Basically, I didn't believe the motivation for Skyrockets decision at the end of Power
Company #3. So I asked myself - what could make a smart woman do something she thinks
is not such a good idea? And the answer came back. As always - a hunky guy.
Power of PersuasionA Power Company Story
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. DC does. too bad.
The comic has cannon Slash-but this story is grossly het. Deal with it. (Posted here mostly to keep the series intact.) Slash fans are invited to enjoy the beef-cake descriptions.
Rated: PG (No active pairing)
Archive: Ask first
Note: Events take place between issues just before issue #1 of Power Company, and may contain very slight spoilers for the first three issues. Not that anything came as much of a shock to me. If you care about such things? You are warned. (And if you haven't read the issue by now - you are also out of luck.)
"Ms. Forrestal..." A rolling baritone voice came softly out of the shadows as the conservatively suited woman stepped past the waitress into the private dining room.
She recognized him instantly. Not that they had met before, but? There were some people that everyone recognized. Superman. The Flash. And...Mr. Terrific. And he was. Terrific. Tall, dark and... well, probably married. With her luck. But - a girl could hope.
"I hope you don't mind a casual lunch."
She almost blinked at the pure charisma of his smile as he held out a chair for her. He might be in uniform, but the thin mask really didn't do much to conceal his features. Any more then the open jacket camouflaged the hard planes of his chest.
"Gardner place may lack a certain... ambiance..." Terrific continued, waving casually at the rooms 'comic book' decor, "but he does effectively protect our privacy."
"Na..no." God lord girl!, she rebuked herself. The man was hot, yes - but that was no reason to turn into a stuttering fan-girl. She was an officer and a gentlewoman. More - she was a hero. She was 'Skyrocket'. They were colleagues... sort of. Forcing herself to center, she pulled up her best professional smile. "I've always liked burgers, and I hear Warriors does them well."
"I'm delighted you could spare me a moment."
His answering smile was far more convincing. Toe-curling, even. And he was supposed to have meta-powers besides? Life just wasn't fair. Celia Forrestal pinched her own wrist to keep from fanning herself. Sliding into the chair, she leaned back just quickly enough to catch the faint brush of his fingers against her shoulder. Large, strong fingers.
"Excessive modesty, Mr. Terrific." How many men could you call that name and keep a straight face? But in his case? She just hoped her face wasn't showing the sudden rush of heat racing through her body.
Then again - how much of that heat was going to her face.
Just in case, she busied herself with the menu.
The tall black man took the chair across from her, leaning forward. "As soon as I saw you around Josiah Power's little video, I knew I needed to get together with you."
Not a good sound. Oh, the voice was still as honey-rich as ever. But the words? They were black ice. Because she didn't suspect- given what she herself thought of that little stint of movie magic - the the Chairman of the Justice Society was about to ask her for her autograph.
She flipped through the list of burgers without reading. "Just one question. Business or pleasure?"
"Always a pleasure." The wattage in those bitter-chocolate eyes clicked up a notch. "But in this case business as well. "
She had frankly expected bad news when he called. A tour in Uncle Sam's Navy had taught her that 'private talk' generally translated into 'shit duty'. so - while the view was as fine as ever?
The woman known as Skyrocket sighed mentally. The story of her life.
Apparently missing her distraction, Terrific reached into his silver and black jacket and pulled out a thick manila envelope. "I understand that you have been invited to join the", he paused, as if searching for words. "Power Company."
"Asked to buy in," she answered calmly. Not that this would be news to the man across the table. Or that he needed the paperwork to convinces her of his sources. The aw-shuckes touch was charming - but unlike Superman he couldn't quite carry it off. There was just too much brain tucked behind that mask. Too many too sharp thoughts. She might not know everything Terrific was thinking about - but she knew enough that she didn't want any part of it to be her. At least not in a 'business' sort of way. So? "You don't have to worry. I'm not joining Power. Even if I wanted to, I don't really have the cash."
"And if you did?"
"Maybe." It wasn't like she hadn't thought about it. There were advantages in teams. It was just that... without the cash, there hadn't been any reason to think about it seriously. "I mean, Josiah Power does make some good points, and he's not a media case like Jost, but?" She shrugged. "I don't know. These Hero-for-Hire projects have been tried before and..."
She let the sentence dangle. Terrific was one of the 'powers' of the JSA. Some even said second generation - a legacy. He certainly knew, as well or better then anyone, what had befallen so many once-touted groups.
"Most of them come down in flames." he answered, voice solemn. "Usually leaving us to put out the fire."
"OK." She held up her hands in mock-surrender. Or maybe not so mock. "I get the message. No Power Company for Skyrocket. I'll call him tomorrow."
"Actually," Mr. Terrific's voice dropped lower "Celia..." He laid the envelope on the table between them.
"OK. Today. As soon as I get home." She edged back. An involuntary response. Not that the man was threatening. He was just... big. Not just physically big, but also in a way that intruded on mental space. Like he carried his own force field of pure personality. "I don't carry a cell phone, or..."
"Actually." One half-gloved hand fell lightly over hers. Not quite constraint, but... a man like him didn't need a force field to freeze her solid. One bare finger apparently would do. His smile grew blinding as he continued. "I rather hoped that you would join."
"WHAT!" The menu skittered across the table and fell to the floor. Neither of them noticed it.
Terrific paused, again as if weighing his words. "Power is... right ... in much of what he is doing. The world is a dangerous place. Corporations do need meta help to face the meta threats."
"And?" Not the most literate question. But just now she wasn't sure what the questions were. Other than the instinctive and inchochate 'what the hell do you want from me'. Which she desperately hoped wouldn't actually some out of her mouth. At least not quite so ungracefully phrased. Because if she could think of a polite version - that was what she'd be asking. Unfortunately, with Mr. Terrific's hand on hers she didn't seem currently able to think of anything much at all.
"The Justice Society needs all the help it can get."
A part of her wanted to offer the man absolutely anything he wanted. Right here. Right now. Fortunately, what was left of her higher brain function knew that wasn't a good idea. Especially since whatever he wanted probably wasn't what she really wanted to offer. Unfortunately.
"As you said." Mr. Terrific leaned back, freeing enough oxygen to start her breathing again. "Power's idea has been tried before. Usually with unfortunate results. But that doesn't mean it's not viable." He unfolded the papers, placing them so she could see the tightly typed row of numbers. And the pale green rectangle of a cashier's check stapled to the top.
"I know Josiah Power." Terrific's face was tighter now. More mask like. And, Celia Forrestal realized, likely less truly a mask. This, not the charming hero, was the man he truly was. "The man is... not someone to be taken lightly. He is determined to build this Power Company - and to move it onto the center stage of public awareness."
Terrific's words were clipped. Confident. "As a full partner , Skyrocket, you would be in a position to influence that movement."
She took a deep breath. "And you, in turn, would be there to influence me?"
"Let us say." One finger tapped the check lightly. "To support you."
"You're asking me to be a spy." Celia expected to hear outrage in her tone. It came out more like shock. A little part of her mind asked if she was really that innocent. If she had so completely fallen for the hero persona. Certainly she should know how many of her own weaknesses had been shielded from her public. Another part shrieked 'but he is JSA!'. As if that somehow made him sacrosanct.
"Heaven's no!" Terrific sounded equally shocked. "You are much too honorable for that. I've read your record."
"You know about..?"
Another file appeared from his jacket - this time marked in familiar navy blue. "You were approached in Morocco. You reported the incident within five minutes. In time for the contact agent to be picked up and questioned." The file vanished again. "Very clear thinking, by the way."
"Thank you." The response was automatic.
She didn't know what to think. Hell, she didn't know if she was thinking. If they didn't want her to spy on Power?
"We want you with Power as an... agent of influence." Terrific templed his fingers, resting them below his chin. "There are numerous reasons that projects fail. Lack of foresight. Lack of capital. Lack of leadership. In our 'business' - usually the last."
Celia said nothing. What was there to say? He was right. Absolutely. Which came as absolutely no surprise.
Terrific continued." You have the capacity for that leadership. The maturity. The wisdom, if you will. Hal Jordan spoke very highly of you."
"Hal...?" That wasn't a name she recognized. Although? From the way the man across the table spoke the name?
Oh. Right. That name Skyrocket definably remembered. And the day. And the reason she knew it in more then a newspaper sense. And while none of those were happy memories?
She picked up the check, sliding it into her purse. "What do you want?"
The Chairman of the Justice Society grinned. Honestly, this time. "I think I'll have the chicken club burger. How about you?"
That's all folks. Which is a pity - so I don't promise that the Power Company won't reappear in my fictive universe. In fact - I'm pretty certain they WILL!