a day in the limelight

His had been a full plate. It always was, pulled in one direction and eleven different others on any given day to ensure that business operations on all fronts were running accordingly. Sure, there had been people beneath him to do that - there were dozens of administrators and managers, research directors and lead manufacturers, and any number of people who could take the reins on certain facets of Warren Enterprises with due trust that they wouldn’t screw it up and, if they did, that they had the fortitude to fix it - something he easily had additional resources for, consultants and legal teams and public relations representatives waiting in the wings to deal with press conferences and reporter inquiries to put the entirely corporation in a good light that increased revenue streams would inevitably follow.

But while there had been appearances to schedule, expos in the works that would require a charming mouthpiece Joseph didn’t mind providing, and stock reports to review especially in light of what had been a surprising increase in the Fortune 500 standing of Warren Enterprises - pandemic furloughs and production struggles be damned after the Reality Gem had erased the situation from the immediate face of the Earth - Joseph had found himself in a less than pleasant demeanor, a nervous pace about his desk only serving to confuse the dog that laid on a pet bed just adjacent to it until Joseph had seated himself again.

These were all good things - increased production with the promise of future fighter jet deliveries in the next year and satellite defense system contracts won against companies doing worse than a company breaking the fifty mark on the list - but there was something else, something that was gnawing at him, chewing at him as readily as he chewed at his thumb nail while staring down the mobile phone that sat on his desk.

On the other end, Public Relations.

He supposed the news she had to bring him was inevitable, something that he couldn’t keep hidden forever - not with the number of times he had been on the scene of some odd happening in San Francisco or how many times they had occurred around the Warren Aviation building in the Financial District - a weak association at best - and not with existing press releases of confirmed super powered involvement in the widely broadcasted Battleworld that, provided the symbiote he wore, at least kept his identity secret and, as one of the stronger considerations, his marriage to Supergirl who was already outed to the world; but that didn’t mean he had to like it or what it could very well mean for the company and his very livelihood.

But what was out was out, and while erasure from all corners of the Internet might have seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to pursue despite known failings - there was no way without a cyberpath of considerable skill - that didn’t mean people would forget seeing the winged wonder pulling people out of the way of demon-born destruction or mutating into a giant demon himself only to be left in the rubble when the magic wore off. That didn’t mean it hadn’t already stretched through viral streams or reached government connections, one way or another, that might have had something to say about a mutant running a military company. It didn’t change the continued prattling from Public Relations, speaking of schedules and stockholder expectations that he didn't want to, but would eventually have to address.

It didn’t change that people knew.

“Monday,” Joseph finally said, cutting her off. “Schedule it for Monday. In the morning. Press only. I don't need some fan boy with a million questions thinking this is an off-Comic-Con panel where he can ask about my wing size.”

Hanging up, Joseph sat back for only a moment to comb his fingers through his hair - a miniscule attempt to ease tension that wasn’t going to go away any time soon - as if waiting for the inevitable crash and boom that would come from public outlets in short order. Like a sidewinder, it would hit fast and hard for a quirk whirlwind he knew Public Relations was working intently on amidst their own surprise, their own confusion, perhaps even their own doubt of who their employer was; but ever-busy, there hadn’t been a long moment of introspective peace to be had as his desk phone rang.

“Mr. Warren,” the disembodied voice of the receptionist who had intercepted the call said, “Mr. Hodgkins is on the line.”

“Yeah, put him through…”