Welcome to the Present

Characters: Superwoman, Captain America
Rated: PG-13
Summary: Superwoman seeks out the rumored return of Captain America, hoping to meet the man spoken of so highly by her uncle.
OOC Date: 2017-08-16
IC Date: 2017-08-16
Where: Steve's apartment in Brooklyn, NYC

Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, aka the Most Famous Man in the World as of a Tuesday afternoon, is trying to get his cable box to work. It's frustrating, mostly because he never even had a television before— let alone Direct TV— and the instructions left by SHIELD in his apartment were less than useful.

"Ah, forget it," he exhales in frustration, tossing the remote aside and leaving the AUX screen to glare at him in an eye-searing blue. He stares at the TV, unsure of how to turn it off, and then just reaches to unplug it from the wall.

Steve sighs and sticks his hands in his jeans pockets, looking around the apartment. It's spacious by New York standards, but a little on the small side and decorated by someone working on an official budget. He presses his lips together and moves to rest his hands on the open windowsill, examining the fire escape that doubles as a balcony, and looks out over Brooklyn, trying to find familiar landmarks. Only the street names are familiar to him.


One thing that may be familiar to the timelost hero and soldier is the gold-trimmed S-shield prominently displayed on a field of azure blue, even if the chest upon which it rests is rather a different shape than the last one he saw. The figure floats down out of the heavens, crimson cape fluttering behind and around her as she comes down to just about equal eye level with the man peering out his window this afternoon. Short blonde hair flutters in a breeze that is not currently moving the air at all, as crisp azure eyes take in the man before her, the wall no impediment at all to her perceptions.

"Good afternoon." Kara Zor-El of the House of El offers politely; unlike the last he knew to wear that shield, her words are not stilted by an unknown accent. Or at least, not much. "I take it, from the disc resting on the floor to the side of your second bookcase, that I may have found the man I am seeking."

Kara floats a bit closer to the window, but does not crowd Steve or his view. "I heard that you had been found, and freed from your icy entombment." She then extends her hand in the way that she knows men of his time did when greeting an equal. "I believe you would have known my uncle. Jor-El. I am Kara Zor-El. The people have taken to calling me Superwoman."


Steve blinks in surprise at the blue-clad blonde descending towards him. He takes a cautious half-step back from the windowsill once it looks like she's — yep, she's coming to /him/, and his brows rise in surprise, then settle out in a mild frown of confusion as she makes with the introductions.

Still, he's a Brooklyn boy at heart and was raised with good manners; he shakes her hand, a little surprised at the strength behind it, and his face registers surprise at her statement.

"Uncl— Jor-el? You're his niece?"

He blinks. "I'll be whipped, he was always talking about how he was gonna get home. I'm glad to see he did." He releases Kara's hand, then steps back and gestures fitfully over his left shoulder. "Er, sorry. Steve Rogers," he says, introducign himself politely. "C'mon in, do you, uh… d'you want something to drink? I've got juice, milk, and some cola," he offers, waving her to enter.


Tall as she is, and not at all small, Kara manages to slip through the window gracefully by taking her time and being careful. She floats through the window and settles on her feet, flipping her cape out of the way as it stills, no longer fluttering by an unfelt breeze. Then she offers the rather gracious man she surprised a warm smile and a chuckle. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble, Mister Rogers, I would love a glass of milk." At least she knows Steve is polite enough his mind would not even dream of the words all too many men she knows would think of at that mention from her of all people.

"Thank you for the kind welcome. I appreciate that, given I dropped by - quite literally - unannounced." Kara offers. "And I know that Jor-El would be very, very pleased to know that you eventually found your way home as well. His journals make it quite clear how distressed he was when you were lost. He tried to help all he could to the effort to find you, but to no avail." Jor-El and Howard Stark together, along with others, should have been enough. But it seems Time Itself had other ideas.


"Milk, sure," Steve says. He gestures at a seat and ambles to the kitchen; dressed in a light flannel shirt with cuffed sleeves and jeans, he sure doesn't look like one of the most famous war heroes in history. He opens the fridge and pours Kara a glass, then one for himself, too. "It's the or-ganic stuff," he tells her. "Hope you don't mind, but the pasteurized milk tastes real peculiar," he says, putting the beverage away. He walks both glasses over and hands one to Kara, then seats himself.

"I'm sure SHIELD isn't making it easy for people to find me, and if they weren't I'd have reporters banging down my door. Lotta folks want to interview me." He passes a hand across his face— a momentary sign of extreme exhaustion. As if he's only slept for the first time in years the night prior.

"Jorel is a- was," he amends, "a swell guy. I hope he's safe and happy back home. He was always talking about his family. Looks like he made quite an impact though, I see people wearing his family crest all the time," he chuckles. "Like it's fashionable or something. I bet he gets a kick out of that."


The warm, smiling and toweringly tall blonde's face falls as Steve continues; she showed no objection at all to organic milk, and was quite happy when she took the glass from him. But the way he talks about Jor-El … she just crumples a bit, as she deftly sweeps the cape out of the way and takes a seat, a tad heavily.

After a bit, Kara lifts her gaze to Steve's and shakes her head. "I … I'm sorry. I didn't realize you wouldn't know. My uncle did make it home, many years ago. Not long after you disappeared, really. But … not long after that … our planet was destroyed. Krypton is gone." Tears shimmer in her eyes; even after all of these years, it is still so hard to talk about this. And it seems especially so with Steve for some reason.

"So far as I am aware, my cousin and I are all that remain of what Krypton was back then. There are some criminals who were held off-world. They survived as well, and threatened Earth several years ago. But they are not Krypton." Kara is firm about that. She is the last daughter of Krypton. The scion of that legend and lineage, the inheritor of Jor-El's legacy on Earth and across the galaxies.


"O-oh." Steve's face falls and genuine distress crosses his striking features. "Sheesh. I'm… gosh. I'm sorry." He flexes his fingers, casting around; remebering he has his handkerchief, he digs it out of his pocket and offers it to Kara.

"No. No one told me. There's a lotta stuff I'm trying to get caught up on," he explains. "A whole planet, just… gone. Wow." He shakes his head, a little dumbfounded at how such a thing could happen.

"Well, uh…I'm glad you're here, at least; Jor-El always was sayin' how much he likes Earth," he ventures, a few silent moments later. "So his… daughter, then, she's here too?" he says, with a little relief. "That's good to hear though," he says. "So, er, you live here in the States?" he asks; Kara's accent is decidedly American, whereas Jor-El's was decidedly /not/.


Kara recovers herself, accepting the hankie and dabbing at her eyes. "Uhm. I am sorry. You're right, of course. So much you've missed and much catch up on. I just foolishly assumed the state of your former teammates would be one of the things they told you about first." She should know better; she has worked with SHIELD and other agencies, seen the way they prioritize, and love to keep secrets and maintain dependence.

"My cousin is a male, actually. Jor-El's son. I am the daughter of his brother, Zor-El. Hence my last name." Kara considers her answer, and then nods. "Yes, actually. I will not bore you with the details. But I was sent here aboard a small vessel, an escape pod. My cousin arrived a bit later. I arrived as a small child, and was adopted by a human family. Raised to be as much human as Kryptonian." Hence her minimal accent, one in fact she adopts for her Kara persona but never has as Linda.


"There's a lot to take in," Steve acknowledges— but in truth the fault is as much his as anyone else's. After the news about Peggy… it was hard to keep asking questions to which he already knew the inevitable answer. A little folded card by his bedside, with the details of the life she'd had after his vanishment, was well-read to the point of losing starch.

"So he had a son! That's great," Steve says, flashing another grin. "Great. So, you two, last kids of Krypton," he approves. "Well— Jor-El was a great guy. So I'm sure you two are great kids." It's a simple logic— and weird that Steve calls them 'kids', because he can't be even in his late 20s yet— but then again. He /is/ older than everyone else.

"And you can fly, that's… unreal. Jor-El could jump like crazy, and even float a little, but he never quite got the knack of flying," Steve says. "Used to have a lot of theories about it though. Most of it went right over my head. He was a brainy type, but pretty easygoing despite it."


The blonde woman smiles warmly at that. "We're of the opinion that I can fly because I've had more time under the yellow sun, having grown up on Earth. So I've soaked up enough energy, deep into my body, to power my flight." Which honestly makes no damned sense except in a world controlled by comic book physics. Which this one is!

"Most of the crest merchandizing these days is related to me, honestly." Kara admits, a tad shyly. "I have been Superwoman for almost seventeen years. So I have become something of a fixture in the minds of the people." A heck of a lot longer around than either Steve or Jor-El, although she hasn't been around for a world war; that does make a difference.

Kara glances towards the blue-glowing television. "Mmm. Were you having problems with that?" she inquires, smiling. "I could probably get it set up for you, if you would like?" After all, what she can do with tech most can't even fathom. Setting up satellite television really won't be much of a challenge.


"Guess that makes sense," Steve concedes, as Linda explains her theory about the strange abilities of Kryptonians. "Jor-El never passed up a day to sit and soak up the sun if he could."

At her offer, he gives the TV a sour, suspicious glance. "I … thanks, I'd appreciate it," he says, too polite to voice his dislike of the strange box. The SHIELD agents had sat around watching a lot of television while debriefing him; Steve didn't quite see the appeal yet. "I guess there's a lotta movies that came out while I was asleep. I need to get caught up. Stupid thing is a pair in the pooter to operate, though."

"But, uh, only if you're not working," he says, glancing at her red and blue costume. "You look like you're on your way to do somethin' heroic."


Kara smiles, and walks over towards the television and the box, starting to lightly tap keys as she runs diagnostics and starts setting things up. "Well, I wear this when I'm going to go flying around as Superwoman, or Kara Zor-El." she explains, regarding being 'out for something heroic'. "Otherwise, I'd be dressed as a civilian. But you wouldn't have known it was me. Or rather, that I had anything to do with your old friend." Good reason, right?

It doesn't take long for Kara to get the television setup completed. "There are a great many movies, yes. And this setup would allow you to catch up on most of them without ever having to go anywhere else." She makes a little face at that. "Which can be great. But I confess, I rather enjoy making movies, at least, a social thing." Which it was for Steve, too, in his day. "At the least, you should invite friends over to share some of the movies with you." That's what Linda does. When she's not busy being the corporate tech mogul.

"I suppose it has been a big adjustment for you." Kara offers, honestly, as she turns and faces Steve once more.


"Makes sense," Steve acknowledges, thinking it through. "Also, I'm pretty sure SHIELD is watching the front door; I don't know if I'm the only one in this building they're watching or what, but the old guy in the lobby is always playing chess with the same four people so I kinda think he's the day shift security manager." A pretty astute observation.

He nods at her explanation of the technology— though he's still wary of the device and the entirely too complex remote control— but her offhand statement gets his attention, and he nods at Kara when she faces him again.

"That's a bit of an understatement, ma'am," Steve acknowledges. "Parts of Brooklyn haven't really changed that much, but…" he gestures vaguely at the TV and the gestalt it represents. "I've got a phone that fits in my pocket that's also some kind of massive book repository and a built in radio; no paperboys on the corner; the food is all real salty and the chicken doesn't taste right," he admits. "And the war's over. I was fighting Krauts in the Mediterranean last week and eating ration packs off my knee. Now—" he gestures at the relative luxury surrounding him.


Kara nods. "Understandable that they would want to help keep an eye on you. Of course, that has to feel a mite stifling at times." She's good at that insight and understatement. "You should challenge him to a game of chess. I hear you're quite good." Uncle Jor-El's journals again, probably.

"Actually, your phone is one heck of a lot more than any of that. But that's also a heck of a lot more than you would have had much frame of reference for, before you slept." Kara offers. And she can and does sit down and show him some of the other things his phone can do, what it can give him access to, including music - ALL THE MUSIC - and more. "Remember the radio codes you had to use to keep the enemy from knowing what you were saying? Your phone can do that to any of your communications, on the fly, and make sure that - within some limits - your communications can only be understood by the person you were talking with, and no one else." She's far too savvy to make the mistake of assuming it would be one hundred percent effective; if she has tech that can crack those encryptions, others do as well. But it's a lot more than most can beat, and why would they bother?

"The food is salty because most folks don't shop every day anymore, so most foods are laden with preservatives. Chicken doesn't taste right because it's not wide-range farm raised the way it was, and is usuall water-injected after it's harvested." Not that Steve couldn't have looked all of that up, but she knows the answer and Kara sees no reason not to explain it. "You would probably prefer 'free range' chicken, and organic foods."


"I'm okay at it," Steve concedes modestly. It's not false humility; he's just not the sort given to braggadocio, even if he is a talented strategist.

He makes room for Kara as she starts going over his phone, but even his capacious brain is a bit overwhelmed by the potential of the device. Music, research, communications, photographs— he grins awkwardly at his own image, snapping a 'selfie' of the two of them at her direction— and that feature, he seems to genuinely like.

"Haha, that's swell," he chortles, looking at the image of the two blondes. "Time was, you used to sit in a studio or hope a newspaperman caught you in the camera. Then you paid out the nose to get it developed."

He nods along with her explanations, making a little face. "True enough. I like the organic milk better— I'll try to find some 'organic' chicken, if that's a thing," he says, wryly. "But not everthing's boiled, so, we've got that going— and it's not much worse than the preservatives they used to seal ration packs up in," he concedes.


The other kind of app that Kara insists on installing for Steve and showing him how to get started is a sketching app, allowing him to use his phone and his finger to do one of the things that Jor-El's notebooks made clear Steve would do all of the time during the war. Something she's pretty sure he would really enjoy getting to do more of. "I know it won't feel like paper and pencil, and sometimes you'll want to do it that way. But this way whenever and wherever you have your phone, you can sketch something, if you want. Or if you need." It's something she finds very useful herself.

"I'm happy I could help." Kara offers, smiling, glad to have posed for a selfie with Captain America - and most importantly with the man behind the mask, the costume, the symbol. The real man, Steven Grant Rogers. It is a chance to connect with someone who knew her uncle; not quite as good as someone who knew her mother or father, but better than nothing by far. "I'm sure you've heard this from many people. But I'm really glad that you were found, and that you're back. I honestly hope to see what you can bring as a sense of sensibility. It can be something often missing for us." And she'll take all the help she can get.
think


"I— I don't know how much use I'll be, ma'am, but I'm gonna try real hard," Steve assures Kara with a deep sincerity. "There was a war on when I left. I hadn't even been stateside for… gosh. Six months, I think, since my last shore leave, and most of that was inside an SSR facility somewhere upstate," he hazards. "It was ration tickets and war bonds when I left. Now it's… colors and food and peacetime," he remarks, shaking his head and rolling the thin phone over in his hands, over and over. "The city's louder. More people. New York's always been a bit peculiar, but there are some /real/ strange people on the subway," he says, laughing ruefully. "Things have changed a lot, and …. it's just…" He rubs his face.

"Well, it'll take some time to adjust, and it sounds like I'm not gonna have a lot of R&R. SHIELD's already nudging about putting me back on active duty somehow."


This alien, at least, knows the value of a little 'human contact', and she reaches out to take Steve's hand, meeting his gaze and smiling. "Believe me, Steve. I have it on one of the highest authorities in my world that you have quite a lot to offer." Jor-El, naturally. "And most consider me one of the 'old hats' these days amongst the 'capes'. And I can assure you, what I know of you gives me every faith you have a lot to offer the country, the world, and the super community." And how many of them would roll their eyes that she would call them the 'super community'?

"Don't let SHIELD push you around, Steve. I know you believe in service, and I respect and honor that. But you did your time, you gave your service. You are entitled to your own life, at your own pace. Your decisions, not theirs. You don't owe them anything, no matter what they say or believe." Which is not to say that Kara feels he shouldn't work with SHIELD; only that he shouldn't feel pressured into it. "Like it or not, you were the best judge of where you could be effective and helpful back then. No one else. I happen to believe that is still true."


Steve blinks out of his reverie at her hand squeezing his; surprise flickers over his brow, but he smiles at Kara's affection and returns her gesture with a squeeze of his own fingers.

"I guess I shouldn't be complaining," he says wryly. "Last night of sleep I had before they found me was in a sweaty tent in the Mediterranean after a bad dinner of burned casserole. Now—" he gestures. "War's over, and we won. Seems like … well," he laughs, easily. "I guess I'm just feeling a little sorry for myself, which isn't fair," he says. "I had ninety years to sleep. I guess that if anything, it's my turn to pick the slack back up," he says, already brushing off his earlier maudlin introspection.


"Freedom of Speech, Steve." Kara offers, smiling. "You're as entitled to it as anyone. Maybe moreso; you certainly have done more than many to secure and defend it, after all." A little hero worship, there? "You're entitled to complain. You're entitled to want some time off. You have a lot to get used to, a lot to adjust to. And you should be free to do so on your timetable, not that of anyone else, no matter how much they say they need you."

"There's nothing more fair than to allow you to feel, and acknowledge those feelings as valid. I trust that when you're done settling in, and processing what you've been through, you will step up. They should be just as trusting; you've earned that much and more." Superwoman says so. Now if only Steve knew how big a deal that is to a lot of people.


"No more than anyone else," Steve assures Kara— he doesn't seem to be particularly argumentative. Just insistent about his efforts being no more important than anyone else's.

"I sure appreciate it though, Kara— really," he tells the woman. "I'll get it sorted eventually. I know the real trick is to get back in the saddle," he tells the buff blonde woman, grinning at her. "Sitting around on my rump all day is a good way to drive myself to boredom. Idle hands are the devil's work after all."


"True enough. I can't stand being bored for very long." Kara admits, smiling. "To be clear, though, I wasn't saying that your efforts or sacrifices were more than anyone else's who served when and were and how you did. Only that none of the rest of those are being asked to return to active duty." After all, he can go to the American Legion and find vets from WWII. But they are surely not eligible to return to duty.


"I— thanks, Kara," Steve says. He seems a little abashed, as if unsure of what to do. This gratitude for his service is new to him; in Steve's mind, clearly, he can think of nothing else he /could/ have done.

"So— uh, it must have been a bit of an experience, growing up on Earth as the only Krpytonian," he tells her. "You said you were a teenager, right? How'dm you learn English and whatnot so well?"


Kara smiles and shakes her head. "No. I was a teenager when I presented myself to the world. I landed when I was probably around two years old." She can tell that Steve wants the spotlight anywhere btu on him, and she's happy to cut him some slack. No problem. "I learned English and Kryptonian, along with a few other languages, while I was in my pod flying to Earth. And I've used the technology since, to help me continue to grow in my understanding of Kryptonian history, culture, knowledge and science." Yep. Complete simsense virtual reality education. Fun stuff!


"So… you're an Earthling, really," Steve says, blinking and smiling at Kara approvingly. "I— I mean, you were raised by human parents. Right here, in — America, yeah?" he hazards.

"That must be some swell technology to let you do that. I got a Polish language manual and thirty hours in a cramped DC-12," he says wryly. "I crammed as fast as I could but I'm pretty sure I tried to buy some tank parts from a guy in Lodz and accidentally agreed to marry his daughter," he says, with a wry laugh.


The Kryptonian woman chuckles wryly. "Well, yes. I was raised on Earth, in America, by human parents. But I am just as much a Kryptonian." But it is a reason why she doesn't really stress the 'I am an alien' in dealing with people, unless it's important. Because she was raised to think just like them, in so many ways. "It offers me a completely imersive experience, and can give me years of teaching and education in days." Kara admits. So yes, it would be an awesome resource for those with situations like Cap had in the war. One of the reasons why she's working on the tech bits she is from her company: the chance to bring similar capabilities to the public.


Steve whistles low, giving Kara an admiring look with a new level of appreciation for her expertise. "Well— if that doesn't beat all," he marvels, shaking his head. "Bet that makes it easy to get caught up on your reading," he jokes.

He collects his empty glass and moves to the kitchen, rising it out quickly and letting it drip-dry on a rack. The apartment sure has a utilitarian vibe to it; the furniture is new, straight from Ikea, and almost certainly assembled by a crack team of SHIELD interns armed with allen keys and screwdrivers. Even the little dishtowels in the kitchen are from the spring catalogue. But there's not much of a personal touch in the apartment.

"I'd like to get caught up on who's-who around here," he tells Kara. "Is there a newspaper archive at the library still? Or a book or something I could pick up?"


Kara considers Steve's request carefully, and finally nods. "I may be able to suggest something. Do you remember TIME magazine? They have published decade books, which recap many of the events of history and culture for each decade. They should be at the public library, and would likely go a long way to helping." Of course Steve is going to be more comfortable with the printed product than with electronic tomfoolery.


"Wow, TIME is still going?" Steve looks impressed. "Huh. That's great, I'm glad to hear that a name I recognize," he says, flashing a tight grin at Kara. "Funny the industries that have survived and the ones that didn't. Yeah— I'll head to the library then, see if they can check me out a few books," he says, nodding gratitude at her thoughtful suggestion.

"I should— I should start getting a list of things to catch up on," he says, patting himself as if looking for a notepad. "My memory's good, but it's not THAT good."


"Mind if I help?" Kara inquires, waiting for his permission. Once given, she takes his phone from the table, unlocks it - hey, how'd she get his code? - and then brings up the notepad app, shows it to him, and shows him out to turn a note into a To Do item if needed. "No more looking for a pen or a pencil for it. Hopefully that will help." No need to explain that TIME Inc. has been hemorraghing money for a decade and a half, as more and more of their print business collapses, unable to monetize their electronic publishing platforms well. That'd be just too damned painful to get into right now.


Steve stares blankly at Kara's magic trick, and picks the phone up gingerly. "I… uh, okay," he says, trying to mimic her motions. He presses too softly; then drags a finger— then too hard. The screen flickers. "It went away," he says. He fumbles it in his hands. "Wait the whole screen is gone," he says, accidentally hitting the power button. He sighs and tucks the phone into his back pocket.

"I'll figure it out eventually," he promises Kara, wryly.


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