I never expected to solve more crime as a reporter than as a bulletproof icon. Yet Simon Magus is responsible for more crime in this city and on the planet than any drug runner. He’s a CEO, the kind that builds skyscrapers named after himself, paid for by what his companies export into war zones. He hates me – one of me, for what I’ve been doing in those same parts of the world when I’m not pushing for a Pulitzer.
He invited me to a lunch on the top floor of one of his skyscrapers, witless that it'd been me who stopped a homicidal robot on its roof three days prior. Even with all the shattered glass, he had a breakfast table set up with Kopi Luwak and imported baguettes. Simon honestly wanted to talk to me about my criticisms of his company, at first to see if he could wow and bully me into retreating, but later about the veracity of my sources and how to keep shareholders happy while enacting reform.
All the while he peppered in attacks against my alter ego. He wanted to convince me what a danger he posed, taking responsibility away from normal people. As though he sells VX nerve gas to normal people. The surprising thing was that when I kept disagreeing, Simon grew more eager, like being stolid earned his respect.
I'll never forget. He said, "Cal, the world doesn't need him. It needs you."
That haunted me, and not just as I put on the tights and stopped his robots. Maybe that means he won.
The next day he bought my paper. We’d gone too deep into the red over the backfiring paywall, and without his money we’d have sunk. He said he’d bought it with the money he'd typically donate to PBS. He had me on the dais as he announced the takeover, and asked me to be the new editor in chief.
If this is a scheme, it’s Simon’s best. Not a single crate of weapons has ‘mysteriously gone missing’ off his cargo liners since our first breakfast together, which if you do the math, has saved more lives than I can at the speed of sound. I can’t help doing the math.