Summary: Captain America meets some of the Leaguers and officially accepts the offer of membership.
Location: JLA HQ
It's another warm summer day in New York, not nearly as hot as in past weeks, though. In Central Park, the citizens are enjoying the weather with picnic, bike ride, and games of frisbee. But in a stately mansion on Park Avenue, a differnt kind of gathering is taking place. Inside Stak mansion, now home to the Justice League of America, the armored avenger Iron Man has brought the living legned Captain America to meet some of the League members to 'seal the deal' on Cap joining. "Many of the League members are out on patrol or doing other operations," Iron Man explains in his synthesized voice. "But rest assured, everyone wants to meet you as soon as their responsibilities will let them, Captain." He leads the captain through the entry hall, nodding in welcome to the butler Jarvis, and turns towards the main meeting room.
When notified of a chance to meet Captain America in person, the Amazon princess known the world 'round as Wonder Woman made it a point to rearrange her busy schedule to make sure she could be there. The legends of the shield-bearing hero from the Second World War reached even Themyscira in the person of her namesake, Diana Rockwell Trevor, and Diana has often heard more of his exploits since coming to Man's World. The opportunity to meet him herself is not to be missed.
Diana reached the mansion a little while ago, and has taken a seat in the meeting room, chatting comfortably with J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter and another of her dear friends amongst the Justice League. "They all did quite well, of course, as we have known they would. But I was especially pleased with Wonder Girl's progress in tactical assessment and leadership. She did her Amazon sisters proud."
"That's good to hear." Captain America notes, moving alongside Iron Man and taking in the sights of this grand old estate, his trusty shield strapped to his back. A nod and a warm smile is given towards the butler, as well as a firm handshake, before they pair continues towards that meeting room. "I don't like to make a fuss." A bit of bemusement crosses the Captain's features, "Got enough of that during the War to last me a lifetime." Though he somehow doubts he's going to be able to avoid it forever. The trick will be making sure any public appearances are supporting the right causes. Maybe Tony Stark knows someone that can help with that, if the League doesn't have someone to help coordinate that sort of thing already. "But I'll admit I'm eager to meet them, as well. They sound like an amazing bunch of people."
"I am pleased to hear it," J'onn replies to Diana. The Martian Manhunter had considered adopting a human form for this meeting, but apparently discarded the thought as he sits comfortably in his normal green-skinned superhero persona. He is also curious about meeting the famed Captain America, and rather looking forward to seeing if the stories about the man are true. "But I expected no less from one bearing your mantle. It seems as if we all have our younger counterparts these days." He pauses, then smiles faintly. "But that discussion can wait. Tony is escorting him here now."
And as if on cue, or at least advanced warning via Martian telepathy, Iron Man enters with captain America. "Hello there, glad you were both able to come by and meet our guest. Captain, may I present Princess Diana of Themyscira, better known as Wonder Woman, and J'onn J'onz, the Martian Manhunter. Diana, J'onn, I'm pleased to introduce you to Captain America." And with the introductions done, he steps to the side to let his friends greet the legend themselves.
"Iron Man, actually, given the sound of those footsteps." Diana clarifies, with a smile for her emerald-hued friend. She had heard about the green-skinned teen girl showing up on the television. Apparently, he did indeed make contact with her. She will be eager to hear about that later.
As Iron Man and Captain America enter, the tall raven-haired Amazon stands with ease and grace, approaching to offer her own hand in greeting. "Welcome, Captain. Please, call me Diana. It is an honor and a pleasure to meet you. The legends of your good work reached even my home." Sure, she can tell he is a humble man. But she will not belabor the point.
Humble he may be, but there's no hint of nervousness or doubt in his bearing. Captain America takes Diana's hand, bowing at the waist slightly in the "proper" approximation of the "hand-kiss" gesture, "The pleasure is all mine, Your Highness...Diana." He straightens, meeting her gaze with a bright, warm smile. "From what I hear, you and the rest of the League are well on the way to making quite a legend of your own." He turns his gaze to the Martian Manhunter, undisguised curiosity in his eyes, though the smile doesn't fade in the least, "And a hero from Mars. Amazing. It's a pleasure to meet you, J'onn J'onzz." He pauses a moment, then chuckles softly, "Look, if I'm going to be working with you, I think I'll spare a lot of unnecessary trouble and just get this out of the way now." He reaches up and pulls back the cowl of his mask, revealing his face, "May name is Steven Rogers. Please, just call me Steve." He smiles a touch wryly, "At least when it's just us."
"The pleasure is mine ... Steve," J'onn replies, inclining his head in greeting. "I admit I've been looking forward to meeting you since Iron Man first mentioned approaching you for recruitment." The emerald-skinned alien holds a hand out for a shake. "I've heard many tales of your exploits over the years. Many veterans of the war spoke quite highly of you."
Iron Man chuckles. "Well, that was certainly fast..." With a slight hiss of compressed air, Iron Man releases the latches on his helmet and removes it to reveal....Tony Stark inside the armor. Not really a shock to anyone with just a slight bit of deductive ability, really. "So, I guess you're going to take the job even before I pitche the generous compensation and medical benefits package to you?" He smiles and turns his head to work out some stiffness. "I'm sure Nick suspects my identity, it's not like it's a good cover story, but he still doesn't have any hard evidence to contradict it. And there are some in the League who are not as open about their identity as others are, so please don't take offense if you tell batman and he doesn't feel compeled to return the courtesey."
Another patriot named Steve. What are the odds? Still, Diana smiles warmly and nods. "An honor, Steve. Thank you for your trust." She doesn't comment on Tony's secret identity, because she honestly can't. Many have said she should consider it, but Diana just isn't capable of the untruths and half-truths necessary to carry off something like that. "I am sure even if Colonel Fury suspects your identity, he would never violate that trust. He knows what we do here is to the betterment of the world, which is supposed to be part of his job as well."
Steve shakes J'onn's hand firmly, smiling towards him, "I hope the tales haven't been too exaggerated...War stories sometimes have a tendency to be like Fish stories, that way." Steve notes, though in truth the full extent of his adventures in the War is still largely classified...although not to SHIELD and likely not to the JLA.
As Tony unclasps and lifts his helmet, the Captain turns to him with a grin, "I had a feeling you had a good bit of your grandfather in you, Mr. Stark, but yes, I had my mind made up before I left your office yesterday. This looks like the place where I can do the most good, with people that are just as committed to it as I am." Steve shakes his head slightly, chuckling at Tony's mention of some Leaguers being more protective of their identities, "No, it's perfectly all right. Personally I've never been very good at the secret identity business...but everyone has a right to their privacy, and the more people a secret is shared with, the greater the chance of it spreading to someone you don't want knowing it, so I can understand some reluctance, particularly for those whose civilian identities might have a great deal to lose."
"Nick's a cagey fellow. He probably knows a lot of things that he keeps close to his chest. But you're right, Diana, I can say from experience that his discretion is above reproach." Steve affirms.
"Nick Fury is both discrete and trustworthy," J'onn notes. "But if circumstances called for it, he would indeed utilize his knowledge to the benefit of his world or his nation, even if it is to your detriment. However, I cannot hold this against him." He shrugs, and chuckles quietly. "The issue of secret identities has always rather fascinated me, since my public persona is my true identity. I am J'onn J'onzz of Mars, so when I walk among humanity as one of them, it is that which is the mask."
Iron Man nods. "I can't either, J'onn. And it's not that I don't trust Fury, I do. But with an organization as large as SHIELD, you can't trust everyone that works there in the same way. If my identity is known and logged, that means that it has the potnetial to be accessed by someone that could use it against me, or worse, to harm my employees to strike at me. Right now, I think that it's just better to keep it within a closed circle." Rationalizing, perhaps. But for now, it's the best option as Tony sees it.
Princess Diana certainly does not judge what others do to protect their secret identities. If keeping herself secret would keep her people safer, she would do her best to make it happen. Instead, she just lives with things as they are. It's not always easy. "We all do what we feel we must for those we care about, and for those we do not even know." It is the definition of 'hero' so far as the Amazon is concerned, and why she applies the label as forthrightly to police and fire department personnel as she ever might to those with powers and costumes. And to military personnel. "I must confess that I am somewhat curious, Steve. You disappeared for sixty years. Do you know any of what happened, or how it is you reappeared?" Sometimes folks don't know. It 'just happens'. Other times, it's readily apparent. She's just wondering which this is.
"I feel the same, somewhat." Steve notes to J'Onn, "Ever since I became Captain America, I just haven't seen any real difference between being Captain America and being Steve Rogers. Though admittedly, wartime made "civilian life" a bit of a contradiction in terms." He also nods as to the Martian's assessment of Fury and his secrets, "That's his job. I'm not sure there are many other people I'd trust with that kind of position, but I'm glad Nick's around to hold it."
He turns his attention to Diana and nods, frowning a touch, "Well, the SHIELD science boys told me that I was frozen in suspended animation for most of that time. The last thing I remember before waking up to Nick Fury's mug in the 21st century is falling into the North Atlantic after the Rocket Drone Bucky and I were trapped on exploded." He shakes his head, "I...Bucky didn't make it." And wouldn't have survived long in the arctic waters even if the explosion didn't end it quickly, at least to Steve's mind.
"I believe that the super-soldier serum is what kept him alive," J'onn says. "This prevented his cells from being damaged irreparably by the freezing process, which is the normal result of freezing a body mostly composed of water. I am not a scientist, though, and I do not have access to the files on the super-soldier project that begat the serum, so it is merely my own theory." He turns to Steven and bows his head slightly. "I am sorry for your loss. I imagine the wound is still fairly fresh, if you did not experience the intervening time." If there's anything J'onn knows, it's loss and the effect it has on you.
Iron Man nods and claps a gauntleted hand on Cap's shoulder. "You've lost alot. Probably more than most of us will ever know. But you have olf freinds in Nick and new allies in us. We'll all help you make the adjustment."
"We will do what we can. I am sorry for the loss of your friend." Diana knows the stories of Bucky along with those of Captain America, but little more. Bucky wasn't exactly as well know as the seemingly larger than life, flag-shield-bearing Captain. "Whatever we can do to help you adjust to this time, you have our word." Hey, if the League can help a Martian and an Amazon fit in, they can work easy miracles with those out of time, surely.
"I...thank you. All of you." Steve smiles a little sheepishly, rubbing at the back of his neck, "It has been a little...overwhelming at times. Technology, society, popular culture. I never thought I'd feel like a stranger in my own hometown, but a good chunk of the city I don't even recognize anymore." He adds, "Though there's a certain degree of comfort in the things that I do."
"I know the feeling," J'onn notes in an understanding tone. "When I first arrived on Earth, it was as strange and unfamiliar a world as I could ever have imagined. But you will adjust, and likely quicker than I did." He smiles, amused at some private recollection. "And we will of course offer any help we can. The League is not merely a team of co-workers. I like to thing that, in a way, we are family."
Iron Man smiles. "Part of being in the League isn't just a sense of teamwork. You'll have your own quarters here to use, although I understand you already have regualr living arrangemetns made already. But, think of the Mansion as a second home for you to use. Rent free even."
"You might also think of it as a sort of ... 'Officer's Club', given your own experiences." Diana offers to Steve, by way of bridging the concept gap on matters. "This just happens to include bedrooms, workout facilities, libraries and more. A good bit more than most would have had on the front." Not that Steve would often have had a chance to visit officer's clubs at the front, unless out of costume and in uniform. But surely he did that once in a while. "We are much like a family in many ways. A support network of friends who understand one another in ways many others will never get the chance." Not that they couldn't empathize, but it can be very different.
"Never hurts to have a back-up." Steve notes towards Tony with a smile, then nods to Diana, understanding the concept pretty well, "So it's a combination of a headquarters and a R&R destination, it sounds like." He smiles a touch, "So do you have some kind of rotating guard duty here? I'd imagine there always has to be someone around to be waiting for "the call" to come in." Operational procedures...those he can wrap his head around easily enough.
"We often take monitor duty in shifts," J'onn replies. "There are, of course, times when it is not possible to have someone screen calls, but we have communicators that allow us to keep in contact across the planet. I am also a telepath, and can coordinate responses when our communication is disrupted."
Iron Man nods. "We also have equipment and labs that rival SHIELD's, and I'm currently working on designing a multi-environment transport for us so that our members that can't fly can get to a scene repidly without having to rely on the rest of us."
"Given the breadth of our roster, there is often someone here on duty to watch the cameras, security feeds and data, and field calls. But we also have automated systems that do much of that work when necessary, so that if we all have to head out to various missions, we can stay in touch and stay aware to some degree." Diana offers. Of course, there is always Jarvis, and any other civilian staff Tony has hired. "We do not maintain a personnel guard on this site. We tend to rely on sensors and cameras, as it keeps things less imposing."
"You've probably already considered it, but some kind of personal transport might be a good idea, too. No need for a multi-person transport when it's just one person that might need the lift." Steve suggests towards Tony, before looking back to Diana, "Yes, I can imagine with sentiments being what they are towards metahumans, having an overtly armed compound in the middle of New York City might be a flashpoint for those that still don't know what to make of us."
"I do regular spot-checks of the grounds for explosives and infiltration," J'onn reveals. "Bombs are a real concern, but few things can hide from my vision, or Superman's for that matter, and I can perform telepathic scans for sentient intruders. You may want to take some time to become familiar with the files on the major human supremacy organizations. With the number of metahumans and extraterrestrials on this team, we are not very well liked in certain corners and present a rather high-profile target for terrorist actions."
"The mansion also has a well-developed set of anti-intrusional countermeasures. Knock-out gas sprayers, net projectors, stun rays, and mechanized tenticles. All nonleathal and all highly effective. Sometimes we get kids tryign to breach our secruity to get an autograph or just try to catch a glimpse of us, so not everyone trying to bypass security means us harm."
"The mansion also has a well-developed set of anti-intrusional countermeasures. Knock-out gas sprayers, net projectors, stun rays, and mechanized tenticles. All nonleathal and all highly effective. Sometimes we get kids tryign to breach our secruity to get an autograph or just try to catch a glimpse of us, so not everyone trying to bypass security means us harm." Tony adds.
"We all lend our talents to the support and protection of the team, as well as the world." Diana offers, simply enough. "We also do all that we can to maintain a positive presence for the populace, so that they can all clearly see we are here to do everything we can to help, and do no harm." Which comes down to a lot of public affairs and marketing, but they try to approach it as honestly and forthrightly as they can, rather than getting smarmy. "We also do a lot of charity work to support various worthy causes." And some of them run their own charities. Like Diana herself.
Which seems to be part of the reason some folks are so eager to have Steve present on the team...public relations. "I can imagine it's a bit difficult juggling all of that at times. But if there's anything I can do to help just let me know. The cameras might look a bit different and the news might travel a whole lot faster, but I spent plenty of time in front of them back during the War years." No fear of crowds, that's for sure. "As much as I've tried avoiding it thus far, I suppose that sooner or later I should try to explain to the people how it is I'm still around."
J'onn chuckles. "I imagine SHIELD already has a press release written and a plausible story sanitized of classified material. I am glad that you are not camera-shy. I try to stay in the background, myself, when anti-alien sentiments are running high. It's a delicate balancing act, at times, for all of us. Fortunately, there are enough reasonable people in the world that it is not an overwhelming concern at this point."
[Public] Amy Pelham has joined this channel.
A small beeper goes off in Tony's armor, causing him to look at a wrist display. "And it seems that that's my cue to get going. I have to be at an AA function in 30 minutes." There's no shame in his admission to where he has to be at, if anything Tony's proud of being a role model in this regard. "Captain, a pleasure to meet you again. I'm sure Diana and J'onn can help you get settled in and set up here. If you need anything, just contact me through Stark Industries or through the JLA coms." He turns back to his friends and smiles. "Diana, J'onn...see you both around."
Diana offers Tony a warm smile, always pleased to see that he is continuing to take seriously his efforts with the AA group and the cause it represents. "Stay in touch as always, Tony. You know we'll be around when you need us." She doesn't try to explain to the Captain what AA is; if he wants to know, he'll ask. "Shall we take that tour, Captain? If you have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. You are to become a part of our 'family' here, and we are eager to help that process."
"Night, Tony. Thanks again." Steve comments, waving towards the armor-clad man before he departs, then looking towards Diana and nodding emphatically, "A tour would probably be a good idea, yes." He smiles, adding after a moment, "I'm probably going to need someone rather patient to show me how your communicators work, too."
"Goodbye for now," J'onn replies to Tony, offering a smile and wave, before turning back to Diana and Steve. "You will, of course, also need to be introduced to mankind's greatest invention. I do not believe they were manufactured during your time. Choco cookies." He chuckles.
Iron Man chuckles and makes a mental note to sign J'onn up for 'Choco's Annonymous' at some pint in time. Reattaching the helmet, he goes out the main door then fires his boot jets to take off into the sky.
"I can be quite patient, I assure you." Diana offers Steve with a smile. "As can we all. But I imagine I am the one amongst our number currently who had the most adaptation to do to 'modern technology' when I arrived." And thusly best able to understand the challenges of confusion Steve faces and help smooth them over. "We have made the communicators as simple as possible for just that reason." She smiles with amusement at J'onn's campaigning for the delicious cookies. "They are quite tasty. But so is an orange."
"Choco...cookies?" Steve replies with a bit of amusement and confusion all at the same time, "I'll have to try them, I guess." He looks to Diana and nods, smiling gratefully, "Please, lead on. While we're at it, tell me a little about yourself....I don't think I've ever heard of Themyscira. At least not before Tony mentioned it yesterday." He looks towards J'onn, "Of course, I didn't know HG Wells was both right and wrong all at the same time, either." Right about life on Mars, wrong that it didn't show up in tripod death-machines to vaporize humanity.
"I'm afraid that he was entirely wrong at the time of writing," J'onn replies somberly. "Mars is now a barren world, bereft of life and scoured clean of all signs of our civilization, and has been for a very long time. I am the last of my kind, the only survivor of H'ronmeer's Curse. My presence on earth is due entirely to a fortuitous accident that pulled me thousands of years into the future from my solitary vigil, to the planet we once called Per'elandra."
"Themyscira was the name of the city-state founded by the Amazons I am sure you heard of as legends and myths of ancient Greece during your education." Diana explains, as they make their way along on their tour of the facility. She waits, of course, for J'onn to finish his own tale before she begins. She is sure there will be questions. "That city-state was razed to the ground thousands of years ago, when my Amazon sisters were tricked by Heracles and his men, drugged, bound, beaten, enslaved and used. Queen Hippolyta prayed to Athena for guidance and aid, and Athena granted her the wisdom to effect her escape. But she demanded a price for that assistance: that the Amazons would not take vengeance upon Heracles or his men."
"Hippolyta freed her sister Amazons, but could not stop them from taking vengeance. When the Amazons were free and had reached what had been their home, Antiope, the other queen of the Amazons, led half their number away on a quest for further vengeance, and to retrieve the Girdle of Gaea Heracles had stolen. Hippolyta and her sisters were judged by the gods for their failure to stop the vengeance, and were exiled to an island far across the sea. There they established a new city-state, and named it after the one they lost. The island is called Paradise Island, but we have chosen to use the name of our capitol and home as the name of the nation I represent before the world, the home of the immortal Amazons forever guarding Doom's Doorway to the Pits of Carceri." Quite a story, of course. But Diana isn't the sort to lie.
"As such, my home is populated entirely by women, Amazons who are immortal and have lived these thousands of years true to their duty, their calling, and their history. I am the only daughter born of their number, given life through Hippolyta's love and the blessings of Gaea and the gods. And now I serve my sisters and my gods here, as emissary for the Amazons to Man's World."
"I...I'm sorry J'onn, I didn't mean to dredge up bad memories." Steve looks (and "thinks") genuinely apologetic about that, looking towards the Martian with a great deal of sympathy, "So in your own way, you were a man...Martian...pulled through time to a world far more alien than anything I'm dealing with." Suddenly his own problems and woes seem awfully petty. "It must have taken a tremendous amount of strength and courage to go on in the face of that." He's certainly assessing the Martian in a new light.
Steve does turn his attention to Diana, and hopefully a slightly more pleasant topic, his expression curious as she gives the summary of Themyscira's history. "So...you're from a culture of warriors but on a mission of peace?" There's no sense of incredulity, just an honest question. Indeed, he reaches up and rubs at his chin in thought, "That's an intriguing idea, but I can imagine it's very challenging to walk that line."
"No offense taken," J'onn replies, smiling faintly. "I have come to terms with my past, and now I turn my gaze towards the future." Whether this is completely true or not, he says no more about it and moves on to another subject. "Diana's people are rather interesting. My own gods now sleep, but even in our day, they did not walk amongst us, so the history of the Amazons is fascinating." He nods amiably to Diana.
"The Amazons were created by the goddesses to serve as teachers and emissaries promoting peace, but doing so through strength rather than weakness." Diana explains. "It is not so challenging to one brought up to those ways, though I do understand many find it more difficult to do within Man's World." Diana would never say that she herself finds it difficult, even though sometimes she does. It can be very hard to walk that balance point. But she does so naturally, innately, and could never imagine failing to do so. It is who she is. "If ever you would like to learn more, you would be welcome to visit the embassy here in New York. We have an extensive gallery that discusses the culture, origins and history of the Amazons, and all are welcome there who come in peace." Diana is most certainly not the only member of the League to maintain a museum for a people few will ever see, if any. Kal-El and the Kryptonians. J'onn for the Martians. And more.
"I'd love to take a look at it sometime, certainly." Steve notes, quite genuine in his interest. "So what kind of training facilities do we have available to us here?" He would imagine there would be someplace they could work on their tactics and teamwork, anyway. Though it sounds like finding the time for it might be a challenge.
"I have been, and it is indeed a beautiful place," J'onn says. "I have considered visiting the island itself, but I have refrained out of respect for their privacy. As far as training goes, I know there is a state-of-the-art gym and excercise suite, but I rarely visit." His strength far exceeds anything a human gym could test or hone, after all, along with a number of other League members like Diana.
"We have multiple facilities. Our meta-level gymnasium facilities use focused gravity and magnetic systems to generate lift stresses that can challenge most of our members. However, J'onn, myself, Superman and a few others are beyond the ken of those devices." Diana explains, as they continue the tour. "We also have treadmills, tracks, pools, and several large underground facilities which can allow us to train against a wide assortment of opponents and threats, and the facilities are safe for us to use our powers. They also have sensors which enable us to better monitor our powers in use to detect anomalies or changes which might be important." Yes. The League has 'danger rooms', plural.
"Amazing. The Invaders never really had enough time for any kind of formal headquarters." Steve notes, still studying his surroundings with a great deal of interest, "I'll be looking forward to testing out some of those facilities. You'll probably be able to find me there pretty often...my apartment in Brooklyn is nice, but it doesn't exactly have enough room for a lot of athletic equipment." Not that he -really- needs it but...he likes to keep his edge.
"We may run into each other often then," J'onn notes. "I keep a room in the manor, and I am here as often as not." Where J'onn finds time to maintain multiple secret identities plus always be on hand for a crisis may forever remain a mystery. Like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsy Pop. "The training simulators are particularly effective. We will have to schedule some teamwork excercises now that we have a new member, so you can familiarize yourself with our full capabilities." J'onn keeps a lot of his less flashy abilities quiet, outside the team.
"I confess, I am not here as often as I might like, but I am rarely far away. I am almost never off comms, and when I am not here or on mission, I am usually at the Embassy or at the UN." Diana explains. The United Nations. That must be an idea that takes a lot of adjusting for Steve. "But J'onn is right. We should schedule several training sessions so that you can begin to get a feel for the rest of us, and us for you. Stories from veterans is one thing, but seeing you work will be something else entirely."
"Well, I hope I can live up to your expectations." Steve admits. The United Nations isn't -too- outlandish...it's kind of an upgraded League of Nations that the US actually takes part in. He does chuckle a bit towards Diana, "And I thought -I- had a busy schedule at times." He looks between the pair and nods, "Teamwork exercises would definitely be welcome." He adds after a few moments, "But for now, I should probably let you two get back to work. Or at least I should after I grab one of these communicators you mentioned." In case he's needed. You never know, after all.
"Indeed." J'onn nods. "There are several things I need to check on, myself. It was an honor to meet you, Steve. We will talk again, I'm sure. Diana, a pleasure as always." With that, he rises off the ground, levitating for a second before he flies upwards, phasing through the ceiling so as to leave no trace of his passage.
Diana smiles. "Be well, J'onn." she offers to her friend as he departs, and then turns to Steve. "This way to the communications hub. We can pick up a communicator for you there, and make sure you understand the basics of how it works."