ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2012-09-21 11:33 pm

Fake News | Jon, "Stephen", evil!Obama, Stephen Jr. | G | It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's...A Chair!

Title: It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's...A Chair!
Rating: G
Characters/pairings: Jon, "Stephen", the Obama that only Republicans can see, Stephen Junior
Disclaimer: #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. Characters belong to the Report. Names of real people are used in a fictitious context, and all dialogue, actions, and content are products of the author's imagination only.

Prompted by [personal profile] kribban, a sequel to the AU where "Stephen" is a superhero. (Hat tip to [personal profile] politicette for the title.) Now with a mirror on the AO3.

Jon, the new reporter in town, has already been rescued once by blowhard superhero The Eagle. Now it's time for him to meet the conceited crusader's sworn arch-enemy....

When his first day at the office finally arrives, Jon tries to ply his fellow reporters for the scoop on the Eagle without being too obvious about it.

Turns out everyone has an opinion, and most are only too happy to share. A fair few people think he's done good, in spite of having an ego roughly the size of Texas. They tip Jon off not to say anything in that vein around Kilborn; the editor is also the driving force behind the Central City Daily's anti-cape stand. Other staffers see things Kilborn's way, but the only one who matches him for viciousness is a shouty cub reporter, who insists to anyone who will listen that costumed heroes make a mockery of law and order. Since anything said within earshot of him is bound to get back to Kilborn sooner or later, it's best to keep mum around him too.

Jon almost wants to argue with both of them. He's bound to run into the Eagle again (frankly, obnoxious though the guy was, he's almost looking forward to it), and he wants to be able to hold his head high when that happens.

On the other hand, he really needs this job.

He'll just have to learn to keep his head down, get his stories in on time, and avoid talking to Colbert entirely.

Naturally, Jon gets assigned to cover the fundraiser along with Colbert. Because the universe hates him, obviously.

He schmoozes with the various wealthy VIPs and campaign staffers, picking up soundbites. There have been a couple of particularly underhanded ads slung around in this gubernatorial campaign, and nobody wants to take responsibility for them. Instead he keeps getting deflected with arguments about who's responsible for the increase in violence in downtown Central.

"I don't see the problem," says Colbert, when Jon runs into him over the deviled egg platter. "They're being very clear. The current governor's policies are bad. The challenger is not the current governor. Ergo, the challenger's policies are good. Why can't you just transcribe that without being so picky about it?"

"Maybe I think this city deserves a better class of journalist," says Jon.

Colbert shrugs. "Suit yourself," he says, then casts an eye across Jon's oversized light-blue suit with the hemmed pant legs. "On second thought, don't. Leave that to the professionals. Ask around here, I'm sure some of these people can get you a bargain deal at their tailor. If you can restrain yourself from demanding details of their fiscal policy first, that is."

With that, he disappears into the crowd.

All around him people are running, and screaming, and Jon can't for the life of him understand why.

He's been heading toward the epicenter of the commotion, which started at one of the side doors and has been moving toward the podium where the candidate was scheduled to speak. And there's nothing there. As Jon watches, a woman in about fifty strings of pearls topples like she's been hit by a club, but he can't figure out what hit her....

"Watch it!" shouts someone behind him. For a second he thinks it's Colbert, then a force field materializes around him and yanks him toward the chandeliers. He's flattened against the curved surface, his stomach heaving.

He does a quick check. The tape recorder's still on.

"Where do you get the balls to attack these salt-of-the-earth all-American job creators?" continues the Eagle, descending in a force field of his own. One hand is upraised in Jon's direction, while his cowl glares with patriotic solemnity at the empty span of floor Jon was just yanked from. "And that guy?"

Jon would have complained if he weren't so busy trying not to throw up. The rest of the crowd is too busy fleeing for the doors to notice.

"Now that's just mean," the Eagle says, as if responding to something. He lands in a dramatic pose, and starts lowering Jon's protective bubble back toward solid ground. At least this time it's going slowly. "I'm sure once he's gotten a few steady paychecks, he'll start buying clothes that fit."

The bubble settles Jon on the ground between two tables and a mess of toppled chairs. When it disappears, he nearly puts his hand in a plateful of spilled spaghetti bolognaise, and somebody's red wine starts soaking into his right knee. Apparently being soggy is going to be a running theme in these meetings.

"You take that back!" yells the Eagle, and casts a force field around what looks to Jon like empty air.

"Hey!" Jon staggers to his feet and holds out the mic. "Eagle! What's going on? Who are you fighting?"

"Don't you recognize him?" demands the Eagle over his shoulder. "What kind of reporter are you?"

"The kind who can't see invisible people!" snaps Jon. "Come on, give the people a hint. Do you have metahuman vision, or just advanced tech?"

"Telling you anything about my methods would only give the supervillains more ammunition," says the Eagle loftily. Then: "Uh-oh."

While Jon still can't see the attacker, the force field is clear enough. And it's crackling like a socket with a fork stuck in it. The electric arcs radiate out from two central points at about eye level, throwing off sparks, getting wider and brighter with every second.

"Don't think your fancy new electro-glove trick will defeat me, Obama!" shouts the Eagle.

A second later, the field disappears altogether.

"Joke's on you! I can't even fit that many in my — gah!"

The Eagle generates a second field that launches himself into the air, just time to take an invisible electro-punch on the calf.

He settles into a weird aerial attack pattern, coming down and at angles to take a swing at the invisible figure, soaring out of reach to avoid the explosions of sparks. Oh, and yelling. Lots of yelling. "I am too my brother's keeper! Shut up! You don't get any moral high ground when you go around punching these sweet maltreated tycoons and trust beneficiaries! Hey, leave my mother out of this! You...augh!"

He's caught. He dissolved part of the field to get in a good kick, and now he's crouched in the rest of it, hanging above the tables with one leg sticking out the bottom of the bubble. Light crackles around his ankle.

The Eagle screams.

Journalists aren't supposed to get involved. But everyone else who might have helped out here has fled the building. And even if those sirens in the distance are heading their way, Jon doesn't feel like waiting that long.

"Hey! Obama!" he shouts, leaning on the nearest table. "How about that closing Guantanamo, huh?"

There's a minor thud, as of an adult-human-sized figure dropping from a two-foot height. The Eagle pulls his leg back to safety and lies curled up on his side in the curve of his bubble. Under the cowl, his face has taken on an unsettling greyish tint.

"And...the no progress on gun control!" continues Jon, addressing the general direction of the noise. "How many more people have to be massacred in the theater before we do something, huh? And...uh...."

"Not just Obama," croaks the Eagle. "The Obama...only Republicans can see. Evil Obama."

Oh, good. That means Jon doesn't have to keep trying to think of criticisms that make sense. "And why are you sending terrorist drones to carpet-bomb American small businesses?" he yells.

There's a crackle in the air, way over to the left.

Jon fists both hands in the tablecloth and yanks, swiveling until he feels the drag. Soup spoons and designer pepper shakers bounce off of a space in the air; gourmet pasta sauce and caviar splatter over a silhouette. The partial outline of a tall man in a suit stumbles backward, trying to wipe the invasive substances off. (No, he can't.)

That takes care of finding the guy. All Jon has to do now is dodge.

By the time the police show up, they find the evil Obama wrapped in a tablecloth and hanging from the top of one of the room's decorative columns. The Eagle pulled himself together long enough to sneak up behind him while he was chasing Jon, and took off after tying the final knot. Jon hopes he has a nice comfortable nest somewhere to recover in.

"I take it you can't see him?" says the officer debriefing Jon, as a couple of others (some who look like they know what they're doing, others clearly just going through the motions) confiscate Evil Obama's electro-gloves and bundle him into the back of a police van.

"What, because I'm in news I have to be a Democrat? Come on."

"No, because he's spent the past ten minutes swearing eternal vengeance on you and all your descendants."

"Oh," says Jon.

A microphone is suddenly thrust between the two of them, and Jon nearly gets elbowed in the face as Stephen Colbert aims it at the policewoman. "Officer, how quickly do you think this incident will be co-opted by liberal handwringers wanting to suppress our Second Amendment rights to gloves that electrocute people?"

A folded newspaper slaps down on Jon's desk, making him jump. "Think you're a hero now, huh? Practically making yourself out to be the Eagle's new sidekick! Why don't you just cut to the chase and slap on some spandex?"

Jon glances at the article: his byline, two neat columns of print, a huge full-color photo. Of course, to Jon's eyes it's a photo of nothing, and he wonders how that works, whether people like Stephen can see different levels of ink in that place on the page. "I got mentioned in like two sentences," he points out. "You could have been in there too if you hadn't run away when all the action started."

"I have a very sensitive stomach!" insists Stephen. "It forces me to make discreet exits at random and not at all suspicious times! Stop changing the subject away from how you would look in a domino mask and tights!"

"Excuse me," says Jon abruptly, getting to his feet. "I think I hear Kilborn calling me."

He flees to the roof, trying to estimate how long it'll take for Stephen to get bored and move on to ranting about something else.

The sun drifts lower toward the skyline, filling the streets with the buildings' long shadows. Nobody else is up here but a couple of pigeons, trotting around and clucking. Jon keeps meaning to bring his sandwich crusts up here and treat them, but he's been so busy, and...

...and the pigeons scatter, as a huge winged shape blots out the sun over them before landing on the handrail.

Jon gapes.

It's a bald eagle. An actual, no-fooling, right-off-the-coinage bald eagle. And when it claw-walks closer to him and sticks out one foot, Jon realizes it has a message taped to its leg.

"F-for me?" he says stupidly.

"Scrawk," says the eagle, and hops closer.

Jon unties the letter, keeping an eye on the bird's wicked-looking beak all the while, and unrolls the paper to reveal several lines in a gaudy, over-serifed font:

John Stewart,

Thank you for the assist with E. O. last week. I could have handled it alone, obviously, but it would have taken longer.

I was thinking recently that it would be nice to have a helper person in the mainstream media business. Not like the kind where you promise to write good things about me, because it would be unethical to coordinate with you in that way. But the kind where you tip me off about criminal-type things being planned, and I tip you off when a newsworthy and spectacular confrontation is about to go down, and maybe you also throw food on supervillains on an as-needed basis.

So, do you want to be my unofficial sidekick? You wouldn't have to wear spandex or anything. Unless you wanted to.

Check yes or no:

YES □ NO ▫

~The Eagle

(The superhero Eagle, not the eagle carrying this. He can't write.)

"And, uh, I guess I tie this back on with the answer?" asks Jon.

The bird cocks its head at him as if he's a particularly stupid pigeon. "Wark."

"Okay, okay," says Jon, and fumbles in his jacket pocket for a ballpoint.
politicette: (Default)

[personal profile] politicette 2012-09-22 03:46 am (UTC)(link)
this is so cute and FABULOUSLY ridiculous omg

politicette: (Default)

[personal profile] politicette 2012-09-22 04:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Ha ha ha, true! :D Fabulously silly, then. :)
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2012-09-23 04:30 pm (UTC)(link)
"Maybe I think this city deserves a better class of journalist," says Jon.


Aww, Jon is Lois Lane.

At least Stephen is smart enough to distance himself from "The Eagle", and to wear a better disguise than just taking off his glasses.

I love that Jon has the guts to try to fight invisible Obama himself, despite any super powers.

"What, because I'm in news I have to be a Democrat? Come on."

"No, because he's spent the past ten minutes swearing eternal vengeance on you and all your descendants."


Of course, to Jon's eyes it's a photo of nothing, and he wonders how that works, whether people like Stephen can see different levels of ink in that place on the page.

I love the magical realism aspect of this scenario. That people with different political affiliations actually have different cognitive abilities.

But the kind where you tip me off about criminal-type things being planned, and I tip you off when a newsworthy and spectacular confrontation is about to go down, and maybe you also throw food on supervillains on an as-needed basis.

Yes, and especially the supervillains Stephen can't see.

And so the saga begins! Like Superman had Lois and Batman had Jim Gordon, The Eagle now has Jon Stewart. Let's hope it's a match made in heaven.

LOVE it!

(Anonymous) 2012-10-13 05:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Really? Lois Lane or ...Robin? OK,I mean Jim Gordon...
The whole setting is awesome!!! Small details like Invisible Obama and news reporter Democrat are just as delighting as wining a lottry!
LOVE the Yes/No at the end of the letter and LOVE the (The superhero Eagle, not the eagle carrying this. He can't write.) So Colbert!