1965-09-09 - The Library Fundraiser
Summary: Commie spies, wine, and Lex's pride.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
lucifer forge lex-luthor 

A lovely Sunday evening in New York City- at the library. Lex Luthor is standing quietly at a dais with some reporters near by, just outside the building itself. A press conference is about to start.

"Good evening people of New York City. As you are aware, I am a local to this fine metropolis. I grew up just down the street in Hell's Kitchen. It wasn't an easy childhood- you're all aware how that neighborhood has been for quite some time." She pauses a quiet moment, looking out over the crowd which has gathered to hear the multi-millionaire speak. "The Library was always a sanctuary for me, it gave me a place to learn and grow and escape certain realities of life. It would be impossible for me to press enough the importance of reading, and the library in my personal life."

She pauses again, looking still over the crowd with a quiet smile, "Which is why I am deeply proud to announce that I will be donating over a million dollars to the New York Public Library, with a further million donated with the specific interests of modernizing the various buildings in the Library's holding with technoloy from LexCorp aimed at preserving and expanding the Library's ability to reach people everywhere in New York City."

Forge is in New York City in the evening. His mobility is much greater since getting the flying car. Noticing what apepars to be quite a gathering at the library, he walks on over, slice of pizza in hand (and mouth). He gradually waves his way through the reporters, getting close enough to get a good look and hear.

"Without further ado, I open the floor to questions- after questions there are refreshments in the library itself, an area cleared of books of course. We don't want to get them dirty, right?" Lex asks with a quiet smile. "Anyways, yes. Questions- please go ahead."

The questions begin- standard kind of questions one would expect of such a press gathering- questions about the library. About LexCorp. About Lex herself- all very civil. After all, Lex Luthor is a powerful woman who's built a literal empire. All above board, of course.

Forge smirks. He consdiers asking if that million dollar donation to modernization, is a MATCHING donation that's going to be funneled back to Lex Corp when the government bids out the reconstruction projects. Instead, he'll wait until after the questioning ends, and he wanders on over. "I'm sure the bidding will be fully competeitive," he says for her ears only, as most folks are focused on the food.

"Hmm?" Lex looks over to Forge, "Oh, darling, these are donations. You don't bid on donations. I'm simply updating their systems. A million in straight donations, and a second million in technology and upgrades. New Microfilm machines and the like. Not every branch has some of those. Anyways, the LexCorp versions are top of the line." she says, polite still. "Why do you ask, hrm?" she wonders, turning to look at Forge quietly.

Forge smirks, and takes another bite. "Oh, just curious. I've been around the block in government spending, and I have a feeling that this donation will end up being a net profit for you, once everything goes around the washing machine a few times."

"No crime in that, is there?" Lex asks, "Anyways, the whole city will benefit. If everyone wins, who's to complain?" Lex says quietly, "That's the way business works- anyways, if it weren't for capitalists like myself there wouldn't be any progress. With two million dollars in the bank, a million discretionary funds and another million in technology will go a long way towards modernization and benefit the city as a whole." she remarks, "If I also benefit, then everyone is happy." she shrugs quietly.

Forge shakes his head, still smirking. "Not a crime in it. All perfectly legal. In theory." Finshing off that slice of pizza, then wiping his hands with his napkin. "It's just that nobody will be able to tell where the money originally came from."

"Sir, I'm not sure what you're suggesting." Lex says, as she snags a glass of wine when someone passes. She takes a sip. "My finances are all very easy to trace. LexCorp is a model business. We pay our taxes, I pay my taxes. We hire from diverse groups- a meritocracy- which is more than most businesses can say. " She looks quietly to Forge, "You have me at a disadvantage- what should I be calling you?"

Forge looks at her, then comes around to snag a drink himself, coming around and closer to her once more. "Forge," he nods. "We met once, briefly, at a jazz club. You stand out more than I do, typically." Though to emphasize the point, he lifts his metallic hand, and touches his nose with a metal finger tip.

"Did we? I'm sorry, I don't remember it at all." Lex says, with a quiet shrug. "I really should, I suppose. Metal hand is something of a telling thing, isn't it?" she offers off hand- just sipping her wine now. Champagne, of course. Expensive stuff. "So, who did the hand for you, darling?" she asks, "May I see it?" she wonders with obvious curiosity. "I understand if you'd rather I not."

Forge goes give a gentle shake when offered, but leaves the hand out for her to look at. "I lost the hand in the war. This was my best attempt to subsitute for it. Not the first iteration though. It's been a few revisions since the Pusan Perimeter."

Lex takes Forge's hand, looking at it closely. Curious, clearly, as she pulls an eye piece out of a pocket of her suit- a magnifying piece like those used by watch makers. "Mm. You built the prototype in a warzone? Quite impressive." she offers, "Of course, terrible that you lost it at all." she says slowly, as she just memorizes everything she can see. "How does it articulate? Is it mechanical?" she asks next, very clearly curious.

Forge shakes his hand. "Not in the war zone. It was in a basement after I returned. The war was tough, especially those first months. It was part of my recovery. And yes, it is electromechanical." He then flexes the fingers.

"Ah." Lex says, as she watches the fingers flex. "Very interesting." she continues, as she takes a slow breath and releases his hand. "It's a fantastic piece of work. Are you working in engineering now?" she wonders next, sipping her wine again. "I can't imagine you aren't."

Forge smiles. "I am. I split my time, these days doing some work with the disadvantaged in New York."

"Oh? Self Employed, or do you work for a company around here?" Lex wonders next as she sips her drink again. Just quiet. Watching Forge quietly now, weighing him.

Forge smiles. "I work for a firm in the Washington area. The work I do up here is more independent than that, yes." He sips again himself. "Do a lot of work with kids."

"I see. Do they pay you well?" Lex wonders next, curious still, "I've always got an eye for good mechanical minds, you know." She says with an easy smile.

Forge hums. "They pay me well. It turns out that, as I'm sure you're fully aware of, that the United States Government has plenty of use for weapons and technologies to defend freedom against the Red Menace."

"Oh, do know. Very well. Much of my money has been made in defense industries." Lex says with a quiet smile, an easy thing. "I pay better, you know." she offers, next. "You should come by and see the LexCorp difference."

Forge sets down his empy glass on a tray as it goes by, then folds his metallic hand with the flesh one. "Do you have a card? I'd be unwise not to listen."

"Do I have a card…" Lex says with a laugh, shaking her head. "Of course I have a card, darling. What do you take me for?" she wonders, reaching up and snapping a finger. An assistant steps forward- was that young woman always there? She seemed to just blend in. "Business card." she states, and a card is supplied. She hands it over to Forge. "There you are, darling."

The card is very plain and simple, albeit on fairly fine cardstock. It just says 'Lex Luthor and Lex Corp. A phone number on the back.

"There you are. Perfect, yes? I do expect you should come by for a little tour, and we'll see if I can't make you more money for your work."

Forge will take the card, slipping into a pocket, then pulling out one of his own. Much plainer, for some non-descript contractor in northern Virginia. "Thank you, very much," he nods. "This is for my Washington office, but I recieve my messages there regularly."

Lucian has reasons to go to the library that have nothing to do with corrupting the good people of New York to do terrible things, sins like disorderly stocking of books and dog-earing pages. He looks the part and breaks through the hush when he steps through the front doors. It's rather like a rock star has bothered to show up. His velvet coat and silk shirt are out of keeping for summer, but whatever.

There is something of a party going on inside the Library, with several well-to-do people here. A philanthropist outing. Lex is speaking to Forge- and the occasional debutante or news person.

"Darling, you should most certainly come in. I assure you that I can pay better." she offers with a well practiced smile to Forge, "So then- what does your work with kids look like, hrm?" she wonders curiously. "I don't usually do much work with children."

Lex looks over towards Lucian as he arrives. "Some people have a flair for drama. WOnderful." she says, sipping her wine.

Forge glances where Lex does, then nods back to her again. "I work with kids in certain neighborhoods, where they have a harder time getting a leg up in life. And I help them get in the right direction."

Well-to-do are well within Lucian's set. They certainly might recognize him, and he gives that barbed wisp of a smile to anyone staring too long. It's so self-indulgent it might be a smirk. A whole range of different reactions tend to follow him around. He doesn't respond greatly to it, nodding to those in passing. "Boredom slays creativity, conventionality strikes down innovation," he answers Lex dryly. "I am glad someone else puts a value on standing outside the status quo. Or altering it."
He doesn't cram himself into the way. When a server comes by with a selection of drinks, he takes one for himself. Red wine, dark as a dream. "Exciting time. What's this about children then?" Does he just randomly show up to philanthropic events? Of course he does. His Plan isn't theirs.

"Life is unfair. That's the nature of life." Lex replies to Forge. "You can pull yourself by your bootstraps if you have the willpower and ability." she continues as her gaze goes back to Forge. "The right direction is upward. Bettering yourself and your lot in life. The other stuff isn't quite as important. However, I do agree that it is important to keep an eye out for talent that needs to be nurtured."

Lex smiles quietly towards Lucian- a smile that barely shines the wickedness of Lex Luthor. "Darling, they broke the mold with me." she states without a single hint of modesty. Not Lex Luthor. She carries herself with the thought she is the best and it shows in how she oozes confidence. "I don't believe we've met." she offers a hand to Lucian. "I am Alexandra Luthor. A pleasure to meet you."

Forge nods. "IT is the American way that we all have the liberty to pull ourselves up to our potential. However, what if I told you that there are rogue forces within the United States Government that are following a Communist agenda, to divide Americans, such that we may be conquered better?"

The wine is sampled in a sip — a taste to quench the palate rather than serve the purpose of drenching thirst, which he really doesn't need to concern himself with. A calculated elevation of twelve degrees, sip, and down. Liquid runs back down on the interior of the glass and he lounges there, effortless in his poise, slouching and looking so effortlessly cool as a result. His shoulders roll beneath his coat to give another touch of the louche enjoying himself, awake drowsily by the oddest hours alive. "What if I told you it's the same across the board, mate?" His cut-glass English accent is a thrill on the senses, and not quite a drawl. "They have the same in the capitals of Europe and most of East Asia. Everyone who doesn't have power is jockeying for it. Instead of fighting on an open field, those forces do it by proxy. Shadow wars and puppets. Nothing new, merely another take on the same failure."
He doesn't lose that grin, nor the hint of being so damn smug. He takes Lex's hand and bows over it, a perfect execution that wouldn't be out of place in the Habsburg court at Vienna, c. 1857. No condemnation of kissing her knuckles but he does the air above her skin. "I know you, Miss Luthor. Of course, find someone who doesn't and I'll show you the rock they live under. Lucian Venare," he answers dryly. "Proprietor of Lux. General ne'er-do-well and gallivanting problem-solver. Or that's what they tell me."

"I'd say you're talking conspiracy." Lex offers blandly to Forge. "With people like me involved in the defense of the American people, I assure you, the Soviets have no chance of survival." her attention is turned towards Lucian- smiling just as smugly as she's given the respect she so clearly deserves. "Oh! That's your club. Lovely, one of my favorites." she assures him.

At a touch- well- Lucian can undoubtedly sense the wickedness in Lex Luthor. And there is a great deal of wickedness in that woman- a veritable Lilith among the Eves of New York's women. Mixed with her truly indomitable will.. she is truly capable of anything. *Anything*.

"I've always got use for a problem-solver and a ne'er-do-well." Lex teases with a quiet grin. "Have you met Mister Forge?" she wonders, indicating her companion. "He's an engineer of some ability." she says, "I'm hoping to get him into the LexCorp family. I always need people of vision."

Forge nodes to Lucian as he comes on over. Snagging another wine from a tray. "Well, the Communists are all about conspiracy. It's their only way of surviving intact in this day and age, in this country. And you're right. They can't beat us without underhanded tactics." Then nodding again to Lucian. "Good evening."

"Communism is an ideology at odds with capitalist democracy, whereas socialist democracy has differences with that. We still have monarchies, absolute and constitutional," Lucian says all this with an easy kind of candor. He rolls his shoulder, the wine glass an accessory rather than anything particularly important. "The wheel grinds on. The concern should be for anyone trying to take advantage of the system for themselves. A demogogue or an ideologue working in the midst of bureaucracy can flip enough levers to do significant damage. Hmm, didn't you have one of those recently? McCarthy." He nods. "And that waspish senator going on about a woman the other month. Oh, what is his name? Forgettable and prone to complaining, saying we're all going straight the other way. It's a sentiment expressed by every generation. What's getting you all excited, Mr. Forge? Is there something we are overlooking?"
The young man grins anyway. Golden hair pulls the light to it, and he carelessly brings the wine to his mouth again. "People of vision are good. People of ability are even better. Put them together, and what do you have? Innovation — or revolution, maybe."

"Really, between our two nuclear arsenals the war has gone very stale. It's a game of one-upsmanship now. Which is why the USA is so lucky to have little ole' me. My weapons systems in our jets are the best in the world. My military wing is, very simply, the best there is. Better than Stark's, better than Kord's, and if Richards ever decided to build a weapon? Better than anything he could come up with. I assure you, we will always have the quantitative technological edge. I make personally sure of it, Forge." She says with a quiet smile. A knowing smile. "I can't go into specifics, of course, but trust me when I say that LexCorp's cutting edge designs and weapons are ten, maybe fifteen years ahead of anything coming out of Moscow."

Her attentions turn back to Lucian. "You see- I'm not the only one who thinks so. Nothing new under the sun, so they say. The evolution of the human animal isn't quite as advanced as most would like to think. Still prone to tribalism and the destruction of alternative thought." she shrugs, "That may never change. It's better to be aware of it. To control it." she states simply, "Take me." she indicates herself with a flourish. "I am a woman in control. I have proven, without a doubt, that a woman can do anything a man can do- and I do it even better." she says with a wicked little grin. "And I mean to prove it time and time again. I have a vision for a peaceful, fantastic future." One where Lex Luthor is considered the new Messiah of a Utopia, of course, but she won't mention that part.

Forge takes a step back, sipping his wine, considering. "Some of us would say McCarthy was on to the right idea, even if he got some of the details wrong in his zeal." He then looks to Lex, and nods. "It's a war for the survival of our freedoms. I reject any equivalence drawn between the sides."

The laugh and careless shrug would imply Lucian isn't truly that concerned. And really, why should he be? His generation is currently stirring up opposition to the war in Vietnam, questioning the ethics of a previous generation, trying to work their way through the questions of race, species, equality, inequality, and rights. "I won't say he didn't have some interesting ideas. I will say he went about it rather the wrong way from where I'm standing. But to each their own." Chromatic eyes, a sharp blue so beautifully clear, flick to watch what the other partiers and VIPs think of their conversations.
Somehow it's a little like the spotlight moving on.
To Lex, he says, "The trouble might not be Moscow. It's the bright inventor who tries something unexpected. Or the guys who shot down our spacecraft from the sky. Gemini 2. The Russian projects. Nasty year earlier this year, as soon as they reached orbit. The blue alien that landed at the UN, warning everyone to stop mucking about with other aliens." He doesn't shrug. "They're new under the sun for us. We are not new to them. Some of those variables cannot be easily or readily predicted. Technology only serves to go so far."

"Aliens." Lex Luthor says with a quiet frown, "Disgusting. They should stay on their own planets. We have enough to deal with here without extra-solar freaks showing up and causing a ruckus." Miss Luthor continues, sipping her glass of wine. "Anyways, yes. They did beat us to space." She shrugs quietly, "Anyways, it is a trouble thing. Visitors from beyond our world- who knows what their real designs on our planet are." she continues.

"I don't trust them as far as I can throw them." Lex says then, "As for the variables- you let me worry about that, darling, I assure you. If anyone can think of all the variables- It's me." she says with that same self-assured smile.

Forge finishes his second glass, and finally puts it down as well. Then folding his arms, consdiering this conversation. "I'm getting more heavily into rocketry myself. More in communications, than exploration, though."

"Rocketry and telecommunications. Fascinating. How do you even proceed with that?" Lucian asks Forge. He still has a third of the wine left at least, and he doesn't appear in any kind of rush to partake of it right away. Something about having good company nourishes him just as well. Or, perhaps, he's the sort who can drink all day long and run on the wind of it.
"There's always been the question if life existed beyond this planet. Now we know. If it is hostile or not remains an open question too. That one hasn't been conclusively answered to anyone's liking." The blond smirks again, so utterly amused by it all, taking nothing seriously in his particular burning swagger.

"It's something that weighs heavily on my mind. I always suspected there was intelligent life on other planets, but.. I never wanted them to come here. We haven't met them on our playing field- we're forced to catch up." Lex explains, "It'll be good for technology- seeing what is possible- but if they're so far ahead, nothing can really stop them if they want to just sort of… take over." Lex says next, "I assure you, Lex Luthor won't let anyone but humanity run this planet." she's very passionate about that, it seems. "I don't like aliens."

Forge leans a shoulder and stands casually. "Satellite communications are the future. Global, direct reach." It's a simple explanation. "Hopefully aliens don't start taking down our global satellite grids."

"When people came from across the sea here, I'm pretty sure they were considered fairly alien. They brought new technology and had ways that no one else had ever seen." Lucian looks back at the door with an ironic twist to his mouth. "Someone might want to canvass the tribes on what they thought, at least those which survived. The other ghosts might be pretty hard to inquire of, seeing as how some of those - the Taino, I think - managed to vanish entirely as a society. Scraps and bits." He just shakes his head. "Might also be worth asking why they're coming. Not everyone sees an immediate value other than a safe harbour in a sea."

Forge flexes his hand. "Well, if you have trouble finding some of those tribes, that lends itself to Luthor's point, doesn't it?"

"Perhaps." Is all that Lex will offer to Lucian's very reasonable statement. "Perhaps not. Anyways, I'm needed to take a few photographs. Giant check and all that nonsense." she says, "Please, enjoy the wine. The crab cakes are fantastic- I had the crabs flown in from Maryland." she nods her head, "It's been a pleasure meeting you both. I'm sure I'll see you both around."

And so Lex heads off to do those bits of pageantry that are required when someone donates a couple of million dollars to a library.

Lucian laughs. "I wasn't saying she was wrong. There are hazards to be had. There is one significant difference. Most of us in the country know they exist and are coming. There will be no turning back the tide. A fair bit different between the Taino and the Passamaquoddy or Powhatan. An elemental reality." He waves as Lex heads off, the very essence of good manners.

Forge nods to the departing Luthort, then turns to face Lucian more fully. Arms still folkded. "I hope we're better prepeard to fight back."

"Why does it need to be a fight? There can be other, better ways. Demonstrate you've got something to avoid exploitation. Avoid exploitation at all by being smart, considerate, thoughtful. Against some of those aliens, we're overpowered for all our wit and technology. Therefore," Lucian figures, "there is no purpose for us getting the upper hand or trying right off the bat."

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