THE PENTAGONU.S. Department of Defense
Arlington, Virginia "The pod is roughly three by four meters. Scans have revealed an interior volume of..."
"We've ruled out a nuclear strike
The Joint Chiefs were assembled in a conference room, screens lit with various angles of a live feed that was streaming from the Army National Guard base in New Mexico, where the Kryptonian pod had been transported from the landing strip for initial study. A NASA flight surgeon had been brought in from Metropolis to oversee the procedure, a measure that the DoD had acquiesced to only because the doctor in question was a military officer.
As far as General Samuel Lane was concerned, this was a strictly military operation now."...ultrasound measurements indicate a fluctuating mass inside the..."
The flight surgeon's voice narrated the images surrounding the room. The microphone near the general muted as he posed the question to the National Security Advisor. A mousey, meek politician who seemed to shrink under the weight of Lane's glare. "Are you joking?" the man stammered, before quickly regretting the question.
Sam Lane never joked.
Clearing his throat, the advisor started again. "The Russians would have a field day. Say we're violating New START. And then there's the Chinese, the North Koreans. We'd have almost no support from NATO..."
"Fuck NATO," Lane growled, a baritone rumble as he looked around the room. "Gentlemen, if there's another Superman in that pod, we have a problem." One Kryptonian was one too many. There were too many unknowns with Superman. Least of all, vulnerabilities. How could they defend against Superman?
"We're operating on the assumption that there's someone
in that pod," a Coast Guard officer said, piping up from the back end of the table. "My understanding is that the Richards' expedition was only green-lit because the going assumption was that this was a part
that had fallen off the alien ship."
"And if it is
a lifepod, we now face the possibility that this was an object deliberately launched into orbit," another voice, a Marine Corps officer, interjected. "We might have just picked up a grenade, ladies."
Listening to the debate, Lane's finger reached across for the button on the microphone. "What's this assholes name?"
"Donovan..." Lane echoed, as though it left an unpleasant taste in his mouth. Depressing the button, Lane's voice resonated through the speakers overhead as he asked, "Doctor Donovan, in your opinion, is there a lifeform inside of that pod?"
There was a crackle of static and a pause. On the screens, a man in a aluminum-like hazard suit stopped his work in order to turn and face one of the cameras."Sir, the data lends itself to no concrete conclusion at present, but..."
, Commander," Lane snapped, cutting the man off."No, sir. I don't believe there is a lifeform aboard the pod."
Lane looked at the Marine. The Marine looked at the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard was looking at the National Security Advisor. And the National Security Advisor looked like he was ready to piss himself if he didn't get out of this room soon. Depressing the button a second time, Lane answered, "You don't?""I think there are two lifeforms, sir."
Taking his finger off the microphone, General Sam Lane -- along with all of the assembled Joint Chiefs -- looked over at the National Security Advisor.
The silence was uncomfortable to say the least. "Perhaps... an accident
in-- involving one of our... nu... nuclear silos," the man stammered, pulling out a handkerchief as the sweat starting running off his forehead.
The Army Chief of Staff was locking his sights on Lane. "What do you propose? The Manhatten Project
in the middle of Colorado?"
"This is an election year," the National Security Advisor managed coherently, swabbing at his face anxiously with the cloth. "The President must
have plausible deniability."
"Bob," Lane's voice cut in, turning attention to the Chief of Naval Operations. "What if we put it at the bottom of the ocean?"
The Admiral gave Lane a quizzical look. "And do what? Hit it with a torpedo?"
That, and a cup of really hot coffee, were going to do absolutely nothing to Superman from what they'd observed.
a torpedo," Lane answered flatly.
The room fell silent again, until the National Security Advisor was the one to finally break the ice. "North Korea lost a sub not too long ago, if we place it in the South China Sea they couldn't easily pin it back to us."
It was the National Guard who voiced the dissent
"I look around this room and I wonder, what happened
All eyes in the room swept to the back of the room, where the Coast Guard and Air Guard were quickly distancing themselves from the Army Reservist who, for his part, seemed to be wondering what was wrong with everyone else. "You know, this is a race we know nothing about. We know nothing about what's inside that pod. What is it. Who is it
," the man said, even as he looked around the room and realized he was totally alone in what he was saying. "And we're sitting here, reacting out of fear, just wanting to... lash out and destroy what may be our one opportunity to greet an extraterrestrial race with, I don't know... what's on the Statue of Liberty? Give me your tired, your weary, your poor..?"
Lane laughed. A short, gruff, hollow sound. Standing, the General leaned over the table and answered clearly, "Today, gentlemen, that sign reads No Vacancy
The room stood at attention, chairs scraping against the floor as all of the officers stood. Looking around at his officers, Lane raised a finger to point at each one in turn. "Now, I want that piece of shit taken out of NASA's hands and no one, no one
knows it was ever here," the General stated, pausing only to get a nod of agreement out of the National Security Advisor. When he'd gotten it, Lane looked back and up and added, "We'll take it out back and we're going to put a nuke up it's Super-ass, and it can go to hell."
As he started for the door, the man stopped for just a moment, leveling a glare straight at the National Guard Chairman. "I want one thing to be very clear, gentlemen. That pod is a clear and present danger
to these United States."