The room was populated by only 4 people. In a move contrary to their usual arrangement, apart from their monthly mandatory meeting, Luthor had gathered the other members of the Light barring a few, one, Savage as he was placed in a stabilizing pod, a medical device that prolonged a patient's life through a continuous injection of revitalizing drugs. Offshoots from the numerous tests done on Kobra-venom, blockbuster, mirakuru and other variants of the biological enhancing super drugs.
The other missing party was Oceansmaster, who was derailed by a…mission. Said mission was access to Kon-El, the Superboy to try and secretly acquire a blood sample as a backup incase Luthor's plan didn't bear any fruit. The last was Klarion who was terrorizing the trench. The only expendable target The Light could hope to lose. He was the subject matter along with a few more things. Apart from those three, everyone else was in attendance.
They were all being hosted by Queenbee at a heavily guarded mansion complete with wards and magical blocks courtesy of the best Magicians, money or power could afford. The normal security was not to joke with, either. Top of the line military grade weapons with agents trained to be the best, high end cameras from Lexcorp, the shit that would make any paranoid tech billionaire cream their pants at the specs, heat and motion sensors that had incredible ranges, an aerial detection system that could detect an object as small as a mockingbird from hundreds of miles away and to top it all off, an AI system that was complex enough to sift and process through all that data from the radar. This mansion was more secure than Fort Knox and the White House. Lex would know…he had the government contracts after all.
In the lavish room, adorned with expensive carpets, drapes and furniture, the group sat around a table. Lex was at the head, with Queenbee at his immediate left, then Ra's Al Ghul at his right followed by Brain who was seated the furthest from him.
"I do not see the I'importance de nous recountrer like this Monsieur Luthor. It's valuable time I could be carrying out my research, comprendre, no?"
The brain said in a french accent.
"He is not wrong. I find myself losing faith due to our recent failures. It does not reflect well on what the Shadows represent."
Ra's spoke up.
Normally he would be content to sit and listen, being a man of words only when he felt the need. Luthor nodded and turned to Queenbee, patiently waiting for her to say her own piece. Queenbee narrowed her eyes, Luthor had been expecting their dissatisfaction and was prepared. It wasn't a surprise he was letting them air out their grievances.
"We have not achieved some of our objectives. Either stalled due to recent developments." She said, subtly referring to Savage's incarceration. "Or the need to lay low due to Klarion acting as a loose canon." Two problems that were intimately linked.
Luthor clasped his hands onto the table, ready to speak now that the rest had said what they had to say. The familiar charisma was put on display as he smoothly adjusted his cufflinks.
"The power balance has dramatically shifted. And not in our favor." He acknowledged. "Fortunately, it does not seem to be on the hero's side as well. They too have lost just as much if not more than we have."
"Mmmh but how does that help with our current...difficulties?"
Ra's Al Ghul posited.
"I was getting there." Luthor replied. " The Light's mission has been one of intellectual progression. Meaning we see what others of... regular disposition fail to. We track the trends and stack the cards in our favor. We plan and we succeed." He smiled, leaning in
"Think of it this way, almost everything we have come up with has worked. What hasn't has taught us, we have learned from it and have not repeated the same mistake twice. This...funk is not the end. No... I'd like to think of it as the new beginning."
Luthor's smile was wide.
"You're parlant...but I'm not hearing any solutions...just re-assurances. We need to address the elephant or rather the mort rouge wrecking havoc in the underwater kingdoms. It's not our way to waste resources...and the Trench, would make for viable expendable test subjects."
The Brain commented.
"I would also like to address the Chaos Lord's current behavior."
Queenbee seconded. Instead of speaking, Luthor smirked as he held out his hand to the side. Mercy handed him a Lexcorp pad. He tapped a few keys and then a red light was spewed from the Pad's in device projector. The holographic visual feed wavered for a few seconds before stabilizing into a clip that begun playing. A video showing Vandal Savage, dressed in his regal outfit with hands clasped behind his back. His face showed the same impassive expression. The face and eyes of a man who had seen it all that few things ever surprised him anymore. The face of a man with a grand goal.
Everyone in the room stared intently at the video.
"If you're seeing this, then I assume two things have happened. Two things that are related more than you realize. I am either dead which is highly unlikely or currently indisposed due to a rather unfortunate meeting with a past enemy and because of this, Klarion is off his leash. This spells more danger for the world than you can understand." He closed his eyes as if recalling a past incident.
"Let me get two things out of the way, Project Rebirth WILL work. Whatever doubts and weakening resolve towards our mission you harbour, get rid of them. And the second thing is, you cannot control Klarion, merely point him towards a target and leave him to his devices. The Trench are fast breeders, that should give you enough time to enact Project Rebirth. I estimate 2 months before he grows tired. If I am not around by then...the world will shake to it's core."
The clip shimmered before disappearing as the video ended.
Queenbee slammed her hands on the table and got up!
"That was a thinly veiled threat!"
She understood as did everyone that Savage was giving them an ultimatum to ensure that they did not decide unanimously to do away with him. Ra's looked at Luthor calmly. In fact he had come here with the proposal to do just that. Then the plan had been to seize control of the Light's numerous resources to efficient the Shadow's involvement with the world. Luthor looked at him through the corner of his eye and a conversation happened between the two that went unnoticed by the affronted Queenbee and the thoughtful Brain. Ra's decided that he had lost this round and acquiesced to Luthor with a small nod.
"Let me guess, Monsieur Luthor, Klarion's next targets after the 2 month deadline is over are Metropolis, the portion of the middle east spanning Bialya." Queenbee grew incensed at that, grinding her teeth as she felt anger that threatened to consume her psyche. The Brain continued, headless or disregarding the Leader of Bialya's fury. "Atlantis, Infinity Island and my own small piece of the gâteau, France."
Luthor gave a curt nod.
"Well played Monsieur Savage. Well played indeed."
Luthor adjusted his tie, the small smile slipping off his face as he turned serious.
"For Project Rebirth to go off without a hitch...we need to get Superman all alone. The Justice League will be currently occupied with mitigating Klarion's endeavours. Wary of his...chaos fueled actions leaking out into the other underwater states. He is under compelling instructions not to let them see him. We cannot let the League know that we're the ones behind this because, they will have their guard up. I will lure Superman away by using a unique frequency only Kryptonians can hear and then let Lobo do the rest. Their samples will be a major help not only for Project Rebirth but also for Project Godblood. Are we on the same page?"
They didn't like it, but they ended up nodding along.
"The good thing about all this, is that you can renegotiate your initial demands with him. Say what you will about Vandal, he might be a bastard but he is a fair one."
Luthor said in an uncharacteristically snarl. Queenbee smirked inwardly, seems like Lex was also mad at the position he had been forced in. If Project Rebirth failed...Metropolis was done for. The only one who could control the Chaos lord was in a comma after all.
Lex was back in Metropolis. He stood on a balcony looking out into the city with a glass of wine in his hands. The earlier easy smile was nowhere to be seen.
"None of them seemed concerned. A figure like Savage is not someone to trifle with. To push him to the lengths the immortal has gone to...I assess the threat of this enemy of his is more than the others can handle knowing of?"
A clear voice sounded out from inside the room. Ra's was seated on the lone couch with a wide view of the room, a tendency he had normalized to be prepared for any attack. His left leg was crossed over his right and a similar wine glass was in his right hand.
"They cannot begin to comprehend how dangerous these times are. Yet danger comes with its own share of opportunities." Luthor went silent and then made a name drop to answer Ra's question.
The distinct sound of glass shattering from behind him made him frown even more.
So apparently, Iroh hated suits. Yeah...I was surprised and also not. He said the outfit was too constricting to his movements. I mean...I understand, he's from a martial arts heavy world. But come on...if not suits then what other formal wear could he go for? Then he surprised me by selecting Jeans, a pair of sneakers, a gray jacket and a black t-shirt. I was gobsmacked. I couldn't reconcile the robe wearing master with this hunk that was leaving the women in the store, flushed in desire. And yes...one look at him and his nice attitude and the girl who was helping us out gave him her number. What the hell?
Anyway, I paid and we left for the Library. Getting in was not as big a problem as I'd thought. Iroh got his bearings real quick, most definitely used to places like these. He looked to be in his element, going straight for the history books. I left him to his devices after explaining how to use a phone to contact me and got back to the Elemental Dimension.
I stood before the Sconiad tower, looking inside at pod that was running tests and trying to come up with a way to fix Match. There was an option I wanted to see, if it could work for him. I dived into the link I had with my spirits.
"Saisei, hey buddy. I need your help."