Preamble: In book 3, Jayna, as Joanna Fleming, thought she had settled her issues with wayward boyfriend Lew Watson, while brother Zan (John), was on the fast track with his lady love, Mary Lou. However, things are not always what they seem to be........... Book 5: The Wonder Twins: Hard Choices & Harder Lessons Chapter 1: Setting: December 1981. John Fleming was getting ready to close Lansing's Auto Works, where he worked part-time after school, when Daily Planet reporter-photographer Jimmy Olsen, who has been in a developing relationship with John's sister, Joanna, of late, pulled in, and needed some emergency repairs. Within a few minutes, Jimmy had his car ready to go again, but decided to spend some time with his friend. "Have you made any plans for New Year's?", he asked. "Not really. I think Mary Lou & I may be at home with her folks that night, but that won't be finalized until we go back to Gotham in 2 weeks.", John replied. "You thinking of coming out to take Joanna out?" "The thought's crossed my mind.", Jimmy replied. "The only thing that would preclude that would be if I were away on assignment for an extended period." Just then, the phone rang, and John answered. It was Mary Lou. John glanced at his watch and realized it was nearly closing time. "I'm on my way.", he said. ===================================================================== Upon reaching home, John was greeted not only by his girlfriend, but by a strange man who'd been waiting for about an hour. He identified himself as Victor Saltaires, and said he was working for the US government on a top secret project. He & John retreated to the community room on the first floor of the Anderson Arms, which, luckily, was vacant at the moment. "Ok, just what kind of offer did you have in mind, Mr. Saltaires?" "It's a matter of national security, Mr. Fleming. I have traveled a long way trying to locate you and your sister, and it's unfortunate she isn't here. This dossier will explain everything to you. I can't really stay and discuss matters here. My business card is in the dossier. Call me to set up an appointment." Saltaires departed, and John returned to his apartment. He replaced the dossier in his room, and went into the kitchen to help Mary Lou with dinner. Afterwards, the two were alone, and Mary Lou had a surprise for John. "I honestly don't know what to think. Mr. Saltaires insisted on staying until you came home, and that this couldn't wait, and now he says you need to call him?" "He sounded desperate, nervous, as if he wasn't sure if he was in the right place.", John replied. "To be honest with you, honey, I'd say he was. He just went about it the wrong way.", Mary Lou replied. "What do you mean?" "Don't kid yourself. When were you planning on telling me the truth about you and Joanna?" ===================================================================== Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Joanna and her roommate, Jessie Franklin, had returned from doing some Christmas shopping to find an intruder in their apartment. "My name is Vincent Saltaires,", he began, "and I am hoping one of you is Joanna?" "That would be me.", Joanna replied, putting down four boxes of gifts. She introduced Jessie, thinking that Saltaires was a talent agent who might have jobs for both girls. This wasn't to be. "No, I am sorry, I am not a talent agent.", Saltaires said, chuckling. "I am an agent, though, for the United States Government, and we need you and your particular talents, Ms. Fleming." He left her a dossier similar to the one her brother had gotten in Metropolis, then left. The girls were puzzled. "What I'd like to know is how he beat our security system.", Jessie said. "How rude." "Rude, maybe, but there's something else to him. Time to suit up, Jess. I think the Night Phantoms need to pay him a visit." "Ok, fine, but before we do that, how about we play 'To Tell The Truth', as in, when were you planning on telling me the truth about you and John?" Joanna was stunned. How had Jessie pierced her secret? Then, it hit her. They were doing each other's hair the other night, and Jessie may have found her pointed ears underneath her long, blonde hair. "We'll talk about it on the way, Jess, after we change. You deserve to know the truth, but you have to keep it to yourself." Minutes later, the two were now garbed in the midnight attire of the Night Phantoms, LA's secret guardians. In the privacy of Joanna's 1980 Chevy Corvette, she told the story of how she & her brother emigrated to Earth 4 1/2 years earlier. The whole deal about their being exchange students was, of course, a cover story. Aside from Jessie, she was now alone for the first time, with John in Metropolis, and, to keep busy, decided to keep the Night Phantom in play upon arriving in LA. "No wonder you're so adept at doing the human fly bit on the walls.", Jessie remarked. "You've had plenty of practice." "No one really needs to wish they were a fly on the wall around me.", Joanna replied, chuckling, thankful her mask hid the fact she was blushing. "I've been there, done that many times." "So you're doing this to compensate for not being able to use your powers?" "In a manner of speaking, yes." "So why are we going in to meet Saltaires in costume?" "To confuse him, for one thing. For another, I'm curious to find out what this project is he wants me for." Abruptly, Jessie heard something in the glove compartment. "That wouldn't happen to be a communicator, would it?", she asked. "It is.", Joanna replied. "It's probably my brother." Jessie opened the compartment and found the JLA communicator. She handed it to Joanna. "I'll stay outside, and.." "You'll do no such thing, Jess. Stay here.", Joanna replied. She lifted the brim of her mask and turned on the communicator. Indeed, John was on the line. "Go ahead, brother." "We've got problems, sis. Identity problems." "It's not so bad. You've said for a while you were thinking of confiding. We'll talk about it when we get back to Gotham." "How about here in Metropolis? I need you here ASAP." "I've got business here in LA, and then I'll catch up. Over and out." ======================================================================== Some time later, the two roommates scaled the wall of the Gramercy Towers, where Vincent Saltaires was headquartered. Joanna picked the lock on the window, enabling them to enter. However, Saltaires was waiting for them with guards and guns. "Well, it seems there is more than one Night Phantom roaming the streets.", he said. "And now, I have them both." The guards approached, but were quickly disarmed. Jessie counted herself thankful for the martial arts and self defense courses she'd been taking. Now, it was just Saltaires and the girls. "I think", Joanna said, "the tables have just gotten turned." ======================================================================== Obviously, the Saltaires brothers are twins, but what exactly do they want with Zan & Jayna? Now that Zan has finally confided in Mary Lou (or so we think), what's next for them? And where is Lew in all this? We'll have the answers in chapter 2.