Not a Pocket Full of Kryptonite

Summary:
October 29, 2014: Jimmy Olsen follows up on a lead about a local heroine. What he found may surprise you.

The Jade Garden, Queensland Park, Metropolis

The Jade Garden is an Asian cuisine restaurant that's a bit worn around the edges, and clearly the money is put into the food. The afternoon buffet is also very good for those that are trying to pack a lot of calories on a very tight budget. The wait staff is an elderly couple who haggle over bills in a fashion familiar to some Asiatic cultures.


Characters

NPCs
Un-named elderly Chinese couple


Mood Music:
None


This place is starting to become a second home for the orange-haired heroine Columbia, known also by her given name of Cameron Tenoaks. For some reason, she typically doesn't get bombarded with the media here, and it's usually deader than a doornail when she comes in after the lunch rush to do her 'cleansing of the buffet runs'.

And there is, of course, the habitual haggling between herself and the owners, who always seem to give her money back to her. That is getting a bit frustrating, but she's sort of rolling with it at the moment.

She'd been backed into this 'interview' with a Pulitzer-winning photojournalist by her mom, Maria Tenoaks, and she's just hoping it's not another one of those folks from the entertainment television shows. The last fellow from one of those was flown home in a jiffy, and there may have been some mid-air acrobatics involved after a heavy lunch. The public, such as Cameron would perceive herself as having, loved it to death. At least, her partner on the job, Eric Johnson got a laugh out of it.

So as is her custom she's at 'her' table, back to the wall of a booth, eyes on the entrance watching for the next interviewer with a bit of dread, sipping at some tea.

***

Jimmy walks in and looks around; he's dressed casually, in a Daily Planet t-shirt and jeans, an open hoodie decorated on the back with the famous S-shield his only concession to the cold outside. He hangs that up near the entranceway, and makes his way back to the woman's table - her height and looks means he'd be able to pick her out of a crowded room, never mind an almost empty restaurant.
He has a small black bag over his shoulder, with his camera and other gear inside. As he gets closer, the youth gives his subject a friendly smile, and an appraising look as he sizes up the lighting for any pictures. He decides he can work with the environment here, especially for a candid series. As he comes up tot he table he takes the bag off his shoulder. "Ms Tenoaks?" he says as he offers a hand. "Good to meet you."

***

The statuesque woman stands up and shakes the hand firmly but not in a crushing grip. A nice solid respectable handshake.

"You're Mister Olsen? Good to meet you. Call me Cameron or Columbia, okay?" The rumors and myths about her social reticence are sort of backed up in her tone and her reserved bearing as she lets the hand go and motions to a seat, taking hers after the fellow sits down.

"Straight up, I can't stand hype, okay?"

There's an almost… pleading? face as she says that.

"Food's up, too, just don't eat the stuff in the metal bowl, that's a mix of their hottest stuff thrown together and it hits my metabolism with fire. I can only imagine what it'd do to the average person."

She half-smiles back.

"How can I help you today?"

She hunches her shoulders a bit, drawing in some.

***

Jimmy flashes a warm smile then he sits down after her, his pose casual and confident. "That's good," the youth says, and chuckles about the bowl. "Thanks for the warning," he says. He tries a few of the dishes, and mmms appreciatively, even over some of the stranger ethnic stuff. Then he looks at Cameron.

"I have to admit, I was surprised to hear that the interview request didn't come from you or from a PR office. So after I watched a few of the other interviews with you, I started thinking about that." He munches a bit of radish dipped in a mustard sauce. "We don't have to do this if you're not comfortable with it. The Planet would like to hear your take on things, especially about your eruption, but really? They can pull something together off the feeds for that, if they need to." He shifts a little to get his drink. "So, say the word and we can just have lunch," he beams.

***

"You're welcome."

As Jimmy appreciates the food, the two elderly folks who act as servers get broad grins on their faces, and bring over some more tea and water.

Cameron blinks a few times at the young journalist.

"Well, I… had kind of set aside time for this?"

She takes a few pieces of chicken and nibbles on them carefully.

"I've already been over to the Planet once for the whole meet and greet thing, but there were only a couple of us there for that. And… you want to talk about the robbery?"

She takes a moment to consider. "I reserve review rights?"

It's an odd thing for her, for an interviewer to come over and NOT want to interview her. Though, Booster had done pretty much the same thing, he was supposed to sell her on Soder and offered to just have lunch, too. Huh.

"You're working, it's your job, don't cheat your employer."

Though the tone sounds a bit gruff, it's also accepting?

***

Jimmy nods to the elderly couple, and thanks them in their native language as they bring more tea. "Of course you reserve those rights," he says, and opens his camera bag to get a business card. "Any questions you might have for legal can go through the number on the left, there," he points out on the card.

And he waggles his hand. "Technically, you called us, so I'm actually investigating a lead rather than being sent out on a job - so it's a good thing either way, really. I just noticed.. it's been a pretty intense roller coaster, even without getting metahuman powers in the bargain. You can get off anytime you want to."

***

Cameron's eyebrow raises as Jimmy busts out the Cantonese, and the couple beams and offers blessings upon his house and his fortune. She takes the card and places it in her jacket then winces.

"You probably heard from Maria Tenoaks. That'd be my Mom. She's big on the whole 'have a presence' thing. I'm… not sold on that." She shrugs then nods. "Yes. It's been, well, crazy. And… no. I can't just leave either the job or the power. It wouldn't be right. I swore an oath to save the lives and help the people of Metropolis, and I can't just walk away from that?"

***

Jimmy nods as he munches on bean sprouts and some satay afterwards. "Well, that would explain a few things, yes, including the messages on my phone. And I want to congratulate you on that stance - I know what that kind of commitment can mean to a person." He considers for a moment. "Was the oath something literal? I mean, did you actually stand in front of a mirror and state something, or is it more of a metaphor for your responsibility?" he says slowly, a few ideas coming together.

***

"It's not an easy way to go. You get all the stores, all the shops, everyone wants you to say 'I like this thing' and then they want to give you money for it. That's cheap and it's sure as heck not saving lives." Cameron coughs a bit. "Sorry, preachy. I'm on Metropolis Fire and Rescue. When I graduated from the Academy I took the oath with all my classmates. I'm sure they have file footage of that somewhere. I won't look like this though."

The fire-haired woman shrugs a bit and takes some items from the 'hot' bowl, liberally spacing it with water and tea.

***

Jimmy nods quietly as he hears this. "It's never easy, no, not even for the heroes that have the luxury of a secret identity," he says. He considers, again, as he slowly makes he way through a potsticker. "I could put some word out along with Booster, maybe get some of the pressure taken off. It's a chance, and it won't stop the more unscrupulous. But word will be out there, for what it might mean."

***

"I actually had lunch with Booster last week. He was over to pitch for Soder, and was very polite and respectful of my wishes, and he did say he'd kind of keep an ear out, but if you could kind of do the same on your side, you know, the legitimate media? I know you can't stop the paparazzi. Or whoever stole my suit notes and put them on the Internet for everyone to see." The fire-haired woman frowns a bit. "Was going to find someone to work with on that and suddenly… bam. The Internet."

She shakes her head.

"I honestly thought I was going to die."

Was that a whiplash change of conversation?

***

Jimmy raises an eyebrow and nods. "I could work on that, too," he says. "See if I turn up anything." He looks pretty confident on that note as well.

***

"Sorry, brain moves faster than the mouth sometimes. I'd appreciate that. Just be careful. Even if someone was just wearing the basic specs with no superpowers, they'd… well. Heck. They'd be a low-level power, effectively, depending on how the designer took the concept."

Cameron shudders a bit at the idea of having unleashed a possible Pandora's Box somehow.

"The 'die' thing was about the bank."

Jimmy nods as he listens. "Not exactly an unintelligent feeling," he says. "DId you ever have any inkling, before, that you might possess some kind of power? Also, the whole change to your form, that must take some getting used to…""

***

"My mom's Maria Tenoaks. She's a brick in the super-sense. Dad's Alain Tenoaks. He's a fast-flying healer. Growing up, well, I could jump a little bit higher if I really tried and I had some good hang time? But… nothing approaching either one of them? So I figured that was that and went to follow Dad on the job, y'know, being a paramedic. 'd like t' think I do a pretty good job at that."

Cameron pauses then considers. "Didn't really *think*. I saw the car coming for me an' Eric and it was 'save the partner'. I'm sure he'd've done the same if he'd been quicker. And yes. It's… been an adjustment. If there's a plus side, Mom bein' a brick kinda helps… she's been training me to handle it."

***

Jimmy smiles. "Well, that has to help some, but it being your mother… I could ask a couple of other heroes I know that could help you, if you'd like, at least make an introduction. It's hard getting used to the entire way the world seems to change, like you're suddenly a bull and everything is made of glass." He seems like he speaks from experience, too.

***

"That's what I've been training on the past few months. Sure, I could be working on new and different ways of kicking butt, and folks would probably like it just the same, but if I destroy someone's house to stop someone, or if I crash into someone's car and demolish it —- that's real world consequences, and I understand that. So I've been working on living with the touch of tissue with the resolve of titanium."

Well, she's at least a bit evocative.

"But I'm not adverse to meeting folks. Eric's always harp—*Bzzt bzzt bzzt*"

Cameron glances down at her phone.

"Sorry, I gotta go. Emergency recall, like Innovation. Sorry to cut this short!"

She leaves a twenty dollar bill on the table as she runs out in a rush, a bit of a breeze behind her.

***

Jimmy whews as he watches the woman go, once more into the breach. <Sir,> he says in Mandarin, <I'll pay for her,> he says, the Planet more than happy to pick up the check, and he'll know the owners will return the money to her. He hefts his camera bag and leaves after he finishes his tea…


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