Chapter 9

Astrid arrived at the CCPD before word spread that she was to make a press conference in an hour. She jotted down a few notes to keep her on track as she had seen her father do multiple times.

She had left without her friends in hope to break the awkward tension that she had experienced with Cisco. She could have sworn by the look on his face, as she turned to leave, that he knew that she had read his mind. 

She tapped her pen to her paper and the door opened. "Astrid," it was Joe, "Everyone is ready, out there. Good luck!"

She stood up and shifted uneasily on her feet looking at Joe nervously. Before she passed him he put his hand on her shoulder, in a fatherly way.

"Don't fret. You will be fine, just speak from your heart." He told her.

She nodded and let Joe lead her to the lobby which was packed with reporters and camera crews. Captain Singh was making introductions. She wasn't sure if she had really heard him say her name or if she had imagined it.

By the mixed reactions of the crowd he had clearly done so. Joe led her to the podium. Cisco was there setting up the microphone. He had clearly volunteered for the job.

Nerves rushed over her as she took in the atmosphere . She sat in her seat and breathed in deeply. Clutching her notes tightly as if they would save her from being swallowed whole. She glanced at the sea of reporters, microphones and cameras. It was now or never, she had to get it over with.

"Hello" she began,. "For those of you who do not know who I am, I am Astrid Sutherland." She was off to a good start, she convinced herself, "a few months ago we suffered a global meteor shower. At the time, my father, Robert Sutherland was called to the town of Smallville for business. That very meteor shower injured and killed so many people... My father included!" She felt a tightening in her stomach at the mere mention of his name, but refused to let it derail her.

"In his will, he left Sutherland Labs to me. He wanted me to continue his work in diseases. But he also risked a lot, for us to continue his work and study the meteor. His life included...Now I know that many of you disagree with his decision to leave the future of Sutherland labs in my hands. You will also disagree with my decision that I am about to confirm, But I promise you all that it is for the good of science and it is for the good of future research itself. I recently received a phone call from the head of Luthor Corp. and from that call I was offered a deal, so I took it! Sutherland Labs will be working with Luthor Corp to research the meteor. They have agreed to share their resources with us in exchange for knowledge. But I assure you that I will strive to uphold the honest values that my father instilled into Sutherland Labs. This is my promise to not only all of you, but also my father. Are there any questions?"

A female reporter standing right in front of Astrid raised her hand, so Astrid called on her. "There have been rumors that the meteor shower has changed people's very DNA, giving them super powers. Can you confirm this?"

Astrid thought of herself, she thought of the man who had thrown fire balls. She knew the answer but she wanted to avoid sending the room into a panic, though she knew that she couldn't lie. She chose her words carefully. "Those rumors are one thing that we would like to research." She answered.

"Are you saying that you don't know for sure?" another reporter spoke out of turn. Astrid felt uncomfortable in her seat, "I am saying..." she was once again interrupted by another person. This time a female in the back, of whom she couldn't see the face. "Well you're all about to find out!" the girl called out.

All of a sudden the lights began to flicker as a shrill scream rang out at such a high frequency that all the glass and windows in the vicinity began to smash. People covered their ears and ran as quickly as they could for the exits.

"Astrid, follow me." Joe told her as he led her to one of the side exits. Officers around them jumped into action, restraining the woman. She let out another shrill scream. Joe and Astrid ran to safety amongst the chaos of people.

They finally made it safely outside, "what was that?" Joe asked, Astrid didn't answer. Her phone had begun ringing from in her pocket. 'Oliver Queen'.

"Oliver, now really isn't a good time." She told him.

"Yeah, so I saw. Great speech by the way!"

"Ollie, I have to go. Things are just... things are just really really hard right now..."

"Trust me I know what that is like, and that is why I'm calling you. I want you to know that if you need someone to turn to. If you need help with coping, just remember... you're not alone!"

"Thanks Ollie," Astrid told him dryly, "I appreciate that. Though everything is fine. I assure you. You don't need to worry about me. Besides, you wouldn't understand if I told you." Astrid prepared herself to hang up on him.

"You would be surprised. But just call me if you need anything, anytime ok?" he asked.

Astrid ended the call without so much as saying goodbye. Some reporters had decided to deliver their stories at that very moment from outside CCPD.

"Can you take me home, Joe?" she asked him. "I think I need to be alone."


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