Meanwhile, on a rooftop not far from the Brass Buddha restaurant …
A lone figure separated from the shadows of rooftop air conditioning units. Lithe and graceful, Mercedes “Mercy” Graves moved like a black cat along the gravel roof. She made little sound while she shifted to a new sitting position. The woman reached out to adjust a control on the apparatus in front of her: a combination whisper microphone and sniper camera pointed at a restaurant three buildings away. She looked once more through the lens. However, she had already seen what she needed, this was a precaution just in case something unexpected happened. It was New York after all. Another moment slipped by, and she tapped a concealed bluetooth ear-piece.
South of New York, in Metropolis, a phone rang once.
“Colby Investments, how may I help you?” The receptionist was an even mix of pleasant, yet bored. It was as if this was the highlight of his day, aside from a cold cup of coffee.
Mercy voice brightened; her vapid tone a mismatch for the rest of her. “Hi, yeah, I need to check in on my, uhm, y’know, account? Could I speak with someone, please?”
“Certainly,” the young man replied. “A moment please.”
There was a click sound. Not a loud click, but one so soft that it resembled the usual tick of a poor cell phone connection.
“Connection secured,” the young man confirmed. He hung up as the call transferred.
“Yes?” A deeper voice asked.
Mercy cleared her throat. “The secondary meeting was at the Brass Buddha restaurant. James Bertelli arrived with two bodyguards, and identified the items as fakes. No id on the Chinese woman or her driver yet who brought the fakes to the meeting.”
“Interesting. Did the Golden Lotus present any problems? They do lay claim to that part of Chinatown.”
“No, none. League of Shadows, yes. They arrived after a local group of vigilantes that call themselves the Knight’s Vigilant did. GRAB also was here. The Knight’s Vigilant seemed interested in the items and Mr. Bertelli. The fight almost knocked the restaurant to the ground. Looks like SpectorCorp’s construction crew will be putting in some major overtime.”
“Indeed? And the staff, was it recovered?”
“I’ve eyes on the League of Shadow’s courier who has it.”
The man on the phone sounded pleased. “Wonderful. Detain the courier. Recover the main housing of the staff. Replace it if possible, or arrange a ‘technological mishap’ if not. Remember, it must appear as if the Golden Lotus took offense to the courier’s travel plans.”
Mercy looked through the sniper lens. A single figure had slipped away from the Brass Buddha restaurant and scaled a nearby building. Dressed in a loose, wrap around, hooded tunic and trousers, he almost blended in with the weathered Chinatown skyline. She recognized him as a League of Shadows’ assassin, or in this case, a courier. She granted herself a small, feral grin.
“Consider it done. What about the gem or crystal in the staff?”
“Unimportant to the goal, and most likely a perfect natural distraction to the local hero community. Oh, and Mercy?”
“Excellent work so far. The jet will be waiting at the usual location when you’ve recovered the staff’s housing.”
Mercy’s feral grin widened. “Thank you, sir. I’ll have another report within the hour.”
The line clicked, and the call ended. Lex Luthor closed the leather case on his secured cell phone. He reached over and picked up a squat glass from atop a thin, wooden cabinet. Lex swirled the golden liquid in the glass tumbler before he took a small sip. After a moment’s thought, he walked back into his library.
Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson looked up from the blueprints sprawled over one table.
“Problems?” His rough voice grated over the word.
Lex blinked and glanced at the mercenary. His thoughts snapped back to the moment. “Ah, no. Just considering some information I’ve learned.” When Slade raised the eyebrow over his good eye, Lex Luthor nodded. “SpectorCorp and Knights Vigilant.”
“Ah.” Was Deathstroke’s initial reply. “The first is somewhat interesting, the second not as much.”
“Oh?” Lex set his glass tumbler down on the table before he folded his arms over his chest. “How so?”
Slade glanced down at the blueprints, then back over to Lex with a small shrug. “SpectorCorp is run by a guy I ran across a few times. Mark Spector. Mercenary, or at least was. Bad man in his own way. I think there might even be some outstanding warrants in parts of South America for him over accusations of ‘grave robbery’. It seems they take it personal if you walk out of their country with some of their ancient history you dig up. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter if you really are to blame. Anyway, word was he semi-retired and started his own company.”
“Understandable, and the Knights Vigilant?”
“Local New York vigilantes,” Slade said with a smirk. “They deal with street crime most of the time. Every so often they land something serious. Like that fiasco of a science expo Stark Enterprises put on. They were wrapped up in that.” Deathstroke shook his head. “I’m surprised they’ve not wound up in the hospital by now.”
Lex, however, did not smile. “I remember that expo. There was something about a scientist with some questionable approaches towards a ‘singularity generator’ or similar nonsense. What was his name? Cavendish?”
“That’s the one,” Slade replied.
“Wonderful. Once we’re done with our current project, I’d like for you to find him, and recover him from whatever hole he’s locked in. The usual retrieval fee of course. Remember, he’s only any good to me if he’s alive, and willing to freelance.”
Slade grinned. It bore a remarkable resemblance to a hungry, one-eyed wolf. “That’ll be no problem. I needed a weekend project anyway. Now, what about this?” He gestured to the blueprints.
Lex scowled at the diagrams. “Simple. They’ve taken a winged mutant. We take him back, get him medical attention, then send him on his way home.”
“And the aliens?”
“The Kryptonians are an invasive species,” Lex explained. “When a gardener finds an invasive plant in his garden, he pulls it out by the roots. So we pull this weed out by the roots. They need to learn, aliens have no place here. Earth is for humanity and all its rich variety from normal to mutant. We convince them to leave, or we ‘convince’ them.”
Slade’s chuckle was full of dark promise. “That works for me.”