To recap you find the previous chapters here:
Spoilers: Future!Fic. General spoilers for both Season 3 of Supernatural and Season 7 of Smallville.
Summary: Secret identities are a bitch.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and have nothing to give you, so please do a girl a favor and don’t sue.
The good thing about working at the Daily Planet was that the frantic pace made it hard for Chloe to dwell on missing Dean.
As a perpetually independent person, growing so attached to someone wasn’t something she was accustomed to and occasionally she still fought the idea. But Dean wasn’t exactly anybody. He was a smart ass and a flirt, but loyal to a fault. It was strange being with someone who truly put her first for a change.
Things weren’t perfect, of course. They were both very private people and that didn’t exactly make them stellar at communicating. And then there were the secrets.
Her work with the Justice League made it impossible for her to be completely open and honest with Dean. And it was obvious he wasn’t being totally honest with her either. Despite her curiosity though, she almost felt relieved by that. At least she wasn’t the only one being secretive. That put them on something of a level playing field.
How messed up was that?
With a sigh, Chloe began going through the motions of shutting down her computer and organizing her notes before getting ready to go home for the night. The sun had long since gone down and only a handful of reporters and editors remained in the Planet. Dean and Sam had been out of town for two days and she hadn’t exactly been in a hurry to go back to an empty house.
Her phone started vibrating as she was searching through her purse for her keys. One glance at the caller I.D. had her on alert. Flipping open her phone, she didn’t even bother with a hello.
“Meeting tonight, be there A.S.A.P.” an impersonal voice informed her before promptly hanging up.
Gripping her keys tightly, she picked up her pace towards the elevator, feeling a little excited.
Chloe was the last person to take her seat at the conference table in the League’s headquarters. Bart was lounging in his chair to her right, grinning flirtatiously as she slid in next to him. To her left Dinah gave her a small nod in greeting and across the table AC waved a rather enthusiastic hello. Victor and Oliver were absorbed with the laptop in front of them, the USB cable plugged into Victor’s arm telling Chloe that they were busy downloading something to the hard drive.
After a moment, Oliver stood and with the press of a button a large screen descended from the ceiling just behind him.
“This,” announced Oliver, gesturing to the picture of a man in coveralls sprawled across the projection screen of the conference room, “is Raymond Maxwell Jensen.”
All present sat up higher in their seats, taking a moment to study the man in question. He appeared unremarkable in every way. His brown hair was receding, he was slim but not muscled, and his face held the telltale expression of boredom and expediency.
“As you all know,” Oliver continued from his place in front of the table, every bit the leader, “we have numerous sites owned by LuthorCorp under continuous surveillance. A piece of footage came to our attention a few days ago when Victor was scanning the security videos of some of the local plants.”
The image on the screen was replaced by grainy black and white security footage, enhanced as best as Queen Industries could manage. Raymond Jensen stood before them in a typical janitor’s uniform, sweeping the floor of one of the many storage areas, eyes occasionally straying to the crates packed away in the corner.
“Jensen worked as a janitor for LuthorCorp,” Oliver explained patiently, his expression one of steely resolve. “It’s a minimum wage job but comes with a nearly all access pass to the plant. From what some of our sources have told us, Jensen was hard up for cash. He is gambler with a wife and two kids to support. His salary wouldn’t even come close to covering all his debts.
“Recently LuthorCorp has been getting some shipments of supposed industrial metals. The crates in this particular storage area are labeled platinum. Apparently Jensen had the brilliant idea to steal some of the cargo, most likely planning to use it to settle some of his debts. There was a slight flaw in his plan.”
Bart couldn’t hold back a snort of amusement. “Let me guess...not platinum?”
“Not even close,” Oliver smirked as he redirected their eyes back to the screen where the video played on. “Lex isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s no idiot. The crates weren’t filled with precious metals. But they did contain something valuable.”
His attention was diverted to the grainy image behind him and a grim expression crossed his face. Jensen, not exactly subtle with his interest in the LuthorCorp cargo, finally dropped his broom. With a furtive glance toward the closed door shielding him from prying eyes, he rushed toward the boxes, eyeing them determinedly. Picking up his broom once more, he wedged the handle into the seamed corner and pulled with all his might.
It took a couple tries but the top of the crate finally gave. Dropping the broom without thought, Raymond looked inside expectantly and appeared dumbfounded at what he found. Instead of the platinum he was expecting, he was confronted with a large case that gave off a worrisome glow. Carelessly he threw open the container and stared at the liquid inside with confusion.
Confusion turned to panic when alarms began to sound and he ran to the door, but no matter how hard he tried to pull it open the heavy steel door wouldn’t budge. Pounding on it fruitlessly, Jensen appeared to grow weaker and weaker before he collapsed in a heap. His body, obviously in pain, took on a darker hue. The black and white footage made it difficult to decipher what exactly was happening to the man and with one last contortion of his limbs, the video came to end.
“That was all we were able to retrieve before Lex wiped the video completely,” Oliver sighed, turning off the projector and taking a seat at the head of the conference table. “The alarms weren’t security related. They were biohazard alerts. Whatever those containers held they gave off some serious radiation. The plant went into immediate lockdown when they were opened.”
“So he didn’t have a chance,” Chloe grimaced.
“No,” Oliver agreed solemnly.
“This is tragic and all,” Dinah interjected, “but why does this concern us?”
“Because when the radiation returned to safe levels at the plant, the police found a body. Or they are pretty sure it was a body. It was split apart at the cellular level,” he revealed as his teammates’ eyes went wide. “The next day a woman was found dead. Her name was Sarah Jensen, Raymond’s wife. Along with a cop who was patrolling the highway on the outskirts of the town. They were intact, but no cause of death could be established.
“Impulse was able to collect a sample of the--genetic material-- left at the first crime scene.”
“That’s what that was?!” Bart groaned, his face screwing up in disgust. “Ew. Dude, next time warn me when you want me to transport body parts for you. Now I need a shower. Or twelve.”
“Anyway,” Oliver put an end to his whining with a small smirk, “Some of my scientists were able to extract DNA from the sample and match it to a name in the database. Matthew Sutton. He was a security guard for LuthorCorp.”
“What could do that to a person?” AC wondered, looking decidedly uncomfortable.
“I think the question is who,” Victor corrected with a frown. “From the records I was able to access, those crates mostly likely contained industrial waste. And knowing Lex like we do, I’m pretty sure we’re not talking your average toxic waste.”
“Because that would be no fun,” Bart muttered.
“Kryptonite?” Chloe grimaced.
“I’d bet money on it,” Dinah frowned.
“So what’s the plan, boss?” AC said, looking to Oliver worriedly.
“We need to find Raymond Jensen. Lex knows what happened, he’s seen the video by now and not just the segment we intercepted. Raymond has been missing since the incident. They didn’t find any evidence of a body in the storage room he was last seen in. If he survived kryptonite laced radiation, who knows exactly how it effected him. If whatever happened to the security guard is any indication his meteor power is seriously dangerous. We need to find this man before Lex does,” he stated with firm resolution.
“Get suited up everyone,” Oliver said as he stood tall, regarding his team solemnly. “The jet leaves in twenty.”
Chloe zipped up her blue leather hoodie and pulled on her boots. It had only taken her six years, but she had finally convinced Oliver she was worthy of a uniform of her own. Since her main function was still communications she didn’t get many chances to actually wear it, but every time she was sent into the field it felt good to stand side by side with the heroes and not simply be considered the sidekick anymore.
With a glance at the clock she reached for her purse and pulled out her cellphone, frowning at the lack of messages.
Dean made it a habit to call her at least once a day when he was out of town, if only just to check in and let her know he and Sam were okay.
Flipping her phone open, Chloe dialed his number and waited as the phone rang and rang. When his voicemail picked up she couldn’t help but feel concerned. With a sigh she resolved not to overreact.
“Hey Dean, it’s me,” she spoke softly. “I just wanted to let you know that I have to head out of town for a story. It was sort of a last minute assignment so I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but it shouldn’t be long. Give me a call when you can. I’ll see you soon. You and Sam be safe...I love you.”
He wasn’t big on declarations of love. They made him feel uncomfortable, if the squirming and muttering about chick flick moments were any indication, but that never stopped her. Besides, the times when he managed to muster up the courage to utter the words made it even more special.
The knock on the door of Oliver’s bathroom where she was currently ensconced startled her. Looking up at the clock she stifled a curse. The jet would be leaving in ten minutes and she still had to get to the airfield.
“Come on chica, we gotta fly.”
With a slight grin Chloe threw open the door. Bart was waiting just outside in full Impulse gear and wide smile on his face.
“You my ride?” she smirked as he offered her his hand.
“Only the best for you, Chloelicious,” he grinned as he pulled her close to him. “Hold on, we gotta jet or the boss man’s gonna have a coronary.”
“Then by all means warp speed, short stuff.”