Chapter 2

"So does everybody understand the plan?" Oliver asked when they were all sitting in the private plane on route to Smallville. 

"Absolutely," Felicity responded, "While you, Astrid, Caitlin and Diggle chat with Mr Luthor, Cisco and I will stay here and hack into the systems. Our good friend, Barry will have his own tour of Luthor Corp... Which should take him roughly ten minutes 'tops' by these blueprints." She was referring to what was on her laptop screen. 

Astrid noticed an uneasy look that had come over Caitlin's face. "Caitlin, if Ronnie is there, I promise you, we will get him back! But we need you to be confident that this will work." 

Caitlin looked up at her friend. "Thank you, you just know how I get when it comes to acting. I'm not as good as you are when it comes to it..." Astrid wasn't sure whether to take it as a compliment or not. She looked down at the bracelet on her wrist. 

"That's pretty, Astrid. Is it new?" Caitlin asked her. Astrid looked over at Cisco, but then diverted her attention to Barry. "Are you ok to do this, Barry? This could be dangerous for you. Luthor has been creating beings like you and I, so he would most likely have precautions in place."

"It's worth the risk, Astrid. I am not going to let you guys down." He told her. 
 Felicity blushed as Barry glanced in her direction.

"Barry, you're going to be great!" Oliver told him, "remember that we will all have each other's backs. With you, our two best hackers here, and a mind reader on our side, we shouldn't fail." He placed his hand on Astrid's shoulder. 

Cisco shifted uncomfortably in his seat, as he saw the gesture. "Thanks for the compliment, Oliver. But I am curious. What do you add to the mix?"

"We all need to be honest here if this is going to work." Oliver started.

 "Are you sure you want to tell them?" John Diggle asked him. 

 "You can trust them, Ollie." Astrid told them, "I trust Caitlin and Cisco with my life."

 "Have you heard of Sterling City's Arrow?" Oliver asked his question to Caitlin and Cisco.

 Their eyes opened wide as they realized just who Oliver Queen's alter ego was. "It makes sense..." Cisco said, under his breath. He was mentally piecing all the news articles about Sterling City's vigilante and its billionaire playboy together. 

"You're not serious?" Caitlin said in awe. 

 "Yes he is," Barry told them. "I found out the truth just before the meteor shower."
 Cisco was currently torn between awe for his hero, the Arrow, and jealousy for the guy who could just swoon and steal Astrid's affections. He knew that for this mission he needed to put his emotions aside and work alongside the man. That was what he would do.

"We are just over Smallville, now." John Diggle told them, glancing out the window. "We all need to be ready for this mission, we cannot fail." They were all as ready as they could be.

The plane landed on the rooftop of LuthorCorp, where an assistant of Lionel's was there to greet them, along with a team of security guards. As Oliver, Astrid, John and Caitlin were greeted by the Luthor Corp staff, Felicity and Cisco stayed behind on the plane setting up their network. Barry used this time to slip out of the plane and begin his quick tour undetected. 

"Good Morning, Miss Sutherland and Mr Queen. My name is Mrs Kent. I am Lionel's assistant. But please call me, Martha." The polite lady held out her hand to shake Astrid's. She had long brown hair and was roughly ten years older. She seemed far too polite to work for Luthor Corp. But maybe this was why she had been appointed to greet her.

Astrid shook the lady's hand, "Good morning, Martha. This is my associate Dr Caitlin Snow, she is one of our top doctors at Sutherland Labs and this is Mr Queen's associate, Mr John Diggle. Might I ask why Lionel did not show?" Oliver glanced over at Astrid. He had been wondering the same question. He shook the lady's hand nonetheless.

"Oh, his son, Alex, was up to some sort of mischief, he went to go and see to him. But he apologized in advance that he wasn't here to meet you here, himself."

The lady led the group of them through the rooftop entrance and down a long corridor, chatting politely. Astrid could hear Cisco's and Felicity's voices through her ear piece, they were giving Barry directions and it was an open channel. 

There was something about this seemingly soft-natured lady that stood out against the bland cold walls of Luthor Corp. Astrid subtly pulled her bracelet from her wrist and placed it in her pocket.

The lady led them into a laboratory where scientists were hard at work, studying the meteor. Caitlin was in her glory, here. She ran up to a table, which held the biggest chunk of rock, distracting Astrid from her focus. 

"I need to know something. My team have tried to determine why this stone has caused some people to experience certain gifts. While others have not had any side effects at all. Does your team know the answers?" she asked.

A young scientist with bright red hair and a white lab coat overheard Caitlin and brought over a pot-plant. "We have been answering that same question right here in Luthor Labs." She handed the pot-plant to Caitlin. "We have been conducting experiments on plants and the answer is biology. My theory is that just like plants, while some people may be susceptible to the kryptonite's powers, others have an inbuilt immune system. Like this plant. It has not been effected in anyway."

"That makes sense." Caitlin said, she was battling with her own inner thoughts again. She handed the plant back to the scientist. "Thank you..." Caitlin said, unsure of the scientist's name.

 "... Oh, it's Pamela. I'm sorry I should have introduced myself. My name is Pamela Isley. I'm just a lowly scientist in the Biology and Ecology fields. But I know who you are Miss Caitlin Snow. I am a big fan!" Caitlin blushed. This was a new thing for her. 

Oliver looked back over at Mrs Kent and asked her a few questions about the work that was done in this laboratory, while Astrid listened in to Cisco giving Barry further directions. Barry had come across a door that required only one more attempt at a code before the alarms would sound. 

"Felicity is trying to crack the code. Do not... I repeat do not try any more combinations, Barry." Cisco told him.
 "Cisco?" Barry responded, "Does that map say anything hidden beneath the bottom floor? I was certain that there were no floors below me... But there's some sort of..." There was a 'click', followed by the swish of a large door opening. "No, Barry there's nothing here. You're on the lowest floor possible." Cisco told him.

"I'm going to check it out, someone's coming..." Barry's connection went silent. 
"Barry?" Cisco called out. "Barry? We've lost you... Barry! You guys, we've lost Barry! We can't reach him. The connection has gone dead!" 

Astrid looked over at Oliver. They needed to hurry things along. "How many floors does Luthor Corp have?" Astrid asked Martha.

 "I am actually a little unsure of the exact amount of floors, as I am quite new here. But we can get moving and see how far we get." Mrs Kent told them, leading the group out.

Astrid was finding it hard to hold any form of distrust for the lady. This was clearly the reason that Lionel had hired her. He wanted them to trust this lady. As they walked, she pulled a few images from the lady's mind and she was overwhelmed with a feeling of compassion. 

Astrid saw the tragedy of the meteor storm. This woman and her husband's truck had just survived a collision with a large meteor that had fallen into their road. Her husband had jerked the steering wheel, landing them onto the side of the road. They had survived, but their truck had hit another chunk of rock, beside an old rusty wire fence surrounding a corn field. The rock had destroyed the engine on impact. 

Martha and her husband climbed out of the truck to hear the sound of a crying child, coming from the corn field. They entered the corn field in a hurry, following the crying. They had never in all their lives imagined the sight that had beheld them. 

A young child of about 4 years old, with dark hair and piercing blue eyes was crying. He was sitting naked by a very large black chunk of meteor rock. Martha automatically rushed to the child's aid. She took off her coat and wrapped it around the boy lovingly, while her husband analyzed the rock, looking for any sign of the child's parents.

He noticed at that point that it was not a rock, but some sort of aircraft. A pod of some sort. He also realized that this boy was indeed alone.

"Astrid? Astrid?" Oliver's voice shook the image from her mind. They were standing in the elevator on a separate floor to the one that they had been on earlier. "Where did you go?" Oliver asked her, concerned, "You've been in a daze for a while now."

They were all staring at her, with concern. "Are you ok Miss Sutherland?" Martha Kent asked her, unaware of Astrid's abilities.

 "I'm fine." Astrid told them, "I just remembered that my father must have come through here at some point." She improvised. 

At that moment a glint of something flew through Martha's mind. She knew something about Astrid's father, but she didn't want to mention anything to them. Astrid saw the thought cross over the lady for the briefest of moments, but she had seen it, nonetheless. To Martha Kent's knowledge. Astrid's father was indeed alive. 


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