Conference Call

a Supergirl fan fiction by

Douglas Neman

Lena gazed out the window at the protesters below, a puzzled frown on her face.

Someone joined her and said, "I wonder if I should do a story on them."

Lena turned, her face beaming. "Kara!"

"Hiya!" Kara said. They hugged.

"Are you here to cover the conference?" Lena asked.

"All week."

"Wonderful! I supposed it's no coincidence Snapper sent you."

"Nope. You and Miss Grant are two of the headliners here, and I know both of you. So I get to spend a week covering two of my favorite people while enjoying a free trip to San Francisco."

"Niiiiiiice!"

"I know!"

They giggled.

"I've already been over the schedule and marked out all the sessions I want to attend," Kara said. "I definitely want to see Miss Grant's presentation Thursday, and I'm really looking forward to your Women in STEM symposium Wednesday night! That's gonna be so much fun!"

"I always figured you were a science nerd at heart, somehow."

Kara scrunched up her nose in her typically goofy way. "I am." Then she waggled her fingers towards the window. "So what are all these fine people doing here?"

"I'm not sure. I think they're protesting us because we're part of the global corporate empire that secretly rules the world. Or something."

"Shouldn't they be protesting at the G8 conference? Or a gas station?"

"One would think. Or it could be gender-related."

"Seriously?"

"Well, the League of Women Business Owners has achieved some serious clout in a very short time. I mean, this is only their second conference, yet they got President Marsdin to give the keynote address on Friday night! The president! That's kicking some serious hoo-ha."

"Yeah, but the LWBO is only trying to foster the growth of women in the boardroom, and as small business owners. Why would anyone protest that?"

"Why does anyone protest any progress women make?"

Kara frowned and nodded, conceding that Lena had a point.

"Are you staying here in the hotel?" Lena asked.

"Oh, absolutely. I don't know how CatCo got me a room, but they did."

"The LWBO probably pulled some strings for you, anticipating some positive press."

"Could be. But whatever the reason, I'm glad to have a room. Did you know that every hotel within a 50-mile radius is booked solid?"

"That's what happens when you schedule a conference in the same time and place as ABBA's reunion concert."

"Yeah. Someone wasn't thinking when they did that." Kara spotted someone over Lena's shoulder. "Ooh! There's my other favorite person! Come say hi!" She rushed off.

Smiling, Lena followed her at a more leisurely pace. Kara is the most honestly happy person I've ever met, she thought. I am so lucky to know her.

Kara made a beeline towards a petite blonde woman who was wearing huge tacky sunglasses and walking across the hotel lobby as if she owned it. Which, Lena reflected, she actually might. The woman was followed by a bellboy struggling with a full luggage cart.

"Miss Grant!" Kara squealed.

Cat Grant stopped, turned, sighed, and dramatically pulled her sunglasses off. "Oh, hello Kara. Why are you here?"

"Hug first!" Kara said.

"Oh, if you insist." They hugged, Cat grudgingly, Kara enthusiastically.

"I'm here as a reporter!" Kara said. "Snapper wants an article a day."

"Oh, good for him," Cat said. "I hope you produce something better than that drivel you wrote about the National City weather station."

Kara was completely unperturbed. "I'm improving all the time!"

"Good. That's what I like to hear from my girl." Cat smiled for the first time.

Lena strolled up to join them.

"Miss Grant, do you know Lena Luthor?" Kara asked.

"Only by reputation, but it's an honor to meet you."

"And you!" Lena said. "I've admired your work and your career for many years!"

They shook hands.

"Do the two of you have plans for lunch?" Cat asked.

"Nope!" Kara said. Lena shook her head.

"Then you're joining me. Hotel restaurant. One o'clock. My treat."

Kara said, "But Miss Grant, you said you never eat at hotel restaurants. You said that they were-"

"Overpriced with horrid food," Cat said. "They are. But I'm not telling my driver to nudge his way through a crowd of hippie protesters like Moses parting the Red Sea just to go to lunch, and I'm not a fan of starving, so one does what one must."

"We shall be there," Lena said with a smile.

"Wonderful," Cat said. "Please excuse me, I hear a hotel room and a hot bath calling my name." She sauntered off.

"I can see why you like her!" Lena said.

Kara grinned and nodded.

 

Cat was partially right. Although the food was overpriced, it was actually pretty good. Kara, Lena, and Cat had a marvelous time. Cat had a thousand hilarious stories in her memory, most of them involving Anderson Cooper. She kept Lena and Kara in stitches.

After lunch, they strolled through the lobby and into an art exhibit the hotel had set up in one of the smaller conference rooms. It featured paintings by local high schoolers. The three women had the exhibit to themselves at the moment.

"I am so envious," Kara said, gazing at the artwork. "I can draw stick figures, and maybe a cloud. These are beautiful!"

"They certainly are," Lena said.

With her superhearing, Kara heard a loud crash and people screaming. She could tell that Lena and Cat didn't hear anything. Pretending to wipe her glasses with her shirt, she looked through the outer wall in the direction of the noise.

"Get down!" Kara shouted, and tackled Cat and Lena out of the way as a large delivery van smashed through the wall sideways, sliding straight through the spot where they had been standing. Plaster, wood, and dust exploded around the room. From the outside came more sounds of crashes and people screaming.

Cat and Lena were in shock. Kara quickly scanned the van. No one was inside it.

"We need to get out of here!" Kara said and ran off, not waiting for the others.

Coughing, Cat stood up awkwardly. Lena propped herself up with an elbow. Both tried to take in the situation.

"Are you all right?" Cat asked, helping Lena up.

"I...I think so," Lena said. "What-"

"There you are!" said a high-pitched, nasal voice.

The two women turned to find a lizard creature crawling through the opening the van had made. The creature vaguely resembled an iguana in outer appearance, and was about four times as large as a person. It grinned at them, showing two rows of vicious teeth, and sniffed twice.

"I thought I smelled you," the lizard continued. "Once I catch a scent, I never lose it. My record's intact. I'm here to put an end to you, you nasty woman!" It hissed.

"What?" Lena asked. "Wh...why-"

With a screech, the lizard disappeared, as if something had yanked it backwards.

Cat and Lena ran to the opening. Outside, Supergirl had ahold of the lizard's tail, and was whacking the lizard on the ground, back and forth, in quick 180-degree arcs. All around them were overturned vehicles, crushed streetlights, and running people.

"J'onn, get a satellite feed on my position!" Supergirl said.

"Stupid woman," the lizard said. It flicked its tail viciously in a whip-like effect, sending Supergirl flying towards the parking garage. Supergirl halted just before hitting the structure, flipped so that she was facing the lizard, and let loose with her heat vision. She hit the lizard squarely in the chest, but it just laughed.

"My scales are too thick even for you to penetrate, Supertwerp!" the lizard boasted, then casually flung a parked car at two policemen who had opened fire.

Supergirl moved like lightning. She didn't have the angle to catch the car, so she darted under it and struck it with her fist, deflecting the car up and over the policemen's heads. It struck an overturned tanker with the words Warning! Toxic Cargo! on its side, splitting the tanker open.

Alex's welcome voice came over her earpiece communicator. "We've got you, Kara. I've already sent a team to your location."

Supergirl went right at the creature, dodged its claws, grabbed the base of its tail, and flew straight up, taking the creature with her.

The lizard tried its tail-flicking trick again, but that only worked on someone holding the end of its tail, not the base of it. The creature lashed out at Supergirl with its teeth, its claws, and the end of its tail, but not viciously enough to do any damage. Supergirl was holding the lizard in the one place it could not effectively reach with any appendage.

Supergirl rocketed them both into the clear blue sky.

"I hate to be a party pooper," the lizard said, "but are you taking us anywhere in particular?"

"Yep," Supergirl said, and let go.

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrgh!" the lizard screamed.

Supergirl calmly watched it drop. "One one thousand, two one thousand," she muttered.

Winn's voice came over the communicator. "Actually, Kara, you are exactly 4,853 feet above the ground, so lizard-guy is going to go splat at almost 381 miles an hour."

"Good to know, Winn," Supergirl said. "Appreciate it." She rocketed after the creature, which was still screaming. It hit the same spot in which Supergirl had picked it up, and made a pretty good impact crater.

Supergirl landed next to it, and to her astonishment, she saw that the lizard was still awake, if barely. It groaned. She leaped up and delivered a full punch to its forehead.

She landed again, made sure the lizard was unconscious, and patted it twice on the nose. "Night night."

She turned to Lena and Cat, who were still standing in the opening in the side of the hotel. "Are you two all right?"

"We think so," Lena said. Cat nodded.

"Good," Supergirl said. "I've been tracking the green meanie here for the last two days. Seems I caught up to it just in time. Gotta go!"

Supergirl took off and flew out of sight. "Alex, I have to go back to being Kara ASAP! Can you guys take it from here?"

J'onn answered this time. "We've got it. The DEO just opened a new office in San Francisco, staffed by raw recruits. Securing an unconscious giant lizard will be a great field test for them. They'll be there in half a minute."

"Happy to help out the DEO with its training," Supergirl said.

 

Lena looked around, still in shock. "Where's Kara?"

Kara came running towards them, stepping over the rubble as fast as she could. "Guys, I told you to run! I thought you were right behind me!"

"No, Kara, we were still lying on the ground!" Cat snapped. "We were attacked by a giant lizard, but your buddy Supergirl took care of it."

"Giant...lizard?" Kara asked, incredulous. "Supergirl? Where is she now?"

"She flew off," Lena said.

 

The hotel manager did his best to calm the crowd which packed the lobby. "If you please bear with us-"

"This is not what I would expect from a five-star hotel!" one woman snapped. The crowd around her grumbled in agreement.

A man further back in the crowd called out, "If I don't get a full refund and a credit on another stay, I will make sure you never manage another hotel again!"

"Please, sir-" the manager tried again.

"This is absurd!" another woman shouted. "Why can't we go back to our rooms? I'm not sleeping on a stupid cot like I'm on a camping trip!"

"Ma'am, please-" the manager said.

Suddenly, Cat Grant stood next to the manager, gazing at the crowd. She didn't speak. She merely waited until everyone noticed her presence and quieted down somewhat.

Cat took a deep breath.

"People have been taken to the hospital," she said. "A number of people could have died today. You could have died today. Two policemen almost gave their lives to protect you today. If those words mean anything to you, you will stop acting like spoiled brats and recognize the seriousness of the situation."

The crowd was silent.

"Now, the hotel manager has explained the matter quite well. Fumes from a toxic leak have entered the west side of the hotel, so that wing must be evacuated. That is for our safety, and it is not the hotel manager's fault! In fact, he is bending over backwards to help you while dealing with a hugely stressful, and potentially deadly, situation. The national guard is here. FEMA is on the way. Hotels throughout the bay area are full. So you can double up with a buddy in the east wing of the hotel, or you can sleep on a cot in the ballroom – which the staff is almost killing themselves to provide, by the way – or you can go home. But demanding that the world's troubles take a back seat to your inconvenience is sickening. I, for one, will do everything I can to help, and to support the hotel staff, who are breaking their backs for us. I suggest you do the same."

The crowd was silent. Shamed.

Cat nodded to the manager, who nodded back his thanks. She walked back to Kara and Lena, who were both beaming at her with unabashed pride.

"Oh, don't look at me like that," Cat whispered. "I need a brandy."

Kara snorted. "I've missed you."

"So you're one of the people having to find a new home?" Lena asked.

Cat nodded.

"So am I," Lena said. "I've never slept on a cot in a room with a hundred other people. This should be fun."

"My room is in the east wing," Kara said. "You're both more than welcome to stay with me."

"How many beds do you have?" Cat asked.

"One. But it's a king. And I don't mind sharing it. In fact, it could even be fun!"

"You don't have any diseases, do you?" Cat asked.

"Umm...I don't think so," Kara said.

"Well, it would be better than a cot in the ballroom," Cat said.

"And they did say that the more people who can double up in the east wing, the better," Lena said. "I accept."

"So do I," Cat said. "What's your room number?"

"Three-eighteen," Kara said. "I'll get a couple of extra keys and get the room ready. You two go get your stuff and meet me there."

"Sounds like a plan," Lena said. "Thank you, Kara."

Kara headed to the front desk. Lena grabbed a luggage cart, and she and Cat headed for the elevators. They met a security guard blocking the way.

"We're moving in with a friend," Cat said. "We just need to get our luggage."

"What floor?" the guard asked.

"Twelve," Cat said.

"Fourteen," Lena said.

"Very well," the guard said. "So far, the fumes are on the first couple of floors only, but please be as quick as you can. And we only have one elevator in service right now. Some of the power lines were damaged in the fight."

"Thank you," Cat said. She and Lena walked past him and pressed the call button. They were alone.

After a few moments of silence, Lena said, "Shall I ask the question we're both thinking?"

"What question is that?"

"How did Kara know that car was about to come through the wall?"

Cat was silent for a moment, then said, "I wish I knew."

"She runs off, leaving us, which doesn't seem like something Kara would do. Then Supergirl shows up seconds later."

"That's not the first time that's happened," Cat said, remembering the night Livewire attacked her. "And this time, we're hundreds of miles from National City. What are the odds?"

"She said she'd been tracking the creature for two days."

Cat narrowed her eyes. "Yes. And that was strange. Supergirl's usually not that forthcoming with information like that, yet she tossed out that comment, like..."

"Like she didn't want us to question the coincidence of her being there. Then she flies away, and Kara comes running back to join us seconds later."

The elevator arrived. They patiently waited for a family of four to exit with their own luggage cart, then entered. They were still alone. Lena pushed two buttons. Cat waited for the doors to close before replying.

"I once thought Kara was Supergirl. This is not the first time she has done something no human could possibly do. I even confronted her about it. But I have seen Kara and Supergirl in the same room at the same time. No matter what, I cannot dismiss that fact."

"Yet, you still have doubts."

"I know that something about Kara Danvers and Supergirl doesn't add up."

Lena thought for a second. "You remember that time when Supergirl was infected with something and went crazy?"

"Vividly," Cat said softly.

"Well, when we were all watching the final fight on the news, didn't we see one of the federal agents shapeshift?"

Cat was silent. The floors ticked by.

"I am a highly intelligent woman," Cat finally said. "It's not often I feel like a complete idiot."

The elevator reached the 12th floor and opened.

Lena gave her a wry smile. "Don't feel too bad. She fooled me, too, and I'm not exactly stupid, myself."

Cat nodded and sighed. "Well, at least we know we'll be staying in the safest hotel room in the world."

"True."

"Please take the cart, get your things, then come get me," Cat said. Lena nodded. Cat exited the elevator, and the door closed behind her.

 

Kara tried to calm her nerves, but that was easier said that done. Two good friends, whom she admired more than almost anyone, were staying in her hotel room! It'll be like a long extended sleepover! Kara thought giddily. We'll sit up late at night, talking and laughing-

Argh, Kara, get a grip! another part of her said. These are grown women, and you are a grown woman, too. Just calm down.

I can't help it! the first part of her piped up again. It's so exciting!

The thought of having Lena and Cat in the same room – in the same bed – gave her butterflies. She really didn't want to think about that.

She tried to calm herself by writing her first article. It wouldn't be about the conference, or about the protesters, it would be about a bizarre attack defended by Supergirl.

Despite her nervous excitement, sliding back into reporter mode did, in fact, calm her reasonably well; so well that she was surprised at the knock on the door. She had been so lost in her article that she had actually forgotten, for a moment, about Cat and Lena.

She bounced up and let them in, trying to keep the big goofy grin off her face. "I squished my stuff together as much as possible, and made room for you. I thought you had more stuff than that, Miss Grant."

"I left the non-essentials with the valet," Cat said.

She and Lena arranged their luggage around the room, and in the closet, as best as they could. "Thank you so much for this, Kara," Lena said again.

"Oh, it's no problem at all," Kara said. I'm so excited I'll be sharing a hotel room with you that I could just do cartwheels!

As Cat sat down in the easy chair by the window, she spotted the document on Kara's laptop. "Is that your article for today?"

"Yep. Figured I'd get a head start."

Cat turned the laptop around and squinted at the headline. "Giant lizard creature makes a conference call?" She looked up at Kara with incredulity.

Kara shrugged. "I like it! It doesn't matter; Snapper won't use it, anyway." She sat on the edge of the bed.

Cat turned the laptop back around and muttered, "We can be thankful for small favors."

Lena sat down in the other chair by the table, and asked, "Did you manage to interview Supergirl already?"

"Uh...yeah. Yeah, I called her, and she had a few minutes. Luckily."

"Ugh," Cat said, rolling her eyes. "I am not putting up with this all week. It's been five seconds, and already I can't stand it. Kara, don't talk about yourself in the third person like that. You're Supergirl, not the Queen of England."

Kara's jaw worked up and down in astonishment. Finally, she said, "Uh...Miss Grant, we've already been down this road-"

"How did you know that car was about to come through the wall?" Lena asked.

Kara's jaw worked up and down in astonishment a second time. "I heard the commotion outside. I...guess it was just instinct."

"Not X-ray vision," Cat said.

"Miss Grant-"

"Kara, I saw your spare Supergirl outfit hanging in the closet when I hung my clothes up," Cat said. "You didn't hide it nearly as well as you think you did."

There was silence for a moment.

"Well, I...um...I...like to cosplay?" Kara said meekly.

Lena raised an eyebrow.

Kara continued. "Besides, that cosplay costume is inside a hang-up bag, so how would you have seen it?"

"I didn't," Cat said. "But thank you for confirming it."

Kara stood up, wanted to pace angrily, found she had no room to pace, and shook her finger at Cat. "That...that was mean."

"Consider it a learning experience, cub reporter," Cat said. "I just taught you a cute trick. Feel free to use it on someone else, some day. We know you're Supergirl, and your shapeshifting friend isn't going to get you out of this one."

Kara sat down. All her visions of how much fun the three of them were going to have had long since vanished. "I save your lives, I invite you into my hotel room, and this is how you treat me."

"Oh, Kara, we're fine with it!" Lena said. "I think it's really neat!"

"Yes," Cat agreed. "You're no longer my employee, so I don't care that you're Supergirl. I just refuse to sit here and listen to you stumble-mumble as you talk about yourself while pretending you're a reporter who's pretending not to be a superhero. I don't have time for that, Kara."

Kara diligently worked her way through all of Cat's words. "I don't pretend to be a reporter," she said indignantly. "I am a reporter!"

"Whatever you say, grasshopper," Cat said.

Lena moved to sit next to Kara and took her hand. Kara's heart did little flip-flops.

"Look, Kara it's all right," Lena said. "We're not trying to be mean, we're just letting you know that you don't have to lie to us, okay? It makes life a whole lot simpler. Now, first things first – thank you, very much, for saving our lives today."

"Yes," Cat said. "Thank you. You were amazing."

Kara sighed and blushed. "Oh, you're welcome. It's what I do."

"And you do it well," Lena said.

"What do you know about the creature that attacked us?" Cat asked. "Why is it here?"

"I was hoping you could tell me," Kara said. "I've never seen it before. Wasn't it targeting the two of you, specifically?"

"Are you asking as a reporter or as Supergirl?" Lena asked.

"Yes."

Lena smiled. "Well, yes, it did target us. Or one of us." She turned to Cat. "What did it say?"

"'I'm here to put an end to you, you nasty woman,'" Cat said. "That's one of the things I trained myself to do as a reporter – remember details even while panicking."

"Which one of you was it talking to?" Kara asked.

Cat and Lena looked at each other. They shrugged. "I couldn't tell," Lena said.

"Do either of you have any enemies who want to kill you?" Kara asked

"I'm Cat Grant."

"I'm a Luthor."

Kara nodded with a Yeah, good point look on her face. "Well, at least I know you're a good person, Miss Grant. And I know you're a good Luthor, even if there aren't many in your family tree."

"I think my great-great-grandfather was a good Luthor," Lena said.

"Why do you think that?" Cat asked.

"His first name didn't begin with L."

"Really?" Kara asked. Cat looked shocked.

Lena shrugged. "I don't know why. Maybe he was just a rebel."

"Hmm," Kara said.

"I wonder how this attack will affect the president's visit," Cat said.

Kara's eyes grew wide. "The president! Oh my gosh! I forgot! She's supposed to be here Friday night!"

"Maybe not any more," Lena said. "I can't imagine she'll show up now."

"She'll be here," Cat said. "She'll want to show the world that she's not afraid."

Kara pulled out her phone and called someone. "Alex. Please tell me that lizard-man spilled his guts about why he attacked us." Pause. "Oh. Okay. No, I'm fine. Not a scratch. Good to go. Listen, I'll call you in about half an hour. Right now's not a good time, okay? Love you. Bye."

She hung up. "The creature is still unconscious, and it's a species we know nothing about, so they don't know when it will wake up. So that's a dead end, for now."

"Since none of us know who the lizard critter is, my instinct is that it was sent by someone else," Cat said.

"I feel the same," Lena said. "And if that's the case, then whoever wants one of us dead might try again. Soon."

"Well, that just made the week interesting, didn't it?" Cat asked with a twinkle in her eye.

 

All right, fan-fictioners! What happens next? It's up to you!

Who is the lizard creature? Did someone send it? Was it targeting Cat or Lena? Will it regain consciousness any time soon? If so, will it give the DEO any information? Does any of this involve the president? Does any of it involve the protesters, or the League of Women Business Owners?

And most importantly: how much fun will these three ladies have sharing a hotel room for a week, and will that bed see any action?

Write your own story. All I ask is that you title it "Conference Call – Continuation" or "Conference Call – Conclusion," or something like that.

Have fun!

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