It’s a warm and sunny day in the City of Tomorrow - Metropolis. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and barely the hint of a wind. In Centennial Park, on a large stage usually used for musical performances, there sits a podium. A sizeable crowd surrounds the stage, dominated by members of the StandFast movement holding anti-mask protest signs, and various news stations with cameras poised to record the historic event live. Standing up at this podium, Lex Luthor - the Independent candidate - gives his final words for the rally, his weathered face infrequently illuminated by the fervent flashes of tabloid photographers.
"And while you watch the establishment’s two chosen parties continue their endless game of ping pong, where is the change you crave? Where is the reform you need? Nearly a decade later, and the country is still reeling from the devastation of the Apokoliptian Invasion. What did President Suarez ever do about that? Or the president before him? What have either of these parties’ presidents ever done about the violence and destruction left in the wake of these endless battles, the families torn apart by these events? The United Nations have proven time and again that they cannot hold their appointed heroes accountable, or at the very least reign in their antics.” A ripple of murmured agreements travels through the crowd at this.
"Think back, citizens, I know it may be too long ago for some of you to remember, but think back and remember if you can. Who brought Gotham back from the brink, in the wake of the earthquake crisis, after the previous government entirely failed to handle the situation? Who prevented a similar crisis from escalating in Bludhaven, after the monstrous Chemo creature was dropped on it like some living bomb? Who helped make this country more green, in an affordable manner, bringing us away from our criminal dependence on oil?” The murmurs grow into rallying shouts, punctuating Luthor’s every sentence and requiring him to raise his voice a little.
“I understand that you are angry, I understand that you want change! Even here in Metropolis, my home, I see the rot eating at it from the inside out. I vow to stop at nothing until I stamp out this so-called “Snakebite” that is infecting our streets, and turning our youth to a life of savagery and crime. I also vow to do what the UN cannot and will not, and introduce greater restrictions and deterrents to masks across the country. Like you, I vow to stand fast in the face of their continued lack of regard for you, the people they supposedly wish to protect. And so I ask you, citizens: when you do vote, vote with your heart, and your mind. Vote Luthor.” As he finishes up, the entire collection of StandFasters, with others among them, erupt into a roar of cheers and applause. Once the cacophony dies down a little, Luthor clears his throat to speak again, “I will now be accepting questions from the press.”
Immediately, the throng of reporters explodes with clamouring voices trying to direct attention to their question, and their station. Unfazed, Luthor coolly scans the sea of faces in search of one that he cares to answer.
Meanwhile, in the Southside district of the city, derelict and downtrodden as ever, a hooded figure skulks through shadows of bystreets and shortcuts. Even for Southside, the notorious “Suicide Slum”, this part of the city was particularly ugly: grey dreary apartments, every third building boarded up and rotting away. The figure, apparently male by build alone, turns into another sidestreet, meeting up with another shadowed figure.
“You got the stuff?” The first man whispers discreetly, looking a tad nervous.
“Yeah man, this stuff is like nothing you ever seen - Bane’s on the way out.” The other man smirks confidently, subtly pulling back his jacket to reveal the “stuff”, which was almost definitely Venom - more precisely Venom-X2.
“Don’t talk like that, man!” The first figure almost squeaks, his eyes frantically darting around him as if the muscle-bound Santa Priscan drug lord would suddenly appear from behind a dumpster to punish them for such a slight.
“Relax.” The dealer snorts, “Even if he was here, one shot of this and you could pummel him into the ground. Now fork up, I ain’t got all day.”
“Oh. Yeah man, right.” The buyer nods quickly, fumbling with his wallet before handing over a stack of bills. The dealer eagerly snatches them up, reaching into his jacket to produce a small vial of a vivid green solution.
And elsewhere, in homes across the city: live coverage of Luthor’s rally fills TV screens, radio broadcasts, and online news feeds. Elsewhere in Southside: no doubt more deals, underground fighting rings, and other shady practises, are facilitated by the Snakebite Gang. Elsewhere in Metropolis: other gears are also in motion, criminals and questionable organizations, and heroes working to stop them. Maybe a bank robbery, or a secret meeting, or a hostage crisis. Who can say? The City of Tomorrow is full of opportunity.