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Wisdom of the Gods (Outsourced)


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It had been a busier month than usual for the Emissary. The terrorist attack he had help stop in London seemed to cascade into one setpiece of violence to the next, until he had found himself crashing up against one of Overthrow's more involved schemes. But with plots unmade and villains defeated he was back home again, ready to get back on track, ready to face any challenge.

Unfortunately, the particular challenge of the day was the mountain of paperwork sitting in front of him on his desk. Correspondances, meetings, speeches to craft, statement requests, reports to read..

He muddled through the reading and writing with the ocassional huff and stifling of idle thoughts of hiding under a pile of blankets and hoping it would all go away.

Ah well, it was still always nice to be able to sit back in a chair that could properly support him.

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Moira had always wondered what being a true superhero was like. Ever since that run in with a whole bunch of them last year, she constantly found herself looking up information about them.

What really interested her was the shining paragons of light that everyone looked up to. The reason she wanted to be a hero was a bit selfish, but she had never lost sight of what being a good person meant. Though, maybe someone could give her some pointers.

After searching for a while, she found a name: The Emissary. An ambassador from Utopia Isle. He was an activist for some good caauses and basically all around good guy. She would have to go through the Freedom League security to meet him though.

Upon reaching the gates of the Embassy, she was met by a guard. "Hello, I am here to meet with The Emissary."

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The fellow at the gate, his suit far more crisp than his demeanor, and almost as weary ritual by this point, called ahead, then looked back to her.

"By a minor miracle, he has at least asked who you are and what brings you on by."

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He dutifully repeats that along, and seems like he might almost reply in exchange to whatever reply he gets over his headset, but then just sighs and pushes the button that opens the gate.

"Go along inside miss."

He provides directions to the Emissary's office at that.

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The decor itself and furnishings that went with it, despite the rumours both about the Emissary's homeland and the man himself, was entirely normal, tastefully appointed even. The style could actually be called outright archaic and Victorian besides (the Utopians had decided they liked it when settling on how to appoint the embassy). It otherwise basically lived up to almost a generic image of what the mind's eye might call up when picturing a nation's embassy. Stately, dignified. It lived up almost a little too well to the image, as if a group of people were working very hard to convey that stereotype without quite understanding it themselves.

"Oh, please come in." was the sound of the Emissary's voice in reply to the knock.

Presuming she did, his office was no exception to the rest of the building, having the look of a converted study with several chairs, couches and a sturdy oaken desk, the walls around even filled with row after row of books. It was only on actually getting a look at the titles that there was something of a glimpse into the Emissary's character.

There was very little in the way of tomes on statecraft, history or the like. There was however a complete collection of the works of J.M. Barrie and TH White by contrast, and a variety of other works that would stand well in place with them.

He smiled brightly to her with a cheery sort of wave upon her entrance, actually standing in front of his desk, the entire building having been reinforced for him.

"Hello! I am the Emissary, and it is a pleasure to meet you. You wished to speak with me on matters heroic?"

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Moira looked around the room as she entered. She was generally impressed. It was not every day you got to see this type of decor. Seeing all this, she wished that she would have dressed better for the occasion.

Curtseying, she extended her hand in greeting for the Emissary, "And it is a pleasure to meet you, sir. Yessir, I have come to learn from you the ways of being a superhero. Not just any type of superhero though. I've been wanting to learn how you present yourself with such radiant majesty. With the utmost goodness. With restraint and other things that make you a shining paragon of virtue."

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He took her hand in his, the metal of it somehow warm to the touch, even lifelike, even as he paused thereafter at her words.

"Ah.. radiant majesty? Really? You think so? I don't know that I would.. hm."

He paused.

"It doesn't actually show up, but I am in fact blushing quite deeply right now. I've discussed with friends whether that is something I should tell people or not, but honestly, it seems unfair that I can otherwise hide when that happens and everyone else can't. So. Yes. Deeply. Blushing."

He coughed, just lightly.

"Anyway, ah, take a seat, and given that I've heard a little bit about your own exploits, you can tell me why you don't feel you're getting a good start on your own as is perhaps? As to me it seems as though you are."

He gestures to one of the fairly plush chairs and moves to sit back in one that would face her.

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Smiling at the fact that she just flattered someone with the truth, Moira sat in the chair as she was instructed. She was expecting it to be "office cozy" (good to look at but hard as a rock to sit in). Pleasantly surprised, it was one of the softer chairs she had ever sat in. Trying to keep her business-like composure, she crossed one leg over the other and sat up straight.

"It's not that I can't get a good start on my own. It's," She paused for a second trying to recall a term that would suit her current dilemma, "ethics? You know, superhero ethics. Being a good guy while being a good guy." She looked to The Emissary to see if she was coming off as some babbling child.

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There was, if only for just a moment, a force behind the Emissary's gaze that could outright transfix as he took in what she spoke of, as if looking through her to the doubts and conflicts she was speaking of, but it was very much a sensation of that moment, gone almost as soon as it was felt.

"Let me first say, that this is a matter of thought and concern for you is a good sign as is. There is in one of the religions and philosophies of your world an aphorism I quite liked when I read it, about attending to one's own salvation with dilligence. I would say before anything else, that you are trying to be considerate of cleaving to virtue makes it all the likelier that you actually are as is."

A firmer reassurance to his tone and smile both, genuine and suffusing in warmth, in sharing confidence.

"Now of course with that said, it doesn't mean that as you say, it is necessarily easy to be good, while doing good. There are difficulties in the world, frustrations, sources of rage, goads of wrath, depression, cynicsm, and they can certainly get to you, and your methodology. I don't know that I can offer one thorough bit of wisdom to serve as a guiding star to steer through them by."

He furrowed his brow in thought.

"Let's start with the basics, if you don't mind. At the most fundamental, why do you wish to help others? From the way you carry yourself and how you speak, you seem as a thoughtful, perceptive, and lovely young woman. There are no doubt any number of pursuits you could occupy your time with. Why do you strive towards heroics? Superheroics at that no less?"

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Moira scooted to the front of her seat, trying to get as close as she could to the Emissary without trying to invade his personal space. "Before I answer that question, I must ask you a question." She was quiet for a second as she collected her thoughts on what she would say. Staring directly at him with with an ominous look, her voice was a bit quieter, "Can you keep a secret?"

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"I am the ambassador of a people who for millenia kept themselves concealed from the outside world, and particularly bear some of the thought echoes of those who created the policies for so doing in the first place. So.. ahm.. yes."

"The problem with that question though, and your very weighty look.. well.. if your secret is something that is causing harm to another, I can't promise you anything. I would suppose I can only tell you to trust whatever instinct told you I would serve well as a moral compass in the first place."

He shifted forward to her in turn, out of no other instinct than trying to let her feel that if she wanted to keep speaking quietly, he would certainly hear her.

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Moira's eyes went wide, "No no, it's nothing that would cause any harm to anyone." She paused for a second to catch herself and calm down, "Well, maybe me if someone found out the truth."

As if to focus, she closed her eyes for a split-second and inhaled quickly, catching a hint of apple in the air. She opened her eyes and trained them on to The Emissary, "To answer your question, I must go into a bit of my history. I am a child of the goddess Aphrodite and the god Ares. This is the secret that must not get out. There are people who would want to send me back home if they were to find this out." She pauses, "Note that I have only told a few that I am a goddess (and only that fact, mind you), but in a tongue in cheek manner."

"The reason I do the hero thing is for two reasons. First, it beats the other option of being a villain and having people come beat on you for a living. Secondly," she sighs, "is a little bit for self-esteem. When people notice you for being the one that saved their life, it feels good. For the glory and honor of someone knowing me for my deeds."

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His lips curved gently in a slight frown at her anxiety, he moved a hand forward to rest lightly over one of hers as she spoke, a gesture of reassurance, to reinforce that it was safe to speak here, and to him.

"I am from an eons old society descended from the survivors of Atlantis, and in my comparatively to others short career as a superhero I have flown through the skies alongside restored champions from decades past invoking the power of whole pantheons, and been in fights with giant robot mummies from space. I am in no way unnerved or put off by the details of your parentage. I am however honoured that you would feel comfortable to share such with me though, and I assure you, I will keep it to myself."

A firm nod at that and an entirely gentle squeeze of her hand to punctuate the sentiment.

"You might though, consider mentioning it to someone with more familiarity or pull with the Greek Gods that could help you out in that venue if problems arise. Daedelus perhaps, who I could introduce you to."

That thoughtful pause again.

"I'm not, being forthright, exactly pleased with the other reasoning you're giving as to your motivations, as far as it goes, but.. ahm.. I think this is one of those situations where learning by doing would be more illuminating for you, would you like to come on patrol with me today?"

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Moira absentmindedly stroked The Emissary's middle finger with her thumb as she watched and listened to him. It didnt feel like metal, but it definitely wasn't skin. The fact that it was warm made the thoughts in the back of her mind race, How is such a lifeform built? How does he sustain himself? Does he have emotional or biological needs? Does he sleep or dream?

When he squeezed her hand she jumped a little. She wasn't too wrapped up in her thoughts to know what was going on, "Thank you sir, it would be a great honor to meet Daedelus. Also, are you sure that you want to go on patrol with me? I can't fly or run or anything cool like that."

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There was a near imperceptible cough when she started stroking his hand, but he was able to push that aside with a shake of his head at her protesting as it came in.

"I am sure you can do plenty of cool things, and I hardly mind the ocassional foot patrol. It's good in fact for bolstering the confidence of the people around you, to walk with them, ask after how they're doing, all that sort of thing. Worse comes to worse, I can carry you besides, if you don't mind that."

"Besides, depending on how far you can jump, we can also take the rooftops."

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"I've never tested my jumping skills," Moira thought alloud, "I'm guessing with all this strength it could be useful." Looking to The Emissary she smiled, "I think the jumping thing could work. If it wouldn't be a problem, I would like to test them out today." She pauses with a split second blank stare and then speaks in a curious tone, "You can catch me if I fall, right?"

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"Oh, well of course, the flight provides. It's a good idea to try out and get a sense of your abilities anyway, I'd be happy to help with that. If you like, before a patrol of any kind, we can head out to one of the warehouse districts first, or make use of the Wreck Room at Freedom Hall even, just let you push your abilities."

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Moira's stare turned glassy when she heard the words 'Wreck Room'. That coupled with the thoughts of meeting Daedalus put visions of her joining the Freedom League in her head. Flying in the air with Captain Thunder and Lady Liberty (even though she couldn't). Busting criminals with The Bowman and The Raven. Just hanging around with Johnny Rocket. She even caught a glimpse of her hypothetical costume.

Coming back to reality a split second later, she remembered why she was here. This was not a horn-in-on-the-Freedom-League visit. This was to teach her about being a real hero. "Not that I wouldn't love to visit Freedom Hall," she said with a appreciative tone, "but I'd prefer to get my experience in the field."

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A smile at that. "An admirable sentiment. Learn by doing indeed. Alright then, we can set to right now really, unless you have any other matters you had to tend to."

He scratches the back of his head.

"And if we're heading up to rooftops, there will be a brief interlude of carrying you, just to say."

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He nodded and rose up to his feet.

"If you'll come with me then?"

Presuming she did, he lead her through and outside of his embassy, then paused at the door with her.

"I should say.. there's a sort of joke, or halfhearted gripe that floats around the League about heroes carrying other heroes while they fly somewhere. The complaint goes that we who fly often carry people by the underarms, and there's apparent soreness and a whole thing. 'Armpitting' they call it. I was deeply chagrinned to hear that. So I usually offer if there's some other way you'd prefer to be carried, to so mention."

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Hm, Moira thought about it and it made sense, It can't be comfortable laying like that for a long time. But how can we do this? She thought about the cartoon she saw with the Centurion flying around with the female lead on his feet, holding on to him. Nah. Then, like a light bulb going off in the dark, she presented a better idea, "I think i'm strong enough to ride on your back,"she paused, "if that's not a problem for you."

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