and mustard. And yet, somehow, the, "It is... quaint that you've found favorites," he tacks onto the end rings more sincere than dryly amused.

"I will have your brownest mustard," he then says to -- commands -- the vendor.

The smile, on the other hand...

Yes, the corners of his mouth do - slightly, slowly - lift when his eyes sweep from the vendor to the gawkers... but the tight line of his lips and faint creases settling into the broad, magenta plain of his forehead suggest that he is, perhaps, a bit less comfortable with performing for the smallfolk.

"I'm surprised," he then admits once his features relax and he's focused on Clark. "Given the rate and scale at which you operate, I assumed the League to be more a matter of strategic convenience for you, than a... resource. What is it that you need, Kryptonian?"

Clark Kent has posed:
Clark's grin is...insistent isn't the word, he's not PUSHING Sinestro by any means. But it sure is there, regardless of any sneering or advanced acting like a Space Cop. It gets a bit warmer when Sinestro plays along.

"You know I never heard it called that. You have priests on your world?" Clark says, having a bite of his own hot, baked goodness. Superman just sort of takes a moment to enjoy it. "I just remembered not asking about mustard when that girl from the Titans came around and it turns out she had, let's call it a reaction...I wanted to see how you were adjusting to your stay here. I know Earth can be... a lot. Welcome and friendly one minute, and then they build criminal cyborgs to kill you the next. That you had a place to stay and relax while your investigation goes on."

The pretzel hawker pulls out his tub of "Angry Bavarian Aggressive Brown Mustard", and helpfully slathers some on. "Thank you for not enslaving us, other Green Lantern!"

"Ah heh." Superman says, paying for a drink too. The pretzels are handmade and an experience. "The Justice League is a lot of things, to me. A gathering of peers, a source of information and organization, something we've built over the years to make the never ending battle a little more sizeable." Though it feels like the threats just scaled up to match, Clark privately muses. "Kryptonian, huh? Usually people say that just before hitting me."

Thaal Sinestro has posed:
Emerald irises floating in otherwise black eyes swirl with sparking motes that dance in time with the pulsations of Sinestro's aura. They don't stray an inch from his fellow alien as he takes a positively brave first bite of his pretzel-- not even when a glob of mustard falls a couple inches before it's captured in a shallow green bowl.

                                                               |( WARNING! )|                                                              
                               |( Cellular solar saturation levels detected IN EXCESS of gigadeath ranges! )|                              
                                                               |( WARNING! )|                                                              

Abruptly, they widen--

                                                               |( WARNING! )|                                                              
                                                   |( PROTOCOL-K has been authorized! )|                                                    
                                                               |( WARNING! )|                                                              

"... mmf--!"

                                                             |( WARNING!... )|                                                              

-- and fall, staring incredulously at the simple, spice-slathered treat he's slowly, but surely chewing through a chunk of.

One long second of contemplation and silent alarms later, his lips twist once more; this time, there's a flash of white behind the long, thin line.

"I see little reason to dance around the obvious," he says, the implicit question almost an afterthought next to the pungent, complex pleasures of--

"More," is briskly cast towards the vendor with a glance and a pretzel extended on a glowing green waldo arm.

"My world has had several theocratic turns," he then says to Superman, as casual as a wave of his slender fingers. "The... details of the faith tend to vary, from generation to generation; agenda, to agenda. But yes: there are those on Korugar who find comfort in it, whatever that may mean to them."

Once the vendor has paid the necessary tribute to further stave off enslavement, Sinestro begins striding away from the stand. "I find your world intensely chaotic, in - frankly - entirely predictable ways, given its recent history. Korugar has priests, yes; priests who have ruled her in their time... but Earth has seen fit to invite gods to walk among its people-- to do battle with the devils that inevitably rise to plague them," he observes, cold and clinical, "cheering as new mythologies are carved from blood and madness. Your world is dangerous, Superman; that it has lasted long enough be visited by the Corps is a miracle in and of itself. But, then... I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know, am I?"

Pausing long enough for a full turn towards the Man of Steel, Sinestro softly wonders, "Just how long have you been among them?"

Clark Kent has posed:
Superman raises an eyebrow at the Kourigarian's pause, crossing his arms in hopes that this isn't going to become what the League quietly referred to as an "Oreo incident'. You could never tell with alien reaction to spices.

The vendor very good at his job; good natured, quick with a knife and a set of tongs, and used to being menaced by large omnipotent people. You should, he thinks, have seen when Volcana came to town. "Right away! Perhaps the ghost pepper mustard this time, if sir is brave enough?"

Great Scott, Clark thinks, finishing his lemonaid. He listens to Sinestro talk about his homeworld; part of him aches at what he thinks is subtle pain in his new friend's voice at the stories of tyranny crushing his people. Compassion is a solid virtue for a Green Lantern, Clark thinks, but resists the urge to claps Sinestro's shoulder. Thall clearly has touching issues, give it a bit of time. "Gods? Maybe. I mean, Thor, so I guess so. I always thought of us all more as...the first step. A prelude to what the human race is really capable of, here to help them last long enough to reach that potential. It's good, then, that we're here on the street. It can be easy to lose sight of the job if you spend too much time in the clouds, you know?"

"And I've been here my whole life." Superman says; it's a matter of public record so he doesn't mind saying so. "I mean sometimes there are...almost memories? A dog, a house. People who's faces look like mine. But most of what I know about Krypton came later. A lot of it from Brainiac, of all people."

Clark frowns a bit, takes a breath of the afternoon air, and perks back up. "And really, you want to talk about optimism, your whole outfit's trying to police a wild galaxy with, what, a couple thousand guys? ...do they talk about Krypton at all? I'm kind of shocked you recognized me right away."

Thaal Sinestro has posed:
"And how often do you hear them praying for your intercession?" the Korugarian questions without missing a beat.

"There is... some value," Sinestro then continues half a second later, "certainly, in maintaining a degree of familiarity with those in your care, lest you find yourself ignorant as to what it is they most need of you-- and of how best to shepherd them. Every population is different, after all; it is not uncommon for Green Lanterns to have the advantage of patrolling their homes, but a Lantern's jurisdiction often includes upwards of one hundred worlds," the alien officer explains. The pretzel's still in its little green robot gripper, now that it's positively dripping with layers of spice. After taking and swallowing a bite, he adds, "Access to the records at Oa and universal translation only go so far; to understand a culture, a people, one must be willing to dig-- to uncover the foundations upon which they were constructed."

Another bite--

"And one can hardly dig, if one is forever suspended among the clouds," he dryly adds.

                                                              |( WARNING-- )|                                                              

"There are very few things indeed of which the Book of Oa is ignorant, Superman, and my ring scanned you when we first met. Trillions of microscopic solar reactors feeding a hypercharged biokinetic aura; the crest of a prominent member of the Science Guild; an impermeable stellarwoven uniform... the denizens of a wild frontier planet like Earth would be ignorant of what they signify, but no Green Lantern worth his ring could be so. I'm given to understand that yours were a people that knew no limits save those they were not yet brazen enough to supercede; were it not for the untimely demise of its central star, there's no telling what more Krypton might've offered the universe."

It's a tangibly diplomatic answer, but it's also true; there's even a tinge of regret as Sinestro makes that final point about the potential lost when Krypton died.

"For one of your people to spend his entire life living in the shallows of the universe... I would imagine you found it constricting, mm?"

Clark Kent has posed:
Clark decides, after a minute, that he's going to appreciate the diplomacy instead of finding it callous. There's good intent behind it, and Krypton's loss isn't as raw to him as it is to Karen or Kara. It's just...

Empty. A hole where a home used to be. And even then, there's what he doesn't mention to the rest of his family, the feeling that he wouldn't have really...gotten along with Krypton. Or the Kal-El raised there wouldn't be someone he'd have liked very much, perhaps.

"Well, that leads into my request." Superman says, only avoiding Sinestro's other question a little bit. "You see, Supergirl, she thinks she's found some evidence that something may have survived. Argo City tried to escape from the planet, apparently, but Kara believed it failed."

"We're thinking of going to the ruins of the planet." Superman says, looking up at the sky. "To see if there's any evidence of survivors. Power Girl suggested stopping by Oa to see if the Guardians had any leads on a potential surviving Kyrptonian colony, which I guess would be pretty big on their to-watch list considering what you just said. Seemed like a good place to start."

Thaal Sinestro has posed:
Sinestro closes his eyes for a long moment.

Among the Corps, he's often held up as the 'Greatest' among them, a title which he's been all too happy to accept-- and one rooted deeper than one might imagine, when one considers what, exactly, might make a cosmic police officer with a jewelry-scale superweapon 'great'.

Beyond his willpower, his efficiency, his sheer talent for imagining ways to dispense violence and uphold order, Sinestro is a creature of intellect, of information-- of stories older than memory. In another life, he was an archaeologist willing to brave warzones and ancient deathtraps alike for secret knowledge; in this one, his appetite for the unknown has lead him to explore the Book of Oa's depths and dig for more in the rare instances where its Word proves insufficient. He understands the ring and its functions better than most any other soul living, but moreover...

"I would not recommend an audience with the Guardians of the Universe, Superman."

... he knows why it is.

Why, exactly, there's a Green Lantern Corps at all.

"In an age before any that most would care to remember, Krypton was vibrant and young, teeming with potential."

"Krypton," he murmurs, too low for any ears but his, "was an empire-- a Hegemony spreading itself unchecked, swallowing Sector after Sector. You've spent your life among humanity," comes with a pointed, sidelong glance. "You know better than most what a Kryptonian bound by nothing more than militaristic imperative could do to a planet."

"What an army of them could do to a Sector."

Super speed just might stretch his reluctance to give the Man of Steel more than he asked for out to torturous gaps.

As he turns his eyes ahead and tilts them ever so slightly downwards, Sinestro continues, "The Green Lantern Corps were the end result of Krypton turning its eye towards Oa... and yet, for all the power contained in a ring, had nature itself not begun to rebel against the Hegemony...? It is likely that you and I would not be speaking today."

Another, hesitant beat stretches towards infinity, then--

"I will assist you to the best of my abilities," he promises, "But the Guardians are ancient; they do not readily forget their grudges. Bringing three Kryptonians to their door could well be tantamount to a declaration of war, in their eyes. Fortunately for you: mine are entirely capable of reading whatever records regarding Krypton they may have committed to the Book of Oa."

Clark Kent has posed:
Clark just sort of looks at Sinestro for a minute. Superman is usually excellent at controlling his body language...he has to be, in order to function. Clark Kent is one thing, but a too frightening Superman is a nightmare who can't help anyone.

Just for a minute, though, Kal-El's...expressing something. Maybe it's alien, even to a Kourigarian. Maybe he just doesn't wear vulnerable well.

"Alright." Superman says, continuing their little walk. "Thank you for telling it to me straight. I guess Hal and the other earth Lanterns don't know about this particular bit of history, or they might've been a bit less reluctant to affiliate with the League. I thought the Corps was billions of years old, though."

Superman raises an eyebrow at Sinestro's gallant offer. "I don't want to get you in trouble, Thaal. We were mostly looking for directions, and if a surviving city could cause that much unrest with the Guardians..."

Thaal Sinestro has posed:
"Few Lanterns are as thorough as I am," Sinestro evenly replies.

Coming from a world that used wars to mark the passage of time the way others might seasons, a shiver passes through Sinestro when he shares a glance with his fellow protector in that fleeting minute. Maybe he doesn't quite recognize it on its face in a stranger... but he understands the vulnerability of once-solid ground disintegrating beneath one's feet in an instant.

"If there really is a Kryptonian city that's managed to survive this long, then the grudges of stubborn, unchanging beings older than reckoning would be a poor excuse to miss it. Before the ring found me, I was an archaeologist; I wouldn't dare let this opportunity pass me by."

Clark Kent has posed:
Superman feels a brief urge to compare Sinestro to Hal, specifically when it comes to how much they can get away with talking smack about their bosses, but...some instinct holds him back. Just seems like a bad idea.

And then that big, boyish grin splits Superman's face. "It's a deal, then." Superman says, going for the shoulder pat. Ring or no, Sinestro'll feel that. "I'll let the others know. It'll be an adventure!"

And hopefully they won't set off an intergalactic war, Superman thinks, sweating a little. No, it's cool, no problem.

"You know what I'll take another pretzel too." Clark decides.